India’s problem is not Pakistan; India’s problem is India

Published: April 28, 2017
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Raj Thackeray’s MNS members went to a Zara outlet in Mumbai and stomped on clothes that were made in Pakistan.

A self-confessed Indian spy was caught in Pakistan to be sentenced to death, so some people in Mumbai went to an apparel outlet and stomped on clothes that were made in Pakistan. Sometimes, facts can be more absurd than fiction.

The store, the ever popular Zara, that carries clothes made in multiple countries, was accosted by Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Hindu hardliners and Indian nationalists all in one, the party is known to take extreme stances on multiple issues concerning Muslims, cows, Pakistan, etcetera.

The violence that the party usually propagates is interestingly in direct contrast with the glossy image India reflects to the world; the land of breakthrough IT, epic cinematography and an evolved and progressive society.

While Pakistan may have earned its negative public relations (PR) globally, ours has been a young nation rife with instability, riddled with terrorism, and lacking the advantages of a long-established democracy. Though burdened with all these issues, corruption to boot, there is a decisively, kindling feeling of society finally awakening from its slumber, and stepping forward towards progress.

India, on the other hand, seems to be going backwards quite rapidly. Recently, a Muslim man transporting cattle in Rajasthan was killed by a Hindu mob. Since 2015, 10 Muslim men have been killed for selling beef, eating it, or slaughtering cows. The negative press surrounding India’s gang rape epidemic have coined it as being a ‘rapist’ nation in the international community.

Many attribute this growing savagery to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of the hardline Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). His culture of intolerance and overzealous Hindu nationalism has made the nation regress dramatically. While making the appropriate anti-violence noises every politician must, he appoints anti-minority Hindu zealots in important positions.

While this is admittedly India’s problem, in the spirit of good Samaritanism and largely because our shared borders will always affect us, their growing extremism is worrisome.

Extremism in any form is rejected by all major religions of the world. As a state, extremism and terrorism is being fought vehemently in Pakistan today to favourable results. This is a war we know too well, and our tolerance for it is finally saturated. There are lessons India can and must learn from us.

The weapons they choose to use today to establish an anti-Pakistan rhetoric for political gains will become an infectious disease within, uncontrollable and lethal.

While seemingly unrelated, in my opinion, the people of the subcontinent’s obvious susceptibility towards extremist indoctrination, and the savage frenzy that ensues, is symptomatic of its poverty.

In a society where stomachs are always rumbling, illnesses are rampant and sanitation non-existent, resentment and frustration are natural by-products. Whether they are channelled towards productivity or used to raze and destroy, are responsibilities of the state and its policies. Unfortunately for both India and Pakistan, it is the common man who has been the loser, and the powerful who have been left victorious.

While Indo-Pak relations have always been complicated and ever-fluctuating, as people go, we have many similar problems and common strengths. Despite Hindu fanaticism having penetrated the echelons of industries like Bollywood, our shared music and film industries are testament to that.

Bollywood, which in many ways has paved the way in breaking many glass ceilings, de-stigmatising cultural taboos and opening mind-sets, has become populated by Hindu bigots and bullies who disregard and disrespect fellow Indian veteran actors who happen to be Muslim.

Is this the downfall of India’s progress? Its film industry which generates about INR138 billion seems to be imploding. The losses suffered by recent movies that had Pakistani actors were considerable and unnecessary; also, they were losses footed by Indians themselves.

Vandalising foreign clothing stores, killing people for eating beef, gang raping local and foreign nationals, penalising Indian films with Pakistani actors, bullying Indian-Muslim actors into fearful silence, marginalising minorities – it is time India came out of self-denial and looked in the mirror. Until a nation’s literati and learned bring themselves to acknowledge their collective flaws, they will keep regressing and distrusting even one another. India must focus on its own weaknesses before blaming the neighbours and address the bestiality growing within its previously dynamic and tolerant ranks.

India’s problem is not Pakistan. India’s problem is India.

