Come August 15, the thoughts about the freedom struggle and the memories of the Partition in 1947 linger in the minds of every patriotic Indian citizen. Some highly patriotic youth groups also organised Akhand Bharat Sankalp Diwas on August 14 where pledges were taken to achieve the reunification of Bharat and a vision of Bharat is invoked that includes current day Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The Partition of India was such a monumental tragedy that many nationalist leaders of that era as well as the common folk just could not even imagine in their dreams. After all, Sapta Sindhu was the birthplace of the Vedic civilisation and the very seat of Hindu culture since time immemorial. How could they bear its separation and loss? Nathuram Godse cited Gandhiji'sfailure to prevent the Partition as the main trigger for his intentions to kill Gandhiji. Shri Aurobindo, in his radio address immediately after the independence in 1947, remarked, ?But the old communal division into Hindus and Muslims seems now to have hardened into a permanent political division of the country. It is to be hoped that this settled fact will not be accepted as settled forever or as anything more than a temporary expedient?. This must not be; the Partition must go?. Veer Savarkar kept the idea of Akhand Bharat alive till the time of his death. Shri Guruji Golwalkar incorporated the vision of Akhand Bharat in the ideological framework of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh itself.
Even these days there are occasional, indirect, subtle expressions of the idea of re-unification in Sadbhavana Yatras, candle light vigils, cultural exchanges and hoary proposals like having a common currency for all of South Asia etc. There have been extortions of Indian visitors to Pakistan (and vice versa) on how friendly and affectionate the people across the border are! Indian media is getting sentimental over Bangalore doctors treating helpless Pakistani patients while Pakistani music lovers just can'tresist the urge of listening to and admiring Indian artistes.
Amidst all this, some facts are to be remembered. The post-Partition years witnessed the systematic ethnic cleansing of Hindus from the West Pakistan side. The Hindu population of Pakistan was 10 per cent of its total population in 1947, and now it is less than one per cent. Pakistan fought multiple direct wars with India in spite of successive, humiliating defeats and since then it has been slowly and silently bleeding India to death through ISI-sponsored Islamic jehadi terrorism. Bangladesh, a creation of Bharat has become a hotbed of jehad and continues its shadowy aggression on our eastern borders through infiltration. Most inhuman atrocities continue to be committed against the Bangladeshi Hindus with the tacit approval of the Bangladeshi government.
It is understandable that Akhand Bharat was a solacing and reassuring idea for the nationalists of that era that helped them cope with the tragedy of partition. It is important that we critically examine the arguments that bolster this vision at this juncture, taking into account all the current geopolitical, cultural and societal factors.
It is repeatedly said that there is common culture between India and Pakistan, so they should unite naturally. What is this common culture?paranthas, gazals, jilebis and Urdu/Punjabi languages alone? What about the boundless hatred that Pakistan has nurtured for Hinduism, the soul of India and the religion that 85 per cent of Indians follow? Even those regional aspects of Pakistani culture have connections only with a small portion of Bharat. Bharat is too grand and diverse in culture. It is sickening to see even Indians overstress these regional aspects in cultural exchanges. I would say that India should post ambassadors to Pakistan who don'tknow a word of Urdu and are totally ignorant about sher-o-shayari, say a Tamilian or Kannadiga! All cultural exchanges with Pakistan should include mainly South Indian artistes. Pakistanis should be made aware that India is too big for their imagination. Talking of culture, Sri Lanka and many South-East Asian countries like Malaysia and Indonesia have much more commonality with our culture than Pakistan?they even revere Ramayana and Mahabharata as their national epics and have a respectful attitude to our Hindu and Buddhist heritage. So, a cultural Akhand Bharat should ideally include these and not Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Let us remember that Pakistan'screation and existence were born out of hatred towards Hinduism and Bharat. Pakistan government and army have re-iterated time and again that it is an ideological Islamic State, with jehad as a part of state policy! Reflecting back, the Two-Nation Theory was the only logical method to keep two warring communal groups at bay. The only unfortunate part was that, from the Indian side we did not take this theory to its logical end by emptying all Muslims out of India whereas Pakistan did this with its Hindu population. It is notable that Dr. Ambedkar and Sardar Patel looked at the partition with this sense of objectivity without emotion and sentiment clouding their vision and had similar views.
Does anyone talk about unification with India in Pakistan or Bangladesh? Pakistan is obsessed with snatching Kashmir from India and the jehadi'samong them want all of India to become Dar-ul-Islam. So, the Pakistani, Islamic idea is only that of domination and aggression of India, and not co-existence. This is also in resonance with the global jehad agenda. Pakistan is convinced that Islamic jehad is its potent weapon in this war.
It is no doubt that Pakistan and Bangladesh are enemies of our nation, who should be fought. The reinforcing of Akhand Bharat vision confuses the already confused Indian mind from convincing itself on the above fact, unless the idea of Akhand Bharat actually means aggression and dominance of India on Pakistan and Bangladesh! But that conflicts with the eternal Hindu idea of vasudeva kutumbakam (one world family) which is also so dear to the votaries of Akhand Bharat! So the vision has to mean co-existence and that looks highly infeasible.
To keep the current map of Bharat with its boundaries intact, in itself is a mammoth challenge facing the Indian government and every patriotic citizen. We have miserably failed on this count itself and allowed separatism and secessionism to take root at the North-east and Kashmir and even in some parts of the hinterland. Nepal, our friendly Hindu kingdom has suddenly turned secular in front of our eyes and is slowly slipping into the hands of Maoists and enemies of Bharat. Talking of reclaiming lost home makes sense only when the present home is safe and secure and we are powerful enough to embark on a bold mission. Given the present threats to the unity and security of India, talking of re-unification only sounds like a cruel joke.
But the world is a strange and mysterious place. ?Verily, there are more things on heaven an earth, Horatio, than your philosophy ever dreamt of? (Shakespeare). Even the apparent improbable events become possible. Like the collapse of Berlin Wall and annihilation of Saddam Hussain, future may unfold great surprises like peace returning to Sri Lanka or Pakistan and Bangladesh stopping jehadi terrorism and becoming the friends of Bharat if not uniting with Bharat! Actually, there are two strong hypothetical probabilities ? One, despite all these problems, India grows as such a strong economic superpower that Pakistan and Bangladesh want to unite (or at least be friendly with) India. Second, these countries get decimated and crushed under the weight of their own poverty and jehadi fundamentalism like Afghanistan to such an extent that Bharat and other countries have to go bail them out! In both cases, the thorn in the works will be the Islamic religion which would supersede all economic, human considerations and common sense.
To me, the realistic and practical vision of Akhand Bharat is to fight to prevent at least the current Bharat from going khand khand (pieces). This means facing Pakistan and Bangladesh as enemies of the nation, nothing more nothing less. This is our first and foremost priority and anything that de-focuses or creates ambiguity in this is not good. As Vivekananda said, ?Let visions cease, or if you can not, dream but truer dreams?.
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