Partition story, part 1

My father, Nadir Ali, writes short stories and poetry in Punjabi. He is in his mid-eighties now and has been writing his autobiography in Punjabi and my sister translated a segment that deals with his memories of partition. He was a little over 11 years old at that time. My grandfather was a lawyer in Gujrat city. There are more stories from that time that I hope we can translate at some point. For example, my grandfather rescued some Hindu/Sikh women who had been kidnapped by the rioters and my father was the go-between who was young enough to go into the women’s quarters during those negotiations; I hope to get that story written down someday.
Anyway, my grandfather never really reconciled with partition. He wrote to his Hindu friend Hari Singh regularly until 1965 and I  remember hearing that he once lamented in a letter to his friend (they both wrote in Urdu) “what a tragedy and a travesty that you, who are more Muslim than me, are in India, and I, who am more Hindu than you, am in Pakistan”. He would also use Indian time (30 minutes ahead of Pakistan standard time) as his own “standard time” for decades after partition.

Memories of Partition. Nadir Ali

A severe drought prevailed in 1947. There was no rain till August 16th, the first of the month of Bhadon. However, blood flowed freely. Thousands had been killed in Bengal. Sikhs were killed in Potohar. Riots began to rock Lahore. The Sikhs never got over the trauma of losing their lands in Lyallpur and Sahiwal. Only one who has toiled on a piece of land and made it arable can understand how painful it is to lose it. Many were killed by Sikhs on that side of the border. But the other day I read a book by a Sikh friend who wrote that both sides were equally guilty of mass killings. I believe that more were massacred on that side of the border. But that side also produced more literature related to the partition. In Iqbal’s Pakistan, we gave up on educating our society. Even Iqbal was more widely read in the time before the entire upheaval for independence, than in the post-partition era. We are guilty of punishing him with the title of Allama. It is as if we had given him the capital punishment of days of old when the accused would be forced to climb a high tower and the ladder would be removed. He could die either by jumping off the tower or from thirst and hunger. What could poor Allama Sahib do, having passed away quite some time before the creation of Pakistan.

On the eve of 14th of August, a large number of us congregated at Swai Ram’s shop where people would often gather to listen to songs and radio programs. I was very young, but also clever. As soon as a song’s music started playing on the radio, people would ask me, “Chaudhry, which song is this?”. From just the first note or so, I could identify the tune and the song. Someone would ask me: “What are the lyrics?”, and I would repeat the entire song. But today, we were there for the midnight news broadcast. At exactly twelve o’clock, the voice on the radio announced, “This is Pakistan Broadcasting Service!”. We clapped our hands. But the Hindus among us, such as Chota Postmaster and Swai Ram and his brother, looked anxious. In our family, only my dad and myself were in Gujrat. My youngest sister was to be born soon, and summer vacations were on, so all my brothers had gone to the village. Like a typical peasant, my dad had the habit of going to bed early. But just like a peasant, he would wake up quite a few times during the night. He would make sure the cows were fed. When I reached home, he woke up. “Aba, Pakistan has been created!”, I announced. My father cursed Pakistan till the day he died. Earlier, he was a devout believer. He would recite the Quran daily upon returning from his work at the courts. Once Pakistan came into being, he slowly lost his faith. In 1963, he taught himself Persian and read the Mathnavi of Maulana Rumi. His favorite poets to recite were Ghalib and Rumi, particularly the following lines from Rumi:

Shab, ze zindan, be khabar zindaniyan
Shab, ze daulat, be khabar sultaniyan

(In slumber, oblivious is the prisoner to his chains
Oblivious is the monarch to his wealth )

That night, my father remained anxious. Every once in a while, he called out to the Poorbi chowkidar – “Bal Ram, what time is it?”. And Bal Raam would chirp back – “Sir, it is two o’clock”, or whatever hour it was.

On the morning of the 15th, shops opened as usual. Swai Ram and other Hindus and Sikhs opened their establishments. Besides Swai Ram, the owners of Jaswant Singh Balwant Singh Brothers were also our friends. When I passed their shop on my way to school in the morning, they would call out, “Chaudhry, be our first customer of the day, that always brings us good luck!” I would offer my mom to shop for anything she needed before school, saying I would leave it home for her and then run off to school, things like DMC Thread, Sunlight Soap, etc. I was responsible for all our grocery shopping. A pound of mutton cost a little over a quarter of a rupee and every Friday the price of beef would be even less. My dad was fond of beef and vegetables and he would also bring home many kinds of vegetables- onions, tomatoes, mint, squashes and eggplant. I would even shop for women’s clothes.

At ten o’clock on the fifteenth of August, the Pakoriyanwala Sheikh, “the cripple”, came over to our place. “Fetch your gun Chaudhry Sahab!,” he exclaimed. “What is the matter, Sheikha?”, my dad asked. “Chaudhry, the Sikhs are coming! They have reached Wazirabad and are slaughtering everyone along the way. Their arrival in Gujrat is imminent!”. The entire market went into a frenzy. The head goon of the town, Dhurrey Shah, the tonga driver, ran to the shops and started looting things. I climbed the rooftop and could see the shops being shuttered hurriedly, one after the other. One Hindu tried to tackle a looter and got stabbed by someone. He died on the spot! Locks were broken and the looting grew. On the night of 16th August, heavy rains descended. Boxes labeled “Jaswant Singh Balwant Singh Brothers” washed up in the open area near our home.

All the Hindus and Sikhs gathered either in the one or two large houses belonging to HIndus in the middle of Kutchery Road or in the camp near the Hindu neighborhood of “Phatto Pur”. I went to inquire about Mohinder, Madan Lal and Girdhari Lal, my “chamar” (leatherworkers) classmates. The leatherworkers’ colony was close to the camp.

