Excellent Article on pakistani society , a must read for everyone: Black fell the day

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by maomao, May 30, 2010.

  1. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    Extremism is nobody’s friend. It only deals in might gained from coercion. It does not rest after it has defeated its ideological opponents because then it goes on to destroy even those supporters whom it deems too soft or moderate.

    This is an aspect of extremism that a lot of its more ‘moderate’ supporters in Pakistan have not comprehended. Educated men and women can be heard and seen concocting outlandish explanations and justifications in a bid to sympathetically define the economic and political reasons behind religious extremists’ acts of terrorism. What they do not realise is that to the extremists these sympathetic ‘moderates’ are as much infidels as any westerner or a non-Muslim.

    It seems many ‘moderate’ Pakistani Muslims who (sometimes rather mindlessly) echo the usual anti-West rhetoric doing the rounds in mosques, madressahs, drawing rooms and TV studios do so for two reasons. Interestingly however, I believe, a firm embracing of the ideology of the extremists is the least of these. Because one either has to be clinically insane (like a suicide bomber) or stark, raving stupid (like Faisal Shahazad) to fall for such an ideology.

    The other reason is the most prominent though. It has something to do with a state of mind that is a culmination of fear, ignorance and guilt. Thanks to the maliciously tempered history taught to us of Islam and Pakistan in our schools and colleges, I have noticed that very few young Pakistanis have any ability left in them to question (in an informed manner) what is dished to them by the courts, the state, the clerics and the televangelists as ‘Islam’ and ‘nationalism.’ This, despite the availability of a vast treasure of knowledge available in bookstores and libraries with which a questioning mind can easily puncture the spew of lies, half-truths and myths spun into the nation’s collective psyche—all in the name of defending the country’s Islamic heritage and the so-called ideology.

    Some ten years ago when Islamic evangelists were out in force asking Pakistanis to stop saying Khuda hafiz and replace it with Allah hafiz, no ‘moderate’ bothered to ask them why. They heard the word ‘Allah’ and that was it. No questions asked. So naturally, the same social preachers then got enough leverage to continue, asking Pakistanis to stop saying wa-alaikum salaam to non-Muslims who greet them with asalamalaikum.

    These are trivial nuances but the sort that go a long way in gradually turning society into an intolerant whole that some men and women would like Pakistan to become. Their weapon is distorted history unquestioningly understood as correct by a majority of Pakistanis. Learned, rational and modern Muslim leaders and intellectuals like Jinnah, Iqbal and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan — the three main icons behind what became the ‘Pakistan Movement’ — have gradually been turned into myopic near-fanatics with a blind hatred of Hindus. These great men are taught in schools as being the original purveyors of a theocratic state, a notion that has no roots in reality whatsoever.

    Historians of note, such as K.K. Aziz, Dr. Mubarak Ali and Asiq H. Batalvi who have convincingly rubbished the history taught in schools peddled by the state and its right-wing allies, have been sidelined. A concerted effort to subdue and repress the rationalist Islamic scholars of yore and today has been underway by organs pushing in narratives of traditionalist religious scholars (Khurshid Ahmed, Maryam Jameelah), political Islamists (Maududi) and even some obvious crackpots (Amir Liaquat, Zaid Hamid), to portray a highly aggressive, xenophobic and militant image and understanding of Islam, especially in the context of Pakistan.

    Through decades of disseminating glorious fantasies and myths about what a Pakistani Muslim is to believe and behave like, advocators of a hybrid version of faith and national ideology—in which conservative and traditionalist understanding of the faith is updated by a myopic and paranoid understanding of modern society—have been successful in turning much of society into an unquestioning, knee-jerk mass. This mob has little or no capacity to think beyond what is handed out as faith and patriotism.

    What goes missing in such a society is the ability to think and reflect. Its knee-jerk applause for popular Islamist causes and conservative social behaviour make it a society that is both fodder and food for nihilism—all in the glorious name of jihad, patriotism and good morals. This misplaced understanding of nationalism and religion is not only the vocation of crackpots and the clerics, but can now be found in the courts of law, intelligence agencies, the military and elected politicians alike.

