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Punjabi Generals and Martial Law in Pakistan.

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  • Syed Ehtisham
    Dear All, It was not unexpected but it still came as a shock that Pakistan has been adjudged among the top ten failed states. It is difficult to find fault
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 2006
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      Dear All,
      It was not unexpected but it still came as a shock
      that Pakistan has been adjudged among the top ten
      failed states. It is difficult to find fault with the
      Another more ominous news was shown on BBC America on
      5/2/06. 57% of the children under five in the third
      world are under weight. Half of these children are in
      the Indo-Pak-BD subcontinent. The number of the ill
      fed have increased in the last five decades. China has
      halved the number of its mal-nourished children in the
      last quarter of a century.
      I have always felt instinctively that the wonted
      economic development of India is an illusion. They
      have sold their soul to global capital. They can boast
      of a dozen dollar billionaires. They do not notice a
      billion half starved people. They can gloat over the
      newly acquired atomic status. They gloss over the
      multitude of the wretched.
      Bangla Desh is the only one of the triumvirate which
      despite paucity of resources has made valiant attempts
      at amelioration of the lot of the poor.
      Pakistan had wasted its resources on the army,
      armaments, and the feudal class. It is now sliding
      fast into the control of obscurantist and literalist
      We talk of forgetting our past. They are busy
      rewriting history. According to one official version
      Muhammad Bin Qasim laid the foundations of Pakistan!
      In the USA frequent attempts are made to brain wash
      Pakistani expatriates with the concept that the
      military have ruled Pakistan due to the preponderance
      of Punjabi generals in the army. People are fobbed off
      in this fashion in Pakistan too.

      government IS A DISSERVICE TO PAKISTAN. It is an
      attempt, at deflecting attention from the real issues.

      Punjab, which historically included most of the
      current NWFP, bore the brunt of all aggressive
      assaults through the Khyber pass. the inhabitants of
      the region had to deal with succession of marauders
      starting, most likely with Aryans, who were followed
      by Mongols, Huns, Greeks, Iranians, Afghans and sundry
      other hungry tribes whose own habitat could not
      sustain their lives.
      People resisted the invaders, and if not successful,
      had to accommodate them in other ways. Invaders would,
      at times, be allowed to pass through the plains and
      meet organized resistance at the Punjab-Dehli border
      town of Panipat. Denizens of of the area would join
      hands with the resistance and provide invaluable
      logistic support too.
      For these historic and geographic reasons Punjab lost
      its ancient civilizations. Only the relics at Taxilla
      and similar places remind us of the past glory of the
      region. For the same reasons it remained out of the
      main stream of the Northern Indian Empires.
      Ranjeet Singh took advantage of the chaos attendant
      upon the decline of the Moghal Empire and established
      a kingdom not known for its equitable treatment of the
      other communities. For a large majority of the people
      of Punjab, British take over of the kingdom came as
      emancipation from the depredations of Ranjeet's
      minions. They supported the British in the "war of
      independence" of 1857.
      Soldiers for the Moghal and other Northern rulers had
      previously been recruited from the UP, Bihar and
      Bengal. They had rebelled against the British and were
      assiduously excluded from the army. Bengalis bore the
      brunt of British wrath. The colonists rewarded the
      Punjab by recruiting the soldiers from the region and
      declaring the people a Martial race. That explains the
      preponderance of Punjabis and Pathans in Pakistan
      army. That also explains why the Punjabis dominated
      the officer corp of the Indian army, till Indra Gandhi
      and her successors drastically reduced their numbers,
      after the Khalistan insurgency.
      Remember greater Punjab was not the only region which
      supported the British. Troops to fight along side the
      British came from Hyderabad and other Indian states
      The British won, not just because of the support of a
      section of the natives, but because they were
      desperate and uncivilized. Indians would and did
      survive a defeat. The former had no recourse. Back
      home they did not have enough to eat. An uncivilized
      person fights better. Five gangsters, even though not
      better armed or physically endowed, would easily
      overcome ten university graduates in physical combat.
      Military recruitment was not the only reward the
      supporters of the British got. They were given lands,
      and some became big feudal lords. The story of
      Tiwanas, though in part anecdotal, is axiomatic. The
      founder of the house, a poor peasant, had given
      shelter to a wounded British officer. The officer died
      but left his blood soaked shirt and a note that all
      loyal citizens should give his benefactor two annas.
      The man made the rounds of the lanes of Delhi,
      collecting the tribute. It soon became a scandal. A
      few well heeled Indians, in order to embarrass the
      rulers, told him that there were many more British
      people in London, he would collect much more there.
      They paid his passage, and sent him to England.
      The man made his way to Britain and did good business
      in London town. It was a much bigger public scandal
      too. Police tried to stop him. He screamed and waved
      the shirt. The public told the police to let the man
      be. Queen Victoria heard of the commotion. She called
      the man and gave him a Jagir, in exchange for the
      shirt and the note.
      In any event, a bye product of 1857 was the feudal
      system which is still afflicting Pakistan. Another
      consequence was that the British promoted the Hindus,
      admittedly better situated already-remember they ran
      the administration and finances for the Moghals-and
      the community got better educated and developed skills
      in commerce and industry. Muslims were left behind.
      They either had feudal lords or the illiterate poor.
      They drowned their sorrows in obscurantism.
      Hindus dominated the fight for independence, and not
      because of numbers alone. Threatened, the British
      changed tactics and started supporting the Muslims-the
      well known divide and rule. Progressive and
      enlightened leaders like Jinnah, whose forebears were
      businessmen, would have none of it. But Gandhi, with
      his religious imagery, intervened. Jinnah was
      marginalized. Disgusted and disillusioned after the
      Congress leadership over played their hand and
      repudiated the League-Congress agreement for securing
      Muslim rights that he had painstakingly worked out, he
      left for a self imposed exile in England.
      Congress also exposed its hand prematurely in another
      way. They pledged to abolish the feudal system. Now
      the cat was properly among the pigeons. The Muslim
      feudal lords of the Punjab, UP and Bihar, who had
      ,till lately, disdained Jinnah, took a delegation to
      London and begged him to return and save the Muslims.