Suroor Siddiqi

Suroor Siddiqi

Dedicated humanist, mother and wife. Graduate in design, compulsive reader and interested in anything for the well-being of Pakistan. She tweets @SuroorSiddiqi (twitter.com/SuroorSiddiqi)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Bangalorean

    Madam please write articles on how to make Pakistan better place to live.This space and time could have been used for something which is productive.Mob lynching youth for blasphemy, minorities prosecuted for blasphemy,rape compensated with wheat sacks in jirga, malnutrition in Balochistan,child marriage,Safe drinking water in Karachi and Gwadar,fake diploma racket, unemployment,raising vigilantism etcc needs your attention than other country.Would appreciate articles on above mentioned.Pakistani writers always follow route to fame by writing anti India articles like this.I feel it’s shameful when important time and space in not utilised for writing on the above topics.Recommend

  • akhil g

    Actually Indians don’t wants to hate you,just wants to be remain away from you.Just wants to vanish from the mind a country called Pakistan exists.Recommend

  • Concard_007

    Ever wonder why no one listens to Pakistan and consider it as a joke? This article is a example of that. I don’t see single article in Indian media even the rubbish ones about local issues in Pakistan. There are political issues but nothing zilch about local issues. Even the recent blasphemy lynching of a person was there only for a day on news outlets as a side note. But from Pakistanis I have seen two blogs teaching how our country should be run lol.

    But in a way anything Pakistanis do which is not about economy suits India. Indian economic growth will be 9%-10% after GST implementation this year. While Pakistanis are busy in worrying about India and gung-ho about CPEC, in 15 years they won’t know what hit them when country again will be in turmoil.Recommend

  • Faisal Malik

    Excellent article. Slowly and gradually the mindset of the Indian majority, under a RSS trained politician, is coming out in the open. Yes, as a country we have many problems to address, but not what is wrong in India. This includes suicide by score of farmers, killing of minorities for eating beaf, destroying mosque, brutal killing of Kashmiris, promoting religious hatred, etc.It would be better to focus on improving the lives of masses instead of blaming everything on Pakistan including spreading false news that Pakistan has flooded India with fake currency notes just to forward their own personal agendas.Recommend

  • Muslim

    At least she wrote something rational, and one should be intelectual enough to take constructive criticism oneself. Undoubtedly, these problems that you mentioned are true in nature and are being redressed with slow pace unlike what she intimidated in her article that India is heading towards a cancerous problem which shows her care for neighberhood. To some extent we Pakistanis are concerned too to some extent considering spillover effect. Now it’s your nation’s turn to get away with that sort of mentality for the sack of peace. Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali

    Yet they still can’tRecommend

  • RHR

    If you see the author’s archive, she has written on ALL those topics which you are pointing to. On several of such articles the Indians like you have appreciated her also. The moment she has penned something critical on India, all you hypocritical trolls get riled up.Recommend

  • Striver

    This article is written with sharp pen-nib called the truth and likely to hurt the sentiments of those who deny human rights abuses being perpetrated on minorities even as I write this.
    There is not going to be peace in the region until India is at peace with itself.
    Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    India’s problem is no Pakistan, that is quite right. We see Modi’s and Yogi’s speeches every week in TV. There is hardly any mention of Pakistan. Most of they are talking about system change, Development, Employment, Medical facilities, Transportation, Corruption and many many things which are related to common man in India.

    Your Article shows a narrative but lacks Facts and Figures severely.

    Please tell status of Medicine prices, Corruption indexes, Roads status, Sanitation facilities, Electricity status, Number of Bank account holders, LPG reach, Cleanliness, Railways facilities before and after Modi came.

