How Indian are Pakistanis (vs. non-Indian)

I was sent this link via Twitter, Pakistanis are Arabs:

OK – so clearly that’s nonsense … but while I have your attention ..

Back in 2012, the Aspen Institute held a discussion called “My Middle East” featuring authors from around the “modern Middle East”. This included participants from various Arab countries, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Each author was given an opportunity to provide insight into their unique Middle Eastern experience. The brilliant Daniyal Mueendin was representing Pakistan. When it was his turn to speak, he started rambling about how the question was confusing to him as he was not a Middle-Easterner and so didn’t really know what to say – in other words, he missed the point completely i.e for all practical purposes (and particularly from the perspective of the audience) his cultural experience was Middle Eastern enough. I should add that the participants from Turkey and Afghanistan had no such problems. To me this brought to the fore an issue that’s been bothering me for a while namely a tendency among affluent, liberal Pakistanis to underplay Pakistan’s cultural affiliation with the Greater Middle East and instead fixate eastward, towards India, for such cultural linkages.

To be frank there is no substance I can see to the blog post, just some assertion. After reading this I am more convinced that Pakistanis are South Asian and shouldn’t be included as part of the “Greater Middle East,” because the argument presented is so weak, vacuous and contentless.

Pakistanis, especially the ones who are from Pashtun backgrounds, are more Middle Eastern than other South Asian peoples, even Muslims from Uttar Pradesh. I don’t deny that. But the dominant Punjabi culture of Pakistan is South Asian. Indian if you want to remove the term “Indian” from its current political valence.

Note: It is not surprising that this is the question where some of our local Hindu nationalists agree with Pakistani nationalists. Reality damns them both.

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88 Replies to “How Indian are Pakistanis (vs. non-Indian)”

  1. I think the Pakistan in Middle East ship sailed with the adoption of Urdu as the country’s national language. In fact, I would say that there is a real possibility that the majority of Pashtuns might get re(?) Indo-Aryanized if they remain on track to adopting Urdu as their main language.

    Also, in the modern era, cultural repository of India is a lot larger than that of the Persian and Arab world for various reasons.

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      1. I have always found the estrangement of Iran and Pakistan very surprising. I would have though a India-Nepal-Bhutan type of equation would have emerged between Pakistan-Iran-Afghanistan. But sectarian feelings run a lot higher in Iran and Afghanistan. I also feel that their English medium background and British legacy differentiates Pakistani elites from Iranian and Afghan ones.

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          1. Many Indians I know (they happen to be Hindus) have Afghan friends. Not just me.

            Afghans also get along with Persians. Most Afghans speak Farsi–which they call “Dari.”

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        1. Afghans are always more friendly with India than Pakistan. Nepalis always like Pakistanis more than Indians. Such is the world. 🙂

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          1. the auld alliance btwn scotland and france. or btwn france and the ottomans. or between the byzantines and the khazars. or btwn the merovingians and the byzantines.

            the enemy of the near enemy is a far friend.

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          2. Lizard Catcher, please correct me if I am wrong.

            I thought Nepalis loved Indians. It was Bengalis that couldn’t stand.

            :LOL:

            The Nepalis I meet in real life are super cool. Nepalis play in important role in many Hindu and Buddhist parampara sampradayas.

            Hindu Buddhist Nepalis really like Pakistanis?

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          3. I’m literally showing this to my Afghan roommate and we are dying with laughter.

            Afghans aren’t friendly with Indians. They don’t associate with them at all (or at least any more than they associate with any random nationality).

            In fact, based on my experience, the group Afghans hang out with the most are Pakistanis (whether Pashtun or Punjabi).

            Very cringe of you to project the geopolitical maneuverings of countries onto their diaspora populations.

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          4. “Afghans aren’t friendly with Indians. They don’t associate with them at all (or at least any more than they associate with any random nationality).”

            India use to allow Afghans to visit India for business, shopping, partying, school etc.

            Then around 2009 or so India started restricting the ability of Afghans to visit India. This was a deep mistake.

            ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

            Pashtun Pakistanis are treated different. Afghans like Pakistani minorities because they share a common enemy.

            Afghans use the slur “Punjabia”.

            ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

            Obviously millions of Afghans moved to Pakistan after 1978. And many relationships formed. While Afghans generally hate Punjabia, they can like individual Pakistanis.

            In general Pakistanis mistreated Afghans who moved to Pakistan.

            A surprising number of Afghans speak Hindustani Urdu Hindi.

            ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

            To better understand what you mean, are you referring to the English diaspora? If so, this would be very interesting.

            Afghans differ greatly depending between the 34 states within Afghanistan too.

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        2. It is not clear-cut that Iranian alienation with Pakistani nation originates with Shia-Sunni differences. During the Pahlavi rule, Iran was a close ally of Pakistan, and held approximately the position of Saudi today. However, the rule of Zia-ul-Haq (and mirrored by the Iranian revolution) overturned all of this, and Shia-Sunni differences were emphasized to bring Pakistan closer to both SA and USA. So we have two halfs of Pakistani foreign policy: extreme closeness to Iran, followed by dislike/opposition of Iran.

