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View Poll Results: Are the Pakistanis Indians?
Pakistanis are culturally Indian. 10 9.52%
Pakistanis aren't culturally Indian. 21 20.00%
Pakistanis are culturally and historically Indian. 59 56.19%
Pakistanis aren't culturally and historically Indian. 15 14.29%
Voters: 105. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 3rd, 2014, 04:34 PM   #1
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Are Pakistanis Indians?


One of the many positive legacies of British colonialism was a unified India for the first time since ages, which, however, native nationalist politicians immediately screwed up by partitioning the country permanently. Are the Pakistanis still considered Indians or aren't they?

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Old January 3rd, 2014, 07:08 PM   #2

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An interesting question and one which will get you many different answers. Firstly one needs to understand what one means by the term "India" because it can either mean a modern country called the Republic of India or be used to refer to a historic geographic region which was inhabited by different peoples who shared certain cultural and religious similarities. If you want to take the first definition of India, which is the modern state of India, then the question to are Pakistanis and Indians the same will be no because they are both different countries who are successors to what is known as "British India". The tricky part however comes to the second understanding of the term India, because as a historic region it has most certainly included large parts of Pakistan and to this day the languages spoken in the eastern half of Pakistan belong to the "indic" branch of the Indo European language group, along with the North Indian languages. On top of that Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism have a long history in Pakistan and hence basing the answer to the question on this definition of the term India, one could say that Indians and Pakistanis are the same.

However things become more complicated when you include the western half of Pakistan into the picture which unlike the eastern half is "iranic". The second most spoken language in Pakistan is for example Pashto (which is also the second largest "iranic" language after Persian), and the dominant language in the south west of the country is Balochi (whose closest relative is the Kurdish language). For these Pakistanis, Indians will be quite alien (at least if compared to their ethnic kin across the borders in Afghanistan and Iran). Along with this, after 66 years of independence, differences have also emerged between eastern Pakistanis and Indians. Increasing interethnic marriages with western Pakistanis are producing offspring who are not seeing themselves as belonging to an eastern Pakistani ethnic group (like Punjabi or Sindhi) but just as a Pakistani, and this trend of interethnic marriages is growing especially in the urban areas (have several in my own family). On top of this cultural changes have taken place as well, as Pakistan is now a profoundly Muslim country with a 90%+ Muslim population. This has led to many changes in the common lives of people for example in dress, where clothes like saris which were considered too revealing were more and more shunned and are rarely ever seen now except on special occasions like weddings. In contrast the traditional hat of the Pashtuns has become more and more popular amongst eastern Pakistanis and can normally be seen worn by men in the winters in even Lahore. And so from this pov the response to the question are Indians and Pakistanis the same seems to become more and more in favour of no.

A third factor which you have to take into account when answering this question is that the regions that today comprise Pakistan have always been the border lands between empires based in modern day Iran and India. As such influences have historically been coming from both sides. If you read Pakistani history, you will often hear terms like "Indo-Iranians" being used, including for the ancestors of my tribe (the Kambojas). A fact to emphasize this belonging to two worlds that Pakistan has always been subject to can be shown by the Kharosthi script for example. This was a script that was adopted in modern day Pakistan when it was part of the Achaemenid Empire and was based on the Aramaic script which was I believe the official language of that Persian Empire at the time. The languages that used this script were however Indic languages (Prakrits). Hence Ashokas edicts in Pakistan are not written in the Brahmic script but in Kharosthi.

Before my post gets too long then, I believe the most accurate answer to this question would be "Yes and No". It depends entirely from which pov you are looking at the question and which Pakistani you are talking to, to get an answer to this question. Since this answer is not an option in your post, i wont be voting
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 08:22 PM   #3

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Why isn't their an option to make them Historically Indian? I think the ethnic makeup is changing, as people with a more Persian background move in, as opposed to the much larger ethnic group to the East that is mainly non-Muslim.
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 08:53 PM   #4

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It's a matter of at which time of reference the question is being addressed at. Even at present, the two nations are already charting out their own different paths in history. In antiquity and other relatively ancient periods of history, different powers dealt with different parts of India according to their own different requirements. The gateway to most of northern India was the North West, while that to southern India was through the respective seaboards. Only the British colonisation resulted, whether deliberately or otherwise, in uniting the entire India to its most meaningful extent ever. Give a few more centuries, and asking this same question then would be like asking today if Japanese are Chinese.

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Old January 3rd, 2014, 09:08 PM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaheen View Post
An interesting question and one which will get you many different answers. Firstly one needs to understand what one means by the term "India" because it can either mean a modern country called the Republic of India or be used to refer to a historic geographic region which was inhabited by different peoples who shared certain cultural and religious similarities. If you want to take the first definition of India, which is the modern state of India, then the question to are Pakistanis and Indians the same will be no because they are both different countries who are successors to what is known as "British India". The tricky part however comes to the second understanding of the term India, because as a historic region it has most certainly included large parts of Pakistan and to this day the languages spoken in the eastern half of Pakistan belong to the "indic" branch of the Indo European language group, along with the North Indian languages. On top of that Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism have a long history in Pakistan and hence basing the answer to the question on this definition of the term India, one could say that Indians and Pakistanis are the same.

