Friday, June 6, 2008

The Indus Saga ... Cont'd.

As i have written earlier ... i am reading The Indus Saga. Now, the book is written about a topic which is bound to raise emotions about everything written in the book ... Some for, and some against. But, i think thats what Mr. Ahsan would like to see ... the book sparking a healthy debate about the reality of things in the subcontinent.

Well, i have been reading this book for around a month now (thanks to IPL). I am reading the part where he is talking about the Hindu-Muslim divide. Mr. Ahsan has written masterfully about this. And, come up with a few arguments which its very difficult to disagree with. But then, i am writing about the things i disagree with (why waste my time trying to agree with something which is masterfully done, so if you wanna know more, read the book, not my blog ...).

The first important thing ... Religion definitely was an aspect of the Partition. We would be fooling ourselves if we were to say religion wasnt at the forefront. However, religion itself shouldnt be seen as the reason. Because, if it were, then Pakistan would probably have been far closer in terms of geo-politics to Afghanistan than they actually are. Also, this wouldnt explain the second largest population of Muslims in the world ... in India. It also wouldnt explain the centrifugal force which drew Bangladesh away from Pakistan.

Taking all of these together, i would think that the raison d'etre for the Partition would be religion, associated with a regional identity. I think the regional aspect must not be overlooked, which is something which Mr. Ahsan has written throughout the book.

Another aspect i wanted to comment upon ... "Honour" killings, to my mind, are by no means the preserve of the Muslims. I see them more as an Indus phenomenon, rather than as a phenomenon associated with Muslims in the subcontinent. Might be that these are present certian parts of the subcontinent because of a greater central Asian (or Arab?) influence than in other parts of the subcontinent. For example, i am not aware of "honour" killings in Bengal or the southern parts of the country.

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