Pakistan and India have one thing in common – they are both intolerant nations

Published: April 8, 2018
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A minority Hindu refugee from Pakistan gestures during a protest outside the United Nations office in New Delhi on April 17, 2013. PHOTO: GETTY

A few days ago, I watched a video clip of a Hindu MNA from PTI, Lal Chand Malhi, in which he gave a fiery speech, pointing towards the discriminatory, and in fact, derogatory attitude of the Pakistani society towards the Hindu community.

He objected to the way in which the Hindu style of worship is mocked. Malhi also lamented about the conflation of Pakistani Hindus with the Indian state by saying,

“inko gali deni hoti hai India ko, galian de dete hain Hindu ko.”

(They want to abuse India, instead they abuse Hindus).

He claimed that Hindus are equal citizens of Pakistan, and complained that Pakistani society does not treat them as such. He also pointed towards the forceful conversions of Hindus into Muslims in several parts of Sindh.

The MNA was eloquent, which merely accentuated the content of the speech. Each word hit me like a brick and shook me to my very core. Everything he said and objected to was absolutely correct.

A flashback of the time when I was a teenager, a student in an elite, all-boys school in Lahore dawned upon me. I still remember the Urdu textbooks that always portrayed Hindus as anti-Pakistan, and framed the Pakistan-movement as a struggle between conniving and brutal Hindus and pious Muslims. I still remember that several of our teachers used to make fun of Hindus openly in the classroom. Such framing invariably creates a blanket negative opinion of all Hindus, and invariably leads to instinctive hateful knee-jerk reactions.

Once such impression become part of our instinctive makeup, they become permanent, and we start viewing the world through these coloured lenses.

As I look back, I realise that mine was a school which was relatively ‘liberal’ in the Pakistani context; I shudder to even think of the material taught in ‘normal’ schools.

Today, we think of Hindus as some kind of monolithic group, which is bigoted and hates Pakistan, as well as Muslims. What escapes us is that identity is multi-faceted and increasingly complex. In fact, Pakistani-Hindus, in our heads, are ‘anti-Pakistan’ and anti-Muslim simply because their faith.

This is disgusting and shameful, because Pakistani-Hindus are as Pakistani as we (Muslims) are. We complain of mistreatment of the Indian government and people towards Indian-Muslims, while completely forgetting that we are guilty of the same crime. In fact, ours is somewhat of greater intensity. We fail to acknowledge that we lose the moral advantage when we are guilty of the same crime.

Yes, today, intolerance in India is on the rise. Today, their textbooks are being changed to reflect a particular point of view. However, what they are doing now, we have done for decades!

Let me candidly ask all my fellow Pakistani-Muslims, particularly those who are concerned about the plight of Muslims in India: have you ever bothered about the treatment reserved for our Hindus? Today, many are worried – rightly so – about the way India is changing. But have we ever wondered about the way Pakistan has always been?

India today is simply becoming Pakistan, to put it simply; an intolerant nation.

Pakistani-Hindus are an endangered minority who become even more vulnerable keeping in mind the context of Pakistan’s historical creation. In principle, this should have made us more careful, but instead, we have become more brazen, resulting in Hindus becoming one of the most neglected minority groups in our society. Malhi was right when he cried about the apathy of the parliament members on forceful conversions, as the reality is, our society simply does not care. To some of us, what happened to Pakistani-Hindus is ‘justified’ merely because Indian-Muslims face equal or worse fates.

Yes, there are times when certain incidents make it to the news, but they quickly lose traction. For example, the gang rape of a young Hindu boy in Sindh is making headlines at the moment. But one of the most tragic parts of the incident is that it involves local office-bearers of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – a party which always tries to project itself as liberal.

However, I know this will soon be forgotten. In fact, I have seen several posts on social media which trivialise this incident on the pretext that Indian-Muslims face atrocities that are ‘far worse’. Treatment of Indian-Muslim seems to be becoming the main paradigm through which we look at Pakistani-Hindus.

