Pakistan-India: Need for a Politics of Reconciliation

I write this while listening to Pujabi Bhangra music sung by Miss Pooja–A part of our collective cultural heritage. The music moves me, reminds me of home, even though Punjabi is not my mother tongue.

One of my best graduate students is from Bengal, India, and yet in our conversations so much is expressed through our collective cultural memory despite the distance between Bengal, India and Punjab, Pakistan.

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While the politics of India and Pakistan has been solidified as politics of conflict and belligerence, we all share a strong poetics of reconciliation. In the national divide, I believe, Pakistan lost more as its culture was transformed from that of complexity to a flattened definition of identity. Our current condition is underwritten by that loss of diverse cultural capital.

India, on the other hand, has been able to construct a more complex and larger national vision. And while they have their own “Taliban/Hindutva” to threaten this complexity, the national culture can sustain those threats. We, on our side, have attenuated the national identity to a mere flat line and thus are constantly under threat by those who want us to flatten our identity even further to conform to an outdated, almost prehistoric model of Muslim identity.

I think it is time for both India and Pakistan to build on their common poetics a more cosmopolitan and complex regional politics of acceptance and reconciliation. We have nothing to lose and we might end up reaching out to those who once shared the same part of the world as their collective national space.

  2 comments for “Pakistan-India: Need for a Politics of Reconciliation

  1. neel288@yahoo.ca'
    neel123
    November 9, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    @ Masood Raja,

    First of all, Indian nationalists ( Taliban in your opinion ) are not a well organized syndicate of crime, nor do they enjoy state sponsorship, and go around killing innocent civilians in Pakistan. So they can not be compared with the well funded and organized Islamic terrorists by any stretch of imagination.

    There has not been a single instance when explosives or arms have been recovered from the Indian nationalists.

    Your fear from the extremists in Pakistan – ” who want us to flatten our identity even further to conform to an outdated, almost prehistoric model of Muslim identity”, …….. is your self created in-house problem.

    You have come up with a simplistic suggestion that – ” it is time for both India and Pakistan to build on their common poetics a more cosmopolitan and complex regional politics of acceptance and reconciliation” – unquote

    Well, why do you think Indians have anything to do with Pakistan’s problems, and why do you think India has anything to gain from helping Pakistan, given the wide incompability of history, heritage and cultural values between the two ………. ?

  2. pakistaniaat@gmail.com'
    November 9, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    That is the question: How to get through hate and find some commonalities. It would be good for both, but rather more useful for Pakistan. Anyway, this is just a blog–more wishful thinking than logical reasoning–and you should read it as such. If you want details, please read my other more detailed work.

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