SYMPOSIUM - Part 4 - Explorations in the Politcally Incorrect

Nainsink Tagore

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An acquaintance, approached the writer shortly before we were to leave the bar for our weekly, four-hour, late-dinner-time meeting, and asked us, just what was it that we talked about. Should the lady take the trouble to read this segment of Symposium, some of her curiosity could be satisfied.

The following starts with the men again seen seated at their favorite table - again a waitress comes by and lackadaisically drops three menus on it. And, again, as she leaves, the lights dim to black. After a slight pause, the lights gradually brighten and the men can be seen finishing their meals.

* *

Anthony: "From what I've been told by the old timers who used to frequent the bar, the earlier residents of the East Village were a mixed bag of lower-middleclass first- and second-generation immigrants - most of whom had relatives who had arrived from the middle- and late-nineteenth-century on through the early years of the twentieth.

"It seems that with the end of WWII, their children, believing that they had attained middleclass status, began their exodus to the suburbs and beyond. This may or may not have been augmented by what denigrating liberals and Blacks called: "White Flight" - but from what I heard, it was primarily due to the race-based promoting of the suburbs by the usual suspects: real-estate-interests."

Nance: "Sure, and meanwhile, Puerto Rico's impoverished poured out of San Juan, arriving first in the original Little Italy, way up on the east side.of Manhattan: that's now called the Barrio or Spanish Harlem. Then, gradually, they moved southward - occupying the vacated tenements on the Lower Eastside - which was Alphabet City. Then, fearing the formation of a new "Harlem," inhabited by non-White Latinos and, Heaven forbid, even Negroes - the same real-estate interests who promulgated "White Flight," after renaming that part of the Lower Eastside with the trendy appellation: East Village, were to use the area's cheap rents, as well as squats, to act as magnets to attract an influx of Whites: runaway youths; skinheads; wannabes: dancers, musicians, writers, visual artists of one sort or another; artist's models; go-go-dancers; college students and slumming Upper-Eastsiders - along with an ever changing crew of Euro-trash and au pair nymphs."

Sean: "That's about the time when I first came to the East Village. And, by then, many of the kids of old-Europe's jetsam and flotsam: those forlorn souls, who had a century earlier ended up on America's shores, had, like you said, Anthony, outgrown their underclass American condition and moved up and away.

"This, in turn, worked to entice a tunnel-and-bridge crowd of mostly underage kids, to visit the still terrifying city which their parents had abandoned. In addition, I saw a cross-section of Blacks - ranging from middleclass college kids, school-teachers and office workers to drug dealers and shanty-in-the-park dwellers - as well as a few gun-toting muggers."

Nance: "You know, for a couple years back in the mid-1950s, my wife and I, semi-hippy-types at the time, moved to Thirteenth Street, off First Avenue what was then called the Lower-Eastside. It was completely safe, with mainly Italian families living on our street. And after going through a time known as the Puerto-Rican Alphabet City; it was renamed the East Village - and soon became the latest, chic "in" section of the city - with overpriced, refurbished, one-time-slum tenements; pricey restaurants and a costly, often-trying-to-appear-seamy bar scene."

Anthony: "Yes, That's how I see it. The East Village is now well on its way to being completely gentrified: a place for the better-off amongst the bored-with-the-good-life-in-the-boondocks children - of parents who had, by remaining in or moving to the sticks, avoided dealing with the Public School's racial tensions of the 50s, riots of 60s and forced integration of 70s. The presence now of so many well-off, I-won't-grow-ups has relentlessly driven up the rents and driven out most of those gutsy folks who had transformed the now-made-trendy lower-eastside into the place where the timid offspring of former runaway-residents now consider safe to reside and hangout in. Although there are some new residents who continue to give the area a modest sense of its old vitality, only a few old ones remain who belonged to that critical mass that gave the area its earlier youth-oriented, tradition-breaking, innovative energy."

Sean: "As to apartments, over the course of the past two decades, I've become well aware that rents in the East Village have skyrocketed. At the same time I've seen how the makeup of the people moving here has changed."

Anthony: "Well if you've noticed how different they are from the earlier influx; imagine how the change has affected the kind of customers who come into the bar. Although many of my high-rent-paying regulars would fit in with a portion of the more interesting of my former customers, one can trace a period's excellence in the arts to the availability of a massive amount of cheap housing and low cost of essentials. And a hub is necessary from which creative persons can ruminate, on a one-to-one basis, on the ideals and such that go into the creation of all sorts of art - with innovative members of all the arts."

