A Bangladeshi’s Visit to Pakistan

Fariha  writing on her trip to Pakistan with such heartfelt emotion and sincerity. I must thank my friend AJ for pointing out this excellent piece.

“ Apko kia pata, ke humara dil apke liye kitna rota hai. Jab aap logo ko koi taklif hota hai to humain lagta hain k taklif humain ho raha hai. Bohot pyar karte hai hum aap se. alag ho gaye to kya hua. Bhai to bhai hota hai. Bangladeshi to humare bhai hai.”
Rafe, 60-something, Bus-driver, Lahore

I’ve met people from different parts of the world and traveled to a few places myself. But never, not once, in any of my interactions or travels, have I ever come across a race of people who have made me feel so proud of my nationality: Bangladeshi. But then, I visited Pakistan. I was born in an independent Bangladesh. I’ve never had to struggle to get my voice heard, I was allowed to vote (till quite recently) and I’m allowed to speak my mind. Until my trip to Pakistan, I had never realized how precious all these things are. I had always regarded Pakistan, a distant country, as a bitter chapter in our history. But only after meeting the people did I realize how close we could be and how much my heritage means to them. Never before have I received so much respect for just being Bangladeshi.

Till quite recently, I had never visited Pakistan. Neither had my parents. Since the only Pakistanis I’d met belonged to the educated bourgeoisie class, I had assumed that it was only this select lot who were aware of the atrocities committed in 1971. I had always believed that most Pakistanis believed that Bangladeshis were Kafirs who had let India take them over and regarded us with disdain. Don’t ask me why I thought all of this or what explanation I have for my notions. My notions had stemmed from the prevalent attitude of our pro-liberation buddhijibis, who have, through their own glorifications of our War of Liberation, somehow equated patriotism as anti-Pakistani feeling and instilled that in some of us. In fact, I still know people who think that to be a true patriot you would have to hate Pakistan, with all its institutions and people. Our elders in Bangladesh, somehow always let us think that Pakistanis don’t care about Bangladesh. I’m not blaming them for my ill-conceived ideas. I was partly to blame for judging a whole race simply on the basis of the half-truths I had heard. I am not proud of what I thought. But my recent trip to Pakistan has made me feel proud of who I am and I am proud of my newly acquired views. Though I think that I now face the threat of being termed a ‘paki-lover’ or ‘Rajakar’, I am writing this because I think that our generation needs to know the other side of the story.

To be perfectly honest, upon our arrival at Islamabad, since the very first people we had met were bureaucrats, I didn’t buy into the whole “Pakistani-Bangladeshi bhai bhai” ideology they seemed to desperately convey to us. To me it seemed too forceful, too elaborate and too far removed from what we in Bangladesh have been led to believe about Pakistani attitude towards Bangladesh. If every shop-keeper, hotel-boy, porter, flight-attendant, bus-driver and almost everyone else I had met hadn’t echoed the same sentiments, I probably never would’ve believed that Pakistani people actually believe that we are still their brothers and they love us. It’s love that is rooted in our shared history, in our present day struggles to make our mark in this world, our efforts to rise above poverty and frustration at watching our neighbors grow at exponential rates as we combat the demons of corruption and bad governance.

“There are so many things we need to learn from Bangladesh. In fact, I personally think that your Caretaker Government system is very effective and we’re trying to emulate that”, an Additional Secretary told the ten-member media delegation from Bangladesh. Nothing was said, but their admiration for our achievements, including in establishing democracy and keeping it for 15 years, was apparent. In Karachi, an official of the Press Information Department under their Ministry of Information regaled the success of our homegrown micro-credit formula and it’s award-winning success. As far as the bureaucracy of Pakistan was concerned, everywhere we went we were greeted by praise and accolade. Even with 106 licensed private TV channels and 60 on-air channels, the Government of Pakistan marveled at how the journalists in Bangladesh are better trained and more sensitized. In a country where GEO News was closed down for violating State of Emergency rules, the Bangladeshi media received accolade from the Pakistani media for the courage demonstrated and the torture survived. In a media world now free of ‘press advise’ from intelligence agencies or foreign ministries, they marveled at the openness of our media. Peshawar Press Club gave the media delegates a reception and Express News threw a dinner. I am told that this is commonplace for all delegates from Bangladesh visiting Pakistan. But it most certainly wasn’t commonplace for me. No one had ever told me that this is how much respect these people have for us. All I have learnt from the learned, well-versed editors of our progressive newspapers is that Pakistan, the monsters who had killed our people in 1971 is now a failed nation. They forgot to mention the people of Pakistan, the warmth and hospitality they extend to all visiting Bangladeshis and the love and respect they still have for us. They never taught us how to help them or how to become friends with Pakistanis. Ulta, this was frowned upon. We weren’t told about how much they crave our friendship.

I had always believed that the atrocities committed in1971 by the Pakistani Military Hanadar Bahini, the genocide and the rapes would be a taboo topic for us in Pakistan. Taboo not just on the account us being invited by the Pakistan Government, but also because I had believed the Pakistani version of the events of 1971 to be different from ours. Therefore, you can imagine my shock when everyone I met mentioned our Liberation War (mind you, not the “Fall of Dhaka”) as ‘mistakes made by us in 1971, that shouldn’t have happened and we wish they hadn’t happened’. Rafe chacha, the man who drove our bus said to me, ‘beta, Bhutto ne jo kia, bohot galat kia. Mujhe to ootni talim bhi nahi hai, par itna to mujhe bhi pata hai’. Roughly translated, he meant that despite his lack of formal education, even he was aware of the atrocities committed by Bhutto (not just Yahya Khan, the executioner, but also the dictator) in 1971. Later on, he even explained to me how now that all of Pakistan is racially divided; they understand how Bangladesh must have felt. Rafe chacha even said to me how the people of Pakistan feel that political leadership in Bangladesh is much stronger than in Pakistan. ‘Benazir Bhutto jo thi, wo bhi zamindar ki beti thi. Oon ko kia pata k 3 din se mere ghar mei atta nahi hai. Aap k muluk mei to kitne acche admi hai, leaders hai. Humai aaj take k bhi sahi admi nahi mila. Aap ka jo dr.yunus hai, un ho ne garib o k barei mei socha, kuch kia. Humare yaha ek bhi aisa admi nahi mila’, he remorses. He said he echoed the sentiments of the rural working class who are always struggling to survive the repeated onslaughts of the political turmoil in the country. The ups and downs of power-play-who wins the elections or who looses, really never affects the common man. He knows that politics is not for him. He knows regardless of who wins the election, if there ever is one, at the end, he looses. Successive regimes have only helped to widen the rich and poor divide and people like Rafe chacha seek a program like micro-credit to improve their financial conditions. There are millions like Rafe chacha who would benefit from the models developed by our NGOs and civil society organizations that help the grassroots people. Even a PID official admitted that Sheikh Hasina is his favorite South Asian leader because she stands for the common man. The sectarian violence, the non-homogenous population and the increasing rich and poor divide has helped people like Rafe chacha and the likes of him realize and empathize with our plights pre-71. We, as Bangladeshis, as an independent, sovereign nation, with our certain successful social organization models are now in the capacity to help them and save them from the fate we had suffered.

