Why are Pakistan and India on bad terms?

I mean, they had an ugly divorce back in 1947, but most people personally affected by the population relocations are dead now. And are Jammu and Kashmir really worth fighting over? What’s the deal here?

I once asked an Indian co worker the same thing. Essentially, he said that there is a lot of bad blood between Muslims and Hindus mixed with some old tribalism. We’re talking generational feuds. Each side sees the others as aggressive and intollerant. Both mosques and temples have been destoryed by either side at one time or another.

This religious rivalry has extended to the two nations and there is a graet deal of distrust between them.

The territiorial dispute between these two nations have broken out into military action in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. I don’t think there is a generation yet that hasn’t been removed from the animosity between these two.

Kashmir itself is the most hotly contested territory not only with Pakistand and India, but also China.

India simply refuses to recognize either of the other twos claims on the territory

Wiki has a pretty good detailed article on Kashmir

I don’t know a lot of the details, even being Indian, but the whole Muslim-Hindu thing has a lot to do with it. We burn down a mosque, they burn down a temple, we claim their mosque is built on holy ground, so they must rip it down, they refuse, we firebomb it.

This is not to say that Hindus are predominantly at fault! I specifically worded my comment to sound that way. Basically at least one aspect of it is an age-old feud that only gets worse and worse.

Other more knowledgeable Dopers can come in and answer better I’m sure. But it would be well-nigh impossible to explain the whole thing on a message board. I mean, can you summarize the Israel-Palestine situation so easily? Or 9-11? First you have to explain Carter, then Reagan, then the Middle East…

India is bitter about losing Pakistan and Bangladesh. “Apna desh” - our country. They don’t even want to give up an inch. And I haven’t really seen anything resembling a reason as to why we should.

My uncle fought in the second and third India-Pakistan war. He retired as a Lt. Colonel. If I get a chance to talk to him sometime I may ask him how he feels, although I probably already know.

In my opinion, the real reason is that Pakistan is a failed state with a repressive and corrupt government and the only thing that there is to distract the population and prevent all-out chaos is for the Pakistani government to continually push radical Islamic causes and the Kashmir issue.

The Pakistani government, particularly through Inter-Services Intelligence, is heavily involved with terrorists around the world, but especially in Kashmir and in India. All the explosives for the 1993 bombings in Bombay were supplied by the Pakistani government, and now many of the Muslim gangs in Bombay are heavily supplied with arms from Pakistan. Doud (Dawood) Ibrahim, the godfather of the most powerful of the Bombay crime families, is now more or less permanently based in Pakistan and runs his empire from there with the aid of the ISI.

Otherwise, neither government has any rational interest in continuing with hostilities. I believe that the Indian government would eventually live with the Line of Control being made into a permanent national border. However, the idea of just handing over Kashmir as a whole to Pakistan would be a difficult proposition. The self-identity of the Indian state is as a secular, democratic, diverse democracy and it would be a major blow to concede that no Muslim-majority state could be part of such a union.

According to the CIA World Factbook, 13.4% of the population of India is Muslim, 3% of the population of Pakistan is non-Muslim (Hindu, Christian, other), 16% of the population of Bangladesh (former East Pakistan) is Hindu. While a substantial Muslim population remained in India after the partition, why are there so few Hindus in (West) Pakistan?

Didn’t they get along well enough under the British Raj? (Or did they?)

“Population relocations” doesn’t really cover it - we’re talking deaths in the hundreds of thousands as well as millions of people moving in terrible circumstances. And if a grandparent was killed/ injured/ dispossessed in the events of partition, it probably made a great impact on his/her surviving children and on all their peers. And that became a big part of their children’s view of the world. Which has been exploited politically.

Actually, I don’t buy the argument about generational blood feuds. Up until 1947, communal struggle such as we see today was very rare. Yes, there was a lot of discrimination and, yes, there was probably very little intermingling in certain aspects (intermarriage, for example), but so far as I know, there weren’t all-out blood campaigns against each other.