Sean: "From what I could tell, in the 1980's you could still run into a few former flower-children. But, soon after the onset of the 1990's - Giuliani and then Bloomberg were to kill the city's spirit. Sure, there had been a hairy side to the East Village - but it, as well as a good part of the city, was still alive. The claiming-to-be-liberal Republican mayors seem to have represented only the real-estate interests.
"I didn't like Giuliani, but I don't think he was a closet fag, like so many claimed. After all, he did have three wives. Giuliani, who followed the likable-but-incompetent, Dinky, felt obliged to distinguish himself from his criminal family members - by emulating those other relatives of his who were in law-enforcement - by cracking down on everyone thought to be a real or potential lawbreaker - first the car-window washers - and then those whose crime was jaywalking."

Nance: "I know, Anthony, that you liked Giuliani - why? - Because, when he became mayor, the police would come to the bar whenever you called on them to get rid of a troublemaker. But, the changes that made the city a safer place had little to do with Giuliani. Throughout the country, this was during the presidency of Clinton, decent jobs could be had - and with that, crime went down - nationwide, not only in New York. I might add that until 9/11, Giuliani was despised by most New Yorkers. And to most New Yorkers, on 9/11, he was only doing his job. He appeared to be a hero by non-New Yorkers only when compared to Bush, who, as president, instead of speaking to the people and relieving them of their anxieties - ran away and hid. And, mind you, this Bush-the-little wants to be compared favorably to Winston Churchill - although I didn't like Churchill for his being an incompetent bully and a racist - he, Churchill, was no coward - at least when sacrificing the lives of others."

* *

Race Relations in America

Anthony: "You know Nance, according to you, Americans thought and spoke of themselves only as Americans during those years leading up to, and during WWII. Then, you say, it was over the course of almost two decades before that attitude gradually diminished. After which, Americans began addressing themselves as one or another hyphenate-American. My father, who is your senior by a few years, seems to agree with you. He couldn't explain why the change took place. If that was true, and I don't know if that would be such a bad thing - just why do you believe that so many Americans are intent on adding a hyphen to their American nationality?"

Nance: "I've kicked this around in my head - a lot. And, despite my finding the forced segregation of peoples for any arbitrary reason, especially race-based, to be repugnant, I think, at the time, it had to do with the integration of the American Negro into what had been a racially segregated America."

Sean: "I tend to believe that America should maintain its Euro-based character - but I don't consider myself a racist. I voted for Obama - not because he has African heritage, nor despite the fact that he has it - but because I thought he was the better of the two men running.
"As you know, I was born years after WWII was over, but when I came here in the mid-1980's, I ran into but few Blacks - except as bus drivers and here, in the East Village - where you could find most in Tompkins Square Park. There, many were living in filthy, reeking-of-urine-and-excrement shanties in the southeastern section of the park. And, many of those you came across in the bars were petty drug dealers, and, if people got mugged on a dark street, it was almost always by a Black. There were, though, a few middleclass Blacks who frequented some of the East Village bars. But nowadays, I see fewer and fewer middle-class Blacks in any of the bars down here - and it's almost never that I see a Black in an Irish bar."

Anthony: "Well, I've noticed this when bartending There are probably a lot of reasons why so few middleclass Blacks now come into East Village bars. One - is the high prices that, because of the high rents, we have to charge for drinks. Most Blacks can get the same drinks for half the price in their local bars. But, I still get a few Blacks coming by, who make you feel that you're a racist if you charge them for a beer."

Nance: "Well, the price of everything we buy from a store has gone up. You mention that: rents have skyrocketed. And racism is a good part of the reason for it - the high prices tend to keep even middleclass Blacks and Latinos out. Of course, greed on the part of the landlords - might be more responsible for those high rents - with appeals to racism helping their cause."

Sean: "Nance, you seem to always stress racism of one sort or another for all the problems of the world. Usually, as circuitous as it so often is -.I can follow your line of reasoning -- but I'll be damned if I can follow what you're driving at now."

Anthony: "I can see how the price increases on the liquor works to keep out most Blacks - after all, they do tend to hold jobs that don't pay that well. But, as far as I'm concerned, a racist is someone who deliberately harms, in some way, another human being for no other reason than the race they happen to belong to. And I don't consider a person a racist, just because they prefer to live, date or hangout with people who they relate to - and that's whether it's due to their commonality of ethnicity, religion or race."

Nance: "Obvious evidence of racism need not be apparent for racism to exist. But, there's no question in my mind that it played a major part as the cause for the re-hyphenation that's being used to stress the non-American ethnicity of our native-born citizens. Perhaps today, due to the election of a president who is half Black African - we can discard the hyphen from our nationality. Why? One could ask. Because those Americans with evidence of Black African ancestry can now stop relying on the victim card as an excuse for any of their or their fellow Blacks' antisocial activities: whether legal or not."

Anthony: "And then, you expect non-Negroes to stop hiding behind a hyphenated identity, in order to avoid being forced to accept all Blacks as their social equals. Maybe you're right - and most middleclass American Blacks, much as most middleclass Whites and others, will prefer to live with or befriend those individuals, regardless of their race, religious, or ethnic hyphenated-American identity - who they relate to: education-wise, intelligence-wise, interest-wise, age-wise - and whatever-wise you can think of."

