“The India-Pakistan Internal Conflict: Split Psyche and the Battle for National Identity” by guest blogger Naveen Chandra
The eruption of India-Pakistan antagonism is not the result of political or geographical tussles. The deep- rooted conflict was planted centuries ago, the seed of trouble held in a shell of ignorance. The Islamic invasion of the subcontinent started with the concept of plunder, and this imperialistic intention — which has come to a head presently in what we are witnessing in the Indian-Pakistan conflict — is a blunder for world peace overall. The looters invaded the subcontinent, and after seeing the full bounty of the treasure there, they installed killer foots on the bases of sword edge. Those who we see turning-traitor now, taking the side of the ambitious enemy for their own self-profit, mirror back to us the images of disloyal, self-serving counterparts from centuries ago, people like Jaichand who aided and abetted the Islamic invasion to fulfil his own political ambitions.
The voices of the Kashmir separatists, who we hear speak only to the alleged atrocity of Kashmiris, reveal the motives of avarice in that one-sided narrative being played out. During my childhood, I remember hearing talks of the existence of a mini-Pakistan in India, which scared me as an Indian — but the over-arching, over-reaching cultural norm to shy away from confrontation in the name of respecting plurality, closed the curtain on my expressing my dismay and indignation at the disloyalty on display. Yet, I also knew that the concept of national loyalty in India — where second largest population is Muslim — was not limited to any one group; accusing all Muslims of being disloyal is not the way to address the issue; the majority of Muslims are as equally concern about their country as Hindus are.
The practice of appeasement-politics in India is the what brings the conflict to boiling-point. Among the large-section of Hindus who voted for Modi, there is a belief in Hindu nationalism having been revived in Delhi — reminiscent of the Prithviraj Chauhan (Last Hindu King). This notion hasn’t gone over so well with many pseudo-seculars. Pseudo-seculars have tried everything to dismantle the notion of Prithviraj Chauhan, their proximity and past loyalty to Islamic invaders well-documented.
Surprisingly, India is the only country in the world where Aurangzeb has a huge fan-following in one section of society, even with the well-known facts as to his historical hostility with Chatrpati Shivaji. The pseudo-secular fabric of India has been distorted in such a way that Chatrpati Shivaji and Aurangzeb can and must both be accommodated in the history textbooks as national heroes. Any voice who objects to the twisted cultural scenario that conflates the national relevance of the two divergent heroes or questions the legitimacy of holding Aurangzeb in esteem is labeled a Hindu fundamentalist.
This cultural clash, where we have chosen our heroes per our cultural proximities, is obvious to all — as are the deliberate attempts of pseudo-seculars to limit the influence of Hindu heroes, confine and label their legacies within narrow geographic identifications. Making space for the legacies of the Islamic invaders, they continue to carry water for the side that best serves their own interests…leaving the wider field barren.
If you build a national history that force-fits the acceptance of two divergent theories (psychological, historical and beyond) for the sake of appeasement, you will of course end up inevitably with a national identity crisis. And among all who wrestle with this collective split-psyche, many are bound to be misled by those who do not have the best interest of nation at heart. The India-Pakistan conflict is defined and fueled as much by our internal crisis of identity as it by the battle on-the-ground.