    Their propagated goals are the supposed Islamisation and sovereignty of the Pakistani state. But the truth is, so far the many actions taken to achieve this goal have only managed to continue making society collapse inwards, and gradually turn Pakistan into a kind of forbidden island whose inhabitants simply refuse to give up (ideological) cannibalism, even if this means their existential, economic and diplomatic exclusion from the rest of the world.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect...nadeem-f-paracha-black-fell-the-day-050-hh-05
     
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  3. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    Frayed ends of sanity

    Frayed ends of sanity


    Over and over again I have been using Dawn and Dawn.com to hit home the point about the vicious, soul destroying mindset the bulk of Pakistan’s urban middle-classes (especially in the Punjab) have fallen in to.

    I have tried to give numerous examples to highlight this devastating observation and here again is another one: On May 28 when terrorists associated with what is called the ‘Punjabi Taliban’ attacked various places of worship of the Ahmadiyya community in Lahore, the TV channels were out in force covering the gruesome event. However, that did not stop them from running happy-go-lucky commercials of their corporate sponsors during breaks, giving the whole event a rather surreal feel.

    But this can be expected from this unfortunate republic’s many TV channels. There is now not an iota of doubt left about the level of sheer cynicism, sensationalism and demagoguery that they operate on. Most of them have become a reckless reflection of some of the most obnoxious, conspiratorial and chauvinistic sections found within the country’s convulsing middle-classes.

    That said, one however does expect some semblance of decency and reason in the polished corridors of the companies that advertise their brands on these channels. Couldn’t any of these companies that always claim to be ‘good social citizens’ have the presence of mind and heart to ask TV channels to stop running their ads during the coverage of blood-splattered events?

    Can’t they see how strange their ads look and sound when squeezed between images of blood, gore and tragedy? Don’t these ads with an unending series of plastic smiles and jingly material-worshipping actually end up mocking the tragedy that is unfolding live on the TV screens?

    I don’t think such a thought even crosses their minds. And how can it when a number of the same companies so nonchalantly end up sponsoring TV shows run by utter hate-mongers. It’s quite a sight, really, watching macho, loud demagogues and so-called TV anchors spiting venom against the West and then asking for a break that are riddled with commercials of Western multinationals.

    A religious TV show on a popular TV channel that in 2009 instigated violence against the Ahmadiyyas continues to be sponsored by various colas, facial creams, telecom brands and shampoos, and so is the show whose host is under scrutiny for allegedly having sympathies and links with terrorist organisations.

    In my eyes the companies who claim to represent the decent, ‘family-oriented’ and peaceful ‘modern’ sections of the educated urbanites carry an equal amount of blame as do the channels that let hate-mongers run amok in the studios just to jack up their ratings.

    It’s like shouting populist slogans mingled with idiotic juice, milk and telecom jingles over the dead bodies of all those unfortunate souls that these very channels so enthusiastically report and show.

    Is there no one among us so-called educated urban classes with the sight, mind and conscience to at least question the kind of convoluted and surreal corporate-jihadi anarchy so clearly visible on TV channels?

    Can’t we see that much of what is being preached and ‘debated’ on our channels in the name of religion, justice, reform and politics (and cynically being sponsored by multinationals), is one of the major reasons behind the confused and ravaged state our middle-classes (especially its youth) have come to suffer?

    This is not an overstatement. Certain TV anchors and their shows have proven to have enough power to actually instigate violence. Examples are in abundance of idiots listening to idiots on TV, gathering hateful ideas about certain Muslim sects, ‘minorities,’ and personalities, with some actually going to the extent of committing murder in the name of religion.

    And yet we can still see such TV anchors and their favourite side-kicks holding fort on prime-time television, and multinationals willingly sponsoring all the hatred and venom that is spewed on these shows.