Sean: "You really believe that racism in America will ever cease to exist. You're an optimist. Race will always be a paramount means for people to identify themselves.

* *

The men temporarily stopped talking when Anthony, since it was his turn - rose, walked to the cashier, and paid for the dinners - after which they changed the subject and continued.

The Death of Banazir Bhutto

Anthony: "You know, all that news that used to be kicking around about the death of Benazir Bhutto reminded me that she attended Radcliffe when I was at Harvard. Of course, I never met her; we obviously traveled in different circles. But, even though she attended a major American university, I don't understand just what her death had to do with us - and just why - and if - she was really so central to the well-being of Pakistan."

Nance: "I can see why you'd wonder - and by my now bringing up Jallianwala Bagh and Gandhi might seem a non-sequitur. After all, what could Jallianwala Bagh and Gandhi have to do with Benazir Bhutto? Well, the happenstances leading up to the very existence of Pakistan, as a nation, has to be considered - and that event and Gandhi were paramount to its formation. Benazir Bhutto's murder would never have taken place without the establishment of Pakistan.
"It was as I was doing research on Jallianwala Bagh - where the post-WWI massacre by the British of some thousand unarmed and seated Hindu and Muslim Indians took place - that I became aware of the events that caused the complete independence of India, and that also resulted in the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent into two unnaturally unique nations.
"As a result of the Brits having carried out the massacre, as well as other imposable-to-rationalize atrocities, Gandhi rid himself of any notion that India would gain Hind Swaraj: Indian Home Rule - equality with the other nations that made up the empire. It was the manner in which Gandhi went about gaining what he now believed was his only option: to go for the total independence of India - that earned him worldwide renown - and inadvertently precipitated the establishment of Pakistan as a nation independent of India."

Sean: "Why should that be? What you're saying doesn't seem to me to be very logical.".

Nance: "It's because Gandhi became the dominant force in India's struggle for independence. Gandhi had arranged for his peaceful, anti-Raj-rule activities, which were being brutally disrupted by the Brits, to be publicized internationally - while bypassing the Brits' censoring abilities. As a result, Gandhi was regarded, in India and worldwide, as the leader of all the Subcontinent's indigenous peoples: including Muslims - in their attempt to free themselves from the military and economic domination by the Brits.
"Gandhi's ever-growing prominence - added to his past reputation as the defender of the rights of Indians in South Africa. And the mounting appeal, throughout India, of his Hindu-based terminology: [Satyagraha - which, according to Gandhi, differed from Passive Resistance in three essentials: Satyagraha (truth force) - is a weapon of the strong - not of the weak - it admits of no violence under any circumstance whatsoever (ahimsa); and it ever insists upon truth..], caused Jinnah to fear the complete subordination of India's Muslims, should India become one nation. Ergo: Jinnah's determination to convince the Brits to support the partitioning of the Subcontinent - thereby allowing for the establishment of Pakistan, a nation controlled by a Muslim, landowner-cum-military aristocracy: whose members were numbered amongst the forebears of Benazir Bhutto.
"The overwhelming majority of Pakistanis have much less than a millennia-long history as Muslims - virtually all of whom had been converted to Islam from their ancestral belief in one or the other of India's many home-grown religions. And the upper-caste Bhuttos were amongst the later converts to Islam - with some Bhuttos, in fairly recent times returning to their Hindu roots."

Sean: "The plot thickens. I hadn't given that much thought to Jinnah's involvement. I had assumed that Pakistan was created through the connivance of the Brits, as a means of continuing their dominance over all the people of the Subcontinent. By their driving a wedge between two of India's major religious groups, I figured the Brits contemplated accomplishing in India what they did in Ireland - where they collaboration with the minority of Protestants in North Ireland in order to maintain their economic control over the island's Catholic majority.
"It seemed to me, that by their contributing to the creation, in Asia of two competing nations: India and Pakistan, the Brit's were intent on diminishing the unifying societal inputs of the Indian people - which, according to what you've said in the past, all the peoples native to the Subcontinent, despite all the alien genetic inputs, still have in common: a pre-Arian, pre-historic, though watered-down, Harappan beginning."

Anthony: "I also see it that way. From what you've mentioned in the past, Nance, I assumed that the Brits anticipated maintaining their economic power over all the people of the Subcontinent. And by their fostering the establishment of a Muslim Pakistan, the Brits were merely attempting to repeat the effects of their partitioning of Ireland. Isn't that it?"

