I am a Pakistani Indian……

Raza Habib Raja

There is something about India as an idea which transcends the modern day political configurations. It is the idea of India as a huge mass of land which stretches from Baluchistan to present day Bangladesh. This idea of India is independent of any political configuration. In fact during the past thousands of years, this mass of land has very seldom been a unified political entity. And yet there is something which loosely unites the inhabitants despite their substantial religious and at times even ethno linguistic differences (after all let us not forget that more than 200 languages are spoken in India). There is something, perhaps difficult to articulate, which enables this huge stretch of land to be called India irrespective of various political shapes it has assumed over thousands of years.
My country Pakistan was created only 60 years ago. In my eyes, the current political landscape consisting of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan is just one of the many political permutations, Indian subcontinent has witnessed over thousands of years. This current political formation does not mean that I have ceased to be an Indian. Yes at this point I will say that I am a proud Pakistani. I opened my eyes here and I love it intensely despite the fact that I have often been severely critical of the way things are being run here. But at the same time I would also like to say that I have an Indian identity as well.
I am the heir to the same great Indus valley civilization and I have the same claim to India as those who belong to modern political India. It is this common great heritage, underpinned by the idea of India independent of political configurations, which unites me with those who live in the present political entity of India. It is our common heritage irrespective of our different political and for that matter even cultural differences( because India has many sub cultures which differ substantially from each other ).
Yes those who worship the idea of two nation theory will negate it and ironically their sentiments will find endorsement by Hinduvta brigade. The former thinks that identity is perhaps a monolithic phenomenon and Pakistan equates to an antithesis of India. They think that identity is solely a political cum religious construct and since Pakistan is a separate political entity therefore we are now just Pakistanis in every respect of the way. The political Pakistan means fostering of a completely new identity and a complete divorce from the past. For them their past starts from the point their ancestors converted to Islam and their identity morphs into anything concrete only after the creation of Pakistan. And this group, comprising of so called nationalists, is also wary of ethnic identities and aligns itself with the state cultivated narrative of “One Pakistan: One Nation”.
The later (Indian right wingers) think that since Pakistan became a separate state, their country was “partitioned” and  an unforgiveable sin has been committed. By creating Pakistan, its inhabitants have divided mother India. They keep on talking about the glory of Indus valley civilization and mention India as a historically single political entity which in 1947 was divided along religious lines.
Well needless to say that I disagree with both the parties. My premise is that people have multiple identities. I am, a Pakistani, a Punjabi, a Muslim and of course an Indian in the sense I have mentioned above. In fact we all have multiple identities.  At times one identity may become dominant due to certain circumstances and may even take a strong political expression such as demand for a separate state. However, even if does so, the other identities though relegated do not simply disappear. So in my case my Indian identity is there despite my Pakistani identity. Though I may not consciously ‘choose” it but it is for me not only a matter of choice as it is an identity shaped by history and culture transmitted through generations. It is that common historical heritage which binds me together with those who live in the neighbouring political India.
At present I am in USA and studying at Cornell. Some of my best friends are Indians and I am amazed that how much common we have despite apparently “hostile” political situation between the two countries. And they do not belong to North India only ( as it is often said that North India is culturally closer to Pakistan) but from South also. It is that commonality which transcends political and for that matter even ethnic and religious differences which binds me to them. I do not think of them as foes but as my brothers and sisters with whom I share a great common heritage.
And yet I will not apologize for Pakistan as it is my country and I opened my eyes here. I will nevertheless reiterate that creation of Pakistan at least in my eyes does not negate my Indian identity and origins. I would like to remind all those who are bent upon imposing Arab wahabi culture on us that it is alien to us.
I believe that realizing our common Indian identity is important as it will lead to erosion of bitterness. Yes modern Pakistan and India are a reality but then so is our great common heritage. Yes it is important for us to be loyal to our political states but at the same time not overlook the joint heritage.
I am a Pakistani Indian….

  • Ash

    You touched me, I have some very good Pakistani friends and I never found anything different. For us, religions did not matter for we all were irreligious.

