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The Asia Society present. This is a series of interviews with experts on Asian affairs designed to strengthen our understanding of Asian people and by ideas. Your most on this transcribed series is the noted author on the ward winning broadcaster league Graham. Here now is Mrs. Graham since Pakistan was created from the Indian Empire by partition in 1947 and became a federal republic in 1956. Many of us wonder what has it done. Has it gone ahead of India which seems to be played by so many problems. Is it in the same situation. Is there success in a limited way. Well these are some of the questions we'd like to talk about on this program. Part of the society present series because our guest knows a great deal about the subject. He's Wayne Wilcox and Professor Wilcox is with Columbia University he's an associate professor of government and he's a research member of the Institute of War and Peace Studies there. He has spent a
good part of his recent life in Asia. And last year he spent at Rand Corporation as a political analyst working on 10 year forecasts of what the development and security in south east and south Asia would be. He's written many papers a number of books. His most recent book is called Asia and United States policy. And with all this formidable background he is a most personable and listen above person because he has engaged in broadcasting himself and knows how to hold his audience I'm sure of all the things you've done. The festival of gods was that the most fun broadcasting about your subject. It was and one of the other nice advantages was that it paid my mortgage payments when we moved into a new house. So I think broadcasting is good for two reasons. Yeah it pays well. Yes so that you can have no objection to being in broadcasting. But do you have the feeling that that somehow a rather temporary thing and that you have to address
yourself to the research that you do and the writing you do. I think so all of us who are called upon to pretend to be experts or to be professional communicators always have to go back to the vineyard of our facts go back and see how human beings are working out their problems or else we run out of genuine and vital things to say. I think without field research an expert simply can't be an expert and soon becomes nothing but a commentator. Yes a good speaker or less you can call a blind guess like you. And then you say. What is it Willcox you felt that the topic for this discussion ought to be Pakistan from shoe disaster to limited success. By that you imply that success can never be a total one but has to be quite limited. Well I think I'd like to say it the other way round which is that when Pakistan was created as two parts the two poorest parts of British India separated by a thousand miles of Indian Territory. Most people
looked at that country and said How can a swamp and a desert ever last with 80 million people in the twentieth century. A state moreover that was supposed to have been founded by a group of very fanatical Muslims intent upon some kind of theocracy. So I don't think it's the fact that Pakistan's success has been limited or is automatically limited. The most remarkable thing is that Pakistan has continued for the last 20 years or Pakistan could not have continued as part of the British Empire Of course a long time ago. But it's part of the Indian Empire because the religious friction was much too strong. Was that the main reason for the division. There are as you know in any of these great social movements that are characteristic of our time many factors which account for the emergence of partition but I think the closest analogy which our listeners might know about is if they thought about Pakistan as being kind of a Muslim equivalent of
Zionism. The European Jews felt themselves. Culturally part of the European countries in which they live but also culturally separate. To a degree they felt themselves under considerable political pressure and of course the great holocaust of the Hitlerite period made them in secure the Indian Muslims felt toward the Hindus that they were partly in the end but partly Muslim too. And in World War Two with a large number of communal riots they felt that they too were insecure without their own state. There were also the selfish interests a businessman who wanted their own country so that they didn't have so much competition. Are government servants who wanted overnight promotions or the other kind of normal natural interest of people to better themselves. But on balance I think your point is right that Pakistan was the product of a Muslim defined nationalism. The fact that it is placed in such an in amazing way
geographically that East Pakistan. There are two provinces and East Pakistan is separated from West Pakistan by a thousand miles of Indian Territory. Does that make travel between the two provinces limited. I mean you have to just fly over there if you want to get from one to the other I guess right. As you know the basis of partition was those people who wanted to be Pakistan had the right to vote then it so happened that the Indian Muslims were concentrated in the Far West and the far east of the Indian subcontinent. So they had the opportunity to declare themselves for Pakistan and they declared with a strange Geographic result that with a perfectly predictable political result that the country would be divided. Now today of course a Pakistan army eager to travel between wings has to fly Pakistan International Airlines subsidizes that route. And I think it's safe to say that it's the cheapest thousand miles in the world to fly.