Nance: "You'd think so. After all, their breaking up Bengal - some forty years earlier, when, as the Raj, the Brits forcefully split Bengal into a Hindu western and a Muslim eastern political entity, worked to their advantage - albeit, for less than half a century. It's logical to think that it was the memory of their partitioning of Bengal into two separate political and religious entities, which allowed them to maintain their direct military and economic control over the people in both segments, that would have caused the Brits to assist the aristocratic, Muslim landowners in their attempts to establish a nation separate from Hindu India. But, after giving it more thought, I've decided that, since initially the Brits had proposed the establishment of a united India, that that was their real intent. Why? Because, a Muslim nation separated from Mother India - would not really benefit the Brits."

Sean: "Maybe so. I didn't have to do any special research to realize that every former colony, once it gained its independence from one of Europe's colonizers, suffered from the insidious, self-serving attempts by the former colonizers to maintain, one way or another, their domination over their former colonies.
"Most of Ireland, allowing for the increased dominance by the Catholic Church over the Free State - had obtained a relatively tranquil, but limited independence - all of which occurred over twenty years before the post-WWII disintegration of the British Empire. Of course, it's only recently that the Troubles in Northern Ireland, which remains under British control, came to an end. And, perhaps this is what you're now driving at - because both Catholics and Protestants resided there in substantial numbers - while the Brits, though denying any desire to do so, maintained their rule over North Ireland."

Anthony: "I'm aware that the Irish got screwed by the Brits every bit as much as members of the Indian subcontinent. But, since I'm really curious as to just why Nance considers the cause of the Bhutto lady's murder to have had its roots in the Subcontinent's independence movement, let's try to stick to the subject. [Then, turning to Nance] So, please tell me why you believe that it's necessary to go back almost a century in order to explain why Benazir Bhutto, whose ancestors you tell us, were amongst the landed aristocracy - was so important, and why she got herself killed?"

Nance: "Bear with me. And, Sean's paralleling what happened in North Ireland to what happened in the Subcontinent, though a little disconcerting; is pretty much in line with how I've come to see it. But, getting back to Benazir Bhutto - for a week, we had been bombarded with details concerning her murder. We heard everyone who claimed to be an authority on international affairs and incompetent from the Bush administration have their say about it. And it's my opinion that they either didn't have any idea as to the complexity of the whole business - or that they deliberately ignored it. Nor does it appear that anyone in the Obama administration is taking into account the diversity of inputs that produced what is now being touted as a unique Pakistani culture.
"As Sean asserted, contributions to that nation's ethos go far back - to the history of an indigenous Indus River peoples and those who, over the millennia, overran the Subcontinent. That north-western segment of the Subcontinent now known as Pakistan, experienced intrusions by Arab, Turk and Mogul Muslims as well as earlier and concurrent invasions by non-Muslim Arians, Persians, Greeks, Scythians and Mongols. For that reason, it underwent far more inclusive cohabitations and assimilations of all those sundry invading peoples with its ever-changing Hindu-cum-Buddhist population, than what occurred in the southern and eastern sections of the Subcontinent - where the people were, for the most part, less subject to continuous outsider incursions..
"Here's where the forebears of the likes of Benazir Bhutto, who had been high-caste Rajput-Bhatia Hindus, come in. It was primarily from amongst the progeny of the likes of her forebears living in Rajasthan - an area of India adjacent to and overlapping what is now Pakistan - who were converted, some as much as a thousand years ago, to Islam. They were to remain, to the present-day, the landed aristocracy of Pakistan - with the economic and political control over the Pakistani masses: those multi-gene-pooled, non-land-owning Indians who had also been converted to Islam.
"And mind you, to this day, Muslims who evince more of the physical appearance of the Subcontinent's earlier, non-European invaders are held in greater esteem by all Muslims - than those Muslims who show more classic Indian features - and, that also holds true in India - as well as in present-day Pakistan. And this fact is what added to the stature of the Bhuttos."

Sean: "Hey, look. If your going to go back that far in Indian history to determine what's going on today in Pakistan, then, I don't see why you two feel that I'm complicating things by bringing up Ireland's past; after all, Irish history didn't begin with the Dutchman William's conquest of it. And I might add that Ireland's O'Connell influenced Gandhi - and his stress on Passive Resistance."

Anthony: "I don't find anything really wrong, with your bringing up Ireland. And, I think your bringing up O'Connell and his influence on Gandhi's form of Passive Resistance was right on. But let's not forget that O'Connell was influenced by Bolivar - which, of course, doesn't diminish O'Connell's importance as a fighter for Irish rights. Moreover, I believe, if you go back far enough, the people of Pakistan and those of Ireland, have a lot in common - both language-wise - Urdu having Sanskrit-cum-Indo-European origins - as well as, to some degree, genetically - as fellow Caucasians. But, this is Nance's story. So, let's let him tell it the way he wants - I'm curious to see just how he's going to tie up all of this."

Sean: "You're right. Let's just talk about Pakistan - fuck Ireland."

