The State vs The People – Notes on the History of Pakistan


‘Masses are known to have wrought miracles in history; nothing is beyond them’.

Mir Muhammad Ali TalpurNo entity, group, nation or state whatever the basis for its creation or existence can have priority over the intrinsic rights of the people it integrates to itself for supposedly higher and noble aims. Imposition of languages, culture, ethics and values however lofty in the eyes of the imposer cannot be justified on any grounds be they religious, social, economic or political. Such unjust impositions will always be the cause of the myriad problems that will face them at every turn and will keep cropping up with increased vigour and frequencies with the passage of time because of the incompatible and uncharacteristic nature their association.

ریاست بمقابلہ عوام: پاکستان کی تاریخ پر نوٹس

The myths that are woven around the apparently noble and altruistic aims of the groups those who embark upon enslaving people of other nation deserve a deep study to distinguish between the apparent and the hidden agendas. The deviousness and astuteness with which the myths are created and employed deceive most if not all making them accept the patently false and bogus contentions as worthy and creditable. This involves deception on a large scale and more often than not the schemers succeed. Where they fail to convince the people with their pretentious rhetoric they revert to their original and sinister methods of force disguising it too with clichés like ‘ensuring the writ of State’. They brook no opposition to their nefarious designs and eventually ride rough shod over the aspirations of the weaker partners.

The history and consequently the psyche of the dominant partner who thinks of itself as the Patrician and acts similarly in a federating union plays a very important part in the way which other units of the federation are treated and mistreated. If that partner also happens to provide the overwhelming majority of the armed forces the attitude towards others becomes even more crucial because domineering becomes a natural way of life for them. Authoritarianism and disregard for the rights of others is a malady that has afflicted all the powerful individuals, groups, and nations throughout human history and doesn’t seem unnatural to the powerful pseudo Patricians who accept it as second nature for themselves regardless of what the oppressed and intimidated people think of the injustices forced down their throats labelled as medicine of national interests, which bitter as it may be has to be taken by the colonized relegated to the position of Plebeians.

The weaker federating units are destined to be between a rock and a hard place if the dominant unit has had a history of serving those who colonized the region before it. In its desire to balance the sheets of historical accounts it has to make other do by force if necessary what it had done quite willingly for gaining advantage with the colonizers. It has to make others subservient to its needs and policies regardless of their aversion to grovelling at feet of the powerful. It becomes overly sensitive even to justified dissent and disagreement by other units on crucial issues directly affecting them. It always opts for use of its easily accessible and compliant military force which eventually and invariably leads either to secession or eternally simmering discontent.

The ruling elite which illegally usurp the power become so used to its perks, privileges and concessions that it will never willingly forfeit power to the rightful authority of the masses because with the passage of time they become entirely convinced of their infallibility and indispensability not only in the context of this country but of the Universe itself. They earnestly begin to believe that the very survival of the world in fact depends on their retaining power there. It is difficult to persuade such people to shed the misconceptions of their self-importance and eminence in relation to the existence of the State and with it the welfare of the masses. Inexorably they err but as always err towards what is advantageous for them and their coterie and their sycophants.

Those who set out to impose their will on people of other nations are certainly motivated by their economic, political, religious and social interests that they think can only prosper at expense of other people. It should be noted that though the declared interests are the above mentioned ones but lurking in the background is a dominant element of racism, an element which they will always vehemently deny. If the element of racism weren’t there we would not see the brutality that is displayed in making others accept what the dominant group considers to be correct and supposedly in the interest of those subjugated; Bangla Desh, Balochistan and Sindh are the prime examples here.

If the element of racism were absent it would show in the even handed treatment of the federating units but because of racism there is brazen and blatant discrimination which is explained away with the justification of actions being taken in interests of the federation or that they are doing it in the interests of others and whatever opposition there is has been fomented by anti-state elements or persons who are against development. This defence is invalid and flawed because through out history those holding power try to defend their actions on similar grounds.

