On Pakistani Unity

Kupamanduka protests my characterization of his post as “He wants India to be more like Pakistan”. He claims that he does not want India to be like Pakistan in every respect. But  why does he want India to be like Pakistan in that particular respect? What benefits has the deep religiosity and solidarity with fellow religionists brought Pakistan? He does not say. To the untutored eye, it seems that Pakistan is hurtling towards self-destruction precisely because of the blindness brought about by the deep religiosity. But because deep religiosity seems pleasing to Kupamanduka’s eye, he approves of it and thinks it a source of strength.

In any case, it is not at all clear to me that Pakistan is a particularly united place. I doubt whether West Pakistan and East Pakistan felt any solidarity with each other because they shared a common religion. Even if we dismiss that example as being before Zia’s time, it must be pointed out that ethnic tensions and tensions between provinces exist, and they are worse than in India. The overflowing of religiosity has hardly brought them any greater sense of national unity than it has brought India.

Kupamanduka says that it is deep religiosity and solidarity with co-religionists that causes Muslims pain when they see atrocities on Palestinians, but causes them no pain to see the atrocities in Darfur. This distinction, which Kupamanduka approves of, seems to me to be the ugliest aspect of unity.  The first question, of course, is whether the Muslims in Darfur, who are being slaughtered by their brothers feel much solidarity with other Muslims who are standing shoulder to shoulder with Palestinians. The second question is why Kupamanduka used that particular example while there is a much more pertinent one. The more pertinent example is that Pakistanis succeed in uniting themselves against Indian infidels, but fail to fight the clear and present danger of the Taliban dismembering their country.

This particular blindness, the failure to see internal threats, the propensity to blame everything on an external enemy and banding together against it, seems to me to make the case against solidarity, not for it. I would like Kupamanduka to explain why this is a strength of unity.

I have written about unity and disunity before (1,2). I believe that the puruit of “unity” is ultimately counterproductive and leads us to disunity. I may write more on this. But it is instructive to note that Kupamanduka does not even notice that he has made an extraordinary claim that needs to be backed up with some reasoning. That, I believe, is part of the problem that a pursuit of unity brings about.

Plausible Deniability

Dilip D’Souza does not read The Examined Life.  In the course of not reading my blog, he runs across a comment by me on my blog saying that I cheered the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

The Babri Masjid, if you recollect, was demolished in 1992. At the risk  certainty of giving away my age, I was 17 years old at that time. The comment itself makes it clear that I have reconsidered my view since. A person who, at the age of 40, admired a psycopathic mass-murderer should not be throwing stones at people aged 17, especially since stones can’t do time travel yet. A sane man would have, on reflection, passed by the chance to pick up the stone. But we are talking of Dilip D’Souza. So out comes a post. I am apparently an “economist” and a libertarian who was “delighted” by the demolition of the Masjid. The characterization delights me, as I am not really a trained economist. I just did a couple of courses as part of my MBA. And I had written “cheered”, not “delighted”, but it is close enough.

Having done this  of course, the problem is to get back plausible deniability.  Dilip needs to get back to not reading my blog. The SOP so far is to claim that though he does not read the blog, one of my posse of admirers (or detractors) sent the link to him. But this time, it is a slightly different. This time, he adds a postscript.  Apparently, the economist/libertarian has written to him and remains delighted that the Babri Masjid was demolished. Ingenious, isn’t it?  If I protest that I did not in fact write to him, it will turn out that it was someone else, not me.  In March 2009, an epidemic broke out among economist libertarians wherein they all confessed their teenage delight when the Babri Masjid was demolished to whoever was within reach.  If I don’t protest, the insinuation that I remain delighted with the demolition of the Masjid stays. If only Dilip D’Souza were smarter, he would have been a valuable asset in India’s psychops.

Invitation:Hindutva Essay Contest

The Examined Life is hosting an essay contest open only to self-described supporters of Hindutva. Please write a thousand word essay on any of the following topics:

  1. In the India of my dreams,  M F Hussain will be in jail and Taslima Nasreen will be granted Indian citizenship.
  2. In the India of my dreams, both M F Hussain and Taslima Nasreen will be free to speak their minds.
  3. In the India of my dreams, there will be no pseudo-secular people, no militant Islamists, no leftists and no children of Macaulay. So the question of what to do about M F Hussain and Taslima Nasreen will not arise, because there will be no one left to ask the question.
  4. In the India of my dreams, there will be no pseudo-secular people, no militant Islamists, no leftists and no children of Macaulay. As Hindutva is less of a philosophy and more of a debating tactic to point out the hypocrisy of everyone else in the world, Hindutva won’t exist either.
  5. I cannot write an essay on topics 1 to 4, because the person who is setting the contest has not set a similar essay contest for pseudo-secular people, militant Islamists, leftists and for children of Macaulay. This means that there is no need for me to explain how Hindutva translates to public policy.

If you write the essay, please leave a trackback or a comment. Judges and prizes to be announced later.