Feudalism in Pakistan and Capitalism the World Over

democracy autocracy

Pakistani expatriates in the USA have developed a consensus that the genesis of what ails Pakistan can be traced to the feudal system our former colonial masters imposed on India as a corp of supporters which they continued to throw crumbs to till the very end of their rule. The colonizers declared them and their vassals martial race,and used them against their own country men for sabotage of the national movement. They also used them to fight the inter-imperial wars all over the world. They engineered alienation on religious grounds, so that what were friendly neighbors till yesterday, butchered each other today. The more sensitive ones wore a mask while torturing and raping. The devious ones invited their co-religionists to abduct , bash the heads of, and incinerate innocent children.
The inherent weakness of the political party of the Muslims was that it was led by the progeny of, with a few honorable exceptions, the same bunch of traitors
Muslims were historically handicapped. They had lost power to the British who naturally discriminated against them and patronised the Hindus. The latter had already honed their commercial, industrial and admnistrative skills under Muslim rule. That was their ticket to prosperity.
After 1857 Muslims were not just discriminated against, they were actively victimised. They might have been Red-indianised but for their large numbers and a few souls who were able to critically analyze the situation and came to the rational conclusion that the only escape for them was through education and collaboration with the rulers. If the choice is between living on reservations and working for your victor, few will opt for the former.
The reformists did not simply intend to create a collaborationist class. They meant to bide their time, regain vitality and overthrow the Raj when the time was ripe. A lot of nationalist Muslims fought shoulder to shoulder with their Hindu compatriots against the British. Their ranks included a brilliant young lawyer- M.A .Jinnah.
The Raj was not content sitting on its hands either, and developed a corp of fifth columnists, prominent among them the feudal lords and civil servants.. When the colonists could no longer withstand the assault of the independence movement, they decided to hand over on a platter a separate state to their faithful servants.
Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, knew this and tried his best to avoid partition of the country. He held onto the concept of a Con-Federal structure with full autonomy to the constituent units. The only subjects the center would control would be defense, foreign affairs, and communications, with further safeguards such that the majority could not take a critical decision without concurrence of the majority of the minority members of the central assembly. He could not accept a federal structure because he knew that he was burdened with the onus of leading a mass of weak reeds.
But even Jinnah, past master though he was of tactics and adept at utilizing the mistakes of opponents to his advantage, could not overcome the combine of British chicanery, the alienation caused by Gandhi Ji introducing Hindu imagery and the illusion of Ram Raj into politics, the shortsightedness, overweening ambition and the low self image of Indian National congress leaders who would not accept a weak center, and were frightened out of their wits of Jinnah. They were,in any case confident that Pakistan would collapse and fall in their lap as an over ripe apple.

Jinnah had to accept ” a moth eaten Pakistan” moth eaten to enervate it and sow the seeds of perpetual dissension between the two newly independent countries with no experience of self government- all to the specifications of Imperial design. That led to two nations at each other’s throat,whose priority should have been development of social services, jobs, industry and education.

