Yes, It Makes No Sense To Compare Religious Majoritarianism In India And Pakistan

 

india-pakistan_partition1_0

Of course Pakistan is not an ideal place to be a minority. This piece is no defense of Pakistan’s record on minority rights. Pakistan can and should do much better. Now that we have cleared this bit, let us compare the situation of minorities in India with the situation of minorities in Pakistan. I write this piece as rebuttal to an essay written by one Sadanand Dhume.

In his piece Dhume has expressed concern over the direction in which India is going with respect to minority rights. However his argument still revolves around the notion that India may have its shortcomings but it makes no sense to compare an inherently pluralistic society like India to an inherently intolerant and monolithic society like Pakistan.

Dhume refers to Pakistan’s Shia population as a minority and I accept that categorization. Shias make up to 15% of the Pakistani population. 2% are Hindus and 1% are others. The population makeup of minority and majority populations in India and Pakistan is very similar.

Now let us examine some of the claims made by Dhume:

Among many other absurd theories peddled by Hindutva ideologues there is a popular myth that Hindu population of West Pakistan at the time of Partition was around 22% which came down to 2% due to slow ethnic cleansing carried out by the State of Pakistan over 70 years.

Dhume writes:

In undivided British India, in 1941, the areas that constitute today’s Pakistan were about 78% Muslim; the rest of the people were Hindu, Sikh and Christian. Today Pakistan is 97% Muslim…By contrast, in India the Hindu majority has declined gently from 85% of the population in 1951 to a shade under 80% today. In short, religious minorities have shrunk dramatically in one country while growing over time in the other.

Fact Check

There were in fact 17% non Muslims in West Pakistan and 83% Muslims. At the time of Partition most of them moved to India and less than 2% were left in Pakistan. So Pakistan started with a 2% Hindu population. Indian Punjab had over 30% Muslims and after the Partition only 2% Muslims remained on the Indian side of  Punjab. This was a population exchange. Not ethnic cleansing as is often argued by Hindu extremists. Today the Hindu population share of Pakistan is slightly higher than what they started with just after the partition. For a detailed research on the subject please refer to this blog.

Dhume is however right about the increase in the population share of Muslims in India. He is wrong when he puts this fact as evidence of Muslims’ well-being in India. There are three reasons due to which Muslim population has grown faster than Hindu population in India.

  1. Most Muslims are poor. People in the lower income bracket have more children. In Dhume’s own country, USA, a third of all families (33%) are classified as low income families. 44% of all children in US come from these families.
  2. Muslims have a lower rate of female foeticide as compared to Hindus.
  3. Due to certain unhygienic practices, Hindus have higher infant mortality rate. Muslim children in India are 17 percent more likely to survive infancy than Hindus

Even Pakistan’s Hindu population has grown at a faster rate as compared to their national average because most Hindus in Pakistan belong to lower income groups.

Dhume went on to make a rather bizarre claim. He reckons that minorities in India are treated better than minorities in Pakistan because Indian cricket team wears a “neutral blue” outfit rather than wearing a Saffron colored Hindu outfit. Sometimes appearances can be deceptive, still Dhume does not come across as a person who would believe North Korea is more democratic than USA just because North Korea calls itself ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’.

Beyond this point I write on Muslims are really treated in India. It is a long and harrowing read.

A recent study published by PEW ranked India fourth after Syria, Iraq and Nigeria in a list of countries where social hostilities involving religion is very high.  Here I list a number of issues faced by Muslims in India that are not faced by Hindus in Pakistan being a minority.

Hindus in Pakistan do not face massacres and mass rapes like Muslims face in India on a regular basis. Nellie, Bhagalpur, Mumbai, Gujarat, Muzzafarnagar are just few of the many examples that can be found in recent history. To constantly live with the feeling that one day, due to some event not connected to you, a mob will attack your house, rape and kill you and your family is a miserable way to live.

Hindus in Pakistan are not constantly held responsible for the crimes done by Hindus in other parts of the world. Muslims in India are answerable for any crime committed by a Muslim anywhere in the world.

