Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What are root causes of never ending tension between India and Pakistan?

One of the most persistent political problems that India deals with on a regular basis is its strife and conflict with the neighboring country of Pakistan. Since the time India attained independence from British Rule in 1947, India and Pakistan have engaged in wars for four different times, in the years 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. The recent uprisings and regular tension within the political circles in these two countries along with regular discussions held by experts about the mutual relations between India and Pakistan forces people to ask the question as to what are the root causes of these never ending tensions between these two neighboring countries.

For many people, the basic cause of friction between India and Pakistan lies in the “Kashmir issue”, which has been a constant nagging problem ever since India attained independence and Pakistan became a separate country with its own governing system. However, one should keep in mind that this is just an externalization of a much deeper problem. To get to the root of the matter, careful attention should be given to the nature and ideologies of the two dominant religions of these countries, i.e. Hinduism and Islam. In this connection, one needs to understand that every religion has two dimensions; one is purely theological and the other deals with sociological systems. The sociological aspect can also be divided into two parts; one part deals with the ideologies and practices that impact only the members of the particular faith and the other part focuses on the way it interacts with people who are not a part of that faith or in other words belongs to a different faith.

Indian Soldiers at India-Pakistan Border
It is this second aspect that mostly gives rise to conflicting interests. As long as a religion remains completely unconcerned about the acts performed by people of other religions, there is no need for conflict but if it aims to determine how much freedom other people are liable to get then it certainly induces a lot of problems. India, from the very beginning, had a pluralistic worldview, much like that of the Americans. Therefore, India’s preamble stated that it is going to provide equal opportunities and status to all people and also offer liberty to all to express their own thoughts and follow their own beliefs. However, from the very beginning, Pakistan has a very different approach to its people and considered that it is the task of the official religion of Islam to interpenetrate every aspect of people’s lives and dictate the way they should conduct their lives.

Pakistan was cut off from the mainland of India during its struggle for independence and ever since then it is trying to form its identity as a nation. However, this is something that they find difficult to do because they are ideally trying to create an ideally that is decidedly un-Hindu. To do this, they would have to completely reject the past as most of the recorded history has a strong Hindu influence. This naturally makes Pakistan very much uneasy about its own identity and position in the world. They would rather align themselves with the Arabic civilizations of west Asia, but they also find it difficult to deny the fact that the very land of Pakistan had a strong Indian or Hindu influence due to thousands of years of history. The whole attempt to bring Kashmir under its fold is nothing but an attempt on Pakistan’s part to spread its own divisive cultural belief systems. This naturally means that they need to propagate an anti-Indian sentiment to hold the whole nation of Pakistan together. Had it been that Pakistan would have formed a cultural and national identity of its own without any antagonistic sentiment towards India to begin with, then Pakistan would have had a much secure self image and thereby felt less inclined to get into a political strife with India at all times.  

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