“Baji aap Bangladesh se hai? Arre kia baat hai. Phir to aap hamare mehman hai. Aap ko kia pilau? Paani yia Cola? Aap meri puri dukan le jao koi masla nahi. Mehman hai aap humare’. I got tired of hearing these lines. I heard the same lines in Islamabad, in Murree, in Karachi and even in Peshawar. A pukhtun shopkeeper abandoned his shop in the evening, in a jomjomat bazaar just to show a few lost Bangladeshi journalists the way to another bazaar. In fact, the Pathans made these guys have dinner with them, saying that Bangladeshis were not just guests but brothers.I have never received so much love and respect anywhere else in the world, for simply being Bangladeshi. Everywhere I went, everyone I met, somehow managed to show this chit of a Bangladeshi girl, with her uncovered head and bare arms, an amazing display of camaraderie and respect. I really don’t know what I have in common with the man from Waziristan who dragged my luggage across the streets of Saddar in Peshawar or the teachers of Peshawar University who were going berserk trying to find an old picture of my grandfather which could’ve been anywhere in Pakistan. They didn’t have to do any of that. They are not answerable to any government, theirs or mine. They didn’t know me. They belong to a different nation, a different culture and an altogether different world. But somehow, they were able to relate to me before I could relate to them. They called me a sister even before I would consider them friends. They made the first move, they extended their hand of friendship and their love and hospitality. They gave me love because they believed that their leaders had wronged us in ’71, but we have survived and grown stronger, and more successful than them. We have greater literacy rates and more female participation in all sections of the socio-economic system. From Islamabad to Peshawar and in Karachi, all they gave us was love and respect and all they wanted from us was knowledge. They humbly expressed remorse for 1971 for the actions of the Pakistani military. In every action of theirs, I saw a call for help and solidarity. I felt that this nation, once so known to our forefathers, now completely alien to us, needs us to cooperate with them, help them up, just like one brother (even an estranged one) would help another. They made me feel strong and powerful. They made me feel proud of our achievements—all the things that we take for granted at home. This wasn’t the kind of pride you feel when you defeat another team in cricket or when you realize someone else is worse off than you. This was the first time in my life a foreign country and people, by their own good actions, had made me feel so proud of my Bangladeshi heritage.

In war-ravaged NWFP, where the local government is still struggling to accommodate the refugees, ensure minimum security and attain a minimum standard of living for its entire populace, we were perhaps best received. The governor of NWFP, Mr. Owais Ghani only reinstated Pakistan’s new attitude towards Bangladesh, ‘Let us not be prisoners of our past. Let us learn from our past and now look forward’.

In my humble opinion and still limited purview of the world, I feel that Bangladesh and our hard-earned independence have been vindicated. We have proven to Pakistan, home to our military oppressors and bloodthirsty dictator of 1971, that we have survived and we’ve only gotten better. Now, it’s time to show them just strong we are by sharing some of our strengths with them and helping them out in their struggles.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. If we now close our doors to Pakistan, we will be shutting out a friend. The people of Pakistan have nothing but respect for Bangladesh. They want to learn. They want to know. But what will be our call? Will we play into the hands of those who have used the sentiments of 1971 to progress their own vested interests or should we promote our inherently peaceful and progressive way of life to a nation that looks up at us with hope and an offer of friendship. Again, at the risk of being labeled, I dare suggest that perhaps, it’s time to call truce and move on. We will never forget 1971, but then taking pride in our history should not be analogous to hating the people of another country, who were also victims of their circumstances and military oppressors.

Source: Drishtipat


Filed under Pakistan

75 responses to “A Bangladeshi’s Visit to Pakistan

  1. WOW!

    Again, thank you RR! You guys are real inspirations for me now!

    When I wrote the piece, I thought only my friends and family would be reading it on my blog. I had not expected it to get such readership. And I honestly did not think so many people, from both sides of the border, would be able to relate to it. Thank you for bringing to an even larger audience.

    Looking forward to feedback from Pakistani bloggers.

    Fariha Sarawat

  2. We must not divite the humanity on the lines of hatred,nationalism,colour,gender etc etc.
    Bangladesh is always in our hearts and it was the military elite fo that time whom had divided the 02 countries on hatred lines.
    I still believe that a day would come in this era when we would be breathing under one Sky and on One Earth!!

  3. YLH

    I have never met a Pakistani who doesn’t regret the horrible way we treated our Bengali brothers – the majority of Pakistani citizens then- and sowed the seeds of the ultimate destruction of Jinnah’s Pakistan.

  4. Arif


    I’m a Bengali, and I can tell only a handful people in Bangladesh shares views like Fariha et. al.

    To begin with you have to understand “Jinnah’s Pakistan” was the worst thing that happened to this subcontinent as it divided the people on the basis of religion. Subsequently to justify this “Pakistan” a Muslim-superior-to-Hindus identity was invented. This did not go very well with the Bengali psyche as it was not going well with the Bengali Hindu-Muslim symbiotic traditions of thousands of years. Therefore Bengalis never accepted this synthetic nation-state identity and rejected Pakistan.

    The only way to reverse the ills of Jinnah and his generation is to create a true understanding between Hindus and Muslims of the subcontinent and embrace and treat each other as equals. This may mean a reunification of the subcontinent or an EU like super state.


  5. AJ

    Arif Bhai,

    I’m a Bangladeshi, and a History major. Jinnah proclaimed Pakistan because after the Mughals were taken over by the British, the Muslims of India became paralyzed. Most Muslims were of lower class under Hindu dominance, which was set up by the British. Jinnah did what he did to help Muslims, and not all Muslims were able to make the long journeys to the East and West Pakistans. Not only that there was supposed to be a third Pakistan in the Hyderbad plateu as “South Pakistan”.

    Jinnah is human and he did make one mistake which was claiming Urdu as the national language. He should’ve chose the neutral English language since we were under English rule for 200 years.

  6. AJ

    Also Arif Bhai, only small numbers of Bengalis shares Fariha’s view is because they were exposed to Pakistanis the rest of the Bengalis never met Pakistanis face-to-face.

  7. YLH


    Jinnah is the only politician in the subcontinent to be known as the best ambassador of Hindu Muslim unity. He spent 30 years out of 40 to keeping India united. So your comment smacks of ignorance and one hopes that you will read some history- read H M Seervai (an indian)’s book “partition of India legend and reality”.

    His vision of Pakistan was secular and liberal. Current Pakistan is a distortion of Jinnah’s Pakistan.

    You should read history for what it is and check the prejudices at the door.

  8. YLH

    PS ironically it was Jinnah who had suggested a super state of the kind Arif is suggesting and it was Nehru who had shot it down.

    It is also well known that Jinnah had favored Suhrawardy’s independent Bangladesh plan and that it was Congress which refused to agree.

    For this read Stanley Wolpert’s “shameful flight”.

    The irony is that those responsible for creating the acrimony are let off the hook and one man who tried to work things out for the good of all concerned is being abused for things he never did.

  9. Faaez

    Megalomaniac much?

  10. Majumdar


    Dont blame MAJ (pbuh) for something he never did. Hindoo-Muslim divisions always existed and it was MKG with his misguided Khilafat movement which made this social division into a permanent political mobilisation.


  11. Saj


    Your conception is wrong that Jinnah was looking for a secular country. This logic has been presented with many so called secular nuts in Pakistan. but they had never able to provide in evidence in support of this.

    I had not available the sayings of Jinnah about what he was intending Pakistan to be, as I am in office. But I do remmember two important sayings of Hazrat Allam Iqbal and of Raja Sahib of Mahmoodabad. Both were key companion of Jinnah. And secularists believes that Jinnah and Iqbal, both were secularists.

    Allama Iqbal was the one who gave the slogan of “Aik Khuda Aik Rasool Aik Qur’an Aur Aik Mulk” to the Musalmanan e Hind. Now, you tell me that can a secularist could give such a slogan to the nations?

