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Why My Father Hated India (wsj.com)
241 points by watchandwait on July 17, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 112 comments



One of the things that consistently puzzle me is how different cultures handle change.

Over the past 150 years, the world has seen all kinds of terrible wars, killing hundreds of millions of people and causing all sorts of hatred and ill will.

Some of these cultures get up, dust themselves off, and go on -- sometimes achieving greatness. Other cultures, sometimes with far less injustice done (if you can measure these things, which I doubt) carry grudges seemingly forever.

Even in personal relations, I've known people in the states who suffered terribly by some criminal, only to have them forgive the criminal and move on with their lives. On the other hand, there are those who suffered the same thing who carry hatred in their heart until they die.

I remember seeing a person on TV from Jerusalem. They were talking about how their great-great grandfather lived in a house but was evicted by the Israelis. And how angry they were about it all. I could see that this was really bothering them.

Hell, if I spent my time emoting over wrongs my entire ancestry both committed and suffered through, I wouldn't have much left of a life left.

Why the difference? That's above my pay grade -- hence the reason I find it so fascinating. I can unequivocally say, however, that hating someone or some culture is a fool's game that hurts the hater much more than the object of hatred. There is a terrible strain of nihilism alive in the world. So many lives wasted by it. Very sad.


    Why the difference? 
I suspect that in the particular example you gave it's not really about the great-great grandfather's eviction, but rather that's just a personal thing to relate their general grudge and opposition of Israel to.

I suspect that if you were a native American living in shitty conditions in some reservation you would also have harbored much more grudge against these (now ancient) injustices than if you're a white American whose ancestor got killed by Apaches 200 years ago- it's easier to forgive & forget when you are the winner: after all your hypothetical self is now in no way affected by that 200 year-old injustice.


Want to make sure I'm clear on this: I'm not saying that different people don't have a legitimate reason to be upset. If you're living in a former communist state in shitty conditions because the Soviets destroyed your country, sure. If you're living in poverty in some third-world country because your elected leaders like playing the "big man" in politics and killed all your family? Sure.

There are lots of great reasons to be angry about your current conditions _and_ those things that have gone on before. It just doesn't accomplish much. It creates a culture of anger, vengeance, victimhood, and nihilism.

I think the danger here is to confuse the issue and start talking about who really has a right to be upset or what kind of justice is demanded by current conditions. That's a completely different conversation -- one that must happen in all of these cases, but one which happens in a lot more productive manner when people forgive. Take a look at what happened in South Africa, for instance. Not a perfect resolution, but they are not spending the next 100 years in blood feuds either.


I agree that's it a lot less productive than forgiving and forgetting (I wouldn't give South Africa as a positive example but that's a different discussion, perhaps post WW2 western Europe or post cold-war Europe), and a lot of conflicts would have probably been solved by now had it not been so easy a trap to fall into.

However, I'm not sure it's possible to evade that mentality unless you are able to lead at least a minimally comfortable life - or at the very least it become a lot harder the shittier your life gets.

On a more anecdotal level, as an Israeli I remember a great sense of optimism on both sides when I was a teenager in the early/mid 90s - the territories got autonomous rule, a peace treaty was signed with Jordan (2nd one between Israel and a neighboring country since Egypt a decade and a bit before) and it genuinely seemed as if peace is inevitable.

Then at some point stuff started getting bad really fast, each side only "retaliating" to the other sides actions and the vicious cycle continued to this day ("we're not the bad guys, we're just reacting to what the other side just did!").


I do not agree with you, but regardless, the example you gave - South Africa - proves the point of the person you were replying to, i.e. they "won", so it is easier for them to forget. Not to take anything away from the extraordinary sacrifices of the native South Africans, but at the end of the day, they got to rule their land again, while the native Americans - and the Palestinian - never got to.

PS this is separate from the issue of whether the land belongs to native americans, native africans, or palestinians, I just mean that getting what you were demanding to be yours makes it easier to forgive previous wrongs.


I'm Polish, and this is very true. People here, especially old one, feel like victims of history, and are holding grudge.

Young people just go on, catching the chances we eventually have, not thinking too much about history. For the generations that had bad luck to live under German or Soviet occupation during WW2, and then in communism, they still holds grudge (and I understand them).

We even have great poetry about this: Czesław Miłosz "The Envoy of Mr. Cogito"

"...and do not forgive truly it is not in your power to forgive in the name of those betrayed at dawn beware however of unnecessary pride ..."

It's easy to forgive, when you're the winner. For people that had to live as victims for long time, when they see nobody cares anymore, it's hard.

This subject is currently highly dividing point of public debat here - two greatests parlament parties are defining their difference using this division.


What about when the strategy of the aggressors is explicitly to hold on for long enough that they can use exactly this argument to keep what they've appropriated from their victims?


I'm not sure what your point is, exactly. How does being mad about it help?

If you have some plan to undo the injustice, that's one thing. But if you are suffering for several generations in a futile attempt to undo the injustice, perhaps it's time to give up and pursue some other goals.

Aside: in the case of land disputes, how did the "victims" come about the land in the first place? Even if they were truly the first humans there, does that give them some divine right to it? And what about nomads?


True, the injustices committed against Native Americans are within the lifetime of the current generation. Look at the history of AIM and incidents that occurred in SD and the governments ignoring of current problem with reservations on the Mexican border. Heck, a court settlement on land use fees that didn't get paid (thanks Department of Interior) is just now circulating.