  • romain

    RHR Mian,

    you neednt have written this piece to tell us how you feel. You are a lost brother 🙂

  • romain

    Aha this is a dated one

  • alam

    Why does Indian media is so concerned about Pakistani Hindu problems. As India calls itself a secular state but under the present government has subjugated its own minorities. Raising of muslim mosques, the atrocities in IOK, the violence against Christians are few hate crimes which randomly continue to be reported. In Pakistan although there have bee few incidences of personally motivated hate crimes against minorities but generally the state has always endeavored to provide equal rights for all minorities.

  • timely

    to alam

    In Pakistan the hindus have been de facto exterminated.
    And now pakistanis are pretending that they are treating them nicely.

    In India the muslims are multiplying like rats and thus causing trouble to hindus.

    Islam is from Makkah and hence the aggresor ideology in the indian subcontinent and the muslims are agents/quislings of this arab ideology.

    Hindus are those who did not become bootlickers of arabs and turks and muslims are those who became bootlickers of arabs and turks.

    When I look at pictures from Pakistan then I realize that pakistanis look like indians and hindus and not like arabs or turks. So why have they been made into bootlickers of arabs and turks? That is the result of islam.

  • Observer

    I agree with alam. Minorities are much safer in Pakistan than in India.
    All the Indian Shia and Ahmadis should be invited to Pakistan; it is safe there. Also all Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Parsis etc. from India should also be invited because Pakistan is so much safer for them then India.

  • tajender

    scored over Cong indiscipline /warring feuds & they succumbed to qualities of unchecked power dailyo.in/politics/lalit

  • khawaja jamil.r

    agree with alam. Minorities are much safer in Pakistan than in India.

    pakistan has 2 types of hindus ,like in india,high caste hindu and dalit.
    in pakistan hindu ,means rich.dalita are fkd by muslims and hindu alike.
    high castte dont migrate.only dalits come here that too sometime.never their temple demolished like in india or they were terrorised through riots or denial of flats or jobs.richest man of karachi is hindu.they are still doing usuary bussines.in parliament their seats are reseved as their population.they also have right to stand on other seats.but still needs reformation.though better than india.

  • Mohan

    Tufail Ahmed has addressed this tweet to Hindu journalists who are supporting Madrasas.

    @tufailelif: If you are a secular Hindu journalist and writer and think madrassas are good, I urge you to send your sons and daughters to study there.

  • khawaja jamil.r

    In Pakistan the hindus have been de facto exterminated.
    And now pakistanis are pretending that they are treating them nicely

    ngos are sent by americans to divide nation.rss is a foreign funded ngo.their basic aim is to plunder india convert it into another syria iraq or afghanistan.anarchy is best for quick loot.that is why many ex-prostitutes are converted into sadhvis.during communal riots which were planned and started by rss in 1947 population of both sides migrated.hindu left pakistan more because of better ecoomic opportunities india.i hope modi raj will change sitution ,he is moving in right direction.

  • khawaja jamil.r

    @tufailelif: If you are a secular Hindu journalist and writer and think madrassas are good, I urge you to send your sons and daughters to study there.

    mohan only poors go madarssa as they can not afford expensive education.more our education system is very much hiduised.it as to be nationalized.it is very anti-muslims.that is why poors avoid their childrens going there.but madassas has to be modernized as per thoughts of modiji.

  • khawaja jamil.r
  • rana ayyub

    Madrassas in india gave the country some of its most prominent freedom fighters. FYI twitter.com/khanumarfa/sta…

  • tajender

    now the time has changed so education in madarssas should be more universal with emphasis on muslim moralty.withourt religious muslim education any education is useless.if u are not accountable to somebody after death u can easily become daash or lalit modi.

  • tajender
  • tajender

    Modi government’s credibility is at serious risk on three fronts: corruption, communalism & dissent writes @pbmehta indianexpress.com/article/opinio…

  • timely

    to tajender and khawaja

    islam’s long-term goal is the extermination of all those who do not accept islam’s lies, totalitarianism, hegemony and imperialism.
    that is all about islamic morality and heavenliness and divinity.

    the fascists among muslims are (knowingly or unknowingly) protected by the non-fascist muslims.
    this is the truth about islam since 1400 years.
    no mater how much you praise islam and make grand declarations about islam, the fascism in islam will determine the future course of islam.