Aug 242012

Yesterday I found this article about the alleged genesis of Pakistan while googling around, and if ever I needed a vindication for the existence of this site, then this could well be it.

The author, one Tarek Fatah, might not be an Islamophobe (unlike some of his commenters) but he is suffering from a very North American sinsitrophobia – the belief that all bad things in the world must be the responsibility of the left. Pakistan is bad, therefore the left did it, he concludes. Jinnah’s baby, it seems, was really fathered by a global socialist conspiracy, led by the US and Churchill, for the purpose of setting up an air base within range of Russia.

Not content with a ridiculous premise, he then proves his ‘theory’ in a variety of ridiculous ways, with virtuoso leaps of logic, oodles of ignorance and more distortion than Jimi Hendrix. And all this in a national newspaper!

If the Toronto Sun would give me a column I could show that his ‘arguments’ have more holes in them than a cheese grater, while being rather less useful. But I’m not holding my breath waiting for the call.

I have read a great many conspiracy theories about Partition and Pakistan, and this one was slightly new, with slightly different villains. But the mistakes are familiar, and if Mr Fatah had ever read any serious academic literature on the subject, he could not be so sweepingly confident. For instance, it is quite inappropriate to compare Congress attitudes circa May 1945 when most of its leadership was in prison, and those attitudes post-August 1947, by which time the party was the government of an independent state within the Commonwealth, and the arch pacifist Gandhi was out of the loop. Next, the US had showed no interest and took no part in the making of Pakistan; Washington pointedly ignored the fledgling country for years, despite desperate attempts by Jinnah and his successors to get American money. Nor did the US back Pakistan over Kashmir in 1947, or in its two subsequent wars with India. Finally (for now), the air base for which the whole enormous enterprise was supposedly undertaken was not built until the late 1950s.

Needless to say some of his commenters are rather worse. But here again is my point; bad history launched from high places, told in loud tones and lurid terms, makes for strong opinions held without foundation. Is that really the way to make a better world?

As ever, it’s easy to ‘prove’ the existence of conspiracies if you cherry-pick your facts and ignore chronology wherever you need to. I will brush up my work on Partition conspiracy theories and put it up as soon as I can.

 Posted by at 7:22 am

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