    Second example is of Raja Sahib of Mahmoodabad. This was probably immediatly after the historical resolution of Pakistan in 1940. He, while giving a policy statement for a new country, said something like this. “Pakistan is meant to be an Islamic country.” Then he added, “Mark my words gentlemen. I said Islamic and not muslim, is our ideal”

    Now the question is that if Jinnah was willing to establish a Muslim country, and not an Islamic country. Then why such a policy statement had been given? and if someone gave this in his personal profile. Then why not the Muslim League did not clarified that this statement does not reflect the policies of Muslim League? May be you can make some clarification on this issue.



  12. Saj


    Additionally, I will recommend you to read the book “Pakistan Between Islam and Secularism”. This is a good book and will make your mind clear about what Jinnah and Allama Iqbal were meant Pakistan to be.



  13. Arif

    Allama Iqbal started this “two nation theory” BS and Jinnah championed it. Some Hindu nuts supported it that time because it fitted well to their communal politics. But one can’t deny that Jinnah was the one who established the theory that divided the Indian nation into two. Politically seeking Jinnah and only Jinnah was responsible for making “two nation theory” a political tool and thus dividing a land on the basis of religion.

    Some people say there were no ‘communal’ ill-intention of this “two nation theory”. However, from the beginning Iqbal and others promoted as the basis for a new land — Pakistan, “the land of the Paks, the spiritually pure and clean.” You can see the racist mindset from the very beginning as someone dubbing themselves (Muslims) as ‘pure and clean’, the better lot, and casting the others (Hindus) as unclean and not pure.

    So to propagate that the division of India was Hindu’s responsibility is a shoddy theory at best. If that was the case, why haven’t I seen any Pakistani talking about reunification so far — because everyone thinks that was just.

  14. Fariha

    To those who think the ‘two nations theory’ is BS:

    IF the two nation theory hadn’t been a success, the third nation wouldn’t be there. As a Bangladeshi, I have to say, I’m glad we seperated from India and I’m glad we’ve seperated from Pakistan. For all our common history and heritage, we’re still very different in terms of our socio-cultural ethos (having visited the two other countries I can safely say this now). I suppose Muslim League (which formed in E.Bengal btw) did not take the ethos into account, because religion seemed like a bigger factor. In Bangladesh, our socio-cultural norms (a melange of muslim rituals and certain indian influences on practices such as ‘kodombusi’ and ‘gaye holud’) make up a bigger part of life than religion. And the general populace, by and large, are not blinded by religious dogma, YET (though some unsavory players are trying their best to change that).

    As independent, sovereign nations, there’s a much larger scope for cooperation and participation. We have to acknowledge our common problems but at the same time recognize our differences. But we have to learn to show each other equal respect, as citizens of sovereign states, and stop discriminating on the basis of religion.

  15. YLH

    Arif I strongly suggest you read H M Seervai’s (India’s foremost constitutional lawyer) book “Partition of India : Legend and Reality”. Also read Ayesha Jalal’s “Sole Spokesman” … and go through some primary source documents.

    Seervai used primary source evidence to shred to pieces the claim that you are making I am afraid. To paraphrase Seervai… Jinnah was a patriot and Indian nationalist throughout his life and he tried to keep India united even at the end…

    Why was it that Jinnah- the one politician in Indian history known as the best ambassador fo Hindu Muslim unity- and about whom Gandhi, Nehru and Ambedkar agreed that he was neither self seeking nor power hungry… chose to make Pakistan?

    Historians in the west have long rejected this conventional theory that Jinnah was interested in making either for some millenial Islamic goal or because he was out to get the Congress- a party he had helped build up.

    By the way… Pakistan’s first law minister was a Bengali Hindu “Jogindranath Mandal”…. appointed by none other than Jinnah himself. So much for your claims about “Muslims and Non-Muslims” ….

  16. YLH


    Raja of Mahmudabad was kicked out of the Muslim League by Jinnah after Raja said that Pakistan would be an Islamic state.

    Raja of Mahmudabad stayed out of the League for many years after that because he did not agree with Jinnah’s conception of separation of church from state. He rejoined after he realized that Jinnah was right all along.

    As for the book you’ve suggested… why don’t you read some primary source documents like our Bengali friend.

    Perhaps you can explain to me why a Bengali Hindu, Jogindranath Mandal, (with nothing to do with Sharia) was appointed by Jinnah as the law minister of Pakistan and why another Hindu – Jagganath Azad- was asked to write Pakistan’s first national anthem.

    Jinnah’s concern for Muslims was because Muslims were a minority. After Pakistan became a reality (largely against Jinnah’s own wishes), he was naturally very concerned about the Non-Muslim minorities. In Jinnah’s conception there was no room for priests with a divine mission in the state.

  17. Arif

    Fariha, I understand your being glad that we separated from India and Pakistan. But just think about it for a moment — the whole subcontinent is such a multicultural and multi-ethnic place, are we any different than Tamils or Malayalam or Manipuri or Baluch? why do we need a separate space for ourselves whereas everyone can live with each other. I’m a Bangladeshi — but I see no point of that anymore ( other than being the product of history). To look at the future — think where our problems are. All problems will lead you into this “two nation theory”.

  18. Arif


    Here’s what happened to Mandal.

    (from wikipedia)

    Political career in Pakistan
    Following the partition of India on August 15, 1947 Mandal became a member and temporary chairman of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, and agreed to serve as the new state’s first Minister for Law and Labour – becoming the highest-ranking Hindu member of the government. From 1947 to 1950 he would live in the port city of Karachi, which became Pakistan’s capital. Mandal strongly supported Jinnah’s ideal of a secular state in Pakistan.

    However, Mandal grew increasingly disillusioned with Pakistan following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 and a communal crisis in East Pakistan, where his origins lay, and where close to 4 million Hindus were forced to flee into India within the space of a few years. When Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan publicly supported a proposal to make Islam the official state religion, Mandal denounced it as a rejection of Jinnah’s secular vision for Pakistan. Mandal continued to attack the proposed Objectives Resolution, which outlined an Islamic state as completely disregarding the rights of religious and ethnic minorities. He grew increasingly isolated, and came increasingly under verbal and physical attack; fleeing to Kolkata, he sent his letter of resignation in October 1950. In his resignation letter, he openly assailed Pakistani politicians for disregarding the rights and future of minorities, as well as the vision of Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

    [edit] Criticism
    Mandal returned to India in 1950 and spent his final years in the state of West Bengal. He is intensely criticized by contemporary historians and scholars for supporting Jinnah and for supporting the creation of Pakistan, where non-Muslim communities were later disenfranchised and discriminated against. Without Mandal’s carrying of the significant Scheduled Caste Hindu votes in Bengal in the 1946 elections, it is unlikely that Pakistan would have come into being in the form that it did in 1947. His harshest critics include both secular and Hindutva politicians who assail him for acting as a stooge for Jinnah’s politics. However, Mandal is respected by many segments of the Dalit community for his work and firm commitment to securing Dalit political rights and representation.

  19. Majumdar


    What happened to JNM was sad no doubt but it happened after the death of MAJ (pbuh) when his successors abandoned the founding principles (of regional autonomy and fair treatment of minorities) of LR, 1940 on which Pakistan was founded. It is wrong to blame MAJ (pbuh) or TNT for it. Rather the blame belongs to the short-sighted politicians who inherited Pakistan and ML.


  20. YLH

    Dear Arif,

    I am well aware of the treatment meted out to Mandal… after Jinnah’s demise. My point however was that Pakistan as envisaged by Jinnah was fundamentally different from one that subsequently developed…. and that which subsequently emerged. You do know that Jinnah died in 1948… right?

