Jobs @ MG
New Muslim generation indifferent towards Pak
By S Ubaidur Rahman
|Pakistan's CEO General Pervez
Musharraf's proposed visit next month has created a sort of hysteria in
the country. Everyone who is anyone seems to be bitten by the bug. Though
it is not yet clear when the general would arrive, but it is the talk of
the town. There is speculation as to where he will be staying and whether
he will be accorded red carpet welcome or not and if he will be visiting
the old Delhi haveli where he was born and lived before his family moved
In the midst of this euphoria that resembles that of Vajpayee's Lahore
Yatra, there is one section in the country which does not seem to be
enthused at all: it is the Muslim community here. There is no hoopla about
the impending visit of Musharraf in the community, notwithstanding the
fact that a large number of Muslims have relatives in Pakistan.
There is no hope of any perceptible change in Indo-Pak relations whether
Vajpayee goes there or Musharraf comes here, says Faisal, a post-graduate
student in the Jamia Millia Islamia. Pakistan has no special connection
with the Muslims in the country. It is alien to us like China or
Bangladesh, Faisal added. The recent euphoria over the proposed visit will
evaporate shortly and again there will be brick-bating between the two
Faisal is not the only person around with such views. A large number of
Muslims have been expressing similar views. To them it is a myth that
Muslims of the country have a soft corner for Pakistan as is often claimed
by the government and the media. Even people whose relatives migrated to
Pakistan in the wake of Partition are now giving a second thought about
maintaining relations with their relatives across the border. They feel
exhausted by the allegations of having relations with Pakistan and are not
interested in carrying the burden for long.
Muhammad Akram, a resident of Ahmadabad who was recently in Delhi, is
among the same breed of people. Whenever we visited Pakistan to see our
relatives, we were suspected to be ISI agents. So why should we go to
Pakistan? I am not interested in seeing my relatives in Pakistan any more
over such a high cost. Now I don't go to Pakistan at all.
It is not that Akram has some very far off relatives in Pakistan. His
daughter is married there with his brother-in-law's son. His own brothers
are also staying in Hyderabad, Sindh. But now he has stopped going to
Pakistan. He says that it does not hold any interest for him or his family
anymore as things have changed very fast. His family members including his
own wife who always insisted on visiting Pakistan every six months is
loath to the idea.
It is not merely two Ds - distance and deterrence in visiting Pakistan
that has made people change their minds. It is the peculiar attitude of
the migrants (Mohajirs) to Pakistan that has forced these people change
their perception of Pakistan. Emotional proximity has now faded away.
People like Akram and his family have their bitter experiences while
dealing with their relatives across the border. They had to give a second
thought about continuing their relations with relatives in Pakistan. 'They
seem to have developed a feeling that they are superior to us Indian
Muslims' says Tahir Khan, a resident of Delhi's Walled City. Muhajirs'
behavior with their fellow Sindhis in Karachi and Hyderabad and the
mistrust that has developed between the two communities there has also
made Indian Muslims reluctant to visit them in Pakistan.
But some people do not agree with this perception. M Afzal, editor of
weekly Akhbar-e-Nau, says that it will be wrong to say that Muslims are
trying to terminate their relationship with their relatives in Pakistan.
He says that relations between Indian Muslims and their Pakistani
relatives are a historical fact and Muslims have never tried to disown
their Pakistani relatives who migrated to Pakistan. Has any Indian
terminated his relations with a relative staying in US or the UK only
because he has migrated to another country? If not why should we presume
that Indian Muslims want to disown their Pakistani relatives. Afzal adds
that if bilateral relations between India and Pakistan improve, it will
definitely result in easing the curbs on travel between the twin
countries. But he sounds pessimist over any positive outcome of the
proposed visit of the Pakistani CEO.
People on the street are not much enthused over the hoopla surrounding the
proposed visit. They feel that they had enough of Pakistan during the last
fifty four years and now it is time to pay attention to their own lives.
‘To hell with Pakistan if it adds some more troubles in the already
troubled life of poor Indian Muslims,’ says Sumama, a student of Jamia
Millia Islamia. q