Anthony: "Come on. You know damn well, that the Irish were pretty much the indigenous people of their island nation - even those migrating to the Northern provinces, though different: religion-wise, were genetically, more or less the same people. Celtic migration and influence, even when allowing for the occasional inseminating incursions by others, dominated the island And, from what I can gather, Nance intends to up that. He claims that the more northern part of the Indian subcontinent, being much larger, was subjected to continuing inputs of alien genetic and cultural influences - and the indigenous population of the area now known as Pakistan would have been more affected by those invasions than the inhabitants of the more southern and eastern segments of the Subcontinent."

Nance: "That's true, but I'd like to add, that despite the many alien inputs into the peoples of the various segments of the Subcontinent, there remains an underlying oneness of indigenous Indian genetic and environmental makeup.
"As to the comparison with Ireland, unlike Pakistanis, as you're well aware, the Irish gained control of all but one segment of the island before the Second World War. And it wasn't until WWII that the Brits showed how militarily-vulnerable they were. So, although the complete breakaway of Ireland, perhaps contributed to the eventual disintegration of the British Empire, the formation of an independent Pakistani nation, not only added to its disintegration - its independence, along with that of virtually all the political entities of the entire Indian subcontinent, was to be the concluding cause of that disintegration."

Sean: "Okay, I think I see where you're going. I was thinking about the Brits' partition of Ireland. But, comparing the partition that established North Ireland to the partition of India that created Pakistan would be like comparing apples to oranges. I'm now appeased - you may now continue."

Nance: "Thanks a lot. Getting back to Pakistan - with the possible exception of an insignificant number of folks belonging to the human flotsam and jetsam that resulted from the fraternizing of impoverished Indian woman with members of Europe's colonizing occupation forces - virtually all of Pakistan's population, much as that of India, consists of the descendants of an olio of those peoples who invaded and then resided in the Subcontinent. This spanned a period extending from pre-historic times - until the onset of Europe's original attempts to colonize segments of the Subcontinent - a time when the European colonizers, unlike the Arians, Scythians, Arabs, Turks and Moguls, came to India solely to rape, not to ultimately marry into the economy of the country.
"With but few exceptions, virtually all the various and sundry peoples who now occupy the Indian subcontinent have ancestors who were Buddhists or who followed one or the other branches of what is now called Hinduism. And this holds true, of course, to those Muslims now calling themselves Pakistanis. All of those folks had ancestors who absorbed and maintained a significant amount of the social and genetic inputs from the peoples of the pre-historic and ancient, Harappan, Indus River civilizations - plus that of the Aryans, who, it is generally accepted, invaded the entire northwestern segment of the Subcontinent over thirty-five hundred years back; and that area includes Pakistan. Those Aryans were said to have cohabited with, displaced or murdered the area's population - a people thought to be Dravidian: with roots in the earliest Harappan civilization.
"Since both Aryans and Dravidians are Caucasian peoples, some claim that the Aryan invaders were, at one time - over a hundred generations back, the same people as South India's Dravidians. This was based on the fact that within a few generations, the under nourished shorter Brits became, with a change of climate and diet, the well-fed tall Australians. Nevertheless, although all Indians have become one people, most scholars consider the early Aryans and Dravidians to have been different Caucasian peoples; Sanskrit, brought to India by the Aryans, is considered either to be the root or oldest sister of all the Indo-European Languages - while the Dravidian languages are not connected to Sanskrit."

Anthony: "I think I see where you're going by stressing the common genetic and cultural inputs and roots of all the people's of the Subcontinent. But I'd like to mention, that with all the talk that had been going on about Benazir Bhutto, I recently Googled Pakistan. So I can save you the trouble of telling us about its beginnings. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan's founding father, had been an educated-in-England, practicing-in-India lawyer - who, along with Gandhi, his better-known-to-the-world, fellow Indian, was involved in India's earliest pre-partition struggle for independence."

Nance: "Yeah, but Jinnah's efforts to join in forming a single, self-ruling Indian nation came to an end within a decade or so following Gandhi's return to India. Jinnah, fearing a subordinate position for Muslims in a united India, by backing the Brits' during WWII, worked, along with the Imams and land-wealthy Muslims, to secure the support of England for a separate homeland for India's Muslims. While Gandhi, the most prominent Hindu, had been jailed for his refusal to garner support for the Brits WWII war effort - unless, he said, India was ceded self-rule and virtual independence - similar to that enjoyed by Briton's Anglo-Euro-Caucasian dominated colonies: Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa."

Sean: "I recall reading that when Roosevelt, during WWII spoke of freedom for all peoples - which meant independence for India - Churchill said he was not fighting WWII in order to lose the empire. To the credit of the British people, they voted him out of office as soon as the war was over."

Anthony: "Well, despite Churchill's intensions, as we all know, England lost her empire. And, if I'm not jumping to the wrong conclusions, from what you've been saying Nance, the most prominent Muslim, Jinnah's backing of the use of India's Muslims as troops to fight and die for their British masters may very well have contributed to the fall of the British Empire and the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent. And if so, why?"