There are credible reasons to believe that Jinnah did not envisage a permanent state of alienation between the two countries. He willed most of his assets to charitable institutions in India. He did not even sell his house in Bombay, now valued at twenty million US dollars.
India, inheriting the machinery of established Government, a fairly advanced infrastructure, a vibrant entrepreneurial class, a much larger and developed economic base, and a truly bourgeois national movement, could cope much better. Pakistan on the contrary was bereft of developed resources, administrative machinery or industry. It had a much smaller and little developed economic base. Its political party was feudal in character, notwithstanding Jinnah and a few Bombay and Bengali lawyers. Jinnah openly declared that the country will not discriminate on the basis of caste or creed. He ordained separation of religion and state. But that was not to be. He died and his successors put him on a pedestal and hastily forgot his instructions.
The obscurantist Mullahs, till yesterday, vehement opponents of Pakistan, rank opportunists that they were, climbed on the bandwagon, and as the proverbial jackals started feeding on the trough. They also potentiated the feudal class and pronounced fatwas (religious edicts) against reforms such as civil rights, equal status for women etc. Their main thrust was, however, against land reforms, the domain of their benefactors. The slogan of Pakistan and Islam is in danger hamstrung the would be nationalists.The country, to offset the greater might of rival India, willingly fell into the fatal embrace of Neo-Imperialists.
This should, hopefully, define with sufficient clarity, the reason India and Pakistan took different paths, why Pakistan has been ruled for most of its existence by the army and why the Indian army sharing the same British heritage has been subservient to the civilian authority. India abolished the feudal system in 1948. The Eastern Wing of Pakistan abolished the system too about the same time India did, as most of the feudals there were Hindus. Feudal system still survives and thrives in what was then West Pakistan-now all of Pakistan.
Post Independence events are well documented and need not be dwelt on repetitively.
Pakistanis, in country and expatriates, differ on the emphasis they should lay on the various components of the society for perpetuation of the core evils of violation of civil rights, subjugation of women, their status as commodity to be bartered for land or in exchange for blood money, corruption, poverty, illiteracy, paucity of social services, expenditure of most of the exchequer on debt servicing and armed forces, with less spent on health, education and job creation than by even the poorest of the third world countries. Resolution of the difference is critical as it will depend on the adoption of a line of action. Just complaining about all the barbaric acts some of them “democratically” approved Panchayat ordained rapes and murders, police, army, bureaucratic complicity in the crimes and the supine judiciary, corrupt political parties- and protesting from the safety of the USA, etc would not help much.
Let us take up the army first. Do we impute an independent class character on it? Army personnel are derived from all classes of the society-predominantly feudal/peasants, but also from urban bourgeois, bureaucrats, lower middle class traders, clerks, teachers and such officials and an odd one from the laborers/industrial workers, peons etc. They are put through a designed and deliberate metamorphosis. They are broken down, and built up again in the traditions of unquestioning obedience, and uniform reaction to any given set of circumstances. It is, of course, a highly regimented body, where freethought is sedulously rooted out.
The Pakistan army is highly disciplined. All the successful coups have been from the above, with the Army chief at the helm. They obey the chief regardless of his ethnicity. The chief effectively sheds his ethnic culture. The armed forces are thus, a true reflection of the society at large.
Senior civil bureaucratic services of Pakistan are overwhelmingly of feudal derivation, with a little sprinkling of the progeny of urban bourgeoisie and a rare entrant from the other classes.
Professionals-Journalists, Doctors, Engineers, Accountants, Lawyers, Business graduates, Architects etc have a higher representation of the urban bourgeoisie than the other groups do.
Capitalists, not the ones metamorphosed from the feudals, have a quasi-national character. They are largely in service industries, dependent on and beholden to Global Capital. True industries are very much in the nature of consumables like agriculture, cotton, plastic,          Rayon, and china etc. Heavy industry is minimal.
Industrial workers correspondingly lack substance. They are not cohesive, are heavily infiltrated by fifth columnists, are led by time servers and easily controlled by the repressive machinery of the state.
A valid query would be that if the army, political leaders and bureaucrats all belong to the same class, why does the army suppress the politicians? The answer should not require the intelligence of a rocket scientist. Family feuds are much worse, and country cousins kill more frequently for share of the land, than urban ones do for money. Bloody feuds over Zar, Zan, Zameen (Money, Women and land, the traditional causes of friction) antedate industrial revolution.
