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Pakistan: Unique Origins; Unique Destiny? Third Revised Edition (hb) by Jabbar
What Is Pakistaniat? 41 Elements Of The Unique Pakistani National Identity (pb) by Jabbar
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PAKISTAN-UNIQUE ORIGINS, UNIQUE DESTINY? 2e(hb)
Author: JAVED JABBAR
ISBN: 9789693705348
Year: 2012
Publisher: NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION
Category: PAKISTAN
Edition: 2
Format: Hard Cover
Language: English
Pages: 241
 ABOUT THE TITLE
This book identifies the factors which, in the opinion of the author, make Pakistan’s origins virtually the single most unique set of origins amongst all nation-States in the world: and because of the specific elements that shaped the country’s birth in 1947.
At the same time this book is neither a chronological nor a comprehensive history of the origins of Pakistan, or of its post-birth history.
The aim in writing this book is three-fold. One, is to make the people of Pakistan, specially the young generations, more aware of certain novel aspects of their nation’s origins. These do not receive the attention they deserve in educational text-books and in general public discourse.
Two, an equally important aim is to make the world at large more aware of these very same facts. Pakistan has been misrepresented in certain leading world media as “the most dangerous country in the world”. Like millions of other Pakistanis the author too would like the world to know that our country is unique for several notable reasons other than for allegedly being “the most dangerous place on earth”. The reasons that set Pakistan apart from all other nation-States rarely or never, get the attention they deserve in world media.
The third aim is to explore the possibility of there being a relationship between unique origins and the making of a unique destiny. At a time when national conditions and national morale are at an exceptional low, it becomes all the more important to remember a nation’s strengths and its society’s capacity to transcend a sense of despair that seems to be pervasive. Yet, because the eventual future will always remain unknown only until it becomes the present, a question mark has deliberately been posed after the words “unique destiny”. This is done in order to stress that an affirmative or a negative answer to the question rests entirely upon what each individual Pakistani will do to shape the future. The vision of a great future inspired the creation of a new nation-State called Pakistan on 14th August 1947.
Some, not all, of the original elements of this book were first identified by the author in an article published in Dawn, Karachi on 14 August 1996 titled: “Nations in search of cohesion”. The article is reproduced in the book as an Annexure.
Since that time, over the past 14 years, during lectures and speeches on this subject for a wide range of audiences at universities, colleges, research centres, conferences in overseas countries and in Pakistan, the author was able to evolve various facets of the theme and amplify the factors that now constitute the basis for this book.
This book’s manuscript was written and completed at a time when insurgency, extremism, violence, poor governance, corruption and economic slow-down appear to be potent threats to the country’s survival.
Work on the book coincided with the time when the country began to deal with the aftermath of the unprecedented natural disaster which occurred with the floods of August 2010.
The book’s focus on the country’s unique origins is not meant to ignore the harsh current conditions of Pakistan. It is to articulate the extraordinary circumstances of the State’s formation in order to see them as potential well-springs for renewal and revival.
If there is realization afresh on how exceptional and how special is Pakistan, the people of this remarkable nation-State may be better able to stem the rot, and may be better able to address the critical challenges which face it.
Several internal threats and external dangers confront Pakistan at the start of the second decade of the 21st century. It is thus all the more necessary to stress that being of unique origins is no guarantee for perpetual existence. For a country that has already survived the trauma of disintegration in 1971, when East Pakistan became an independent Bangladesh, some of the very factors that make Pakistan’s origins unique, may also seem to make it abidingly vulnerable to erosion and further division.
Identification of the factors that make Pakistan so special may convey the erroneous impression that the viability of the country as a State is fragile and uncertain.
The peculiar circumstances of Pakistan’s birth may seem to make it an “overnight” creation, or an accident of history. Yet the origins of Pakistan as an aspirational fulfilment of Muslim nationalism in parts of South Asia are firmly and deeply rooted in history. This long time-line of evolution of Muslim nationalism is in stark contrast to the suddenness of Pakistan’s formation as a State.
At one extreme it may be construed that the Pakistan of 1947, and the Pakistan of post-1971 are the inevitable consequences of the process that began over a thousand years ago when the first Muslim stepped on to the soil of South Asia. Or when the first conversion of a non-Muslim to a Muslim occurred in South Asia.