Some cultures still live by the stories of their elders. The education includes all the old stories. Now add a government that tried to destroy all native languages and traditions, move unprepared members to cities (90% suicide rate). Then add a rediscovering of the old history and attempts to pull themselves back up and find what it means to be in this new world. Some tribes did better, some did worse.

I suspect if a culture was based on the passing of stories from the former generation to the new, continuity breakage problems will be large. The USA isn't really that way, but some cultures inside it are. Add to that some of the rhymes we teach kids that made no sense to the parents of the now "properly" schooled children ("Jack and Jill went UP the hill to fetch a pale of water" doesn't inspire confidence you are teaching proper survival skills to a kid).


"Why the difference?"

That's an interesting question.

My view is: cultures which are quick to forget the past find it easy to move on. Cultures which cling to their history, find it harder to forgive-and-forget.

Expanding on that: you have a limited amount of bandwidth in terms of attention. If your gaze is on the past, it's much harder to move forward; sort-of like it's hard to drive a car forward by looking at the rear-view mirror. On the other hand, if you force your gaze to the future, it is much easier to move forward and keep moving forward.

As someone said, "forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past, for some hope of a better future".


Not sure Europe fits that, looks back at the past but forgives a lot...


Harvard Professor Robert Putnam's study showed that the more racially diverse a society is, the lower the levels of trust. http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/05/t...


Its worth noting that it's actually subjective ethnic diversity that has these effects, rather than actual race. As a really clear example, Kenya and Tanzania both decolonialized with roughly the same mix of tribes in their borders but due to the different paths they've taken post independence most Kenyans think of themselves as primarily of their tribe first and Kenyans second, its the reverse in Tanazia. And Tanzania now has a much higher level of trust than Kenya, just as Putnam's work would suggest.

The second thing worth nothing is that more ethnically diverse societies tend to have faster growing economies than more homogeneous ones, even after taking into account their less efficient governments.


Well, I don't know about that but Somalia seems like an example that goes against that rule. They have had no stable government since 1991 and been fighting ever since yet they all belong to the same tribe, they speak the same language and are all of the same religion.


Is there some empirical measure of "the degree to which someone should actually be trusted," and if so, are the racially diverse societies less trustful than they should be, or are the racially homogeneous societies moreso than they should be?


It might be worth noting that there's another possibility besides those. Perhaps people actually are less trustworthy in more racially-diverse societies, in which case it needn't be the case either that the more diverse societies aren't trusting enough or that the less diverse societies are too trusting.

... How plausible is that? Dunno. In a racially-diverse society, especially a poorly integrated one, people of different races might well tend not to treat one another in ways worthy of trust. But it's complicated: they might also be more reliable towards others of the same race. In such a society, anyway, there'd be no such thing as "the degree to which someone should actually be trusted" because it would depend on who's considering trusting whom. Not to mention, e.g., that in such a society there could be a lot of divergence between how much you "should" trust someone else for your own sake (less) and how much you "should" trust them to help fix the messed-up state of society (more), etc., etc., etc.

Some things that aren't clear to me about Putnam's work, and that seem important: In racially diverse societies, is it only inter-race levels of trust that are lower? Putnam's work, IIUC, is concerned with the USA; are things different in places where there isn't a history of slavery? or where racial diversity on something like equal terms has been going on for longer? What actually happens over time in these less-trusting more-diverse places? Is it specifically highly-visible racial diversity (black, white, ...) that is associated with these differences in trust, or do you get the same thing with religious or cultural diversity that doesn't have quite such visible markers?

Oh, I can answer one of those. According to http://abstractnonsense.wordpress.com/2006/10/09/ethnic-dive... Putnam found that intraracial trust is less in more-diverse settings, as well as interracial trust. That's a shame.


I believe Trust but verify is the best alternative.


I think a better way of putting it is "Trust, but protect yourself in case you are wrong". As I wrote elsewhere, I think saying that you "absolutely trust" someone (anyone) is one of the most arrogant things you can say; you are not only saying you trust that person, you are also saying you don't believe you could be mistaken. Believe me, there is always room for a person to make mistakes.


I don't quite see how this is different from "say you trust, but act as if you don't", aka "don't trust, but lie about it".


Trust but verify = Make an informed decision


Couldn't agree more. However, for Pakistan and it's people, hatred towards India is a way of life. That's their inspiration, that's what they live up to. They possibly don't have any economic, social or technical goals to look up to. In such a scenario they naturally turns to religion and religious leaders feed this hatred mantra. Hence hatred becomes their living breath. Of course, this is all hearsay and I haven't personally been to Pakistan to witness any such feelings.


I am 4 short of 500 karma, so I can't give you a downvote - instead, I make this comment. I'm an Indian, and I find it very hard to believe that an entire nation unequivocally hates another country. Firstly, there are plenty of educated, curious and free-thinking Pakistanis who bear no such hatred toward India - just read the blogs in the Dawn website. Second, among those who aren't educated nearly well enough, I imagine that the preoccupation with day-to-day survival is far more important to them than the hatred that they are told they should feel toward a remote enemy.

On a meta note, why is this still on the front page? This is worse than politics - any discussion of this will devolve into vague statements(in the absence of actual knowledge or data) about how one country is better than the other and then rapidly into name-calling and jingoism. I hope we can keep this type of story away from HN.


Well, to put things into perspective, a couple of years back I asked a pakistani cab driver if this 'anti India' sentiment is prevalent in Pakistan and he gave an unequivocal yes. He belongs to the free-thinking tribe. What I've said here is based on his anecdotes and that's why I said it's hearsay.