India exerts constant pressure on its Muslim minority to prove loyalty to the Nation via majoritarian themes. Allegiance to the national anthem or the national flag is not good enough. A Muslim has to deify the nation into Bharat Mata and Sing hymns for the deity. Vande Mataram or else…

In India Hindutva extremists openly call for the rape of Muslim women, even ask people to dig out dead Muslim women from their graves and rape them, such people are rewarded by the masses during elections.

There is no pressure from the Pakistani society to take away the rights granted to Hindus under the Hindu Personal Law. In India there is massive pressure from the Hindu society to bring in Uniform Civil Code that will dissolve the Muslim Personal Law and ask Muslims to abide by the customs that Hindus deem correct for them.

Pakistan does not put restrictions on the dietary habit of Hindus and other Non Muslim citizens of Pakistan. A Non Muslim citizen of Pakistan is free to consume alcohol and eat pork. In India beef is banned in many states because beef is consumed mainly by Muslims and Dalits.

The politics of Pakistan is not focused on Hindus. You will hardly find any talk shows on Pakistani channels discussing Hindu matters. The Hindu society of Pakistan is not constantly under pressure from the media or the politicians. In India almost every issue can be linked to the Muslim minority. Hindu majority of India is obsessed with Muslim issues. Even the population explosion of India is blamed on 14% Muslims and not on 80% Hindus of India.

Muslims in India are regularly jailed for years (sometimes for decades) on terrorism charges fabricated by the police. Eventually they are released by the courts due to lack of evidence but are never compensated for the decades lost in prison.

There are hundreds and thousands of internally displaced Muslims in India who have lost everything during majoritarian mob violence, these people settle in slums. The Govt provides no assistance in their resettlement.

Every few days a new video emerges in India where a Hindu mob is seen lynching a Muslim man, where a Hindu mob appears to unleash brutal violence against Muslim families including women, children, elderly and the disabled.

There are hundreds and thousands of Hindu extremists on Indian social media who threaten and abuse Indian Muslims in the most vile and vulgar ways.

As Aakar Patel puts it:

That is the main thing that would have disturbed me as a Muslim, I think. Having lived through the reality and understood it, one would then be confronted with this relentless, middle-class Hindu focus on Muslims as the problem. See any story in The Times Of India and go through the comments written by readers. I have been writing in Pakistan’s papers longer continuously than any other Indian and I assure you that either they are editing their nastiness out of reader comments, or we Indians have some truly vile people in our midst and they are not a small minority.

In Pakistan those who attack minorities are seen as terrorist. In India the media uses terms like ‘activist’ or ‘vigilante’ or in one case ‘animal rights group’ to describe people who brutally lynch innocents on the streets of India, record their act on camera and proudly post it on social media for everyone to see.

On the creation of Pakistan Dhume writes:

Pakistan was carved out of British India in 1947 for an explicitly communal reason: as a separate homeland for Muslims based on the belief that Indian Muslims constituted a distinct nation, and that Hindus and Muslims could not live together in peace as compatriots.

Savarkar and Golwalkar are considered to be the most eminent ideologues of the Hindutva ideology that rules over India today. Both Savarkar and Golwalkar through their extensive writings supported the Nazi action against Jews. Golwalkwar wanted to carry out a holocaust against Indian Muslims. He even prepared a district-wise plan for the extermination of Muslims.

The two nation theory and the idea of a homogeneous Hindu Rashtra was first peddled by Hindus. The Muslim leadership remained divided over the idea of Pakistan. In fact most Muslims rejected the idea of Pakistan and chose to live in an India which they believed would remain pluralistic and secular.

Finally I would like to agree with Dhume that it is borderline ludicrous to compare India with Pakistan on minority rights. In fact it is ludicrous to compare India with any other country on minority rights.