How about traveling to India herself. I mean is it impossible for Pakistan to get a visa to India is that too much bitterness still. Well it's quite difficult without clear purpose. That is to say the Indian government. Is not anxious to approve tourist visas. They are not anxious nor indeed are the Pakistanis willing to do so. The result is that the people who really move back and forth are businessmen or government servants. Is there much contact though between the two countries in other respects antagonistic should they meet each other some place they don't like Arab and do you know Israeli and Arab. Well no as a matter of fact one of the striking things is that Indians and Pakistanis outside India or Pakistan always greet one another with a good deal of affection. They frequently speak the same language and their forebears inhabited the same country. So I think there's quite a lot of civility a person a person.
It's government the government where the problem is. And since the war. In 1965 Of course almost all contact between the two states has been broken even mail for example is delivered very late if at all. Telephonic communications between the two countries is very weak and often interrupted air service is just now resuming. Three years after the war. So I think it's safe to say that India and Pakistan have much less contact and they've ever had in the 20 years of their mutual independence. A professor Wilcox would you draw some comparison between the countries geographically that do problems that make up Pakistan must be much smaller in size and all of them. Oh yes the Indian subcontinent is about two thirds the size of the United States. If you juxtapose that on a map I suppose that West Pakistan is rather like Kansas and Nebraska and size and East Pakistan has something equivalent to Maine or New Hampshire or Vermont.
India of course is a huge continent as diverse geographically as it is ethnically and linguistically. Sir George Grierson once counted two hundred twenty five distinct languages on the Indian subcontinent. So compared to India Pakistan is relatively more homogeneous though its peoples are divided into these two very distinct peoples. The Bengalis who inhabit the eastern wing speak one language though with different dialects. I live in a riverine plain not unlike Louisiana and climate and crop pattern whereas the people of West Pakistan live in something which would come much closer to Utah dry irrigated land quite rich if you could get water to it. Feeling of the step some mountains that are barren around a long way from the fertile fields and plains of the Ganges Valley. So they really inhabit very different kinds of places
and the irrigated desert and sometimes flooded swamp. I understand that India has much more natural resources should they ever be developed fully or even halfway than Pakistan could ever have. Well that's certainly true as you know with a you know you wonder how could Pakistan equal or surpass it if she's that limited just to begin with. Well I'm always amazed at how well Small countries have done after all Denmark is a very small country with no natural resources. But Denmark is one of the richest countries in the world. It happens to have the best agriculture in the world. Israel has done remarkably well in the limited resource base country it had people of talent and energy in desperation. Libya has discovered oil cheated a little bit along the way but it's developed very nicely. Taiwan again the imagination and ingenuity the people are more important than the limited resources. Pakistan if it is to develop in the future will have to become this
kind of country a country of talented people able to find out where their greatest opportunities lie and seize them with energy. The country has to have a combination if not well at least one very strongly that is natural resources plus people who understand how to develop and create enough exports to get some money. Now India has not been able to what used its national resources as fully as it might. Is that the main problem of India. Well the Indians of course have done exceptionally well they've done better than they ever have in history about economic growth and Indian literacy is increasing the fastest of any Asian country except Indonesia. So it isn't that the Indians haven't done a lot but they have tried very complicated things. They are trying to build their own generators for major dams they're trying to build the microscopes they're trying to build sophisticated aircraft. You might say that the Indians were overly ambitious in what they tried to do and failed in doing
some of it. Pakistan was more modest in what it intended to do and succeeded in what it intended to do. If you make a comparison then at this point between the two countries industrially you would say that Pakistan has done a better job now not better but at least it's been more successful. Not industrially so much as its total economic development. Pakistan has shown real vitality in agriculture only now is India getting the message on the need for a highly productive growing agriculture. The Pakistanis have tried some simple industries and done exceptionally well but it doesn't take much to do exceptionally well in cotton textiles or Jute textiles. These are lower order industrial tasks. Now the Pakistanis now are working on cement. They're working on sporting goods they're working on the next level of sophistication shoe hides carpets and so on.