My dad went to visit his Congress-mate, the lawyer Bhatia Saheb. He was unhappy in the refugee camp. At night, he came over to our place with his wife and three kids who were around my age. During the night, my dad went to Bhatia Saheb’s home with a servant and the munshi, and they brought back some pots and pans and some bedding. They also brought the cow that used to give a lot of milk. For the first time in my life, I drank lassi made from fresh cow’s milk. Bhatia Saheb’s wife made me sit with them and I experienced eating daal and vegetables from tiny metal bowls as was the Hindu style. We were used to copious amounts of milk and butter. I noticed that his wife would take a tiny amount of butter, place it in one roti and rub the other roti with it and that was it! Bhatia Saheb was a man of simple tastes. I had grown up listening to a joke about his manner of speech. He would say, “This reminds me of some lines of poetry.” Then he would try to recall the lines, give up and say, “I don’t remember the poetry, but will tell you the gist of it.” Then after some more thought: “I cannot remember the meaning either. It was such a wonderful poem!” They stayed at our place for ten or twelve days. When it was time for them to leave, they cried a lot. Each of them hugged the cow, crying. For some time, we used to get letters they would write from Hindustan and each letter would enquire about the cow too.
Bhaag Shah arrived at our place from our village. Half the land in the village was in his possession. He prepared some papers and handed the land over to my father. Of course, the land did not really become ours, but the room on the upper storey of his house, the chaubara, did stay in our possession for a few years. At one time, his house was the only brick building in our entire village. It was across from my grandfather’s house. Nextdoor was the home of his brother Jameet Mal who died in the plague of 1924. His children lived in Karol Bagh in Delhi. My father helped Bhaag Shah and his entire family travel by tongas to the camp in Gujrat. In our village, no one touched these few families. But in nearby Kunjah, the area in the vicinity of the well that belonged to Sikhs was attacked. The mob had gone there to loot. Someone from the Sikh community threw a clod of hard earth at them and it hit our Imam of the mosque, Mian Sayyed Sahab. His nose started bleeding. He angrily called out, “Kill the bastards!”. My sub-inspector uncle fired a gun. Others attacked with axes and finished off the Sikhs. When my father found out, he held court at our village and cursed these “mujahideen”. For fifty years, I lived with retellings of this incident. Each narrator would describe what someone else did. Someone blamed Mian Sahab and mentioned how one person had attacked with a spear, to which came this reply -”Your own mother had set up a kiosk to provide water to those who set out for the attack!” At the meeting my father called in the village, a person mentioned that twenty people had been killed and the lone survivor of the attack was a Sikh named Fateh Singh (Phatta). Upon some searching, Phatta was located. He was wearing a turban but mentioned that he had cut his hair and embraced Islam. Abba said: “These damn villagers themselves are not real Muslims, how did they manage to turn you into one?” Someone chimed in, “He has even learnt to say the namaaz.” Phatta added -”Well, it is no different from exercise. You recite twice while standing, then twice while sitting down. And if you forget the motions, just look to your left and right and copy others!” Aba asked: “Do you remember your own religion at all? Ask for forgiveness from your Gurus and let us make you a Sikh once again!” Phatta broke down crying and fell at my father’s feet. He stayed with us at our home in Gujrat for two or three days. I would bring him his food and often he would be singing, “Bhagat Kabir has appeared in the guise of an ant.”

For fifty years, I heard multiple versions of the Kunjah attack from many people. But last year, sixty years after the incident, my cousin Hakim Ali narrated the part about Dhanna. Dhanna was well-known for his bravery and the Sardars had employed him as their guard. He fought back by throwing rocks and eventually fought with a stick. This was the total defense the Sikhs had on hand! When Abdullah Shah was about to kill him with a spear, Dhanna exclaimed in disbelief. “But the Sardars provided you with grains just a month ago!” Shah wasted no time in finishing him off, lest “he reveal even more secrets!”.

There were so many stories of these two deras (settlements) of the Sikhs. The Gondals’ dera was towards the south and the Warraich had a dera in the north. There is an old story associated with the well belonging to the Gondals. The Gondal Sardar broke his sandal while ploughing his land. He went to the Warraich’s as a cobbler lived there. When he reached there, the cobbler was busy with some task the Warraich had given him. The Gondal Sardar said – “Here, mend my shoe quickly as I have to return to my plough.” The Warraich taunted him. “Chaudhry, if you are in such a hurry, why don’t you employ a cobbler at your own dera?” One day the Gondal Sardar came to our village and narrated this incident. A shoemaker from our village decided to migrate with his family to the Gondal’s dera. He lived there for many years. One day he requested the Sardar for six months off so he could return to his village and arrange for his two daughters’ marriages. The Sardar offered to help with the wedding and suggested the shoemaker hold the ceremony at his dera. The shoemaker said: “I will not feel right holding the wedding here as my guests will expect to be served with hookahs and I will need to feed them meat dishes. I cannot dare to slaughter cows at your well and offend you!” The Sardar replied: “The weddings will take place right here and me and my family will be the hosts!” For the wedding, the Sardar had two of his own cows slaughtered. His own sons filled the hookahs and served them to the wedding guests! This is not the story of Hindus, Sikhs or Muslims. This is the story of a Punjab that once was. This is the story Shah Muhammad wrote about in his famous vaar, and Ibbetson wrote about in his book about the castes of the Punjab. How did all this change? This is the question Punjabis must ask in good faith and then write about. So far this has not been written about. Two culprits will be found – the governments that handed down orders and the newspapers that spread propaganda!

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89 Replies to “Partition story, part 1”

  1. ‘Two culprits will be found – the governments that handed down orders and the newspapers that spread propaganda’

    Also, ‘poor Alama Sahib’ wrote to Jinnah on June 21, 1937:

    “A separate federation of Muslim provinces is the only course by which we can secure a peaceful India and save Muslims from domination by non-Muslims. Why should not the Muslims of North West India and Bengal be considered as nations entitled to self-determination just as other nations in India and outside India are?”

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  2. Was listening to a Partition interview the other day ..an old lady who refused to leave her home behind till family were forced to flee as the violence spread kept saying “Raj badlay..kadi parja v badley?!”
    transl. “The Rulers they change (came and went) who ever heard of the ruled changed ?? We lived here thousands of years ?!”

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  3. What’s there to understand?

    90% Muslim seats went for Muslim league

    Jatt power held Panjab together, democracy was always going to end this way..

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  4. A personal story, while growing up our neighbors, were immigrant Punjabi hindus from Sialkot. As a child i used to play along side them and it was big joint family. The daughters and bahus of the family after the evening aarti , used to tell us stories which “Babaji” (the grandfather) had told them about some mela, or some function, and other random stories of W-Pakistan. What was surprising that even though Babaji was quite fit and talkative, he used to never tell those stories himself, even though he would chat with us on other different topics.

    After i grew up somewhat my mom told me the story of Babaji that during 47, he was a kid with all his elder brothers,bahus and sisters decided to leave Sialkot. They had to travel by foot and also swim across a river (or canal) . Babaji own mom (his father had died) was old and ailing, and one fateful night , the brothers decided that it was too risky and impossible to carry her through the journey, and once she slept, all of them left for India,leaving her behind.

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    1. If your comment was marked as a short story, it would surpass Maugham in brevity, Greene in melancholy and Narayan in affirmation. I found it very moving.

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  5. It’s heartbreaking man. I seen numerous videos for people going to Old homes in Pakistan more frequently than Pakistanis coming to east Punjab. Sikhs have a soft spot with regards to Pakistan not sure about Punjabi Hindus.
    One question is that Was the migration as deadly between Sindh /Gujarat or Sindh Rajasthan.
    Well i also have a friend whose grandmother emigrated from Multan. Also my mom told me that Multani dialect is different than regular Punjabi.

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    1. Multan is Saraiki, so different dialect. This reminds me of another story/play, i read about (written by a Sariaki activist) , if you like 🙂

      Court Martial.

      It talks of two Seraiki-speaking Hindu soldiers who migrated to India in 1947. During a Pakistan-India war, they caught a Muslim soldier from Pakistan. When they asked him where he was from, he said he was from Dajal (a small town to the west of Rajanpur).

      Hindu soldiers had also migrated to India from Dajal. They started crying and asked their prisoner how their motherland was, how its festivals and food were. They asked him about Farid’s shrine and his songs. Then they let him go.

