What should every Indian know about Pakistan?

What should every Indian know about Pakistan?

Answer by Som Bhatta:

1. It is a truly beautiful land, a traveller's paradise. Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, FATA and Baluchistan all have simply out of the world places to visit.

2. Their hospitality is just top class. I have seen examples of this when I have met Pakistanis in my travels abroad, and also by the accounts of all Indians who ever visited Pakistan.

3. The education system of Pakistan has probably done even worse for the general population than ours has done for us. And that's saying something.

4. Most of their industry comprises spinning mills, garment factories and leather goods. Heavy industry never had the chance to come up, unless one counts the defence and ordnance sector.

5. The masses are religious but the majority is not religion obsessed and sectarian. The 'sectarian' killings are not being carried out by people on the ground against each other – they are target killings being carried out by those the state has used as its proxies, armed, trained and indoctrinated for that purpose. Correction made courtesy Beena Sarwar.

6. Law and order continues to remain a huge challenge. Even  the Brits could never tackle the fiercely independent Pashtuns or other  frontier tribes and present administration seems even more helpless.

7. Employment levels are not good and a large part of the masses are actually idle and fairly unemployable. Predictably that's a devil's workshop tinderbox.[1]

8. They speak just the same language as us for the most part barring a few words and expressions. The spoken Urdu is hardly different from our spoken Hindi. One has no problems in fluent and 100% mutually understandable conversation. Even much of the slang is common, courtesy Bollywood.

10. The educated liberals of Pakistan are indistinguishable from our own educated liberals. They openly condemn mindless conservatism much harder than we do at any given time. They are aware of their problems and don't need our sympathy. Mutual friendly ties cannot exist on "big brother" paradigms.

11. Women still wear sarees and even bindis on formal occasions. Women also dress in jeans, tops or whatever else. It depends on the city and the social class to which one refers. Every woman is NOT burqa clad or sporting a hijaab.

12. The economy is unstable. There was a general crash five years ago when the stock market bottomed out, property prices crashed and bank loans went heavily into bad debts. People lost fortunes. Even now cost of living and rates of inflation are much higher than Indian ones and so are interest rates.

13. They are nearly as diverse as us in terms of population demographics and geography. People in India know that they speak Urdu, maybe even Punjabi. But few have heard of Balochi, Dari, Seraiki, Farsi and Sindhi. Even more intriguing is Brahui, a purely Dravidian language with some Perso Arabic vocabulary and now written in Nastaliq. How they exist so far afield is still uncertain. One theory is in line with the Aryan Invasion theory, which starts on the premise that the Dravidian populations were once much more widespread and the Brahui tribes are a remnant relic population that has managed to survive in its old domain. Update courtesy Arindam Mukherjee.

14. The food is pretty much the same, just more meaty. Biryani, kebabs, nihari, naan, and such like. Plus roti sabzi daal etc as usual. Also golgappey, chaat and so on, not to mention gulab jamuns and jalebis.

15. Pakistan may not have its own Bollywood, but it does have a very thriving music industry and some very talented artiste. The Coke Studio (Pakistan) is a treasure trove. I personally prefer it much more than the Indian version.

Faisal Khan, Saniya Bhutta, Quratulain Habib: am I missing anything major?

Thanks to Murtaza Aliakbar for the edits and links.

What should every Indian know about Pakistan?


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