Pakistan and India: Why Did They Diverge?

By Omar Ali 54 Comments

@FrankBullit67 is a well-read Rajput from India, and an active presence on Twitter. He composed a thread on partition and his view of why India and Pakistan have diverged in many ways since independence. I tweeted it with the comment that it was interesting, but I may not agree with all of it. Which led to several people asking me “what do you disagree with?”. I had not really thought it through, but here is what I came up with; Frank’s tweets are combined into paragraphs and any comment I may have is under the tweet in red. (1. that India and Pakistan have not diverged as advertised here is another possible argument, I skipped that for now, and 2. everybody forgets Bangladesh, which fact was nicely summarized by @shivamsethi01 and i have attached a screenshot at the end of this post).

Frank: I was going to do a thread on Partition in the form of a historical chronology – I think that can wait. I’ve decided to do a thread which is more “philosophical” and on “principles” about Partition. So here goes. As we know, “partition” carved two countries out of one in 1947. One with a Hindu majority (~85% Hindu in 1947 but now 79%). The other with a Muslim majority (over 90% Muslim in 1947 – even more skewed now).

The process was extremely bloody resulting in over a million deaths (some think the figure could be two million).

For those who are unfamiliar with the scale of the carnage, it is worth Googling Margaret Burke-White’s pictures of partition for LIFE Magazine (see here).

Indians, Pakistanis and Brits can keep arguing for centuries about who was responsible for what but that’s another subject. The purpose of this thread is to concentrate on what I think is the key philosophical divergence between Hinduism and Islam which made violent conflict or a “partition” unavoidable. Although one can write an encyclopaedia on the theological differences between the two Faiths, the key difference to me is on the question of “Blasphemy”. Broadly, Hinduism has had atheists in the mix for millennia (or those with a weak adherence to faith or those who have created new sects). This was never punished. As a result, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and later Sikhism lived next to each other for millennia or centuries despite enormous theological differences.

(I do not disagree with this, but I do think it “essentializes” Islam. Classical Islam is indeed hegemonic and built firmly on the “Mosaic distinction”, but past performance is no guarantee of future results. Things change. Even Muslims do. SOME Muslims already rely on vague “sufi” narratives (Rumi saying “I am a Hindu, Christian, Jew..” that sort of thing) to develop a personal religion that is very different from Classical Islam. Until now they have very little theological support in mainstream ulema, but this too will change in some places. In short, I am claiming that Muslims are also humans. Most of them will adjust their religion to circumstances more than they adjust circumstances to their religion. )

Frank: Islam’s approach to Blasphemy is radically different. Basically, Blasphemy = Death. Once Islam entered the lands of the Dharmic faiths, its insistence was on imposing Islamic blasphemy rules on everyone else. Some will vehemently disagree but this problem became impossible to hide with the “Rangeela Rasool” case. It started with Muslims slandering Bhagwan Ram and Sita. Hindus responded by “slandering” the Prophet – words v words. A Muslim responded by stabbing the alleged “Blasphemer” to death. As this was in British India, the murderer was tried under Colonial era laws and was hanged. Iqbal and Jinnah both tried to stop the execution but it didn’t work. Muslims pressured the British to introduce a “Blasphemy law” – the British, concerned about violent feuds between Hindus and Muslims, caved in and introduced Section 295A, IPC. As I had mentioned before, 600,000 Muslims turned up for the killer Ilm ud Din’s funeral in Lahore. He was and is a hero to Muslims even today.

(I am the last person to disagree with any of this. My only comment is that even this famous and prominent aspect of Islam can be changed, but it will take a long time in Muslim majority countries. In other countries like Sweden (or even India) it will change sooner, but at the price of increasing support for Right wing parties. Anyway, I don’t see it as an impossible task at all).

Frank: What partition eventually did was create two states with divergent views on Blasphemy. In India, the Colonial era law survives but it isn’t used often (though Muslims have managed to impose a Blasphemy code on the rest of the population through violent reprisals – same as Europe). Pakistan of course went much further and passed a law which punishes Blasphemy with death. This was introduced in the regime of the Islamist dictator Zia ul Haq. The law is an absolute terror and all kinds of people (including, ironically, Muslims) must live in terror of this law. It is my contention that no society with blasphemy laws has ever achieved scientific or technological advancement. The spirit of “free enquiry” is fundamental in the pursuit of science. I also believe this is one of the factors which explains the divergence between Britain and Spain. Although the Spanish conquered most of South America and pillaged their gold, they weren’t able to turn this vast hoard of new capital into scientific and technological advancement. The British, however, in due time, relaxed their laws on Blasphemy gradually resulting in a scientific and technological explosion in Britain and later in the most successful British colony: America. Spain became a backwater and only achieved first world status more recently.

(I am a huge supporter of free enquiry and free speech and I think it does have practical benefits (for what it is worth, I would support it even if the material benefits are not impressive) but I do think the great divergence is a complicated topic and I am sure there are many factors that played a role even if relative freedom of inquiry had something to do with it)

Frank: Now comparing India and Pakistan, the same divergence appears. The overall scientific output of India after independence, though modest by western standards, is still phenomenal when compared with Pakistan. Even the Pakistani excuse that India is 6X bigger doesn’t hold. Israel is 1/30th the size of Pakistan but has produced more science than the entire Islamic World combined.

