British Colonialism and How India and Pakistan Lost Freedom

The degeneration of the Indian-Pakistani moral and intellectual culture is well in progress. The essence, meaning and purpose of historic British colonial systems are operative across all public affairs, policies and practices in India and Pakistan. 

by Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

Irony of Historic National Freedom and Unspoken Tyranny of Imperialism

Do nations and civilizations grow out of the moral mire of military conquests, killings of innocent people, political cruelty and subjugation by imperialism? For more than 800 years, India as a Moghul Empire was an economically well integrated and politically viable entity and west European had strong trade and political relationships.  After intrigued conspiracies and planned division, British invaded India in 1857, committing cold blooded massacres of two millions people mostly Muslims opposing the military invasion described just as a “Mutiny” in the British chronicle. Bahadur Shah Zafar – the last Moghul emperor was deposed over night in Delhi, his youngest son head was chopped-off and put on a breakfast plate to strangle the Shah and make him surrender unconditionally.  Shah was hurriedly taken to Rangoon (Burma) and imprisoned in a garage and later on died and buried only to write poems in loss of his freedom and beloved country.  Did the British overtake India to be a free country for democracy or to support the Hindu domination of futuristic India?  British robbed Moghul India and became it became Great Britain and imagined India as an absolute entity of the British Empire. 

Leaders like Gandhi and Nehru, Dr. Mohammad Iqbal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Khan though educated in British intellectual traditions but articulated new mission and visions for national freedom as a revulsion against the British colonial political traditions and continuity of British Raj in India. Was this violent and ruthless indoctrination part of the British heritage or history-making efforts to besiege India forever?  Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy made sure that Indians will remain loyal and committed subservient to the futuristic blending of  so called celebrated national freedom after the 1947 partition into India and Pakistan. British failed to deliver the truth of national freedom to both nations in a universal spirit of political responsibility. Both nations continued to engage in military warfare, ethnic conflicts and hegemonic control to dominate each other by undermining their own future. 

History could not have confined the tyranny and oppression of “divide and rule” of British imperialism against the will of the Indian masses. Canons of rationality clarify that national freedom granted to both new entities in August 1947 was a fake chronology of time and history. The so called national freedom perpetuated a hybrid socio-economic and political culture – part human- part vulture, British made no security arrangements to ensure communal peace and harmony which resulted in millions of people been killed in ethnic violence while migrating from one place to another.

Strange as it is, while British imperialism changed the Indian mindset and behavior within a century, but even after 75 years India and Pakistan remain glued to the British colonial systems to this day in thoughts, systems and governance. Does it not signal a naïve and void imagination of national freedom professed by both nations since 1947?  They continue to interact with one another as the most hated enemy of time and history, wars, threat of nuclear arsenals, Kashmir dispute and worst of all lack of direct people to people communication or business relationships – all seem to be part of a highly ruptured and purging pursuit of national freedom. 

 Indian and Pakistani Leaders Follow Egoistic Agenda for the Future

The aerial view of New Delhi reflects an Islamic image of the city – grand New Delhi Mosque, nearby historic and beautiful Taj Mahal, Old Fort and lot more. To foreigners, it is does not look like the capital of Hindu India at all. If this inference has any reality, the future of India and Pakistan should have been collaboration and lasting friendship. India always wanted to subdue Pakistan and its national freedom.  Pakistan’s bad luck entailed many military coups breaking its integrity and trust on freedom. Egoistic and foolish Generals created bogus and corrupt politicians claiming to be the leaders of future-making. They lacked the moral and intellectual capacity to imagine its future with a new generation of educated, intelligent and proactive people who could have contributed for a promising future of Pakistan. 

India’s political agenda was intact when in December 1971, East Pakistan was disintegrated and Bangladesh was created by Mrs. Indra Gandhi –the Prime Minister – a power conspirator in India. Pakistani governing elite would not dare to admit that it was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Genera Yahya Khan both major conspirators who led to the defeat of Pakistan. Even half a century later, Pakistanis still live in delusional and unarguable conclusion of that historic misfortune.  As a graduate student, I met General PNK Choudry (the former Chief of the Indian Armed Force) forcibly retired by Mrs. Indra Gandhi and sent as an Ambassador (HC) to Canada. At a local Canadian university campus, we met when he was a guest speaker. Later on, I invited him for a class gathering with fellow students and lunch. During the summer while working at photo store, General Choudry comes in with two cameras on his shoulder and many times we had lunch together and walks and photography together. On weekends, at university library- often I got library books to share with him and we talked about global affairs and his own past and India-Pakistan. He denied any alleged conspiracy against Mrs. Gandhi to oust her and bring a military coup in India. My interaction with General Choudry continued for almost two years. After his diplomatic assignment, he was hired by McGill University as a lecturer and that is where he died in 1975. He was a simple, 6.5 ft approx tall person, humble and spoke openly and truthfully as I recall him. As an Indian top army General he may have been a tyrant but as a human being and a diplomat he was a decent person. He fought wars with Pakistan and knew most of the military establishments. Here is what he disclosed during many conversations and it should be alarming to Pakistanis if they deny it: 