      Jinnah returned and took up the cause of Muslim
      rights. He warned the Muslim feudal lords that they
      would have to stop living off the toil of their
      peasants. He had despaired of the congress due their
      overbearing attitude to difference of opinion, after
      the 1937 elections in which they had won an
      overwhelming number of Hindu as well as Muslim vote.
      Jinnah had not had time to reorganize the league. Now
      he had an issue as well.
      The congress leadership were arrogant and would not
      listen to reason. He, now pursued the dream of
      Pakistan in earnest. But he had not given up on a
      undivided India. As late as 1945, he accepted the
      cabinet mission plan, which envisaged one Indian
      central government with defense, foreign affairs and
      currency and communications,and three regional
      governments with full autonomy in other subjects. This
      is speculation, but Jinnah had most likely seen the
      writing on the wall. In Pakistan he would have to
      leave the fate of his followers in the hands of
      Muslim League won by a big margin in 1946. They
      joined the interim cabinet and made life very
      difficult for the congress ministers. They were still
      willing to accept an undivided country. Liaquat and
      Desai, the congress leader in the assembly agreed to
      an arrangement for working together. The congress and
      the League both repudiated the deal. It is
      inconceivable that Liaquat would take a major decision
      with out Jinnah's approval. It is equally unlikely
      that Desai would do so with out the blessings of the
      congress high command. Nehru and Patel thought
      otherwise. They could not countenance inclusion of
      Jinnah in any post independence dispensation. They
      were terrified of him. They also thought that the
      country would collapse, and they would accept it back
      on their and not Jinnah's terms.
      Fates continued to smile on the Congress. The British
      government decided to replace Wavell, who was even
      handed, with Mountbatten who was gay, and whose wife
      Nehru slept with. The latter was much more confident
      now. I am quoting Akbar S Ahmad that Sardar Abdur Rab
      Nishtar had offered to take care of Mountbatten and
      bend him towards the Muslim League, but Jinnah won't
      For taking care of the Viceroy's wife Nehru was
      rewarded with the division of the Punjab and Bengal.
      The woman was homely, but the remuneration was worth
      it. Pakistan was left with out the counter weight of
      Hindus and Sikhs of the Punjab and Hindus of Bengal.
      The worst fears of Jinnah came true. He had the choice
      of accepting the "truncated and moth eaten" Pakistan
      or surrender Muslims of India, in his opinion,to the
      slavery of Hindus. He made his choice. Pakistan was
      left to the mercy of the feudal class. The class would
      sacrifice half the country in 1971, rather than permit
      a representative government to take over and risk
      curtailment of their privileges and property. Army is
      their best guatantee for perpetual hegemony.
      The above, in a nut shell, are the reasons for
      continued military rule in Pakistan. It is not the
      large number of Punjabi generals. Punjabis have
      produced more than their share of progressive and
      leftist leaders. Remember Faiz. Jalib, Mirza Ibrahim
      and Mian Iftkharuddin-Pakistan Times, Imroze and
      Lail-o-Nihar? Recall 1968. Students of Lahore shook
      the entrenched regime of Ayub. Tariq Ali, a true blue
      Punjabi was making life difficult for the capitalists
      in Europe. Notice the resistance of peasants of Okara
      whose lands the army would usurp. And for those who
      are so inclined, two of the founding members of the
      Communist Party of India, Dada Feroz and Dada Mansur
      were Muslim Punjabis.

      Dr. Syed Ehtisham
      (607) 330-0950
      My BLOGSPOT is http://syedehtisham.blogspot.com/

      "Martial law is akin to removing the lungs of a patient suffering from pneumonia."
      "Power befuddles, absolute power befuddles absolutely".
      "A capitalist economy is a sine qua non for Democracy, feudal system is incompatible with representative government"

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