Disunity In Diversity

Disunity In Diversity

DISUNITY IN DIVERSITY

By

A.D.Sarkar


A popular saying among Indians in India used to be that their country exhibited Unity in Diversity until the mayhem of partition which shattered their illusion in 1947. India is certainly inhabited by diverse groups with variations in ethnography, language, religion and food habits. There are even cultural variations among the Hindus who are not really a homogeneous group with a bible, doctrine and church which the Europeans think it to be the case. The degree of variation may be small but significant. There is, however, an undefinable unity among these diverse groups which is palpable. It would not be an overstatement to say that such unity has been possible because the various groups among the Hindus accepted the minor or major differences and devised means to accommodate one another so that friction was avoided.

Reading the accounts and analyses of historians and epics such as Mahabharat or Ramayan, India, using the current name, shrank in size. This happened as brigands from far away lands conquered parts of it and in a few centuries they became separate countries because they were truly diverse in terms of race, religion and culture and stubbornly refused to be assimilated in the existing system. It is analogous to events of modern times when Europeans founded countries in the Americas, Australia and certain parts of Africa, either destroying the existing peoples or totally marginalising them and excluding them from their own European societies which they preserved zealously.

In ancient times, a large geographical area stretched from Gandhara and Kafiristan or Badaksan in modern Afghanistan towards the east and south but it did not constitute a unitary nation of modern times. There evolved villages, a few of which confederated if they wished. In ancient Sanskrit treatises of India a name crops up which is Jambu Dwipa where Jambu could be the name given to the inhabitants or, more likely, the fragrant green shrub that grew in some parts of it. It is as if the people who gave it its name knew of its origin in Africa from where it broke away and remained as a mobile Dwip, island, until it joined the land mass forming the Himalayas. It was called Arya-bharta and Dakshin- desha probably around 1,500 BCE and later Mahabharat when damaging internecine battles were fought between two groups of cousins in Hastinapur near modern- day Delhi.

A number of Greeks settled who came with Alexander the Great in 326 BCE. Thereafter successive invaders came and occupied Takhsasila(Taxila) notably Kanishka among them in the 2nd century CE. There was no danger of political disintegration of the part ruled by Kanishka because Buddhism flourished during his reign but Buddhists were persecuted by the white Huns who overran Gandhara and remained there between 520-629CE. To use a popular term currently in Britain, a multicultural society flourished until the advent of the marauding Turks who subdued the ruler of Gandhara around 1,000 CE. Persecution of the groups of people who are known as Hindus today began in earnest and continued with torture, death and forcible conversion to Islam.

The Greeks called the region India all of which came under British rule starting in Bengal in 1757. Although most of the white Britishers from businessmen, industrial workers or Government employees stayed in the country for 30 odd years with furlough every three years for six months to go home, they seldom entertained the idea of settling down with their family in India permanently. They were not immigrants but the ruling class whose distant country was very dear to them and, of which, they were supremely proud. They could not even dream of ceasing to be British and give up their dress, language, food and culture generally. Hindu unity in diversity was not encroached upon by the British directly. Seeds of disunity, however, were sown long before when the Arabs occupied Sind in the 7th century CE and when the people they conquered were being forced to embrace Islam. This is a prominent view among Indians of modern times although historians may have a different narrative. It is noteworthy, however, that the founding father of Pakistan, when he ceased to be an Indian, said, probably, to express contempt for the Hindus, that Pakistan was the inevitable consequence of the failure of the Maharajas to repel the Arab brigands in the 7th century CE.


Mongrelised Nations


The white Britishers who probably genuinely want to be seen as the ones who do not wish to exclude people of colour from their islands will tell those who do, 'We are a Mongrel nation!' Some of them who possess the knowledge will talk about the Angles of Mercia being followed by the Saxons, both from Germany, who conquered Britain not so long ago in the 5th century CE and settled down in the country. The French Huguenots followed and many others from the continent of Europe up to the present time. They, however, fail even to adumbrate that these settlers were all white Europeans. There could be hardly any difficulty therefore in them assimilating in the host community in a generation or two since one expects their ethnographic characteristics to be evanescent very quickly.