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11 comments

  1. Dhume is way off the mark as usual, but that does not automatically make your statements correct. A lot of facts stated bu you can easily be refuted, but thatwould take another long artlicle. Let me try to put as succintly as possible. My only request- please don’t mistake my need for brevity for crass point scoring over the very real sufferings of minorities in India or Pak.1)Muslim personal law since 1937 still continues in independent india, contrast it to Pak’s Hindu personl law passed in 2017. Before 2017 marriage between two Hindus was not recognised by the state, can you imagine? This obviously meant lots of forced conversions. According to one report-“At least 25 conversions of young Hindu girls and women take place every month in Umerkot’s Kunri and Samaro talukas alone,”source-https://www.dawn.com/news/1345871. Christian have it worse still, many of these women are forced to convert to Islam to leave their abusive husbands,coz no proper christian personal law means divorce is not recognised in Christians.I can share links with you on the massive refugee crisis in Thailand and other places due to Christians fleeing pak or hindus fleeing to india.although much smaller in scale as compared to the rohingya crisis, it still is a huge problem. And here i am not even mentioning the hazaras, ahmedis, baloch and FATA pashtuns fleeing Pak or the IDPs of FATA etc. You might be surprised to note that FATA is far worse than Indian kashmir or north-east in terms of the number of people killed,injured or refugees created by the army or its proxies and their FCR would make our AFSPA look like school-yard bullying. Due to FCR people of FATA don’t have even the fundamental rights of other citizens.Comparatively India doesn’t have such a refugee crisis of religious or ethnic minorities.In terms of minority, percentage of shias in pak is similar to that of muslims in india, around 15%. But the number of shias killed,injured or fleeing pak is greater in total number and infact much greater in terms of percentage as compared to Muslims, christians,sikhs in India combined. Infact you are more likely to be killed by a religious extremist if you are a Muslim in Pak than in India. I can provide the stats for that too if you want. For now visit satp.org to see casualities for the past atleast 30 years due to religious or ethnic violence in both countries, to see the difference.None of this is to say that india is heaven for minorities but yes in terms of statistics definitely much safer than Pak.

    1. India is still worst, not just for the Muslims, but also for the low-caste Dalit Hindus, and even for the women. You and millions of your fellow Hindus even voted a butcher of Muslims as the prime minister of India (Narendra Modi).

      Go read about anti-Muslim, anti-Sikh, anti-Christian genocide at the hands of Hindu extremists in Gujarat, Ayodhya, Delhi, Amritsar, Mumbai, Odisha, Hyderabad.

      1. In terms of sheer number Pakistani State has killed far more Christians,sikhs, shias, hazaras, dalits, bengalis, sindhis, pashtuns and baloch and shias of gilgit baltistan. Forget the rest, close to 3 million that is 30 lack bengalis were killed by Pak army. You can add all the brutality and killings of dalits, gujrat 2002 riot, anti-sikh 1984 riot, 1948 hyderabad seige, 1948 jammu massacre,1992 bombay riots, hashimpura killings, muzzafarnagar riots and insurgency in north-east and even the state violence in kashmir that has killed thousands; and the number will not even come close to 3 lakh. Compare that to 30 lakh in east-pakistan in 1971 itself. Add to that the fact that the population of India is 6 times that of your lovely Pak, but the number of people killed since Pak’s inception is much more than 10 times. Talk about real statistics you dumb-wit.

  2. The author starts with a premise and uses selective statistics and subjective – opinionated, even – assertions to prove that premise. Laughable, really. Also, I wonder, why does the author hide his / her name?