      Next day, when the Pakistan Army opened fire on the Indian post, the soldier refused to participate, fearing that his bullets might kill the soldiers from his motherland. “How will I go back to my land after spilling the blood of its sons,” he said. He threw his weapon away and presented himself for a court martial.

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    2. My maternal grandfather’s village (his family were the village lambardars) was not too far from Faisalabad (Lyallpur). He was a student in Lahore at the time of Partition and involved in pro-Pakistan student movements. He said there was no love lost between Punjabi Hindus and Muslims (Hindus were aloof and pretty unfriendly) and they were happy to see them go. The exodus of Sikhs he regretted. In the village and surrounding areas, he said Muslims and Sikhs were like brothers. As a boy he would read out the newspaper to an elderly illiterate Sikh gentleman in the mornings. He saw Jinnah give speeches a number of times and remembered him as a most impressive and charismatic figure.

      My father’s family migrated to Pakistan Punjab from Jalandhar District at the time of Partition, my father was less than a year old at the time. Per him they were one of the few Muslim families in a heavily Hindu village. Apparently local Hindus would come by their place when they felt like eating beef. My great-grandfather had spent the 20s and 30s working in Europe as a pedlar in England and also Italy and Switzerland. He had accumulated a substantial amount of property and assets by the time of Partition. Before leaving he deposited whatever cash he could in the Jallandhar branch of the Allied Bank. After a very difficult crossing, he arrived at the Allied Bank branch in Lahore where he was told his deposits had been recognised and the family had not been made destitute by emigrating. He was an elderly man and wept tears of relief at the news. Thanks to that I have never been inclined to view the retail banking industry negatively. He received a haveli and agricultural land in Bhai Pheru, Kasur District which had been abandoned by their Hindu\Sikh owners. They did not come close to compensating for the losses incurred but were enough for a new start.

      His family and my maternal grandfather’s family eventually became acquainted when the latter started a saltpeter factory in Bhai Pheru which is how my mother and father’s marriage was arranged.

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      1. “He said there was no love lost between Punjabi Hindus and Muslims (Hindus were aloof and pretty unfriendly) and they were happy to see them go. The exodus of Sikhs he regretted. In the village and surrounding areas, he said Muslims and Sikhs were like brothers.”

        Was there a class factor involved here?

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        1. His family were the local gentry so unlikely to have felt lower class. This was based on conversations we had when I was in my teens and I don’t remember further details.

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        2. Of course Hindues treated ordinary muslims like untouchables, Sikhism was primarily inspired by islam and was anti caste system so it had more in common.

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        3. Most of the rural and agricultural class that typify Punjab were Muslims and Sikhs who had a shared history and culture.

          Most Punjabi Hindus were urban dwelling Brahmans, Khatris, and Dalits. Brahmans and Dalits were looked down upon by Muslims and Sikhs, and Khatris were hated due to having bankrupted the agricultural classes through money-lending.

          The Punjabi Muslims in my own family get on well with Sikhs to this day, and consider them as cousins. On the other hand, they could not care less about the Khatris and Brahmans.

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          1. “The Punjabi Muslims in my own family get on well with Sikhs to this day, and consider them as cousins.”

            just so that you are aware, most of the killings of muslims in east punjab was carried out by their friendly cousin sikhs. punjabi hindus were not so much into killings. (not for any lack of prejudice against muslims, but simply because their “non-martial” traditions required a greater activation energy).

            this is a historical fact. don’t bother to contest it.

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          2. Its a mix of enemy’s-enemy is my friend + distance makes the heart grow fonder. Something similar 2 Indo-Afghan relationship

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          3. Scorpion,

            When communities don’t suffer from an inferiority complex, they can acknowledge terrible things that happened in the past, express regret and sorrow together, and move forward to the future.

            Saurav,

            Afghans don’t care one iota about Indians. I think I’ve said this before, but Indians have a tendency to map geopolitical relations onto the populations of these respective countries, and it just doesn’t work like that. China and Pakistan are close diplomatically. Actual Chinese and Pakistani people don’t care about each other at all.

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          4. ah it’s good to have you back. i was afraid corona might have infected your brain and changed you.

            we get it. You hate N Indian hindus. I still love everyone as my cousin tho 😉

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          5. “Most Punjabi Hindus were urban dwelling Brahmans, Khatris, and Dalits. ”

            There might have been more Baniyas than Brahmins.

            The Hindu hatred might have been rooted in jealousy. They were a generally richer and more civilized people and also controlled credit.

            Enterprising communities usually have to face this.

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          6. Quote / When communities don’t suffer from an inferiority complex, they can acknowledge terrible things that happened in the past, express regret and sorrow together, and move forward to the future./

            Similarly when communities dont have unfounded superiority complex, the look at facts to make opinions rather that using trying to fit the facts into preconceived notions.

            Quote / but Indians have a tendency to map geopolitical relations onto the populations of these respective countries, and it just doesn’t work like that. China and Pakistan are close diplomatically. Actual Chinese and Pakistani people don’t care about each other at all./

            Doesnt keep people away from using the Pak China friendship metaphors like deeper than ocean and higher than mountains. It is down to enemies enemy is friend logic. In CAA bill Indians didnt leave out Afghanistan because of some romantic idea they would surely have love for us. Most people can separate geopolitics and people to people relations.

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          7. Indthings

            Just what i said similar to new found Indo-Afghan relationship is a transitory thing, Pak muslim’s sikh Bonhomie is too

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  6. Why did people leave that easily. Why didnt they form a congregation and stayed as a populous community in Pakistan?

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  7. Very poignant story Omar, thanks for sharing it. Very evocative of images of a shared rural past. The partition violence was horrific, I cannot imagine what it must have been like for those who were displaced through it.

    It seems there was once a Tamil community in Lahore, I remember hearing of a distant old relative who worked for a bank who was once posted there..! Seems like a distant country now.

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  8. I have a great aunt who was a little girl in Karachi at the time of partition. She was 6 years old she says, when a lot of the violence started. She tells me that a lot of Hindus were being killed so her father made the decision for the family to leave. However, they could not leave together. So he draped her in a raincoat on a train going to India, so as she may be concealed, even if the train were raided by rioting mobs. Thankfully, she made it safe to Gujarat to their ancestral village of Morbi in Saurashtra

    Gujarati is still a common language in Karachi. And Gujaratis still dominate a lot of the business culture there. There are a lot of connections to Karachi Gujaratis have.

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    1. Was the amount of violence in Sindh equal to that of the Punjab? Like amount of deaths and riots. Punjab suffered the most it seems by the stories and the novels written in the wake of this event.
      Also why were the Merchants and shopkeepers considered not in good light by the muslims idk about how sikhs feel about them. It would have been good for punjab if muslims and hindus would’ve converted to
      Sikhism although it was much fluid back then and the jump for muslims was big enough so they didn’t convert en masse.

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  9. https://youtu.be/LxxNHb7jt2U

    Video interview with one of my Dada’s childhood friends who he saved during partition.

