Martial Races

After 1857 Mutiny, British India started to recruit specific people in their military based on their history of faithfulness. Punjabis (including Indian Punjab) and Pashtuns were on top and were recruited with favoritism as they stood faithful to English against their own fellow citizens during the mutiny.

This is the base of theory of martial race. Or martial race theory. 

After the mutiny, Bengalis were ignored. They were considered ‘weak’ for military by the Britain and were ranked the lowest. They were considered good with pen and bad with military service – or slavery so to speak. No wonder, All India Muslim League was formed in Dhaka and not in Western India (today’s Pakistan).  

After the mutiny, the percentage of Punjabi and Pashtun soldiers gradually increased in the colonial army. By 1929, 62% of soldiers in the army were Punjabi.  After Independence in 1947, Pakistan military had a share of 72% Punjabis. Bengalis percentage in army never exceeded 9% from 1947 to 1971, even though they had around 55% share of the total population. This was the discriminatory system which crashed in 1971.

Recently, as reported by Guardian, records of 320,000 Punjabi soldiers from WW-I were uncovered from the depths of Lahore Museum. The data of these soldiers is being uploaded on www.punjabww1.com. Data of Sialkot, Jalandhar and Ludhiana districts have already been uploaded. This compilation and digitization of data is interesting.

Coming back to martial race, after Independence of 1947, Pakistan inherited the same military with the same unsaid rules. Punjabis and Pashtuns on top over other races and provinces. This is one of the reasons behind Fall of Dhaka in 1971. The discrimination, monopolization, and hate was embedded within the politics, as well as military.

The martial race theory was a comprehensive and long-term recruitment plan of Englishmen to rule the country through local countrymen. We all know General Dyer and Michael O’Dwyer as the men behind Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919. But these two men didn’t fire a single bullet. Do you know who did? Punjabis did. That day, Punjabis in uniform killed Punjabi civilians. That day, Indians killed Indians. That’s why I always say militarism is dumb. It makes you a complete duffer and you don’t even think before firing a bullet on your own.

Let me elaborate with another scenario.

A sepoy belongs to lower economic strata of the society. He is less educated and is in the military for financial stability. He is sent on duty within the country. And his usual targets are men / women of lower economic strata of the society. He attacks men of his own class. He attacks houses like his own. It’s like Jallianwala Bagh in mini-series of a soldier’s life.

This current military system, which is in Pakistan, India and almost everywhere around the world, is inherited from Britain. Medals, ranks, uniforms, divisions, everything is English. They are all trained the same way. They are recruited, brainwashed, and systematically made dumb.

The men in military embrace militarism as their religion. No questions asked. No second thoughts. No consciousness before firing a bullet. No “conscientious objection”. Just like the soldiers who were trained for Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

When a solider kills his father in the line of duty in a movie, you get goosebumps. Isn’t it?

It’s a long topic. It’s debatable too. But you need to think. Ponder. Ask. Decline. Resist. Why rules are forced on you? Why you need to accept the standards already set?

“Why not” is the counter to every “Why”. Why not?

Your name, your race, your caste, your religion, your color, your belief and your subconscious is already done and decided without a single uninterrupted-input from your own self. What left is resurrection. Question yourself. Question your beliefs. Embrace your doubts. And explore.

His Highness was a rightist once. He was in absolute hate of all those who believed otherwise. He was in support of violence over nationalism and religion. He used to get goosebumps too. A loss of cricket match used to hit like a bullet. Embarrassing, I know. But then, a decade back, things changed. Literature changed. Perspectives changed. Everything changed. His Highness will write on the journey of change another time. Till then, embrace your subconscious, doubts, and dark questions – not in Freudian way though.

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