JE Menon wrote:>>>...From 1960,1970s,1980s the Pakistani was part of the plan and Pakistan was encouraged and welcomed in the official circles. Pak took this as a signal to reject Indian culture and Indian connection in the west and also at home in Pakistan. The common antipathy to Indian culture from the west and Pakistan was a bond which was used to put Indians down.
A critically important insight in my view.
I remember when I was a small kid (early '80s I guess) we would receive TIME magazine at home.
Even at that age I noticed there was a tendency in the western media to glorify Pakistan and Pakistanis while almost remaining silent about India, and covering India with brutal condescension when mentioning it at all.
I clearly remember looking at a two-page, colored ad spread in TIME for an international hotel chain (I think it was Hyatt). Something about "America, you can come home to us wherever you are". The ad contained little photographs of an entire list of Hyatt locations across the world. "Lahore, Pakistan" and "Peshawar, Pakistan" were two I noticed, mainly because there was not even one location in India.
I also used to see similar ads in TIME for Thai airlines. Again, Pakistan (Karachi I guess) was in their destination map. No Indian destinations existed at all. India was just a grey shape with no cities marked in it, and viciously truncated to the north to include POK/NA in Pakistan (there would, however, be a censor stamp by the Baboos of the GOI, saying something to the effect "The Boundaries of India As Depicted In This Map Are Neither Accurate Nor Lawful".) It was kind of pathetic... the GOI wouldn't BAN TIME magazine for its repeated infractions of this rule, and allow the magazine to be imported by Indian subscribers, but somehow still continued applying its meek, weekly stamp of protest.
It is only now that I realize Pakistan WAS the surrogate for an "acceptable" sort of "Indian culture" in the West at that time. Everything associated with India... warm hospitality, music, dance, deliciously spicy food, minarets, beautiful women in richly colored fabrics, handsome mustachioed men in turbans... was labeled "Pakistan". India meanwhile was a grey mass that couldn't even get its outline depicted accurately. Besides, he "Hindu" aspects of India... poverty, caste, cows, curry, many-armed demonic idols, women set ablaze on their husbands' pyres or for dowry... were exclusively property of the Republic of India onlee. For both Pakistanis and the West to recoil against in shared disgust.
This goes back to the Muslim League-promulgated myth that Muslims were the ones who civilized heathen Hindu India by ruling it, and hence natural cultural allies of the West when it came to despising the savage hordes of Hindu India, and their corrupt, pompous, finger-wagging Socialist leadership. That attitude, embraced completely by the British sponsors of Pakistan, was transferred in toto to American views of India.
Today the shoe is almost completely on the other foot for Pakistan. They have become essentially equated with Islamic Terrorism (and little else) in the Western outlook.
However, the shoe is not completely on the other foot as regards India. We have reclaimed some symbols of our culture from Pakistan in the Western gaze, to be sure. But that culture isn't regarded, or received in the West as warmly as it used to be when filtered through the Pakistan lens. The "caste/cows/curry" tirade of atrocity literature is still in full flow, and has in fact expanded to include a number of trumped-up "human rights" angles about the oppression of women... "rape culture" and what not. Meanwhile, when Indian practices are adopted in the West, such as yoga or vegetarian diet, every effort is made to uproot these from Hindu culture and digest them as part of the universal knowledge of mankind.
It is almost as if, like sugar added to a cup of bitter coffee, the dominating presence of an Abrahamic, monotheistic Islam made "Indian culture" more palatable to the West than the real thing in its authentic, original, profoundly Hindu form. Today, with the demise of Pakistan's respectability, that culture is presented in its raw form and the West has a love-hate relationship with it.
Net net... the cultural propriety of India has been effectively taken away from Pakistan. However, it has not been completely reclaimed by India. That is a fight we've yet to finish.