Ashutosh Vardhana:
India and Pakistan to join Common Market

Note for editor: Replace the name 'Rochdale' (twice) by the name of the town in which your newspaper is published or has most readers.



A reflection for India and Pakistan Independence Day, 14 and 15 August

The greatest evil that has beset India and Pakistan since independence is the animosity between Muslims and Hindus. Three wars between India and Pakistan, the dispute over Kashmir, the Ayodhya dispute and its bloody consequences have brought death and suffering to thousands. Poverty remains. Ashutosh Vardhana, a Hindu writer living in England, refers to the century-old Franco-German animosity which led to many bloody wars, but was brought to an end by the creation of the Common Market and the European Union and created unprecedented prosperity in Europe. He proposes that India and Pakistan should work towards a similar economic union and focus on prosperity rather than religion and patriotism. The Kashmir problem and its terrorism would simply melt away.


Ashutosh Vardhana:
India and Pakistan to join Common Market

It is necessary to dream the impossible to make it come true. For almost 100 years Indian independence was such a dream. But some great people not only dreamt it but patiently worked for it. That's why on 14 and 15 July 1947 (for Pakistan and India respectively) it turned into reality.

No man is an island. India and Pakistan were now free of British rule but not of each other, of world markets, of American and Russian aid (many strings attached), of 'religious' agitators in both communities, of selfish and wicked individuals, of incompetence, ignorance, bigotry, corruption and poverty.

Our worst enemy has been communalism, deep-seated distrust and animosity between Hindus and Muslims, and in certain directions even contempt.

  • Pakistani women protest against threatening
    nuclear war
    Pakistani women protesting against threatened nuclear war

    Thousands of Hindus and Muslims murdered each other at the time of partition. Sister countries India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947 and have only just managed to avoid a nuclear one. Thousands have been killed in both communities, even outside India, in consequence of the avoidable Ayodhya dispute. Terrorism has plagued Kashmir because of legal confusion about its status.

    If we want peace, we must find a way of ending distrust and animosity between Hindus and Muslims, not by telling others what to do but by taking the first steps ourselves.

    Palestine and Israel demonstrate that greater assertiveness is ***not*** the way.

    Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanging sweets at the border on Independence Day 2003

    Hindus and Muslims are first and foremost human beings. Let us ignore our religious affiliations and love each other as human beings and extend our affection and help ***especially*** to the other community. What a great day it would be if, after a car has broken down, a Hindu drove a Muslim to his mosque and a Muslim drove a Hindu to his mandir.

    God lives everywhere. It does not matter where he was born but whether he lives in our hearts.

    An old shloka says:
    A thousand Ramas born in Ayodhya will do /
    No good if he's not born in you.

    Rama was born right here in Rochdale. We do not have to go to Ayodhya to find him. He will find us, at home. By acts of kindness we can force him to come here. Allah lives in Rochdale. He will reveal himself right here if, by being kind to everybody, we give him half a chance.

    Consider the history of Germany and France, for centuries at war with each other, and how it led to the creation of the wealthy European Union.

    Let us work for the same on the subcontinent, and the conflicts between India and Pakistan, and terrorism in Kashmir, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka will simply dissolve.

    Create a common market of Afhganistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Burma, devoting its energies not to religion or patriotism but whole-heartedly to the creation of wealth.

    American and European funds will flow into such a project, as did the Marshal Plan in the Europe of 1947 with such tremendous success. This is the most effective weapon against terrorism.

    Do not tell me, as everybody does, that this is an impossible dream. If we want it, we can make it possible. Indians and Pakistanis are not more stupid than the Germans and the French.

    Let us use our independence not to promote strife but to create a new union of independent states, pragmatic and devoted to prosperity. God and religion will take care of themselves. God will be grateful that he does not have to witness our squabbles and therefore will have time to give us his blessing.

    © Ashutosh Vardhana


    (Note: Ashutosh Vardhana is a Hindu writer and lives in England.)


    Documentation (Not for publication)

    Pakistan and India became independent at midnight on 14 August 1947. Pakistan and India celebrate the event on 14 and 15 August respectively.

    On 15 Aug 2003, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee said India and Pakistan should fight poverty instead of each other.