    I was talking of Jinnah’s idea of Pakistan which was tolerant, pluralistic and secular and where all citizens were equal regardless of religion caste or creed.

    The central question in the partition drama is: Why was it that a secular liberal “Indian first second and last” by his own admission like Jinnah made Pakistan?

    And for the answer to that you have to explore Jinnah’s career in its entirety… 33 years out of his 41 years of political life spent for the cause of United India… and even in 1946, he rolled back the Pakistan demand to agree to the Cabinet Mission Plan which would have ensured Indian unity …

    This is why you ought to read H M Seervai’s “Partition of India : Legend and Reality”.

    You will also learn that when partition was finally announced, Jinnah agreed to an Independent and United Bangladesh which was vetoed by Nehru.

  21. Anwar Iqbal

    Hi: An interesting debate! See, what you think of this. Anwar

    The Identity Crisis of a Modern Muslim

  22. pakboy

    Bengladesh should have been a separate country right from the beginning. The west Pakistanis and Bengalis had hardly anything in common- their food, culture, dress everything was different. In my opinion the separation of Bengal from Pakistan was the best thing that could happen.

    Sub-continent has never been a country and it would never be a country. Instead of coming up with foolish emotional ideas, you people should spend your energy to improve the political and economical condition of you respective countries.

  23. YLH


    Bangladesh was envisaged as a separate country both under the Lahore resolution and as per the Suhrawardy-Bose (Sarat Bose) negotiations in 1947…. Jinnah had agreed to an independent United Bengal state with Calcutta as its capital.

    It was Nehru who shot that idea down.

  24. Majumdar


    (In my opinion the separation of Bengal from Pakistan was the best thing that could happen. )

    Well said. Among other things it reduced poverty in Pakistan by almost half. And saved it from the catastrophe which wud have afflicted Pakistan in 2025 when half of BD wud be under water. The sad part was the way it happened. It shud have happened in a dignified way.


    (It was Nehru who shot that idea down.)

    Very rightly so, from the POV of Bengali Hindoos, it saved them (temporarily) from the misfortune of being citizens of a United Bengal. It was another thing that the Bong Hindoo (unlike the wiser Punjoo Hindoo/Sikh/Muslim) did not end the question of identity decisively in 1947.

    Sarat Babu was prolly as much an ignoramus as was his brother.


  25. Raja Bhandari

    Your tears surprise me, Moeen Ansari. And to those of you who still dream about Bangladesh and Pakistan uniting, I would say: Wake up! Stop dreaming!
    Muslims of the sub-continent must realise that the partition was a mistake. There is no such thing as a Muslim nation. There is a religious community called Muslim but no Muslim nation.
    And Urdu? Of course, it will die as a language. It was a symbol of Muslim revival in the sub-continent. The revival did not happen. So this language is not needed anymore.
    And all of you will have to learn Hindi. Muslims in Bangladesh and Pakistan are already doing it because of the Bollywood films. Soon Hindi will also be an economic necessity because India is on its way to becoming an economic giant.
    So all of you will have to learn Hindi, like you learn English. Knowing Hindi will bring jobs and prosperity. Hindi will spread out as a language and will also be spoken by South Asians living in the Middle East.
    BTW, oil-rich Arab nations will one day be forced to give citizenship to Indians living there and those tiny states will ultimately be dominated by the Indians.
    So, now is the time for the Pakistanis and Bangladeshi to realise what future holds for them. Take advantage and be part of a greater South Asian nation. Stop dreaming about Muslim revival.


  26. Islamabadi

    Wow Bhandari ji — that’s quite a bit of bitterness to throw out 🙂 Why does Pakistan’s existence or the fact that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis caring for each other get you this riled up? Partition happened a long time ago — I think its time Indians move on and stop ranting and raving about how it was a mistake. I don’t “hate” India. But the truth is I would choose to live in Pakistan or Bangladesh anyday over India. I know scores of Muslims from India, part of my own family came from there — and I know that at the end of the day India is a Hindu country which favors Hindus and Hinduism above all. Sure Pakistan has problems, issues and what not, but let us live in peace and sort our own problems out. We are happy to be seperate, get over yourselves.

    May there be peace in our part of the world — but if India were ever to attack Bangladesh, I know that most of the Pakistanis that I know would feel just as strongly to fight for Bangladesh as we would for Pakistan. Bangladesh has a right to exist just as we do — and they are our brothers and sisters — if Bengalis decide that we should reunite and give it another go, we will welcome them with open arms and open hearts. I don’t care as a Pakistani if we have a Bengali prime minister or whatever — I don’t care if Bangla becomes the new national language or Dhaka our capital. There are no differences among Muslims — we are all one. Urdu is no more “Islamic” than Bangla is… we are all equal in every way. Joy Bangla, and Joy Pakistan. (And btw, dude… study up on a little linguistics… know where what you call “Hindi” came from…)

    As for the “image” of India that gets flashed on Zee TV soap operas and all that jazz — we all know the reality of India — Pakistan might not compare with India economically, but India also out-does us with flying colors when it comes to overall squalor, poverty, sanitation-issues, population issues, backward-social-systems, domestic violence etc etc.

    So please calm down — and tone down your little “INDIA WILL DOMINATE” rhetoric from the medeival ages… it’s really kinda creepy and wierd. As for the oil-rich Arab states… if y’all Indians are so desperate for Muslim-Arab citizenship go ahead… guess you’re not too satisfied with just being Indian.

    As for Bollywood: Believe me, I grew up in Pakistan.. and like most of the (educated) people I know, I haven’t ever felt the need to sit through 3 hours of nonsense that Indians call “cinema” — at least us Pakistanis have some dignity to our culture — there is poetry and theatre, fine arts and refined music — whereas in India, the new standard for “culture” is either scantily clad women dancing en sync to cheesy music and hackneyed plots (<– bollywood) OR trying very very very hard to thhop enough fair and lovely cream on yourselves to pass of as goras haha.

    Either way — Thank you for sharing your thoughts Fariha. I hope inshallah someday I’ll get the chance to visit Bangladesh. I have had the chance to get to know many Bengalis, and they are lovely people — I’ve never felt any resentment from them, and have never been taught any resentment towards them by my family. Pakistanis love you, care for you and respect you.

  27. Raja Bhandari

    I don’t have to respond to your rhetoric, Mr. Islamabadi. Just watch how your Bengali brothers and sisters react to your idea of them rejoining a union with Pakistan. They would jump into the sea before they rejoin Pakistan, even under a Bengali PM and Bangla as the national language.
    Admit that there is no such thing as a Muslim nation. There are Muslims of Bangladeshi, Indian, Syrian, Egyptian and Indonesian origin. These are all ethnic identities except Pakistan, which, like Israel, has a religious identity and that’s why it does not fit in the comity of nations.

  28. Bangladeshis would probably rather jump at the sea at the mere thought of rejoining Pakistan or taking up Urdu as a language of learning.

    But we would also rather jump into the fires of hell than join India or take up Hindi (the version of which spread through hindi movies is actually mostly Urdu..Javed Akhter, Gulzar et al).

    As I have said, the key to cooperation is respect. We need to respect each others uniqueness, sovereignty, culture and also religion. Playing ‘Big Brother’ doesn’t really help anyone in the long run. Take it from the Americans.


