It was long argued that the rise of a right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP in India has caused the rise of Islamic fundamentalist forces in Pakistan & Bangladesh.
Will the return of a secularist Congress to power in India, will it cause a corresponding rise of secularist forces in Pakistan and Bangladesh?
Is there something in this for us to ponder? The Congress victory is being depicted as a triumph of secular values over the revivalist zeal of the BJP and particularly the latter’s co-habitants like the RSS and the Shiv Sena.
Fundamentalism has not been rooted out and may indeed become even more aggressive and spiteful in defeat. But will the Congress win encourage secular forces in Pakistan and South Asia? This can only remain a hope till we are able to achieve a truly democratic system with its ability to permit free interaction between different political strains and to peacefully absorb and accommodate clashing political beliefs.Nations learn from history, but they also learn from each other’s experience. [Dawn]