          To be completely honest, being close to Iran did not get Pakistan much.

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      2. “”i wonder what would have happened if iran was sunni?”

        If Iranians had become heavily Sufi tilted Sunnis, it would be similar.

        Indian Sufi are de facto deeply connected to the five eternal lights and Shia Hadiths.

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    1. Afghanistan is very pro Indian. They are culturally assimilating with India more than any other place post 2001.

      Iranians are also pro Indian. Currently much if not a majority of the wealth of Iran is processed through India.

      The Iranians want an alliance with India and Afghanistan. If India could persuade Trump to join . . . wow. A US, Iranian, Afghan, Indian alliance. Would solve many of the world’s problems.

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  2. Didn’t someone else once say that if independent India instead went with the name Bharat, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis would probably have had no problem referring to themselves as `Indians’ today?

    On a personal level though, Pakistanis talk with funny accents, smell like curry and like bad movies with singing and dancing just like Indians. Ain’t no Arab or Iranian gonna see past that 😉

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    1. bollywood is pretty popular in west asia (and i’ve heard in parts of east asia).

      but yes, arabs, turks, iranians, are prat of core islamic civ. they have SERIOUS issues with each other, but i think all agree that s. asians are a rung below them.

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      1. “bollywood is pretty popular in west asia (and i’ve heard in parts of east asia).”

        Bingo.

        “but yes, arabs, turks, iranians, are prat of core islamic civ. they have SERIOUS issues with each other, but i think all agree that s. asians are a run below them.”

        Not Iraqis and Iranians. They both love Indians. I can tell you many anecdotes. They are far more interested in an alliance with India than visa versa. 🙁

        They both hate Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, GCC, Arab League.

        Iranians and Iraqis want their countries to be more like India. No one should underestimate the close ties between Iraq/Iran and Lucknow.

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        1. you are confusing geopolitical alliances and affinities with other stuff. arabs and iranians as a stylized fact think south asians are weird oily black people. this is an old trope that goes back to the early islamic period when arabs encountered indians in sindh.

          indians were perceived to be a weird but civilized people. but strange and black in countenance.

          some things don’t change.

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          1. Razib, Iranians and Indians are best friends. It is possible that my anecdotes are not representative. I think Iranians hate Arabs and because Arabs hate Indians, Iranians love Indians.

            A ton of Iranians live or study or work or conduct business or visit India.

            You are right about Arabs.

            Hmm, it would take some time to explain all the ways Iranians are drawn to Indians. And I could be wrong!

            Maybe Brown Pundits podcast could interview some Iranians. Is there interest?

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    2. Iranians identify with India more than they do with Pakistan. Iranians are very proud of being Arya. There is also a revival of Irfan Sufism, Zorastrianism and Bahai.

      India is the second largest shia country in the world. The largest being Iran. Indian Shia are deeply patriotically pro Indian and anti Pakistan. Many Shia and Sufi are members of the RSS. At the moment Shia support Modi (but would be willing to switch for a better offer).

      The Shia are pushing the Modi administration to deepen the Indian Iranian partnership. I think this would benefit the world.

      The Shia in India are also facilitating improving relations between Iraq and India. My hope is that this deepens into a formal alliance. Currently India is militarily and strategically allied with only two countries–Afghanistan and Vietnam. Iraq should become the third.

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      1. Iranians identify with India more than they do with Pakistan. Iranians are very proud of being Arya. There is also a revival of Irfan Sufism, Zorastrianism and Bahai.

        this is counter-cultural. it’s there.

        also the most pro-aryan iranians are the most racist, so i think that confuses things.

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          1. OOI? Bring ’em on!

            Razib is again right – „it’s not crazy though it’s probably wrong“ (re – theory for Indo-European languages from an Iranian emigre to the West). What is wrong? The direction!!!

            „Between Serbian and Iranian languages there are some weird associations that do not come from borrowings made after the separation of the language“ (A.Meilett I A.Vaillant – Le slave commun, Paris, 1965, Ed. H. Champion.)

            At Diodor is the information that (Serbian) Queen Semira (known from Babylon) logged on with the army on Mount Bagistan, which is modern Behistan. He says that the mountain was called because it was dedicated to the God (Bog – stan). There was also a city named Bagistan, southeast of Ekbatan. Although Ekbatan was the capital of the Media, the most beautiful city was Nisa, which was well known by its horses throughout the whole Asia.

            The name of the town of Nisa was changed to Raga (the name for old horse in Serbian), then Seleuk I gives this city the name of Europo, according to his birthplace city with the same name near the river Vardar. This is now modern TEHRAN. The younger brother of the first king of Macedonia, Perdike I Karanovic, whose name was Europ, ruled about 700. p.n.e. in the middle stream of the river Vardar in today’s Macedonia. Its principality was called Europe. By this principality, Europe got its name.

            Media is previous name of Macedonia.