The white British were indifferent to Asians and Africans when their number was small and they usually gravitated to London. Resentment surfaced quickly as the authorities recruited workforce from the Caribbean islands and the Indian subcontinent. The former were designated to work on the buses and the latter in factories handling dangerous products such as arsenic or in foundries which were hot, dusty, dirty and noisy. The West Indians like the African population in Guyana and Surinum were sufficiently westernised when they arrived in the UK so that they wore western clothes and their mother tongue was English, their African language being discarded in the dustbin of the past. The Asians as they came to be known knew that the sahibs will punish them if they got dressed up like those at home in Asia so they wore suits, although uncomfortable in them, but they made no attempt at learning English. It was not the tradition of their class in the country of origin to learn anything but the white foremen and charge hands of the factories in the UK used sign language to make them perform important tasks while handling hot metal at the same time. It was no mean achievement on the part of these supervisors.

The powers that be, instead of improving the work environment or giving increased wages as an incentive imported cheap labour. The white workers of course did not have to worry because free medical care was available to them and sufficient money through the benefit system which was easily exploited by all who wanted to.

The 17 years old Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), looking at the map of the world wanted to know what were the regions which were coloured red. Upon being told they were all British colonies, the young Maharaja said, “The whole of India will be red soon.” So it was and one had to learn to read and write in English if one wished to study science, engineering, medicine or law which was now British imposed upon the colony. In the 20th century, nearly all parents who had a son or daughter about to get a degree in medicine or was already practising wanted them to go to Britain since the British were encouraging them to come. So they did, depleting the newly independent country of much needed medical practitioners. A large number of doctors arrived in Britain from Asia who resolved that they will not settle in Britain. They will all return to their homes in Asia once they became Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons or Physicians with much coveted titles, FRCS or FRCP respectively after their names.

Some of them were young and unmarried but a large number were married. Hence with them came their spouses and at least three children. Thus for each doctor there was a multiplying factor of five who were the future settlers. Promotion was difficult if they worked in hospitals as many did but still they never had it so good and the earnest hope of returning home in the near future was fading progressively. Some of them brought there parents over permanently others only for visits every year. Free medical care for them was assured. In the 1960s and '70s and also later they had to run the gauntlet of both young and white Britishers, men and women, shouting menacingly at them but otherwise they enjoyed to the full living in a confident, affluent and free country. The children were also harassed but soon they became coconuts as the West Indians will describe black people who boasted that they were British and hence modern and civilised. Coconut in this context meant of course that such civilised groups were coloured on the outside but with a white inside. The Asian immigrants working in factories followed a similar pattern as their professional counterparts except that they never entertained the idea of returning to their country permanently. They were disappointed with their life in the UK, as they noticed ruefully that English became the first language of their children, who also lost the expected respect for their elders and became attracted to drugs, night clubs and promiscuity.

Asian parents of all social classes made attempts to inculcate a degree of the culture of their ancestors by making them visit their country of origin but it proved to be unexpectedly counterproductive. The youngsters complained about the weather, food, sanitation, flies and how dirty the country was and its people. They sang 'Green and pleasant land' and 'Rule Britannia' on the plane as they returned home to Britain. In the 21st century someone paying a visit to the UK will encounter people of colour everywhere in all societies confidently going about their business and asserting their Britishness. The noticeably diminishing Anglo-Celtic population are undergoing a small degree of acculturation also. For example, they talk about Chicken Tika Masala as totally British and will probably be surprised at their fellow whites, who know about Indian food, declaring the dish as inedible. TV chef de cuisine will be seen advocating chilly in roast beef; must be as revolting as mulligatawny soup the British concocted from the Tamil pepper-water (milagu-tannir) while resident in India and immensely popular among the sahibs who came back home to enjoy their retirement.

Black people of Asian and African origin talk about their British DNA and everything about Britain being the best in the world. They are now succeeding in becoming consultants in hospitals, Managing Directors of industry, Lords and Ladies, cabinet ministers and, in fact, nobody would be surprised to see a black Prime Minister in a decade or so. Such an unimaginable volt-fas! Spare a thought for those bus conductors or factory workers who were poached from their poor but dignified life to a land totally alien to them; a paradigm shift!