"Second, among those who aren't educated nearly well enough, I imagine that the preoccupation with day-to-day survival is far more important to them than the hatred that they are told they should feel toward a remote enemy" - For a majority of such people, day to dy survival is nothing but breathing and showing hatred towards India. How else does militancy grow and survive ? India is right next door to Pakistan, nothing remote about that.


You seem to be disagreeing with Taseer's article, yet you give no concrete reasons or evidence -- only anecdotes. Do you also find it very hard to believe that Pakistan's hugely wasteful military is an artefact of its drummed-up animosity toward India?


I don't disagree with the article per se, I disagree with this method people seem to have of painting a large and diverse country with a single brush. I am entirely ignorant of Pakistan's inner workings, so I don't have an opinion on the article itself, other than noticing the obvious logical flaw and the fact that this article and its discussion are entirely inappropriate for HN.


hear hear


I echo spiffworks.


  The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief; 
  He robs himself that spends a bootless grief


> Why the difference?

Religion or religious history can account for at least some of the difference.

A lot of religions explicitly teach and emphasize forgiveness, even for grave injustices [0]. When people have an attitude that says "forgiveness is required", this can have a lasting and widespread influence. Nations with a strong history in such teachings, even if they are not particularly religious now, may retain that attitude toward forgiveness.

[0] A friend of mine wrote, after his sister was murdered, that he had no option but to forgive, that regardless of his emotions, his theology required it. http://darrow.faithweb.com/murder.htm


Total guess for this particular case (but I've seen it over and over). If you're well off, not getting genocided, etc you past wrongs don't bother much. If not, then past wrongs are what you blame for you're cured Ty shitty situation.


The perceived likelihood of success makes an impact as well, I think. For example, much of my family were Pontian Greeks from the Black Sea coast, and at one point their attitude was very similar to that of Palestinians--- commitment to regaining the lost homeland and reconstituting their former nation, anger at expulsion, etc.

After the 1920s or so, that sort of irredentist sentiment slowly waned as it became clear that Greece was never getting any of Asia Minor back, so there was really no point in spending your life with that as your goal; might as well just learn standard modern Greek and integrate into Greek society. But I can imagine an alternate history where Pontian Greeks are living in neighboring Greece in refugee camps, considering it only a temporary location while agitating to recover their homeland.


Nihilism by definition would actually eliminate these issues because they would leave the subjects with nothing to fight over.

I don't think that word means what you think it means. Please stop blaming the world's problems on amorphous and complicated concepts that you only vaguely remember from PHIL101.


The article was unexpectedly heart wrenching to read. India takes its very name from the Indus valley that lies in Pakistan, while the most famous example of Islamic architecture is the Taj Mahal in India. It is sad watching the two countries' governments waste time, energy and lives in a conflict that is essentially at a stalemate.


Absolutely agree. Too many conflicts come from sides that focus on their few differences rather than their many similarities.

This is coming from an Egyptian who realizes that Israelis (and Jews) aren't so different from my Arab Muslim self.

Now, if only more people agreed.


It's interesting that you bring us (Israelis) up in this context. About ten years ago I was talking to a Pakistani who proudly said to me that Israel and Pakistan are the two "homeland states." I had never thought about that.

Anyway, if you want agreement, I can offer one vote.


They are agitated by the difference not because it's vast and deterring, but it's subtle, persistent and it slaps them in their face when they let their guards down.


It's worth noting the Taj Mahal and other Mughal architecture is not just Islamic though.[1]

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mughal_architecture


India's original name was 'Bharata'. It still is one of the legal names of the country as per the constitution. The name India has it's roots in Latin and not in Sanskrit, the original language of Bharata.

Details here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_India


Yeah, only the English language name uses "India". All the Indian language names are something like "भारत गणराज्य"/"Bhārat Gaṇarājya" (Hindi).

> The name India has it's roots in Latin and not in Sanskrit

Actually, the Latinate name originates from the Sanskrit name "Sindhu" for the Indus river, as it says in the Wikipedia article you linked.


But for all practical purposes, most of North and Middle India do not use Bharat, but Hindustan- which was also derived from river Indus.


Aah..didn't notice that. Thanks.


Perhaps a stalemate has simply been deemed better than losing?

After all, it is far better to throw away endless lives than let your neighbor have what you can't have.


Its not very clear if a hindu is a person who lived beyond the indus valley or indus is the river that demarcates the border of the hindu dominion. What I am trying to say is that, its still not clear if indus derives from the word for hindus or the word hindu is derived from the word indus.


Part of the Indus valley is in India as well.


I'm torn about this. India is a much more pluralistic society, and Pakistan is a failed state. But one of the points made early on in the article makes it seem as if the Partition was entirely Pakistan's idea, and the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people who died were all innocent Hindus being slaughtered at the hands of murderous Muslims. "But violence erupted, and it quickly became clear that in the new homeland for India's Muslims, there would be no place for its non-Muslim communities. Pakistan and India came into being at the cost of a million lives and the largest migration in history." Which is far from the reality; it was a clusterfuck all around, and communal violence was the rule of the day on both sides of the partition line.

It wasn't just Muslims in the 30s who called for two separate states. Many Hindus did too. It's true, the most prominent Hindu in the struggle (Gandhi) wanted a single state and tried to (in theory, at least) accommodate the large Muslim minority. For those efforts he was assassinated by a religious extremist.

Of course, you hear religious extremist and you might assume it was some Muslim who thought Gandhi was too effective a voice for unity. To the contrary, it was a Hindu nationalist who thought Gandhi was a sellout to the Muslims.