    So what is that narrative upon which a bulk of Pakistan’s ‘political’ and ‘religious’ TV programming is based on?

    For years this narrative has gleefully been disseminated by the state, the clergy, schools and now the electronic media. It’s quite simple: Pakistan was made in the name of Islam (read, a theocratic state). Thus, only Muslims (mainly orthodox Sunnis) have the right to rule, run and benefit from this country. ‘Minority’ religions and ‘heretical Islamic sects’ living as Pakistani citizens are not to be trusted. They need to be constitutionally, socially and culturally isolated. Parliamentary democracy too can’t be trusted. It unleashes ethnic forces, ‘corruption’ and undermines the role of the military and that of Islam in the state’s make-up. It threatens the ‘unity’ of the country; a unity based on a homogeneous understanding of Islam (mainly concocted by the state and its right-wing allies). Most of our political, economic and social ills are due to the diabolical conspiracies hatched by our many enemies (especially India, Israel and the West in general). They want to break up Pakistan because Pakistan is the ‘bastion of Islam’ in a volatile region dominated by Indian, American and Shia Iranian hegemony. The many terrorist organisations operating in Pakistan are foreign funded …

    This narrative can go on in its bizarre depiction of what we as a country are or should become. Not for a moment are we ready to stand back a bit and look at what we have made of ourselves and of what we call our home. We call ourselves ‘moderate Muslims,’ and yet applaud or quietly tolerate the hate-spewing claptrap that pours out from our mosques and TV screens. We cheer about the fact that Pakistan is one of the very few democratic Muslim countries with a constitution, and yet we will not speak a word about those clauses and sections in the same constitution that have triggered violence and repression against women and have sanctioned a religiously apartheid state that only allows the orthodox Muslim majority democratic rights to rule the country, or run in an election.

    Isn’t it obvious that not only do these sections in the much celebrated constitution go against the modern-Muslim vision of men like Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Iqbal and Syed Ahmed Khan, but are also against the basic spirit of tolerance, mercy and justice so vividly present in the Quran?

    We have clearly lost sight of what Pakistan was supposed to be: A democratic, modern Muslim country where religion had nothing to do with the matters of the state and where the so-called ‘minorities’ were free to practice their respective faiths.

    These are not my words. And neither are they the words that Pakistani children are taught at school, in spite of the fact that these words and thoughts were spoken by the founder of the country, Jinnah, when he succeeded in carving out a country for the Muslims of the subcontinent, thinking that they would struggle under what he believed would become a ‘Hindu theocracy.’

    So what happened to that Pakistan? The obvious culprits in this regard are the many years of repressive military regimes and their growing nexus with obscurantist forces that we have had to burden and face. But were the democrats any better?

    The 1973 constitution that legitimised religious apartheid was inaugurated under a brilliant and popularly elected Prime Minister and approved by equally elected members of the parliament. And even though the same constitution was further riddled with myopic laws against religious minorities and women by a fanatical and hypocritical ‘Islamic’ dictatorship, how many democrats that came after the demise of this dictatorship ever bothered to at least debate or review these laws?

    So much has become taboo in this country — so much so that the question now arises, can we ever become a truly free, enlightened and intellectually robust nation? Or will we keep hiding behind our fragile masks of religiosity and ‘patriotism,’ a mask that goes up in front of our faces every time we are confronted by a situation in which our views and actions (especially in the name of faith) are questioned.

    We do not debate. We react and then huddle up behind our flimsy and lopsided historical and national narratives for reassurance, cursing the world for our ills, looking out for ‘infidels’ and ‘heretics’ among us, or for scapegoats in the shape of media-constructed punching bags.