Britain of course needs immigrants and will do so probably for at least this century because they do not have the relevant manpower to carry out the tasks they have planned to maintain the lifestyle to which they are accustomed. They have very many able men and women among them. Yet they do not seem to plan ahead for the future. In the House of Commons alone, of which they are very proud, they seem to have one MP for every 100,000 residents of the country. What do they do in the House of Commons? Probably, they concentrate on making laws much of which is not likely to be enforced. Almost every college in the UK aspires to expand into a University. The net result is that the country has a plethora of Universities and attending one of them has become the sine qua non for everybody. Yet they cannot plan to produce the number of doctors, dentists or engineers they need. The politicians are quite happy to poach them from Asia and Africa or other European countries. Modern-day politicians probably do not know of their now defunct apprentice system, which used to produce highly competent technicians of important disciplines duly educated and gaining academic qualifications such as City and Guilds or Higher National Certificates. As is now the custom, nurses, agricultural workers, waiters and cooks in restaurants are recruited from the immigrants who arrive here legally or otherwise.

Television channels will discard pre-announced programmes to broadcast sports programme even if it is Malaysian Grand Prix. Only a very small minority of the population is interested in watching snooker or tennis or cricket. Yet the rest are forced to switch off their television set because of the preponderance of sport. In the sporting world also they cannot produce football managers of their own even with the inflated salary they are given. Their best soccer players are mostly men of colour imported or some home grown. They as a nation cannot control their borders but they are sending their police force and military personnel to train Africans and Asians! The British and the European elite show themselves to be inept in everything. How did they rule the world and are still doing so under a different guise? It does not say much for the suited and tied African and Asian bosses; does it?


Effect of Diversity


It is not possible to preserve the homogeneity of any nation in terms of racial origin, faith or food, among others. When talking about the number of immigrants who are distinctly different from the existing inhabitants of a country, the people who wish to welcome anybody who arrives and seeks asylum will say that they are not in the number crunching game if challenged regarding housing, schools or medical care. They will disregard the homeless. They will not accept that many children are going hungry. They do not seem to know that many are affluent because the country's credit rating is good. They, as such people usually do, are going against nature. The number or amount which is injected into any system from outside influences the nature of the product.

Take the example of inanimate objects such as metals. One cannot say that they possess life as defined and experienced by living creatures but they can certainly be compared to our vast solar system on a micro-micro scale. The atom of a metal will have a nucleus and electrons moving around it in predetermined orbits. They react when brought into contact with other elements. Consider ordinary steel. You could say it is an alloy of iron, a metal, and carbon a non-metallic element. A very small amount of carbon added to elemental iron remains in solid solution that is it intermingles with iron atoms and can not be isolated for a separate identification even in the solid state. As the amount is increased it forms a compound with the iron atoms which remains as a separate entity at the edges of the 'colony' of iron atoms. These compounds are essential for the steel because they add to the strength of it but the product increases in brittleness as the amount of carbon is increased. It is true to say that the more the number of carbon atoms the more brittle the steel. On the other hand, it is important to note that certain metal atoms which are similar, e.g., copper and nickel, form a true solid solution no matter how much of one is added to the other. They produce strong alloys with resistance to corrosion.

To consider societies of human nations take the example of British India. Animosity grew between Hindus and Muslims probably from the 7th century CE with the Arab invasion and an atavistic mutual suspicion persists up to the present time. The Indian Muslims are largely converts mainly from the Hindu inhabitants but also from the Buddhist and Zoroastrian communities. Conversion occurred by force in the north-western parts and Kashmir but those in the eastern region were persuaded to escape discrimination meted out to the lower classes by the tyrannical upper class Hindus. This is not to say that the Hindus and Muslims were rioting all the time. They lived side by side most of the time by accepting their differences in typical Indian fashion. The Muslims multiplied reaching a critical number as Table 1 shows. Every decade the Hindus diminished in number possibly by conversion or having fewer children than the Muslims. Nearer the partition time, as the 1941 census shows, the Muslims reached, very nearly, the critical number of 25% and it was easy to whip them up into an anti Hindu frenzy. They were willing nearly en masse, with very important exceptions, to cease to be Indian as probably, the Iraqis ceased to be Mesopotemian some time ago. India was partitioned, Pakistan being given 25% of the existing geographical area but there was no population transfer. The founding father of Pakistan was helped by the departing British to have his cake and eat it. In fact the Muslims not only remained in India, they were more numerous than those in Pakistan. The founding father piously announced that minorities will not be Table 1. % Hindu and Muslim population in India (Courtesy, Organiser,India).

