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W ho am I ?

a Muslim, a Punjabi
or an Indian

I was born in 1935 in a town which is now in Indian Punjab. Does that
make me an Indian? My forefathers surely converted to Islam less than
5000 years ago, does that make me a Hindu? I am now a British citizen - a
country to which I migrated 25 years ago. I am sworn to loyalty to
Britain - none else. My children can speak Urdu and Punjabi but my grand
children can speak only English. Should I be upset that they are unfamiliar
with their culture and are not very proud of their 'roots'?

Dear Brother………………

Assalam o alaikum

You make two points, I agree with the first, not the second.

Provincial autonomy is an essential feature of our polity as well as politics because


it establishes a balance between the 'rights' of those who own land and the 'need'
of those who are persecuted or are unable to make a living and have to leave.

I am trying to underline the principle on which the provincial autonomy is founded


lest - out of anger, haste or ignorance - we undermine our 'rights over our land' or
our 'freedom to move from the land'. I am afraid the principle is not properly
understood and we tend to fall a prey to the interests of feudals or ethnic
chauvinists.

As for your being a Sindhi (or me a Punjabi) for 5000 years, the argument is
counter-productive. I was born in 1935 in a town which is now in Indian Punjab.
Does that make me an Indian? My forefathers surely converted to Islam less
than 5000 years ago, does that make me a Hindu? I am now a British citizen - a
country to which I migrated 25 years ago. I am sworn to loyalty to Britain -
none else. My children can speak Urdu and Punjabi but my grand children can
speak only English. Should I be upset that they are unfamiliar with their culture and
are not very proud of their 'roots'? I am not. I will tell you, why?

My grandchildren are neither English nor Pakistani. The majority of the British
people look at them as "British Muslims". I as a grand parent, and their parents, do
not want them to learn Urdu or Punjabi but they do want them to know about Islam
so that they are proud and productive members of the British Muslim community
which is their present identity. What is meaningful to my grand children is not the
identity of their parents or grand parents (let alone of 5000 years ago) but their
present identity.

What is meaningful to a Sindhi Muslim is his Pakistani identity that gives him the
most rights and the most freedoms. The 5000 years arguments would have been
useful if you were being persecuted because of being a Muslim. This argument is
used by Sindhi Hindus because it led to their expulsion and they want to come back
- this time as rulers. All I am saying is: please recognise your self interest: do not
be taken in by the Hindu argument being pedalled by the "Sindhi Nationalists".

With warm regards

Usman Khalid
Director London Institute of South Asia

Zulfiqar Mirani wrote:

Mr. Usman Khalid

About your three arguments there lies a reply in the third argument.

Your first argument is "I was born in 1935 in a town which is now in Indian Punjab.
Does that make me an Indian?"

You born in Punjab so you are a Punjabi. Punjab has never remained
integral part of India. It's inclusion in India at the time of your birth was a
coincidence as now in Pakistan. Punjab is a country - a natural entity that
will remain forever.
About your second argument “My forefathers surely converted to Islam less than
5000 years ago, does that make me a Hindu?”

Religion has nothing to do with parentage. It is simply not inherited from


fore fathers. If you follow Islam you are muslim if you convert to hinduism
you will be hindu. So is true for your grand children if they follow
chritianity they will be christians.

And your third argument “I am now a British citizen - a country to which I migrated
25 years ago. I am sworn to loyalty to Britain - none else.”

That's what we want from the people of Pakistan that they should be loyal
to country that is composed of Punjab, Sindh, Pakhtoonkhawa and
Baluchistan. The people may have different religious identities living on
the same land but can not have different national identities. So people of
Pakistan are Sindhi, Punjabi, Pakhtoon and Baluch. Indians can never be
Pakistani or British. As you are now British so the people who have
migrated to Pakistan should make the land a home for them and associate
themselves with the interests of land and fellow natives, instead of
muslims of India or elsewhere.

The union of Afghanistan and Pakistan or settlement of all Indian Muslims in


Pakistan on religious ground only is un-practical. Why all Arab countries having
same religion and many more commonalities of culture, language and social values
join and form one union. The foundation of a nation or country on religion grounds
is an ancient thinking. How can people be segregated on the basis of religion. Is it
practical that there will be separate countries for at least for the followers of major
religions the Islam, the Christianity, the Hindu, the Budh, the Jew.

Please accept the universal facts and realities. Indian Muslims are part of India as
you and your children are part of Britain nation and country. You are not Muslim by
nation. You are British. The same is true for residents of other countries.

The union of Afghanistan will be formed whenever it will be in the interest of both
the Pakistani and Afghan Nations. Similar union of India and Pakistan can also be
possible on bilateral interests. BUT NOT ON THE BASIS OF RELIGION, ISLAM or
HINDUISM.

PAKISTAN IS A REALITY NOW. IT IS A SOVEREIGN COUNTRY COMPRISED OF


SINDHI, PUNJABI, PATHAN AND BALUCH.

THE THINKING OF TWO NATIONS ON THE BASIS OF RELIGION IS STORY OF PAST.


THIS PHILOSOPHY WAS BURRIED BY THEIR CAMPAIGNERS including (so-called)
Quaid-e-Azam. EVEN LIAQAT ALI KHAN HAVE TO ACCEPT AND AGREE WITH NEHRU
THAT PEOPLE ON EITHER SIDE OF BORDER WERE HINDUSTANI AND PAKISTANI
(Not Hindu or Muslim).
PLEASE LET THE PAKISTAN FORM ITS OWN NATIONAL PRIORITIES AS A COUNTRY.
AND YOU should worry about your country Britain.