Indophobia Runs High In Pakistan
Published: August 29, 2014
Indophobia Runs High In Pakistan, Siblings are the best friends but may be the worst rivals. However, it is a fact that sibling rivalry is predominant in Pakistan. Anti-India sentiment, sometimes called Indophobia, referring to hostility towards Indian and Indian culture has always been a common occurrence in Pakistan, which has the dubious distinction of being created as the world’s first religion-based country. Anti-Indian and anti-Hindu sentiments have waxed and waned in Pakistan since its independence, says noted American scholar on Islam, Vali Nasr.
A Pew Research Center (based in Washington) survey has revealed rising concern among Pakistanis about a threat to their country from India. A survey of 1,203 Pakistani adults between April 15 and May 7, this year showed 51 per cent believed India was the biggest threat to their country, up from 38 per cent in 2013. The change in public perception can be understood well if the timings of the survey is taken under consideration. The victory of the Modi lead BJP was on the cards. Modi’s detractors had left no stone unturned to unleash a virulent campaign, labeling all sorts of allegation against Modi including the danger to the Muslims in India if Modi was voted to the power. Such wicked rhetoric, orchestrated in a calculated way by the ‘liberals’ in India, naturally reverberated in Pakistan. That seems to be the reason behind the increased apprehension of the Pakistanis.
According to the former Pakistan’s ambassador to the US and noted writer, Husain Haqqani, after partition Pakistan faced multiple challenges to its survival. At the time Pakistan’s secular leaders decided to use Islam as a rallying cry against perceived threats from predominantly Hindu India. Unsure of Pakistan’s future they deliberately promoted anti-India sentiment with “Islamic Pakistan” resisting a “Hindu India”. In an interview with Indian news channel CNN-IBN Pakistani cricketer and politician Imran Khan admitted “I grew up hating India because I grew up in Lahore and there were massacres of 1947, so much bloodshed and anger. But as I started touring India, I got such love and friendship there that all this disappeared. Commenting on Indophobia in Pakistan in 2009 former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice termed the Pakistan-India relationship as shadowed by Indophobia. American South Asia expert Stephen P. Kohen describes the Pakistan-India relationship as a never-ending spiral of sentiments against each other. In 2008 the then trade minister of Pakistan Ahmad Mukhtar called upon Pakistanis to renounce “Indophobia” and cultivate trade.
In Pakistani textbooks:
According to the Sustainable Development Policy Institute since the 1970s Pakistani school textbooks have systematically inculcated hatred towards India and Hindus. According to its report, “Associated with the insistence on the Ideology of Pakistan has been an essential component of hate against India and the Hindus. For the upholders of the Ideology of Pakistan, the existence of Pakistan is defined only in relation to Hindus hence the Hindus have to be painted as negatively as possible”.
A 2005 report by the National Commission for Justice and Peace, a nonprofit organisation in Pakistan, stated that Pakistan Studies textbooks in Pakistan have been used to articulate the hatred that Pakistani policy-makers have attempted to inculcate towards the Hindus. “Vituperative animosities legitimize military and autocratic rule, nurturing a siege mentality. Pakistan Studies textbooks are an active site to represent India as a hostile neighbor”, the report stated. “The story of Pakistan’s past is intentionally written to be distinct from often in direct contrast with, interpretations of history found in India. From the government-issued textbooks, students are taught that Hindus are backward and superstitious,” the report added. The report did not mince words in pronouncing that “Textbooks reflect intentional obfuscation. Today’s students, citizens of Pakistan and its future leaders are the victims of these blatant lies.”
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