Year: 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991

Hindu 75.09 74.24 72.87 71.68 70.73 70.67 69.46 84.98 83.51 82.72 82.29 81.80

Muslim 19.97 20.41 21.88 22.39 23.23 23.49 24.28 9.91 10.70 11.21 11.73 12.20

persecuted and promised equal rights for all non-Muslims but conversion to Islam continued. Indians have copied such ideas from the west as human rights, liberty, equality etc. Hence they do not see or do not wish to offend the west and thereby remain indifferent to the progressive growth yet again of the Muslim population in post-partition India. Decades from now one should expect the Muslims to reach the critical number giving the impetus for further conflict and break-up of what is left of India if a suitable leader appears again.

In case of Bangladesh, as Table 2 shows, the Muslim population increased by 23% and the minorities, very largely Hindus, decreased by nearly 60% in four decades. There was no question of the minorities reaching the critical number who simply fled to India to escape persecution and conversion.

Table 2. Decline of religious minorities in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.

(Courtesy, Organiser, India).


Year % Muslim % Religious Minorities


1941 (United Bengal) 70.3 29.7


1951 (East Pakistan) 76.9 23.1


1961 (East Pakistan) 80.4 19.6


1974 (Bangladesh) 85.4 14.6


1981 (Bangladesh) 86.6 13.4


However, it is heartwarming to see if a Hindu meets Indian Muslims abroad today especially in the middle east he will get emotionally attached to them. These Muslims avoid Pakistanis and will be glad to socialise with the Hindu because they are all Indians. If they invite Hindus for a meal they will keep the beef dish separate from the rest of the items or not cook it at all on that occasion. The Muslims will even mention Rig Veda, an ancient Indian treatise written by Indians. The Government of India needs to educate Hindus, Muslims and others about their common ancestors and history. They need to be shown that solidarity as members of one united country is very important. Religion is an individual or family affiliation.

The problem, though surmountable, is that Islam is a new religion and hence illiberal as Christianity was in medieval times. A common limitation of the monotheistic Semitic faiths is their unwavering conviction that their religion is the best and so the world population must be converted. Pakistan was created on the assertion that Muslims constitute one nation. The country thus formed fell apart in less than a quarter of a century. They have this blasphemy law which brain washes non-thinking people to hate those who even very mildly criticises aspects of their faith. Even leaving their homeland and living in an enlightened society like the UK fails to make them re-examine a little about what they or their immediate ancestors have been told by opportunist theologians or politicians. Recently, in the UK, an Asian travelled 200 miles to kill a fellow Muslim because according to Pakistani law he was blasphemous.

One hears politicians announcing confidently that act of terror is not carried out by true Muslims, the corollary being that there are false Muslims. How do they know about Islam? The white and now the black Europeans as well won't acknowledge that the ones they call terrorists are really those who are trying to deter organisations like NATO dropping bombs on their country and killing civilians and dismissing it as collateral damage from the safety of their secure countries thousands of miles away. If the west stopped interfering, people in Asia and Africa probably will still fight among themselves but it is unlikely that virulent organisations will find support even among those who are branded as jehadis. It is safe to suggest that, in accordance with the laws of nature, within a short time the entropic compulsion will stop people from fighting among themselves and there would at least be a system of quasi-equipoise in their countries.

Politicians of course talk in such a manner to placate the millions of Muslims who have now settled in their country. The Muslims in turn excel them in their obsequiousness to the white man. It is understandable of course because their ancestors came to the UK and ran the gauntlet of humiliation. They thought it was worth it because their sons, daughters and grandchildren live in luxury and many are in positions of power.

Both the existing immigrants, black or white, and the Anglo-Celtic population of Britain should realise that although a small scale social interaction will occur among selected people combined with a degree of miscegenation, diverse groups will remain in segregated areas each having something separate from the others. It is not impossible for a Britain to have at least independent city states such as London, Birmingham, Bradford or Leicester. Scotland wants to break away. One hears that their love for immigrants is so much that a kilt-clad Pakistani holding high office in their Government did his oath of allegiance or something similar in Urdu as well. That is humbug. When Scotland becomes an independent country, it should be renamed as Scot-i-Stan. Rather than trying to advertise an image of themselves as the greatest in terms of tolerance, human rights etc. the British will need to find serious thinkers, of which there must be many in their country, who could devise models which will acknowledge diversity but forestall disunity.





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