            Some Serbian toponyms in Iran:

            Raj, Kozan, Siradz, Dirov, Nis, Bisa, Belban, Bistan (on river Stresi), Veles, Merd (captol of Belusa), Gorom, Dragestan, Devavend, mountian Peak Devavend, Diran, Kom, Selb, river Mogan desert in Tamis area, Nisaburg, Zarjanga, at the mouth of river Kindmenda in lake Zark, Sistan, Sirbidzan, Kerman, area Ucan ravn on teh river Otura, Husistan, Shiraz.

            Also: Sarabi, Sarband, Sarbaz, Sarband, Sarbaran, Sarban, Sarbir, Sarbanak, Sarmandan.

            https://www.google.com/search?q=srpski+toponimi+u+iranu&rlz=1C1GCEA_enAU802AU802&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=lrjbyn2okdagDM%253A%252CLXCsEoJlOSY7IM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kSCEcNQclwzO9cy0wLoCUgBuKm-Xg&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiN2frDj_zgAhUCeisKHYkrCS4Q9QEwAXoECAYQBA#imgrc=kYvJXHizNrIX1M:&vet=1

            Let me underline toponyms – Sistan, Shiraz, Kom, Kerman.

            Next time about Darius the Great and his baby boy Xerxes of the West (if watching from India).

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  3. I concur with the observation that most educated, liberal Pakistanis now identify more with their South Asian heritage rather than the putative Middle Eastern one. One consequence of this new found love for their land is that now they anchor their nationhood to the land they live upon. This is in stark contrast to the formative years of Pakistan when they strongly, and exclusively tied their nationhood to their religion.

    Nowadays it is common for Pak-nationalists to describe Pakistan as the land of Indus basin, which has existed since antiquity, and historically separately from India – the country of Ganges. This is of course dubious at best. Punjab (and Lahore) was always tightly bound to every polity ruling from Delhi. But that has not stopped them from indulging in their pet fantasies.

    My guess that this switch happened after the shattering loss of East Pakistan and subsequent trashing of TNT. Once TNT was demolished, Pakistani intelligentsia was left searching for a more viable foundation for their nationhood. Since most successful nation states are rooted in their geography, they hit upon the idea of Pakistan as a ever-present ancient geographical entity.

    Ground realities belies the facts though. Pakistan is vertically split, both literally and figuratively, by the Indus. West of Indus is Pashtun/Iranic/Baloch lands, and east of Indus is India. Babur noted in his magnificent Baburnama 500 years ago that once you cross Indus, everything changes – the people, language, food, climate, everything. It is surprising to note that this observation still stands true even though a brand new state now saddles both banks of Indus.

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  4. “Punjab (and Lahore) was always tightly bound to every polity ruling from Delhi”

    Uh, no. The vast majority of time the Indus and Ganges regions were united politically was under Muslim rule (post 1200). Prior to that, they shared 150 years under the Maurya’s (which originated in the Indus valley, not the Ganges), and about 90 years together under the Guptas. That’s it. Most of the time these regions were separate (dating back to 3300 BC, birth of the IVC).

    “Bangladesh trashes TNT”
    How is that? TNT states that Hindus and Muslims are separate nations that can’t/shouldn’t live together. If Bangladesh had rejoined India after leaving Pakistan I agree it would destroy TNT, but that’s not what happened. Maybe Bangladesh’s independence destroyed the idea of Islam being the only identity of South-Asian Muslims that supersedes all others.

    “West of the Indus is Baloch/Pashtun, East is India”

    Sindhis and Punjabis actually predominate west of the Indus (though not for very far). Sindhis/Punjabis don’t feel much connection with this amorphous “India” you describe. Punjabis (my paternal people) feel a connection with Indian-Punjabis, and the Muhajirs feel a connection with UP/Hyderabadis (especially via Bollywood), but that’s mostly it.

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    1. What about Lava (Lavanapura . . . Lahore) and Kusha (Ayodhya)? These were Rama’s two sons.

      Also see Kishkinda Kanda description of the world from Sugriva.

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  5. About TNT let the best man speak

    “I was glad that India was separated from Pakistan. I was the philosopher, so to say, of Pakistan. I advocated partition because I felt that it was only by partition that Hindus would not only be independent but free. If India and Pakistan had remained united in one state, Hindus, though independent, would have been at the mercy of the Muslims. A merely Independent India would not have been a free India from the point of view of the Hindus. It would have been a government of one country by two nations and of these two, the Muslims without question would have been the ruling race, notwithstanding Hindu Mahasabha and Jana Sangh. When the partition took place, I felt that god was willing to lift his curse and let India be one, great and prosperous.”

    ~ B.R.Ambedkar

    ’nuff said

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    1. Even when Ambedkar quit Hinduism, he adopted Buddhism as his new faith – a religion which is quintessentially Indian and pacifist. Imagine what would have happened had he instead adopted Islam and exhorted Dalits to follow suit. India would have had another Pakistan problem *within* itself even after the partition.

      It is a pity that Ambedkar’s worth was not fully recognized within his lifetime. Nehru did ignore and sideline him. India’s loss.

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      1. Lizard, Ambedkar rejected Mahayana and Teravada. He “APPEARS” to have rejected almost all the tenants of Buddhism.