(I think India’s advantages are more about scale and initial educational and scientific capital than any difference in freedom of speech. I am all for freedom of speech and if India has more of it than Pakistan, good for them, but I really don’t think it played much of a role in the difference in scientific output. It may indeed be a factor, but it is not the main factor, not yet. There are many other factors)

Frank: We have to ask ourselves: what do Indians (especially non-Muslim Indians) want? I think the answers are: peace, prosperity and security. The only way to achieve that is with science and rule of law. What do Pakistanis want? Sharia it seems is priority no. 1.

(I do not agree with this. I think Pakistanis want many of the same things Indian or anyone else wants. Islam is not some sort of magic that makes humans into something else. Modernization (including mass education) has brought textbook Islam into the lives of ordinary people in Pakistan much more so than in most Muslim countries, where education does not have the same heavy Islamic content as it does in Pakistan, Saudi and Iran. That has combined with traditional Islamic teaching to ensure that many people know that the correct answer to “what do you want in life” is “shariah”. But one should also look at what people do, rather than what they say. And what they do has much less to do with Islam and more with survival or even crooked money-making. I am not dismissing this element totally. Obviously, there is extensive support in principle for Islamisation and that has real-life consequences (most of them negative from my POV), but the notion that all or most Pakistanis wake up every day dreaming of shariah rule is still not correct. And will not become correct even if current mass education and media manipulation continues. This is a difficult point to convey, but what I am trying to say is that the negative influence of Islamism is real, but nowhere close to such totality)

Frank: Whatever the arguments for or against Partition, non-Muslims Indians have a state in which Blasphemy laws can either be expunged or watered down in the pursuit of science and economic growth. Indian Muslims may want Sharia by the same percentages as Pakistanis but that’s not likely to be enough to impose it on the entire populace except in pockets like Kashmir with a Muslim majority.

In Pakistan, the Sharia law structure/system is here to stay. Pakistan is now at less than half the per capita income of India and sinking lower. It has no industries.

The “model” depends upon parasitical dependence on superpowers and remittances from the oil rich Gulf by migrant workers. Both are reaching a dead end. American largesse is down to a pittance and the Chinese don’t do free money. Gulf remittances will eventually go to zero. Interestingly, Pakistan’s per capita income was 50% higher than both India and China at the end of the Cold War. It is now a basket case. Partition has given two sides what they wanted more or less. Hindus have no desire to live under Sharia or face relentless attacks to impose totalitarian Sharia. Muslims got a state in which totalitarian Sharia and can be honed and refined ad infinitum on shoe string incomes and shrinking calorific intakes. Whatever the arguments for or against Partition, both sides got what they wanted (though Hindus could do better and crack down very hard on Sharia loving Muslims who are ready to commit murder in the name of Blasphemy). That said, the two states have divergent and very different philiosophies and characters with very divergent results. Here is a good documentary on murder and oppression in the name of Blasphemy in Pakistan:

Hindus have escaped this hell for the most part.

(I agree that blasphemy (and apostasy) memes do terrific damage in Pakistan and will do more in the days to come, but I also think RW non-Muslims overestimate how shariah bound Pakistan is at this time. In actual fact the society and legal system in Pakistan are still very far from what classical shariah imagines as the “ideal state”. And it will remain very distant from it because that state has never existed and does not have enough congruence with modern life to actually exist. Classical Islamic sharia is one of those aspirational dreams that is enforced nowhere in practice at this time. Attempts to live by it in ISIS-land were not exactly a shining success. Pakistan DOES have a serious problem with the fact that most people are educated to desire sharia law but live in a westernized military-ruled state with colonial era British laws and an elite that has mostly modernist aspirations. Tomorrow this elite will be given its marching orders from Beijing and those will not be sharia-compliant either. These contradictons create endless problems, but that is not the same thing as being a shariah ruled disaster zone. Frank also underestimates Pakistani economic development a little bit. He is not entirely wrong (it is not doing great) but one can still imagine better management under XiJinping’s rule. It is true that “strategic rents” will continue to be a major source of income for the elite and remittances will be for ordinary people, but there IS an economy and it is not totally hopeless. Since I am not very economics literate, I have to add that I may be wrong about this and this is Frank’s field so I should be a little humble. Still, my impression is that Frank may overstate how terminal the condition of the Pakistani economy is. That said, novelist Asif Ismael did predict a serious Islamist revolution and subsequent disasters by 2050. Let us hope he is wrong 😊    (i also dont think Hindus have escaped it AS completely at Frank implies, but that is a different argument )

 

 

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54 Replies to “Pakistan and India: Why Did They Diverge?”

  1. BTW Omar Bhai, still waiting for your post on your views on Partition and TNT, which you promised some time back. 😉

  2. in all fairness, the common hindu is not bothered about partition. they just want muslims in india to go about their lives as normal human beings.

  3. @Omar
    \In actual fact the society and legal system in Pakistan are still very far from what classical shariah imagines as the “ideal state”.\
    This is precisely the driver of Pakistani movement or ZiaulHuq, Islamization, or myriad fundemntalist groups in Pakistan. Omar may be happy about this state of affairs, but a man in the street in Pakistan is very unhappy.