    Khalsa Raj will unite and take away pain।।
    ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕਾਖਾਲਸਾ।।ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂਜੀਕੀਫਤਿਹ।।

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  10. Massive riots erupted across Punjab because the troublemakers realized they could run amok unchecked. Otherwise, the Pakistan-India division would be no more than an administrative one.
    For some strange reason, British India’s 4-5 lakh strong military was not deployed for peacekeeping around the time of partition.
    The colonial military had been used previously (though belatedly) to end the killings in Calcutta.

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    1. ‘Otherwise, the Pakistan-India division would be no more than an administrative one.’

      Nope, would not have happened, the follow up to partition was not exactly conducive for an administrative split. India couldn’t stem the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits even with a sympathetic state. In a communal frenzy, all bets are off, neighbours kill neighbours, brothers kill brothers. People pushing for partition should have had the foresight.

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  11. whenever i read all this partition nostalgia literature, i always wonder why the stories are all about laments of the paradise that was lost, the syncretic culture that their old punjab was, or the brotherly bonds that tied its various religious communities.

    I am yet to read one piece that reminisces wistfully about the kafirs/mlechchas they killed, or the women they abducted, or the property that they looted. in fact going by the outcome of partition, shouldnt these “winner” stories far outnumber the lament stories.

    sorry if i hurt anyone’s feelings. i have always been a lateral thinker. 🙂 but i am only half- trolling. there is some seriousness to my comments. think about it, the million souls that were slaughtered, the thousands of women women that were raped, or the homes that were put to flames were punjabis’ own handiwork. outsiders didnt come to their province to commit these atrocities. the soul searching must start from home.

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    1. He seems to be one of the few Baniya politicians in the US.

      Most of the rest seem to be Brahmins and Jatt types.

      Baniyas are generally smart people. They’ll make money and operate from the back.

      They know public grandstanding is useless.

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  12. “When communities don’t suffer from an inferiority complex, they can acknowledge terrible things that happened in the past, express regret and sorrow together, and move forward to the future.”

    lovely.

    i am not a punjabi, but i do find them funny people. first they kill each other in droves, and then they shed copious tears over it and write sad memoirs over it. wtf…

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  13. Here is my own Partition story:

    One of my relatives on my maternal side moved to Lahore from Lucknow in 1940 and was working at King Edward Medical University. During Partition in 1947, he witnessed the carnage which occured in the streets of Lahore. A year before, my maternal great grandparents, including my own grandmother, had to seek refuge in a friend’s house in Patna, Bihar during the riots then, my great grandfather was the first lecturer of the Faculty of Zoology in Science College, Patna University.

    This was obviously a traumatic experience for him and my family, so when his relative in the newly formed country of Pakistan invited him to migrate, he made arrangements and he moved his family from Patna to Karachi in June 1955 where the family would disperse across the country over the decades. Not long after, my great grandfather passed away from internal bleeding exacerbated by his hemophilia. My grandmother’s future was uncertain, she had been living with her elder sister in Peshawar for a few years as her brother-in-law was stationed there with the Pakistani airforce. It was then decided that she should be wed to my grandfather in India who was her cousin. His family had stayed in UP (United Provinces/Uttar Pradesh) during Partition, he had gone to study a PhD at the Bombay Institute of Chemical Technology in the 1950s (there is a photo of him with Nehru). After completing his PhD, my grandfather travelled with his parents to Karachi and wed my grandmother (I think in Defence Society, Karachi) in February 1959.She migrated back to India and settled in Basti, UP for a while where she gave birth to my mother, my aunt and uncle. She also reapplied for Indian citizenship.

    Another side of my grandmother’s family moved to East Pakistan in 1947 and lived there until 1971 when during the Indo-Pakistan war some members were killed by Bengali militias. The relatives who survived migrated to West Pakistan and they have lived there ever since. During that conflict, another relative served with the Pakistani army and was captured as a PoW by the Indian army.

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      1. some make sweet tamally maak to whomever gives them economic and political power, loyal only to their progression. But this type of flip flop can backfire.

        Halal, Haleem, Owaisi

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      2. @VijayVan
        Yep, I have never heard it summed up that way. Thank you.

        This “upwardly mobility” goes back slightly further than that, my family started migrating out of India a few decades before partition when my great great granduncle went to the UK to study law in 1909 to become a barrister and he married an English lady whilst there, they lived together in Gravesend, Kent. They had 3 kids, moved to Benares where he set up a law practice. He unfortunately died in 1918, his wife was left widowed with 3 kids so she moved back to Britain in 1919 where she raised her kids with help from her siblings in Paddington, London. One of the kids went onto serve with the Royal Welch Fusiliers and Royal Field Artillery during WW2, another of the kids went on to marry an Englishman and has descendants who are alive today althought they are pretty much English today.

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      1. @Saurav

        She had an arranged marriage to my grandfather. Her mother (my great grandmother) continued to live with the rest of her family in Satellite Town, Rawaplindi

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        1. Thanks for sharing Azeem Ali. Are you Shia? How would you describe Shia Sunni dynamics wrt India and Hindus?
          Also, happy for your family but it’s kinda sad that tens of millions of Hindus and Sikhs from West Punjab and Sindh never had a chance to go back and live in their ancestral lands or to keep their substantial.properties. they never had the choice to leave one brother in Pak to keep their prkperti s while another set up base in India thus keeping their wealth and hedging their bets.

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          1. I am a Sunni Muslim but one relative claimed that we might have intermarried with the Shia earlier but it is difficult to know for sure.

            To be honest, my nani was happy to move back to Pakistan but she still misses her last surviving sibling, her sister, from Karachi. They last met at a wedding in Oman back in 2017. She was sad when they last saw each other because she didn’t know when they would see each other again. This is one of the sad legacies of Partition. I remember my grandmother’s sister was happy when I visited Patna and its historical sites in Bihar a few years ago (which caused quite a stir among my family in Pakistan). She recalled how she used to go on school trips from Patna to the great archaeological sites of Nalanda and Rajgir, the former being a famous Buddhist centre of learning in antiquity, the latter was the first capital of Magadha.

            My grandmother’s nephew who is a similar age to her was probably the most emotional when I visited the house of my great grandparents in Patna near the banks of the Ganges. He regretted Partition and not being able to visit it in person.

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          2. Thanks, Azeem Ali. Being uprooted is always hard, even for voluntary immigrants (like me) who have a choice to go back and visit.
            My family is from a certain region in India where I have never lived (but visited many times) and yet I feel an emotional connection to the house, the village and the surroundings, and would think of it as a great loss if I were kept from visiting it. My next generation on the other hand don’t have that connect, but I have found it quite satisfying to show them our ancestral house and village, from which they are separated by a couple of generations, a few cities and a couple of countries..

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          3. Thanks Ali, i am still marveling your memory wrt to ur extended family. I can hardly remember my relatives apart from my immediate cousins, uncle and aunts.