Nance: "First, I think that economically, colonialism had run its course: the cost to maintain their control of the colonies, even before WWII, was eating away at their profits. Second, even before WWII, the murderous means required to control the people of a colonized nation could no longer be hidden from worldwide airwaves and print media. Third, the most important cause for the near-end of all colonialism in the aftermath of WWII was the show of military weakness by the armies of Europe's colonizers: they had either surrendered or cut and ran when attacked by the Japanese.
"In India's case, the Brits, being in debt to India's Moslem civilians and troops for Jinnah's and their support during WWII, and owing Gandhi and his Hindu followers nothing - insured India's being split apart, upon becoming independent. Gandhi and his Hindu followers had refused to support them during WWII - unless they received home rule - Jinnah sold out.
"Of course, as during the American Revolution, there were those in India who had unduly prospered under England's rule - and fearing a loss if India became an independent nation, opposed it. Few amongst India's nay-sayers were Hindus, Muslims, Jains or Sikhs - most of whom, appear to have supported the efforts for home rule and then, after the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh, independence. But many of those Indians of other religious or ethnic groupings - not quite sure of just how it would benefit or hurt them - were ambivalent, when not hostile to Indian self-rule and especially independence."

Sean: "I'm following you two. And. Nance, you seem to feel that the Brits initial intent was to maintain India as one nation, with a Hindu majority and a Muslim minority. I can now see that this must have been their original plan: an attempt to adopt some aspect of their once so effective application of their balance-of-power-cum-divide-and-conquer policy. I also see why they felt obliged to support Jinnah's plea for the establishment of a Muslim nation - which was probably their plan B anyhow. In all fairness, I don't believe that either Jinnah or the Brits thought that the resultant separation of the Subcontinent into two nations: one predominantly Hindu the other Moslem, would result in the untold deaths in the aftermath of that partition.
"The death-dealing results of the arbitrarily delineated partitioning of the Subcontinent can only be compared with the greed-motivated, post-WWI, arbitrary carving up of the Ottoman Empire. America's Allies gave the world Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine/Israel: one of the world's last European-dominated colonies - all where internal turmoil along with border-issue killings have continued, until this day. And I would imagine that's what you're leading up to - that similar happenings, due to the arbitrary partition of the Subcontinent, are taking place, to a greater or lesser degree, in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar (Burma}, Bangladesh and even the most prosperous and democratically successful of them all, India."

Nance: "Yes, I believe that all of that is true. And that gets us back to Benazir Bhutto and why Pakistan was and still is in political and economic turmoil. This Muslim nation, as everyone is aware was once made up of two truly disparate entities -: East Pakistan, which has broken away to become Bangladesh: one of the poorer nations of the world - but relatively stable and West Pakistan, now known as Pakistan - and officially as The Islamic Republic of Pakistan. They were originally separated physically by a thousand miles of land and well over a thousand miles by sea. Although the peoples of those two segments were predominantly Indian-Muslim, that bifurcated nation: West and East Pakistan: had differed significantly: ethnically, linguistically and historically - ergo, its split into two separate nations: Bangladesh and Pakistan was inevitable."

Sean: "I've been reading up on it; Bangladesh and Pakistan, which, just as you've said, despite their common religion, have populations with very different major cultural and genetic inputs."

Nance: "Yes, making East and West Pakistan into one nation was sure to fail. Though both had a basic Dravidian-cum-Aryan, once-Buddhist Hindu population - West Pakistan, now Pakistan, also had large numbers of Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun (Pathan) and Baloch peoples - all affected by a slight, indeterminable overlay of Arab and Persian influences - whereas East Pakistan: now Bangladesh, though also now Moslem, has a dominant, once-Buddheo-Hindu, Dravidian-cum-Aryan, Bengali population.
"Moreover, during the Bengali famine that occurred during WWII: exacerbated by greed-based motives similar to those which worsened Ireland's famine, and resulted in the deaths of some three million Indians, Churchill refused assistance - with a comment more appropriate if coming from Hitler. In denying releif he asked: "If food was so scarce, why hadn't Gandhi died yet?"

Sean: "Now you're going off the track. I have no love for Churchill; and as to comparing him to Hitler - he was as incompetent as a military strategist as was Der Fuhrer. Although, as far as I'm concerned, he was nothing but an anti-union, aristocratic, fascist bastard - he really can't be compared to Hitler. However, I really can't see any logic for bringing this up now."

Anthony: "I think that Nance's mentioning Churchill, in this instance, though a bit overstretched might help to show why East Pakistan, due to its proclivity to endure famines, varied so with West Pakistan. Temperament-wise - as well as genetically and culturally. According to Nance, all Bengalis, both Hindus and Moslems, are much more like India's Hindus, than they are to Pakistan's Moslems."