    Apart from Blasphemy , hunger for Sharia laws, general Arabization in culture/religion, insane efforrts to define True Muslims and punish false Muslims , both at the street level and government level also charaterise Pakistan.

    Actually this is all ideological superstructure from a materialist pov. All this Islamization is orchestreated by feudal-military complex, both within and without Pakistan. It has all the hallmarks of a rentier state, Pakistan sells it’s advnatgaes as a strategic buffer between South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia to the highest bidding super power. Superpowers don’t care about the socio-political aspects of Pakistan as long as the Pakistani elite delivers the goods, whether providing sepoys and havaldars to the NATO during Col war, or siding with the US the in the War on Terror or now the Chinese strategic ambitions.

    As they say in stock markets, Past performance is no guide to the future – that is the only hope. By the time any changes come Pakistan would have been sucked dry

  4. Farzi Indian bravado, Pakistan per capita GDP is not one half of India. Using the same logic Indians should bury themselves in dirt for having a per capita GDP one fifth of the Chinese. On Islam being retarded and making people act violently, I wholeheartedly agree, but clearly being assholes gives Muslims evolutionary advantage blunted only recently by the rise of tit-for-tat Israel.

    Almost the entire difference in GDP can be explained by only a handful of industries:
    IT
    Auto
    Petroleum
    Pharma
    Finance
    Steel(maybe)

    Pakistan has already caught up in Power sector by outsourcing the heavy lifting to the Chinese, it is as good or better than India in infrastructure and would only get better with the building of new railway main-line from Karachi to Peshawar. Petroleum needs scale and Steel was never even an option for Pakistan, the big things they have to crack are automobiles, finance and pharma or create their own champion industries. Pharma and Finance are difficult but if Pakistanis really tried they could have built a auto-ecosystem. Would love to hear from a Pakistani professional on the ground why this hasn’t worked out?

    On a different note I have always wondered why did shipbuilding never catch up in a big way in India? maybe it was due to lack of good private players. Bharati, ABG and Pipavav(Reliance) are insolvent. Last man standing, L&T, is loosing money and relies on naval orders. What went wrong? Any ideas?

    One industry I wish India could get into is consumer electronics, nothing else can generate as many jobs. Need to really persuade Foxconn and Samsung.
    https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/india-electronic-exports-can-rise-16-fold-to-180-billion-by-2025/story/414668.html

  5. The differences between Ind/Pak are being exaggerated greatly. In nominal terms India’s per capita GDP is only about a third higher, and the divergence happened only as recently as 2007. India outperforms greatly on gender and educational metrics and pakistan is relatively better with regard to hunger. I’m not bullish on their trajectory more because the lack of emphasis on female education than because of the related but not directly correlated factors of religious intolerance. I have been to pakistan and it was somewhat more orderly and prosperous in the early 2000s. The social freedom that existed in Lahore and Karachi didnt seem anything like impression people seems to have here.

    1. I agree but doesn’t “social freedom that existed in Lahore and Karachi” a bit much? I have Indian American friends who visit Mumbai since childhood and they only came to know abt Dharavi when Slumdog came out.

      1. Saurav, the social freedom thing, yes, is not going to be the case with all echelons of society, its fair to suppose. But i saw a slice of middle class lahore as well, and the environment on college campuses. My read was that there’s this punjabi extroversion that was hardly different than what i’d expect in ludhiana or some place. The culture of wearing burqas was far less than what it was among deccani muslims. Attending a middle-class wedding, the women on the grooms side of the family actually danced, albeit not as suggestively as what would be permitted at a punjabi hindu/sikh event. There’s definitely a sense that women were less independent and you didn’t see them zipping around scooters or anything, but nor was that common all over india either. We had zero problem scoring booze in our hotel as non-muslims, although the vast majority of our hosts were non-drinkers. I did hang out with one taliban-ish dude who was quite fixated on having theological debates with us, but he was considered an oddball by the others. My guess is that his type has increased in the passing years. Broadly speaking, witnessed much more “arabization” in karachi, mumbai, and further south india, as one might expect from geographical-historical patterns.

        1. Well i would put b/w the similar social groupings for India and Pak, the Pak group would be more conservative. You would hardly see “arabization” in a middle / upper middle class muslim family in Delhi, Lucknow etc. Yeah there would be that odd cousin or uncle who would be Tablighi. But that;s about it. I get your point though.

          There was a series of articles on The Friday times by a Pak author who visited Punjab and wider N-India and the chronicled the difference some years back. Plus Karachi has its own “Mumbai underbelly” shown in some of their movies.

  6. simple theory for partition from me:
    A very big gap between theology of Hinduism and Islam albeit with many similarities like fasting,chanting,lunar significance in festivals but the structure of the two Civilizations one is Justice based and other has intellectual freedom.
    This gap is very hard to cover once you convert to a absolutist religion which is against what HIndu practices in his/her daily life that is Idol Workship. Basically resentment of Abrahamic faiths towards Pagans( its a degrading word in UK culture).
    Only solution is Brutal secularism.
    What would have happened if Christianity was the largest Minority instead of Islam in term of the left discourse on India?

  7. I felt his thesis was a bit of a stretch. The blasphemy policies of Pakistan or even the tendencies in Muslims prior to partition don’t appeal to me as the cause of divergence between Hindus and Muslims. I don’t think the divergence can be pinned down on one big factor but rather on a bunch of smaller factors.