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    1. I just saw your previous message but I couldn’t reply to it earlier.I do feel pity for my Pakistani relatives for not having the same freedom to visit their ancestral lands like I do. I think a lot of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent are lied to by their elders about their origins and I think it is quite sad. This didn’t help the cause of those trying to keep India united.

      We are both quite lucky to be able to visit our ancestral village if we want to. As someone who loves history and archaeology, visiting my own ancestral land on my mum’s side in Bihar was quite a treat, because the Mauryans and Guptas made Pataliputra (Patna) their capital.

      My dad being from Kolkata has always felt a greater affinity for the British Raj days as you can imagine. My maternal great grandfather and my paternal grandfather were both members of the Congress Party in the run up to partition and were involved in the Independence movement. They both refused to migrate to Pakistan and were loyal to India as it was a country they loved and they had lived alongside their Hindu neighbours for generations.

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      1. Azeem Ali, couldn’t agree more.
        Hopefully we can find a good equilibrium in India with respect to inter community ( Hindu Muslim) relations. I would be for a Dharmic oriented state with full freedom and equal rights ( which is the case de jure although practice can lag or differ) for all religions. In absence of deracibated western mimicking, virtue signalling leftists we could there at some point. Will need reactionary Hindu extreme right to stand down( which I think they will once assured of their position) and Muslims to fully accept their Indianness, ex-Hinduness etc and Indian history/ native heroes as their own . sort of how.it was until the mid 80s but with real history ( not whitewashed or swcualized) taught and know by everyone, and not one sided Hindu bashing ( here the left is the culprit not Muslims)

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        1. That sounds almost Gandhian (not in a bad way at all)

          I agree there, the recent hysteria in Pakistan over Diliris Ertugrul is truly embarrassing. I have seen a lot of comments on Facebook and Twitter saying how it is their history somehow. Jinnah’s own grandfather was a Hindu Lohana from Gujarat and he doesn’t come across in sources as a particularly observant Muslim which was quite ironic.

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          1. \hysteria in Pakistan over Diliris Ertugrul\
            I would also like to see Etrugul if available on Amazon. My untested assumption is that Turks would have done it well photographically, and keeping to history without overt political/religious prop.
            It is a new kind of TV genre where historical periods and personalities from different countries are dramatized. I have seen Wolf Hall in British TV about Henry VIII focusing on Cromwell, his political manager who deftly steered through changes and break with Pope.. Sun King , the French production made in English for international market about Louis 14th and growth of French State. Also Katharine the great, the Russian empress , made in Russia. Another Russian production was about the founding of Russia by Ivan 3rd by overthrowing Tartar yoke.
            I can guess why there is hysteria in Pakistan

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    1. Thanks Ali, i have this perpetual fight b/w my brain and heart, where my brain says that partition was good ( good riddance those Muslims) and then my heart which is moved from partition stories.

      “My maternal great grandfather and my paternal grandfather were both members of the Congress Party”

      I am actually really fascinated on history and thought process of Muslim members of the Congress and their descendants like yourself (and i think Omar also had some1) and how they felt when partition happened (dejected/angry/happy) etc? How do their descendants see their role in Congress? And finally what was their motivation to join the Congress party when there is already a Muslim party available to join. I mean had i been in their place a selfish me would have perhaps joined the Muslim League.

      I have always felt that the Muslim members of the Congress especially of Punjab/Bengal/NWFP were perhaps the biggest patriots going against the tide

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      1. Not all of us supported the Muslim league. My family wanted a united and independent India, we didn’t buy the Muslim League’s ideology at all.We knew that we had a lot more in common with our neighbours than the Muslim league would ever admit and had issues with the Two Nation Theory.

        Partition was devastating for us as it divided our family (it continues to do so), my maternal grandfather left the Congress Party after 1947. My paternal grandfather ended up running for election in his village in West Bengal and he got elected. His main rivals were the Communists who would eventually run Bengal for decades. Another of my paternal relatives was involved in the founding of the Trinamool Congress Party.

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  14. @VijayVan
    I have tried to watch it but there are overt political and religious props. There is an emphasis on Islam when it is actually debated how Muslim the first Osmanli leaders really were, the first Ottoman Sultan’s name for most of his life might actually have been Ataman rather than Osman, the latter only been chosen to assert a Muslim identity later in his life. Erdogan has openly praised the show and everyone in Turkey knows that he is trying to push an Islamic version of Turkey’s identity. The actors are (unsurprisingly) supporters of the AKP too.

    Wolf Hall was praised for being good drama, but there wasn’t any political commentary on contemporary Britain.The British monarchy has retreated considerably from political life, its role is to advise and ceremonially appoint governments after a general election (the Prime Minister elect has to visit the monarch to get formal permission to form a government) as well as act as an independent arbiter between political factions/parties if a crisis was to occur. This is generally understood in the UK, so a comparison is not really possible.

    The hysteria in Pakistan is due to a poor understanding of history and a reluctance to accept Pakistan’s pre-Islamic past (harkening back to the Two Nation Theory). There was barely if any coverage of the Narasimhan paper in the Pakistani press while there was a lot in the Indian press. I found this surprising considering that the bulk of the Indus Valley Civilisation was located in Pakistan. I have seen claims on Pakistani social media of how somehow the history of Anatolia depicted in Ertugrul is “our history” because it is “Islamic history”. This is not a serious way of analysing history but rather an ideological one. The reality was more complex yet there is scarcely anyone able to grasp this. Turkish people are more divided on the TV series because they see it for what it is, an attempt to legitimise Erdogan’s rule by evoking history.

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    1. @Azeem Ali
      It is a pity the Turks have screwed up Etrugul by plugging in heavy ideological load.
      Turkish expansion both in pre-Islamic and Islamic history has been phenomenal from a god forsaken North east Asian corner to being rulers in Eurasia. That can give a number of good historical dramas if made well for an international audience

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  15. I am not sure why a population’s imaginary of its history and culture has to be a function solely of geography and genetics. Pakistani culture is a potpourri of Persian, Turkish and Arabic influence over an Indic substrate. Pakistanis would not be who they are if it were not for Turkish expansionism and conquests.

    I dont see this as any different as the Indians who watch and laud Tanhaji or Bhagat Singh or even Gandhi. Notwithstanding historical nuances, we know we would be a different population if not for these heroes. We would have a very different universe of laws and constitutions, speak a different language, women would dress differently and so on.

    The lady in the Al Jazeera article wants shows on Razia Sultan and Chand Bibi, what would she think of Naikidevi or Ahilybai or even Kanaklata Barua ?

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    1. I am interesting in the Seljuks and Ottomans from an academic and historical perspective. Yet I don’t claim them as my ancestors. Pakistanis shifted away from that Persian influence towards Arabic influence in the 1980s and now they are shifting towards Turkey because the Arab world was less than forthcoming when it came to supporting them on Kashmir. Turkish people themselves are very diverse genetically and this is attested in archaeology.

