Pakistani Muslims and Indian Muslims

The number of Muslims in Pakistan and in India is about the same i.e. a little over 200 million. Yet there are striking differences in the mentality of the two.

India was partitioned in 1947 on the basis of the bogus two nation theory ( that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations ), and an Islamic state, Pakistan, was created.

At that time perhaps the majority of educated Muslims in undivided India, including the forefathers of those presently living in India, supported creation of Pakistan ( though a minority like Maulana Azad opposed it ). Today almost all Indian Muslims curse Partition, and blame it as a major cause of their present plight, whereas the vast majority of Pakistani Muslims still support it ( though a minority think it wrong, but are reluctant to say that openly for fear of the security agencies ).

Today, as before Partition, the vast majority of Muslims in both countries are practising Muslims. Many, though not all, say namaz 5 times a day, go to mosques for Friday prayers ( in India they often say Friday namaz in open spaces as there is a shortage of mosques ), keep roza (fast) in the Holy month of Ramzan, and celebrate Muslim festivals like Eid and Bakrid.. But there the similarity ends.

Indian Muslims today, despite the recent atrocities on them, identify themselves as Indians, and are strongly patriotic. They are as anti-Pakistan as the majority Hindu population, and most are extremely critical of the radicals in their own community.

Some Hindus think that Indian Muslims are not patriotic or do not have loyalty to their country. These stereotypes are built on ignorance, prejudice, and negative media portrayals. Indian Muslims, like the followers of other religions in India, have a strong sense of patriotism towards their country. The song “Sare Jahaan se achcha, Hindustan Hamaara”, that was sung by one and all during Freedom Movement, was written by a Muslim poet Muhammad Iqbal, and even today this patriotic song is sung by all Indian children, including Muslims, in schools, and played by the Indian military bands during the Independence Day parades every year.

Contrary to the belief of some Hindus and the propaganda of the Indian ‘godi’ media, very few Indian Muslims outside Kashmir have been involved in acts of terror. In the glory days of Al Qaeda, the terror network failed to draw in Indians. A confidential report prepared in 2015 by the intelligence agencies of several nations suggested that even the ISIS thought that Indian Muslims were lousy at terror, especially in the total commitment and suicide-bombing departments, and ISIS could lure very few Indian Muslims to join them. Various reports on the number of Indians who joined ISIS agree that the figure is only about 100, out of the over 200 million Muslim population in India.

In contrast, radicalisation of Muslims in Pakistan, specially among the poor and/or uneducated majority, has increased after 1947. Many Pakistanis joined Al Qaeda, and went to fight Americans in Afghanistan. Extremist organisations, often state sponsored, like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, and organisations like the Tehreek-e-Labbaik and Tehreek-e-Taliban, have sprouted and flourished in Pakistan. The terror attack on Mumbai in 2008, the brutal killings of liberal Muslims like the student Mashal Khan, the shooting of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer by his own body guard, and attacks and persecution of the tiny minority communities in Pakistan, is the consequence of this.

When the gangster Atiq Ahmed was shot recently in Allahabad, very few Indian Muslims condemned this extra judicial killing, whereas the Pakistani media was full of it. Indian Muslims realised that such condemnation would only draw a backlash from the majority Hindu community, who would regard Muslims as supporters of gangsters and terrorists.

Though persecution and harrassment of Indian Muslims has increased after 2014, yet they remain firmly patriotic, identify themselves as Indians, and refuse to be radicalised

The mentality of Pakistani and Indian Muslims is thus poles apart.






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