This strain of Hindu nationalism that endorses the use of violence has appeared again and again. As recently as 2002 a riot occurred in which a Hindu mob murdered around a thousand Muslims.

All this isn't to say the Muslims on the subcontinent are all paragons of virtue and liberalism. They aren't. But the story the author tells is just a pleasant story, meant to appeal to the baser instincts of Wall Street Journal readers. Maybe more than that, it's a story meant to appeal to India's own self conception, where it's as pure as snow and it's those dastardly Pakistanis who've made everything terrible.


Who says there are no extremists in Hinduism? Every religion has its fair share.

And its true our neighbor is a failed state and made everything terrible. Given a choice about living in India or any of our neighbors, everyone will choose India. Because we are pluralistic society where every religion is respected, which is not true about our neighbor!

And this article doesn't appeal India's self conception, this article speaks reality!


You're right about the history of Partition.

This is roughly what happened. The British cabinet committee had originally proposed a 3-tier federation: with the center at the top, a provincial grouping of states in the middle, and states at the bottom. There were 3 'groups': A: Hindu-majority areas of the North, West and South B: Muslim-majority areas of the North-West, C: Bengal and Assam. Jinnah and the communists had agreed to this plan, Nehru wanted to defer the decision to the Constituent Assembly. Jinnah saw this as a 'betrayal' and withdrew his support. Eventually, when this plan seemed in jeopardy, the cabinet committee proposed Partition. Jinnah accepted, Nehru disagreed. And then 'Direct Action Day' and riots happened. No looking back after that.


Being a Pakistani (and Punjabi) American myself, I do not agree with some of the views the author puts forward.

First, Pakistanis do define themselves primarily as 'non-Indians'. However, the view that Pakistan has somehow carved out a new identity is the past 60 years is false. 5,000 years of shared heredity, language, customs and political history don't shake off that easily. Even Pakistanis and their relationship to religion is very similar to Indian Hindus and their relationship to Hinduism. Just as there are extremist groups in Pakistan, there are extremist Hindus in India. Pakistani's are more Indian that they want to believe and vice versa - especially if you live in the West where the two groups meld together indistinguishably.

The second point I disagree with is that minorities left only Pakistan (because of communal violence). History shows that there was a reciprocal exodus of Indian Muslims to Pakistan. Communal violence is one of the defining aspects of the sub continent.

Lastly, many of the poets, philosophers and British bureaucrats did predict one thing correctly - being a minority in a Hindu majority India ultimately would have a ruinous effects on Indian Muslims - formerly some of the most educated and economically prosperous citizens of India. South Asian culture is one of rabid communalism and today Indian Muslims are less educated, less wealth and less politically represented than in any part of India's long history.

Sometimes I wonder what impact it would have had on both sides of the border if the new nation had been called "West India".


I am sorry, but I have to disagree strongly with the assertion that Indian Muslims have suffered under "majority" rule.

First of all: 3 of the first 11 presidents in India were Muslim. Muslims continue to do well in many spheres of life: all of the top Bollywood actors are Muslim. At one time, the richest Indian was a Muslim (he's come down a few notches because of the Ambani brothers), and he rose up through entrepreneurship and hard work.

I believe this fabrication (that Indian Muslims are worse off today) is parroted too often in Pakistan, because it reinforces the belief that creation of Pakistan was the right thing to do. Pakistani textbooks are full of such distortions, as reported in a Pakistani paper recently: http://tribune.com.pk/story/149448/our-textbooks-and-the-lie... . And here's a report [PDF] by a Pakistani NGO which goes into great detail about the anti-Hindu bias in Pakistani K-12 tectbooks: http://sdpi.org/sdpi-old/whats_new/reporton/State%20of%20Cur...

I grew up in India. And while I'll admit that there was some animosity towards Muslims, there was similar animosity towards other large groups too. This is to be expected in any poor society where people are competing for scant resources. There was no systemic bias against Muslims just because they're Muslims.


The President in India is a figurehead. No real power. How many PMs have been Muslim? Chief ministers? Riiigh.

> top Bollywood actors are Muslim

How is this an indication of how good Muslims are? This is like saying most athletes in the US are black, so African Americans are doing great in America.

> "some animosity towards Muslims"

Selective memory here.


"> "some animosity towards Muslims"

Selective memory here."

You can believe whatever you want to believe, and nothing I can say will probably change your mind, because that's the world view that was drilled into you since birth. But let me give you some more examples:

- One of the most popular shrines in my state (Rajasthan) is a Muslim shrine, that of Khwaja Sahib in Ajmer. And yet the vast majority of the visitors there are Hindu, who come to seek the blessings of a long-departed Muslim saint.

- My father was born in a tiny village. There is only 1 place of worship: the shrine of a Muslim saint. Half the village is Hindu; the other half is Muslim. But both pray in that same 1-room shrine (not at the same time, though), in their own ways. The Muslims place a "chadar" (thin fabric sheets); the Hindus burn incense and place flowers.

- In the town where my father grew up, the biggest temple and the biggest mosque share a common building wall (they are back-to-back).

And finally: every Pakistani I've met who visited India for a length of time, came away impressed at how open and free the society was. Take that for what it's worth.

As for the Bollywood actors: Bollywood is a popularity contest (unlike athletics, which is objective). It is the people who decide who's a "popular" actor, and not the actor himself. So your comparison with African-American athletes is specious.


