Knowing history is one thing, but understanding and analysing it is quite another. Darshan Khullar’s Pakistan Our Difficult Neighbour and India’s Islamic Dimensions is a radical viewpoint, a lone voice, providing an unbiased rational viewpoint of what actually transpired at that point in time and where we erred and continue to err in relation to what we see as the truth and reality of the current scenario in terms of Hinduism and the Islamic dimensions in India. A hard-hitting narrative, this one has its facts backed up by substantial research, coming from one of the strongest quarters of none other than the torchbearers of defence and national security aka the Indian army. A stellar and powerful read, this one is something you know but dare to keep unacknowledged.
Dedicated to those unlucky Indians who have for long been second class citizens in their own country.
A hard-hitting line forms the start of Pakistan Our Difficult Neighbour and India’s Islamic Dimensions by Brigadier (Retd) Darshan Khullar whose writing feels like a quiet mirror of sorts, coy and yet braving to bare what we know but we seem to have long since put behind us, accepting it as part of our so-called fate.
Basing all the data he has presented through this one on pure research as well as facts, adopting an unorthodox approach as a free-thinking, unbiased, radical Indian, Darshan ji has linearly as well as wholly broken down and given a blow-by-blow account of what transpired, what went right and wrong right since the inception of Independence.
So, what went wrong with India and Pakistan during the partition?
Everything. We erred big time and how! And that is what in simple words, is the whole crux of this book Pakistan Our Difficult Neighbour and India’s Islamic Dimensions. The author has put forth facts as well as instances and all happenings as it is, without adding any kind of prejudice or lacing things in an extremist fashion. You know I always feel being an Indian, we seem to surely be in a unique place to find a permanent solution to our problems given our past history of tolerance and also owing to the fact that our people now desire social harmony, stability as well as good governance, as he has pointed out in the narrative. Unfortunately, the post-Independence scenario was such that all went downhill, thanks to the politics as well as the over-ambitious standpoints of the then leaders. The post-independence era itself was erroneous, according to me. A lot could have been better, we could actually have been in a much better living condition as a nation in its entirety, had there been refrainment from wrong decision-making at that point in time. Both India and Pakistan could have been in a better space had we not erred in our own homeland and been on a firm footnote with Pakistan right from the start.
Do you know the biggest mistake ever committed in history right after post-independence?
It is the appointment of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as the PM of India.
Yes, you heard right. We cannot deny the fact that Gandhiji ensured that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was appointed as the first Prime Minister of independent India. It is not like he was the wrong person altogether. According to Darshan ji (and I completely support him on this), he was just not the apt choice for fulfilling the duties expected of him, at that point in time.
Although the majority were keen that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel be the PM, still Gandhiji chose Nehru. A poor choice.
Nehru described himself in the following words:
Politically, I am an internationalist, by education, I am an Englishman, by culture I am a Muslim and an atheist by religion.
But, as an afterthought, do you feel that this kind of standpoint was correct and in the best interest of a Hindu-majority country like India?
Gandhi, on the other hand, as a freedom fighter and a highly intelligent person, had a good grasp of the ground realities of India and was also a good strategist. Albeit, as and how he proceeded his entire perspective was compromised right from the start, as also pointed out by Darshan ji. Many decisions he took, many movements he adopted, and many thought processes he vouched for as a leader might have delayed the process of gaining Independence for India.
Moreover, after reading this book, I was compelled to agree with the Author’s viewpoint that not only the leaders of the post-independence era but also many who followed the post, were responsible for taking decisions which were incorrect and defiled the face of Indian freedom as well as a civilization, permanently. Several erroneous steps were taken by these leaders, be it the war of 1971, the Tashkent treaty, the Lahore express, or sending the Indian cricket team to play cricket in Pakistan right after the terror attacks in 2011, which could have been avoided easily. But in the flow of their own naivety, their pursuit of power and politics, these leaders have chosen to go on doing nothing but the worst result in the sad scenario that is the reality today. Yes, till today the India -Pakistan standoffs, the cold play, the shoulder shrug-offs and the Kashmir issues remain as it is, even after more than 7 decades.
Pacifists, our biggest weakness in the making?
Had we been firm earlier with regards to our stand as far as this approach is concerned, we wouldn’t have been the second-class citizens which we are considered today, in spite of being in a position of the majority. Unfortunately, our pacifist attitude has been our biggest weak point. Maybe, our aeons of slavery fashioned us into this kind of mentality, albeit a detrimental one for our future. And I completely agree with this thought which has also been put forward by him, which compelled me to think about this in the first place. Alongwith the leaders, even the citizens of our country have become prone to this mentality leading us to the state we are in today.
