A Few Lessons from Pakistan

Allan Callahan

A Few Lessons from Pakistan pakistan-independence-women

Regarding bringing about a geographical separation of the races to solve the race problem, there are no doubt many who would recoil in horror at such an idea, thinking it would be too great an undertaking to be taken seriously, and would take too long, if carried out humanely. I disagree, and suggest that the splitting off of Pakistan from India in 1947 is very instructive.

Britain partitioned India that year, to give Muslims a homeland of their own, since it was obvious there was going to be big trouble with the Hindus otherwise. The Pakistanis consider themselves a different people, with a different religion, different customs, different foods, different clothes and different names. And although both Hindus and Pakistanis are basicly dark, the latter are more lightly-colored than the former.

As soon as each ethnic group realized what was actually going to happen, and a few weeks before Britain officially did the partitioning, the Pakistanis and Hindus began to separate. Some 15 million people uprooted themselves, in what was one of the biggest population transfers in history, if not the biggest. And within a few weeks after the official date, the transfer was pretty well complete; most Hindus were out of Pakistan, and most Pakistanis were out of India. They left in trains, on oxcarts, on bicycles and on foot, with all their belongings, plus their animals. It was all done in an amazingly short period of time. And they weren’t forced at gunpoint, either.

East Pakistan was separated from main Pakistan by a thousand miles of Indian territory. This was an unstable situation, so in 1971, this eastern province seceded to become Bangladesh.

The racial aspects of India and Pakistan are instructive, also. The darker and far more numerous Hindus got the lion’s share of the territory and most of the infrastructure left by the British Raj. Jinnah, the father of modern Pakistan, said his people had received “a moth-eaten” country, and later on lost Eastern Pakistan to boot. Except for the fertile Punjab, Pakistan is mostly arid, with inhospitable mountains.

Still, the Pakistanis were glad to get a country of their own, and have done better than India, economically. By 1997, 50 years after the split-up, Pakistan’s per capita income was $460. That is very low, but still above India’s $340. Both are poor countries, but India should have done better than Pakistan, because of its original advantages in territory and infrastructure. How can you explain it? If we could examine the brains of a cross-section of both Hindus and Pakistanis, we would probably find that those of the former have slightly shallower convolutions than those of the latter, and infra and supragranular layers that are a tad thinner. Some tell us that “skin color means nothing,” but it is a fairly reliable guide as to what is underneath!

Fifty years ago, anyone who understood this could have predicted that the lighter-complexioned Pakistani should eventually overtake his more dusky cousin in India, even though he started out on a lower rung of the economic ladder. And this is exactly what happened.

SOURCE: The Liberty Bell, March 1998

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