However things become more complicated when you include the western half of Pakistan into the picture which unlike the eastern half is "iranic". The second most spoken language in Pakistan is for example Pashto (which is also the second largest "iranic" language after Persian), and the dominant language in the south west of the country is Balochi (whose closest relative is the Kurdish language). For these Pakistanis, Indians will be quite alien (at least if compared to their ethnic kin across the borders in Afghanistan and Iran). Along with this, after 66 years of independence, differences have also emerged between eastern Pakistanis and Indians. Increasing interethnic marriages with western Pakistanis are producing offspring who are not seeing themselves as belonging to an eastern Pakistani ethnic group (like Punjabi or Sindhi) but just as a Pakistani, and this trend of interethnic marriages is growing especially in the urban areas (have several in my own family). On top of this cultural changes have taken place as well, as Pakistan is now a profoundly Muslim country with a 90%+ Muslim population. This has led to many changes in the common lives of people for example in dress, where clothes like saris which were considered too revealing were more and more shunned and are rarely ever seen now except on special occasions like weddings. In contrast the traditional hat of the Pashtuns has become more and more popular amongst eastern Pakistanis and can normally be seen worn by men in the winters in even Lahore. And so from this pov the response to the question are Indians and Pakistanis the same seems to become more and more in favour of no.

A third factor which you have to take into account when answering this question is that the regions that today comprise Pakistan have always been the border lands between empires based in modern day Iran and India. As such influences have historically been coming from both sides. If you read Pakistani history, you will often hear terms like "Indo-Iranians" being used, including for the ancestors of my tribe (the Kambojas). A fact to emphasize this belonging to two worlds that Pakistan has always been subject to can be shown by the Kharosthi script for example. This was a script that was adopted in modern day Pakistan when it was part of the Achaemenid Empire and was based on the Aramaic script which was I believe the official language of that Persian Empire at the time. The languages that used this script were however Indic languages (Prakrits). Hence Ashokas edicts in Pakistan are not written in the Brahmic script but in Kharosthi.

Before my post gets too long then, I believe the most accurate answer to this question would be "Yes and No". It depends entirely from which pov you are looking at the question and which Pakistani you are talking to, to get an answer to this question. Since this answer is not an option in your post, i wont be voting
Well said.

In my opinion, many pakistanis can be considered Indian or atleast Indic from a historical perspective. However from a modern view... No they are Pakistanis and not Indian. India is both a political entity, a historical idea, a geographic marker and a cultural term. Many Pakistanis (not all, mind you, quite a few a historically Iranic and Afghan) are Indians when we consider the historical term India, but are certainly not Indian from a political POV. Culturally the answer is more complicated. Culture is not a static phenomenon. At one point of time Pakistanis would have been culturally similar to Indians, however that is no longer true. Are Pakistanis culturally Indian? Were they ever? There are no simple answers to these questions, and none that would ever be acceptable to any large number of people given the history of violence between the two modern nations
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 11:31 PM   #6

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Historically the term "Hindu" was first used people of Gandharan regions (Afghanistan, Pakistan and some parts of modern India). The term "Hindu" was not known to 2/3 of India even as late as the first Muslim invasions, so they were not "Hindus". The Afghan rulers of Delhi Sultanate were the actual "Hindus" despite being Muslims because of their origin in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "Hindu" term doesn't designate anyone living East of the Sindhu region, because that would include a Chinese or a Japanese also.

However, after the medieval era, the term "Hindu" was exclusively given religious connotation, especially when Buddhism was breathing its last breaths.

After the British come into picture, they brought whole of sub-continent under single administration called it "British India". They gave Nepal significant autonomy because of the bravery of the Gurkhas (who are still employed as soldiers by the British). And this is the reason why "Nepal" did not end up as a part of modern India. Nepal and Pakistan were more or less on the same position regarding the identity issue of who could be called an "Indian". Since we do not call Nepalese as Indians, I do not think we should call Pakistanis as Indians either. Sikkim was annexed by India in 1975, so Sikkimese could be called "Indian" now, but they are neither racially nor culturally any closer to mainland Indians as they are to China or Tibet.
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 11:38 PM   #7

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Are Americans British?
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 11:49 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by M.S. Islam View Post
Are Americans British?
a better question might be - Are the people of FYROM (Macedonia) Greek? Historically they were, but today, i suspect both sides would be quite unhappy at being associated with each other
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 11:52 PM   #9

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The Pakistanis are Pure Arabs as they Claim.
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Old January 4th, 2014, 12:07 AM   #10
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They are historically Indian,but culturally they are mixed...for eg Pashtun culture is not the same as Pakistani Punjabi culture or Sindhi culture.

Although i think there are Pakistanis who claim descent from Jat,Rajput,Gujjar etc I personally had a Pakistani friend who has Rajput as his surname.

Btw Indonesia,despite being the largest Muslim nation population wise,is more "Indian" culturally than Pakistan.Their national symbol is Garuda,an Indian Hindu/Buddhist divinity!Don't be surprised if you find Muslims with Hindu name in Indonesia.([ame=http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suryadharma_Ali]Suryadharma Ali - Wikipedia bahasa Indonesia, ensiklopedia bebas[/ame] !!!!)
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