    The nightmare we are living today has a lot to do with all this. We remain in a slumber, carving out an isolated ideological comfort zone for ourselves, while obnoxious, sectarian and so-called puritanical keepers of the faith attack and kill in the name of God whenever and however they please. We claim to be treading a middle-path between liberalism and fanaticism, when the truth is, it is exactly the middle-path that has gone entirely missing in how we think, behave, act and react.

    http://blog.dawn.com/2010/05/29/frayed-ends-of-sanity/#comment-82606
     
    bhramos likes this.
  4. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    Nice post, mao, now we cant change anything.
    thier brains are mind washed anti-India and anti-US,
    they only need US for some $$$, thats all they all hate East and West,
    as per TV's they are only if they scold rubbish, their rating grow, if they talk truth no Shyt will watch their programs.
     
    maomao likes this.
  5. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    "Learned, rational and modern Muslim leaders and intellectuals like Jinnah, Iqbal and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan — the three main icons behind what became the ‘Pakistan Movement"

    The sad thing is that even educated Pakistanis don't realize that other Jinnah, neither Iqbal nor Sir Syed ever advocated a separate nation for Muslims let alone use the word Pakistan for their aims. I will just quote a few of his speeches from Facts are Sacred which are also historical documents

    27 January 1884, at a function held in Gurdaspur:
    Again, at the gathering of the Indian Association of Lahore a few years before his death
    Note that he refers to both communities as Hindus in the geographical sense. He passed away much before the Muslim League was even formed so how could he have had any influence on the "Pakistan movement" other than the geographical connection that he established a uni at Aligarh baffles me. Particularly knowing these views which were publicly expressed.

    The ANP has made this book available free of charge for those who are interested in reading the entire Facts are Sacred
    http://www.awaminationalparty.org/books/factsarefacts.pdf


    Coming to Iqbal as well, there is a book The Idea of Pakistan and Iqbal: A disclaimer that uses documentary proofs that he was not just neutral on the Pakistan issue of a separate homeland for Muslims but decisively against it. HE was advocating only Muslim majority states(there were only two when he advocated this and that also with very close majorities in Punjab and Bengal) within the Indian union not separatism. This has been acknowledged by his son as well. The 1930 speech at Muslim League is cited but a through read of his speech actually reaffirms that he DID NOT advocate separatism. This letter in 1934 after his speech clarifies what he meant after all. The book publishes many similar letters to others that stresses on this same theme

    The person who came up with the name of Pakistan was Chadry Rahmat Ali, interestingly he did not stay back in Pakistan and died in UK, London alone. Jinnah until 1940 disregarded his scheme and also in the 1937 elections did not even utter anything to do with separatism. It was only in 1940, once the war had started and an understanding had been developed with the British rule and Jinnah that the Pakistan resolution was passed. Facts are Sacred and other books by freedom fighters familiar with the ML and books by Muslim leaguers as well show that this was the case. In particular Shaukat Hayat Khan in his book, 'The Nation That Lost Its Soul',

    Is it any wonder then that Jinnah had told a prominent Parsi of the newly created Pakistan Rustom Fakirjee Cowasjee
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
    Rage and ahmedsid like this.
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Ejaz ji,
    Granted that Jinnah and Iqbal were advocating weak center and dominion with in indian and nehru was insisting on strong center.Now the question is how and why pakistan after formation deviated from its basic tenet of dominions with in the union and ended up like same congress idea of strong center with in the lifetime of Jinnah itself when he announced urdu National language.when urdu wasn't even Local to any of the dominions which made pakistan at that time????
     
  7. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    ^^^I would look at it a bit differently. I would say that only Iqbal advocated a federated state. He died in 1937. It was Jinnah who deviated from that policy post 1940. So between 1940-47 Jinnah continually and increasingly indicated that he wanted a separate country. He was no doubt in touch with Churchill during this time and the British had already decided on the creation of Pakistan with Wavell even outlining the boundaries of the new country in 1942. This was decided without taking into account what the popular muslim opinion would be. It was decided that the new country would be created and even a "sufficient" level of support would be enough.

    The Cabinet Mission Plan was not workable. Any proper reading of the plan and ML attitude during that time will show that it was a disaster.

    I suggest you go though Facts are Facts. A book that was a precursor to In the shadow of the Great Game by Sarila and one of the first to go through the British and US archives and uncover the reasons behind the partition. I have provided a link above, it was published in the 1980s, so it gives an interesting perspective from the son of a freedom fighter i.e. Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan.


