Pakistani mind and its ambition
The Ruler Syndrome
By Mr. D. N. Mishra
Observer, February 18, 1994
The recent rejoinder to Mr KR Malkani's article, published in an English
daily in Islamabad, by one Tarik Jan of Rawalpindi reflects the malaise of
A few lines from the same will explain the burden of his rejoinder: "Like
other Indians, he (Malkani) proceeds on the assumption that since before 1947,
present day Pakistan was part of British India, they (Pakistanis) must be at
least 75 per cent Indian. So keep reminding them of that. In this way, he
naively believes that Pakistanis will forget their Pakistani identity and one
day their submerged Indianism will surface. No sir, that will not happen in
Malkani's life or the lives of his children to come. All the time when Malkani'
s grandfather was alive, we ruled over present day India. Now, in Malkani's
time we continue to be sovereign. Why? Because our existence is the legacy of
our 1000 year rule over this part of the world. If Britain had not betrayed us,
we would still have ruled Malkani's India for the simple reason that in 1857
Britain took power from us (Muslims) and in 1947 it should have returned power
to us. That is the legal position."
"We Pakistanis also hear about this racial garbage a lot. I hope I don't
offend Malkani if I state the truth that in appearance, majority of the Pakis-
tanis are good-looking and fairer than the Indians. Our racial stock is mixed;
we are central Asians, Afghans, Arabs, Persians and Aryans. Even within Pakis-
tani people, we have five sub-groups: Pathan, Punjabi, Baluchi, SIndhi and
This is not a singular feeling of a Pakistani citizen. We in India often
come across this "ruler syndrome" in Muslim Press in India. They think that
Hindus are unfit to rule, that Muslims are natural rulers. They go on reminding
that they were the rulers of this subcontinent, that Britishers changed the
situation, that this was a humiliation in itself. To escape this intolerable
situation, they, wanted a separate state and got it. And now Tarik Jan is
referring to the same.
In retrospect, what was known as Hindu-Muslim problem in the first part of
this century has trebled and has become an Indo-Pak problem, a problem includ-
ing the unfinished task of Partition, that is Kashmir, of demographic aggress-
ion in the east by Bangladesh, even as the Hindu-Muslim problem in India has
In fact, the 'ruler syndrome' is not symbolised by "Lal Qila" as a culmina-
tion of Muslim rule, but it is very much there in Islam itself. Dr Ambedkar in
his book, "Pakistan or partition of India", wrote:
"According to Muslim canon law, the world is divided into two camps, Dar-ul-
Islam (abode of Islam) and Dar-ul-Harb (abode of war). A country is Dar-ul-
Islam when it is ruled by Muslims. A country is Dar-ul-Harb when Muslims only
reside in it but are not rulers of it. It must not be supposed that this view
is ony of academic interest. For it is capable of becoming an active force
influencing the conduct of Muslims" (page 287).
"There is another injunction of Muslim canon law called jehad (crusade) by
which it becomes incumbent on a Muslim ruler to extend the rule of Islam until
the whole world shall have been brought under its sway" (page 288).
"Placed side by side with frantic efforts made by Gandhi to bring about
Hindu-Muslim relationship from 1920-40 makes most painful and heart-rending
a reading. It would not be much exaggeration to say that it is a record of
twenty years of civil war between the Hindus and the Muslims in India interrup-
ed by brief intervals of armed peace (page 175)."
"The consequences of which ... must be terrible for the Hindus... Yet the
Hindus continue to cherish the illusion that notwithstanding this past experie-
nce there is still left sufficient stock of broad and real community of the
sentiments and policy to enable the Hindus and Muslims to come together... One
wonders what has made Hindu intellect so weak and dull" (page 350).
Not that Partition has solved this problem of the "ruler syndrome" because
of the decreased percentage of Muslims in the country.
The Deoband school of Islam has declared in volume 12 of Fatawi Dar-ul-Islam
"The fatwa declaring Hindustan to be Dar-ul-Harb was first issued by Hazrat
Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddas Dehlvi and it has been reiterated periodically
since then. They then held as follows: In August 1947 the country became
independent but the cruelties perpetrated on Mussalmans, and the kind of
murders and bloodshed that followed independence has no parallel in history.
For this very reason, the Shiekh-ul-Islam, Maulani Madani, even after indepen-
dence, called this country, on account of its state of affairs, Dar-ul-Harb.
And some others termed it Dar-ul-Aman, a variant of Dar-ul-Harb."
Ambedkar also wrote in his book that Muslims in India "have always been
looking at the depressed classes with a sense of longing and much of the
jealousy between Hindus and Muslims arises out of the fear of the latter that
the former might become stronger by assimilating the depressed classes."
Mr Tarik Jan has negated Mr Malkani's arguments in a very simplistic way.
He recounts racial superiority of Pakistanis by describing them as more fair
and beautiful. Nobody in his senses can say that Pakistani Punjabi Hindus and
Sikhs are not from the same racial stock. And the same applies to Sindhis and
Kashmiris on both sides. Interestingly, he forgot to mention crores of Mohajirs
of Pakistan who are not that fair and beautiful. But then he, too, might have
considered them as "azlaf" and not "ashraf".
It is historical fantasy that Britishers took power from Muslims and, there-
fore, they should have legally returned it to them. For, in 1857, Mughal rule
did not exist even in one tenth of India. The so-called 1000-year Muslim rule
varied from ruler to ruler and suzeranity in most parts was just token. The
history of this period was one of continuous struggle. At the same time, Hindu
civilizational forces, on an assimilative campaign marched from success to
success. Though the cost was heavy, the achievements were not mean. Malkani
in his book "Politics of Ayodhya and Hindu-Muslim Relations" devoted a chapter
to "Increasing Integration: 1206-1857" where he has given ample examples of
social, cultural, administrative and even religious harmonisation.
The "ruler syndrome", deeply ingrained in Islam, does not have a response
to democracy , secularism and nationalism. Democracy demands participation of
every citizen in governance. Dar-ul-Islam does not allow for this right to
non-believers. There are only a few Islamic democracies. The rights of non-
believers there are inversely proportional to the grip of the fundamentalists
over the state. Unlike Christianity, Islam could not distance its clergy from
the seat of power in the absence of any reformation movement, leaving the
ruler syndrome intact.