Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We’re all the same people, yaar

While watching the Pakistan vs New Zealand cricket match taking place in Abu Dhabi, I was wondering what people of Pakistan think about the situation there country is in. Daily suicide attacks killing hundreds of civilians means no cricket can be played in Pakistan because no country thinks it is safe enough to tour. The situation has definitely worsened after the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked some months ago. I wonder why people agree (or should I say don't hesitate as much) in touring India and Sri Lanka where the terror threat is still there, even if not as pronounced as it is in Pakistan. Is it because of the mindset of people of the respective countries or is it because of the very different history of the two countries?

History: Post 1947 Pakistan attached itself to the US and became a toy in the hands of the US authorities. On the other hand India did not align itself to any of the cold-warring countries and headed the Non-Alignment-Moment. It was because of this approach that both countries progressed so differently in the years following independence. Pakistan was constantly used as a playground by the US for keeping watch on erstwhile USSR and Afgan rebels and Chinese development. India on the other hand developed independent trade policies and laid the foundation for an economic superpower.

People: The difference of mindset in people is evident from the fact that Indians value and respect heroes from all religions and cultures. In India a Dilip Kumar can change his name to A.R. Rehman at the age of 21 and still be worshiped. In India Sampooran Singh Kalra changes his name to Gulzar so as to not lose himself in blind religious prejudice and fanaticism, and then go on to be the most successful and praised individual in his field. Rehman, Gulzar and another muslin Resool Pookutty won oscars early this year and the entire country went mad. I cannot remember any such incident in the history of Pakistan. In fact Yousuf Yohanna concerted to Islam and became Mohammad Yousuf.

We Indians define ourselves by nationality, they define themselves by religion. We often hear that people from India and Pakistan are the same in every sense just separated by a border. Both countries and people have similar lifestyle, similar tastes, similar perspective about things. But really??

Acknowledgments: "Counterpoint" by Vir Sanghvi (must read, though some opinions are very harsh and might be unacceptable to many)

9 comments:

Anish Aryan said...

the title depicts just the opposite of what you are saying in the article...dint get that

Nits said...

title is like this coz many people say this thing very often about Indians and Pakistanis. this is not true as shown in the post.

Shruti said...

Kinda disagree with your view that we identify ourselves by nationality and not religion. There exist so many teeny tiny Indias within this country. Ask the Bajrang Dal brigade or Raj Thackrey ar the N separatist groups. This is a nation divided on the lines of caste, region, religion, economic status, you name it. Interesting blog though, good to see new topics emerge here :).

Nits said...

Apart from these separatist groups there are people in India who give more significance to being Indian. However the same thing can not be said about common people in Pakistan. India might be divided on many lines but our heroes and idols are still Indian and not hindus/muslims/sikhs.

Ya, I Am A Dastard said...

I can't say I have an opinion either way, coz both you and shruti are right in your own sense. Interesting, maybe unrelated, point to note - my friend @ tower from muzaffarnagar said that >70% of the north indian muslims support Pakistan in a cricket match, and not India. Surprising!

Nits said...

@ dastard: it might not be so unrelated after all. I think some muslims in general tend to attach themselves with a muslim success story and for them it is much bigger than an Indian success story. But thankfully not all muslims are like that :)

Shruti said...

@ Ramdas: Your friend from tower is right actually. Back in Bhopal when I was in middle school, we would often gauge the results of an Indo-Pak match that stretched past our allowed waking hours by checking which part of the city was bursting crackers :D.
@ Nitin: It is true about other communities too. I have known classmates here feel joyous about Dev Patel even though the guy hardly qualifies as Indian, except for roots, only because of the shared caste. Also it is usually more natural for people to attach themselves to a success story about is closer to their sub-group. After all, dont you feel happier when someone from IITB achieves something as opposed to someone from D or K or M, even though the achiever from the sister institutes belongs to the IIT family as such.

Nits said...

@shruti: dont really know whether you got the point. IITs and relgious communities are not really comparable according to me. what ramdas wants to say is that it is much more serious that a person living in India is rooting for pakistanis just because they are of the same religion.

Shruti said...

Its not really different, just a sense of belonging. After all we, as Indians, root for VS Naipul, who is so totally not an Indian, except for roots again. And Indians born and brought up in UK, holding British citizenships are taught to root when India defeats UK in a cricket match