1. You seem to be one of those few liberal/secular Pakistanis living abroad. A vast majority of Pakistanis, in the attempt to justify the existence of their country, try everything to distance themselves from India, Indian culture and Indian history.

2. Agreed that there was mass migration both ways. But consider these things. Islam is the fastest growing religion in India and Muslims make up ~15% of Indian population today, whereas in Pakistan minority population has fallen from ~15% to less than ~2% since independence.

3. Predicted correctly? How do you prove that Indian Muslims are living worse than Pakistanis? A couple of communal riots in India don't prove anything, considering how big India is. Whereas, the daily bombings, drone attacks, ethnic riots in Pakistan don't give encouraging picture about Pakistani Muslims, the very bunch for whom the country was created.

And as I said in another comment below: "Except politically and militarily, Indian Muslims have outperformed Pakistani/Bangladeshi Muslims in all fields. Just take as fundamental as literacy rate. Indian Muslims have better literacy rate (59%) than Pakistani Muslims (50-55%)." To add to that, the richest Muslim in the world is Ajim Premji, an Indian software mogul, not some oil sheikh.


> Ajim Premji, an Indian software mogul, not some oil sheikh

Well, Wipro(Western India Vegetable Products Limited) did start out as manufacturing vegetable fats and oil among other things. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wipro#History

Does that count as an oil business?

I kid. :)


Minority in Hindu majority ruinous?

Our last president was not Hindu. By the way, He is one of the most celebrated intellectual in India. Some of the most popular actors/actresses in Bollywood are not Hindu. People like Azim Premji are not Hindu. I can cite many more such examples.

I have bunch of my friends who are not Hindus and asked about situation like partition once again, they always say they will choose India come what may.

The whole idea of our neighboring country is based on the myth that in Hindu majority country no other religion can flourish. On contrary, every other religion flourished in India but same cannot be said about our neighbors.

Edit: Cleaned few grammatical errors


Just to add this, I'd like to point out that the OP fails to consider the fate of the Mohajirs in Pakistan. It doesn't seem like migrating to Pakistan from India worked out all that well for them.

There is no doubt that Muslims in India lag behind on developmental metrics, but I sincerely doubt this is due to any large-scale systematic discrimination against them. Sure, there is a fair bit of casual "micro-discrimination" against Muslims but that happens to a LOT of demographic groups in a huge and diverse country like India.

This might be an unpopular and politically incorrect view, but I believe that the thing that is holding back Indian Muslims and (perhaps Muslims elsewhere) is their religion. Believing that women shouldn't step out of the house alone, or that women should wear a burqa all the time or that several important formative years of a child's life should be spent studying the Quran or an insistence on studying Arabic and Urdu instead of the local language are IMHO not conducive to succeeding in a cut-throat capitalist economy. My unscientific survey of successful Muslims that I know leads me to believe that the most successful ones are not that religious.

However, the OP makes a good point that Hindu fundamentalism might be polarizing opinions in the country. Unfortunately, you can get away with being a Hindu fundamentalist in India, but being a Muslim fundamentalist mostly leads to career suicide.


To know why Indian Muslims have been left out you have to go into the colonial history of India. It all started with the 1857 rebellion, The Sepoy Mutiny. The rebellion was primarily started by the Muslims soldiers with support from Hindus. After the rebellion was quelled the Britishers ostracized the Muslims and the Hindus were given preferential treatment. All the best Civil Service jobs, the licenses, etc. went to Hindus. Hindus had better access to education compared to Muslims. After independence the bureaucracy continued this discrimination. (As an aside, this was one of the reasons why Muslims flourished in Arts; Bollywood being a good example).

The trend however has largely been reversed because of vote bank politics. The political parties today are trying to woo the Muslims (and Dalits) as best as they can. The ruling political party, Congress is viewed as pro-Muslim. The Economic liberalization has also opened up the possibilities for Indian Muslims. The corporations do not discriminate when it comes to a customer. Indian Muslims have the same access to loans and credit as the Hindus (and all other religious groups). Schools don't care about religion as long as somebody can cover the tuition fees. As an anecdote, in Bangalore majority of auto-rickshaw (three wheeler transport) drivers are uneducated Muslims. But their kids all go to English medium schools, not Madrassas.

Rural India however is still divided along communal and caste lines. Caste and religion play a huge social and economic part of the rural fabric and change there is slow. But the Muslims there are as discriminated against as the Dalits, if not more.


I have heard that most of the rich Muslims in India, and many middle-class ones, migrated to Pakistan in 1947. But among the poor, only a small number were able to migrate. As a result, in the post-Independence India, a disproportionately large number of Muslims were poor. However, I believe this is only true for areas near the border. For people who lived far away from the border, it was difficult to emigrate, and so most of the stayed put. For example, Azim Premji, India's richest Muslim, is from Hyderabad, which is far from the India-Pakistan border.

However, it is also true that there is some discrimination against Muslims in India. I've seen it first-hand (I'm nominally a Hindu). However, you probably hear an exaggerated version of it in Pakistan. And, we non-muslim Indians also discriminate against each other: rich vs poor, north Indians vs south Indians, native people of a state vs people from out-of-state, etc. So, the experience is not unique to Muslims.


Could not resist, creating a throw away account, just for replying to a topic, which is very close to my heart.

About me: I am a liberal in world view, but a practicing Muslim. And not nationalistic, but love India and what it represents.

Brother, your note is well thought out and well meaning. The idea of a "West India" is very novel. And it appeals to me. But at the same time, I would like to give a sense to you of what its like to be an Indian Muslim of the upper class, in response to your "...being a minority in a Hindu majority India ultimately would have a ruinous effects on Indian Muslims".