        I can’t understand Ambedkar’s version of Buddhism. Does anyone understand it?

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      2. On Ambedkar and Islam let the best man speak again

        ” The social evils which characterize the Hindu Society, have been well known. The publication of Mother India by Miss Mayo gave these evils the widest publicity. But while Mother India served the purpose of exposing the evils and calling their authors at the bar of the world to answer for their sins, it created the unfortunate impression throughout the world that while the Hindus were grovelling in the mud of these social evils and were conservative, the Muslims in India were free from them, and as compared to the Hindus, were a progressive people. That such an impression should prevail, is surprising to those who know the Muslim Society in India at close quarters
        One may well ask if there is any social evil which is found among the Hindus and is not found among the Muslims.”

        “The existence of these evils among the Muslims is distressing enough. But far more distressing is the fact that there is no organized movement of social reform among the Musalmans of India on a scale sufficient to bring about their eradication. The Hindus have their social evils. But there is this relieving feature about them—namely, that some of them are conscious of their existence, and a few of them are actively agitating for their removal. The Muslims, on the other hand, do not realize that they are evils, and consequently do not agitate for their removal. Indeed, they oppose any change in their existing practices. ”

        ~ B.R.Ambedkar

        “Imagine what would have happened had he instead adopted Islam and exhorted Dalits to follow suit.”

        So yeah, i think not…

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      3. Ambedkar was a servant of British colonial government till the last days. In a country like the US , such people would be considered as collaborators and dealt with accordingly.

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        1. “In a country like the US , such people would be considered as collaborators and dealt with accordingly.”

          Why?

          Do you think Trump is a Russian collaborator?

          We need far more international collaboration, not less.

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        2. None of the above is true, and reflects persistent hatred towards SC/ST.

          1935:
          Dr. Ambedkar was appointed Principal of the Government Law College, and became a professor there as well; he held these positions for two years. (K. N. Kadam, “Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and the Significance of his Movement: A Chronology,” Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1991, p. 106.)

          1937:
          In August, he founded his first political party, the Independent Labour Party, which contested 17 seats in the 1937 General Elections, and won 15 (p.110)

          1939:
          In November, Congress left the government “because they were not consulted abount entering second world war”. Dr. Ambedkar enthusiastically oppsed congress, and stayed in. Dr. Ambedkar was careful to emphasize, however, that this was an anti-Congress rather than an anti-Hindu move; if Congress interpreted it as anti-Hindu, the reason could only be, he says, that Congress was a Hindu body after all.

          1942:
          Dr. Ambedkar was inducted into the Viceroy’s Executive Council as Labour Member, a position which he held until his resignation in June 1946.

          1946:
          In June, he founded Siddharth College, in Bombay; it was a project of the People’s Education Society, which he had founded in 1945. (K. N. Kadam, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and the Significance of his Movement: A Chronology, Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1991, pp. 116-117

          1947:
          INDEPENDENCE and Partition came in August; Dr. Ambedkar accepted Nehru’s invitation to become Minister of Law in the first Cabinet of independent India. On August 29th he was appointed Chairman of the Drafting Committee for the new Constitution.

          1948:
          In the last week of February, the Draft Constitution was submitted for public discussion and debate.
          In November, the Draft Constitution with its 315 articles and 8 schedules was formally introduced to the Constituent Assembly.

          1949:
          In November, the Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution, including
          Article 11, which formally abolished untouchability

          Which of these acts is anti-indian, and deserved to be punished by Death?

          The anti-ambedkarites are scum.

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          1. Nicely said Vijay.

            +1008

            Many patriotic Indians I know praise Dr. Ambedkar. From across the political spectrum.

            It is nuts to call Indians from 1858-1947 “collaborators.”

            The example of Trump being a Russian collaborator was to demonstrate just how nutty this sort of thing is.

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        3. “In a country like the US , such people would be considered as collaborators and dealt with accordingly. ”

          John Adams defended the red coats of Boston tea massacre; he later became the president.
          One of the first things that the new president Washington did was to give absolute freedom to all the supporters of Britain in the newly independent country.

          Talking about people who did not like congress as traitors is meaningless. Definitely, the Congress was not fair to the SC/ST, as was seen in the madras presidency, when Rajagopalachari quickly purchased non-congress legislators, and tried to roll in a work half-day and attend school half-day policy. Quickly he was chucked out, and kamaraj regained CM position, and rolled back these idiotic policy.

          Jan Sangh, Ambedkar, communists, Jinnnah, all had difference of opinion with Congress. Asking for executing Ambedkar proves all the more that that these people are scum of the earth. Did Vijavan ask for executing Shyama Prasad Mukherjee , who also opposed the quit India movement?

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          1. “Executing” is your words not mine. I am not responsible for your hallucinations. India being India , treats people differently than other countries like France or US.

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          2. Thousands of British Crown Royalists had to flee the newly independent US and it practically amounts to ethnic cleansing. Nationalist rebellions i.e. successful ones , had put the Old Regime loyalists and it’s servants and collaborators through the rack.

