The Obsession with Pakistan: A Very Indian Thing We Need to Get Over

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Prem Prusty
Aug 15 , 2018 11 min read 441 Views Likes 0 Comments
The Obsession with Pakistan: A Very Indian Thing We Need to Get Over

The Obsession with Pakistan: A Very Indian Thing We Need to Get Over

India is now an independent country for more than 70 years, same as her neighbour Pakistan. Partitioned by some uncanny reasons –the evil British fancied it or some Indian Muslims were left with no other choice is still an unending ongoing narrative— they have been anything but sources of inspiration for each other. However, most Indians do not forget to compare their faulty but mature democratic journey with the “failed terrorist state”-every now and then; undoubtedly, one of the very Indian traits.

Finding themselves ahead of the Pakis in many aspects that can be described as staggering successes of a massively diverse and populated country is, of course, a matter of great satisfaction. Sometimes it appears as if the whole purpose of independent India was just to look better than the “Islamic Republic”. In that case, Indians should talk more about the United Nation’s Happiness Index report of 2018 where Pakistan ranks 75, well ahead of India (122) or the University of North Carolina Report on improving water and sanitation access where Pakistan is at the top 5th position among developing countries and India at the 92nd two among many such reports. Should it not be a matter of utter agony and an indicator of India’s own failure?

Well, it is not an important question whether we have done better than Pakistan. If some Indians do believe it is (and many unfortunately seem to be), it is time to do a little bit of introspection. We fought the British –both violently and peacefully— for justice, for rights; we wanted to be free, to be self-governed. We wanted our country back so that we can live a life that we deserved. However, in 70 years of time, it appears that we never identified what we wanted. Yes, undoubtedly we have achieved great things- from technology to economy, from our soft power portrayal to the military. We also have been able to hold on to and celebrate our democratic values even in challenging times. But that’s not enough. If we look beyond Pakistan, we can see where we stand.

Oh yes, there are many more nations around the world. There is Finland. There is Norway. There is Germany; even England- from where we drew a lot as a colonial legacy and decided to take the parliamentary system forward. If a comparison is at all necessary to improve –and sometimes with an attitude to learn than being envious, it is—then let’s get the comparison right. There is a lot going in many countries where the quality of life, the standard of education, addressing crime, happiness, and overall social well-being of citizens are of paramount importance. If we Indians are really that competitive, let’s do it in a healthy way with right competitors- as the “largest democracy” in the world.

Pakistan, no matter how failed as a state, is a population that nearly equals that of Uttar Pradesh and significantly smaller than India when it comes to landmass, natural resources and the growth potential- not just economic but also social. Therefore, our obsession with such a country is not only a waste of time but an underestimation of ourselves and a missed opportunity. If this goes on, we might end up comparing ourselves with Bhutan one day (even Bhutan is happier than India).

Independence Day is not only an opportunity to celebrate what we achieved in 1947 but a reminder where we are heading to. In order to address poverty, inequality, environment, clean water and air issues, unemployment, sexual violence, women and human rights, press freedom etc. we hardly need a Pakistan to remind us what we ought to do. If the common people would get over the obsession of referring to Pakistan in order to prove what a great society we live in, that would reflect in our national politics for the good of India.



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