Those who want to subjugate others socially and economically after they have taken over the physical control of their territories; begin by inflicting injustices and indignities on their victims. These indignities subtle or overt have a pattern and rationale; the purpose and intention being to make the victims lose their sense of identity and to make them fully acquiescent to their designs. Once a person loses his/her sense of identity he or she can be made to acquiesce to do the basest of tasks nothing being baser than working against ones own people, culture and history.

The indignities are inflicted and imposed so often and so wisely that the colonized people eventually get used to these and accept them as natural. An experiment was performed with frogs to illustrate this crucial fact. Water was boiled to some 50 degrees Celsius and frogs dropped into the water; naturally all the frogs died. Another batch of frogs was then put in tepid water and placed on fire and gradually heated; even when the temperature reached 50 degrees Celsius these frogs were swimming about. When people are made to suffer indignities and their leaders do not raise a voice or resist the people like these frogs become inured to the heat of indignities.

The exercise of inflicting indignities sometimes takes place individually and at times it takes place en masse .Sometimes the perpetrators in their effort to make their work easier commit a symbolic indignity on the entire people to deprive them of their sense of national dignity. They also sometimes choose individuals of great influence and authority for the indignity so that the fallout of that indignity sways most if not all of the followers of those individuals making them acquiesce to their iniquitous demands without much effort. Indignities speed up the process of rejection of one’s culture and history which ends up with loss of identity.

With loss of identity the love for ones own culture and history turns into rejection of the same. Bringing about this rejection is never a pointless venture for the subjugator because it is this loss of identity which he exploits to the fullest for his sinister ends. Once the sentiments of rejection set in the attitude of insensitivity towards ones national resources, culture, history and goals take a strangle hold of the person’s psyche which not only makes it easier for the subjugator to exploit the wealth and resources of the victim country but he also gets an active abettor and conniver in the rejectionist.

Dr. Maliks, Jams of Lasbela, Aslam Raisanis are personification of these collaborators and they promote abject submission as this helps to enrich them. An anecdote will illustrate the curse of abject submissiveness that they favour and reminds us of the ignominy of acquiescing to injustices and indignities. In a kingdom, the people had to cross a river daily for work. Hoping to increase revenue, the king built a bridge. Surprisingly, the revenue fell. On the Vizier’s counsel, he imposed a toll. He assumed protests would erupt but the people meekly paid up and thereafter whenever the revenue fell, the tariff was jacked up.

Planning to provoke protests, he stationed a person at each end to whack passersby with shoes. A few days later the entire populace converged on the palace. Hoping they would protest, he was shocked to hear them say that with only two people whacking them caused inordinate delays and demanded that more people be deployed to quicken up the process. He concluded that people who cheerfully crossed ‘the bridge of indignities’ could be ruled capriciously. This is the sort of submission that these self-serving politicians want.

The British were ingenious in inflicting indignities; they employed it in all forms and on all people. In the process of colonization this was the most important weapon in their arsenal. They sanctified the disgraceful and abject surrender to their authority while they demonized all those who showed any resistance to their political, cultural, social and economic assault on established societies.

This legacy of inflicting indignities on nations was well learnt and then practised by the brown sahibs here. They had to use it quite lavishly and forcefully to superimpose their values, their norms, their language, their ideals, and their ethics .In short an entirely new belief system and world view which they thought was not only superior but ordained by Allah had to be imposed on the recalcitrant people for their own good. Those who were instrumental in persuading the British to partition India believed that the creation of this country was will of Allah. Their successors even more ardently believe that to be an immutable truth.

The subjugators and exploiters fear those who do not succumb and wilt to their pressures and temptations and succeed in keeping their sense of identity alive, the fears grows because defiance like acquiescence is contagious and if there is someone who doesn’t succumb to coercion and intimidation or to inducements and temptations, others try to emulate him. It is because of this that they try to either eliminate him or to contain his influence. Those who do not lose their sense of identity remain a constant threat to their interests. Nations have always had people of integrity and honour who have defied the overwhelming odds and given their nations a sense of pride and have also been a beacon of hope; in Balochistan Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, Mir Sher Mohammad Marri, Nawab Akbar Bugti in his last days have been the beacon. In the present generation Dr. Allah Nazar, Balach Marri and other Sarmachars have also assumed that role. The Long March of Mama Qadeer Baloch and the brave daughters of Baloch soil and young men who accompany him have also assumed that role. On the other hand there have also been traitors and renegades who have sold the destinies of nation for a pittance.