At another extreme, it can be surmised that for a variety of reasons the sense of separateness between Muslims and Hindus became sharply accentuated after 1857. If leaders seem to reflect their followers’ views, relations of trust and mutual respect between leaders and their respective religious communities declined after 1857 over the next 70 to 80 years. Finally, the rush and complexity of events in the 1940s made Pakistan inevitable.
Despite the inevitability of Pakistan, large numbers of Muslims in post-1947 India continue to live with Hindus and other non-Muslims while retaining their sense of distinctness. Simultaneously, they share an Indian identity with non-Muslims and Indian Muslims are as Indian as other citizens.
Two arguments are often offered to negate the validity or viability of Pakistan. One is that the two-nation theory was allegedly proven to be fallacious when East Pakistan preferred to become Bangladesh in 1971.
The intensity and continuity with which Bangladeshi nationalism has survived and thrived since 1971 is notable. Ethnic and linguistic homogeneity is a principal driving force in shaping Bangladesh’s identity. Bangladesh is comparatively more secular than Pakistan. In 2010, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh has held that political parties should not be permitted to use religion as part of their names or their manifestoes.
The Muslim dimension of Bangladesh’s nationalism remains a powerful driver. There is also a large non-Muslim segment of the population of Bangladesh that balances the Muslim dimension. There was even a period in Bangladesh’s history after 1975 when an unsuccessful attempt was made to designate the country as an Islamic State.
One major segment of political thought in that country believes in a Bangla or Bengali nationalism unrestricted by its formal frontiers. In this view, the independent Bangla identity can be comfortably in tandem with the Indian West Bengali identity. This view does not see the border between the two entities as an obstruction even while retaining the dividing line.
The other major segment of political thought sees Bangladeshi identity as being inexorably shaped by the specific territory within which the country is located. Without seeing Islam from a chauvinistic lens the dominant Muslim faith of the Bangladeshi people makes Bangladeshi identity separate and distinct from West Bengali identity.
The pride and zeal with which an average Bangladeshi Muslim retains his Muslim identity only shows that, far from the two-nation theory having failed in 1971, it has simply evolved into a two-nation-three-State theory i.e. predominantly Muslim Pakistan, predominantly Muslim Bangladesh and Muslim Indians, constituting about 15% of India’s population who wish to live within a pre-dominantly Hindu society.
Which brings one to the other argument offered to negate the two-nation theory. This is to do with the fact that as many Muslims live in India as there are Muslims in Pakistan. Such a reference ignores the reality that a State can contain more than one nation. India contains the Hindu nation: though there is no entity such as a singular Hindu nation. Hindus are too diverse and different in castes, in their gods and in their modes of worship to be a singular national community. India also contains a Muslim nation, a Sikh nation, and other nationalities in the context in which religion is seen as one of the determinants of nationalism, and of national identity.
Muslims in Pakistan and India also comprise sub-nationalisms shaped by the geography of territory, the history of their local culture and other indigenous factors. While sharing the basic tenets of a common faith, the Muslims of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in India, for example, are distinct from the Muslims of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in their clothes, food, languages, and customs. Just as the Baloch Muslims of Balochistan in Pakistan and Pukhtoon Muslims of Balochistan are different from each other and are distinct in particular ways from the Muslims of (west) Punjab, which is also in Pakistan.
In August 1947 and thereafter, some Muslims in British-occupied South Asia chose to become Pakistani citizens. In that same period, some other Muslims chose to become citizens of a newly independent Indian State. One choice did not negate the other. Both remained, and remain to this day equally real and valid. In 1971, they were joined by a new State in the form of Bangladesh while the concept of distinct nationalities, i.e. Hindu and Muslim, remained intact.
In 2011, and in the years ahead, all 3 States, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, and other States in South Asia need to strengthen their commitment to building stable friendship and peace between themselves, within the region, and in the world at large.
Each nation and nation-State deserves respect and, in turn, owes respect to all other nations and nation-States as part of a larger, shared humanity.
This book is unique in its theme, contents and structure.It invites you, the reader to also become a co-writer.

Author: Javed Jabbar
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