In a recent article, Pakistan’s nuclear physicist Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy took note of “India going Pakistan’s way,” particularly in the manner that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (and its ideological arm, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) had attacked the legacy of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
“Nehru was degenerate and dissolute; born in a brothel and eventually died of syphilis; impregnated a Catholic nun; claimed to be a Kashmiri Pandit but secretly ate onions; and from age 19 onwards would be drunk every day starting at 9 a.m. As with America’s alt-right, which insists that Barack Obama is a closet Muslim, Hindutva activists allege that Nehru’s grandfather was Ghyasuddin Ghazi, a Muslim kotwal serving the Mughal court.”
Ideologically, Pakistan too has demonized Nehru, “the Hindu” who imposed his community’s majoritarianism on India and played foul with Pakistan in cahoots with the British Raj. Nehru’s pluralism was just the opposite of what the Muslims had in mind. If India under Modi is thinking like the Pakistani textbook, it doesn’t bother Pakistan much despite the fact that Islamabad has not done too well as an ideological state. Nehru was into socialism of the Fabian variety, which led to low growth. In Pakistan, too, Bhutto imitatively followed in his footsteps and the economy languished.
But India will not be punished for electing Modi just as secularists languishing in jails in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be ignored because of Ankara’s prosperity. India may be imitating Pakistan ideologically but Modi will be forgiven his religious trespasses because of the steady growth rate under him. Pakistan sets itself apart from both Modi and Erdogan: its economy is belly-up and its ideology shows no sign of cooling off despite the ugly “failed-state” facts on ground.