After the meeting of Indian and Pakistani National Security Advisers (NSAs) in Bangkok, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is going to Islamabad, but it can predicted what will happen.
She will insist that the main issue between India and Pakistan is terrorism, while her counterpart will insist it is Kashmir, and then either the talks will break off, or a meaningless statement will be issued that many things were discussed, and it has been agreed to hold more talks in future. Is all this not an exercise in futility?
I have several times stated that Pakistan is a fake, artificial entity, and the one and only solution to our problems is reunification of India and Pakistan (and Bangladesh) under a strong secular modern-minded government that will not tolerate religious extremism or bigotry of any kind, whether Hindu or Muslim, and crush it with an iron hand. This will also automatically solve the problem of Kashmir. Many people laughed at my suggestion, but I reiterate it and wish to explain.
Pakistan was created by the British as a separate, theological state on the basis of the bogus two-nation theory. (See my article “The Truth About Pakistan” published in the Pakistani newspaper, The Nation, a few years back.)
Why did the British create Pakistan? They created it for the same reason for which during their rule till 1947 they did not allow setting up a heavy industrial base in India. The British did not want Indian industry to emerge as a powerful rival to British industry, so they allowed us to set up only some light industries like textiles. But broadly they wanted us to remain backward and feudal.
When they could not continue their rule, they departed, but after partitioning us on the basis of the two-nation theory, the obvious idea being that Hindus and Muslims should keep fighting each other, and India should not emerge as an industrial giant (as China later did).
What is Pakistan? It is Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and North-West Frontier Province. These were all part of India since Mughal times. When I meet Pakistanis I feel no different from them. We look like each other, speak the same language (Hindustani), and share the same culture (love for Urdu poetry, Hindustani music, etc). Indians and Pakistanis living abroad socialise as if Partition had never taken place.
Today, India is not the India of 1947. Today, we have all that is required to become an industrial superpower — a huge pool of excellent engineers, technicians, scientists and managers, and immense natural resources. But for that we must stop fighting with each other and unite. Unless we do that we will remain poor and backward countries.
When I first mooted the idea of reunification, many people scoffed at me, and said I was day dreaming. But the same was said of Mazzini when he put forward the idea of Italian unification, something which was later achieved by Garibaldi and Cavour. German unification was achieved under Bismarck.
Some people object that much water has flown after 1947, and hence reunification of India now is not feasible. But German reunification was achieved in 1990 after a separation of 45 years. Vietnam was reunited in 1975 after 30 years. China has still not given up its claim over Taiwan.
Others object that there is too much religious fanaticism, and so we cannot unite. But as I have pointed out in my article “The Truth about Pakistan”, there was no communal fanaticism or bigotry before 1857. It was only after 1857 that the seeds of communalism were artificially injected into our body politic by the British policy of divide and rule, which led to Partition. So communalism is an artificially-created phenomenon, and can easily be suppressed by a strong secular government.
Of course, reunification will not be achieved easily or immediately. It will take time, maybe 10-20 years. Those who divided us will not allow us to reunite easily, for they do not want another China (one China has created enough headaches for them). But reunite we must if we wish to escape from poverty, hunger, etc.
The main problems of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the same — massive poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, lack of healthcare and good education, etc. If we reunite, we can pool in our resources and overcome these problems in 15-20 years. We can save much of the billions of dollars we spend annually on purchasing arms abroad, and use it for our people’s welfare.
We were befooled by the British into thinking we are enemies, but how much longer must we remain befooled? How much longer must blood flow?
After reunification, which in my opinion is bound to happen since we are really one people, we must rapidly industrialise on a gigantic scale. That alone can solve our country’s real, socio-economic problems.