Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why do Indians hate Pakistanis?

Last week, an African -American truck driver asked me ,'Why do Indians hate Pakistanis?' during our chat at a car-repair shop in Baltimore. That question set me thinking .....we (i.e. Indians and Pakistanis) share a lot in terms of our attitudes, dressing styles, food, taste in films and music, our accents, style of thinking and so many other things. Yet why do we 'hate' each other?

I have found that most Indians and Pakistanis with common sense and some depth of thinking do not casually say "I hate Indians or 'I hate Pakistanis" . Immigrants(at least those I have met) from these countries in other countries such as USA, Canada do not fling that phrase thoughtlessly. I know for sure that many many Indians and Pakistanis in USA & Canada have friends among the immigrants from the  neighbour country.

Yet I hear the phrase"I hate Pakistanis' flung out casually by Indians in India. You hear this sort of stupid comments from :
 Older age people ( I always make the mistake of equating older age with maturity...my bad!),
Educated people and
People who have personally not had a  bad experience with any Pakistani in their lives.
These kinds of stupid comments irritate me so much that I have got into fights with the commenter and in turn, been accused of being a traitor! These people do not even quote any negative stuff done by Pakistanis from History books  to defend themselves. They do not even bother to read why the rift between these two neighbours occured. They simply hate or say they hate Pakistanis and that makes me think that these people,  are stupid people, prone to making stupid comments, simply to shock or seek attention.

I have heard a few North Indians relating the bitter and horrible experiences of their parents or grandparents during the partition and defend thier hate of  the other country. I can 'sort of' understand where their hatred comes from. But still, to hate, an entire country of people, who are like you in many ways, is unreasonable. But youth of today, who have a greater level of exposure to the events in the world and youth of today who have had no bitter experiences with Pakistan, to say they hate Pakistan, is utterly foolish.

 People from both countries have negative stereotypes of the other country and believe it without having had any experience of it. The cricket matches between the two countries is another event which flares up the tensions between the two countries. I feel so hopeless when I see teenagers in India talking rubbish about Pakistani people at the time of a cricket match. I have heard such stupid, thoughtless comments such as someone should bomb Pakistan or I will kill all Pakistanis, etc. Even children quote this rubbish while aping their older siblings or parents.

When I asked a child who said this, why he said that, he simply said, "Pakistan is our enemy". When I asked him why is it our enemy, he did not know. He was simply repeating what he had heard.

I wonder what is the point of an education if education did not make you think before you talk. I wonder what is the point of education if you do not have any depth in your thinking. I never hear these comments from illiterate people form my village...they are probably not able to show Pakistan on the map if you give them one! They are more concerned about their immediate problems such as rains ruining their crops than hating the people of some country they do not even know of !

I also suspect that hating Pakistanis is considered as being patriotic by many of my  idiotic countrymen. Instead of doing something constructive to prove their patriotism, many men bad-mouth Pakistan as a sign of their great love of India. Also as you already know, saying "I hate so and so" gets more attention than " I like so and so";  My immature, stupid, attention-seeking country men would like to grab your attention by saying something as dramatic but stupid as " I will kill all Pakistanis".

If the corrupt and lousy governments in both these countries paid more attention to the pressing needs in their own backyards instead of  warring with the other country, the people of both these countries would greatly benefit. There is so much to do in both countries such as improving  education, health and development of agriculture & industry; and  eradication of poverty, disease, unemployment, illiteracy, corruption, crime, etc.

When I see the wonderful benefits European countries enjoy as their governments spend less on defence against neighbours and more on health, education , etc within their countries ;  when I see the open borders and easy travel between European countries, I admire and envy them.

I wonder when the governments in Asian countries, will wake up to realize this.
 50% or more of the people in India do not have adequate food, clothing, shelter, health, employment or even somethings as basic as  drinking water and a toilet to pee and poop in daily. Yet, the Indian government spends billions of rupees on Weapons . I do know that defence of the borders is important.....

 but if I was a poor woman in  a Bangalore slum, and the government asked me ...."Do you want us to build you a toilet or should we buy Bofors to protect India from Pakistan, I would definitely opt for the toilet...I need more protection from leering men when I pee than I need India buying Bofors!

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