Monday, March 06, 2006

the servile indian

Kipling's take on Clash of the Civilizations.
Its not good for the Christian health to hustle the Asian Brown;
for the Christian riles,
and the Asian smiles
and he weareth the Christian down;
and the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
with the name of the late deceased,
and the epitaph drear,
"A fool lies here, who tried to hustle the east"
Rudyard Kipling

Kipling lived and worked for a long time in what is now Pakistan at the Mayo School of Arts, now called the National College of Arts. At that time, South Asians were supposed to be servile, back-stapping, cheating, lying people. In 1962, an American diplomat, JK Galbraith wrote that an “Indian would kick if you lick (him) and will lick (you) if you kick”.

Remembering the government approved text books which used to teach (read brainwash) us about the "ideology" of Pakistan (muslims are good, hindus evil etc., Pakistan has always been stabbed in the back by India /Afghanistan /Iran /USA etc.), the message that used to come across was that Pakistanis, being Muslims, have always been very brave and confident, whereas the Indians have always been a conniving, cheating people. A chapter in my 9th grade history book told the true story of Shiva Ji who convinced Afzal Khan, the leader of an attacking Muslim army to meet him unarmed and the repeatedly stabbed him, thus rendering all Indians/Hindus back-stabbers for life in the eyes of all Pakistanis/Muslims

This kind of thinking led Shaan, a top Pakistani actor to make a film called Moosa Khan (now banned). The film is set "in some time warp suggesting a pseudo colonial subcontinent... Beautiful white doves of peace flutter about in the foreground in idyllic slow motion while an all male choir of angels kicks up a heavenly tune as the audience is introduced to the local Mosque and its saintly Maulvi Mufti.... Meanwhile we are shown that across the way there is a temple where instead of doves of peace, there is a menacing looking python at large along with a group of snarling, drooling old men draped in orange robes, with funky hairstyles who are cringing at the sound of the azaan from the nearby Maulvi." You can read the rest of the excellent review at theHotSpot

This is all fine and dandy but it forced me to think twice when I since I read the story of an officer who fought in the war against India in 1965. He describes about how the Pakistani Army attacked and decimated an Indian platoon and while he was walking about the Indian corpses, a fallen Indian soldier suddenly held his leg and shouted out, "Mubarik ho Sir! Aap ne Hindustan kee behtareen paltan tabah kar dee hai" (Congratulations Sir! You have just managed to destroy only the best platoon in all of India). The officer says he was amazed by the bravery of this young man, who was half-dead and defeated but still talked with such courage. Hopefully, I will come across this anecdote again and mention the reference. If any reader knows about it, please do let me know

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