Nance: "Moreover, the loss of human life due to the famine in Bengal - which was allowed to go on by Churchill, was one of the last racially-based reprehensible doings by the Brits against the Indian people. All things considered, it should have been obvious to all that the majority of Bengalis of East Pakistan had little in common, besides their religion, with the overwhelming majority of West Pakistan's people."

Sean: "Okay, I understand your reasoning. And I assume that your intention is to show how present-day Pakistan's population is shill very much like that of adjacent Western India's Punjabis, Guajaratis, and Rajasthanis - but, to a somewhat lesser degree, to Indians in the Subcontinent's northeast - where there's a strong relationship, despite the difference in religion, between the West Bengalis of India and those of Bangladesh. The bifurcated nation of Pakistan's two parts: East and West, were not only separated by a thousand land miles - but also by a population of many hundreds of mullions of Indians, both Moslem and Hindu, who at the time of independence were living as they had in ancient Harappa - with little more than negligible changes due to the inputs of modernism."

Anthony: "In some way, this explains why, in the past, here in America, when I met Bangladeshi- Muslims, Pakistani-Muslims and India's Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and even Christians - I couldn't distinguish one from the other. There was a tremendous overlapping in their appearance. And now, I understand why.
"Perhaps, in some instances, one might see subtle differences - but for me, what it's actually done is to stress the similarities amongst all the Subcontinent's people. All of which, of course, is what you're driving at - and that's that all those individuals living on the Indian subcontinent are far more alike, both physically and emotionally, than the ruling classes in Pakistan would want the world, and the average Pakistan's to realize."

Sean: "Ah, now I realize from what you've said, Nance, just why there is so much conflict between Pakistanis and Indians. Their ancient history, which they both hold, has given them a racial, environmental and spiritual commonality. And it's this basic oneness that India's pre-independence-era Muslims were so afraid of; it caused those elite who control Pakistan, politically and economically, to fear the loss of their privileges. This they believed, at the time of independence - and even now or sometime in the future with independent India."

Nance: "Yes, unity with a far-more democratic, secular nation, which India was projected to become, and is now realized, would, no doubt, work to deprive Pakistan's elite of the advantages they currently enjoy: those resulting from both a carryover of the Subcontinent's diminishing, yet persistent, caste system, and due to their having catered to the demands of the Raj: their positions as landed aristocracy. All of which had the effect of depriving the average Muslim Pakistani of a chance to better themselves.
"West Pakistan's people had been part of the northern swath of the Subcontinent that didn't fall under the control of the Brits until well into the nineteenth century. Those folks spoke Hindustani: the area's lingua franca that gave birth to both the Sanskrit-based languages: Urdu, written in Arabic and Hindi, written in Devanagari.
"It must be noted that East Pakistanis - now called Bangladeshi speak and understand the language of their Indian cousins: the West Bengalis; while the Urdu-speaking Pakistanis (now without the adjective: West) speak and understand their Hindi-speaking Indian cousins."

Anthony: "Let's get back to Benazir Bhutto. We know that Gandhi was murdered by a fellow Indian Hindu - and that was because the killer thought Gandhi responsible for India's loss of the lands belonging to India's historic heritage. But, why was Benazir Bhutto murdered by one or more of her own people?"

Sean: "Nance, I think he's got you stumped. After all, she was one of the wealthy, Muslim Pakistanis. So, why should any Pakistani think that she would even consider any course of action that would deprive her of her dominant position as a Pakistani with wealth and political power?"

Nance: "well, according to most reports, both Benazir Bhutto and her husband had secreted untold millions in banks around the world - which would have enabled her to be free to make whatever politically advantageous decisions she might wish to make - without worrying about losing her wealth - and she appeared unworried about losing her life. Moreover, since one would have to assume that this was known to her Pakistani adversaries - they had every reason to fear that her modern-woman, worldly sophistication would appeal to the millions of skilled and semi-skilled Pakistanis - mainly those with money in their pockets after their having worked abroad - and now aspiring to a life of a Western-type middleclass-hood. The sort of life that they would now be wanting was one similar to that which they witnessed being enjoyed by the skilled Westerners working in the oil-rich, Arab nations - and with it, perhaps, their liberal attitudes towards government and religion.
"Pakistan's landowner, military, Mullah Complex, fearing the loss of their mystical, economic and political power; which had enabled them to dominate Pakistan's primarily-Moslem lower-classes, had previously exiled Benazir Bhutto. But, under pressure from Bush's money-giving America to attempt to show Pakistan as a true democracy, elections were planned to take place - ergo, Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan - and a run for her return to leadership of Pakistan's government.
"Pakistan's returning workers, numbering in the millions, along with Pakistan's burgeoning middleclass - all with a liking for Western goods, made-in-India Hindi movies and literature caused the members of Pakistan's landowner-military-Mullah-complex, to fear for the loss of their preferential status as Pakistan's dominant members because the partitioning of the Subcontinent could be reversed.
"And fear for the loss of their preferential status, I believe, was also the real impetus for Jinnah's ability to attain the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent."