 ZABhutto and Shekih Mujib were Appointed by Mrs. Indra Gandhi

Prior to the defeat and surrender of East Pakistan in 1971, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had direct contact with Mrs. Gandhi and wanted India’s help to become the next leader of Pakistan. India was looking for such an opportunity and wanted East Pakistan to become a new entity- Bangladesh. Sheikh Mujib Rehman was nationalist but was enthusiastic for a new homeland except to become the next elected leader of Pakistan. Bhutto-Yahya Khan were competing for power even without elections. ZA Bhutto wanted political power even if Pakistan was defeated, otherwise Sheikh Mujib-Yahya could have become the next governing leaders. Bhutto was a power hungry individual without any political capacity to be a leader. Mrs. Gandhi helped both – ZA Bhutto and Sheikh Mujib and the price was the defeat and surrender of Pakistan. Mrs. Gandhi appointed Bhutto as the next President, Martial Law Administrator and Prime Minister of Pakistan and Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman as the next President of Bangladesh.  Some Pakistani would blame General Niazi for the surrender but in reality it was Yahya-Bhutto and the Pakistani Generals who should have faced full accountability and perhaps firing squads for their treachery and dishonesty to national freedom and integrity of Pakistan. None of this ever happened in Pakistan. To see more, please view the articles by this author:  “Pakistan: Leaders who Stabbed the Nation” (2009), “Pakistan: Leader or Criminals.” (2014); “Pakistan: Reflections on the Turbulent 69th Independence Day”, “Pakistan: How to change the culture of political corruption and rebuild the Future.” (2014), and “Pakistan and India’s leader mark freedom from British Colonial Rule but Masses look for a Navigational Change.” (2020).

To General Choudry, if the whole Pakistan was captured by India except the Sindh province, ZA Bhutto would have gladly become the Chief Minister of Sindh to co-exist with India.  He disclosed, there were five or six “soft hearted” Pakistani Generals willing to align and not to challenge India’s plan for Bangladesh.   Shocking as it is, future Pakistani leaders never held anyone accountable for the crimes against the nation. Were ZA Bhutto and Yahya Khan more important than the existence, national freedom and integrity of One Pakistan?  Dr. Ishtiaq Qureshi (Editor Urdu Digest) wrote “Skoote –Dahaka Say Purdah Uttha Hey” (1972), in which he described the details how Bhutto and Yahya khan betrayed Pakistan and stabbed the nation.  Dr. Qureshi was imprisoned by the Bhutto Government. This truth remains unacknowledged and districted by the Pakistani governing elite even to this day. Are the Pakistanis still living in any rational denials of their own chapter of history?  Moral and intellectual corruption is rampant in both countries. Masses are systematically compelled to bribe officials to get the basic services and official necessities of nationality ID, passports, driver license and lot more in life. The national freedom has changed from the enlarged scope of corruption and exploitation – the legacy of the British imperialism. Both India and Pakistani neo-colonialists look for escape from reality and are allergic to see the mirror of the present and future. Allama Iqbal (pioneer of Pakistani national freedom) did not live to see his dream come true of Pakistan. Mahtama Gandhi was murdered by a Hindu extremist, Nehru died a natural death. Mohammad Ali Jinnah passed away in a broken ambulance on a Karachi street, and Liaquat Ali Khan (first PM) was murdered by the then Pakistani politicians. Mrs. Gandhi was killed by his Sikh bodyguard. Sheikh Mujib was murdered by his military commander and Bhutto was hanged for killing a political opponent. 

Are there any Glimpse of Hope for People-Oriented Change for the New Generations?

India has its multiple problems of socio-economic and political diversity. It is unable to counteract the national freedom movement of Sikh Nation for an independent Khalistan. Kashmir was never a part of British Indian dominion and its masses continue to seek freedom from India occupation and violations of their basic human rights. Muslim, Christian and other minorities are oppressed under Hindu-controlled India. Pakistani miserably failed to take proactive initiatives to support the freedom movement for the people of Kashmir. The old service men-led elite could not imagine new and creative strategies to organize international conferences or effectively communicate to the Western world to share the aspirations of the Kashmiri masses.  

The degeneration of the Indian-Pakistani moral and intellectual culture is well in progress. The essence, meaning and purpose of historic British colonial systems are operative across all public affairs, policies and practices in India and Pakistan. The armed forces, the civil service and legal jurisprudence all remain under the sinister influence and disfigured reality of the two so called free nations. Police still beats the protesters and open fire on peaceful demonstrators, be in New Delhi, Kashmir or Islamabad. National freedom does not empower futuristic societies to establish political absurdity, immoral and intellectual decadence and political injustice. Common people in both countries are besieged in obsolete systems of political governance except rich landlords and affluent compete the elections and gain power. There is no change for the people in the colonized landscape except enlarged scope of moral and intellectual corruption guised as freedom. If you will question both elite having many common values of the British Raj, they would deny if there is anything wrong with their thinking, role play and management of public affairs. The new and young generation who could not imagine a new sustainable future are vanishing fast and migrating to Europe and America in search of better opportunities. The old generations of landlords and retired civilian-military officials manage the governing bodies whereas people of new and educated generation are deprived of any practical participation and migrate to Europe and North America and never return to their home countries. The hub of political culture is divided and delusional about national freedom and a sustainable future-making. There are no wars for the people of the sub-continent to fight but they are fighting wars on several fronts without reason- known and unknown. The compelling realities across the beleaguered sub-continent demand new thinking, new visionary leadership, men of new ideas and plans to deal with the unwarranted exploitation of masses, communal deaths, and deliberate destruction of the   historic culture and millions of people looking for change and a new beginning of cordial borders and relationships.

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international affairs-global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: One Humanity and the Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution. Lambert Academic Publications, Germany, 12/2019.

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