Saturday, December 29, 2007

Histories of the Other Side

First off its pretty pathetic to see Ms. Benazir Bhutto killed. I didnt know why I felt a little sad but I did when I was reading the news. People around my cube said that she didnt have the right approach and that she was risking it.Risking what? Whats her alternative; sit at home and do nothing while ensconced in the security wrapper. That would do no good. Then someone said, why would someone from India bother? Why bother at all? I retorted: "Because we have to watch out for own own.."

The words rang in my mind as I came home.."Our own". How is it these guys are our own notwithstanding the parition and the likes. Why cant Pakistan have peace and economic progress like its sister countries? Then, suddenly there emerges this theory that nations which forget their cultural histories and try to enforce a new identity created of thin air have this peculiar probem of confusion.Then I rift apart trying to unravel the threads. For that, we need to go back a few centuries.

Take a look at Arab Conquest of the land to begin with. Before the conquest of Sind, the only other civilization which had a prior cultural history was that of Persia. The first expedition to capture Sind was started in 38 A.H (Anno Hegirae ) and they were beaten back. It took 7 expeditions after that to succesfully conquer Sind in the year 73 A.H by Qasim. I have just finished reading the authoritatve work on the history of Sindh called Chach Nama (the story of chach)and later works heavily reference this which gives us a valuable picture of life and times of those folks.

The key point to note from the work is the fact that Buddhists and Hindus were happily co-existing with each other before the advent of the Arabs. Shramanis(A community following buddhism much like priests) and Brahmans were equally influential in the local government. Now contrast it to modern day government where the party which wins in Punjab (Nawaz Sharif currently is the lead here) ends up being the ruling party at the centre. Also the work notes that whenever central policies are crafted carefully to not go against the local sensibilities. These days Waziristan and NWFP regularly throw out the current administrations' presence out of their regions. The Chach Nama also throws light on the fact that various institutions were present to check and balance (BTW Chach initially was well recognized for his penmanship) in stark contrast to the Army being the only enduring institution that the modern day nation.

Of course, the Arabs referred to the subcontinent as Sind and Hind (Kashmir marking the eastern border and Kutch marking the southern border) somehow emphasizing a difference of nations there which later was unified by later conquests which are well known.The second time the partition happened was when the British carved away Sind from the Bombay Presidency in 1935 which kinda foreshadowed the partition (but given the way Jinnah was treated, I wouldnt blame him for not having anything to do with some morons in the Congress who refused to eat with him and other petty religious isolational things). So, whenever something happens in Sind, it usually had implications for the rest of the country. The Bhuttos are the modern day leaders of Sind (sindhis always loved her)and now I wonder what this event portends for the rest of the country.

Jiye ..Jiye..Jiye Bhutto Benazir (That 1993 campaign song was very popular in Hyderabad Deccan as much as it was in the other Hyderabad)
But if I were to choose the appropriate lyrics for the rage inside pakistan it would be best expressed via Red Hot Chilli Peppers:

How long
how long will I slide
Separate my side
I don't
I don't
believe it's bad
Slittin my throat
It's all I ever ...

I heard your voice
through a photograph
I thought it up and brought up the past
Once you've know you can never go back
I've got to take it on the otherside ..
Centuries are what it meant to me
A cemetery where I marry the sea
Stranger things could never change my mind
I've got to take it on the otherside
Take it on the otherside..

Pour my life into a paper cup
The ashtrays full and I'm spillin' my guts
She wants to know am I still a slut
I've got to take it on the other side

Scarlet starlet and she's in my bed
A candidate for a soul mate bled
Push the trigger and pull the thread
I've got to take it on the otherside
Take it on...

Turn me on take me for a hard ride
Burn me out leave me on the otherside
I yell and tell it that
It's not a friend
I tear it down
And then it's born again
I don't
I don't believe
it's bad
Slittin my throat
It's all I ever

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