Justice Markandey Katju, Chairman, IRA –
People of India (which includes Pakistanis and Bangladeshis).
The great French writer, Victor Hugo, said, ” There is one thing more powerful than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come “. The idea of Indian reunification ( i.e. reunification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh ) under a secular govt, is an idea whose time has come.
Not that this reunification will take place immediately, or even in the near future. It will take probably 10-15 years of patient work by patriots. We are sowing a seed which will take 10-15 years to grow into a fruit-bearing tree. But if we do not plant the seed now we will not get fruit even after 10-15 years.
Many of us may not live to see the day when the tree bears fruit, but our reward will be that we have worked for it.
Many of us will be ridiculed for being dreamers. But the great Italian thinker Mazzini was also ridiculed for being a dreamer when he spoke of Italian unification, but his dream became true when Italy was united by Cavour and Garibaldi. Germany was united by Bismarck, West and East Germany were united in 1990, and North and South Vietnam in 1975.
We believe that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are bound to reunite one day, and though that will take time we must start working for it now. Why do we say this? Let me explain.
The truth is that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are really one nation. We were one since Mughal times. We share the same culture, many of us speak the same language Hindustani (called Hindi in India and Urdu in Pakistan), we look like each other, and we have the same massive problems of poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, farmers in distress, and the lack of proper healthcare and good education for our masses.
The Partition of India in 1947 was a historical British swindle on the basis of the bogus two-nation theory that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations (see my articles, ‘The Truth about Pakistan’ and ‘The Truth about Partition’ online and on my blog Satyam Bruyat). It was a culmination of the wicked divide-and-rule policy begun by the British after suppressing the Great Mutiny of 1857 and systematically and persistently followed thereafter (see ‘History in the Service of Imperialism’ by BN Pande online). The time has now come when this historical swindle must be exposed and undone.
Before 1857 there was no communal problem, and Hindus and Muslims used to live peacefully together like brothers and sisters. Hindus used to join Muslims in Eid and Muharram, and Muslims used to join Hindus in Holi and Diwali. Muslim Nawabs ( e.g. Nawab of Avadh ) used to organize Ram Lilas, Tipu Sultan would give annual grants to 156 Hindu temples (see my article on Tipu Sultan on Satyam Bruyat and BN Pande’s ‘History in the Service of Imperialism’ online) etc.
It was after suppressing the Mutiny of 1857 (in which Hindus and Muslims jointly fought against the British) that the British rulers decided that the only way to control India was divide and rule, and thereafter the communal venom was injected by them into our society systematically and repeatedly, year after year, decade after decade, ultimately leading to Partition ( for details see my article ‘The Truth about Pakistan’ online).
Pakistan was created as an Islamic state, but if religion is the basis of a nation, hardly any nation can survive for almost every nation has several religions. For instance, UK has Protestants (of several kinds; for example Anglicans in England, Presbyterians in Scotland, etc), Roman Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Buddhists, etc. Then UK would have to be partitioned into a dozen countries, and so would the US, France, Germany, etc. The idea is absurd, but it was applied by the Britons to the Indian subcontinent.
Why was India partitioned by the British (using their agents Gandhi and Jinnah, about whom see my blogs on Satyam Bruyat)? It was partitioned for two reasons: (1) India should not emerge as an industrial giant, like China, for if it did, with our cheap labor we would undersell the products of British industry and become its powerful rival (2) We should remain a big market for foreign arms industries (today India is the biggest purchaser of foreign arms, spending billions of dollars on it, money which should be spent on the welfare of our poor people).
Our national aim must be to secure our people a high standard of living and decent lives. But for that we have to make India a highly industrialized country because that alone can generate the wealth required for the welfare of our people. And for that, we must reunite under a secular government that while upholding religious freedom does not tolerate religious extremism or bigotry, and crushes it with an iron hand. Unless we reunite we will keep fighting each other, thus wasting precious resources.
When I meet a Pakistani I feel no different from him, and Indians and Pakistanis abroad mix socially as if the Partition had never taken place.
Some people say that after Partition took place in 1947 much water has flown under the bridge, and so it is not possible to reunite now. But West and East Germany were united in 1990 after a partition in 1945, and Vietnam (which, too, has many religions) was reunited in 1975 after long division. So time is immaterial.
Others say that we cannot unite as there is too much hatred between us. But this hatred is artificially created by some vested interests. In fact when Indians go to Pakistan they are overwhelmed by the love, affection and hospitality they receive, and the same happens when Pakistanis come to India.
Some people ask what concrete action should be done for reunification. The answer is : at present we need only spread the idea. Once this idea becomes widespread, people will use their creativity and find out ways and means.
I make it clear that our idea of reunited India is totally different from the idea of Akhand Bharat of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The latter contemplates a Hindu-dominated united India, while the India of our vision is a secular India in which there is religious freedom and no community dominates over others.
So Indian patriots (and I regard all Pakistanis and Bangladeshis as Indians), do your duty and help us in this sacred mission.
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own]