Woolliness is part of the problem
Sandeep disses Dilip D’Souza’s contention that India and Pakistan should follow the footsteps of the countries of Western Europe and (re)unite. As the Acorn has previously argued, the idea of a South Asian Union is fundamentally flawed.
While Indians may simply dismiss re-union as impractical and not give it further thought, the idea creates deep suspicions about India’s real intentions in the other countries of the subcontinent who fear being gobbled by up the larger entity. Their fears are compounded by India’s espousal of secularism and democracy which means no special treatment for any religion and worse, the oppression of majority rule.
Besides, to Pakistan or Bangladesh especially, what is the difference between union with and defeat/annexation by India? Living in a democracy where Hindus form the religious majority is not quite acceptable to Pakistanis or Bangladeshis — even to many of those who genuinely desire to live in peace with India.
The proponents of a South Asian Union fundamentally disrespect the aspirations of the smaller countries of the sub-continent, some of whom have shed blood to establish their country so that they can preserve their culture and live according to their own norms. In many ways, the lofty-softies who propose re-union and the uber-nationalists who hawk Greater India are contributing in equal measure to sub-continental misunderstanding. Whether or not the two-nation theory was right or wrong is immaterial now — Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan are not just entities on a map, but young countries seeking a place under the sun.
The best bet for peace lies in each country acknowledging the existence and aspirations of the others and working together to achieve mutual prosperity. Woolliness may be genuinely felt and well-intentioned, but does not help India, Pakistan and their quest for peace.