INDIA WAS divided in 1947. Sixty one years have passed since then, but still the countries of the subcontinent especially Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have still not been able to deal with their internal problems and security issues. British divided India into Dominion of Pakistan and Union of India before leaving the country. This was done in accordance with Jinnah’s two nation theory. Jinnah’s two nation theory was based on separate countries for Hindus and Muslims. There was support and opposition of the partition, but many believed that was the best way out. The partition led to violence and riots and millions of Hindus and Muslims migrated to the country of their choice. Based on 1951 census of displaced persons, 7,226,000 Muslims went to Pakistan from India while 7,249,000 Hindus and Sikhs moved to India from Pakistan immediately after the partition. The province of Bengal was divided into two separate entities of West Bengal belonging to India, and East Bengal belonging to Pakistan. Pakistan was declared an Islamic state while India became a secular state. There was no denying that partition was based on hatred and this is still imprinted on our minds. Kashmir issue has been the centre of problem between India and Pakistan. The issue has led to many wars between the two countries.
Pakistan, a nation which was formed after the partition, moved towards fundamentalism. It surprises me that in the last 60 years, Pakistan has took keen interest on happenings in India rather than looking after itself. This led to unrest in East Pakistan, which launched a language movement in 1952 to declare Bengali as national language. Dominion status was rejected in 1956 in favour of an ’Islamic Republic within the Commonwealth’. Attempts at civilian political rule failed, and the government imposed martial law between 1958 and 1962 and 1969 and 1972. The government was dominated by military and oligarchies all rooted in the west. Significant amount of national revenues went towards developing the west at the expense of the east. The people of the eastern wing began to feel increasingly dominated and exploited by the west. There was violation of human rights in East Pakistan and the people revolted against the dictatorial regime in 1969. Thus Bangladesh was formed in 1971 and became an independent state after Pakistani army surrendered to India after 1971 war.
Thus we had three nations formed from one and their present is somehow dictated by happenings on the other two. Bangladesh was formed with an intention to create a secular state but the fundamentalists and politicians gave up this idea and declared Bangladesh as Islamic state after eighth amendment in constitution in the year 1988. The situation worsened for non Muslims in the country and large number of people fled from Bangladesh to India. The religion is still one of the major political issues in all the three countries. But there is no denying that India has done well to large extent. The sovereignty of the country is based on the equality of the people in terms of rights. India has been successful compared to the other two. In fact, I will say that the other two nations have failed miserably.
One thing that India has done and Pakistan has been unable to do in all these years after formation, is build sound democratic structures. It is these structures, be it the judiciary, legislature, our electoral system or the media, with all their faults, which have ensured that we don’t stray from the path of democracy amid tremendous challenges. Pakistan on the other hand, which has had a few flings with democracy, mostly sham ones, have repeatedly reverted to military dictatorships, when the democratic experiment failed. No wonder even after 61 years, Pakistan is yet to inculcate the democratic ethos and has allowed no democratic institution to flourish. This took a toll on the economy of the country as well.
The biggest tension that is mounting between the subcontinent countries is that of terrorism. Pakistan has constantly supported and funded the terror organisation in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Bangladesh has also opened the gates to terror outfits lately. India is surrounded by two states whose credibility on the fight against terror are questionable. Pakistan is the country that is almost universally identified as constituting the most serious active threat to our national security.
India is on the path to become a superpower. Even the world acknowledges the progress that our country has made in these years. Clyde Prestowitz, president of the think tank Economic Strategy Institute said that India can become the superpower in 21st century. He also said that we need to maintain a constant focus on the problems that we, as a nation are facing. We still have to work very hard to ensure social-economic development of the people from all the sections of the society. The fruits of development should be shared by one and all. The problem of internal threat should not be neglected.
At the same time, we need to refrain from communalism as that can be the biggest hindrance in the path of the development of the nation. Love for one’s country does not vary in degree from person to person nor it is distinguished by caste or religion. Loving one’s country is a universal feeling. The fundamentalist will try to fly the flag of religion as it has been the easiest way to crust the spirit of humanity. This is applicable to both Hindus and Muslims in our country. We should not have repercussions in our nation of something, which has happened in other parts of the world. One must strive hard, contribute and participate in the revolution that will witness the emergence of India as a superpower.