    Please tell how much Bollywood makes and how much was loss due to Pakistani factor.
    You mentioned deeds of MNS or some other parties or self proclaimed organizations and then hypothetically related them to BJP. Please also tell the relation of these parties and organizations with BJP or RSS. MNS has no affiliation with BJP, they contest election opposing each other.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    I think Pakistanis should get a clear signal. Pakistanis ARE NOT WELCOME in India in any form or shape, unless they are dying and need liver transplant. Stay in your home country. Of course GoI can not put a blanket ban, but this subtle incidents should be enough. As for “self confessed” spy, Pakistan really need to understand a difference between a spy and a terrorist bu then again sanity and Pakistan are two extremes.Recommend

  • Rajiv

    Why Pakistanis are so afraid of India?
    Why every now and then there is an article on Pak tribune on India?
    There is hardly any news on Pakistan in Indian newspapers.
    why such fear?Recommend

  • akhil g

    Can you vanish noise?Recommend

  • akhil g

    Some time you react towards noise.From where this noise is coming whats going on?Recommend

  • Gratgy

    Pakistan is not a problem for India, Pakistanis are … for Pakistan and the rest of the world too

    And Look who is talking about marginalizing minorities lol!Recommend

  • Nitin Jadhav

    Percentage wise more Pakistanis dont have access to Toilet , than India
    41 million to be exact!
    The economy is dying, and the minorities are almost done.
    Still haven’t eradicated Polio
    Instead of making Pakistan a better place for Pakistanis, you are busy pointing out what goes inside a retail store in an Indian city.
    Thats the problem of PakistanisRecommend

  • akhil g

    Do you think this sharp pen-nib called truth is not in India.In India people dissects government if such issues arise.Recommend

  • Bana Post

    Pakistan’s debt 1581 millionRecommend

  • Feroz

    Profound statement that holds good for every country. India’s problem is itself like Pakistan’s problem is itself. Every country must blame itself for failures, not others. Even with its problems India is focused on becoming the worlds fourth largest economy by 2022. Without self created problems you can imagine where it would have zoomed. Before 1700 AD, India accounted for between 22-40% of global GDP so the world knows genes and DNA are under performing. Pakistan valiantly chasing its glory days of eighth century.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Rest of the world these days teaches India about Gandhi. Gandhi started a movement called Swadeshi to reach destination of Swatantra/SelfRule/Freedom. Swadeshi needs to be total – products, ideas and even religious ideology. Islam, Christianity, Marxism and Extreme Capitalism has no place in Swadeshi Bharat. I wish natives all over the world become Swadeshi and free themselves. I also need to give up my Bedouinized Semitic name.Recommend

  • GauMutra

    No, we can’t vanish noise, exactly the way you Indians can’t vanish stanch.Recommend

  • Parvez

    For want of a better word I would call that an entertaining read.
    You have taken on a complex topic and painted a picture in sharp black and white…….the reality is that there is a lot of grey that needed to be included but then if you tried to do that you would be in way over your head.

    Recommend

  • GauMutra

    Speaking of minorities, you must be talking about the butcher of Gujarat.

    Let me ask you, Maharaj, how does it feel like to have a Prime Minister that eats crap and washes it down with self waste?Recommend

  • GauMutra

    The more logical question is, why you Indians are so obsessed with Pakistan publications? Your Indian media must suck out loud to be so interested in Pakistani publications.Recommend

  • GauMutra

    This is the best part of Pakistani, mostly artists going to India:

    1. Take jobs form Indian artists in their own country
    2. Show Indians how Europeans and Americans feel when they steal their jobs
    3. Raise the bar for untalented Indian artists to work harder to be able to compete with high talented Pakistani artists.Recommend

  • Amir

    Just like madrassa education we both attended.Recommend

  • MT

    Fake articles written on whims and fancies of imagination from a pakistani

    No persons in india bother about pak until the pak proxies which enter our territory to bomb us( stop comparing a kidnapped alleged army officer to 100 of LeT, Jaish pak terrorist who gets killed in india yearly)

    Have you ever read indian discussing pak economy,social, political situations

    We dont care. So stop interfering in our internal issuesRecommend

  • Mike Pilgrim

    India thinks the world does not see its military dictatorship in Kashmir or its terrorist operations in Afghanistan. A few more MOABs on their Afghan terrorist camps should send them praying to monkeys and cows.Recommend