What line do we follow? The one advocated by civil libertarian reformists would have us agitate, appeal to the overlords, encourage people in Pakistan to take out processions and if possible create a law and order situation, to force the Army to allow “free and fair” elections. Even if the concept of fair and free elections in Pakistan had any more validity than voting with a gun on their heads- if you do not vote against Sandinistas, we will make sure you will starve- in Pakistani context defying the feudal lord, Biradari, tribe and clan- even if the police and the bureaucrats were to abstain from bogus voting and stuffing ballots, not a likely scenario, the same bunch of nincompoops will return, who will only ask that their hands be be allowed in the till too. We will simply be enlarging the number of guests at the feast of Jackals. They will be toothless jackals too. The army controls most of business, commerce, industry, a lot of Housing markets (all the defence societies), Air line, Shipping, Agriculture, Banking etc. They even own tankers that supply water to Karachi homes!
The army officers holding civilian jobs are not going back to barracks. Why should they. Remember it was a civilian Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who handed over WAPDA to the Army. It was the civilian Prime Ministers father and daughter Bhutto who handed over law and order to the army. They will pursue the same policies of privatizing everything under the behest of the IMF and World Bank. They will let Global Capital control the very lives of the people, pushing the cost of living so high that life would not be worth living. That appears to be the agenda of the International corporations.
We must not forget that except for the Ghazi of Kargil, all army chiefs were invited to take over by the civilians. Nawaz Sharif had an “overwhelming” mandate, over two third majority in the parliament. He had been successful in dislodging a Chief Justice, a Naval Chief and lo and behold even an army chief. But when push came to shove, nobody raised a voice of protest when Musharraf sent him packing. Nobody went out on the streets. Most of his minions joined hands with the usurper. Benazir’s PPP leaders, no doubt tired of political wilderness, also joined the ranks of collaborators.
We can not accept that the politicians were helpless nor that people are afraid of guns. They confronted Ayub’s martial law in 1961, when the army had not yet been castrated by the 1971 civil war. People still had a modicum of respect for the institution. Students, supported by the people again, went out on the streets in 1968 and shook the foundations of the army rule. It was students who sustained Z.A. Bhutto, when he was hounded out of Pakistan by Ayub. He was living in self imposed exile in England making the rounds of pubs-I met him in one-lamenting to any one who would listen, how Ayub had victimised him, how he had fought for the gains the army had made in 1965, how Ayub had betrayed the country etc. We held his hand and offered him our unstinted support in Pakistan.
Students are the most politically conscious section of Pakistani populace. They would not be taken in by the mentally challenged pansies masquerading as political leaders in Pakistan. They would not follow feckless cowards.
The only problem with student led agitations is that they do not have the stamina for prolonged struggle. Radical left is littered with names of might have beens, Mantos, Sarwars, Hashmis, Qadris, Sher Afzals and Wadoods.
Pakistan’s tragedy is that it never developed institutions. Every generation has to make its own mistakes and learn lessons anew. The left, dominated by communists, failed Pakistan with its internecine feuds. You could count them on fingers of two hands. They still broke into Russian/Chinese factions. They were swept away like so much jetsam and flotsam, leaving progressives in the lurch.
Politicians were so keen on regaining some measure of power, however unreal it may be that they are prepared to countenance Musharraf if only he would take off his uniform. This obsession with uniform can only be explained if we accept the contention that the politicos want only the semblance and not the reality of power. Benazir presents a precedent. She debased herself by begging for the blessing of General Aslam Beg, a collaborator of her father’s murderer. Contrast this with Mujib’s daughter putting her father’s army murderers on trial. During a security meeting a Lt General snubbed her. I read this new item myself. Nobody denied it.
From the perspectives of expatriates all that a civilian Government would achieve would be that the hand of a relative some and not the others, will be on the till too.
Should we adhere to NGOisation.Remember NGOs function as the covert arm of the Imperium, distracting attention from failure of the state to do its job. The edge of conflict is dulled. The march to revolution is slowed. The incentive to confront the jackals is diminished. But for the NGO band aid people might rise in desperation. “Marta Na To Karta Kya” (roughly do or die).