What we as a society need to realise is that being part of the majority comes with a responsibility – the position of privilege must not be misused to malign a minority. Hindus are the biggest religious non-Muslim minority group in Pakistan, and it is thus an obligation on us to ensure they live with dignity and respect in their country.

They have the same rights; to life, liberty, and happiness, as all of us. Ultimately, when we oppress or even neglect the plight of our Hindu minority, we undermine our own concerns for the welfare of Indian-Muslims.

 

raza.habib

Raza Habib Raja

The author is a recent Cornell graduate and currently pursuing his PhD in political science at Maxwell School, Syracuse University. He has also worked for a leading development finance institution in Pakistan. He is a freelance journalist whose works have been published at Huffington Post, Dawn (Pakistan), Express Tribune (Pakistan) and Pak Tea House. He tweets @razaraja (twitter.com/razaraja?lang=en)

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

  • neat gye

    No. Pakistanis are poorly trained, but not intolerant. Indians’ are racist to the coreRecommend

  • rama

    It is absurd to compare Indian Muslim and Pakistan Hindu. Top most position, bureaucratic, sports , prestigious institute and elected position in India are held by Muslim . Pakistan constitution forbid non-Muslims in Pakistan to hold the top position. Top most position held by the Hindu is CJ Mr. Bagwat during Mushraf that too only a interim position .

    Just to show Pakistan in lighter vein don’t compare it with Indian minority and vilify Indian majority !!!Recommend

  • tsilihin xuaF

    One thing Pakistanis cannot resist is creating a false equivalence between India and Pakistan. Nothing delights them more than saying “But look at what India is doing!”.Recommend

  • Akbar Ahmed

    This attitude goes back a long way in Pakistani ‘muslim’ society. I remember coming across it in the 60’s as a child in a ‘liberal’ school in Karachi. Important to emphasise it is much more prevalent and accepted today, completely contrary to Mr Jinnah’s vision.Recommend

  • Mukhtar Ary

    Enforce complete exchange of population between India-Pakistan. As Ambedkar once rightly said, as long as there is a minority, there will be the minority problem.Recommend

  • Bajaj_Sahab

    Your assumptions are far from reality. Muslims in India are fully secure, there is no anti-muslim content taught in schools. Presidents, businessmen, bollywood stars, cricket stars are muslims in India – which shows how cosmopolitan the society is.Recommend

  • Sunil Arora

    Absolutely false! Indians and Pakistanis have one thing in common. They are genetically same. That is what is common among us. It is lack of education and poverty which makes them different or intolerant. once these two factors are eliminated, we will unite like East and West German.Recommend

  • Ravi

    There is a difference between India and Pakistan. There is intolerence in India. Pakistan is an intolerent nationRecommend

  • abhi0978

    excellent suggestion.Recommend

  • Balachandran Doraiswamy

    Comparing India with Pakistani on minority treatment by the writer is ridiculous.
    Does the author know how much privilege the Indian Muslims get for admissions to colleges and government job opportunities in many of the Indian Sates. Special privileges are given to the religious minorities to start Professional Colleges. Indian State had 3 Muslims as Presidents. Can Pakistan show any one minority person in any of top posts. Pakistan Hindu population had come down from 23% at the time of Independence to 1% now. On the other hand Muslim population in India increased from 9.8% to 14.2% now. Freak incidents can not be taken as standard tool for gauging the treatment of minorities in India. We hate only the minority appeasement and vote bank minority politicians by most of the political parties except the BJP. Does the author know about this fact.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    Dear Sir, Please speak for your country. You have no idea about India. If India was intolerant, Muslim population would not have increased from 9% to 20% since 1947. No Muslim women are forced to convert like Hindu women are done in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Dakkibhai

    Incredible India may still have a lot of minorities in the end of the day.Recommend

  • IjazAhmadRao

    Two Nations theory but same genetic faulty makeup.Recommend

  • Fair Reforms

    Almost everything is common from hypocrisy to fanaticism. Only both cant see their own faults but can see the others faults. Both need mirrors.Recommend

  • Sane sid

    How can one compare the 2 societies? At least there is a strong democracy in place in India….. Anyone who strongly raises his voice is sure to get justice. Be it Sanjay Dutt or anyone else. The elites are punished in India. Can he same be claimed in Pakistan? Of course apart from ZAB…..Recommend

  • Omar K Cheema

    The way India has been blatantly abusing Muslims since Modi came into power, its only a matter of time when Indian citizens in Hyderabad, Bhopal, Mumbai and Indore will demand help like their opressed brethren in Indian Occupied Kashmir have been doing for last 30 years.