      The Rig Vedas was most likely composed in Pakistan and Chanakya and the linguist Panini both lived in Taxila, yet I doubt many people would celebrate that in Pakistan. The impact of the invasion of groups such as Indo-Greeks, Scythians, Kushans etc is still contested, there is still no clear evidence that they left a genetic legacy in Pakistan.

      The Two Nation Theory has definitely skewed the academic study of history in both India and Pakistan. Pakistanis are predominantly westerly shifted South Asians, I have rarely seen any genetic results of Pakistanis with Arabic admixture, they tend to be overwhelmingly South Asian genetically yet they look west to the Middle East rather than to their own neighbour. In India, there is a reluctance to acknowledge the origin of steppe ancestry in much of the population. This is a quite damaging legacy of Partition.

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    2. Al Jazeera is soft Islamist, Al Queda in 3 piece suit and Oxford graduate. . As long as that is kept in mind, all their news and reports will make sense. It is reflection of the prejudices and views of the Qatar royal family who own it.

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      1. “Al Jazeera is soft Islamist, Al Queda in 3 piece suit and Oxford graduate. . As long as that is kept in mind, all their news and reports will make sense. It is reflection of the prejudices and views of the Qatar royal family who own it.”

        I can’t stand Mehdi Hassan

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    3. Quote /I am not sure why a population’s imaginary of its history and culture has to be a function solely of geography and genetics. Pakistanis would not be who they are if it were not for Turkish expansionism and conquests./

      It doesnt have to be limited by geography or genetics. One can find inspiration and motivation anywhere. But if someone’s identity is based on negation i.e we are anything but indians(historically), when all facts say otherwise, seems delusional.

      At this point, if we go in alternate history and say Turks had not come on the scene, they will cling to literally anyone (Greeks, Mongols or Scythians) to differentiate themselves for sake of it.

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      1. To refer back to the topic of Partition too

        It has caused serious problems for Pakistan which agains harken back to Partition. It is not quite clear what Jinnah really wanted Pakistan, he passed away quite soon after Pakistan’s creation.
        He was expecting to be able to visit his family property in Mumbai even after Partition perhaps shows that he perhaps didn’t grasp fully what he had done.There is an amusing case of a Seance where reportedly Jinnah’s spirit was very displeased by Pakistan being taken over by selfish minded people. Although I don’t believe such stories, the central point of selfishness would be agreed on by many Pakistanis today. The article I refer to:
        https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/558359-the-spirit-of-muhammad-ali-jinnah

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      2. Well, the point is that the Turks did come, and they have left a legacy. We cant undo this now.

        India doesnt have to work for everyone. Thousands of the best educated immigrate every year.

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        1. It is about getting that narrative of Turkic rule in India right.It is myopic for Pakistani nationalists to just see “Islamic history” and not grasp the narratives of that era.

          The Turks who came from India were quite different to those who invaded Anatolia. That is a broad generalisation as the Turks themselves were a diverse array of shifting and changing tribal confederations.

          The Seljuks invaded the Ghaznavid Empire and settled down on the Iranian plateau as the “Great Seljuk Empire” under Tughril Beg. They later went onto invade Anatalia after Alp Arsalan’s victory over the Byzantines at Manzikert, he would establish his rule as the Seljuk Sultan of Rum, they would outlive the “Great Seljuk” Empire. The Seljuk Sultanate eventually fragmented into beyliks after the Mongols invaded, during this unstable period then entered the Kayi tribe, one branch was the Osmanli which eventually settled on Sogut before later on conquering Bursa which set the stage for their later empire as the first major capital of the Ottoman Empire

          The Turks who invaded India were different, the Ghaznavids initially served the Samanids as slave soldiers. Mahmud of Ghazni rebelled and took power himself and set up his capital at Ghazni from which they launched a series of raids into India. They eventually established a power base in Lahore from which they would even rule and strike billingual coinage in Sanskrit and Arabic:

          http://coinindia.com/Ghaznavid-A1610.GZ3-Mahmud-418-644.61.jpg

          The Ghaznavids would eventually lose most of their territory north and west of the Hindu Kush thanks to the Great Seljuk Empire. They survived in Lahore and Afghanistan for a while before being overthrown by the Ghurids who destroyed Ghazni. The Ghurids would supplant the Ghaznavids and using Turkic soldiers launched raids into India which culminated in the Battle of Tarain. After finally defeating the Chauhans, the Ghurids established their rule over the Gangetic plains with Turkic soldiers administering their Indian territories. Once the Ghurids collapsed after the rise of the Khwarezmians, the Turkic soldiers in India divided up their territory between Qutub-ud-Din Aibak, Taj al-din Yildiz and Qaburcha as well as Muhammad Bakhtiar Khalji. Qutub-ud-din Aibak eventually emerged as ruler of Delhi Sultanate with power being properly established under Shams-ud-din Iltumish. This heralded the beginning of the Delhi Sultanate which would last for the next few centuries until 1526.

          The Mughals would supplant the Delhi Sultanate as rulers of India. Babur was paternally descended from Timur, a Turko-Mongol from the Barlas tribe and a bitter foe of the Ottomans and maternally descended from Genghis Khan whose immediate successors defeated the Seljuk Sultanate at the Battle of Kose Dag in Anatolia and caused the fragmented the Seljuk Sultanate into Beyliks.

          The Turkic rulers of India and Anatolia had quite different trajectories and their ancestors had actually been adversaries if anything.

          Pakistan has had issues with forming historical narratives since its inception due to the confused state of its creation (about what the country should be).

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        2. I have never said legacy of Turks should be undone. I have always argued that the everything that happened in indian subcontinent including indo islamic stuff needs to be owned by everyone. (but thats the job mostly for RW nutjobs really who come up with crazy ideas)

          At same time the other end of spectrum need not be handled with kid gloves when they go to other extreme of thinking all good and worthy comes from medieval invaders. And that one needs to emulate them at cost of their own local culture.

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          1. In India, much of the legacy of Turkish brutality does have to be undone. Especially the destroyed centres of learning and worship need to be restored.

            Pakistan is a different matter.

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          2. I stand corrected. NOT ALL legacy needs to be undone! The good stuff can be assimilated.

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  16. Azeem Ali, memetics matter far more than genetics. Perhaps, this is a bit odd for first generation Americans, because they grow up in an environment where ‘race’ is the defining parameter for identity.

    The stories that we pass on to our children are more powerful than some genomes. I think your perspective might change as more Turks learn English, and Pakistan is increasingly accepted into the Middle Eastern political and economic networks.

    Jinnah had himself stated, “The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, litterateurs. They neither intermarry nor interdine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspect on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes, and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap.”

    This is a pretty succinct summary.

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    1. I am a British Indian Muslim but born in Delhi. The genetic reality is evident thanks to centuries of endogamy.

      Turkey already has a substantial number of English speakers too thanks to the legacy of Ataturk’s emphasis on westernisation. Interestingly some comments referring to Ertugrul blame Ataturk for destroying the Ottoman Empire. Interestingly in Stanley Wolpert’s book on Jinnah, it is noted how Jinnah was a big fan of Ataturk and his sister used to call him “Little Wolf” as a pet name in reference to this.