    In your opinion what are the most important causes of this divergence?

    1. Automobiles-Petroleum-IT-Pharma.

      To be specific:
      Maruti Udyog, Hyundai, Tata, Mahindra, Hero-Honda, Bajaj, TVS.
      Reliance Industries
      Infosys,TCS,Wipro
      Sun, Lupin, Ranbaxy

      That’s it. All else is talk.

      1. Thats like saying America ain’t nothing without Google, Boeing, Amazon, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Microsoft, Facebook, etc etc.

        of course a country’s top 10 companies are going to be major drivers of its growth and economy, not to mention stock market.

        1. Not my field of expertise but isn’t America just Canada+google/MS/amazon/Chase/GS/Boeing…

          Or isn’t Gemany nothing but Czechia+BMW/Seimens/Bosch-Bayer

          Or isn’t italy = slovenia+……

          At the end of the day Pakistanis are Indians (albeit retarded) whatever advantages we have they have too.

      2. @Bhimrao

        Do not underestimate Indian Agriculture. A lot of Gulf states try to stay in good books of India because of agricultural and livestock exports. If we pull the plug, some societies will start circling the drain in less than 2 weeks.

        Indian Agriculture is tremendously underestimated by Indians thanks to marxist/populist caricature of that sector.

      3. That’s just a over simplification. For every Hyundai there are 300+ suppliers that exist around them. Ever thought why there are only 3 automotive centers in India?? The ecosystem needs to be built and it does not happen overnight. For eg, take Chennai which has about 40%+ passenger and commercial vehicle manufacturing in India. It had 100+ years of technical education in the city (CEG, Guindy), an ecosystem of design and casting companies, GOI enterprises like CVRDE, ICF and corporates like Ashok Leyland, Standard Motors and so on. It took roughly 50+ years before Ford and Hyundai came to the city after which Daimler, BMW, Nissan, Renault etc.

        Every single company in your list requires this ecosystem to be built, including the software companies. Technical education and expertise is not something that you can built or outsource overnight.

        1. @Jay
          I meant Maruti udyog = Maruti + it’s technical suppliers.

          Even if we account for all the people in IT+Auto+Finance+Pharma and all their suppliers, we still won’t have even 10 million people. The point being a very tiny percentage of people in a very few industries differentiate India from Pakistan. It doesn’t mean these sectors make up all or major portion of our economy, just that the rest of the economic activity is same in India and Pakistan. We have truckers, they have truckers, we have restaurants/retail they have restaurants/retail, we have builders they have builders,….

  8. Omar, the amount of money both India and Pakistan spent on defense against each other since the ’60s greatly limited the growth potential of both countries. A thought experiment would be to calculate the defense budgets devoted only to each other and compound that over the past 55 years since 1965 as a lost opportunity cost that could have been spent in other areas.

    A major fork in the history of this part of the world came in the 1960-71 long-decade starting with the Sino-Indian war in 1962. Up until then India had kept the defense budget limited to 2%, but had to invest massively in it after that. China then tested nukes in 1964, Pakistan under Ayub Khan started off a war with Operation Gibraltar in 1965 sensing Indian weakness, the Naxalite insurgency starting in 1967 set large parts of the country on fire, the Chinese started another clash on the Sikkim border a few months later, and in a few years millions of Bengali refugees came in followed by another war in 1971.

    India already had many droughts in addition to these three wars, and were it not for Norman Borlaug, would likely have had multiple famines. Pakistan limiting jute exports to India in the same time period hit Calcutta’s industries hard. Had the 1965 war not occurred, the border might have remained open for trade and the relations between the two countries would not have been as acrimonious. India also had a fledgling market-liberal movement in the form of the Swatantra party that couldn’t compete with Indira’s populism in the ’70s starting with her bank nationalization.

    From an economic perspective India was preoccupied with industrialization via 5 year plans using the Mahalanobis model developed in 1955 developed by the ISI (the Indian Statistical Institute in Calcutta, not the other organization with this acronym). Effectively, he said it would require sacrificing a generation of Indians from consumer goods in order to spend the money on importing capital goods followed by heavy industrialization, which would then spur downstream industries and eventually lead to consumer good production in a few decades.

    While this eventually led to the development of the license raj, it also helped create a lot of engineering (read middle-class) jobs for all the steel plants, petrochemical industries and other manufacturing state-owned companies that came up. So with the first IITs setting up in the ’50s, India already had a small aspirational education-heavy class that saw engineering (not science) as a way to a secure life. The other upwardly mobile classes saw this somewhat successful middle-class of engineers and followed suit, and STEM became a thing (medicine was already a respected profession), Nehru’s call for scientific temperament helped too.

    I don’t see Pakistan as that much behind India, what they missed out on was land reforms in the ’50s due to structural causes as the feudal class were among the main supporters of Partition, but I don’t know if that’s a viable option anymore. The main reason it’s lagging Bangladesh and India today is the larger proportion of the budget spent on defense and in paying off debt instead of diverting that to education and spending on capital goods intensive imports, along with creating a safe and stable internal environment for business.