As pointed out rightly in this book, in 1947 when things were being hurried to a climax during the time of Independence, our leaders at that point of time including Nehru and also Jinnah of Pakistan might not have prioritized things as should have, causing them to be fatally distracted from the savage fate millions of countrymen were facing, being brutally tortured and murdered. Yes, they were collectively responsible for this mishap, overdriven by the delusion of power and grandeur. Partition of India which was an inevitable event, according to the Author, did not have to be such a cataclysmic event-the holocaust it turned out to be. But, I still think it’s not too late and we can still salvage the situation by bringing about changes.
The Author has also pointed out how Hindus have accepted their “fate” in a manner of speaking, considering themselves to be second-class citizens having made peace with the fact. Citing an instance from 1921, which being reminded of, really shook me to the core, Darshanji narrates how there was large-scale violence against Hindus by Muslim Moplahs in the Cannanore district of Kerala in which more than 10 thousand Hindus were killed, their women raped, there were many conversions, more than a lakh who fled to save their lives. The Author has pointed out Gandhiji’s baffling responses during this incident asking the Hindus to accept their fate since the Moplahs were only following Allah’s command and must therefore be permitted to do so. Gandhiji had in fact chided those who fled, for having saved their lives and not faced death which was their Karmic duty.
If you go to see, the ideologies of Islam actually do not permit compromise of any sort at all. And in juxtaposition, the pacifist attitude of Hindus in all scenarios is working contradictory towards setting and maintaining the equilibrium between the sects and thus enabling the overall well-being and development of the country.
Really guys, is facing oppression and being the butt of wrongdoing a karmic duty? Agreed Gandhiji’s principles are life-changing and will surely always lead you on a path to nothing but the pure truth, but is above justifiable and warranted, especially since he was in that position of power to be able to inspire and mobilize so many at that point in time? Darshan ji’s words are radical, his viewpoints crystal clear and his research and chain of thoughts are linear and well to the point. Not only was it enlightening but perhaps overwhelming too, to read and relive these facets which we know but dare not acknowledge for fear of unnecessary things. I am pretty impressed with the amount of research too that Darshan ji has backed his narrative with, corroborating facts wherever necessary thanks to the fact that he has been with one of the most prestigious forces of the country for so long aka the Indian Army. This a heartfelt insight, do pick this one up if you want to read, know and analyze the true stories behind the partition, the sins of the then-ruling leaders, the radical and unbiased viewpoint on Kashmir, a viewpoint on Islamic terror prevalent in India as well as an analytical solution suggested by Darshan ji himself. A voice of a true national who has been there done that and who has surely ridden in the eye of the storm, do pick this one up when you know you are up for a powerful, heart-rendering read.
After reading this book, multiple thoughts seem to be running amok in my mind. I have come to the conclusion that, unlike previous governments, there is simply no need to appease Muslims or any other such minorities in order to gain larger vote banks. This has done more harm than good for the simple reason that the majority actually seems to be struggling eventually and also the minorities don’t seem to be gaining much out of these arrangements. This is creating anger, resentment, and frustration all over. India is only suffering in the entire bargain. What we need is equal footing.
What I feel is that we need closure here. When the majority gets the power and the acknowledgement here that yes, indeed, we are a Hindu country, the anger, resentment and frustration will automatically seep out. We are a Hindu country and yet we also respect and consider our minorities in the highest regard. In fact, secular is a very negative, poisonous word, I feel. It is only creating anger in people’s hearts and minds, making them feel irrelevant here. Yes, that value creation is equally important and we can achieve it only through this acknowledgement.
Also by Brigadier (Retd) Darshan Khullar: A Book Review Of Free Thinker – On God And Religion By Darshan Khullar – Explore The Unexplored
The book Pakistan Our Difficult Neighbour and India’s Islamic Dimensions is remarkable because it has touched upon and highlighted a plethora of issues. Be it the Hindu-Muslim violence, the Islamic dimensions, the resultant political actions, the standoffs and as Darshan ji points out the Islamic terror in India is a many-dimensional thing. He has also suggested solutions which surely seem to be a way out of the quagmire we have been living in for ages now.
Do you know the best part about this book? Despite being laced in History, and politics, Darshan ji has made sure that rather than being a bookish textbook lesson of sorts, he has made it interesting and relatable owing to the facts he supplicates at every juncture. This is the first time I have annotated any book, especially one which gives so much historical information. A brilliant read you must bookmark regardless of whatever might be your favourite genre.