            From Wikipedia
            “When their cause was defeated, about 15 percent of the Loyalists (65,000–70,000 people) fled to other parts of the British Empire, to Britain itself, or to British North America (now Canada). The southern Loyalists moved mostly to Florida, which had remained loyal to the Crown, and to British Caribbean possessions, often bringing along their slaves. Northern Loyalists largely migrated to Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. They called themselves United Empire Loyalists.”

            Irony of ironies, even Indians who sided with the Crown were expelled.

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          3. “Thousands of British Crown Royalists had to flee the newly independent US and it practically amounts to ethnic cleansing”
            Which country would you have preferred that Ambedkar should have fled to?

            I do not get the Tamil Brahmin dislike of Dalits. They do not share any common spaces; but still we have the most important Dalit leader and thinker of the twentieth century being called a crown royalist, searching for punishment modes for the leader. The same with Pune Brahmins that form the Shiv Sena core; they barely share space with muslims, and not even with Tamils. But they trained themselves on outsider hatred, and followed up with Muslim hatred. Why?

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        4. “Ambedkar was a servant of British colonial government till the last days.”

          And so were the thousands of ICS and army officers who seamlessly transitioned to plum posts in Independent India without batting an eyelid.

          You are being unnecessarily unfair to Ambedkar. You can’t possible expect him to close ranks with caste Hindus and fight the British while his own people were subjugated by the very same caste Hindus. For Dalits freedom from the oppression of caste Hindus was far more important than the British. Most Dalits lived and died without ever seeing an Englishman in person; overbearing upper caste Hindus were a constant presence in their lives.

          I think he was a genuinely softhearted person; even a sentimental fool. Case in point – Poona pact, where he gave in to Gandhi’s demands without much of a fight.

          Had Ambedkar possessed even one tenth of the ruthlessness of Jinnah, there would have been a Dalitistan along with a Pakistan. Muslims really didn’t have much of a justification for Pakistan. They may have been poor (In colonial India, who wasn’t poor?), but certainly they didn’t live in socially humiliating conditions. Yet they ended up with full one quarter of the land merely by threatening civil war.

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          1. “I think he was a genuinely softhearted person; even a sentimental fool. ”

            LOL. Towards independence he even become more “nationalistic” . Sample this

            “In the invasion of Sindh by Mahommed-Bin-Kasim, the military commanders of King Dahar accepted bribes from the agents of Mahommed-Bin-Kasim and refused to fight on the side of their King. It was Jaichand who invited Mahommed Gohri to invade India and fight against Prithvi Raj and promised him the help of himself and the Solanki Kings. When Shivaji was fighting for the liberation of Hindus, the other Maratha noblemen and the Rajput Kings were fighting the battle on the side of Moghul Emperors. When the British were trying to destroy the Sikh Rulers, Gulab Singh, their principal commander sat silent and did not help to save the Sikh Kingdom. In 1857, when a large part of India had declared a war of independence against the British, the Sikhs stood and watched the event as silent spectators.”

            You might be mistaken that it was given by Savarkar.

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          2. “In the invasion of Sindh by Mahommed-Bin-Kasim, the military commanders of King Dahar —–”

            This sounds nothing like Sarvarkar would write.

            Ambedkar was not a historian, his ph.d was in economics from Columbia, with a thesis on ancient Indian commerce. Subsequently, owing to a lack of work in his field, he became a lawyer.

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      1. “Dalits don’t seem to have “thrived” in Brahmin India.”

        Well that’s what Jogindernath Mondal felt as well. Never thought of himself as a “Hindu” always a dalit, which (funnily enough) soon changed as soon as he reached the shores of Pakistan

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        1. Pakistan has many weaknesses but it gets very tiresome to always point to them.

          We know Pakistan struggles with religious fanaticism but I think Pakistanis are beginning to actually engage on that discussion.

          Yes the absolutism of Islam is Pakistan’s biggest weakness. Once Pakistanis can blaspheme in public; Pakistan will be all the better for it.

          But even so India isn’t a pleasant place for Dalits..

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          1. “We know Pakistan struggles with religious fanaticism but I think Pakistanis are beginning to actually engage on that discussion.

            Yes the absolutism of Islam is Pakistan’s biggest weakness. Once Pakistanis can blaspheme in public; Pakistan will be all the better for it.”

            Brilliant!

            “But even so India isn’t a pleasant place for Dalits..”

            Often poor people are very happy. Happiness comes from inside, not outside.

            Often rich people are very unhappy.

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          2. “Often poor people are very happy”– and here we go with denying caste oppression! You are really something else.

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          3. Xerxes what policy should be employed with respect to Dalits?

            All people should have more economic opportunities. We need a public private partnership to surge the capacity, merit, competence, physical health (bahu balam), mental health (Chitta Shuddhi) and intelligence (Buddhi balam) for all people.

            I think Dalits should be allowed to have sacred threads if they choose a spiritual path. And participate fully in all paramparas, sampradayas, temples to the degree they choose and to the degree they are committed to the spiritual path (Yogya). At which points they would belong to their newly chosen Varna.

            All affirmative action should be based on socio economics . . . allowing Dalits to join other Varnas if they choose without punishment (otherwise they lose their affirmative action).

