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|April 23, 2001||
Last November, a Pakistani diplomat stationed in Bangladesh said at a seminar in Dhaka that the atrocities committed in 1971 in what was then East Pakistan were sparked by "Awami League miscreants" and not the Pakistan Army. Which statement so upset the host country that Pakistani flags were torched. Mulling over the incident, Pakistani columnist Ayaz Amir noted some things which, had they flowed from my pen, I'd be branded the bigot I am. Mr Amir happens to be one of my favourite writers, not just because of his acerbic wit and impeccable language, but because his love for his country does not permit him to remain blind to politicians' perversities or to wallow in political correctness. Moreover, his facts are facts.
For me, that Dawn article was a revelation of sorts even in December. But, after the brutal murders of the 16 BSF jawans by the Bangladesh Rifles, it assumed a newer significance: A nation that forgets its history *will* have its jawans strangulated, scalded with boiling water, and shot through the eyes at point blank range. Perhaps, our "Hindu nationalist" government, especially the former major of the Indian Army who heads the ministries of external affairs and defence, can learn some basics from the excerpts I reproduce below:
"If anything can be called Pakistani nationalism -- or more accurately subcontinental Muslim nationalism -- its cradle lay not in the areas which now constitute Pakistan... The idea of Pakistan drew inspiration from two centres, north India (now UP) and East Bengal. The Muslim League saw its birth in Dhaka. The idea of Muslim separatism gained strength from the partition of Bengal in 1905... Let us not forget that at that time Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs lived largely in amity in Punjab. In Bengal, on the other hand, the sense of Muslim grievances, fuelled in no small measure by the fact that the great movement of Hindu revivalism in the 19th century arose from Bengal, was stronger.
"In the 1946 elections which set the stage for the partition of India, it was only in Bengal that the Muslim League emerged as the single largest party, capturing almost half the seats. In Punjab it did well but its numbers were almost equalled by the Unionist Party. In Sindh it won a large number of seats but could not achieve a majority. When Jinnah gave his call for Direct Action in July 1946, the Calcutta killings a month later convinced everyone in India, including the British, about the gulf that had opened between the two communities. Not that the Direct Action call was in any way responsible for the Calcutta riots, but that those riots on such a scale happened in Bengal rather than anywhere else shows the inflamed state of Hindu-Muslim feelings in the province. So the question is pertinent: without the push that the Muslim cause received from Bengal, could there have been a Pakistan?
"The Muslim halves of the Bengal and Punjab legislatures opted for Pakistan... In Assam, the Muslim majority district of Sylhet decided by referendum to join Pakistan. Pakistan thus came into being as the result of a freely-exercised choice by the Muslim majority areas of India... East Bengal, more than any other province or region, was pivotal to this exercise...
"We must not put the past aside. That's what we do all the time: forget the past and repeat its follies. For once we must understand the past and come to terms with it. This might just help us rid our minds of the demons which impel us from one act of gratuitous folly to another."
Yes, we never have taken lessons from our past, and so, even a two-bit banana republic, with inhabitants who are at the bottom rung of human evolution, attacks us with impunity and without fear of retribution. And, of course, no retribution will be forthcoming -- the MEA's statement about "local adventurism" gives the clear message that Dhaka is not responsible for the cold-blooded murders of 16 Indians by Bangladesh's armed forces. As Prem Shanker Jha said, "The one thing this government is really good at is sitting very still, like a toad, hoping that its camouflage will protect it from the predator."
I do not have new revelations. Last year, when I wrote about the BD government's demand that India ban Mayer Dak, I already made all the points that apply to the current crisis. Actually, I'd made them even in the tens of articles I've written on illegal immigrants. All the "secularist" governments -- Congress, pinko, socialist, dorks all -- have deliberately and consistently made light of Bangladeshi infiltration for their own vote-bank politics. Result: over 14 million immigrants have changed the demography of Assam and West Bengal and "are in a position to decisively influence over 54 Assembly constituencies in West Bengal. In 100 other Assembly seats, they can change the tide against any candidate" (The Pioneer, April 22). And while we were hand-feeding "the blood of our blood," Bangladesh was busy pushing back Indian migrants from its territory.
Oh yeah, we're gonna lose the northeast, too. On March 4, 1997, The Hindu wrote about the spurt in Islamist activities in Assam, outlining the mushrooming of fundamentalist organisations and activities in the NE states "with covert support from abroad." It said: "The developments are seen as part of the game plan of the ISI of Pakistan to destabilise the region... Two student bodies are also counted among the fundamentalist outfits. One of them, the Islamic Students Movement of India, was floated by Saudi Arabia during Ayatollah Khomeini's regime in Iran... The ISMI is being encouraged by fundamentalists of Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Chhatra Shibir is the Bangladeshi counterpart of the ISMI. The ISMI is understood to be collaborating with the Jamaat-e-Islami of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Freedom League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party. The ISMI is reportedly training Muslim militant groups of the northeastern region and also imparting training in arms. It also uses the mosques for holding caucus meetings and indoctrination." Make no mistake: an Islamic country is exactly that.
Khilafat is the binding factor of Islamic nations, no matter the dispute over language. And so:
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