There is no free lunch. If you accept money, you follow the dicta. Most of the NGOs in South Asia are funded from the U.N.O/the U.S.A.
There is a very good study by Lars Schoultz, a highly regarded social scientist from the U of North Carolina. He has studied the relationship of US aid vis a vis violations of Human Rights. He contends that the more egregious the violations, the higher the U.S. aid. He has analysed Latin American countries, but it applies equally well to South Asian recipients of U.S. aid. It is not that Violation of Human Rights is a pre-condition set by Aid managers. It is that the rulers get empowered and get away with murder-literally. Zia could not have promulgated all the barbaric ordinances if Soviet intervention in Afghanistan had not opened the floodgates of U.S. aid. For all his affliction with “foot in the mouth disease” Musharraf was lauded the other day, by no less a person than Condoleezza Rice.
Remember, States have interests and not friends. Human rights are not even their medium high priority, even in their own country. Why would they put themselves out for Vani ( barter of daughters), Gang Rape and honor killing in Pakistan. They condone even worse in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Indonesia. They will topple dictators only when they are defied, when they calculate that they can get away with it, like bombing Libya, invading Grenada and Panama, subverting El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvodor. They will take a bit of risk when oil is involved. They will pay lip service to human rights when their strategic interests are not at stake, example North Korea. They will not even slap the wrists of tin pot dictators of client states. Banking on them is akin to living in a fool’s paradise.
But we have to use the available instruments. We participated in Student union affairs as it was the easily accessible vehicle at hand. We have to use the NGO path, while looking for a more dynamic way. True and lasting social justice will be obtained through a political party of workers, the dispossessed and the politically aware intellectuals.
Passive criticism of small groups of people over a period of time leads to mass and popular movements as happened in anti slavery, feminist and civil rights movements. Our rallies, protests and seminars might be worth it if they resulted in heightened consciousness. Let us, though, not forget that the movements were led by a vanguard with fire in their belly, and they were not funded by Governments. In any case no NGO has yet lit the flame of an anti-establishment conflagration.
Does that leave us in a morass of ever deepening depression? Are South Asia, Mid East and Africa hopeless? Will Far East never emerge out of the slough of client statism? Will Palestinains be Red Indianised?
We live in a very small world. We are no longer isolated. Whatever affects one part of humanity has an impact on all of our species.
The fate of Red Indians, indigenous people in New Zealand, Australia and the “primitive” tribes in Africa are, unfortunately, norms of history. Humans are believed to have dealt with near human neanderthals in a similar manner. They became extinct. There is a hypothesis in evolution. There is ,at times, a throwback to remote ancestors. Some current powerful politicians would seem to substantiate the hypothesis. Fascism is a throw back too. It tried to exterminate Jews.
But times have changed. In the era of instant communications, the Imperium and its agents can not get away with what the Europeans, mainly the British got away with, in the preceding several centuries. Palestinians and Bosnians have not been exterminated. They have, indeed, transplanted, as the Jews did, in the West and give sustenance to the parent tree.
For the rest of the underdeveloped world, groaning under the burden of the Imperium and their toadies, the historical process is on their side. They will progress from the current feudal/tribal, fascist dispensations to a Capitalist society. Democracy will follow. Remember, it took European capitalism several centuries to break the shackles of the Royalty/feudal combine, the latter helping the demise by fighting the former. Capitalism inevitably leads to exploitation of the workers. They will eventually rise, notwithstanding the insidious impact of reformers and half hearted social supports. Capitalists sense the impending conflict and throw crumbs, witness the welfarism in post depression U.S.A, post WWII Europe and post civil rights reforms in the U.S.A again.
Social justice will inevitably prevail.
The problem with this scenario is that it will take a long time. Attempts at short cuts have not been very successful. One was the late and not much lamented Soviet Union. But they did not faithfully follow their prophet. Marx envisioned a fully industrialised society with acute class conflict where workers will rise and annihilate the oppressors. Lenin and Trotsky and their cohorts did manage to wipe out the oppressors, but they were short of the oppressed working class. Russia was anything but industrialised. They had to, in the first place, overthrow the legitimate socialist Government, abolish all the socialist measures introduced by that Government and impose a fascist dictatorship.
It is a falsehood to say that socialism failed in the Soviet Union. It was never introduced there.