            Many Dalits will not choose to be twice born or join Jainism or join Buddhims or join Sikhism. And that is their choice.

            The more Dalits are successful in all spheres of life; the more merit, competence and capacity Dalits embody . . . the less the “Dalit” label will matter.

            I don’t think anyone is broken or scattered.

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  6. “or btwn france and the ottomans.”..

    Yep, if it were not for the French and their sidekick British, Istambul would be a Russian city today. May be even the capital of a new eastern roman empire. Oh the what-ifs of history. 🙂

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    1. Yep, if it were not for the French and their sidekick British, Istambul would be a Russian city today. May be even the capital of a new eastern roman empire. Oh the what-ifs of history. 🙂

      no. i’m taking about the 1536 alliance, which dates back in its roots earlier https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-Ottoman_alliance

      the alliance caused A LOT of butthurt during the second siege of vienna when the french had to tone it down cuz christian europe was super pro-habsburg.

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  7. I don’t know who the hell that guy is. Just wanted to mention one thing about Pashtuns though that they’re also not middle-eastern as such. They mainly derive influences from Turkic people with whom they’ve had more frequent exchanges, historically and geographically.

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  8. I don’t know who the hell that guy is. Just wanted to mention one thing about Pashtuns though that they’re also not middle-eastern as such. They mainly derive influences from Turkic people with whom they’ve had more frequent exchanges, historically and geographically.

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  9. I don’t think it is controversial that Pakistanis are South Asian and not part of the “Greater Middle East” (a stupid category created by Bush 2). Our language, food, clothing etc is all south Asian. The majority population of Pakistan is Punjabi and ethnically they are the same as Indian Punjabis. The only real difference between Pakistanis and north Indians is that we are majority Muslim.
    On TNT, Bangladesh’s independence showed how flawed the theory was that all British India’s Muslims were one nation. Islam wasn’t enough to keep Pakistan together. Language, ethnicity and culture were equally (if not more) important. The Pakistani establishment should have learned from 1971 to respect ethnic diversity. Instead, they doubled down on Islam.

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  10. I am a bit undecided on the whole subject. I lean more towards Indthings(i know, right?) than Kabir/Indian friends. But before that i would like to point out this difference made b/w Pak nationalists and Pak people . To think of Pakistan as “not India” is mainstream Pakistan position, its not just a Pak nationalist position(this difference was also made by Omar on the podcast, which i disagree) . The whole TNT, hindus as oppressors, Brits not so much is a mainstream Pakistani position. Whether you agree/disagree that a different matter.

    To me as Indthiings has pointed out there is only limited cultural (Punjabi,Mohajir) similarity with India. Perhaps max of 10 percent (Punjab+UP/Bihari muslims) from Indian side. The rest of India does not share any thing with Pakistan(culturally), notwithstanding Bollywood etc (which is a over glorified Punjabi movie industry anyway). I think its important to recognize what the “people” own conception is of who they are, rather than what genetically they are. In that both Baloch and Pathans are more central asian than Sub continental. Also disagree with the whole “most educated, liberal Pakistanis now identify more with their South Asian heritage” , they are actually the people(mostly punjabis) who are driving the whole project towards middle east(Ummah) and its the rural pakistani who still has some semblance of local/folk culture. This is true of India as well where the educated young class now resembles more and more their counterparts in USA,Singapore while its the semi urban/rural folks who hold on to their “Indian-ness” . So not really a controversial thing.

    I actually anticipate that direction (Pak folks moving away from subcontinental stuff) in coming years as they get closer to China and Central Asia, and leave whatever vestiges of “Indian-ness” behind.

    2+
    1. Interesting perspective.

      ” This is true of India as well where the educated young class now resembles more and more their counterparts in USA,Singapore while its the semi urban/rural folks who hold on to their “Indian-ness” . ”

      Hmmm.

      In the US and Singapore, there is growing interest in spirituality, meditation, consciousness among young educated. And a growing integration into eastern philosophy.

      Why do you think young Indian educated are moving in the other direction?

      ++++++++++++++++++

      “I actually anticipate that direction (Pak folks moving away from subcontinental stuff) in coming years as they get closer to China and Central Asia”

      This would be a very good thing. My hope is that Indians move closer to China and Central Asia too.

      These are not “either or” options. Someone can integrate closer to China, central Asia and India simultaneously.

      Chinese and central Asians are also being drawn to spirituality and their own ancient cultures. They are being drawn to eastern philosophy–which is their own ancient philosophy. Do you think Pakistan will be drawn back to ancient Arya culture via integration with central Asia and China?

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      Why do you think Pakistanis are being drawn to central Asia and China?

      Is this more hopeful wishing or reality on the ground?

      Any move towards central Asia and China would likely correlate with a major softening of Islamism, an increase in liberalism and an increase in globalization. So I hope you are right.

      0
    2. Pakistan as “not India” was the original identity of the State and what is taught in schools. One would hope that after 70 years, our identity would have developed a bit beyond that.