  29. Hamza

    Hmm… jeez fariha… never said Bangladesh “should” rejoin with Pakistan… but never thought the thought of being with other Muslims would make you want to commit suicide en masse. So much for respect and understanding.
    You’re right Bhandari

  30. Raja Bhandari

    It is not the question of joining or not joining Pakistan. The fact is that there is no such thing as a Muslim nation. Accept it. (Big brother) Brother or no brother, India is big. And there’s nothing Bangladesh or Pakistan can do about it. As a big nation it has its sphere of influence as well.
    See how people on both sides of the political divide in the US feel about India:
    “With India, we will build on the close partnership developed over the past decade. As two of the world’s great, multi-ethnic democracies, the US and India are natural strategic allies, and we must work together to advance our common interests and to combat the common threats.”
    This is the Democratic Party platform, a policy document, for the 2008 convention.

    And this is President George W. Bush: “The United States and India have ambitious goals for our partnership. We have unprecedented opportunities in this world. We can look to the future with confidence because our relationship has never been better. America and India are global leaders and we are good friends, and when we work together, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”


  31. Ayesha K

    At the risk of sounding rude, Bhandari, go jump into a lake twice and get out once. I am a Bangladeshi, btw.

  32. Hamza,

    Why would we even want to ‘join’ any other nation? I have my own! That too just because they also happen to be Muslims? There was nothing remotely ‘Islamic’ about the treatment meted out to us in ’71. Moreover, Bangladesh is NOT a nation of or for Muslims only. That is the first thing you need to learn and accept about Bangladesh.

    And the suicide analogy was used because of our historical experience. You can visit our 47 to 71 genocide archive here http://www.genocidebangladesh.org

    Suicide (en masse)is perhaps a more respectable way to die.

    As I said, cooperation has to be based on mutual respect which I don’t see happening now.

    I respect the sovereignty of both countries– India and Pakistan. But are you showing us the same respect?

    I agree with you, that there is no such thing as a “Muslim” nation. But I also believe that concept of nation state should not depend on religion either– including judaism and hinduism.

    You’re big, sure! I admire you for that. But please spare me the rhetoric of how that gives you the right to order me around.

  33. Raja Bhandari

    No, it does not give us the right to order you around. But we are and will continue to be the dominant voice in South Asia.
    (Language) The original post that I wrote was about the language dispute. I wanted to point out that while people of East Bengal rose against Urdu, people of West Bengal have no ill-feelings about Hindi. Most of them can understand and speak Hindi, including the Bollywood version.
    And I believe there is a solid reason behind it. The partition of India in 1947 was an attempt to retain a chunk of the Muslim empire that existed before the British came. In 1971, this experiment failed.
    On the other hand, the Indian nationalism is alive and thriving. Indians too had language and cultural dispute. But like all nations on the rise, they settled their disputes peacefully. Now people learn Hindi even in the South where there was a strong resentment against it in the beginning.
    From this, I conclude that India is destined to become a great nation while Muslims of the Sub-continent – those in India or in two separate states – are on the decline. They will continue to go down until they accept the fact that religion does not make them a separate nation.
    And if it does not, then they will have to think what makes East Bengalis different from West Bengalis and East Punjabis different from West Punjabis!
    Let me give you another example, because of what happened in 1971, Bangladeshi hate Pakistanis. And they will continue to hate them because there is no reason for them to love them.
    On the other hand, people of Punjab also experienced similar atrocities in 1947. More people were killed in those riots than died on any other occasion in the Sub-continent. Yet Punjabis on both sides of the border have no ill-feelings towards each other.
    I remember an argument between a Bengali and a Pakistani Punjabi student in London in 1980s. When the Bengali student suggested that the Bengalis beat the Punjabis in 1971, a Sikh student who was watching them argue interrupted and said: “No, they did not. A Punjabi defeated another Punjabi. Generals Arora and Niazi were both from the same district in Punjab.”
    I am not using this example to cast doubts on the sacrifices rendered by the Bengalis in 1971. I believe that the Pakistani army should not have been forgiven for what they did in Bangladesh. Gen. Niazi should have been hanged in Dhaka. All Pakistani soldiers should have been tried for human rights violations and punished. Not a single Pakistani should have been spared.
    What I am saying is that ethnic, lingual and cultural links are stronger than religious links. So despite whatever differences they may have, many Punjabis on both sides of the border in Punjab still feel they are one people.
    I don’t know whether Bengalis also have similar feelings about each other. I hope they do.

  34. telenorx

    The whole article sucks big time. We think of bangladeshis as “rats” sucking up to India and in existence because of India…..

  35. yang

    Bengali journalism is like bollywood made boring; such bucketload of crap man; why did pak tea house publish this?

  36. hi, my name is adeel age 24 from paksitan . i am looking for a uk or usa visa or a psonsership letter plz contact me 03064898146.bye

  37. Aliza

    To be honest, our generation doesn’t know what happened back in 1971 and what caused East and West Pakistan to separate. I am a Pakistani and if anything, I think it was for our own good. I don’t see any similarities among Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. We are pretty much different in everything.. the only thing that brings us together is Islam.

    To all Indians, I am so glad Pakistan was created! No way in hell would I ever want to be a part of such a sneaky nation. You plot against us when we are not looking. When something goes wrong in India, you blame us. I can tell you right now.. just because some Pakistanis watch your crappy movies (I don’t even understand why, maybe their heads are messed up?) it doesn’t mean they are trying to be Indian. Heck no, we love Pakistan and we love being Pakistanis.. so get over it… Pakistan wasn’t a mistake! The partition was inevitable, we were always different.. our culture, our religion and even our ethnicities.

  38. YLH


    Try and understand what Fariha is trying to say. She is proud of her Bangladeshi identity and jealously guards it…. It doesn’t mean she hates Pakistan (her article is a clear proof of it) … I am gratified by her angle personally…

  39. YLH

    PS: This Bhandari is another crazed Akhand Bharat nutcase…

  40. Majumdar


    This Bhandari is another crazed Akhand Bharat nutcase…

    Any Hindoo who believes in Akhand Bharat is by definition a nutcase.


  41. bangaligal

    faria wht u wrote was really nice, thanx for showing us the other side of pakistan, for one thing i dont think bangladesh or pakistan can become one again ever, but we can start building a friendship with them, which wouldnt hurt, an as for india taking over anything in this world, yeh ofcourse u can, by copying every damn thing in this word, wht is original in ur country?? (nothing) neither ur movies nor ur songs, an these days you have to get pakistani singers to sing your songs for you as well, why does your industry do this?? u have enough trained singers in india……get over urselfs, an as for the past, its gone done with, we cant change history anymore, but we can change the hatred…..anywayz, faria keep up the gr8 work, an u indians keep to ur hindu nations while bangladesh an pakistan keeps to ther muslim nations.

  42. Hason Raja

    Have you ever considered the possibility that an undivided India could have, over the years, the fate of undivided Soviet Union or undivided Yugoslavia or United States of India would have faced some more Kashmir and Assam (NE India) in Bengal, Punjab, Sind, NWFP, and Baluchistan. It could have happened that way or it could have remained united. Could you guarantee any of these? How much human cost would you have agreed to bear? I think South Asian Union has a better prospect than United States of India or the Indian Union (undivided one).

    Of course, Jinnah wanted united India as Mujib wanted united Pakistan. The pwers which would have lost their absolute control in such ”united” scenario created hindrances which made us what we are today. With the presence of such dark forces, disintegration would have happened any way. The centrifugal forces based on ethno-religious factors were too strong (still are) to prevent any other values (like democraty or broader nationalism) to dominate the politics in the 40s.

    You will see, in your life time, what saffronization (increasingly popular in India among all classes) would do to the cosmetic coating named secularism which Indian Constitution uphelds as a sacred principle. I am afraid that this would drive the docile and peace-loving Muslims living inside today’s India towards violence. And they would tend to justify that with their religion (jihad for self-preservation).

