Caste and loathing in Indo-Pakistan.

Pakistani Journalist Khaled Ahmed writes so often in Indian Express. His writings throw deep insights into the nature of his society. He admits that the process of nation building has hit a dead end there. And the credit goes back to the original sin - creating a theocratic state.

The intention behind publishing his articles in Indian Express are quite clear to me. Juxtapose it with what we have in India today. Though communal politics is at fore, the force is strong with the Caste.

Caste controls all the social networks of a person. Electoral politics is only another front. Religious hatred is in fact directed to the filthy other - a different community. It is Caste masquerading as a communal hegemon here. This is exactly how things happen in Pakistan as well. There, the people at helm are Muslims, against what we see here. And they have their on set of sweet little castes, including untouchables and manual scavengers.

We both are the same people. With the same fundamental problems. Thanks to communal elements, Radcliffe line could separate us in 1947. It’s time to come together and forge the bonds once again.

Everyone has a foreign policy. At the individual level, it is how we interact with others. Communities and villages have foreign policies. However, different set of moral obligations are imposed upon them. Individual’s conduct should be sacrosanct. Everything is fair if done for caste/religion/village/nation. You may call them double standards, but sure there is a rationale here.

A nation state is successful only when everyone inside it feels safe. They needn’t pursue a foreign policy against fellow countrymen.

It is a very lofty goal indeed. Socialism swept Indian Freedom Struggle during the 1930s. Afterwards, we thought we could dispose off identities though economic progress. In 2018, we still find identities strong and consequent weakening of the nation.

Even the common sense is missing. Why did Nehru and Congress adopt socialism against Capitalism? Answer - It was a corporate entity that enslaved India - we were sceptical. More than the answers, we should be asking the right questions. Why non-alignment? Why Mahalanobis plan? Why state reorganisation based on language? Why Caste based reservation?

In the current political climate - ready made answers are bandied around. Coming from a favoured source, they are swallowed without question. It is important to ask relevant questions.

May we are communal by nature. Not religious hatred, but an over attachment to the community. Nation state is founded on the idea of individualism - an invention of the west. We should have more debates around this as well. I am committed to individualism, but I would like to see if someone can reconcile it with the Indian reality.

This is yet another rant, but I hope it would make at least one person think. It is important to think. No matter who we are, it is really really important that we think.

Written on April 14, 2018