It’s the independence process and partition itself that really started the whole thing. It began with the successful campaign by the Muslim League and Jinnah to redefine Indian Muslims as a separate nationality. It was really not thought of in those terms before. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, India was a political patchwork and there were many different factions, nationalities, religions, all finding their own places in the societal structure. There was not a sense of two parties, Hindu and Muslim. Until the 20th century, in fact, Hindi and Urdu were never thought of as being two separate languages. (The formal dialects of both languages were based on the dialect of the same place, for one, the Khariboli dialect of the Delhi are.)

Partition itself was a big wound that still has not healed. It is not age-old local enmities that has persisted today, but the hurt of partition that really kicked off the whole thing.

Why are there so few Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh? At partition, the leaders of India took the position that India is a secular state that is the home for all who live there – there is no separate nationality defined by religion or other factors. Indian leaders did not advance the idea that India is the home of the Hindus of South Asia. However, the creation of Pakistan was based on the notion that Indian Muslims are a separate nationality and need their “own” state. The vast majority of Muslims living in the area that became India were assured (at least on official terms) that this country is as much yours as it is anyones. Hindus living in Pakistan were not presented with a similar attitude.

Indeed, the notion of unity of Indians regardless of religion did last through the turmoil of partition. Ask any Indian of that era and there will be stories of Hindu-Muslim cooperation. My father’s family was living near what became the India-Pakistan border through Punjab. During the turmoil of the partition, their Muslim neighbour came to them and said, “If there’s any trouble, come to us.” Hindus and Muslims had lived together for centuries, there was a recognition of the humanity of the others, engendered by familiarity and regular contact.

Even today, in India, there is a large degree of interdependence. For example, almost all tailors in India are Muslims. I have never seen nor heard of a Hindu tailor. Guess what, the tailors have a lot of Hindu customers (it’s a lot cheaper and a lot more common to get clothing tailored in India than it is here). Since 1947, things have gotten worse and worse. Today, in the large cities, it has become very common for professional workplaces to just not have any Muslims, which was not the case in 1947. With each bombing or riot, the situation becomes worse. (The only exception is the movie industry, which is almost evenly split between Hindus and Muslims – in fact I’d say that among the biggest movie stars, the proportion of Muslims is slightly higher than Hindus.)

This level of enmity between India and Pakistan and between Hindus and Muslims is like a very painful divorce. And it’s not really unique. All over the world you see that one groups greatest enemy is the one group that is closest to it or the most like it in most respects. Sunni Muslism hate Shiite Muslims more than anyone else. The biggest enemy of the Kurdish Democratic Party is the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The biggest enemy of the Indian Hindu is now the Indian Muslim. The biggest enemy of India is Pakistan, two countries, which on a cultural and historical basis, seen from the rest of the world, seem nearly identical.

The violence of the partition really caused deep psychological and cultural damage and the two countries have never recovered.

I suppose peaceful reunification is entirely out of the question, then?

Furthermore, there are now whole factions of Indian society that are living in permanent exile – for example, Hindu Sindhis or Hindu East Bengalis or Hindu (and Parsee) Lahoris. The parts of Indian society were deeply rooted in their places, and so many people were displace. My family still thinks of itself as a “Bangal” (East Bengali Hindu) family, despite the fact that no one in the family has lived in East Bengal for 50 years and there has been no place called East Bengal for almost as long. They still root for Calcuttas “East Bengal” soccer club. And they see their society, their culture, dying out, not because they don’t have enough descendants to keep the family going, but because the place where that culture existed is lost to them and the traditions and institutional knowledge is disappearing.

What would be the basis for that reunification? For 60 years or more, the identity of Pakistanis (or those who were to become Pakistanis) was defined by the notion that they are something separate from Hindu India. And the political acts of the Pakistani government has done nothing but reinforce that idea. Every day, radical Islamism is more and more the identity of the Pakistani.

How can that form a basis for a peaceful reunification with India, which, for the most part, sees itself as a secular democracy? (And on the bad days, when the rightwing Hindus are talking, sees itself as a Hindutva state?)