And with some Russian and Chinese support are putting up their first major steel mill and machine tools plant. Now we see therefore that Pakistan is not trying to put heavy industry on the map. Thus far and has relied rather on secondary agricultural transformation to keep it growing. It's done exceptionally well in those categories but they are course limited. When we asked in Pakistan in the winter when I was there in February with 67 68 68 on your previous visit I mean how much time elapsed between this last visit and the one before that. I was there last before this last trip in 1964 so about three and a half years. Could you see much difference. No not really. I follow the country fairly closely both India and Pakistan I knew what the statistics were looking like I have my benchmark districts that I always visit to see what what's happened in that
district since I was there last. The transformations that have taken place in Pakistan are just an increasing richness of the texture of life. Peasants now can afford to have and have available to them. Aluminum pots and pans did a pottery. There are more bicycles people are better dressed. There is more color on the women as dyes and clothing come along. There are more children trying to get in school and there are more school buildings more vehicular traffic. There's even some small good garage isn't one sign of true development. When I heard some people say overdeveloped But if you would you have a choice of living in east or west Pakistan which would be more desirable. Well I think this always depends whether or not you basically love the desert or whether you basically love a green kind of pastoral place to live I think. If I had been born and brought up in Utah I would prefer west Pakistan if I had been born and brought up in Louisiana. I would prefer East Pakistan. It's a
little hard to say we have areas that different which I would prefer I think rain and flooding rivers and. The fact that the Jungle is constantly encroaching on your backyard can you be a little pocket. Yeah it can be a little disconcerting. But then so can the kind of bleached and barren landscape where only pastel colors are to be found in what only spring is green. What would you say are the things that can be found in either the east or west Pakistan which will contribute towards its increasing success. Well West Pakistan and East Pakistan both have very sizeable supplies of natural gas which are now being exploited. And as you know natural gas is not only a good thing to have for cooking it's also an excellent thing for power generation and perhaps more importantly for chemical fertilizer. Synthesis of chemical fertilizer from natural gas is now getting a very big play in
Pakistan and offers them Sam real opportunity to make their agriculture much more productive. West Pakistan also has all of the attributes of a very rich agricultural area it can grow a long staple cotton in irrigated areas. It can grow any tropical produce has a great possibility as both a cotton and a wheat exporting area East Pakistan has great sources of the natural gas which is only now being tapped for the first time is tea and jute burlap cloth and carpet backing and gunny sacks and bags. These are the areas where East Pakistan. She has the ability to earn foreign exchange in the world. I haven't been Do India myself and I know that you have and I know that almost everyone who has been there comes back with various stories about the beauties scenically and about the magnificence of them but always with the story of the incredible poverty and starvation on the streets.
People die without any attention being paid to it is that kind of thing at all in existence in Pakistan. Is there that kind of starvation and poverty there. Both wings of Pakistan are little more rich than their neighboring areas in India and so therefore the United Nations statistics show that Pakistanis have more calorie intake per day than Indians the other thing is that Muslims are allowed to eat meat of all kinds of the Pakistani protein diet tends to be a little better than the Indian Orthodox Hindus diet. It does seem to me however that mass poverty Pakistan in 1962 went ahead of India in park APA income figures by a little bit if you trust such bogus figures is a gross national product per capita. But I think they both remain extremely poor societies in which the very poorest members of society are also people who are on the borderline of starvation or malnutrition.