    Now why did Pakistan turn into a unitary state contrary to what Jinnah "claimed". Many reasons could be possible but probably because Pakistan was never formed on the basis of popular public opinion in the first place. The NWFP was dominated by the Congress. The Khan of Kalat in Balochistan launched the first insurgency (out the five that were to come) right after Pakistan annexed it. And Sindh assembly voted for joining Pakistan by just one vote - A European member. In Punjab, even though ML was the biggest party, the Unionists and the Congress were actually in the majority and had formed the govt. Bengal although did have a strong support for ML and comfortably passe the resolution to join Pakistan.
    Now that it has been 60+ years it should be possible to have a more federated state but I guess GoP is incapable of doing that in the current crisis.
     
  8. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Though i've not quite read both the books as you 've mentioned but read some of the extracts of "In the shadow of the Great Game" by Sarila as i found it quite interesting as on number of occasion it was mentioned in the great game thread here. As quite often its mentioned that the partition of india was the result of the great game as sarila himself says in his book.But how i see great game as evolving concept from Lord curzon to sir Olaf Caroe then Brzezinski.The Great game changed at various point of time and actors just snatched upon the chances to build on their position.Like partition of india was such chance.
     
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Another Intriguing question is how and when Jinnah changed from being biggest proponent of hindu-muslim unity to hardcore islamist and what were the reasons for it??On whom the direct action day of 16th Aug 1946 blamed be it nehru or jinnah....Jinnah did threatened with direct action day if his demand for separate state were not met...but i dont think that he really mean to invoke it.Or is it that Between nehru and jinnah Muslim League Chief Minister of Bengal, Huseyn Suhrawardy was able to pull off direct action day in calcutta and Jinnah got the blame of it???? Isn't it true that british evolved the plan of partition of india as back as 1905.To look into partition of india we have to understand the the reason behind the partition of bengal around that period.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2010
  10. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    ^^^
    It is true that Punjab had hardly any hindu-muslim hostility as compared to Bengal. If you look at general Punjabi literature there is no hatred against any community in the pre-independance era. This is unlike the Bengali literature where there was an undercurrent of hostility there. Infact, ML was founded in Dacka in 1906, and 40 years later one a clear majority in Bengal only.

    But the reality is that the powers of that time - the US and UK decided the borders not the Indian masses. There was no universal referendum on which country a person wants to join, but the heat of the moment was used to decide the future of the people.

    Here are some interesting articles that may answer some questions. I think Jinnah was always a Secularist, Islam was the best tool to use to gain a political advantage against not only the non-muslims but his muslim contemporaries as well.


    VIEW: The demand for Pakistan and Islam —Ishtiaq Ahmed

    The Muslim League’s propaganda struck terror in the hearts of the Hindus and Sikhs who were told that they would be paying jazya and Islamic law will prevail in all sectors of individual and collective life. The minority Shia and Ahmediyya communities were also fearful that it would result in Sunni domination

    The recent attack on a congregation of Ahmedis during prayers, which claimed more than 90 innocent lives, has revived a discussion as to whether there is a connection between the creation of Pakistan and Islam. Within the Muslim League there was always a constituency in favour of Pakistan becoming an Islamic state. One of its proponents was a close confident of Jinnah: Raja Sahib Mahmudabad, a Shia. In 1939 he wrote to the historian Mohibul Hassan:

    “When we speak of democracy in Islam it is not democracy in the government but in the cultural and social aspects of life. Islam is totalitarian — there is no denying about it. It is the Quran that we should turn to. It is the dictatorship of the Quranic laws that we want — and that we will have — but not through non-violence and Gandhian truth” (Mushirul Hasan, 1997: 57-8).

