Monday, April 30, 2007

A Tale of Two States: India & Pakistan

Author : Jacob Thomas on Apr 29, 2007 - 12:23 AM

Recently, while glancing at the site, I was attracted by the title of an article:
“Al-Hind wa Bakistan … al-‘Ilmaniyya’ Tantaser” (India & Pakistan … Secularism Wins.)
Here was an Arab Muslim intellectual, who having compared the history of these two states since their independence from Britain in 1947, concluded that the Indian experiment was a success story, while in contrast, Pakistan has done very poorly. The following are excerpts from the article, followed as usual, by my analysis, and comments.

“As we compare the secular Hindu State of India with the Islamic State of Pakistan, we are struck by the utter contrasts between the two. To begin with, India’s president now is a Muslim, which indicates that his religion did not keep him from reaching this high position. Furthermore, we should remember that he has played a major role in the development of the Indian nuclear program. Add to that, India has made great strides in the fields of technology, economics, agriculture, and education. It has achieved a remarkable level of democracy in its government. Compare all that success with the awful backwardness of the Islamic State of Pakistan, its system of religious education, its failing economy, the rise of terrorism with the blessing and encouragement of the tribal and religious leaders of the land.

A comparison between India and Pakistan would lead an independent observer to pity the Pakistani government and its Muslim people. In contrast, India, having adopted a secular model for its government, has managed to spare itself many problems. It is true that India is not free of Hindu fanaticism; nor may we forget that its society is marked by the existence of the caste system; and has to cope with the problems stemming from population explosion. However, by adopting a secular system of government within a democratic framework, India has been in a better position to tackle its many challenges, when compared with such countries as Pakistan and Egypt.

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