      Pakistan has tried hard to be accepted by Gulf Arab countries yet their support of India over the Kashmir lockdown last year showed that it wasn’t quite as strong as they had hoped. Hence why now Pakistan is looking to Turkey to become a stronger ally.

      Jinnah’s view was rooted in the Aligarh movement formed by Sir Syed Khan who was famously critical of the Congress Party and didn’t want Muslims to get involved with it.

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      1. Pakistan and Turkey are collaborating behind the scenes in mysterious ways. Pakistan may be trying to sell nuclear technology to Turkey in return for it’s diplomatic support. Turkey may be trying use Pakistani Sunni militants as cannon fodder in it’s Syrian misadventures. That is why there was lot of bonhomie during Erdogan’s last visit to Pakistani , when IK praised Turks for conquering parts of India to massage his ego. It is too early in their cooperation and they may be testing waters and limits.
        Most wanted Pakistani militant escapes from high security jail and Pakistan and reappears in Turkey

        https://www.dawn.com/news/1533138
        https://in.news.yahoo.com/pakistans-taliban-leader-escapes-turkey-175142634.html
        Is this ever possible without co-operation between ISI and Turkish secret services

        basically Turkey is leaving it’s Ataturk’s ideals and moving into muddy geopolitical waters on it’s own in which the payoffs are far from assured.

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        1. That doesn’t bode well for either country.

          There is also an interesting parallel whereby Turkey has supported radical Islamist groups in Syria like perhaps Pakistan has done in Afghanistan

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      2. Pakistan and Turkey are collaborating behind the scenes in mysterious ways. Pakistan may be trying to sell nuclear technology to Turkey in return for it’s diplomatic support. Turkey may be trying use Pakistani Sunni militants as cannon fodder in it’s Syrian misadventures. That is why there was lot of bonhomie during Erdogan’s last visit to Pakistani , when IK praised Turks for conquering parts of India to massage his ego. It is too early in their cooperation and they may be testing waters and limits.
        Most wanted Pakistani militant escapes from high security jail and Pakistan and reappears in Turkey

        https://www.dawn.com/news/1533138
        https://in.news.yahoo.com/pakistans-taliban-leader-escapes-turkey-175142634.html
        Is this ever possible without co-operation between ISI and Turkish secret services

        basically Turkey is leaving it’s Ataturk’s ideals and moving into muddy geopolitical waters on it’s own in which the payoffs are far from assured.

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    2. @Azeem Ali:

      Since you’re a British Indian Muslim, there were some questions I had in mind, I hope these don’t seem too probing:

      1. Given the history you’ve given of your family, I assume you have an Ashraf background. Do the elite Muslims treat those from a Dalit background differently? There was a long-form article on Caravan Magazine last month called ‘Blind Spots: Caste in Contemporary Muslim autobiographies’ where I read that there’s wide-ranging subtle discrimination.

      2. How do Indian Muslims in Britain perform economically in comparison to Hindus and Sikhs? Do they have the same representation among professional classes (doctor, lawyer etc.)?

      3. How are relations with other religious/national communities in Britain? Especially the relations of Indian Muslims with Hindus and Sikhs, vis a vis Muslim Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.

      4. Do you think Muslims of an Arab/Persian/Turkish background look down upon subcontinental Muslims? If so, then is there a racial angle here? Or is it just because the majority of Indians in the Middle East are blue-collar so it’s a class difference?

      5. In terms of marriages of the extended family, are Muslims of a different ethnicity preferred to someone of a different religion but the same ethnicity? What percentage of British Indian Muslims do you think would be comfortable with a daughter having a partner from a different religion? Would they be fine with children of said union being brought up in a different religion?

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      1. It is fine

        1. Yes I am from a Sheikh family but we are descended from converts. We never really had issues like that although our family were the local zamindars of our village.

        2. Generally yes, they do keep a low profile so you barely hear about them. I have only ever met a handful and they are pretty similar to their non-Muslim counterparts. My family have traditionally been academics, doctors and lawyers etc.

        3. There aren’t really any problems to be honest. Tensions between British Indian and British Pakistanis is vastly overstated despite efforts during the 2019 election where there were efforts to shoehorn the Kashmir issue in, it didn’t have a substantial effect.

        4. Not really, again that is overstated. Even Shia-Sunni tensions aren’t as big as in neighbouring Pakistan. The Shia in Lucknow for example have had some reservations about the BJP since the CAA bill was put forward.

        5. Yes just like other communities in India, generally marriage within one’s religion is preferred. However in my family we have been marrying non-Indians for more than a century. This issued was first faced in the 1910s and we were generally okayish with it then since that time there have been many mixed members of the family born, I have relatives who are half Turkish, half Polish, half German, half Scottish, fully English etc. It doesn’t bother us that much.

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      2. 1. Given the history you’ve given of your family, I assume you have an Ashraf background. Do the elite Muslims treat those from a Dalit background differently? There was a long-form article on Caravan Magazine last month called ‘Blind Spots: Caste in Contemporary Muslim autobiographies’ where I read that there’s wide-ranging subtle discrimination.

        Yes I am a Shaikh but we converted to Islam circa 13th Century AD. That wasn’t an issue for us despite being the main zamindars of our village.

        2. How do Indian Muslims in Britain perform economically in comparison to Hindus and Sikhs? Do they have the same representation among professional classes (doctor, lawyer etc.)?

        Indian Muslims in Britain are well integrated here like their non-Muslim counterparts. They keep a low profile so one barely hears about them compared to the Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. They do work in similar professions as doctors, lawyers etc. My own family have traditionally worked in those professions

        3. How are relations with other religious/national communities in Britain? Especially the relations of Indian Muslims with Hindus and Sikhs, vis a vis Muslim Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.

        Relations are fine, even tensions between British Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis is vastly overstated despite the efforts of some.

        4. Do you think Muslims of an Arab/Persian/Turkish background look down upon subcontinental Muslims? If so, then is there a racial angle here? Or is it just because the majority of Indians in the Middle East are blue-collar so it’s a class difference?

        Persian and Turkish Muslims are fine with South Asian Muslims. There are issues though when they migrated to the Gulf Arab states with racism etc.

        5. In terms of marriages of the extended family, are Muslims of a different ethnicity preferred to someone of a different religion but the same ethnicity? What percentage of British Indian Muslims do you think would be comfortable with a daughter having a partner from a different religion? Would they be fine with children of said union being brought up in a different religion?

        Like all South Asian families, it is generally preferred to marry within one’s own community. However my family have been marrying non-Indians for more than a century. I have a lot of mixed relatives now with backgrounds from different countries.

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    3. / Quote …Pakistan is increasingly accepted into the Middle Eastern political and economic networks./

      Agree with Azeem here. This has been a work in progress forever. Numerous times has Pak tried to be mediator between Iran and Arabs with little progress. Fact is Turks, Iranians and Arabs have their own priorities where South Asia is not that high on their list. Kashmir cause has been a poor cousin of Palestine even after countless efforts by Pak in all islamic forums. If only they would use same zeal reserved for uniting ummah with their own neighbors it would have come to fruition much more easily.

