India and Pakistan both got independence from British in 1947. Both countries born together had one struggle for freedom, one civilization, and one culture. Yet after 66 years of each other’s independence, both the countries are poles apart, both economically and socially. As famously George Bush quoted, “I explained that Pakistan and India are different countries with different needs and different histories”!
But have we ever thought of reasons behind this anomaly between the two countries, which were years ago so similar, but today completely contradictory?
I have tried dwelling upon few reasons from our history in last 66 years. Here are the following:
Visionary Leaders –
India had assembly of great leaders in 1947, whose visions helped in defining India’s roadmap to recreate an exemplary civilization. Unlike Pakistan, India was lucky to have wise and compassionate leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, B R Ambedkar, S.Radhakrishnan, Lal Bahadur Shastri etc. All these leaders were groomed under Mahatma Gandhi and thus always valued the importance of upholding the “Dharma” (Justice). All these leaders valued the sacrifices of Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad, Ashfaqulla Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil etc. and thus vowed to craft India a great Nation.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s Muhammad Ali Jinnah lacked both vision and wisdom. He could not create next crop of leaders nor was able to inspire fellow countrymen.
Non-Aligned Movement –
Those were days of Cold War between USA and Russia, and all the Third-World countries were aligning themselves to the either superpower. Non-aligned Movement led by Jawahar Lal Nehru with other world leaders, decided to not formally align or go against any major power blocs. Such entrepreneurial and hyperopic foreign policy helped India gain huge respect among the world leaders across geographies.
Unlike India, Pakistan chose to get associated with USA and its allies, to receive favors from the economic and military powerhouse. Today after so many years, where India is now highly self-dependent, Pakistan has ended up being a pet of USA (and also China). Pakistan’s impatience to grow faster by aligning itself to USA landed it nowhere. Whereas India grew slowly but surely, leaving Pakistan laps behind in the economic race.
Where Pakistan slowly turned into an Islamic country and treated minorities as second grade citizens, India chose “Secularism”. India respected people of all faiths and beliefs, allowing everyone to co-exist in harmony. Pakistan’s transformation into an Islamic country ended up mushrooming powerful religious leaders, which led to rise in terrorism and religious extremism.
India, on the other hand, kept a strict check on right-wing extremism of the majority, and also protected minorities through equal justice and supportive policies. Indian governments didn’t allowed India to become a Hindu-Pakistan, and kept restoring the faith of minorities during difficult times.
Equality among Democratic Pillars –
India always ensured equilibrium among all the democratic pillars of democracy which are Judiciary, Legislative, Executive, Military and Media. None of the five pillars was neither allowed to interfere, nor allowed to overpower another pillar. Although being parallel, all the pillars of democracy worked collectively to take India to newer of heights of being a great democracy.
Pakistan, failed in maintaining this equilibrium, and thus allowing the Military, several times, to overpower all other pillars of democracy. Pakistan had seen several coups by their Military leaders and even today, none of the other pillars had yet challenged its supremacy.
Beyond these key aspects, in last 66 years, India had been through several conflicts and issues. Issues ranged from leadership issues to secularism turned appeasement issues to pillow-fights between democratic pillars to feeble foreign policy issues etc. Yet we all have always been able to overcome all the problems, thanks to our fore-fathers, fellow Indians and leaders. We may come across several new conflicts in our near and distant future. But I am confident, that we “The Indians” will be able to solve all the existing and forthcoming problems amicably. Though sometimes slowly, but surely!
I would conclude by sharing this famous quote, “By travelling alone, we can go faster. But by travelling together, we can go farther!”
For me, it was a mistake that Pakistan was /is a Muslim country. It was wise to keep India secular. People can still be Indian but in their personal religious life, they are Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain, Jewish or Christian. That is not possible in religious state. There is persecution and prejudice against others who are not Muslim.
But for Indians like us ,Country is first then religion.. We respect each others religion and help them to grow. We share our principles/cultures too.
Yes, I think countries need to have secular government. Then all people can choose the religion of choice and all
should have freedom of religion or no religion.