      It doesn’t change the reality that culturally we are South Asian. Geographically, we are South Asian. The only thing we have in common with the Middle East is our religion.

      You can do an experiment and see who people gravitate towards in the diaspora. In my experience, Pakistanis have always associated more with other South Asians than with Arabs. For a lot of people, language, culture, food trumps religion.

      1+
    3. In that both Baloch and Pathans are more central asian than Sub continental.

      have you surveyed pakistani pathans or are you just asserting shit? i know i don’t know all things brown, but the shit of brown shit on these threads is stronger than shutki.

      I actually anticipate that direction (Pak folks moving away from subcontinental stuff) in coming years as they get closer to China and Central Asia, and leave whatever vestiges of “Indian-ness” behind.

      what the fuck? closer to china and central asia? are you stupid, or do you just think we’re stupid.

      pakistanis are brown people who speak an indo-aryan langauge by an large. no way ppl don’t understand that they are anything but south asian.

      2+
      1. “pakistanis are brown people who speak an indo-aryan langauge by an large. no way ppl don’t understand that they are anything but south asian.”

        Bro they themselves say it on their website!
        https://www.punjab.gov.pk/about_punjab_people

        “On account of its strategic location in the Indian sub-continent, wave after wave of migrants poured into the area and settled on its fertile lands and today, although originally belonging to the Aryan stock, the people of Punjab are descendants of the Iranians, Turks, Afghans and Arabs who came individually or in groups.”

        That’s what i meant with the whole ” “people” own conception is of who they are, “

        0
  11. Interesting topic of discussion!

    ‘…the people of Punjab are descendants of the Iranians, Turks, Afghans and Arabs who came individually or in groups’
    Lol, they missed out the Greeks and Scythians, far sexier than some camel-herders if you ask me.

    Indian Islam (I’m not sure to what extent Pakistan has distanced itself from this) has deep roots to the land, only trolls would call Muslims colonisers. I’ve been to enough Dargahs to see that they’re as Indian as village temples – colourful, chaotic and messy. Sufism, the dargah traditions and even the desi madrassahs (which clearly derive from Brahmanic Veda patshalas) have deep roots in Hinduism and the land. Indian Islamic places of worship are a far cry from the sanitised, orderly (yet beautiful) places of worship I saw in Iran and Central Asia. And I don’t see why this should change when one travels to the other side of the Thar desert or crosses the Ravi.

    Instead of ceding them, Indians and Hindus too should claim the Mughals as one of our own and equal to the other great Indian kingdoms. There’s no way Mughal architecture, cuisine, culture or even the Urdu language which is as Sanskritic as Bengali or Marathi would have sprung in a land inhabited solely by Muslims.

    The fact that me from the deepest south of the subcontinent gets spoken to in Punjabi by mirpuri cab drivers and can launch into a conversation about cricket and Imran Bhai in a desi language makes me think in one of my better moods that there’s an underlying similarity in there somewhere

    3+
    1. “Instead of ceding them, Indians and Hindus too should claim the Mughals as one of our own and equal to the other great Indian kingdoms.”

      That bus has long passed , even though many (South/East Indians/Liberals) try, but the pendulum has swing too far in the other direction. Have a feeling that Akbar(Last of the Romans 😛 ) will soon perish too.

      1+
      1. Well that bus can always come back. A strong nation is one that is determined yet hopeful about it’s future, but also secure in its past. The Indian right wing is at the center of the churn that is ongoing in the country, but it’s only a rebalancing and transition from an old elite to a new, more egalitarian one. Once the right gets used to power and normalises itself and gets out of the mindset of hurry that it currently is in, the Mughals, hopefully along with the Cholas and Vijayanagar empire will be recognised as essential pieces in the past of India

        3+
        1. Funnily enough, i think at this rate there is more chances of Cholas/Vijaynagar falling out of favor than Mughals(hanging by a thread due to Akbar).

          Neither of them are seen as opposing the Muslims so not “nationalist” enough, (Cholas is seen as “Dravidian” heritage, so they wont touch it with a barge pole)
          and Vijayanagar is “cosmopolitan” enough(even though i disagree with this reading) for being cast as “nationalist” side. They are like what Pak muslims would feel about Akbar’s reign. 😂 😂 😂

          1+
          1. ‘…Neither of them are seen as opposing the Muslims so not “nationalist” enough, (Cholas is seen as “Dravidian” heritage, so they wont touch it with a barge pole)’
            Mate, you serious bro? You trolling or have you drunk the Western kool-aid about the Hindu right wing? I’ve seen better trolls on Dhoni Vs Afridi YouTube comment threads lol

            The Hindu right wing is full of South Indians (Ram Madhav, Nirmala Sitharaman, etc.) If they didn’t care about the South then why did they agitate over Sabarimala, etc. Try again next time bro, no one buying that Aryan v Dravidian crap no more, not even in my home state of TN

            2+
          2. +1008 Siddharth.

            Please keep sharing your views.

            I would love to hear your perspective on episode 23 Brown Cast podcast on Hinduism.

            I love Tamilians! The world’s spiritual and religious heartland! And really, really good food. And Sadhus on motor cycles.

