Something I Am Reading


These days i am reading a book … The Indus Saga … From Patliputra to Partition, by Aitzaz Ahsan. The book is a well written, well thought out story about the civilization of what today is Pakistan. Nice book … Though, there are a few things i wanted to write about …

Firstly, the Gurdaspur Kathiawad line … Mr. Ahsan makes the argument that this is the line which divides two different civilizations. While i do agree that culturally, the Gangetic plain is quite distinct from the Indus civilization, i think the line that Mr. Ahsan has drawn comes more from a sense of current political geography rather than anything more concrete. For instance, this line traces quite well the Radcliffe Award. Is this just a coincidence? Probably not. Which would suggest that the positioning of this divide is more than scholarly debate.

Another thing that stands out … the creation of Pakistan. While the civilization of the Indus region is distinct from the larger Indian civilization, the fact remains … the creation of Pakistan was not a civilizational consequence. Nor was it a religious consequence of the deep divide between the Hindu and Muslim populations of the subcontinent. If it was a religious consequence, Mohammad Ali Jinnah wouldnt have declared Pakistan as being a secular state, where the religion a person professes to would not come in the way of how the nation treats him. Which leaves one aspect … the political aspect. This goes to suggest that the creation of Pakistan was purely a political move, and shouldnt be seen as anything else. That this is backed by civilizational differences probably doesnt bear on the debate.

Another thing which i dont quite agree with … that the Mohajir is an Indus person reverting to his roots. How does a Mohajir, who may come from Lucknow become an Indus person? How does he lay a claim to the history of Indus, that is larger than that of a Punjabi Hindu, or Sikh, who hails from the Punjab, whose Father might have called Lahore or Rawalpindi home? This argument suggests an Islamic connection to the civilization of Pakistan, which is definitely not the thesis of the book.

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