The Narrative

Thats an interesting thing … the narrative. This is the story that a society, a culture, a country tells itself. This is the popular account of things as they are seen from their perspective. And probably nowhere is the narrative of two peoples about a common, shared heritage, as different as in the Indian subcontinent. Watch this … from about 3:20.

This isnt rhetoric, this is the perspective of some intellectuals … that the Pakistanis made the Taj Mahal. By this logic, there are two conclusions one can come to. One is that the people of Pakistan are the true inheritors of the legacy of the Mughals, and the other is that any South Asian Muslim is a Pakistani. Neither of these two conclusions really seem logical. The former because the Mughals in India were a part of the Indian milieu, and not a social or political unit insulated from the rest of the country, and the latter because that just cannot stand in the face of the fact that more Muslims live in India than in Pakistan. Somehow, in a number of sources, the words Muslim and Pakistan seem to be used interchangeably, when neither is this in consonance with ground realities, nor with the ideology behind Pakistan as envisaged by the founding fathers of the country as you can read here.

On the same topic, something thats baffling these guys is how different could one invading army be from another that one is called barbaricm and the other great? Any ideas who we are talking about?

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6 Responses to The Narrative

  1. Zameer says:

    hmm…
    this post is so human… lol
    I mean we indians own mugal and its culture, when it proves important to know our identity and thrash off when we need to stand in support of the new age corporate hinutva machine thats working hard now… what an hypocracy from us. lol

    but the fact is that, since pakistan is in need to identity ifself, in many a ways, also on culture identity and supramacy over India, this perspecitve arises.
    Its okay leave them alone, if that gives them some pride in it !

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  2. Atul says:

    neither India nor Pakistan can exclusively own a heritage which is shared, Zameer. Though this is something you will repeatedly find in some sections of the Pakistan media, the thought process which equates Muslims with Pakistan, and the narrative you see here arises from this kind of a thought process.

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  3. Zameer says:

    Agreed Atul,
    Wondering.. Indians do have an alternative heritage to share, call it “Hindu”, but what will the Pakistanis cling on to ?

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    • Atul says:

      Heritage can’t be religion-based, Zameer. This is probably why it is said that a Punjabi Muslim has much more in common with a Punjabi Hindu, than say, a Malayalee Muslim, except a shared religion. The two are different things. Or, how the people of Pakistan probably have far less in common with the Arabs than with India … Culturally.

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      • Zameer says:

        point taken Atul, thats an ideal bookish scenario.
        but for our unique subcontinent, they are inter mingled, heritage n culture !

        and was wondering if this blog begs more info to make it look much complete.
        just my thoughts.

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      • 9minnon says:

        You are right abt the blog needing more information. We will be writing abt the shared heritage on a later post. The idea here was to look at how different societies look at the same thing, for example, a shared history, in different ways. But you are right, this isn’t the complete picture.

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