For decades Pakistan has fed the enemy within
All medieval conquerors were basically predators; they lived at the cost of the people they conquered, appropriating their resources, which naturally antagonised the subject people. Muslim rulers, after the first four caliphs, used the Islamic doctrine of Zimmitude generally to their worldly benefit.
Rulers can win their subjects' respect, even their affection, with their wisdom and justice. After many atrocities and crimes against their Indian subjects, the British were able to leave India as almost friends, and no hostility exists today between them and their former subjects because their leaders and people confessed their crimes; they agreed to leave; and they left many gifts of value like modern learning, religious tolerance, systems of governance, constitutional democracy, science and technology.
Unfortunately, unlike the colonial capitalists of Europe, Pakistanis' ancestors had very few benefits to offer to their Zimmis in India that could endear them to their subjects. Added to this was the religious pride of our ulema, which believed in the supremacy of Islam and flaunted it without a semblance of courtesy or hesitation. This only antagonised the subject people ever more deeply, and necessitated the perpetual use of force to maintain Muslim rule. In order to nourish the fighting spirit of the soldiers and common Muslims, ever more pride of faith and ever-deeper contempt for reason was injected into their psyche through the ulema and clergy. The principle of equal human treatment of Muslims and non-Muslims remained alien to their rule.
The absence of positive performance was compensated with the boastful pride of the ability to destroy. That is perhaps an inherited attitude when our orators in Pakistan proudly talk of what we destroyed: our ancestors destroyed Indian idols and kings, followed by the recent smashing of the peaceful Buddha. Recently we destroyed the Soviet Union. We have pushed America to disaster. We shall destroy India, Europe and every system of "Jahiliah", including our own systems and people in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This mindset hardly ever asks, "What did we create or build?"
Pakistan, as a nation, has gradually lost all respect for science and scientists; we have substituted research with conspiracy theories; we boast of our nuclear build-up, which is again an ability to destroy, not defend, an ability stolen from heretics, without learning the science that creates it. This short-cut mentality, to escape science and invention, is an expression of our lazy, self-righteous pretensions. To bury the guilt, our power-hungry ulema expects us to admire a scientist, a nuclear opportunist who admires the Taleban, and hate the real scientists of the world as heretics.
It is, therefore, natural for our people with this mindset to support the monster when it destroys Pakistan and the world with the banner of Islam in its hand. Self-righteousness is the dismissal of humility; it jams our ability to objectively appreciate merit, so that the virtue and merit of others never attracts our attention. Bragging of our own virtue and merit grows louder as our record of performance dips. This dichotomy of practice and pretension paralyses judgement and kills the resolve to make amends.
Ever since Independence, our governments and army leaders propagated the easy excuse that India aspires to annex Pakistan to realise an ancient Hindu dream of "Greater India". But was this view realistic? Is it an exclusively Hindu dream? The fact is, Muslim rulers and the ulema also desired "Greater India". They had endeavoured for centuries to rule the whole of India; many times in these seven centuries they tried to hold Afghanistan with one hand while holding Bengal with the other. Ever since 1947, our generals and leaders have tried to grab Afghanistan and hold Bengal by force. Our lions and eagles still dream of destroying Bharat and making it a Muslim colony again.
Thus, it was natural for the ancient people of the subcontinent to dream of a united India even if it was no more possible. Long before the Muslim conquerors, India had Ashoka, Kanishka and Harshwardhana, who ruled large parts of India with no less glory than the Muslims did. It was hardly anything abnormal if some nostalgic sons of the soil wished to restore their past glory in their own land, while the majority did not share the dream. Hindus have lived in this land for more than 4,000 years, with a deep sense of belonging.
On the contrary, our Muslim ancestors came 1,000 years ago and did not develop a sense of belonging. They did not assimilate or integrate with the people they ruled, keeping their identity as foreigners, with loyalty to the holy lands of Arabia. The British also ruled as foreigners but they did not demand a part of India like we did; they agreed to leave India while we did not, although we declared that we were not Indians. Our self-righteousness so limits our sense of justice that what we practice with great pomp and show, seems hateful to us if others desire it.
Justice and honesty demand that facts be examined before we accept or reject a claim. The facts did not verify the claim that India aspired to annex Pakistan or a part of it. Although a limited right wing in Indian politics threatened to avenge the wrongs of history, that mood never dominated India. On the contrary, our opinion-makers and the ulema on this side of the border kept pushing up on mass level the hype to conquer Kashmir and hoist our flag over the "Red Fort".
It is difficult in Pakistan to state the fact that India did not annex Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka or any other dependent country. It did not annex Bangladesh, which achieved its separation from Pakistan purely with Indian Army action. The wars that we claimed as Indian aggression on our eastern border were later exposed as our own initiation. These are facts that embarrass our claims of persecution.
Mobarak Haider is a renowned Pakistani intellectual. His books "Tehzeebi Nargisyat" and "Mubaalghe, Mughaalte" are widely regarded as the revival of critical thinking and free inquiry in Urdu non-fiction.