            What is not to love 🙂

            1+
  12. Saurav, why do you think this?

    Are Jahanara, Dara Shiko, Gareeb Nawaz, Nanaka, Janardhan (muslim guru of Ek Nath), Lalleshwari (Trika Kashmiri Shaivite Guru of the muslim Nund Rishi), Kabir, Sai Baba not generally revered?

    Dude, you are depressing me 🙁

    Siddharth . . . awesome comment. Loved it!

    0
  13. Funnily enough, after reading this thread last night, I ran into a couple of entrepreneurial Pakistanis working in home repair/paint business here in Paris.

    They were both ‘hum to ek hi log hain’ kind. (‘We are the same people’)

    Usually expect this line from liberal north Indians but I guess a decade away from home makes anyone forget small differences.

    2+
    1. @Pratyush

      We are indeed the same people. But it’s primarily a diaspora sentiment, and even then only where Desis haven’t yet reached critical mass as a minority. The whole bhai-bhai thing is definitely true in Paris cos there’s so few of us (used to live there myself). I especially dig how Sri Lankans, mostly Tamil refugees, also spice up the mix in a big way there. It was also true where I grew up in East Asia. Currently live in a Scandinavian capital where Desis are a tiny minority, and it’s a thing here too. Definitely not true in Britain, nor in the US, although you might find some semblance of it among NYC cabbies (Punjabi Deli on Houston/ 1’st street anyone?) As soon as there’s enough of us to atomize into our own subgroups, we go back to being passively indifferent to each other.

      1+
      1. SP, I think it “IS” generally a thing in the US.

        Pakistani American muslims are liberal, are rich, and mix well with other SAARC people. Anecdotally many appear to be Sufi or Irfan. [Wonder if there is survey data on this?]

        The UK is different. Indians want to distinguish themselves from Pakistanis in part because of under age molestation, rape, murder, violent assault, terrorism scandals.

        0
        1. Elites mix everywhere, my point was somewhat different. Do these well-heeled Pakistani Americans you referred to seek out other Desis in particular, or are the just as comfortable with them as they are with anyone of similar social standing? I was referring to a sense of community that transcends the national boundaries of the subcontinent. I experienced no such thing in the decade + I spent on the east coast. It might have existed in the past when there were fewer browns, but I get no strong sense of it having persisted. Pratyush was referring to Paris, and it’s definitely a thing there, and it transcends class, cos there’s just not enough of us to be picky.

          1+
          1. SP, can you share the cities that you speak of?

            This is news to me.

            You don’t find Desis collaborating together in I Banking, Consulting, Asset Management, Corporate Management, Technology, Venture Capital, entrepreneurship, non liberal arts academia, business associations?

            Thanks for sharing.

            0
  14. Well i think Karachi walas are even more into “bhai-bhai thing”, i still do “udhaar” which i chukta-ing only at the year end from a Karachi shopkeeper in USA 😂😂😂

    But funnily enough i have also seen the transition which SP talks about. Till couple of years ago Indian/Pakistani actors/musicians used to be called by a joint venture of Indian-Pakistani event management team. But that changed in 2016 , and the Indian side pulled out and started boycotting even Indian stars who the Pakistani guy was able to bring to the city.

    0
    1. @SP @Saurav

      Do you also see a dis-atomization in the second gen as they coalesce around more of a ‘People of Colour/South Asian’ identity

      1+
  15. Yes they do. But second gen of today is totally on a different planet. They are not the 2nd gen of the 90s-2000s ABCD, Bollywood loving, some sort of Desi attachment type folks. They i feel today are more into the same “woke” stuff which most college going kids are. In a way every successive gen becomes less “Desi” and more”Globalist”. But that is true of urban kids of India as well . So actually they are more similar.

    I feel closer to folks 10 years older than me, i do to someone who is 3 years younger to me.

    1+
    1. Very perceptive. High School and undergraduate SAARC ancestry kids are on another planet!

      Many have deep contempt for their parent’s culture, civilization, religion, Asia, Asians etc. Many speak and think in very post modernist cultural marxist “woke” SWJ ways.

      Many also have a lot of guilt over their privilege and the way they think Asians have oppressed people of color minorities and poor people.

      0
    2. I don’t know about the US but Indian urban youngsters may not be very global, at least in smaller cities like Hyderabad. I am actually forced to be kinda liberal and global-like in my thinking in my most closeted mindspace because of the way I was born and my natural, evil psychological inclination, and all of this I absolutely detest lol. Every Indian person in India seems more Indian to me than myself (and I don’t like that at all; it’s so unfair of God for making me this way lol). I cannot envy enough how all of my male cousins are all so Indian-stoic-male: generation-neverending-n^N copies of their fathers lol.

      2+
  16. @AnAn

    I think we’re talking past each other. I was trying to make a simple point about how when there are very small numbers of Desis in a given place, they shop, eat, congregate in similar places (and work in similar places too if they’re not white collar). A wider sense of community, however lose, seems to be a thing. It’s ephemeral though — past critical mass, we retreat back to our own subgroups and don’t mix as much.

    1+

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