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The Unpatriotic Indian Appeaser

Raza Habib Raja

During my last semester at Cornell, I was requested by one of my Indian friends to give a presentation on Pakistan. The topic was “Pakistan and Extremism”. I was required to speak in front of a mixed crowd of various nationalities though South Asians were obviously more prominent.

It was an international forum and I was representing Pakistan. Before me, people representing their countries had projected a very positive image of their country.

In my opening sentences I said that I was not going to project a positive image. I would just speak my mind. I said that patriotism for me is not getting defensive when my country is under the critical microscope of the outside world but to introspect as to why it is under the critical microscope in the first place.

The crowd included both Indians and Pakistanis , and as per expectations, my journey of “self-introspection”, was appreciated by the former while at least some of the latter got a bit embarrassed. I criticized the way Pakistan movement unfolded; the treatment of Bengalis; use of Islam as statecraft to build civic nationalism; Pakistan’s army’s obsession with India and use of non-state actors to wage proxy wars; and our national denial with respect to extremism in our midst.

Later on, my Indian friend told me that one or two actually lodged a complaint with him and remarked that it was an Indian “mischief” to invite a person like me to speak.

I responded by repeating that we as a nation have to understand that there is a reason as to why Pakistan is being placed in some of rather less enviable categories such as: a failed state; a hotbed of terrorism; and the most dangerous place in the world. The world already knows about these things. Our job should be trying to make sense as to why we have reached here. And there is no point hiding it as the world knows it already. Speaking openly will not spill some national secrets here.

Some of my Pakistani friends still insisted that I should have given a positive spin. I heard some remarks which suggested that I was saying all that to win admiration of Indians and Bangladeshis at Cornell and for that purpose I was ready to insult my country.

In short, I was not patriotic and was sucking up to Indians to gain “popularity” amongst them.

This is something I have commonly heard about myself and journalists who belong to the same “unpatriotic” and “Indian appeaser” category. In fact I am not even that famous whereas some of the unpatriotic ones are big names like Najam Sethi, NFP, Raza Rumi etc.

I have often heard that views like that of mine are used by the rightwing Indians to boost their case and to make them comfortable in their instinctive hatred of Pakistan. “Before you bark about peace, please bother to go to their websites or see their electronic media as to what is their true opinion about us. They hate us and “naïve” people like you have no clue about their hatred. You think that writing stupid articles in your Indian infested website will make you dear to them”.

Yes I do not hate India and want that both countries should bury the hatchet and move forward. I feel connected to those who are living in modern political India through an overarching identity which is independent of any political configuration. I have already articulated this identity in my article “I am a Pakistani Indian”( http://pakteahouse.net/2012/04/27/i-am-a-pakistani-indian/) and it is this identity which connects me to those who live in modern political India.

But I agree that India too has people who are hate mongers. Pakistan after all was carved out of India and there is a bitter legacy of bloodshed and rioting that took place in those fateful times.

Khuswant Singh once said in an interview that wounds of Partition have perhaps healed but poison still runs through our veins. It is that poison which is making us continuously talk in bitter and hate-filled rhetoric.

And I know I cannot win over those who have become extremely hate filled. There are many from BOTH the sides who would laugh at the idea of peace and friendship.

Some Indians think that ever since India has become a global economic powerhouse, Pakistanis like me have suddenly discovered their Indian roots. I have been taunted that only after the economic success ( by the way which is still disputable as poverty is still very high in India), I have realized that perhaps partition was not a good idea.

Yes, I admit that I cannot convince such people. I can only try to connect with those in India who are like me and understand that hate does not breed anything constructive. And I know there are many in India who think like this. My job is to connect with them and hope that they can affect the collective discourse in their country.

And contrary to what some of my countrymen think, my heart also burns when utterly one sided and selective diatribe is launched on Pakistan by some Indians. But once again, my reaction is to think as to why these Indians have some so much material which they can throw as “evidence” in their hate filled diatribe. Even that becomes chance for me to reflect as to why hate filled rhetoric is coming with some facts which are frankly irrefutable. Rather than getting angry and responding in the same tone, I think it is important for Pakistanis to realize that if they set their own house in order, the hate mongers on the other side won’t be able to present so many facts as evidence.