    If the March 23, 1940, Lahore Resolution be taken as the start of the Pakistan campaign, then Jinnah had to make a breakthrough in the Muslim-majority provinces of northwestern India — Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh — each of which had regional parties headed by Muslims. The Muslim League had to convince the Muslim voters in these provinces that their leaders were courting Hindus and Sikhs and thus were paving the way for Hindu Raj under the Indian National Congress. That opportunity arrived in July 1945 when the British government announced provincial elections for February 1946. Punjab Governor Sir Bertrand Glancy has recorded in several secret fortnightly reports (FR) the tactics that the Muslim League adopted during the long election campaign. In the FR of December 27, 1945, Glancy noted:

    “Among Muslims the Leaguers are increasing their efforts to appeal to the bigotry of the electors. Pirs and maulvis have been enlisted in large numbers to tour the province and denounce all who oppose the League as infidels. Copies of the Holy Quran are carried around as an emblem peculiar to the Muslim League. Feroz [Khan Noon] and others openly preach that every vote given to the League is a vote cast in favour of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). These deplorable tactics, as I have frequently said, were only to be expected; they provide a grim augury of the future peace of India and they are certainly not easy for the Unionists to counter” (Lionel Carter, 2006: 160).

    In the FR of February 2, 1946, Glancy wrote:

    “The ML [Muslim League] orators are becoming increasingly fanatical in their speeches. Maulvis and pirs and students travel all round the province and preach that those who fail to vote for the League candidates will cease to be Muslims; their marriages will no longer be valid and they will be entirely excommunicated...It is not easy to foresee what the results of the elections will be. But there seems little doubt the Muslim League, thanks to the ruthless methods by which they have pursued their campaign of ‘Islam in danger’, will considerably increase the number of their seats and Unionist representatives will correspondingly decline” (Carter, 2006: 171).

    Similar tactics were adopted in the campaigns in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. In his doctoral dissertation, India, Pakistan or Pakhtunistan?, Erland Jansson writes:

    “The pir of Manki Sharif...founded an organisation of his own, the Anjuman-us-asfia. The organisation promised to support the Muslim League on the condition that Shariat would be enforced in Pakistan. To this Jinnah agreed. As a result the pir of Manki Sharif declared jihad to achieve Pakistan and ordered the members of his anjuman to support the League in the 1946 elections” (pg 166).

    Jinnah wrote in November 1945 a letter to Pir Manki Sharif in which he promised that the Shariat would apply to the affairs of the Muslim majority. He wrote:

    “It is needless to emphasise that the Constituent Assembly, which would be predominantly Muslim in its composition, would be able to enact laws for Muslims, not inconsistent with the Shariat laws and the Muslims will no longer be obliged to abide by the un-Islamic laws” (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates, Volume 5, 1949, pg 46).

    The Muslim League’s propaganda struck terror in the hearts of the Hindus and Sikhs who were told that they would be paying jazya and Islamic law will prevail in all sectors of individual and collective life. The minority Shia and Ahmediyya communities were also fearful that it would result in Sunni domination. This is obvious from the correspondence between the Shia leader Syed Ali Zaheer and Jinnah in July 1944 (G Allana, 1977: 375-9). Although the Council of Action of the All-Parties Shia Conference passed a resolution on December 25, 1945, rejecting the idea of Pakistan (SR Bakshi, 1997: 848-9), most Shias shifted their loyalty to the Muslim League in the hope that Pakistan will be a non-sectarian state. Initially the Ahmediyya were also wary and reluctant to support the demand for a separate Muslim state (Munir Report, 1954: 196). It is only when Sir Zafarullah was won over by Jinnah that the Ahmedis started supporting the demand for Pakistan. To all such groups Jinnah gave assurances that Pakistan will not be a sectarian state.

