Some opinions of India from Pakistan
With the elections on in Pakistan, the country has been on my mind. A new era seems to be dawning out there but at least for now I won’t be writing about that…what I have been musing on is what the average Pakistani thinks of India. It seems to me that even though India is a shining example of a working democracy Pakistanis don’t think very highly of our country.
Anti-India feelings in Pakistan I believe are quite strong. Those who follow the Pakistani newspapers and letters are probably aware of this and also that this anti-India feeling extends to India-bashing. A Pew Global survey has also shown that the majority of Pakistanis have an unfavourable opinion of India. We too engage in a fair amount of Pak bashing…the sad thing is that the truth gets lost somewhere inbetween…
This isn’t a jingoistic post about India being better than Pakistan, but just an attempt to understand Pakistani attitudes towards India. A letter written by Wajeeha Shahid in the Dawn (letter not available on the internet) said that “Pakistan, if not better, is not worse than India by any means…”
This brought forth a response by her fellow citizen in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Quoting the letter:
Lessons from the neighbour
THIS is apropos of Wajeeha Shahid letter, ‘Drawing lessons from India?’ (Feb 11), where in her opinion Pakistan, if not better, is not worse than India by any means.
This is a fact that India is doing far better than many countries in the world, let alone Pakistan, and there is no harm in learning lessons from India and follow their path of progress, prosperity and self-reliance.
Due to the nature of my work, I have been travelling to various European countries almost every month for the last several years.
Over the last couple of years I have seen a tremendous increase in the number of Indian (mostly not having more than a couple of years postgraduate experience) all over filling in engineering jobs. It is very seldom that I find any Pakistani engineers. Most big names (including my employer) have tremendous growth plans in India and even R&D centre of many such engineering organisations are now operating out of Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Yes I do find Pakistanis as well — either working as taxi drivers, running restaurants or similar jobs.
I do agree with her statement that Indians glorify their average achievement, culture and norms. Yet again, this is also an art. If they can run advertisement on CNN and BBC glorifying their country and labelling as ‘Incredible India’; did someone stop Pakistan from doing the same? Why doesn’t Pakistan learn a lesson from India and venture into something similar?
There are certainly problems in India, with respect to literacy rate, traffic congestion and many others, but still India has other reasons to be proud of
A CONCERNED PAKISTANI
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Another interesting letter in reaction to the the same Wajiha Shahid’s letter:
THIS is apropos of the letter by Wajiha Shahid, ‘Drawing lessons from India?’ (Feb 11), and stating that Indians are aggressively following western culture in styles of dressing etc. I would like to point out that some amount of imbibing of other cultures is inevitable in a global economy and even my Pakistani brothers and sisters are not aloof from this.
However, the Pakistan President is invariably dressed in a smart western suit most of the time, not only during his visits abroad but even when meeting fellow Pakistanis within his own country. In contrast, the Indian prime minister always dresses in a white kurta-pyjama in India and a ‘bandh gala’ Indian design suit when on trips abroad.
The Pakistan president should set an example of national pride by dressing more in traditional Pakistani clothes rather than dressing like the western heads of state, then the Pakistani people will see him as more of their own president rather than a representative of Mr Bush.
Another letter (link not available) published in the Dawn:
THIS is apropos of Musavir Gajani’s letter, ‘Kashmir
issue’ (Feb 13) wherin he says that he always wished
to talk to the Indian government and negotiate
regarding the Kashmir issue as it will be no less than
a revolutionary step if he succeeds in this holy
objective to get the 7,718,700 (1991 Indian census)
Kashmirir people free and to bless them with their
legitimate and moral rights to join Pakistan.
It is also suggested that Mr Gajani will take on the
revolutionary step of freeing Pakistan from the
clutches of dictators and feudals first so that in
case he succeeds in his holy objective of liberating
the people of Kashmir and making them a part of
Pakistan, the Kashmiris do not feel that they have yet
to fight another war of independence.
ANIL KHAN LUNI
I want to close with a small quote from Jug Suraiya’s piece on India-Pakistan:
Despite its farmer suicides, its Maoist insurrections affecting 165 districts, its appalling record of infant mortality which is worse than that of either Nepal or Bangladesh, its continuing caste and gender oppression, India stands in the international community as a unique experiment in political, social and economic unity, predating the European Union by decades (emphasis mine). On the other side of the border, having pulled back from the brink of being a failed state and ‘the most dangerous place in the world’, post-poll Pakistan is on the precarious threshold of a new hope and a new beginning…
I want to clarify that Jug Suraiya is not favourite columnist and nor do I agree with everything he writes, or the general tone of the article from which I have quoted… but well, the words which I quoted above resounded with me.
(These letters were sent to me by my cousin Ranjit)
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