In Pakistan’s case, our national identity has been constructed in such a way that anti India sentiments have become a part of our instinctive make up. The partition and its rationalizing narrative and the subsequent developments have ensured that a majority of our urban middleclass, particularly that of Punjab, would remain hostile towards India while loving Bollywood flicks. Fear and hatred of India has been systematically used to keep us together and also justify huge spending on military.

I will not say that the fear is totally misplaced or cooked up. But times are gradually changing and as our neighbor zooms ahead, I doubt it has that much interest left in re-annexing Pakistan. If anything, their leadership (irrespective of ideology) would not like to see Pakistan destabilized as it would cause them problems.

For those amongst my countrymen who doubt my patriotism and accuse me of Indian appeasement to get “cheap” publicity, let me spell it clearly: I was born in Pakistan and despite being critical of its affairs, I love this country. In fact criticism is emanating of patriotism, but this is patriotism of a different kind. Rather than getting angry over “insults” I like to reflect on the reasons as to why we have this reputation. Pakistan is all what I care for.

For me patriotism is not hatred of India and United States while watching Bollywood flicks and begging for US visas.

Patriotism is not getting angry over a sixteen year old girl (who was shot in the face by TTP) for “insulting” Pakistan. It is not her who is insulting you in the international arena, rather it is those monsters (for whom you are offering apologetic defense) and their barbaric ways, which is the real cause for insult. If her ordeal is pointing out that Pakistan is a cruel patriarchal society then for God sake try to address the real issue which is the patriarchal cruel society. West is merely noticing it because of what happened to her due to this society.

And by the way, by calling her a Western stooge, you are yourself adding to the insult. If you get angry over Hakim Ullah Mesud’s assassination while hating a little girl who was almost killed by his men, then frankly do not be surprised by what the world thinks about you.

Patriotism is working towards removal of the real reasons behind your bad reputation. The day when you start working towards improving environment for your minorities, ensure better treatment of your women, and control your Bonapartist army, your reputation will improve and no Hinduvta brigade would be able to insult you.

Getting angry at people like me for being an Indian appeaser and “playing into the hands of Hinduvta brigade” is not going to solve the problem. This is our screwed up mindset that instead of the real cause, we get angry over those who are trying to point out that there is perhaps a problem with us and the rest of the world is merely noticing. Instead those who point it amongst us become the culprits and villains.

I am not insulting you my dear Pakistanis, you are insulting yourself….

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119 Responses to "The Unpatriotic Indian Appeaser"

  1. heavy_petting United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    For instance, look at Kamath ji. He used to be a teary-eyed, “salaam” “adaab” saying secular Indian type of guy. These days he talks about Muhammad doing all kinds of bad things to children. As Ambedkar said, half of the Gandhi-bhakts were fools and the other half hypocrites, Kamath ji, following Ambedkar’s description (whom, I am sure, he regards as a great visionary), discards his secularism at the very first provocation. That, kaal, is what Indian secularism is all about.

  2. romain United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Me thinks somebody has borrowed Kamath’s nick

  3. RHR Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    YLH is technically a secular nationalist. A very rare breed as most of the time Pakistani nationalism comes heavily intertwined with Islamic identity. YLH on the other hand is nationalist and yet rejects the conventional state cultivated Pakistani nationalism.

    I am not sure where exactly one can place me. I am secular and less defensive when it comes to nationalism. I would also insist that I like Pakistan though perhaps not in “conventional” way. And yes I like India which again is some what unconventional for a “normal” Pakistani.

    PMA can explain his nationalism better. I am not sure to what extent he visualizes Islam as inherently a part of Pakistani identity.

    Regards

    Raza

  4. heavy_petting United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    romain, Your “me thinking” is wrong, he’s the same old Kamathji. Being a true patriot, if it were up to him, he would not let anyone other than the Indian military do meditation on the Siachen glacier.
    .
    RHR, PMA is like most Indians including me. Having secured a Muslim majority area as his own he sees no problem in democracy, secularism, etc., because none of these can take away the inherent Muslimness of Pakistan which is a given. Indians are like that too.

  5. heavy_petting United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    romain, Your “me thinking” is wrong, he’s the same old Kamathji. Being a true patriot, if it were up to him, he would not let anyone other than the Indians do meditation on Siachen.
    .
    RHR, PMA is like most Indians including me. Having secured a Muslim majority area he sees no problem in democracy, secularism, etc., because none of these can take away the inherent Muslimness of Pakistan which is a given. Indians are like that too.

