I would like to share two thoughts on this 72nd Independence Day. The first one is rather new thinking that is evident from several interested messages on social media. These messages talk about the real freedom that shall liberate us from narrow minded attitudes on regionalism, religion, dietary habits, casteism, sexism, parochialism and such negative isms that are restraining our great nation from an all inclusive progress. The most heartwarming thing about this kind of messaging is that as education and economic prosperity take root in our country, more and more people cutting across segments are supporting such thoughts. It is not confined to a few pseudo seculars, but is being propagated by more and more commoners like us. Violence in the name of caste based reservation, religion, road rage, sexual list, beef eating, rumour mongering etc. are all derogatory and representative of primitive mentality. Can this thought be converted into a nationalist movement of such force that even opportunistic politicians do not dare disturb social fabric of this country?
Second thought is something that strikes me after a little bit of exposure that I regularly try to get to Pakistani media. In India, we celebrate freedom as a positive outcome of prolonged struggle against 200 years of oppressive British rule. We remember our heroes – known and unknown – who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the nation. We also lament the unfortunate partition of this country by remembering holocaust linked to migration of populations from one part of the undivided India to divided India or Pakistan. However, the impression I get from Pakistani version of celebration is that they rather rejoice separation from India more than liberation from British rule. They only talk about the rigid stand taken by their founding father Jinnah against the unified India, insisting on creation of a separate state for Muslim majority. They rather seem to be happy about the prospects of having avoided living in a Hindu majority India. Isn’t this a strange thought? Hindus and Muslims have lived together for centuries in peace and are continuing doing so in Secular India, which boasts of a Muslim population larger than that of Pakistan. We do have Ram Mandir- Babari Masjid dispute, occasional riots, stray incidents of discrimination, but wherever communities live with full freedom, some friction can not be totally ruled out! And is a Muslim majority and relatively more homogeneous Pakistan free from strife or dispute amongst its citizens?
The two German nations got united and two Koreas may unite; unless Pakistan avoids harbouring such thoughts and change its attitude, while unification is an impossible possibility, co-existence in peace will always remain a distant dream!
Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Indians. Jai Hind