Date: 8/15/2001


Fundamental mistake, historical blunder Pakistan and terrorism were born together

By V. S. Dharma Kumar

The Tribune, via News Plus

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

"A fundamental mistake". That was how Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, the greatest of India's Muslim leaders, described the Partition of India on October 23, 1947. Many in both countries today agree that Partition was a historical blunder. The Mohajirs in Pakistan also say that it was a mad idea, it was the greatest blunder in history. Then there are those who ask what other alternative was there before the nation's leadership. Dividing India alone could avoid a bloody civil war. This mistake can never be corrected now. Pakistan is a reality. For anyone today even to think of not accepting that reality and of the accession of Kashmir to India as an integral part of India would be the greatest of all fundamental mistakes that can invite a colossal calamity for the whole world.

Partition was neither on the basis of Rehmat Ali's idea of a nation nor on the basis of Jinnah's two-nation theory. It was on the basis of Muslim majority states contiguous to each other forming the new State of Pakistan. It was not a geographical division either. As for the princely States, they were to join India or Pakistan according to their geographical contiguity. The final choice was left to the Maharajas. The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir did not join either India or Pakistan before August 15, 1947, in spite of advice to do so by Lord Mountbatten. The Governor-General also assured the Maharaja that if he acceded to Pakistan the Government of India would not consider that as an unfriendly act. In spite of that, the ruler, whose state was geographically contiguous to both India and Pakistan, opted to join India.

Pakistan and terrorism were born together. Immediately after Partition, Pakistan organised border raids. When the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir realised that Pakistani nationals and tribesmen were going to capture Srinagar, he requested for India's help. The Pakistani raiders' presence was first reported on September 4, 1947. The Indian forces went to Kashmir to throw out the invaders. The raid continued throughout September. The longest of the four conflicts with Pakistan came to a close on January 1, 1949. The raiders were driven out from a major part of the state. About 35 per cent, however, remained under illegal occupation of Pakistan (PoK). Kashmir thus became the bone of contention between India and Pakistan.

If Partition was a ''fundamental mistake'' or a ''historical blunder'', taking the Kashmir question to the United Nations Security Council on January 1, 1948, was a diplomatic blunder'', some people argue today. The Security Council in its resolution on Kashmir (dated 13- 8-1948), stated that ''the future status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people''. India accepted the resolution on August 20, 1948. But Pakistan, after extensive discussions with the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), accepted the resolution with ''so many reservations, qualifications and assumptions''. Since conditions were attached and conditional acceptance was not possible, Pakistan's acceptance was tantamount to rejection. Thus, the most referred to UN resolution of 1948, which spoke of ''will of the people'', stood accepted by India and rejected by Pakistan.

Since then Pakistan has resorted to exporting terrorism across the boundaries using the expression ''will of the people'' or ''self-determination'' as an alibi for waging war by proxy to grab the territory. It is difficult to think of Pakistan ever giving up such a ploy so easily. Kashmir has been the cause of three of the four wars the two nations have fought so far. The proxy war unleashed by Pakistan has so far claimed more than 25,000 lives. Even the long drawn-out freedom struggle of India (1857- 1947) did not have that number of persons killed. The number of people martyred then was about 10,000. The four wars that India was forced to fight with Pakistan resulted in the loss of 8,733 Indian military personnel.

Anti-India rhetoric of 54 years has only helped in creating a generation of people livid with anger, distrust and revenge against India. They in turn bequeathed to their progeny brains equipped with a circuit that motivates them only to hate and bleed India. Cooperation, not confrontation, should now become the guiding principle. Pakistan cannot afford to waste any more time and energy in the pursuit of their unnecessary pastime called ''vengeance''. Leaders after leaders in Pakistan pursued this policy both in their internal and external affairs with single-minded objective and tenacious zeal. So much so that it has become the integral part of the state policy. Much of their time was spent either in making peaceful initiatives with India impossible or war with India possible.

For nearly 33 years (from 1965 to 1998) Pakistan had believed that its deliverance was possible only through acquiring the nuclear bomb. Lying to the world, fooling its own people and with help from here and there, the bomb was made. Pakistan became a nuclear weapon state but remained unclear about its course. Well-known Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi wrote: ''After 50 years, Pakistan is unable to agree upon who we are as a nation, where we belong, what we believe in.... Whose version of Islam do we follow.'' The Americans now declare that Pakistan is a failed nation. Stephen Cohen said: ''Pakistan belongs to that class of states whose survival is uncertain.''

''A nation in search of an identity'', ''a nation seeking mature political direction'', a nation seeking a role to play'', ''a nation long on passion and short on hope'' are some of the descriptions of Pakistan by well-known authorities on South Asia. Fifty-four years is a good enough period to bring a radical attitudinal change in the mindset of the people. If the Europeans can come out of their mindset, forgetting the memories of World War II, there is no reason why Pakistan cannot come out of the 1947 Partition syndrome.


People on this side of the border are by and large a forgiving lot. The best example is the unprecedented display or goodwill for President Musharraf.

What have the four wars achieved? Partition of Pakistan! Well, that is what happens to those who do not learn from history. They are condemned to repeat it. When war achieved nothing, they resorted to a fruitless proxy war wrongly calling it ''jihad''. The absurdity in Pakistan is that they give a religious coat of paint to every wrong act against India. They have added the prefix ''holy'' with war and ''Islamic'' with the bomb, strangely classifying terrorists as ''freedom fighters''.

Pakistan has no doubt achieved a resounding success in at least one area and that is in building up a parallel army -- a force that respects no boundary and law. Its members are loners and isolated people from society who are ready to entertain fanciful ideas for a price and for any cause -- perceived or real. They live in the confines of their organisation or self-created world without social restraints. They know no skill but know how to kill the innocent, the unarmed and even pilgrims. They have little regard for the consequences of their actions and are willing to die.

''There is despondency and hopelessness surrounding us with no light visible anywhere around.... We have reached a stage where our economy has crumbled, our credibility is lost, state institutions lie demolished'', said Gen Pervez Musharraf on October 17, 1999, immediately after overthrowing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. What he did not say is that Pakistan's jihadi culture is responsible for it. Every development index measuring the well-being of people shows a decline. The world community has come to regard Pakistan as a backward marching nation deadset on a course of deterioration. Pakistan has to repay its $ 38 billion in foreign debt.

The oddity in Pakistan is the religious law (Sharia) overtakes the rule of law. The result is tyranny in the name of divine sanction. When things go against the tenets of Islam, clergymen also do not condemn such acts. Democracy does not take roots there because military coups keep uprooting it repeatedly. A graffiti in Karachi reads: ''We apologise for temporary democratic interruption. Normal martial law will be resumed shortly''.


If Partition was a mistake, what is stopping the Hindu leaders taking the INITIATIVE on the issue of Akhand Bharat?