Sahar’s comment triggered this post.
Kaplan’s article can be found here.
I found this article rather pathetic. He wants to explain why West Pakistan makes sense (it should be clear that the first “Pakistan” didnt make sense, so this is retrospectively fitting theory to fact). Here (as far as I can see) is his modus operandi:
1. Pakistan is a frigging mess.
2. Geography is destiny. Its always been a frigging mess
3. Aitazaz Ahsan (bless his soul, soon to be running away from Pakistan) wanted to create a secular basis for his country. It already existed and it was headed for theocracy and he wanted to put his finger in the dike. So he wrote “Indus Saga”. Invented “Indus man”. Found bits and pieces from other like-minded intellectuals and the Westernized Pakistani elite (wishing, like all of us, to have their nationalist cake and eat historical inevitability too). And of course he had been anticipated by leftist intellectuals wanting to eat their dialectical materialism and have Pakistan too. Bottom line, it happened, some justification must exist. Islamist justifications for Islamists, secular ones for secularists. All true to varying extents.
4. Kaplan found him and his successors and anticipators via google (we have had “Indus man” and “Mehran man” posts here too…Kaplan bahadur’s net didnt catch small fry like us though). Wrote up a longish article. Suddenly it all makes sense.
5. When Pakistan looked more stable and less insane, Kaplan’s dad would have dug through microfilms at public libraries and learned about the wonderful enterprising cheerful people of Punjab and Sindh and their colorful musical dancing laughing culture and its multiculti roots and so on.
To be clear. I am not saying there is some historic inevitability about “India”. I am just saying that Punjab and Sindh are AT LEAST as much a part of “Indian civilization” as Tamil Nadu and Bengal. ALL of these can be separate states, parts of other states, parts of India, whatever. Political boundaries shift and move. But culture does have deeper layers. Even those will shift with time. But slowly.
Pakistan’s creators had different visions about what they were doing. But the first Pakistan ended in 1971. The current Pakistan is more viable and more networked as one entity. Its problems are many, but do include the legacy of its ill-planned and poorly thought out creation. As things fall apart everyone and his mom is looking for explanations. I think most of the explanations are NOT that deep in history because Pakistan itself is not that deep. Its sui generis. An accident of history. Some roots go back to the Delhi sultanate, others to Arabia, very few to the geography of the region.
Pakistan’s analysts can find arguments to back up almost any theory. But by their fruits shall ye know them.
A few random questions:
Sikhs ruled Punjab 1800-1850. If they were still ruling, would Kaplan need to make this argument and would it make sense?
2. Why is Jullunder a natural part of India and Lahore is not?
3. Why are Mohajirs from the Gangetic plain such an important part of this naturally frontier-like Indus man Mehran state?
That most of Pakhtoonkhwah has a deeper connection with Afghanistan than it does with Punjab doesn’t need this whole rigmarole to explain it.
btw, I think that Sufi bureaucrat hack Qudratullah Shahab had a better theory: Pakistan was created by sufi masters as the next step in the gradually unfolding scheme of Sufi Muslim world domination. The real founders of Pakistan are anonymous sufi masters who acted through Jinnah and others. Thats why the holy prophet (pbuh) was so agitated and couldnt sleep in heaven when the 1965 war broke out. He was worried that his entire project was in danger.
Look it up, its all in the books written by Shahab and his fellow Sufi masters (Ashfaq Ahmed, Mumtaz Mufti and company)