  43. bangaligal

    I WOULD LIKE TO SAY, that a bangladeshi journalist or whoever she is wrote something about pakistan, WHERE THE HELL IS INDIA COMING INTO THIS FROM?? is India mentioned in anything she wrote NO, than keep India out of it, and why is religion getting involved?? hello excuse me, if that is meant for me, than i suggest that you read all the other bullshit written above, and than use your brain and figure out why i said what i said, AND ANOTHER THING keep your united crap out of everything, cause of brainless losers out ther our countries will never be friends, and for the people who wants to make friends are being stopped…..its better if one keeps ther opinion to them self, or go against what you want in full public, instead of taking out your anger which was done in the past on a small website….

    please dont bring india or religion into this forum, as india or hindusim isnt mentioned anywhere…..

  44. Immortal

    A good read and perhaps our two nations can get even more closer
    Pakistan was crippled in 1971 but we can correct the odds by establishing good relations with Bangladesh which actually we are doing

    And for the indian guy, sir i understand your point but the question is what makes india better? big population and growing economy and that’s it
    Latest economic reports show that india has 800 million people living under the poverty level and that is not very enticing for any other south Asian to think of joining india specially when your economic growth is spent on acquiring weapons and not to feed your people
    Your own fact about the huge indian population in Middle East countries tells the indian economic conditions
    How better would it be if india didn’t spend billions of dollars on failed projects like Arjun and LCA and instead provided help to it’s own population who don’t have anything to eat and no homes to call their own
    Heck you can even buy weapons from Pakistan if you cannot make your own, Al-kahild MBT and JF-17 are good candidates

    And talking about hindi, i don’t think there is any Hindi in bollywood but it’s Urdu that’s taking over india and i don’t know any indian who speaks hindi and not Urdu

    And about some Bangladeshis who think that English should be the language of Pakistan coz we were under British rule
    If we were to keep the British policies than why gain independence in the first place
    I don’t know much about Bangladesh but thousands of Pakistanis gave their lives for what we call Pakistan today and we will give our lives again when time comes
    Urdu is our national language and all Pakistanis respect it and love it and we are not going to rejoin with india till any one of us remains but you Bangladeshis can if you want for it’s yours to decide

    Peace for all

  45. bangaligal

    nice saying immortal, but did u read any where that bangladesh wants to rejoin India, I dont think so, i dont want to offend you but pakistan crippled?? read about 1972 and find out why it actually happend, and when did anyone say pakistan should keep the english language, you are going totally off-hand.
    anyway just so bangladesh and pakistan can become better friends maybe we should build a bride over india, from bangladesh to pakistan, that would be nice ha, than now more bad comments…

  46. Shia-pakistan

    i have met a lot of pakistanies. each and everybody has got hatred towards other races and sects. like i have heard punjabis saying that pathans sell their girls (brides’ family taking money from the groom) and pathan saying punjabis are from hindus. i have come accross quite a few sind, muhajer and baluch who are real separationist.

    look creation of pakistan was orchastrated by the west. you might wonder why? undivided india meant muslim being the majority after few decades, two most populous states bengal and punjab being muslim majority and hence muslims having significant influence in the parliament.

    how do the west materialised their plan:
    Giving real strength to the minority sect’s elites.
    just like what happened in iraq (sunni minority having run vastly shia majority iraq), and syria (alawi shia asad familty runing nearly 90% sunni syria). look jinnah was born in aga khani shia family but later he practised ithna ashri or main shia sects though. jinnah and the then aga khan founded Muslim league. Later Bhutto who was from an elite shia family founded PPP. Benojir and her husband are shias. look first 3 prime minister of pakistan was shias so as the head of the military. Zia-ul-haq was the first sunni strong man of pakistan. another thing Zinnah’s only child dinna zinnah married a parsic christian from india (divorced after a few years though) and converted to christianity and had been practising christianity since then. if you dont believe these things, search for your own.

  47. Shia-pakistan

    Pakistanis are very much misguided nation. Its female literacy rate is lower than bangladesh now. In terms of overall literacy rate bangladesh is gaining ground rapidly whereas pakistan is falling behind. and under 5-year old child death rate per 1000: according to 2005 UN statistics bangladesh had 68 deaths whereas pakistan had 105.

    it is clear from recent events that west is going to materialise disintegration of pakistan in a few years time into: baluchistan , frontier, sind, panjab etc.. if you think it will be possible for a largely illiterate country to defend itself then you are the foolest person to be on the face of earth.

  48. bangaligal

    Shia-pakistan, what does your crap bullshit history have do with the topic, we rnt talking abt religion here, you make no sense, what does shia’s an sunni’s have to with bangladesh/pakistan and what does the toll or the education have to do with the topic, nothing, if bangladeshi’s being are so educated, than they havent done much for my country, an thts a fact, an the same actually goes for pakistan, both countries have crapy bullhit government………….please make some sense an know wht ur talking abt..

  49. YLH

    Probably because shia Pakistan is neither shia nor Pakistani…

  50. bangaligal

    YLH i think ur right 🙂

  51. Pingback: An interesting read-written by Pakistani who recently visited Bangladesh - Page 4 - Pakistan Defence Forum

  52. Hussain Ahmad Khan

    Well friends, I am a Pakistani (and also a student of History). I read your comments with interest. I do understand that our “histories” (either Bangladeshi/Pakistani/Indian) is so much distorted by the stake holders that sometimes I feel that History would be misleading to further any argument. You will find argument in favour of Jinnah, and the others would give argument in favour of Gandhi or Shiekh Mujeeb with equally good command. Now I am more interested in viewing our past just to understand the plight of marginalized classes or groups in our societies.
    Do you guys really believe that nationalist project (which was basically imported from Europe by colonial rulers and our elite classes) did any good to us. What a common Pakistani and Bangladeshi has got out of it, bloodshed, miseries? Look in the eyes of Biharis in Bangladesh or Baluchs/Sindhis in Pakistan. You will find fear and uncertainty in their eyes.
    My point here is to view and understand history from humanistic point of view. The nationalist boundaries are important but not at the cost of human beings!!!!

  53. bonobashi

    @Hussain Ahmed Khan

    There is much in what you say that I have sympathy with, but this is unlikely to wish away the present dominance of nation-states in the organisation of states. We have to go a long, long way for nation-states to disappear.

  54. Gorki


    You always set me thinking and Hussein Ahmed Khan Sahib has made an excellent point that I too consider sometimes.

    What is so sacrosanct about the nation state anyway for which we have undergone so much misery and bloodshed?

    Maybe we humans are at a threshold of another major socio-political advance; the begining of the era of the post nation-state.

    It would be interesting to consider that unwittingly this time that advance may have come from the East for consider this; if we believe in the definition of a nation in the partition context and the TNT, then India is already a multinational entity which has done well for over sixty years.

    Now it seems the Eurpoeans are aspiring to such a union with the EU.

    If this EU becomes a successful, acceptable model and the demise of a nation state becomes conventional wisdom then even the the Arab world may follow it some day.

    Then who knows….
    (But being on this particular forum I dare not go any further…..)