    1. Does Pakistan even have a solid engineering core?
      1) I have not seen any remarkable civil engineering works done by Pakistanis.
      2) Military tanks, missiles and planes… are all paint-jobs on Chinese stuff.
      3) They buy communications satellites from China and recently tried to bluff by calling a South-African built satellite as their very-own indigenous imaging satellite.
      4) No indigenous car (other than the embarrassing Adam Revo), no indigenous locomotive (some screw-driving in Risalpur), no indigenous car engine. Biggest achievement so far are farm tractors.
      5) Nonexistent shipbuilding other than some activity at Karachi naval dockyards.
      6) Nonexistent Electronics or Software industry. Nascent IT industry. No Iron-Steel/Chemicals heavy industry.

      I might be wrong but it seems Pakistanis severely lacks competent engineering man-power because of under-investment into good engineering schools. Their flagship projects- Thar coal, Diamer dam, Karachi nuclear power plant, Lahore/Peshawar Metro, Quaid-e-azam solar park, Nandipur power plant, are all in shambles due to incompetence. Everyone in Pakistan seems to be an analyst, defence and international relations-expert. Too much ‘nazariya’, ‘narrative’ too little hard skills.

  9. Bhim, its not as gloomy for India.

    India is lucky that it had 2 decades of good growth and now finally settling down to 5-6 percent which is perhaps its real measure. We lifted lot of folks out of poverty during that. WRT Pakistan they never had that decadal growth. Now as things have stabilized , I forsee India and Pakistan economic growth now closely mirroring.

    1. I wish growth could be higher, being poor sucks.

      We have so much physical infrastructure that is yet to be made. At the heart of it most of economic activity is just laying roads/rails and building houses. India is just getting started with road building/housing. Plus we have so much left to do in food and nutrition, have you seen the growth of that ABCD guy’s greek-yogurt company Epigamia in India? We don’t yet have our own Kraft, Nestle, Danone… such companies are inevitable. Then there is the issue of Indian guys like you and me cracking self-employment/entrepreneurship in a big way.
      Check this factory out:
      https://www.ptcil.com/ and this is in fucking shit-hole Lucknow!
      We still have to build (and make money from) Hospitals, schools…

      What we don’t have is any inspiring world-class product, everything that comes out of our country is a second-rate compromise. We don’t have anything on which we can charge whatever we want or where enormous economies of scales help us. China has conclusively beaten us at that, but give it time, we will give the fuckers a fight.

      At the heart of it I know that the problem is all Indians look down on manual labor and covet a stable job. Once talented people sucking up to gora people in American companies see they are being really left behind by entrepreneurs in India things will heat up.

  10. I would put the blame of divergence on Islamic exceptionalism (if we take Shahi Hamid’s word for it) – namely preference for Umma (which I find deeply problematic) over humanity/ethnic identity – with the Khilafat movement being the most Stupid natural extension of it. Its a reason i am more critical of Islam than other faiths as I feel this is an essential appeal of Islam which is detrimental to the humanity on whole – take that away maybe Islam will loose its appeal.
    This continues to certain extent even with subcontinental Muslim’s sympathies with Palestine and opposition to Israel. Strong ethnic identities seem to be the bulwark against stronger Islamic identity as can be clearly attested in better state of Muslim countries with strong ethnic identity. Clearly “bengaliness” has saved Bangladesh.
    Hence I would hope Pakistan reorients internally as the North West Frontier India which is now Pakistan which was always looked down by the Indians as Mlecchas (As some like Ariangang have been saying).

    Other critical point for divergence would be something which is historically seen as an ASSET – its geopolitical position which has been detrimental for the country – viz USA, Soviets and now China

    1. When a subcontinent Muslim mentions Palestine, it is almost always anti-semitism and not anti-colonialism.

      There are even pictures of Jitendra Awhad wearing a Tshirt for free Palestine. म्हणजे संबंध काय? I understand he serves a Muslim-plurality constituency, but still. What is the point of that?

        1. Yeah, but he doesn’t have to do that. He is elected from Mumbra constituency.

          He can win the constituency even if he doesn’t even lift a finger. Why is he doing such dramas then? He is simply creating counter-polarization.

        2. First explain Mulayam and Lalu 🤣 before dunking on less Hindu regions. Before you say they are history, I would wait for 25-30 period where m+y combo does not win power. The Hindu heartland has been missing in action for 1200 years or so. First climb the mountain, the view might change.

        3. LOL, bro the other Hindu regions will have to first catch up for 1200 years or so to come close to our “Hindu” output. We can rest on our laurels till then.

          Next time you read or pray to anything remotely Hindu just remember where it all originally came from. And then we talk.

          1. Bro, I just have counter examples to your theory of connecting current politician behavior with “hinduness” of that region.
            The Hindu pilgrimage spots in North India and classical texts are shared heritage of all Hindus. You seem to think that north Indian Hindus are higher in totem pole just like what Arabs are in Islam. That is just your opinion.
            If some region wants to rest on Laurels then they may have to take a seat in the equivalent of margdarshak Mandal 😀

          2. “The Hindu pilgrimage spots in North India and classical texts are shared heritage of all Hindus. ”

            No bro, its not, i dont remember allowing non N- Indians to share my heritage . Do Dravidians share their glorious TAMIZZZZZH culture with others? But of course if u are nice , we can loan you some of our gods and stuff.

