India, pakistan, and dreams of one world

Anil Mitra © AUGUST 25, 2015—August 26, 2015



This was a response to a piece on India and Pakistan reaching out to each other. The piece was posted from a news source to Facebook by Josna Rege.

The post

I so sympathize with this.

When my parents came back from England to (then) India, in 1943, they lived in Karachi for about four years. They lived there until shortly before I was born. India was partitioned before I was born and so my mum moved to our ancestral home in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, then called the United Provinces, for my birth. This was just a month and a half after partition. Thus I probably still have some residual Pakistani molecules in me.

In looking at Indians from the North and Pakistanis, in listening to their speech, in being aware of their values they are recognizable as the same people--split of course by the vagaries of history, the bigotry of a minority, the repression of many, and the ambitions of politicians. This is of course history but it is good to see it in the flesh.

The piece talks of reaching out via music and song. I think in terms of an actual union to an original—perhaps somewhat mythical—state.

In uniting India and Pakistan—I would include Bangladesh—we would be adding to and, of course, importing some problems but we would resolve others. The larger thing is the 'spiritual' union.

I have felt that Afghanistan is part of the spiritual and mythic continuum that was India. I used to be amazed at the Pathans who would visit the bazaar in Kharagpur. They would tower above my 6 foot tall dad.

To the East there are places that are at another end of the multi-dimensional South Asian continuum. Living in Bengal, one becomes aware of the mix of classic North Indian, the South, and the beginnings of East Asia. The latter is more pronounced in Assam and a range of East Indian Tribal regions.

I support this reaching out of mind and heart with mind and heart. I hope we will leave behind our geographic and temporal parochialism and reach out to universality. I hope we can celebrate what is beautiful and lovely in our history and culture while reaching out to the future with openness.