  55. Bloody Civilian

    ‘dying for the country’… somehow that has not sat right with me either. why not rather sacrifice any number of countries to save life… every single life. but, of course, that is hopelessly idealistic. like bonobashi said, nation states is the way society has chosen to organise itself… for now. so one sacrificing him/herself so that many may live…. is a rather different concept.

    and it leads to gorki’s example for a reason. the arabs tried to organise a super-state kind of project. it failed, spectacularly. because not one of the countries involved was a democracy. europe is succeeding because of democracy… not anything else. e.pak suffered genocide at the hands of a dictatorship. partition riots too were a result of democratic principle. that of lack of accountability on the part of the brits, and lack of flexibility on the part of the native leadership. one-for-many only makes any sense if there is democracy. otherwise, it’s all or many-for-a few… or even for one.

  56. Bloody Civilian

    “partition riots too were a result of democratic principle” = partition riots too were a result of failure of democratic principle

  57. Bloody Civilian

    ” lack of flexibility ” = lack of flexibility and failure to agree to disagree amicably.

  58. Bengali_Guy

    I am a Bengali living in Dhaka.Due to our mutual hatred in 1971,Pakistan got splitted.But what we have gained after 71.Yes, ofcourse,development took place but I believe after the split both Bangladesh and Pakistan got weakened.Look at what India is doing at the upstream of our rivers in Bangladesh.They are building dams after dams to turn our country into a desert.Now,they are moving forward with the Tipaimukh DAM near the north-east border of our country.Our political leaders went to India to see the site of this dam by themselves.But instead of seeing the dam,one group spent nice time in Calcutta and the more religious group went to AJMER SHARIF.The group will accept whatever the Indian water experts tell them to believe.This is a very serious issue.On the other hand,Pakistan’s situation is much worse in the sense that it became a playground for great powers like USA and India.On the other side of the spectrum,India is thriving in all sectors of development.They have so many races within themselves and yet they are together.They will never ever give up even a square inch of their land to anyone.The only key to our success would be to forget our racial differences and work together for the development of our respective countries.

  59. bonobashi


    As you have no doubt figured out for yourself, mutual hatred does not need the support and backing of logic. You can either express your hatred, or you can allow your logic to take over, but unfortunately not both at the same time.

    So when you ask what you have gained by splitting away from Pakistan, be aware that you are asking a question that has no answer. It was not for rational reasons, not for ‘gain’ that you split, according to what you say; it was to express your hatred for your then fellow-countrymen.

    It is not very seemly to shed such copious tears in public over a course of action for which you and only you bear responsibility. You need not have expressed your hatred in such full and ample measure, when you had the choice.

    The reason for my saying all this is that you are trapped again in the same cycle of alternating between hatred and rationality. Try not to convince yourself that there is yet another conspiracy, by yet another nation, to do you in. There is nothing in your situation that you cannot set right by yourself. Self pity is a corrosive emotion; it corrodes you.

    Least of all need you come to a Pakistani forum and beat your breast about the iniquity of India and of Indians; please spare us this drama. You had your choices and you took it. Now be man enough to live with it and make your nation a nation worthy of the respect of the world. If you are looking for sympathy from those whom you were screaming at a few decades ago, you will get it – from mischief makers and malcontents, but be assured that your salvation lies in your own hands, in action and in rational thought, and not in pyrotechnic displays of excessive emotion.

  60. bonobashi

    @Bloody Civilian

    You know my views already. I am a bad Indian, because I believe that the present Bharat that is India is yet another milestone in the journey of a series of cultural complexes linked together as a civilisation. I am unable to muster any intellectual sympathy for either India, or Pakistan, or Bangladesh, knowing as I do that these are ephemeral creations which will last a few generations and which will give way in their turn to other groupings and combinations, all of which are fairly easy to visualise.

    You will have noted the distinction: this is intellectual sympathy, and there is another part of me which knows the Indian national anthem and which sings it aloud and which feels patriotic and proud on Independence Day, and feels outraged and personally affected by crimes of the state. This is the emotional, irrational part of me, and I acknowledge that it exists and that it is real. It doesn’t in any way interfere with an historical judgement that this state is not going to last forever, and unfortunately, considering the context, nor is the present Pakistani state, nor the present Bangladeshi state.

    For those presumptuous pests who have been saying that Pakistan is a failed state, I have a doleful message: all states are failed states, in that they will not last indefinitely, as none of the existent states have lasted indefinitely, and insofar as all states will sooner or later vanish and be succeeded by another, or be transmuted and turn into another form of national organisation, or be combined with another. In that sense, it is time that we united to ban all cries for re-unification or for further sub-division; the fact is that history will go her way, whether we beat cymbals and drums and mark her progress or not.

  61. @bonobashi, I totally agree with you. I can’t muster any intellectual sympathy for India or Pakistan either. At best, I feel South Asian–connected to the subcontinent, it’s people’s and traditions. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love Pakistan–the land itself, the culture, etc, just not the abstract idea of the “Pakistani state”. I guess that makes me a bad Pakistani:)

  62. bonobashi


    But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love Pakistan–the land itself, the culture, etc, just not the abstract idea of the “Pakistani state”

    Very well said, dear Sir. Words that I wish I had penned. I cannot muster up hostility to Pakistan, try as I might; nor to Bangladesh. And it doesn’t stop me from loving the land, the culture, the people of multi-ethnic, multi-lingual India in the least bit.

    I find myself greatly in sympathy with your views.

  63. Hussain Ahmad Khan

    Friends, thank you so much for your lively discussion. Being the student of History, I have learnt different shades of discourses/opinions which you have projected in your replies. I wonder, every discourse (either reunion of Bangladesh with Pakistan, or Pakistan with India) has its ideological underpinnings. The point which I am contesting here is whether such ideological discourses help “most of us” to gain “power” (ability to define own destiny!!!) or limited “most of us” within a periphery where certain elite classes control us and define our “nationalism” by borrowing “historical symbols”.
    One of our friends has argued that nationalism is still working. I would slightly differ from him. The unions like EU, ASEAN, Arabs point to a different perspective, i.e., supra-nationalistic identities are important for development and prosperity. Concepts of nationalism were deployed whenever it suited our elite classes (for this do read Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities, Partha Chaterjee’s Derivative Discourse, and Paul Brass). With the development of electronic media, overseas job opportunities, economic unions, international universities etc. nationalism has lost its momentum. This century is century of regions (some says empires what US is trying in Iraq and Afghanistan!!!!). Nationalism is also not important for our elite classes because they can travel to anywhere in the world, can get good education, may go abroad for their medical treatment or for spending honeymoon. But what crime has committed by common people who are made through oppressive structures (like ideological teachings in school curriculum, government jobs, government rules/constitution) to hate other people to whom they know very little.
    My only request is that we should question such underpinnings of ideological trajectories. Which classes are benefitted most by adopting such stances, which classes are marginalized? Why don’t we allow the interaction of common people. Being a Pakistani, its really difficult for me to visit India, same is the case with Indians who find it difficult to visit Pakistan. I had work with a Bangladeshi Professor who was hired by the Government of Pakistan to teach in a Pakistani University. He also faced problems in Pakistan’s embassy in Bangladesh. Let the people to interact with each other, so that they can understand each other that would minimize their hatred!!!!

  64. Bengali_Guy

    You better live in jungle than blow my context out of proportion.I just put up facts to my Pakistani brothers in terms of what your sickening government is doing across our borders.Dont try to justify your government’s dirty policies with your word games.I dont have regrets for the split but i am more worried about our giant neighbour India who is reaping the benefit of the split so meticulously!!!I dont give a damn if it’s a Pakistani blog or an Indian blog,neither I wanna gain sympathy for something that happened a couple of decades back.But I am worried of the aftermath.Of course,we are men enough to make our country worthy,but pls tell your government not to mingle with the Tipaimukh dam project which is of course an impediment to our development.When you stop the flow of rivers,which is the heart of our country,dont say that it’s all in our hands to make our country worthy,you are equally responsible for making it worthy by taking corrective actions.