  • Mike Pilgrim

    Indians are best at screwing over India, even the Indian government had to go after the pathologically corrupt dishonest Indians by currency replacement to try and catch the endemic widespread criminality. India is no place for western industry, can you imagine getting your cash jammed up while you’re trying to manage company operations. Forget about it, maybe in another five or six decades after this sick Indian mentality goes away.Recommend

  • Mike Pilgrim

    Then what were Indians doing in Pakistan with multiple fake passports clearly issued by the Indian government sneaking across the border from Iran? Looks more like Indians want to go to Pakistan. Every time Indians get infuriated by their caste ridden stone age government they fly Pakistani flags in Indian cities. Clearly Indians think Pakistan is a better place.Recommend

  • Sonali

    How is ‘gang raping local and foreign nationals’ Pakistan’s problem? What makes you think we are not condemning it? Why are Pakistanis so interested in internal matters of India? Talk about what you do about your minorities rather than preaching to Indians where a 20 % minority population thrives. And yes we don’t support killing people for eating beef but we don’t like cow slaughter either. When in India do as Indians do. Respecting a cow is a cultural norm rather than a religious obligation in India.Recommend

  • Fix_NY

    Top three actors in India are still khans( Muslim), so how author can blame that Muslims actors are not respected.Recommend

  • angrybird

    pakis should worry about their own country and think why this country is ti failed terrorist nationRecommend

  • MH

    Again … Pakistan is not ur problem.. Ur problems are created by ur own extremistsRecommend

  • MH

    No one is afraid its just ur myth. Actually its opposite from my side lolzzRecommend

  • zoro

    So childish and superficial thoughts about India …. Shows the frustration that Pakistan cannot climb the heights what India did for a long long time to come even though both born on same dates and time (sic)…. (soorryyy …one day before India …pun intended)
    Well one is known for growth and the other for terrorism… what a contrast …
    No wonder Pakistanis now want to identify themselves as Indians when asked … where they from in foreign lands…Recommend

  • Irum Sarmad

    the best thing about indians is the way they come out to support the wrongs in their society .. kudos to you guys .. keep pretending everything is fine .and guys come on, there is daily news update on pakistan on all major indian news sites (times of india etc) ,they all have separate sections on Pakistan to discuss each and every small happening in Pakistan .. so much for the WE DONT CARE ABOUT PAK..Recommend

  • Vishnu

    Please write articles to make Pakistan a better place. I am sure the writer has had moments in life where she might have felt sorry for the state of affairs in Pakistan. I am sure the people who attacked Zara are in prison. No one writes about that. They do get punished. But there are protests being held in Pakistan to release Mishal Khan’s murderers. I don’t think India has stooped to those levels.Recommend

  • Rajiv

    So afraid that you don’t have a Disqus ID.Recommend

  • akhil g

    Pakistan’s “stanch” is making noise.You vanish your “stanch” we will vanish our “stanch”.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    Only Pakistanis would believe that an Indian spy would enter in Pakistan carrying not one but two INDIAN passports. But then as I said, sanity and Pakistan are oxymoron. As for flying Pakistani flag in India, its a huge population of 1.2 Billion people and I won’t be surprised if few hundred of them raise Pakistani flag. Only some would think Pakistan is a better place and if manages to live there for few days , then certainly would go insane in load shedding so don’t even try to tell us which country is stone age one.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    LOL. Yeah chest thumping is an old age disease in Pakistan without any cure. Indian art industry is TOO BIG for one or two Pakistani artists to come and “steal” jobs. If there was no bollywood, Pakistani artists would have been singing in qawwalis at urs and no one would have been knowing them. As for raising bar , I don’t think Pakistanis could ever do that. They are not more talented than Indian artists who are much more trained and versatile. Even talent show artists of India can do better job.I wonder where does their self respect go??? Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    LOL. Only Pakistani could have come up with such a imagination. The retired spies and soldiers would be acting and winning war in movies that they never got to do in real life.Recommend