  3. As far as minorities being asked to prove their nationality is concerned, you should ask the Shias, Hazaras and minority ethnicities of GB, Parachinar, Baloch and Pashtuns many of whom are called proxies of Iran regularly on TV and more so on SM after they are victims of blasts and massacres by LeJ. And you should check out the number of temples destroyed in Pak just coz Hindu terrorists destroyed Babri Masjid.You are probably unaware of the hundreds of temples and gurudwaras that were confiscated by the state immediately after partition and still remain occupied by the state after 70 years and the Hindus and Sikhs left behind still can’t claim these temples and haven’t worshiped there in 70 years. While the rabid anti-Muslim propaganda both in MSM and SM is mostly a post 2014 phenomenon in India,you should check out the vicious anti-hindu, anti-sematic, anti-ahmedi and anti-shia venom, that has almost always been a mainstay of mainstream Pak discourse on TV, and later on SM. If you don’t believe me you can check for yourself a lot of articles from the archives of urdu dailies of Jang, Ummat etc or you could check out many TV news channels of at least 10 years that is available on YouTube etc.You will hear a constant refrain of how all problems of Pakistan are due to ‘Hindu Bania’ aka Indians, or how everything is a Yahood-Hanood conspiracy against Islamic Republic of Pak. As far as your argument of Pak state being responsible by openly calling these extremists “terrorists” goes, let me tell you that each national political party , namely PPP, PMLN, PTI and even the so called secular MQM has made political alliance with the shia killing LeJ aka ASWJ and their candidate is winning elections individually as well Pakistan being a poor state has to pretend to act tough on terrorists otherwise the US will stop giving it military and civilian aid, and so it has been a really old tactics of Pak to impose a rubber stamp ban the organisations that US says are terrorist org and then these organisations change their names and start operating freely, collecting funds holding mass rallies in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi etc. Thus LeT first became JuD under US pressure and then FIF , same with LeJ becoming SSP and then ASWJ. No sane person can deny the massacre of thousands of Muslims in India by RSS and the bigger sangh parivaar, but the number and frequency of their killings pale in comparison to the viciousness of a terrorist outfit like LeJ that has killed Shias in a far bigger number, around 6000 alone have been killed and more than 1 lack injured since 1989 mostly by shooting or bombing them and their mosques. In sheer numbers that would be the equivalent of 36 thousand Muslims being killed and around 6 lack injured in India,who are also 15% of the population like their shia counterparts in Pak. You might love to quote Rwanda genocide of aound half a million people to win arguments from dumb Sangis, but do you not know that a far greater number of people were killed by Pak army in 1971 in East Pakistan, many of whom were killed because they were Hindus?Some estimate Pak army killed around 3 million Bengalis, both Hindus and bengali Muslims that were considered too Hinduised by the West Pakistan army. I know you will not engage in a debate based on merits with people like me who can counter your cherry picking stats with facts and full picture, instead you would ignore this comment section and engage with stupid Sanghis on your Twitter TL. If you want an honest debate then am happy to engage, to teach you and to learn from you if am wrong. FYI I donot believe that India is secular and inclusive because of its majority Hindu population. In fact India is pluralistic because of Ambedkar and people like him who made a deliberate effort through our constitution.The record of Hinduism is the worst among all major religions when it comes to equality and justice for all.

  4. Well, akar patel can add me too to the list of middle class hindus on Internet. This article does not even deserve a rebuttal, but just to wipe your ass after you are done reading it. Whoever wrote this is seriously living in la la land and does not know or even does not want to know the ground realities. Intellectual illiterates is the most suitable word for you all arm chair thinkers. Let me tell you something, by writing articles such as these, you are alienating hindu youth from Liberal ideals by blaming them for prosecution of Muslims. Even after 70 years, you are the one’s dividing India in majority and minority. Try to include everyone and respect other’s point of view, then people will understand. As long as you keep blaming majority of hindus for the acts, you will never ever be heard.