  65. “Being a Pakistani, its really difficult for me to visit India, same is the case with Indians who find it difficult to visit Pakistan. I had work with a Bangladeshi Professor who was hired by the Government of Pakistan to teach in a Pakistani University. He also faced problems in Pakistan’s embassy in Bangladesh. Let the people to interact with each other, so that they can understand each other that would minimize their hatred!!!!”

    @Hussain Ahmed Khan: Totally agree with you. Let Indians and Pakistanis interact freely with each other, then we would realize that there are people on the other side and not “demons”.

  66. bonobashi

    @Hussain Ahmad Khan

    I believe I made an ill-advised loud noise arguing that nationalism is still working. There is much to be said for a discreet and muted presence, a participation which emphasises listening and reading at the cost of speaking and writing. However, that is too late now.

    Could you consider three points?

    If you will admit a quibble, it is disconcerting, to say the least, to find cross-cutting between the categories of elite and common people, and also between the classes in the Marxian sense. Elite and Common are surely not Marxian categories. Conversely, at another point, you consider the classes;wholly Marxian here. Which line of categorisation do you prefer – the sociological or the political?

    Coming to the point of ‘supra-nationalistic’ groupings, as you have described entities like the EU, while these have started, they are far the ruling model. The nation-state is alive and well.

    While there may be one or two groupings to show, the EU and ASEAN being superb examples, there are many more groupings which turn out to be bad examples, like the ‘Arabs’ for instance. These are nothing but mythical.

    So my second point for your consideration is that “One swallow doth not a summer make”.

    My third point, on reading your peroration: have you read a commentator called PMA? Do look up his recent comments; they are a salutary corrective to any excesses of emotion.

  67. bonobashi


    Oh dear, how foolish of me not to realise that by making a pathetic appeal on a Pakistani site, we should be able to resolve a riparian dispute in North-eastern India! So sorry not to have spotted the logical connection immediately; it was astute of you to sense it so quickly.

    First, the emotional appeals, then the violent abuse of the ‘common enemy’; what next? It is about time, by your next post, to go bananas and attack the windmills. Have you found Rosinante yet?

    I look forward to your further effusions with breathless interest.

    Incidentally, consider changing your nickname to Bangladeshi_Guy; you wouldn’t want to be confused with me, or with another well-known Bengali of some standing in this forum who hates you and your kind like poison, would you?

  68. Hussain Ahmad Khan

    Thanks Kabir for your agreement with me. Bhonobhashi,
    Thanks you too for giving your feedback on my posting. Let me take your points one by one:
    1. Re: You find confusion in my categorization (either they are Marxist/or from political and social groupings). I simply meant those classes/groups/communities which are marginalized in power structure. Since they are marginalized, they are also less instrumental in economic and social domain. Examples in Pakistan are Baluch (which is a subnational group), in Bangladesh Biharis. So I divide classes on the basis of political power structure which makes them able to control resources/policies of a state. It is a more sort of Focauldian distinction rather than Marxian.
    2. Re: weak Arab union, yes I do agree that they are not strong, thats why are not strong in the global power structure. However, sense of being Arab is there. The primary objective of forming Arab union was to form a united Arab States. Paul Kennedy believes that 21st century is the century of regions and unions primarily because of economic considerations. I subscribe to his point of view because so far my knowledge is concerned, I have not seen in contemporary world any state which emerged without regional cooperation (take the example of US aligning herself with EU, South East Asian countries in ASEAN. Even Australia and New Zealand combine themselves with western block. India has to make an agreement with the US/Rassia. Israel has aligned herself with US and EU. Because of non-existent trade between India Pakistan and Bangladesh, all these states are having billions of dollar deficit every year.
    3. Re: Emotions. Honestly I have not read PMA. I would be grateful to you if you could recommend his/er stuff for me available on net. Let me rephrase my perspective. In the postmodernist world (purely in Lyotardian and Foucauldian sense), rationality and emotions have no difference. In fact, each society has its own regime of truths, rationality which change with the passage of time. My point was precisely this! Nationalism (which has its roots in Romanticism and the rise of bourgeoisie class in metropolitans and colonies) had its relevance in the in the 19-20th centuries but not in the 21st century.

  69. bonobashi

    @Hussain Ahmed Khan

    0. I was interested to see what you made of my nickname; it now approximates a bhajji, or a burnt offering to Moloch. It gives me the feeling of being the chief guest at an auto-da-fe. However, since an elder of these columns has already made a dusty wayfarer of me in his inimitable style, this minor detour to Seville is not much of a burden.

    1. As I am new to Foucault, or to Focauld if you prefer, I beg for time to learn the terms of debate that he has used. It is interesting to note your conflation of class and community along the axis of state power, or along their ability to control the resources of the state.

    2. Regarding your comments on the Arabs, which is the category I prefer rather than Arab group, which does not exist in the political world, I can do no better than to quote a wiser mind than mine:

    the arabs tried to organise a super-state kind of project. it failed, spectacularly. because not one of the countries involved was a democracy.

    3. He writes on this forum quite frequently. At an early date, I shall put together a compendium of his URLs, and forward them to you.

    You are fortunate, in a sense. If you had fallen foul of a certain rather dominating turbaned personality who prowls these columns looking for harmless victims (usually me) to badger and bully, you might have got the acerbic advice that you should enter the initials in the search space and sift through the results.

  70. bonobashi

    @Hussain Ahmed Khan

    PS: Regarding the ‘turbaned’ personality, I hasten to add that the turban is purely an imaginary object. The person in person is turbanless and looks like a genial, South Asian version of Adolph Menjou in his mature years, without the inevitable hat.

  71. Hussain Ahmad Khan

    Bonobashi, please accept my sincere apologies for misspelling your nickname. It was because of hurriedness rather than intentional. By the way “Bhaijii” in Urdu and Punjabi is used for the elder brother.
    I think we both believe that Arabs are politically insignificant thats why they are sidelined in the global political domain. They are politically insignificant because they failed to develop regional cooperation amongst themselves and they also could not develop democratic institutions.
    We are engaging each other for a healthy discussion. I am fortunate enough that I found people like you who willingly and pleasantly respond to my postings. Thanks for this, I really appreciate it from the core of my heart. I am not here to fight for any ideology, I am here to learn from you and share my opinion. Hope we will keep on engaging each other in a positive manner.

  72. aban khan baloch

    east and west pakistan were never one as trans indus baloch/pashtun/and people who invaded and then settled in Indian subcontinent and people of hindu origin who converted to islam so we dont care where bangladesh is they hate us or love us it make no diffrence to trans indus people for me a pashtun living in qandhar is 1000 times more dear then a sindhi/hindi/punjabi/ bangla person for us bangladesh is just like burma they retain islam or convert back we are not interested so bangla people hate us as much as u can as far as 71 is concerned collateral damage always occur nothing abnormal we will invade indian sub continent when ever we feel like as our forefathers mahmud /ghouri/timur/abadli did for plunder the indian origin people are worst of man kind on earth be they bangla/indian or others

  73. Prasad

    aban khan nut case – write with some sense. is being hateful in your genes or what? or probably in the ‘mitti ki khushboo’ ?

    You not caring about bangladesh or for that matter even afghanistan is fine but why would you want to emulate the worst perpetrators of crime in history? psycho go get some education

  74. androidguy

    aban khan mian,

    try invading like your forefathers did and see what happens to you….it’s not the same anymore dude, wake up and stop partaking your kandahari hashish….