      /Quote: Jinnah had himself stated, “The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, litterateurs./

      This statement will be acceptable to hardcore Pak nationalist and and extreme Hindu RW. That led Pak to decimate their minorities (Now they are searching and eliminating minorities within Muslims)
      But how does India progress with this black and white view?

      I think Jinnah was trying to paint the picture he wanted to see rather than the one that describes reality. Things are not so black and white but much more fluid. Religion doesnt have to have exclusive say over culture of its followers!

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      1. My own experience with Iranians is that they look down on Pakistanis and think that India would have been better off united. The religiousity of Pakistanis puts off many Iranians because they have been living under a theocracy for 41 years now.
        I will again say that Jinnah didn’t know what he really wanted even until the end. The question of whether Pakistan should be a secular or Islamic state is something that is still grappled with. Also I don’t see a clear definition of who a Muslim is as the Shia and Ahmadis are considered non-Muslim by some.

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        1. Quote /I will again say that Jinnah didn’t know what he really wanted even until the end./
          In light of that statement, he seems like a naive idealist instead of a astute statesman.

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      2. “I think Jinnah was trying to paint the picture he wanted to see rather than the one that describes reality. Things are not so black and white but much more fluid. Religion doesnt have to have exclusive say over culture of its followers!”

        I don’t think Jinnah was fully correct, but I do think it’s closer to the truth than the opposite view that Hindus and Muslims were in a peaceful syncretic union of brotherhood until the British came and pit the Hindus and Muslims against each other.

        As for what India should do with that kind of statement… I think some sort of truth and reconciliation is a good path forward. Countries can be multi-national.

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    4. \Jinnah had himself stated, “The Hindus and Muslims \
      This Jinnah quote applies not only with Hindus , but others also, Christians, Buddhists, Daoists and who else. For orthodox Muslim worldview, it is different and opposite to modernist political project of equal human rights for all . That is why Muslims born and raised in the UK have gone on suicide missions within and outside UK, and there is Muslim separatist movements in Thailand or Phillipines , or in so many places. Black converts to islam felt so much of this opposition that the first violent putsch to overthrow an lawful government happened in Trinidad, which was suppressed
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaat_al_Muslimeen_coup_attempt

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  17. A United India would have been difficult to administer even with a loose federal structure. The majority of multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation states have been coming apart at the seams in the 20th century. The nation states that are managing to stay united have one dominant ethnicity/religion/some-other identity. A united Europe is unfinished business.

    It is unfortunate that partition was such a bitter affair and left such a tortured legacy. I am convinced that multiple nation states was an inevitable outcome.

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  18. “Turkey already has a substantial number of English speakers”

    This actually might be why the Turkey-Pakistan relation actually has seen more development.

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    1. Also the Khilafat Movement is positively remembered despite the fact that Jinnah was vehemently against it as it was religious based. When Gandhi sided with the movement, that permanently damaged his relationship with Jinnah.

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      1. I think Khilafat movement and its effect on Gandhi-Jinnah split is exaggerated. Thats the reason its the movement is seen positively in Pakistan. Jinnah latter dabbling into to Islamic politics itself shows that he never held any principle opposition against using religion in politics. Compare that to someone like Tagore who did disagree with Gandhi often at the cost of his own credibility, on the same issue.

        It was just a convenient excuse which we see even in politicians 2day as well, where the real reason to be quite different than the espoused reason. The real reason was that Jinnah felt that first Gandhi and then Nehru took up his position in the nationalist movement even though both of them were relative outsiders. He had toiled hard and Gokhale just gave up his position, to Gandhi. He was also suffering from personal issues which made him even more anxious and alone and he moved to London.

        Once he returned he found that even the No 2 position under Gandhi has been taken by a younger version of him. Frankly once he was back in late 30s he would have made his peace had he been an heir apparent of Gandhi with Gandhi being the symbolic leader of the movement, but even that wasn’t on offer. So he became the leader of the 2nd best party which gave him the near ubiquitous power that he no longer was ready to become 2nd fiddle anywhere. All power politics.

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        1. Bear in mind that was during the phase when Jinnah had been called an “Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim” unity by Tilak after the Lucknow agreement in 1916.

          He was secular for much of his life according to Ayesha Jalal.He doesn’t come across as an Islamic leader at all, he had a lot more in common with Nehru in terms of socio-economic background than say Jamaat-e-Islami.

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  19. Jinnah was well educated, quick witted, a top barrister, truly the father of Pakistan, etc. One of the things that has always puzzled me is that for such a remarkable personality, Jinnah left very little about his thoughts, his view of history, his vision for the new nation, etc. Other than a few famous speeches, he left very few substantial writings. This is especially true after he returned from self-imposed exile in Britain in 1934. This is in such stark contrast to Gandhi, Nehru, Ambedkar, Azad, etc., etc. Perhaps, this was because Jinnah did not have the luxury of time, since he was never imprisoned by the British Govt.

    Did this lack of intellectual baggage put to paper enable him to be all things to all subcontinental Muslims because nobody could ping him down on what were his core beliefs, who did he define as a Muslim, what were his core beliefs as a Muslim, how they squared with so many of his habits that would be considered haram by most Muslims. Were these contradictions so many that it was prudent to stick to a few fundamental ideas that were vague and hence could be all things to all Muslims?

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    1. Jinnah was already ill with tuberculosis when Pakistan seemed inevitable. This might have pushed him to rush through his ideas as he knew that he didn’t have much time left to live. It was one of the big regrets of Pakistanis that Jinnah died so early on, although he did sow the seeds of Bengali separatism which wasn’t helpful.

      Liaquat Ali Khan was perhaps a leader in the mold of Jinnah and he might have been able to tackle Pakistan’s problems but he too died early on in Pakistan’s history when he was assassinated by Saad Akbar Babrak

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      1. “he did sow the seeds of Bengali separatism which wasn’t helpful.”

        Another point is that he propounded the hostage theory which really turned off many Hindus left in Pakistan (the majority of who were in East Bengal).

        If the founder of a country says that Hindus and Muslims are 2 different nations then what would the average East Bengali Hindu think of Islamic Pakistan? Add to that there was the hostage theory, where the only purpose of the Hindus would be as punching bags if something happened to Muslims left in India. For all these reasons, the Hindus had no reason to be loyal to Pakistan, Jinnah was just a ‘Muslim’ leader who was in no position to represent them.

        As things stood, many Punjabis, Pathans, and elite Ashrafs were rather racist to Bengalis based on the happenings on the ground from the 1950s to the ’70s. Syed Ahmed Khan’s writings in the 1800s would encapsulate those thoughts well. The Urdu imposition issue added fuel to the fire but there was enough fuel already.

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        1. India and Pakistan have issues with their minorities today. I wonder what Jinnah would have made of that.

          Imposing Urdu on East Pakistan was not a wise move at all and India was able to take advantage of the growing Bengali separatist movement in 1971 when it fought a war with Pakistan

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