The other attempt at accelerating the historical process was Mao’s revolution in China. China was an agrarian society, ruled by feudal warlords engaged in incessant skimishes. The country was in fiduciary bondage to imperial powers. Japanese aggression, take over by Chiang Kai Shek an under study of the colonisers and WWII weakened the grip of the overlords. That gave Mao and his comrades a window of opportunity. They overcame the opposition. But they did not have an industrial base or workers either. They had to impose a fascist dictatorship as well. It had a more human face, though. Mao sent his opponents to farms rather than to oblivion, as Stalin did.
The third rather more promising example is Cuba which has so far been steadfast in a socialist path in spite of all the subversions and aggressions.
A common thread that ran through all the “socialist” countries was that they overcame internal and external opposition,and made tremendous and fast headway in material progress. They were able to institute a welfare state, providing basic necessities, food, clothes, shelter, health care, education and jobs to all. That can not be said of the richest and most developed countries. Capitalist and democratic Russia had to withdraw all the social welfare support. Capitalist countries were so frightened that third world countries would follow the development model of socialist countries; they poured aid into even India to develop it as a showcase to rival China. This they did with obvious distaste as they hated Nehru for his independent ways.
The current overwhelming trend at Globalisation may be Marx’s dream come true. In the last several centuries it has been the national capital, marauding the colonies and warring with each other for the spoils. All the European countries, not excluding the even lowly Portugal, boasted of vast territories in their possession. But the character of Capitalism is changing fast. Now there is emerging a conglomeration of national capital. Like divine religions they do not recognize national boundaries. They don’t even bother about the concept of nations. They used to allow a “trickle” down to their own country men. They don’t any more.
The components of International Capital have always invested in all countries, Japanese in the U.S.A, the U.S.A in the UK and so on. Now they are taking over water resources and the land all over the world, they have patents on crops and manufacturies, and they own mineral rights everywhere. Client states are crushed under the burden of loans euphemistically called aid, they have to accept I.M.F and World bank dicta to make the life of their citizens miserable.
But what distinguishes Global Capitalism from national capitalism is that the former does not even pretend to be solicitous of the welfare of the people of the first world.
The new mantra is outsourcing. They had to pay a living wage, health benefits, unemployment and pension to workers in the USA. General Motors paid an average of $28.00 an hour to its workers. They pay $4.00 an hour to a South American worker for doing the same job -with no fringe benefits. Delphi would like its workers to accept $9.00 per hour instead of the current $27.00 per hour. Numerous other industries, airlines the foremost, have forced their workers to accept a drastic cut in their wages. Countless others have moved out of the country. Ninety percent of the software industry is now in India. Shorn of the disguise of reduced wages and benefits, unemployment would be rampant in the USA.
I lived in the UK in 2001-2002. The same situation obtains there. They have a smaller economy so their unemployment rate is much higher. All the European countries are busy whittling away at the social support system introduced after WWII. The recent riots in France, at the moment affecting only the immigrants, are portentous of worse to come.
My submission is that when the ordinary humans of the first world will become economically destitute, and will be reduced to the state of the third world, they will rise in solidarity with all the dispossessed. Only then would the long and tortuous historical process will be shortened.

And Marx may turn out to be a true prophet after all.


I was born in Dewa Sharif, UP, India in 1939.

I went to school from the fourth to eighth class in Gonda, UP and the 9th grade in Jhansi, UP, India.

We moved to Quetta, Pakistan and went to school for the 10th grade and intermediate college in the same town.

I was in Karachi University 1954-57, then Dow Medical College 1957-62. I Was in the National Students Federation from 1954 to 1962, trained in surgery in the Civil Hospital Karachi 1962-65, proceeded to England 1965 and trained in General surgery and orthopedic surgery till 73, when I left for Canada 1973-74, USA 1974-83, back to Karachi 1983 and built a hospital and went back to the USA in 1991, been in the USA since.

I retired from surgery in 2005.

I have worked in various HR and Socialist groups in the USA.

I have Published two books ,:”A Medical Doctor Examines Life on Three Continents,” and ,”God, Government and Globalization”, and am working on the third one, “An Analysis of the Sources and Derivation of Religions”.



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