Callous Terrorists or Utterly Desperate?
There is a huge piece of land between a mountain pass, Khyber, and the plains of ancient India. Throughout centuries robbers – disguised as conquerors, traveller, missionaries, marauders – have made their passage between the mountain pass and the riches of India. On each occasion of their arrival they looted food grain, cattle, women and other necessities from the local inhabitants; and then moved on towards Dehli and beyond. On their way back they left there their wounded and some garrisons of healthy soldiers, primarily to protect their back but also to function as check point and later on as trade associates. Afghans, Huns, Greeks, Mongols, Persians and other aggressive people from central Asia took this route and left their progeny behind. These people who were left behind built their villages, and later on towns, in the fertile soil and alongside six rivers (Indus and five rives of the Punjab) which started up in the mountains and traversed a length of 3200 kilometres across this land. These villages had secluded lives where different groups spoke the language of their ancestors as well the local mixture of languages. Trade between various people was allowed but intermarriage was not encouraged. Thus there were clusters of villages sharing same piece of land mass with the indigenous inhabitants. All these people lived together but lacked a common ancestry and, subsequently a common heritage and nationality. Despite the fact they were offspring of warriors, turned cultivators, they did not evolve a common defence strategy and were always susceptible to foreign invasion.
With the exception of Aryan arrival, ca 1500 BC, that introduced Brahminical element into the Dravidian Vedic system of Hinduism other people who migrated to this area did not bring about any major change in the religious system of the local people who were mainly Hindus or Buddhists.
That went on for almost 3000 years.
In 712 AD Arabs took a different route and invaded Karachi (then known as Debal) from the sea. After defeating the local Raja, Dahir, they made their way up alongside rivers. Arabs came with a sort of spiritual Lotto where they promised the local Hindus two major wins:
1. In this life if they were to convert from their faith to the new one they would escape the monetary extortion (called Jazzia), and also the stamp of caste system from Hinduism washed away from their identity. Most people who converted to the Arab faith were from the lowest two castes of Hindus. Theoretically at conversion they were absolved of their lower origins and they also became spiritually equal, but that equality was never implemented practically in the social life – not then by the Arabs and local converts of higher castes from the Hindus, and not even today by the Arabs in their own countries. Converts from Indian peninsula in the South Asia are still Hindis in Saudi Arabia.
2. The bigger hoax was that if a person surrenders all that he owns, physically as well as mentally, to the Arab will then in a life to come in another existence everyone who bought that Lotto ticket would get the highest win.
As is well known in any Lotto most people who purchase the tickets lose and only a very tiny minority wins; but the sellers of the Lotto tickets always make huge profit.
The Europeans arrived in India, also from the sea, in the beginning of 1500 and stayed until 1947. That included Portuguese, French, Danish, Armenian, Dutch and English invaders. After first two centuries of rivalry it were the English who performed best and slowly gained control over most of India. The area I am referring to was under the English control for only 98 years, its northern part they never conquered.
All people who came to India infused some colour of their own with the local art, culture and belief. Major impact was made by the Greek art that evolved into Gandhara art, Persians and Arab instituted new religions and the Europeans a completely new view of social life. None had ever came to India with any good intention, but in their pursuit for riches they introduced new industries, modes of communication, scientific knowledge, civil law and above all the right of personal property against the ruler. Prior to the English everything belonged to the crown, whatever the religion of the ruler.
Despite the short duration of their rule in this area the English made much important improvement in irrigational, legal and educational systems. They also learnt about the heterogeneity of the people living here and found that though these people were comparatively healthy and hard working they did not perform well on their own as larger groups. A greater part of the British Indian army was recruited from this area. No major industry was set up here, and people remained mainly agrarians or artisans.
Political awareness has always been very low, or indifferent. These people have been regularly robbed for centuries by the trespassers from the north on their way in or out of India, or by the representatives of the crown in Delhi. Actually it did not matter much who took a major share of their produce – they were always the looser!
In their long history there are only a few mentionable names of the locals in this area who ruled their own land – Porus (reigned 340-317 BC) and Ranjeet Singh (1780-1839) stand out.
A great devastation took place in 1947. After their exhaustion in two world wars India was no longer a lucrative market or producer of wealth for the English. So the English decided to depart. India was divided into two parts where tens of millions of people were forced to leave their ancestral homes and, after crossing an arbitrary border, live in places that they had never seen before. Hundred of thousands were slaughtered in the name of an identity that was alien to the most, and instead of people who had lived side by side for ages beyond living memory turned up strangers who claimed that they were closer to the indigenous people than those who had left.
Did it cause mass misunderstanding?
66 years have elapsed since then. People who were told in 1947 that they were now liberated find themselves today in greater misery than ever before. It is a land with people who are confused about their identity, religion and culture. There are 180 million of them who despite their Indian origin, given a chance, would deny any ancestral link with India, yet there is no one else in the world who accepts them as their progeny. Considering 70% of the people can not read even their own language they perform their acts of worship in a language that the majority can neither read nor do they understand the meanings of that spoken language. Some memorised verses are recited time and again along with physical gestures of undefined nature to pay homage to an alien deity – the content of those verses and the sanctity of the gestures remaining out of the comprehension of the worshippers.