Anthony: "So what you're saying is that Jinnah was able to play on the fear of the Mullahs, wealthy landowners and military men of rank, in order to gain their support for the establishment of Pakistan."

Sean: "But, it's my understanding that the Bhuttos had been amongst those Muslim landowners who favored maintaining unification with India. So, partition was not uniformly desired."

Nance: "Yes. That's what I'm driving at. The vast majority of the Pakistani people are not much different from the overwhelming majority of Indians. And, although the Brits had tried their best to promote ill will bordering on enmity between Hindus and Moslems, after the British racist-motivated massacre of both Hindus and Moslems at Jallianwala Bagh, there was a joining together of Indians of all indigenous religions against British rule. Prior to the enactment of the Rowlett Act, which had the effect of reneging on the Brits' WWI promise of Home Rule, and that brought about the meeting of those Indians at Jallianwala Bagh, most Moslems and Hindus were perfectly content to be members of the Empire - as equals with the members of the British dominated colonies. And until then, even Jinnah was as one with his Hindu counterparts in wanting India to remain united."

Sean: "Now I see why you brought up Jallianwala Bagh and Gandhi when we began discussing Benazir Bhutto. The Mullahs, with Jinnah in the lead, stirred up the poorest amongst the Moslem population to believe that they must all move to the areas to be designated Pakistan. And, the continuing religious war over Kashmir, in which Afghanistan Talibanis have been welcomed, due to their willingness to die for what they believe is the glory of Islam, is merely an attempt by Pakistan's land-owners and high level military to prevent the unification of the entire Indian subcontinent.
"The Taliban politico-religious force has been embraced by plutocratic Pakistan's members of its land-owning, military, industrial, non-fanatical Mullah Complex to help oust India's Hindus from Kashmir. And one must ask, why, in a country of well over a million citizens, it was necessary to require the assistance of the Taliban to fight India's Hindus - which has resulted in the Taliban threatening the very existence of Pakistan."

Anthony: "Yes, and now I read that Pakistan's current powers-that-be have come to believe that the Taliban's intent is to oust them from power - and establish an Islamic caliphate throughout the Subcontinent. So, logically, they should rid Pakistan of the Taliban along with their fundamentalist movement. However they feel that they need their help in fighting Hindu India - and also want to keep the Taliban in power in Afghanistan. By maintaining a government in power that's antagonistic to India - they can deny India a competitive presence in Afghanistan where Indians have a historical connection with its people."

Nance: "I want to get back to Benazir Bhutto and why she was assassinated. I personally believe that Pakistan's members of its land-owning, military, industrial, non-fanatical Mullah Complex feared that she'd look kindly to unification with Mother India."

Sean: "Why should they have thought that she could be leaning towards unification with India?"

Nance: "Well, both she and her ten-percent husband had been accused, some would say, for good reason, of having robbed Pakistan when she headed up its government. And India, had shown in the past a readiness to ignore cases of flagrant crooked dealings, when committed by its ruling families. Ergo, within a united Indian subcontinent, the Bhuttos could reclaim the high moral ground.
"Though Indira Gandhi's son, Rajiv Gandhi was voted down because of his believed complicity in the Bofors scandal - shortly afterwards he again became India 's Prime Minister. And in time, after his death, his Italian-born wife gained the leadership of the Congress Party So, if Rajiv Gandhi's memory continued to be honored - then surely Benazir Bhutto and even her Mr. Ten-percent husband, could gain the respect of their Pakistani adversaries in a government including all the bations in the Indian subcontinent."

Anthony: "What the hell was the Bofors scandal?

Nance: "The Bofors scandal was a major scandal in the 1980s; the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, and several others were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors for winning a bid to supply India's army with 155 mm field howitzers. The scale of the corruption was the worst that India ever witnessed - it subsequently led to the defeat, in 1989 of Gandhi's ruling Congress Party. Yet, it didn't stop Rajiv Gandhi's Italian-born wife, Sonia, from gaining the leadership of India's Congress Party - and mind you, Indira Gandhi and her progeny have no family connection whatsoever with the great Indian patriot, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi."

Anthony: "I guess you could say that politicians are only people - and few are capable of resisting the temptation to prosper financially - anyway they can."

Sean: "And, just as crooked Bankers and CEOs in the West willingly destroy the economies of their countries to satisfy their greed while stashing their ill-gotten gains in the same Swiss Banks that those politicians in the East willing destroy the very integrity of the nations they govern to satisfy their greed. East is East, and West is West and contrary to the accepted assertions of the past - they do meet in the vaults of Swiss Banks.

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Last edited: Wednesday, February 03, 2010