Browncast: Omar Ali on Pakistan, Myths and Realities

Another BP Podcast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

In this podcast we reverse positions and guest blogger Maneesh Taneja interviewed me (Omar Ali) instead of the other way round. We talk about the usual stuff, the ideology of Pakistan,  partition, why the army rules Pakistan, how the India-Pakistan thing is likely to evolve, and suchlike. Just a casual conversation.


  1. I said at around the 40 minute mark that the Indian army at partition was around 50% Muslim. That is not correct (thanks to @genionomist for pointing this out on twitter). It was about 33% Muslim, 33% Sikh and 33% Hindu.
  2. I said Pakistan officially teaches pride in the Indus valley civilization and then jumps to Mohammed Bin Qasim. I forgot to mention that we DO own the Gandhara civilization, but we present it as Buddhist, almost never as Hindu or generically “Indian”. In that sense, it is used to buttress the assertion that Pakistan was never really too “Indian”. And I did not get into this, but left-liberal types who reject or question the Two Nation theory then insist on a very sharp and black and white British 19th Century type vision of evil Aryans invading “our real people”, the heroic Dravidians. Win some, lose some 😉

I promised in the podcast that I would also post links to some articles and books I believe may be relevant. So here goes:

  1. Pakistan, Myths and Consequences. My article in “Pragati” about the ideology of Pakistan and its consequences for Pakistan can be found here. 
  2. Podcast with Venkat Dhulipala can be found here. 
  3. A link to Venkat Dhulipala’s book “creating a new Medina“, which I think is an excellent introduction to how Pakistan was imagined by many (not all) of its creators.
  4. Abdul Majeed Abid on the Objectives resolution, adopted by the Pakistani constituent assembly as the basis for a future constitution of Pakistan, can be found here. 
  5. Martial Race Theory, myths and consequences. This article by Major Amin sheds light on the genesis of the Pakistan army and its self image.
  6. Our fellow blogger “the emissary” views on India’s Islam. 
  7. Dr Hamid Hussain’s summary of the Kashmir problem is here.

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Omar Ali

I am a physician interested in obesity and insulin resistance, and in particular in the genetics and epigenetics of obesity As a blogger, I am more interested in history, Islam, India, the ideology of Pakistan, and whatever catches my fancy. My opinions can change.

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2 years ago

Always a pleasure to listen Omar sahab.

Very interesting to listen to his thoughts on how Pakistan squares the circle with being BFF with China while China being atheist and killing Ughurs. As China does not concern core Muslim region AKA Arabia, and Pakistan isn’t a core Muslim region. So the issues of Pakistan (Kashmir) or Ughurs are not core muslim issues.

Much on the lines of core Hindu regions and rest, in India. The concern of core Hindu region (Ram temple) are the concerns of Hindus. While the concern of less Hindu regions are not really important to Hinduism as such.

2 years ago

Good informative podcast. An important aspect that i got is that there is a certain dislike in pakistan towards towards hindu related past (ancestry/origins/civilizational roots etc). Same dislike doesnt exist towards sikhs/sikhism. Confusion on how to reconcile with IVC/Harrapan civilizational past illustrates that. I am trying to understand what could be the reason (apart from regular political reasons). Is it because Hinduism (idol worship, polytheistic/pagan , music/iconography etc) represents a theological opposite to Islam?

2 years ago

He has such a nuanced and informative take on the subcontinent and its history both ancient and modern.

2 years ago

On errata 1: the 33% figure at independence is right. However I think Mr Ali was thinking about the 1930s where the Muslim proportion in the army was indeed more than 50%. The Hindu right in India often point out to this fact when the critics of Veer Savarkar, SPM etc attack them for collaboration with the British during World War II. The claim of the former is that India would have lost a lot more territory to Pakistan because of numerical superiority of the Muslim Troops.

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