An act of worship, in which the devotee nears himself the deity that is adored, is the most private and intimate experience for a person. The communication there must be in a language that impart maximum emotional, and spiritual, satisfaction. And that is only possible in one’s own language. All other babbling and incantation of alien verses is false interaction between the worshipper and the worshipped!
Half of the total population of these people, women, are declared as undeveloped human beings with immature thinking, and therefore incapable of making their own decisions about their life. Women are there to serve men! When unmarried they serve their brothers and father and when necessary are used as tradable or fit for barter being to secure spouses for their brothers and sometime their father too. After marriage a woman’s lot is to render services to her husband and his parents. In large towns situation for them could be a bit better but not much.
Thus, there are multi-millions of people living in this area who are physically hungry, spiritually perplexed and sexually frustrated; and there seems to be no hope in the near future for the improvements of their conditions of life in THIS world.
Today, they have also come to realise that they in the last 66 years have been cheated by:
1. An arrogant lawyer who without ever living among them or knowing these people decided to represent them in their quest for an implied independence. His won the case for the people who had hired him, but the majority that he claimed to represent was, and is, the loser.
He is called the nation’s father.
2. A second-generation offspring of the new converts from Kashmir who in his enthusiasm for establishing his own credentials as truly faithful concocted myths about some imagined identity and grandeur that in reality his own ancestors never possessed. His created heroes and symbols after bouts with alcohol that in the real life no longer qualify as the winners in the struggle for existence. Eagles, lions and nimble horses are species that are on the verge of extinction in their natural habitats. Had he studied biology he would have praised the ants, the bees and the spiders – they are the masters in the art of survival. For the survival of the fittest it is not the most aggressive or exclusive who wins. It is the most versatile, adaptable and co-operative who survive the longest. For a worthy existence occasional splendour or show of power is only a flash in the pan – what ascertains it is proper planning, organised work, appropriate distribution of labour and, after all that, a just sharing of the fruits of that labour. This kind of sagacious structure in a society endows it durability and constancy. He is considered the national poet
3. Mighty landlords who plotted to create this country because they knew that if they stayed in the unified India they would lose the privileges and land bestowed upon them by the British for the services rendered by them against their own people.
4. Dishonest intelligentsia from UP in India who could see that in a Hindu dominant India, after the departure of the English, they were to lose the privileges they had claimed associated with the mogul court. So they planned a scheme that involved mass emigration from India with a hope that with their better education and an application of their own language as the official language, that was alien to the local people, they would take over the control of the newly created land and eventually rule there.
5. Corrupt local politicians who without any knowledge of politics and political theories of the modern age took over offices for their personal gains.
6. Demonic bearded Mullahs who as impostors use religion to oppress and manipulate people. Considering that people in this area have always been dependent upon someone else to explain the religious dogma and its practical application in daily life, these Mullahs utilise their position as religious interpreters to their advantage and can issue edicts according to the situation. They have caused enormous confusion and unhappiness among these people.
7. Armed forces which from the day one of independence have served foreign interests and functioned as mercenaries wherever they were commanded to perform by their masters, inside or outside their own country. They regularly and deliberately recruit all the healthy and fresh youth from certain areas of the land; thus, ensuring that no political challenge would arise from there. All these years they have utilised over 60% of the national resources to defend a geographical area while they completely ignored the needs of the people living there.
8. If that was not bad enough Zia’s arrival in 1978 with his interpretation of the religious thought took away already the fragile network of personal identity of the people, while he set up schools for mass brain washing of the youth. The result, in the form of Talibans and their allies, has crippled the whole intellectual process in the young people. So much so that even the thought of developing this land through acquisition of knowledge and application of modern technology is considered abhorrent to them. Physical lobotomy, removal or scraping of parts of the frontal lobe of the brain, was meant to relieve anxiety and help people with intense psychological problems, making them feel better after the operation. It has always been a much criticised practise. But it would appear that the conceptual lobotomy exercised by Zia has worked in the reverse direction. People have lost all longing for the fine arts – song, dance, music, painting – in this world and under intense religious pressure long for another life somewhere else that would be full of fabulous riches and rewards.
Or do they?
Now I come to my concluding reflections:
As human beings who been betrayed by everyone in power over 4000 years, and particularly since their so called independence in 1947, resulting in an apathy towards life where 5 years girls are raped, innocent people are daily blown away by the bombs, girls in their schools are burnt to death, children playing football are massacred these people are showing the lowest level of ethical dignity.
When one of the largest army in the world with most modern equipment fails to maintain peace in their own country then are the generals in that army the defenders of those people or participants in their plight?
And, when respectable looking adults tell innocent children to go and indiscriminately kill people through self-sacrifice then which moral or ethical system is used?
Or, in simple language – are all these civilians who are involved in their mutual destruction callous terrorists or people who have become utterly desperate?
The piece of land I discussed above is today known as Pakistan.