On Prejudice: It will be a falsity to say, that there is no prejudice at all. As obviously India is not a utopia. But also, suffice to say, that the majority of the people (and that would naturally be more Hindus than others) one encounters in life are very secular and welcoming. And by and large India is a meritocracy. The Muslims suffer more, because of their own backward cultural mind set than anything else. For example, lots of relatives who are not doing well in life would complain about prejudice in job selections, etc. for not doing so well in life. But its very apparent to me, that the fault lies more with their attitudes towards life - not wanting to put enough hard work.

On Government/Establishment's attitude to secularism: I am actually utmost thankful, to the founding fathers of the nation like Gandhi and Nehru, that they did not cast the nation as a tit-for-tat reflection of the way Pakistan was founded. By and large, India is a secular nation, and that notion is oft repeated and maintained by media, politicians and the like. I can safely say, that being a Muslim in India is perhaps 1000 times better than being a Hindu in Pakistan.

On representation of Muslims in various domains: There are countless examples: To cite a few random people: in the business world Azim Premji (founder of Wipro) is one of the most respected. The bollywood is totally dominated by the Khans (so much so that one popular movie 'The Wednesday' had a joke on a Hindu actor belonging to the 'minority' hence needing more protection). Sports: India is Cricket Crazy, like Pakistan, and in the past few years, 2-3 Muslims have been making the 11 (which is more than the %age of Muslim population in India). And since I am randomly giving examples, I can as well cite myself (a hacker news reading, tech geek, aspiring to change the world (at least India) using programming ...think we will all agree is not any less of an aspiration than aspiring to be a movie star :-) )

In fact I would go ahead and say, that had Pakistan not being created, the position of Muslims in the region, would have been all the more stronger. Even after creation of Pakistan on the basis of religion, by and large Muslims are very welcome in a pluralistic society that India is. So what if, if the poet Iqbal, had dreamt that dream of his a bit more inclusively.

But yes, things can be better. There is a right wing here as well (liberal Americans should immediately think of GOP), and they want to pander to the extremists sentiments and every decade or so things get out of hand (most recent being Gujarat 2002). So yes, honestly, there are problems.

I think, the model for India, for establishing a just and civil society within, should be like that of the USA. America has a history of committing mistakes, Slavery and the treatment of the black people. But they came out of it so strongly within such a short period of time. Thanks partly to great people like Martin Luther King.

So India, also has a choice. Just like every nation has a choice all the time. By and large it has done very well. But it needs to keep doing well.

And lastly, I wish, you Pakistanis also all the best. Peace.

Edit: Fixed a grammar error.


till now the most "real view"


Patriotism/Pakistan/Muslims are the tools/tricks used by the Forward caste to manipulate & use 80% Indians viz BC/SC/ST/Minority communities.


Manipulate minorities by using Pakistan? What are you even talking about?


You seem to be blinded by hatred towards Muslims. Minorities include Muslims, Christians, Anglo-Indians and Sikhs.

British gave Autonomy to Minorities in 4th August 1932 Round Table Conference. But Gandhi manipulated, used and betrayed them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communal_Award


Interesting new claim, but irrelevant to the OP. I'd suggest you put your thoughts together in one cogent reply rather than randomly trolling comments all over this page.


Could you cite something about your assertion that Indian Muslims have had a raw deal? I have only one data point Azim Premji, who is one of the richest Indians and is a Muslim.

I've heard that in some rural areas, banks do give loans on religious lines i.e. Banks in some muslim predominant areas only give loans to muslims and in some Hindu predominant areas to only hindus. Though I heard that the government is trying to curb this.

Personally, a lot of it seems to be anti-Indian propaganda. In India, our media tells us that such anti-India propaganda is quite common in Pakistani media. (Yes, I understand the dichotomy that I am dependent on Indian media for a lot of my raw data)


I'm just a visitor here, but I can believe that Indian Muslims may have a raw deal in some areas.

In professional Mumbai or Delhi society, no one seems to care much. You are a banker, a lawyer or a programmer. For the most part, you get your job or start your business via your own professional connections. Personal and professional life is separated very much like it is in the west.

Outside of this fairly narrow circle, family/family friends/clannish identity is more or less merged with your professional identity. Want to start a business? There is a good chance you share a last name with your investors and business partners. Want a bank loan? Better be connected to the loan officer. It's also helpful if you are connected to the various government workers who's permission you will need to start your business [1], and you'll get better service if your supplier is your second cousin.

The value of your network is a superlinear function of it's size. If Muslims have a smaller network, they are probably disadvantaged.

[1] I recently met a guy who wanted to start a business selling eye tracking devices. He scrapped the idea because he needed 34 licenses.


Not always. I saw some long article about how outsiders can do better, when you need to be tough. Jews in Europe could lend money, and they would be able to put on their "bankers hat" much easier when they needed to collect debts. There were anecdotes of Chinese-Malays, who would wear Malay clothes when socializing, and traditional Chinese clothes when they were collecting debts; so that their debtors knew not to expect any sympathy.

A well-cultivated network might be valuable, but most people's extended social networks have a lot of deadwood.


Its only anecdotal, my brother in law is an Indian Muslim from UP. He says the 1-2 blow of being a communal society and being the largest minority doesn't create the best situation.

Minorities getting the short end of the stick in terms of education and opportunities isn't exclusive to India (see the US - arguably the best nation on the planet for minorities that still stuggles with this), its just a more central topic because of the sub continent's partition history.