            Ask the gujjus , they got one from us. 🙂

            “You seem to think that north Indian Hindus are higher in totem pole just like what Arabs are in Islam. ”

            Could that be because that’s the truth ? For anything else, please refer to the tweet i linked in the comment below

          1. //No bro, its not, i dont remember allowing non N- Indians to share my heritage . Do Dravidians share their glorious TAMIZZZZZH culture with others? But of course if u are nice , we can loan you some of our gods and stuff.//

            Usual myopic view from the Muslim heartland. Say that to the millions of North Indian pilgrims who visit of SI temples on pilgrimage.

      1. “When a subcontinent Muslim mentions Palestine, it is almost always anti-semitism and not anti-colonialism.”

        it is neither anti-semitism nor anti-colonialism. it is simply an embarrassing spectacle of unrequited love for the fictitious ummah.

        i say unrequited because arabs, even as hapless as palestinian arabs care two hoots about indian muslims.

        and when hindu politicians don t-shirts expressing support for arabs, it becomes multi-layered embarrassment. difficult to fathom, but there it is..

        1. “when hindu politicians don t-shirts expressing support for arabs, it becomes multi-layered embarrassment. difficult to fathom’

          Less Hindu region politicians

    2. // North West Frontier India which is now Pakistan which was always looked down by the Indians as Mlecchas (As some like Ariangang have been saying) //

      Why assume that the term was used for everyone in the region ? Since it is a region which has historically been accessed from various neighboring regions thus may be it ‘Malicchaness’ comes from it’s cosmopolitan nature or maybe due to region’s cosmopolitan nature Brahmins never reached the same reverence as in some other regions & hence they mentioned the people of region as ‘Malecchas’ ?

      Point being why attribute certain features as ‘facts’ to the region when there can be multiple possibilities ?

      Also plz. point me to the sources where region is synonymous with Mlecchas ?

  11. // I am claiming that Muslims are also humans. Most of them will adjust their religion to circumstances more than they adjust circumstances to their religion. //

    I agree partially but Sufi is most dangerous as it helps in covering Islamist beliefs of it’s followers for long periods of time before Islamist turn E.g. http://asu.thehoot.org/media-watch/media-practice/ndtv-on-salafism-9703.

    Yes humans don’t really have time for politics & so it mostly remains a side matter but people who are in power game i.e. within religious hierarchy or in political arena use all sort of tactics to grasp power & that’s where the problem of Islam lies since it’s core beliefs {it should be called Political theology} even with internal-differences are so similar that it makes it impossible to distinguish moderate from fundamentalist Muslim & Islamist have manufactured this link with perfection as they provide resources to Islamic institutions to inoculate Muslims into similar beliefs for political purpose & then recruit few of them to use for nefarious means aka terrorism.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inoculation_theory

    Another aspect is that all Human communities act as secondary support right behind state which again helps Islamists in spreading their beliefs among non-suspecting moderate Muslims.

    // My only comment is that even this famous and prominent aspect of Islam can be changed //

    To some extent i do agree but the real question is at what price & how ?

    // I am a huge supporter of free enquiry and free speech………………………………..but I do think the great divergence is a complicated topic and I am sure there are many factors that played a role //

    +1 Completely agree.

    // I am not dismissing this element totally. Obviously, there is extensive support in principle for Islamisation and that has real-life consequences //

    I agree & it is refreshing to see that Shariah critique is not being completely dismissed which happens in most debates about Islam.

    No comments with regards to economy since whole region needs to set it’s priorities straight with regards to economy.

  12. Possible factors…

    – Congress was led by urban elite socialist Hindus, whereas the Muslim League was more backed by landlords. The result is that the INC was more successful in land reforms, which created a less feudalistic / more egalitarian society. Another consequence of the socialist thinking is with respect to science. The Indian Constitution, right from the outset, notes as a fundamental duty that “[It shall be the duty of every citizen of India] To develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.” Dams were called the new temples by Congress leaders.

    – Colonial era differences between Hindus and Muslims. A lot of the bureaucracy, as well as merchants, were Hindu. Even during the colonial period, you had people like Sir Syed encouraging Muslims to modernize and become educated to compete with Hindus. This situation might be because of British policies or it could be a pre-existing structure that they worked with.

    – Cold War fallout. Pakistan was at the forefront of the US-USSR conflict in Afghanistan. The blowback in terms of terrorism gave Pakistan a lost decade of sorts in development.

    1. Pakistan took the war into its backyard not the other way round. It was already half a country and Ayub pro growth years were over. Plus Bhutto’s socialism , Oil shock. The war in Afghanistan was god send , as it provided both economic and military support, one which is still being milked.
      So it wasn’t all that lost decade. Yeah the winners and losers were different.

    2. The British didn’t order people who could and couldn’t trade, it was all in the free market. In East Bengal and the Punjab many of the merchants, businessmen and moneylenders were Hindu and had their stuff stolen during partition.

      Had partition never happened, even today business would be in Hindu hands in the Muslim majority areas.

    3. // The result is that the INC was more successful in land reforms, which created a less feudalistic / more egalitarian society. //

      The difference is only in method but not in result. While Pak retained feudal landlordism to large extent in India it was transformed strategically for political use. When govt. took land away from landlords & distributed among poors it kept reminding them of this & thus asking them to vote for INC leaders {which were landlords} so power never changed hands & slowly resources again got retained by INC leaders but not as landlords but as political leaders.