  5. Some excellent data shared in this comment section especially by Praful and Shriya. What say Mr. Bharatjournal, will you dare to respond or ignore these comments? I think you would do the latter, considering your actual purpose doesn’t seem to criticise India to improve it for the better, but to somehow say that India is inherently bad because it is a hindu majority. Then how exactly are you different from those bigoted knuckle-heads who say Saudi, pakistan and other Muslim majority countries are inherently bad because of Muslims, or that india is inherently pluralistic because of Hindus? Sadly in our blind hatred we become what we hate the most.In the process sadly you have insulted many stalwarts of Indian nationalism, like Ambedkar, Nehru, Periyar and many others who not only fought the british but also caste supremicts, feudal ovelords(who were both hindus and muslims by religion) and Hindu mahasabha types to give us a secular constitution with clear separation of power and laws like Zamindari abolition act, a robust federal structure,recognition of language and ethnicity and to avoid having one national language, that saved us from a lot of ethnic nationalism. Yes they did falter when they put cattle slaughter in directive principles of state policy. Now compare that to the Pakistan project of Jinnah that found a lot of support among those feudals, who feared a life of far less privilege in Nehru’s socialistic India. Guess what, after 70 years there is still no land reforms in Pak, and it remains a deeply feudal society still. There is no affirmative action for dalits and lower castes in Pak, even after 70 years and you will still find the state govts. of Punjab, sindh etc. routinely take out employment ads for sweepers and sanitation workers saying only non-muslims like hindu and christians can apply. Yes there is a lot of caste injustice in pak, most of which doesn’t get reported and there is no Prevention of atrocities act there like we have in India.Ever heard of Jogendra nath mandal, the dalit politician who left Pak and came back to India,because he felt discriminated by the Muslim majority? Atrocities against dalits in India is definitely far worse, but that is mainly because it is mainly a hindu problem which has infected other religions as well. jinnah sowed the seeds of bengali resentment when he told east pakistanis that they will have to accept urdu as the official language of Pak. This problem still haunts pakistan as there are active separatists movements in Sindh, balochistan and KPK. Sure india too isn’t an angel when it comes to separatist movements in kashmir, and North-east, but of the 29 states, and more than 50 major ethnicities of india, there are 6 live insurgencies in india , compare that to pakistan with only 4 provinces and 3 separatist insurgencies by 3 states. I can go on pointing out the structural and systemic differences in both states, that make them very different. The answer to Hindu majoritarian hate is by sticking to the principles of our founding fathers and not by dismissing their life-long efforts for a just India by suggesting that the idea of India was always an exclusionary one. Afterall isn’t that what the sangh parivar is doing by mailinging Gandhi, nehru, Ambedkar? In these bigoted times you should introspect, whose hand are you strengthening by making such false equivalencies and straw man arguments?

  6. Either you are extremely ill-informed or are deliberately whitewashing the sins of the state of Pakistan. You say in Pakistan violent extremists are called terrorists and are punished by the state.But it is like saying Bhindrawale was a terrorist and he was killed by the indian state, ergo Indian state is against terrorists.This statement may look truthful to those uninitiated to the history of modern india. The truth as we know is that Bhindrawale was created by Indira against Akalis and when he got out of hand as Frankensteins tend to do, she crushed him and thousands more mostly innocents were massacred by the state in the process. Now, apply the exponential principle to consider the state of pakistan, that created,funded and trained the taliban and handed over swathes of its own territory to taliban ,who btw ran a parallel state within the pakistani state and killed tens of thousands with impunity both in pakistan and Afghanistan. By 2013 when some of these Taliban started turning against the state and attacking military installations and police personnel, that the state reluctantly started the operation zarb-e azb in 2013. It did not do so before even after repeated warnings from the US to act against these terrorists or face financial sanctions. But here too they have a clear distinction of good taliban/bad taliban. Some names that you should research to understand the extent of Pakistani State’s hand in creating and fostering terrorists are- Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid, origins of the shia-killing Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Shafiq Mengal and his extremist-sunni outfit ,who was planted by Pak military in balochistan to counter the baloch separatists, Ehsanullah ehsan of TTP who after butchering thousands of civilians is an honored state guest of Pak military to name a few. You should correct the many factually wrong statements in this article of yours, and acknowledge your limited knowledge regarding the pakistani state and its many machinations.Otherwise you are just being intellectually dishonest and in the process trivializing the horrors faced by the many ethnic and religious minorities of pakistan, all in a bid to win a war of rhetoric with a man(Sadanand Dhume) who is known for his intellectual dishonesty. What next, will you now sing praises of the Congress govt. of 1984 for successfully eliminating khalistani terrorism?
    (N.B- The Khalistani militancy at its peak was funded,armed and trained by the Pakistani State, with many of them crossing borders to be trained by the PAk army, unlike the present day terrorists of pakistan like TTP, LeJ etc. who get diddly squat from India.)

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