Nationalism and religion triumph over common sense in the sub-continent, sadly, often in detriment to our existential realities. Now that dusts from celebratory marching of 46 years of independence have settled down, I urge you to rethink some of the core tenets of your nationhood -- it might be corroding your senses.
I am a trained scientist and my world-view on “should be” matters is dictated by a simple notion: In conflicting situations between or within the nations, environment and the genepool must take precedence over all other considerations.
In simple terms, what this means is any political, religious, or ideological manoeuvre that curtails or restricts human genepool -- I am against it.
In India, or anywhere else for that matter, one won’t be held responsible for dreaming of Aishwariya Rai or Asif Azim as his/her life partners. You recognize instinctively that they are endowed with superior genes. Now consider, Aishwariya Rai or Asif Azim is to be replaced by Nusrat Faria, Momena Muhtasen, or Fawad Khan -- no matter how ridiculously aspirational it sounds -- you should at least get a shot at it. You need not be cast off simply because you don’t have a valid visa to share your bed.
Political and social agenda must function under biological reality -- not vice versa. We, as a species, have evolved precisely because of this instinctive push and I want that to happen on a grand scale, as nature would have wanted us to accomplish.
Bear in mind, all those lofty ideals that you are ready to die for do not mean much once you are dead. All that lasts are the genes you pass on, strictly speaking. Ultimately, a nation is what its genepool treasures for posterity. Its value lies in its diversity and enormity; you can’t fathom the significance of this by starting nitpicking at a micro level and so this must be understood at a macro level.
Your DNA, which is the true bedrock of the imagined nation that you are cheering today, does not really understand what side of the politics or religion you are in
Order or chaos?
We live in strange times when human beings are happy to think themselves as citizens, not as species. If members of our species, in particular, founding fathers of the sub-continent, realized this simple fact (most of them knew this at their own family level though), the sub-continent would have been a far more liveable place. Human beings, I reckon, are the only species, who are so stupendously moronic that they would gladly curb their genepool and rejoice this as their victory.
While old wives tales, instinct, and words of wisdom work well at a micro level, you need a completely different set of tools to understand the milieu of nature, ie macro level. People often assume what happened to his/her family, if multiplied by a factor of 10 to the power five, is the “rational” model applicable to their nations. You cannot construct a sense of what is happening around you by simply juxtaposing your individual experience to a grand scale.
Chaos, the epitome of grand-scale activities, leads to emerging properties that we might not understand while it is happening. I’ll give you one example, albeit a naïve one, to illustrate this phenomenon.
If one compares India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, most independent observers would agree that Pakistan has the most authoritative judiciary and free press -- relatively speaking. As far power structure is concerned, the country’s history is “horrendous” to put it mildly. It has almost always been dysfunctional -- so much so that eight years ago, many were thinking whether the country could withstand such chaos and maintain its geopolitical integrity.
It is precisely because of such chaos, I reckon, a relatively free press that can mock its top leaders and a judiciary that can oust its prime minister have emerged. Logically speaking, this shouldn’t have happened, but it did and most certainly this emergence of robustness will go in favour of ordinary Pakistanis in the long run.
“Order” is a good thing at the micro-level, but you absolutely need “chaos” at the macro-level for robustness to emerge.
Streak me homogeneous
When I look back at the last 70 years of sub-continent, all I see is missed opportunity of a monumental measure. How can a sane person celebrate such harakiri of our genepool? We all -- the Bangladeshis, Indians, and Pakistanis -- are the ongoing losers of this event because we all ended up with restricted and eventually, less diverse genepools.
Your DNA, which is the true bedrock of the imagined nation that you are cheering today, does not really understand what side of the politics or religion you are in.
Future generations will agree with me that the greatest event of our time is the emergence of hybrid races in Western cosmopolitan cities. Greatest minds of our time are pulled into New York, London, Paris, Sydney, and other such cities for economic reasons (mostly). Some of the best specimens of our species at childbearing age from all over the world are being concentrated in these cities.
For the first time in human history, cross-cultural barriers relating human reproductive behaviours are eroding at such a fast pace in these global hubs. The distinctiveness of traditional race and identity is slowly dissipating in these areas and a supra-identity is gradually taking its root.
I don’t have data to support this but my hypothesis is that children of the most “hybrid” parts of these cities have higher IQ than that of the average kids of those countries. A similar trend could have emerged in Karachi, Dhaka, or Mumbai -- but it didn’t, because supposed purity of our races, religions, and ethnicities are far more important than our existential choices.
The better specimens of the species obviously do not entertain such stupidity. Few will disagree that Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Imran Khan are two of the better specimens of the land they call Pakistan. Now who did they choose to pass on their genes? They selected possibly the best available counterparts, but Rattanbai and Jemima are not exactly from their own race (or religion).
Those who don’t understand “formal” logic and statistics, you will find, are the most ardent nationalists. Fortunately, onset of this phase of zealotry is often diagnosed at post child-bearing age, which is advantageous for young people.
Genepool is the greatest treasure of mankind. Take advantage of that. Remember, good genes don’t come with a price tag, neither are they wrapped up in green, orange or red flags.
Faham Abdus Salam is a Canberra-based regulatory scientist.