What hose back some Asian countries let's say India and Pakistan for example compared with a country like Taiwan or Japan or even Indonesia now where they have forged ahead what will hold one back and not the other. Well I think one should always remember that. Taiwan received an enormous amount of help from the United States. I don't remember the figures but I once did a study of the 15 billion dollars of economic assistance which we loaned or granted all Asian states from 1945 to 1965. Twenty years of 15 billion dollars which was the total figure. Half of it went to only three small countries Taiwan Korea and Vietnam. I see so that the amount was so great that that was a tremendous headstart. True and the other great advantage is that Taiwan had is that it had refugees as immigrants they had nowhere to go back to that
had to be the promised land or they would surely die. So a lot of skilled people went bad and still could contribute right away right. And they were desperate. They had to develop. Yeah but what does hold back a country like Pakistan. Well to start with a side from the 80s it gets a certain amount of aid. It's gotten a considerable amount of aid in the United States about 3.5 billion most of it in loans and most of it in commodities. Yes. But but what seems to be the main trouble is it the weight of the myth and the superstition which surrounds have an agent in philosophy. Oh no I think it's all contraire. The Asians are quite as materialistic and they have prone to want a high standard of material living as anyone else I don't think there is any kind of a superstitious bar to wanting high levels of consumption or production. The simple fact is that India and Pakistan are the poorest large areas on the Earth's surface and have been since at least 900.
When you say pushed you mean that they have so little which is a natural resource right. They have. Well I've exploited natural resources. They have very large and growing populations and very low levels of the exploitation of resources they have very little capital plant in their countries. They have India adds to its population 15 million people every year. That's the population of Greater New York and almost 10 percent of the population of the United States and they add it every year. But still don't you think Professor Wilcox there is some connection between a philosophy or religion which says This world is not very important and the ultimate Paradise has nothing to do with materialism. So south of this why you hear it's incidental. I mean that is almost an ingrained point of view isn't it. Well but curiously that's more Christian than it is Hindu. The Christians are convinced that there is a heaven
which comes after this life. The Hindu knows that there is another reincarnation end of this world. So he's got to live in the world we can go off into a nirvana. Yes but he may be going on to a better reincarnation the one he has now and so that's what gives him his help. True and perhaps less desire to struggle. I don't know. I'm not sure I would put this down to the accumulated weight of large numbers of people unexploited natural resources uncertain rainfall to support agriculture and the fact that energy sources such as high levels of coal exploitation have not been found possible in this region until fairly late. How does the aid that is American aid to Pakistan and India compare. It's marvelous We give twice as much to Pakistan per capita as we give to India. But the fact is that Pakistan's slightly better performance in economic growth can be traced to higher levels of aid. Aid
works if you give enough of it. We've tried very little aid for this poorest of all parts of the world. If we could find the resources to double our per capita aid we would be amazed at how well aggregate economic development came along in these countries. But Pakistan then does get twice as much help as India has in the past. And you feel that that accounts for it's the fact that it has made more progress. It is the largest single factor in Pakistan better perform. You don't think there is any relationship between having more progress in a Muslim country than perhaps in a Hindu country. You know I wouldn't say that is the game variable reversible cause I think you make the sound more hopeful than many of us realize. We I mean money may not be the answer to everything but on the other hand I don't know what is the better answer. I see you point it out in with all your study in the field. I hope that more people in our government pay attention to what you're saying and our
people have to vote the money. That's right. So I thank you very much for giving us this insight into Pakistan. And a rather hopeful one at that. Now our guest Wayne Wilcox is associate professor of government and research member of the Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. He has spent a great deal of time in Asia. He's explored the problems and made recommendations written a number of books and papers and I'd like to tell you that his most recent book is Asia and United States policy. Mrs. Lee Graham saying goodbye and asking you to hold the thought that although east and west is west we do think the time has come for the twain to meet. That concludes tonight's edition of the Asia Society presents with Lee Graham. This eries comes to you through the cooperation of the Asia Society. If you would like to comment on tonight's program or would like further information about the society and how you can participate in its many interesting activities please write to Mrs. Graham at
WNYC New York City 100 0 7 and make a note to join us again next week at this time for another edition of the Asia Society presents. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
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Asia Society presents
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
Asia Society presents is a series of programs from WNYC and The Asia Society. Through interviews with experts on Asian affairs, the series attempts to strengthen listeners understanding of Asian people and ideas. Episodes focus on specific countries and political, cultural, and historical topics.
Talk Show
Global Affairs
Race and Ethnicity
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Host: Graham, Leigh
Producing Organization: WNYC
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-6-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:28:48
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Chicago: “Asia Society presents; 1,” 1968-11-21, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
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