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.

Shameful Piece by the Economist

Five years ago, the Economist was cheering not only the invasion of Afghanistan, but also that of Iraq. Now, when it comes to India’s response to the Mumbai terror attacks, the Economist has declared  that we should not emulate the US “mistakes” like… the invasion of Afghanistan.  Worse still, now it turns out that the US incursions into Pakistan – the threat of which is the only thing that is keeping Pakistan in check, are also a bad idea.