These brown sahibs knew they had an enormous task ahead because the nations they set out to subjugate had histories as old as mountains, they had their languages, their moral and social values, norms and conventions. To dislodge them they knew they would have to employ more force than persuasion and found the Armed Forces a willing accomplice in the undertaking. It is something else that this partner in deed decided to become the sole caretaker of the mission of grinding the opposition to submission.

The best way to overcome resistance of an opponent is first silence him so that neither he can communicate with his own kind nor can he relate the injustices to others. The opponent can either be silenced by physically restraining him from speaking or by denying him his language; and this device is equally effective.

The British did try to impose their language but were unable to do it so they promoted it in a different manner by making English a lucrative language, a language from which benefits flowed for the adopter and user. Theirs was a subtle method and they made sure they didn’t step on too many toes .With them providing incentives for acceptance was more important and little wonder that English still is the dominant language in the region nay the world.

The brown sahibs, who held a different view of their own mission and its sanctity, brooked no dissent to what they thought was in the interests of the plebeians. They ordained that the language would be Urdu for all the subjects without any consideration for their languages. The people of Bengal resisted this injustice which they saw as an attempt to muffle and muzzle them. There was opposition to the move in varying degrees in different provinces but all dissent was either physically crushed or cowed into submission by employing religious and political pressures. They did succeed in suppressing the dissent but the seeds of disintegration and dissolution were sown.

Although 67 years have passed this injustice continues unabated and if any one even demands equal rights for the languages they have used for eons is condemned as anti-state. Sindhi has been the prime casualty because it is here that the greatest demographic changes took place. It still is struggling to find its rightful place as are Pushtu, Balochi, Brahvi and Seraiki. The people need to communicate and study in their own languages if they are to be creative and productive but the rulers continue to deny them their right in name of national interest.

The brown sahibs have been more vindictive and venomous in their treatment of subjects because they too like the British think that by subjugating the people and imposing their own ideals, values, morals and mores they are in fact doing these people a supreme favour because what they have brought is not only more superior but that are also implementing the will of Allah by doing that. It is this self-righteous attitude stemming from this mind-set which has closed their minds to all reason and dialogue leaving them only with the option of use of brute force to make the ungrateful vulgar rustics understand the need for accepting their supremacy.

The pathetic conditions of human rights, of provincial rights, of women’s rights and of minority rights presently obtained here are a direct outcome of this sanctimonious narcissism as practised by the ruling elite here. They arrogantly continue to deny that the people of this country had any history, culture, language, values, or ethics before they came with what they sanctimoniously call Pakistan Ideology .The ruling elite certainly believe that Allah created the world on August 14th 1947. How else can be their attitude towards the rights, languages, culture and history of the nations residing within the confines of this geographical entity explained?

The One-Unit was an attempt to deprive Sindh, Balochistan and Bengal too not only of their rights but also their historical names to disembody and demean their entire history and consequently their very existence. To force them to find refuge in something as artificial and meaningless as West Pakistan. The denial of the right to use the name and identity of ones nation leads to loss of self esteem, a situation which the subjugator utilizes to its fullest to enhance his influence over the victim and increase the shackles that bind him.

Sindh has had more than a fair share of injustices and indignities. The influx of refugees from India not only changed its demography forever but also laid the basis of detrimental changes in economic and social, cultural and political fields for those residing there before. Sindh’s fate has been of getting the worst treatment since the British occupied it in February 1843.Even the British decided to give it a step-motherly treatment by denying it the status of Province it always deserved.

The Baloch land couldn’t be denied a name because a huge area inhabited by them has been identified with their name since times immemorial. They had to be tackled in a different manner. Force was the only option open to the State because there were no moral, legal, ethical or political grounds for annexing them to the new state. The representatives of the people had opted for a separate and independent existence which was their right. Ironically the person, Jinnah, who had pleaded its demand of independence in British era was the person who ordered the use of force against them.