Pakistan Our Difficult Neighbour and India’s Islamic Dimensions
In this remarkably candid book, the author has taken a hard look at Pakistan, in his words our difficult neighbour and analysed the reasons as to why the two countries have never been friends and probably will not be in the future, at least not in the immediate one. The author attributes India’s failure to neutralise Pakistan to its kind of near-constant Gandhian (passive) approach to India’s security interests. The author believes that the future of Muslims in India is bright and that it would be quite a lusterless country without them. It is a matter of time before India has its first Muslim Prime Minister but this will happen when the latter represents the interests of all Indians and not merely those of Muslims. His study of Muslims is spread of a wide range of inter-related perspectives.
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There is one genre be it book or news I am not fond of is politics. But people who love it and more keen to know the history behind any event will find this book worthy and my Mom is one among them being a History Teacher. Will share the review with her.
Thank you so much for your feedback. Indeed, you must share it with her as she will surely be interested as well as intrigued by this one.
Finely structured review.
Thank you so much. really appreciate your feedback.
I keep away from political gossip. Some how I feel it steers up anger and hatred. I welcome the knowledge but not more than that.
I agree with you that we could do better to keep away from political gossip any day. Albeit knowledge is certainly essential and this book is one of the few which provides the correct and unfiltered version of what actually happened at that point.
I love reading history of all kinds. the partition of India is esp close to my heart cuz i have read a lot about it and in my opinion is the saddest thing to have happened to us. I’m so tempted to read this book after your review Neelam… your reviews are so crisp n brilliant… love this one too!
I like to read history but not political. Since the subject is very interesting and want to know the real fact. After reading your review one thing realize politics kal jaisa tha aaj bhi vaisa hi hain. Anyway, would like to read the book for the facts. Thank you for sharing such a nice book.
You are welcome. Yes, indeed politics has not changed. ANd yet, I must agree that it continues to be as interesting as always.
This book looks like a must read if you want to have an indepth knowledge about India Pakistan relationship. would love to understand this better. going to grab my copy soon.
Yes, certainly it is a must read and will give you a radical, in-depth knowledge of the Indo-Pak relationship. Surely go and grab a copy now ya
This is quite a radical viewpoint. Definitely, a lot of mistakes were made by both India and Pakistan after the partition. More by Pakistan than India with their martial laws. I will surely check out this book.
I am glad you realised as well as liked the article. That is a win-win for both the Author as the writer of this as well as for me as a reviewer.
Reading your review I feel I would totally agree with Darshan Khullar’s narrative. I will read this book first in my TBR. Your review is equally informative.
I was aware of the Cannanore massacre but wasn’t aware of Gandhiji’s view on it. The fact that you gave it an all 5 stars has piqued my interest. I am adding it to my TBR.
This looks like such a hard hitting book! Well this topic will always remain a point of controversy. Really looking forward to reading this one.
After reading your review I feel happy to know that there are people like Darshan Khulkar who are now breaking the unsaid truths to us. This is definitely an unbiased collection of facts that we all need to know.
My knowledge of world literature and literature that explores the dynamics between countries is so limited, I should really make an attempt to read this book!
The author has so much in-depth knowledge about the situation and has given his viewpoint quite honestly. I wish I had an interest in political books.
This seems to be a good read for me. Glad that he wrote the truth, which is hard to speak today. Glad that he mentioned about Cannanore massacre incident; I was aware of this incident. I will surely buy and share it with friends too. We need to know the hidden truth. Thanks for introducing this book here.
This is such an informative article. This is one of the reasons I love reading blogs as I get to learn more things about various topics. I wasn’t even aware of this issue. Appreciate you writing about this and spreading awareness on this.
The partition has many partisan views. Radical views are rare in our country where the freedom of speech is highlighted in the constitution but not followed in real life.As you rightly mentioned, Nehru was the worst choice. How was he even an Indian in spirit? I have carried a negative image of Muslims from what my parents told me or from history books, but now that I have Muslim friends, I feel sorry for all the years I misjudged them. I am surely going to read this book. Thank you for the explicit annotation.
I hate politics. The book is really good. Please koi aake baaki k logon ko samjha de.
Thank you for this recommendation. I think iam going to love this book. The partition has always fascinated me and i also have a similar viewpoint that it was a badly handled political move that have rise to unnecessary hatred. Looking forward to reading this soon.
An interesting perspective. Seems worth a read.