      // “[It shall be the duty of every citizen of India] To develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.” //

      No need to put it in words as many nations don’t have any such mandate in their constitution yet they show greater scientific temper {automatically leads to spirit of inquiry & reform}.

      // Dams were called the new temples by Congress leaders. //

      You are overlooking the inherent dichotomy of the statement. Is it completely rational, Scientific statement or is it mixing existing understanding of life with the modern developments happening at that time {Similar statements can be observed from Western Enlightenment which are used Christians to claim that Enlightenment emerged due to Christian ideals which is a whole different debate} ?

      // Colonial era differences between Hindus and Muslims. A lot of the bureaucracy, as well as merchants, were Hindu. Even during the colonial period, you had people like Sir Syed encouraging Muslims to modernize and become educated to compete with Hindus. //

      This is completely speculative point so no need to debate it.

      // Cold War fallout. Pakistan was at the forefront of the US-USSR conflict in Afghanistan. The blowback in terms of terrorism gave Pakistan a lost decade of sorts in development. //

      Cold war allowed Pakistan to extract financial resources as well as access Western weapons cache. There were both benefits & losses.

  13. It would be good if we can get someone knowledgeable and engaged like Farooq Tirmizi (twitter.com/FarooqTirmizi) to discuss this interesting topic.

    My own question: What explains the vastly different proportions of consumption, savings and investment seen in the two country’s ? The revenue of India’s largest bank is 100 times that of its Pakistani equivalent.

    1. @Vikram

      Because Hindustan is Extremistan and Pakistan is Mediocrestan. Taleb’s non-linear model applies like a glove here.

      Everyone expects the Indian stats to be only 5 or 6 times the Pakistani ones – like stock market capitalisation, IPL valuation or Port tonnage. No…. doesn’t work like that. India exhibits non-linearity.

      1. @Ugra, the empirical evidence points to this and the root does seem to be that Indians in general tend to make decisions with a longer term view. I am inclined to think though that this proclivity to make longer time frame and riskier decisions is more a feature of specific Hindu castes, which did not convert to Islam in large numbers. Bohra Muslims and Ismailis/Khojas also share in this culture. On the other hand, it does not seem that Hindu or Sikh Jats have this kind of culture.

        In the US, I have noticed that while watching cricket games featuring Pakistan on web channels, there are many ads for refinancing and debt relief. I havent seen these show up during Indian and Bangladeshi games, which are totally dominated by remittance ads.

        I have also noticed that the Jatt Sikh diaspora’s engagement with Punjab primarily involves Gurudwara restoration/expansion and other religious activities. In contrast, South Indian diaspora tend to invest in software businesses and connect the Indians to the US market.

  14. “Things change. Even Muslims do.”

    but when? when will they change? the world has waited long enough and the patience is running thin….

  15. but when? when will they change? the world has waited long enough and the patience is running thin….

    you do know that we’re several cycles in of back and forth even in the last 150 years right?

    in the early 20th century lothrop stoddard wrote about rising islamic movements because islam was seen as a decadent decaying civilization https://www.amazon.com/New-World-Islam-Lothrop-Stoddard/dp/1533647259

    then after ww2 most muslim elites assumed that nationalist socialism was the future. only after the 67 war did things start changing.

    all this stuff about how muslims are obsessed with blasphemy, but ataturk was atheist and named father of the nation and he literally persecuted traditonal turkish islam. similarly, reza shah wanted marginalize islam and place iranian racialism at the center. there were always resistors, but they went on this vein for decades. the baath party was founded a christian and is basically racist.

    you basically don’t know enough history to make interesting observations. basic.

    1. i can use the same reference points (ataturk’s turkey, rise of ba’athist secular nationalism) to make my case that islamic societies are moving inexorably in just one direction – towards more and more fundamentalism.

      rise of turkish republic was not a reaction against fundamentalist islam. it was a reaction against traditional, decaying and orthodox islam which was considered an albatross around islamic societies neck. basically ataturk wanted to compete with west employing their own toolkit. same goes for the rise of ba’ath nationalist regimes, who were trying to create european style secular nation states in arab world.

      ba’ath experiment is more or less folded up. turkey is still holding up, but not sure for how long. till about 20 years ago turkey used to be very keen on joining EU. not any more. they dont seem to care to become europeans any more.

      if islamic societies were really moving towards less political islam, then shouldn’t we be seeing more secular liberal islamic countries in the world today, than say 50 years ago? but when we look around the reality is exactly opposite. turkey’s leader openly invokes allah to tide over difficult times (they have dollar, we have allah – erdogan’s quote). secular arab nationalist republics like syria and iraq descended right into stone age islamic state, before thankfully pulling back from the brink just a bit. reza shah’s iran has given way to islamic republic of iran. show me one islamic country that has reduced political islam in its politics in the last 50 years.

      1. just to make my point more clear, you are mistaking the first attempts by islamic societies to emerge from the medieval world and enter the modern world (viz. ataturk’s republic, reza shah’s iran, baa’th iraq and syria) as willful rejection of fundamentalist islam, which they most certainly were not. the mistake would have been understandable coming from someone with only cursory knowledge of history, but coming from the foremost pundit of this blog, it is disappointing, to say the least.

