The Fragmented Subcontinent
By: Abid Hussain Rather
A cursory look at the world map reveals that there is a broad and extensive piece of land between Arabian sea and the Bay of Bengal in the continent of Asia which is largely extended in the northern side but as we start moving downward, this piece of land gets narrowed till it ends in the Indian Ocean. If there would have not been political boundaries between different regions on the map, then the three contrariant countries of this region would have been looking like a great single country. Perhaps this is the reason geographers have named this region as ‘subcontinent’ and common people recognize this region by the names of three countries – India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Generally, this piece of land has uniformity in its topography and climate and that is the reason the region is classified as one geographical region. Accordingly different issues confronting the regions can also be effectively addressed by taking the whole region into consideration for each part of this region is largely dependent on the other for different needs of its population and no part of this region can progress or develop separately without mutual cooperation.
Long before, this whole region was politically known as India which, with the passage of time, was separated into three different countries due to many socio-cultural, political and religious reasons which were named as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
While India is famous for its large geographical extent, production of different mineral resources and its associated industries and the diverse and colourful culture, Pakistan too has enough rare resources of natural gas and large fields for cereal production. Bangladesh, similarly, has one of the world’s best irrigation system which has resulted in its enormous production of jute giving it the tile of being ‘ Golden Country’ in the world.
Though politically these three parts of the sub continent are three separate counties but cumulatively this region is bestowed with enormous natural resources and the region has capabilities from producing different raw materials for the whole world to the enormous technological advances. But the political boundaries and also political rivalry that assumes huge importance at times has largely marred the collective development of the region. The region, given its potential can be the world leader if there is cooperation between the three countries. When the whole world is becoming a single entity in the form of global village in the present era of science and technology and the waves of globalization have turned the political boundaries as meaningless entities, this part of the world is still a portray of inter rivalry between the nations, where these countries have restricted and banned their inter trade, inter transport system and have become vehement political rivals of each other. Antipathetically their inter relations are worsening with every passing day in spite of developing a peaceful environment for solving their inter political issues.
These countries have already wasted seventy five years which has crippled their economic growth due to wastage and mismanagement of their natural resources. But the political leaders of these countries are still not able to see the opportunity and the way to greater progress.
The world’s geopolitical scenario has changed swiftly in this long span of time. The rivals of yesteryear’s have become the friends of today. Different colonial states have achieved freedom from the clutches of colonialism and dictatorship and become democratic countries. Eastern and Western Germany have forgotten their rivalry and became one nation by burying the wall of Berlin under the ground which was once the symbol of division in Europe. Other countries of Europe have also come close by understanding the power of mutual cooperation. Two great wars of twentieth century were fought in Europe and its worst effects were experienced in the countries of Asia and Africa. But the scenario has changed in European countries and now there is peaceful environment in Europe with no expectation of future wars. But Asia and Africa are still lagging behind and have become the battlefields where human bloodshed and violence has become a routine.
Thus, it is high time that leadership of these countries should solve their political disputes in a friendly manner by creating atmosphere for peaceful talks. Though the political boundaries in the fragmented subcontinent can not be erased but the three nations should live in harmony and mutual cooperation with each other for the economic and social welfare of common people.
The author is an official member of JKIFTS columnists council and can be reached at [email protected] )