India and Pakistan 60th independence anniversary

The split of the Indian subcontinent after independence into India and Pakistan with the violence and animosity following it must have come as a shock to those who had been holding the ideal of a united great India. In the movie “Ghandi” there is a scene in which Mahatma Ghandi offered that at the head of each ministry in the Indian government there would be a Muslim minister to avoid division. But even this wasn’t enough as Pakistanis were set on separation and the Indians couldn’t letMuslims be at the top of each ministry.

 

Perhaps, immediately after independence the Indians and the Pakistanis had never been so ruthless towards one another after centuries of cohabitation as before colonialism they didn’t have the notion of modern state. They were kept together as long as they could practice their traditions. It was only when the notion of power in the form of government and self-rule that made the two communities turn against each other. Before independence, they had colonialism as their main enemy. After independence, their religious and cultural practices became the source of violence and enmity.

 

It is ironic that both Indian and Pakistani cultures preach peace. The religion of each has been embraced and admired by many who came to know it. And yet they couldn’t forge permanent peace. Even with the aspects of stable relations between the countries, there lie suspicions. What have kept them at peace are the nuclear weapons they have, which makes one side fears the other.

 

But the Indian subcontinent needs to be like Green Street in London as described by Anu on the BBC blog. Pakistanis, Bengali and Indians should mix in their respective countries and not just on foreign soils like UK. They should have a common market where goods from one country are sold into the other as a sign of mutual acceptance. The horrible descriptions of what people suffered from after partition should be a moment for the new generations to repent for what took place and to serve as a lesson. They shouldn’t be used as an excuse by fanatics on both sides to justify their violent acts that still take place now and then between the Hindus and the Muslims, especially in India.

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