      2. The enormous amount of money was invested by Serbs to civilize Bosnian muslims and gave them – University, Academy of Science and Arts, Symphony Orchestra, Theaters, Ballet, economic investments, positive discrimination, directorships of the biggest national companies, ministerial and Prime Ministerial positions in Yugoslavian government, ambassadors’ posts in many countries, military and police generals and officers, sporting members of national teams, Muslims as a nationality (!). They almost became civilized as any other Euro country…

        But, it was written a fundamentalist book – Islamic declaration, muslim ‘intellectuals’ went to fundamentalist positions exactly the same as the later ISIL, started a war to expel Christians and make Islamic country based on sharia and practiced taqiya all the way. Now, they are an ISIL style half-state, unhappy with what was given them by the deep state, pushing for a new war and for a ‘green transversal’ from Bosnia to Indonesia. In a word, the deepest primitivity and members of almost all terrorist acts in the world.

  16. An interesting question is whether India’s “exceptionalism” was really just driven by the coincidence of Nehru being the dominant figure. Congress back in those days had plenty of Hindu nationalists, both soft and hard. It just so happened that Nehru was the dominant force and he shaped the country for decades, unlike Jinnah.

    Nehru also had a strong-willed daughter who continued the legacy. Rajiv was fairly weak and ineffectual, but he was able to coast on the Congress’ legacy for a few years. In other words, the early paramount leader set the tone. While economic reforms were decisively done in 1991, they began by stealth already in 1980. So the Gandhi-Nehru family were able to shield their own family fortunes by being associated with change, unlike Mao’s apparatchiks.

    What we’re seeing now in India is probably just regression to the mean. The socialist-secularist ideology was never popular, not even among the elite. I think in the historical debates about whether “Man of history” or “structural change” matters more, Nehru is a very strong contender for the former viewpoint. Of course, both can and probably are true.

    1. Right. My extended family were acquaintances of the Nehru-Gandhi’s, particularly Sanjay before…well you know what happened. They’re also Hindu nationalists. They were willing to overlook Nehru et al’s woolly-headedness on religious matters because of friendship and force of personality, and the overall strength of INC.

      But after INC shit the bed in Uttar Pradesh and the caste-based parties rose up, and they (later) went all in on Sonia and Wokeness and NGOism, and RJB happened, my family all moved to the BJP.

    2. Right. My extended family were acquaintances of the Nehru-Gandhi’s, particularly Sanjay before…well you know what happened. They’re also Hindu nationalists. They were willing to overlook Nehru’s wooly-headedness on religious matters because of friendship and force of personality, and the overall strength of INC.

      But after INC shit the bed in Uttar Pradesh and the caste-based parties rose up, and they (later) went all in on Sonia and Wokeness and NGOism, and RJB happened, they all moved to the BJP.

      Humans like a strong horse. Once that horse grows enfeebled, then the truth will out.

    3. ” Congress back in those days had plenty of Hindu nationalists, both soft and hard.”

      So a distinction is in order. The Congress didnt have many Hindu nationalists. What they had was abundance of Hindu trads (Prasad ,Shastri , Desai,Patel). Why just Congress, the “Hindu” folks who either left Congress (Rajaji) as well as Socialists’ like Lohia etc at that point wanted no truck with Hindu nationalists.

      Since Hindu nationalism is ascendant every ethnicity (some weeks back someone wanted Dravidians included as well) in India wants a piece of it, i see this retrofitting of Congress leaders in the same vein.

    4. The same argument can be made vis-a-vis Modi and the current BJP regime. Take him out of the picture, and the BJP will struggle. Just look at the states. Even in Gujarat, the BJP barely squeaked through without him.

      Indeed, looking at the results of state elections, it would seem the Nehruvian program had much more broad based support across India. Not only did the Congress win comfortable majorities in the centre, a non-Congress state government was not formed in India till the late 1950s. Indeed in UP, the first non-Congress government to last a full five year term was Akhilesh Yadav’s SP government in 2012 !

      Most Indians still back Modi because they see him as honest and capable of laying the foundation of sustained economic growth. This is similar to the backing of Nehru who had a program of building dams and other large scale infrastructure. India is building roads, ports and rails at an unprecedented pace under Modi.

  17. There’s a lot of hubris in what Frank is saying.

    It just takes half a decade of bad policy to derail multiple decades of progress even if there’s no immediate breakdown.

    Both of us are still at very nascent stages of economic development with the vast majority living near the Malthusian boundary.

    I’d say even the pandemic is going to narrow the gap considerably.

    Pakistanis have a younger population and didn’t go for a full lockdown while we decimated almost a full quarter. Also, with Chinese supervision I expect Pakistan to do better even if they lack high tech human capital in relative terms.

    It’d be easier for Pakistan to provide blue collar industrial jobs for its people. You might also see Pakistanis moving to China to work as Chinese working age population declines.

    India has to stand on its own. And sad to say we don’t seem to have the appetite for large scale industrialization.

    We’ll see the effects in the coming years.

    Barring some freak Islamic revolution, I don’t see India and Pakistan to have diverged too much by 2050.
    (As much as I wish that were the case)

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