Balochistan being sparsely populated and possessing unlimited resources has invited all the efforts to exploit its i.e. resources and large areas. Unable to subdue them by any other means the Balochistan has seen frequent and repeated conflagrations of varied intensities and durations. The latest action there, which is the most vicious to date and repression and killings shame even the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Latin America, is being conducted with the intention to suppress the peoples’ demands for the right to the resources and resistance to the changing of demography by force. The people have resisted all policies that they consider as detrimental to the larger interests of Baloch and Balochistan. They have now concluded that it is impossible to live together.

The increasing population and diminishing resources prompted a renewed thrust and attention towards Balochistan to carve out a chunk of land by subtle and overt annexation to make them a viable and strategically important player that the US in past but now China needs. Annexation and colonization has continued insidiously and surreptitiously and brought a lot of regions under their sway, mostly it has been use of incentives to those who can deliver and use of force when this and other deceptive methods have failed.

The political parties and personalities in Balochistan and Sindh have mostly played a malevolent and subservient role to make the malicious policies a success. The individuals and groups claiming to represent people and at times in fact swaying them have more often than not slowly but surely persuaded the people to accept the injustices and iniquities as morally and legally justified acts in name of larger interests which in fact are nothing more than interests of a selected few within the folds of that organization or party. Governments have also used political, spiritual and religious leaders to further their goals of annexation and colonization to give an appearance of compassion and altruism to their essentially vicious and vile ends.

The media in general has played a role of being an instrument and active sponsor of State Ideology. Due to external controls and self censorship it has strived to belittle the efforts and demands of different nationalities residing within the boundaries of the ‘land of pure’ or as Late Justice Kayani sometimes used to say ‘the land of poor’. Of late a new term has been coined by the Press and is used even in the editorials of some national dailies; they use the term sub-nationalists when referring to those leaders in Provinces who demand rights for their people. It is in the same vein as referring someone as sub-human as compared to humans; they conveniently forget that those whom they term and depict as sub-nationalists represent cultures, histories and nations that have adorned these regions for millenniums while those it refers to as nationalists have been around only some 67 years. People cannot be expected to throw out as excess baggage their cultures, histories, national sentiments for something that has only succeeded in providing them with miseries.

To expect that there will be a change in this attitude of the media is only wishful thinking because most if not all the newspapers and television channels are owned and run by those who have benefited within the prevailing system and continue to thrive on it. There will be occasional flashes of expression of the rights of those deprived of their rights and of life with dignity in name of larger interests but no more. All benefit with the status quo and they do not see it in their interest to disturb it. It is little wonder that some newspapers and journals avoid some writers like plague because their articles endorse views which encourage changes that would jeopardize their status quo.

The injustices and indignities against those who dare to raise their voice in opposition, instead of reducing the tensions and solving the problems it aggravates them, this leads to increased resistance which gels with time and eventually reaches the stage where it leads to the defeats of the repressive machinery. Repression can only be counter-productive but the ruling elites always fail to grasp this truth. The salvation of the people lies in their striving to defeat the repressive machinery.

The climate of intolerance and the consequent violence engendered by it threatens the very basis of civil society here is the direct result of the repression which has been in vogue since Pakistan’s inception. All through history societies, countries and empires disintegrated as a result of the intolerance and repression which were bred and nourished by short-sighted ruling elites who equated their narrow personal interests with those of the State and readily embarked upon policies which sooner or later proved fatal for them and the unfortunate people under their tutelage.

The mind-set that has brought this place to the abyss of disintegration and anarchy will never change and sooner rather than later will bring the affairs to the natural conclusion. People need to wrest their destinies from the incompetent and brutal nincompoops and ensure that they live in freedom from all sorts of exploitations and oppressions. Those coerced into status of Plebeians now do not accept this status as their fate and destiny because they know that these pseudo Patricians assumed that status by force and fraud and that they should be dislodged. Masses are known to have wrought miracles in history; nothing is beyond them.

Mir Muhammad Ali Talpur has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He tweets at mmatalpur and can be contacted at mmatalpur@gmail.com

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