- Collective Stockholm Syndrome.
Stockholm syndrome is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity.[(Wikipedia)
It seems the syndrome can not only affect individuals or a group of people but can afflict large collectivities such as nations and can embed itself by them so that it comes to be called culture their culture.
Here Mushtaq Ahmed (Sain Sucha) has graphically and lucidly described his experience as an illustration of the acculturation of the people of South Asia who are today pride themselves to be Muslims.
Face to Face with Reality
The year was 1961. I had just turned twenty and after getting a job in Leatherhead, Surrey moved to Kingston-upon Thames. Kingston was a student town — because of Kingston Technical High School, now Kingston University, it attracted students from all over the world; also, a very large number from the Middle East. As was the common practice in England I found digs on Beaufort Road, where several other students were accommodated by Mrs. Mills, a German lady with a very English name.
As a new arrival, I looked for signs of approval among other persons of my age. The language was no problem, I spoke English fluently but ethnicity and religious background caused a problem. Initially, I tried to make ties with the Muslim boys from Iraq and Jordan. They very polite but not so cordial as I had expected. The few boys from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) kept to themselves. The small group of West Pakistanis were from the Frontier area and the rural part of Punjab and that did not provide any intimacy either. The only people I felt at ease were the Punjabi speaking boys from India and Pakistan, but there the national differences caused a slight rift.
Under the prevailing circumstances, I felt somewhat confused as to where to anchor my social life. Then one evening Muafaq, a boy from Iraq, who studied aeronautical engineering solved my problem of determining who I am. Maufaq was twenty-three years old and lived in the house next to me. Because of my better English, syntax as well as pronunciation, he often consulted me for help in English. We were nice to each other but not friends. While we were sitting in the nearby pub, The Swan, he addressed me and asked – Mushtaq, I want to ask you a question. I looked at him and nodded.
– I have seen that you prefer to stay with us than the boys from India.
I nodded again.
– How come? How come you prefer us over boys of your own ethnicity?
– Well, I am Muslim and we are Muslim brother …. and I find it natural to feel an affinity for you.
– Do you really?
I did not answer.
– Do you speak Arabic or can read the Quran? Maufaq asked.
I kept looking at him. I could not either.
– Then what kind of Muslim are you?
Maufaq was not being unkind to me. He was just curious about my identity.
– How do you look at me? I asked.
– You are a Hindi! That is the way we look at all of you from India and Pakistan. Some of you call yourself Muslims and for reasons unknown to us consider yourself affiliated with us, but that is not the way we look at you. We are the conquerors and you belong to the conquered. You could never be one of us. I am not being rude to you but that is the way things are. I am sorry if I hurt you but I find you an intelligent person and have talked to you several times; and found it necessary to ask you this.
Maufaq kept on looking at me, but I did not give him an answer. I had no answer.
Even today I have no answer to why we look up to people who conquered us, occupied our land, took our women and livestock and never considered us equal.
Personally, I have never felt inferior to anyone, whatever their origin or status might be. I have functioned well in the world and know many more from our part of the world who have performed excellently in the world. Yet, there are millions after millions in South Asia who consider the people who ruined their culture, identity and psyche as their redeemers and are willing to commit any act of stupidity to please them.
I come from a land of high mountains, throbbing rivers and canals, verdant valleys, lush green fields, colourful birds and exotic animals. The land of Baba Bulleh Shah and Kabir. The land of song and dance.
I do not come from any desolate arid desert, filthy ill-smelling nomads who until recently never had a mouthful of water or food. With nothing to cherish in this world, I am not surprised that they look forward to another world where their sufferings would disappear and they might have some easy time. But why are we consenting to be molested by the agents of these people, Mullahs, and their collaborators in our land?
Get rid of them! Now.