If you want to go on anecdotes, my larger fam is happily Indian(from UP even) and Muslim.

Sure there is crazy poverty across India but I haven't seen anything that shows it being greater because of a larger conspiracy against Muslims in India.

Over the years, I've observed more and more of my Pakistani friends sound hopeless when speaking about their country. This is a distinct change from a few years ago when they would speak with nothing but pride.

It's humbling and sad to look at the state of Pakistan as an outsider.


Except politically and militarily, Indian Muslims have outperformed Pakistani/Bangladeshi Muslims in all fields. Just take as fundamental as literacy rate. Indian Muslims have better literacy rate (59%) than Pakistani Muslims (50-55%).


oh really muslims are a minority and handled badly in INDIA,infact handling is so bad that:

* Pilgrimage to Mecca is subsidized by Indian Goverment. * Imam freely talks in support of terrorists.

* Every company offers prayer rooms and allows time to pray. They do not make Temples or allow hindus to take a leave for going to Temples.

* Muslims freely block national highway on eid to show the strength in the name of offering prayer.

* Muslim population is on the rise and India has got more Muslims than Pakistan.


Most of the successful film stars in India are muslim. Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Javed Akthar, and the list is long. Bollywood represents India in most of the world and Bollywood is dominated by Muslims. Something to think about.


if Caste == Religion there is no Hinduism


Very good and balanced article overall. The hatred of each other has become so deep rooted in both the countries and the mutual suspicion so strong that it is too late that the relationship can be changed. But we still owe it our next generation to work towards peace so that the wealth that belongs to them does not get spent in keeping up the needless hostility. We cannot let the past ruin the lives of the poorest people in the world who live in this region. It is time for the Pakistani people to call a spade a spade. They cannot take refuge anymore in the filmsy excuses and their needless obsession with Kashmir anymore. If they don't do anything now and continue to behave as they have done till now for the last 60 years, it will be too late. Pakistan as a nation is literally on its last breath and it needs an immediate shock treatment by its own people if it wants to survive. India will continue to grow and survive but it is Pakistan whose survival at stake. If Pakistani people continue to behave like ostriches with their heads in sand, then they will have only themselves to blame and not any of their make believe enemies like US or India.


I am Indian, and have lived in India for most of my life. I have been to nearly every state (all except Kashmir, and Oyra) and everywhere I go, it always seems like the Pakistanis' hatred is the most prevalent one. One thing I can assure you is that, despite the appearance of all of this hatred, all the Indian teens I have met have no hatred for our neighbor but rather wish the fighting would stop.

Since I moved to the United States, I have had several Pakistani friends who voice the same opinions. There is no tension between the youth of the two countries (except during the Cricket World Cup).

The problem is that a government full of conservative, short-sighted politicians in India, and a government, influenced by religion, blinded by hatred in Pakistan can not seem to work out their differences.

Even if the consensus among Indians and Pakistanis' is to stop the fighting, not much can be done until the current regime is changed ( mostly in Pakistan ).

The US's problem is that publicly, they must support Pakistan despite having no real part in the conflict between the two nations ( further increasing tensions on both sides).


tl;dr you're an Indian, you say that it's mostly the Pakistanis' fault.

Why does "fault" matter at all? One approach to conflict resolution is to admit both parties are at fault, and to agree that they are both _equally_at_fault_.

Or.. squabble forever about who is more to blame.


> it is too late that the relationship can be changed

What would be one of the "things" that would have to happen for this to change, even momentarily?


Has there ever been a case where defining yourself as a negative of something resulted in a success?


We Canadians pride ourselves as not being Americans ;-)


Most of the people calling it off-topic are being downvoted. So let me refer to the HN Guidelines:

What to Submit

On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.

Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. Videos of pratfalls or disasters, or cute animal pictures. If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic.


I think rest of the world should stop mirroring India with Pakistan. There is hell lot of difference between these two countries. India is developing fast, its diverse, secular and no threat to global peace. Pakistan on other hand is a failed state.


"Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies." — NelsonMandela


This article is timely, in light of (yet another) terrorist attack on Mumbai by allegedly Islamic militants. I'm going to go out on a limb here and claim that this attack is only the latest in a long bloody series of consequences of Partition.

The history of armed communal militancy, both Hindu and Muslim, began with the Kashmir movement in the late 80's; this itself was a side-effect of Partition. This was the first time communal tension took on a decidedly dark tone with armed militants entering the picture. Since then, things have only become worse, with the Pakistan establishment actively supporting and arming anti-India militants and Hindu nationalists in India attempting to derail any possibility of reconciliation by repeated acts of religious intolerance. The current situation vis-a-vis Mumbai is quite pathetic, with politicians falling over each other to get a quote out; and the people of Mumbai developing a horrible sense of resigned apathy, touted regularly as 'resilience'.

What is the solution? I don't know. (War, of course, is guaranteed to always be the wrong answer). A reasonable answer, as always, is economics. If the economies of both countries improve, the resulting improved education and decrease in poverty might provide a solution. India seems to be on the right track here; Pakistan, not so much.


I found this article extremely interesting. If you haven't watched the 'beating retreat ceremony' video, make sure you do, it's one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen.


It's actually rather fun to watch in person, though I can understand why you think it's bizarre. It's, as far as I can see, really ceremonial - though it remains a big deal for the security forces personnel involved.


Interesting, but not relevant.


It doesn't get upvoted and be featured on the top page of Hacker News if people are not finding it useful. Hacker News is not a website to be defined by you on what is interesting and what is relevant. You are just one of thousands of people visiting this site and it will stay like that - if you find that non-interesting, it is irrelevant.