  6. PMA United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    YLH has gumption and tenacity. He has done his time. He loves Pakistan and will like to see Pakistan as a secular state so that other religions could also flourish there. RHR in his own words “likes” Pakistan (whatever that means) but is not very comfortable with the “idea” of Pakistan. He is more of an “Indian kind of a guy”. RHR is still finding his place. In time he too will get there. In my opinion both are good decent and sincere human-beings. Let there be many voices. That is good for democracy and Pakistan.

  7. PMA United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    heavy_petting United States December 6, 2013 at 12:28 am
    Hypothetically speaking I would have no problem with Jinnah’s initial demands. I would have like to see the Muslim-majority areas constitutionally under Muslim control within or without the British Indian Empire with no religion based cross-migration. But as we know that is not what transpired. In post-1947 and post-1971 we have to recognize the realities on the ground. Today’s Pakistan is not Jinnah’s Pakistan. Pakistan is 97% Muslim. In today’s Pakistan Muslim Nationalism of the Islamists or for that matter secularism are irrelevant questions. We can not or need not to be “more” Muslim than we already are. We are already there. But at the same time Pakistan needs to be secular to the extent that it provides without prejudice full liberty of practice of religion for all of its citizens. There must be no religion based discrimination.

  8. Satyam United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Kamath
    Its lucky for India to have such great neighbor who worry about Enviorenment. Must be Islam which give them this sense of concern whichis so missing among Kaffir Indians.
    Kaal is correct in his below Assesment about Simple Indians who dont understand the intellectual prowess of Paki Minister.

    On one side we have Sartaj Aziz, the most honest and straightforward man, clearly laying out Pakistan’s exclusively environmentalist concerns in Siachin. On the other, Indians will take any losses in order to officially turn Pakistan into a desert. But for the father of the nation Zaffarullah bhai, imagine living with these people!”

  9. romain United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    HP Mian

    “These days he talks about Muhammad doing all kinds of bad things to children.”
    Kamath mian must have been rattled by the latest going ons in his neck of the woods.

    et al.

    I think this debate about partition has always been foolish. Pakiland is a country for Islam. It exists, unfortunately, and will continue to exist. Soon Pure Islam in the form of tribal Islam will take it over. The countdown has already begun.

    Pakis suffer from a collective psychotic fear of India. Nothing will change that. I dont care how many RHRs , YLHs and Raza Rumis come around. This fear and desire to be “not-Indian” isn’t going to go away – ever, even if Kashmir is handed to them on a silver platter, the fear and delusions will remain.

    Pakis will always try to prod a weak spot and when they get trampled by the slow lumbering elephant, they will run around to anybody and everybody to complain. They will come up with any narrative that will justify their actions and blame someone else for the consequences. They will be subservient to anybody to gain parity with Indians.

    There is nothing Indians can do to change this behavior. Indians just have to live with it. As most Indians do already, Indians will gradually learn to ignore such a thing as Pakistan. They are halfway there already.

    Pakis like RHR, YLH, Raza Rumi and like will continue to be admired and liked for their intellect, their attitudes and their humanity, on a personal level.

    To extrapolate RHR and like to the whole of Pakiland is a mistake and grossly unfair to RHR. He lies somewhere to the extreme right of the Bell curve. He is a maverick. Mavericks do not bring about changes, they wow.

    So me believes that people like PMA are the true face of Pakiland. Proud in a weird sense of what they do not represent as opposed to proud of what they do represent.

    Saad Sahib no disrespect meant as I was just using the gentlemen mentioned above as examples.

  10. RHR Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    Romain

    ” Proud in a weird sense of what they do not represent as opposed to proud of what they do represent.”

    I am not sure about PMA but this one is a good description of many Pakistanis

    Regards

  11. RHR Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ PMA

    I did not say I “like” Pakistan, I said I like Pakistan. There is hell lot of a difference.
    Normally the way I see myself different from many Pakistanis is that I do not ascribe to mainstream positions particularly in external affairs. I have hardly talked about Kashmir, I actually support drone attacks and I do not get that much agitated and defensive when Pakistan is in a negative spotlight. It is not that I do not feel bad about it but generally refrain from answering when criticism is unfair.

    But if criticism is fair, I will agree and admit.In fact I think it is perfectly ok to highlight human right issues in Pakistan.This is how moral revolutions happen. A country changes when it is made embarrassed in the international arena with respect to some real human rights issue.

