I wrote something for Pragati this week about Pakistani creation myths and their consequences.
I had written a last paragraph that had to be cut due to word limitations, but I am reproducing it here:
The argument is not that Pakistan exists in some parallel dimension where economic and political factors that operate in the rest of the world play no role. But rather that the usual problems of twenty-first century post-colonial countries (problems that may prove overwhelming even where Islamism plays no role) are made significantly worse by the imposition upon them of a flawed and dangerous “Paknationalist-Islamic” framework. Without that framework Pakistan would still be a third world country facing immense challenges. But with this framework we are either committed to ideologies that further undermine existing cultural strengths, sharpen existing religious divisions (including the Shia-Sunni division) and most important, do not have any blueprint for actually running a modern state. Or we are condemned to hypocritically mouthing meaningless and even destructive Paknationalist and Islamist slogans while actually trying to do something else. Damned if we do and damned when we don’t even mean to do it.
History was old and rusted, it was a machine nobody had plugged in for thousands of years, and here all of a sudden it was being asked for maximum output. Nobody was surprised that there were accidents… (Salman Rushdie, Shame)