Oh, why the venom? I'm an Indian, and I personally found it interesting (though it tells me nothing new) but I find it irrelevant to what HN is. Like I mentioned in the reply above, geo-political news is irrelevant to HN discussion unless it has a direct bearing upon startups/programming. I miss the link here.


See http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html, first section. It may not have been news to you, but some of it was news to me. And definitely interesting.


I don't see what the fuss is about. A lot of seemingly offtopics have been discussed on HN recently. Like, Japan earthquakes, Osama Bin Laden death, Egypt/Libya civil wars etc.


Yes, that is why the fuss. Some of us do not appreciate the trend.


[deleted]


Can you point me where it implies interesting == relevant? This post is geo-political, pure and simple. And I don't see why it belongs on HN.


> Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon.

What is the new phenomenon of which this article is evidence?


Most != All

The benchmark seems to be if it's intellectually stimulating, which this one seems to be.


this conflict is a waste of human capital. i hope the fog of ignorance is lifted very soon and the desire for profit brings people together.


Pakistan(83) is a better nation to do business than India(134) http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings


During Indo-Pak partition in 1947 the agreement is that all Muslim majority regions should be merged with Pakistan and all Hindu majority regions should be merged with India.

India betrayed by annexing Muslim majority Kashmir and Hyderabad.

UNSC passed multiple resolutions since 1948 advising India, Pakistan & China to give Independence to Kashmir, Tibet & Aksai Chin.

Obsession with Kashmir is burning rest of the India.


You're a known troll who puts baseless comments on every India related posts.

India didn't betray Kashmir. The king of Kashmir (Hari Singh) was a Hindu and wanted Kashmir to be an independent country. But Pakistan wanted Kashmir, so it funded insurgents against Kashmir. When the Kashmir king couldn't face them, he sought India's military help. India agreed on the condition that Kashmir should be annexed to India.

The UN resolution says that India should conduct a free and fair election in the entire Kashmir to know what Kashmiris want (self determination). But for that, Pakistan should surrender its Pakistan-Administered-Kashmir to India and China should surrender Aksai Chin (if it has any population).

Obsession with Kashmir is burning Pakistan more than India.


You're trying to fabricate the truth. When the Kashmir king couldn't face them, he sought India's military help is not true.

Maharaja appealed to Lord Mountbatten and not to India. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Kashmir#Year_...

In the last days of 1948, a ceasefire was agreed under UN auspices, but since the plebiscite demanded by the UN was never conducted, relations between India and Pakistan soured,[32] and eventually led to two more wars over Kashmir in 1965 and 1999.

India also annexed Hyderabad state by sending insurgents to Hyderabad. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Osmanistan


Need not go very far, just look into this history textbooks of pakistani schools and you will realize that Pakistan has created an absolutely fake history for itself. Where they glorify Ghori, Mughals while pictrize Ashoka as villain and so on.

Pakistan is unable to live with the fact that both it's land people were once upon a time pretty much hindu.


Hyderabad was always a Hindu majority state if you are ignorant of history. It was Nijam who wanted to annex himself to Pakistan. Thanks to Sardar Patel we reduced another University of Terrorism.


"Obsession with Kashmir is burning rest of the India."

LOL. Nice try. It is Pakistan who is obsessed with Kashmir. The founder of Pakistan, M A Jinnah, wanted to be buried in Kashmir. Every time there's talk of peace between India and Pakistan, the Pakistani government brings up Kashmir.

As far as I know, the only "burning" issues about Kashmir that the rest of India has are:

1. Why aren't there more airline flights to Kashmir?

2. Why can't I buy land and invest there?



It is not buring rest of India. Also Kashmeer is a pretty much part of India and Indians love it. WE recently conducted a series of engineering workshops in Kashmeer. We were very surprised with the kind of enthusiasm the young crowd showed towards us. They were upset that because of few antisocial elements supported mostly by Pakistan they are unable to aspire their dreams like rest of the Indians. As far as legalities are concerned: http://satyameva-jayate.org/category/jammu-kashmir-related/

The problem cant not be solved on this forum but the hope is Pakistan is probably breathing it's last, it will get consumed in it's own fire of hatred sooner or later.


Pakistan(24) is a happier nation than India(35) http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2773105


Hyderabad state had Muslim rulers but not a Muslim majority.


As per New Economics Foundation, Bhutan(17), Sri Lanka(22), Pakistan(24) nations are happier than India(35). http://www.rediff.com/business/slide-show/slide-show-1-world...



Compared to India, a higher percentage of women in Pakistan feel they are treated with respect. As per National Crime Records Bureau, every 26 minutes a rape is committed in India and out of which 30% are against minors. http://ibnlive.in.com/news/more-women-respected-in-pakistan-...


According to the article it's 81% in Pakistan and 79% in India. A two percent difference in a survey means that the two countries are basically the same.


The author had daddy issues. BTW, what is this article even doing on HN?

My take: Kashmir == root cause. Fix that first, grant independence.


People don't question 2 or 3 China articles a day. It's refreshing to see something written about another big developing country or (in this case, two).


I will probably get downvoted but articles like these do not belong on HN.

This is just a propaganda article from the Indians, to make Pakistanis look bad.

Now there will be propaganda articles from the Pakistanis next, to make Indians look bad.

To pass propaganda is very normal for these two third world countries, they have faught 3 wars since independence in the last 60 years and still half the population in both countries live in poverty.




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