BJP functionary Ram Madhav’s suggestion that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh should form a united nation called Akhand Bharat is erroneous in concept as well as untimely.
After a long chill India and Pakistan are trying to meet halfway, as evidenced in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s gesture towards by his Pakistan counterpart by dropping in at Lahore to wish the latter on his birthday on December 25. This followed the talks of the national security advisers and has set the stage for foreign secretary-level talks, expected to take place in January, after they were cancelled last year.
In this situation, when things seem to be looking up and there has been no firing along the Line of Control for some time, such a statement from a senior ruling party functionary has the potential of complicating matters and creating suspicions of hegemonistic designs when none should have existed.
It is only timely and proper that the BJP has distanced itself from his remarks. It is also surprising that Mr Madhav should be doing it now, given his RSS background. The RSS had always sought primacy for the Hindus even before Partition and no serious discomfort with the two-nation theory.
While it is true that the three were under British India till 1947 and shared a similar history, culture, and tradition, it is futile and even dangerous trying to put back the clocks of history on those grounds. Large parts of what is now India were under different rulers at different points of time. But those cannot be grounds for some regions to ask for an alteration of political boundaries.
Mr Madhav may be asked in this connection why he was leaving out Burma (now Myanmar) since that too was in British India till 1937. Likewise Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), though never part of Britain’s Indian Empire, has had religio-cultural contacts with India for more than 2,000 years.
The political boundaries of the world were altered on a large scale after the end of the First World War and decolonisation. But any attempt at tinkering with the world order can have disastrous consequences, as West Asia has been experiencing since the time of the first Gulf War in 1991.
The basic principle of international parleys should be equality among nations and respecting the sovereignty of all the countries of the world. It would be in the interests of Mr Madhav and India for him to retract his statement.