I was picking up the comment thread on the linguistics podcast. To my mind there are some inconsistencies about modern-day Pakistan:
(1.) Ever since MBQ conquered Sindh in 712; Sindh has remained under Muslim rule. When it did have local rule it was essentially a tussle between the Baloch and Muslim Rajputs, which has replicated itself to this day. Benazir Bhutto is of Rajput ancestry (Bhatt) while her husband Zardari is a Baloch. The Hindu minority were either merchants or serfs and as far as I know the caste Hindus of Sindh are a basically heteregenous lot (there is only one Brahmin surname among the Amils and the castes tends to have strong geographic regions).
(2.) As for Baluchistan and KPK; It’s basically seen the incursion of Iranian speakers the past millennia or so.
So the real question left is Punjab (the 5th major Indus region Kashmir is out of scope).
In a way because the British did the “inverted” invasion route (from Bengal to Punjab); it re-Indianised the Northwest.
(1.) The creation of Hindi (under British patronage) as an alternative language galvanised the Urdu-speakers of UP. Pakistan (both East & Western wings) essentially benefited middle class Urdu speakers in the search for government jobs. Beyond ideological reasons there were serious economic benefits in a separate nation.
(2.) The Canal colonies of the Punjab (and Sindh) which brought cultivators and agriculturalists from Central and Eastern Punjab (which was historically the more populated and rain-fed parts) into Western Punjab. The striking similarity of Punjab to Hindustani is probably down to Ranjit Singh’s armies but the Canal Colonies “solidified” the role of Majha Punjab on the Western Punjabi territories. Hazara, Seraiki, Potwari and Mirpuri are all examples of this ghost Lahnda language, which merged with the Hindi dialect continuum to create the Lahore-Amritsar prestige language.
It is striking that in an intensely linguistic Pakistan (Sindhis & Pashtuns particularly) Punjabis do not evidence the same linguistic passion. While this may be some function of Pakistani state building with additional reasons (Punjabis being the dominant ethnicity cannot be seen to impose their culture and Seraiki regionalism) this has deeper reasons, where Punjabiyat in a Muslim setting transcends language.
Additionally the Sikhs & Hindus of West Punjab have historically been identical to the Hindus of Sindh (the Sindhi Hindus of course also follow Sikh teaching upto a certain number of gurus). The Sikhs and Hindus are predominantly merchant caste Khatris (the Jats of Punjab had either converted to Islam or Sikhism depending on the geographic contour) with Dalit populations (in the Punjab some of these populations became Christian with some high caste leaders).
I don’t want to get into the politics of it because what we mean by Hinduism, Hindu and Hindi has transformed over time (for instance Ramcharitmanas was in the Awadhi language but is that Hindi literature).
Furthermore this isn’t to make a geopolitical statement whether or not Pakistan belongs to a certain region. My own opinion is that the Greater Indus Valley (AfPak with parts of India) is probably the “Islamicate wing” of India or the “Indian plains” of the Ummah.. As a refugium for Urdu it’s served its basic purpose but it needs to re-engage with India to really grow and thrive. It’s the conflict between these two identities that make Pakistan such an interesting and tormented nation.
As an aside with regards to the linguistic podcast, which I thoroughly enjoyed doing, I found it interesting when Shoaib mentioned that when the Hindu Brahmin wanted to create their own Hindi language in the late 19th century there was serious discussion about Braj being used as the standard instead of Khari Boli.
This was because Lord Krishna was born in the Braj region and it was historically the language of Bhakit & Hindu devotional songs. If that had been the case it would have probably avoided Partition. That’s because Hindi and Urdu would have really been two separate languages, identities and histories.
However the decision to Hindufy Khari Boli (whatever that means since KB didn’t actually exist but is speculated to have exist, there is Hindustani) meant that Hindi was able to “piggyback” on Urdu’s rich tradition and emerge as a doppelganger.
Finally there is a lot of labelling confusion as I alluded to earlier and the earlier inhabitants of the Subcontinent are to blame for it. It seems that they weren’t especially bothered to record and write their history; to the credit of the Muslims (and later Abrahamics) who were almost fastidious in recording everything.
This may be the pagan-Dharmic tendency for a more amorphous approach towards the rigidly linear Abrahamic approach to history. I don’t mind either way but I do feel that Saffron-washing of history (especially Muslim history; the Turkic invaders is a misnomer since it divides Mohammad Bin Qasim from Allaudin Khilji and disrupts the unity of the history) is almost as bad as the flip side, which is that Islam is a religion of Peace.
It would be healthy if Muslims began to internalise just how shit a religion Islam is so that a true reformation can begin. Islam is one of the few religions that has aggressively expanded through conquest, it may not have done conversion by the sword but almost immediately on conversion its followers went on to conquer a huge Arab Empire.
It does stand to reason that maybe Islam was retrofitted to fit the Arab conquests but then there isn’t any serious study of it because it’s all cloaked in hysteria and Muslims tend to hyper-ventilate at any serious critique of their cult.