  • Reddy

    lady thinks world’s fastest growing economy is going down the hill,with a straight face…pakistanis are strange ppl.. everything that’s happening india or world,they misappropriate a pakistani perspective to it

    she thinks bollywood is imploding cuz we do not allow their stars into our films that too on the day indian film industry celebrating bahubali breaching INR 100cr in a single day..with out any help from pakistani market
    just yesterday pakistani gang in britain were sentenced for grooming english kids,this is the 7th time pakistanis are being convicted for grooming and rape,how many ppl visited your paradise in 2016..more than 10 mill ppl visited india in 2016 alone
    http://www.mospi.gov.in/statistical-year-book-india/2016/195

    i can go on but it’s gonna be futile,let me tell you this much,whichever way we treat pakistan or pakistanis or talk or do not talk …it doesn’t make a difference to india,infact it suits us to not to care abt pakistanRecommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    Their only yard stick is India. The more India grow, the more Pakistanis would be hateful towards India. They are in this perpetual fear that India is out there to get them without realizing that if that was intention, it would have been done in early years. They can’t get over the fact that they were outsmarted by Nehru and Patel who let Jinnah has his utopia. Such article are norms in Pakistani publications. Don’t take them seriously. They are just there to console Pakistanis and an effort to rest their doubts about the reason of “Pakistan”. They also provide good laugh for Indians :).Recommend

  • Nana

    Not interested in India’s problems. There is no point in writing on somebody else’s issues. Let’s solve ours first.Recommend

  • Nana

    At the moment it looks like Pakistan is riding on the minds of Indians. Proof? Your comments on our website here.Recommend

  • Nana

    This kind of a noise won’t be heard unless you visit the Pakistani website. Dont come here, you won’t hear the noise. So,who is the peeping Tom (unwanted visitor) then?Recommend

  • Gratgy

    I dont know which “Butcher of Gujarat” you are talking off?

    I am an Indian and hence unlike Pakistanis i have no idea what this feels like, but you must tell me of your experience.Recommend

  • Nana

    A lot of noise is made on your side but no one from this side bothers to give attention to attention seekers. Recommend

  • Nana

    What are you talking about? What does your Goswami Arnab do? His fame rests on bashing Pakistan. There are thousands like him in India. So much so is the obsession that India has to name their satellite as ‘Pakistan-snubbed’.
    Recommend

  • isaisajoke

    Meanwhile India is busy handcuffing pigeons Recommend

  • MT

    Pak wont be discussed in our media Recommend

  • Rajiv

    Living in dream, another dream to just feel good about yourself.Recommend

  • Rajiv

    We will keep coming here. it’s fun to irritate you .Recommend

  • Rajiv

    Pakistanis, all they do is chest thumping.Recommend

  • abhi

    I am wondering why Zara was even keeping made in Pakistan cloths. This is really a shame.Recommend

  • rational agnostic

    All religions are against extremism REALLY how about the so called ‘Religion of Peace’.And it is funny how u r keeping count of 10muslims killed in India. More Muslims have died in Pakistan than in India and we don’t need a lecture from ur banana Islamic republic on tolerance.I will spare u the humiliation by not pointing minority extermination in ur country.
    P.S: 3000+ Islamic attacks since 9/11/2001 and counting. I recommend one easy step for u to make ur country better again Remove Islam make ur country secular otherwise u r DOOMED

    Recommend

  • Nasir Hameed

    Very well written article!! I believe there is a consensus among all Pakistanis that what is happening in India is going to drag them down in the long run. We know through our experiences. I am glad we have identified our problems and we are bringing a quick turn around. I have Indian “Modi Bhakt” colleagues here in office that justify lynching, voting on religious lines and their hate towards minorities and even south Indians.Recommend