    Recommend

  • Veer Singh

    Yes “Hindu” India is so intolerant that three of its biggest & most loved celebrities are Muslims. It is so intolerant that the father of its nuclear program was a Muslim. It is so intolerant Muslims have become Presidents of India. It is so intolerant that it has 5 Muslim billionaires. India is so intolerant that Muslims have risen to the top in every field from sports & entertainment to business & politics. Nobody is denying that India has issues but to compare them with Pakistan is laughable.Recommend

  • dilip patel

    I do have simple question. What was the population in 1947 of Hindu in Pakistan? and What is right now. Same thing what was the population if Muslim in 197 and what is the population of Muslim right now in India? That will answer the question who is tolerant.Recommend

  • abhi0978

    ready to live with other religious minorities . We have no interest in living with muslims and christians.Recommend

  • Sane sid

    You are not Indian…..Recommend

  • Sane sid

    Hahaha….. have you seen Bhopal, hyderabad and Mumbai in a MAP???? You can only do that…Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Very true. Besides the guy who made India go nuclear was also some kind of a muslim. India cannot exist without muslim mix in population.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • RHR

    Did you even read the article or just the titleRecommend

  • not one inch

    A few Muslims were lynched. That was wrong and the wrong doers are punished. Many Hindus have also been lynched by Muslims by the way. These things happen but the reality is decade over decade the hate and intolerance in India has been reducing and in Pakistan it has been increasing. Also there is no basis to conclude that these are endorsed by Modi. In fact, no one can point to a single policy by the Modi government which discriminates against any Indian on the basis of caste, language, religion or gender.
    Those Muslims in Bhopal, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Indore have a problem living along with fellow Indians who maybe Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist or atheist can go to the country that was made for the Muslims of the subcontinent i.e. Pakistan. They are not going to get a single inch more of the land than what they already got.Recommend

  • Sane

    Why Modi could not be punished? Why people who kill Muslims and minorities are not punished?Recommend

  • COLVINOD

    “Yes, today, intolerance in India is on the rise. Today, their textbooks are being changed to reflect a particular point of view. However, what they are doing now, we have done for decades!”
    You may be right that “today, intolerance in India is on the rise.” But, please kindly note that no Indian is comfortable with this. You must have noticed that an ugly war is on to fight this rise. Intellectuals like MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and Gauri Lankesh have lost their life in this fight. Hundreds of world reputed intellectuals, artists, scientists including noble laureates have returned their awards. The recent incidents at Kathua; that was being given a religious twist, with all the powers in command behind the rapists, had to retreat with tails between their legs. The most important point that may be noted is that it is the ‘HINDU’ who is center stage in this fight against the intolerance. They are speaking loud and clear “NOT IN MY NAME” The fight against those who spread intolerance will have to be won and no true Hindu or a true Indian will relent.Recommend

  • COLVINOD

    There will be minorities every where and in every society; this is a reality. Co- existence is the only solution and Indian society is a shinning example of this peaceful co existence to the world from several centuries.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Great comment.Recommend

  • Patwari

    So sorry, but you are making excuses with baseless innuendos.
    Rest assured if Modi Sarkar keeps this up there will an uprising.
    You cannot keep a minority of 212 million in fetters, to cower and
    roll over. They have a limit.
    You already have 64 insurgencies in Bharat. You don’t need another one.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Exactly. True. Could be the populations are deliberately kept illiterate, to control them.Recommend

  • Veer Singh

    Stopped reading after first line. Too much gibberish to merit a response.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Thank you so much. Hope you were able to understand the comment.
    Recommend