    This of course gives an impression that I am sucking up to the West and Indians for “scholarships” and “popularity”

    Regarding partition, I do not think it should have happened though given the fact that it has happened, I understand that Pakistan and India are realities. Having said so, I do believe that both countries despite differences can move forward. 65 years is too short a time in the history of a culture that has evolved over thousands of years. India has seen so many political configurations over the last five thousand years and yet it has remained India in some sense of the word.
    This explains why I like modern political India.

  12. rational Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    It is good to be unpatriotic.
    That makes way for honesty.
    One does not have to hate one’s ancestors – one only has to stop idolizing or worshipping them.
    Let us also not tell our children to be patriots and mess up their futures.

  13. Vish United Kingdom Google Chrome Windows says:

    “He used to be a teary-eyed, “salaam” “adaab” saying secular Indian type of guy. ” Gosh just learnt that saying salaam & adaab qualifies an Indian to be secular. All those poor mutts with their Hellos, Hi’s, Namastes and Good days are now qualified communal.

  14. secular buddy Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    You are just fucker as you have embarassed pakistan by ur shit stuff. you have no right to represent pakistan.

  15. parliament certified muslim United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    @Kaalchakra

    But for the father of the nation Zaffarullah bhai, imagine living with these people!”

    What nonsense? The Father of the Nation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is Musawwir-i-Pakistan Hazrat Allama Iqbal. And who is this Zaffarullah by the way?
    @PMA

    We can not or need not to be “more” Muslim than we already are. We are already there

    Says who? We have a long way to go before we can reach the high standards set for us to emulate, by our “hamsaya dost Islami mulk” the Islamic Emirate of FATA (Free Arab and Taliban Area).
    @romain

    Indians will gradually learn to ignore such a thing as Pakistan.

    How will India ignore Pakistan when it will be part of Pakistan? Eventually, in fulfillment of the vision of Hazrat Allama Iqbal, India will accede to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and will become a province of Pakistan. Hazrat Allama Iqbal has said:
    Cheen o Arab hamara Hindostan hamara
    This means that one day, China, Saudi Arabia and India, all will become part of Pakistan.
    @RHR

    A country changes when it is made embarrassed in the international arena

    Pakistan’s greatest embarrassment is that Pakistan’s Army has produced 5000 maqtools and not a single shaheed. Hazrat Maulana Munawwar Hassan of Jamaat-i-Islami has recently declared that all Pakistan Army personnel killed while fighting against the Taliban are maqtool and halak-shuda and not one among them is a shaheed.

  16. romain United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    “He used to be a teary-eyed, “salaam” “adaab” saying secular Indian type of guy. ” Gosh just learnt that saying salaam & adaab qualifies an Indian to be secular. All those poor mutts with their Hellos, Hi’s, Namastes and Good days are now qualified communal.

    Touche!!!!!

  17. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @RHR
    How nice it would be for ‘digestion’ if ‘the Wall of Berlin’ that separates India and Pakistan is demolished and both countries get merged into One. After all, All Pakistani’s too are Indians and despite their religion they can live together with people of other religions. If BD is also included in India, ie Greater India, the Muslim population would be sufficient enough to protect their rights in G India and perhaps overwhelm the Hindu’s in shorter period. Only them people like RHR and like will get the opportunity of eking out their frustrations without maligning their brethren in faith. I am sure RHR and RHR says he’s still in his 30′s….hence his thoughts are also 3rd grade!!

  18. parliament certified muslim United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    @AKB

    How nice it would be for ‘digestion’ if ‘the Wall of Berlin’ that separates India and Pakistan is demolished and both countries get merged into One. After all, All Pakistani’s too are Indians and despite their religion they can live together with people of other religions. If BD is also included in India, ie Greater India

    Why Greater India and why not Greater Pakistan? The Founder of Islamic Republic of Pakistan Hazrat Allama Iqbal has stated:
    .
    Cheen o Arab hamara Hindostan hamara
    Muslim hain hum watan hai sara jahan hamara

    .
    Therefore, it will be the Greater Islamic Republic of Pakistan to which China, Saudi Arabia and India will accede.

  19. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @parliament certified muslim

    Small streams and rivers always fall into the bigger seas!! Here India is bigger ……therefor!

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