    In my forthcoming book on the partition of Punjab, now running into more than 1,000 pages but which is at last completed and for which I am now looking for a publisher, I will shed light on how the fierce Islamist propaganda impacted on the partition of Punjab. The Sikhs had more fears than anyone else about what could happen to minorities in Pakistan. In a meeting in May 1947 sponsored by Lord Mountbatten to help the Muslims and Sikhs reach an agreement on keeping Punjab united, Jinnah offered the Sikhs all the safeguards they wanted if they agreed to support Pakistan. Only in March 1947 some 2,000-10,000 Sikhs — depending on who you cite — were butchered in the Rawalpindi rural areas so the Sikhs were very wary of Jinnah’s overtures. Chief Minister of Patiala Hardit Singh Malik writes he had an inspiration and asked Jinnah: “Sir you are making all the promises but God forbid if something happens to you, what will happen then?” The exact words Jinnah used in reply will be revealed in my forthcoming book, but the reasoning was that his followers will treat his words as sacred.

    Ishtiaq Ahmed is a Visiting Research Professor at the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) and the South Asian Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore and Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Stockholm University. He is currently working on a book, Is Pakistan a Garrison State? He can be reached at [email protected]
     
  11. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Atheist fundamentalists - ToI

    It is ironical that the two biggest architects of the two-nation theory, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, were staunch atheists.

    It is one of the deep ironies of South Asian history that the two figures crucial to the ideology of religious nationalism in the subcontinent - Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar - were themselves non-believers, and militantly so. Savarkar arguably first peddled the two-nation theory some years before the idea of Pakistan was mooted and then put into action by Jinnah and the Muslim League. In his seminal text 'Hindutva', published in 1923, Savarkar gave a territorial and racial spin to the word Hindu.

    "Dharma of a Hindu being so completely identified with the land of the Hindus, this land to him is not only a Pitribhu but a Punyabhu, not only a fatherland but a holyland," he famously wrote. The essentials of Hindutva, in Savarakar's mind, had nothing to do with religion per se but were predicated on a common nation (rashtra), a common race (jati) and a common civilisation (sanskriti).

    This was of a piece with Savarkar's personal life, in which he was fiercely atheist. He had publicly said there was nothing sacred about cows and advised Hindus to give up vegetarianism. Savarkar's biographer, Dhananjay Keer, points out that when his wife died, despite entreaties by his followers he refused to allow any Hindu rituals. Political psychologist Ashis Nandy, who has shed light on Savarkar's paradoxical relationship with religion, writes, "Savarkar's atheism was not the philosophical atheism associated with Buddhism and Vedanta, but the anti-clerical, hard atheism of fin-de-siecle scientism, increasingly popular among sections of the European middle class and, through cultural osmosis, in parts of modern India."

    Jinnah's tryst with religion had similarities to Savarkar's. In 1940, Jinnah told 100, 000 cheering Muslim League followers in Lahore: "The Musalmans are not a minority (but) a nation. The problem in India is not of an intercommunal but manifestly of an international character, and it must be treated as such." Savarkar was not in disagreement, and a few years later had this to say: "I have no quarrel with Mr Jinnah's two-nation theory. We Hindus are a nation by ourselves and it is a historical fact that Hindus and Muslims are two nations."

    However, in an earlier avatar, Jinnah - the chainsmoking, nattily-dressed, London-educated barrister - had impeccable liberal credentials. Gopal Krishna Gokhale had once hailed Jinnah as the "best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity". Historian Ayesha Jalal writes that in the wake of the Khilafat movement in 1920, Jinnah "derided the false and dangerous religious frenzy which had confused Indian politics, and the zealots, both Hindu and Muslim, who were harming the national cause". But that did not stop him from using religion to advocate Muslim separatism. As Nandy points out, "Jinnah kept the ulema at a distance throughout his life, but was perfectly willing to use them to advance the cause of a separate homeland for South Asian Muslims. Exactly as Savarkar, despite all his anti-Muslim rhetoric and passion for united India, not only established coalitions in Sindh and Bengal with the Muslim League, fighting for Pakistan, but was proud of these alliances."

    The contradiction between Jinnah's personal beliefs and his political use of religion became apparent in his later years. Thus, in 1946, Jinnah had no qualms about asking Muslims to launch 'Direct Action' which led to widespread rioting and bloodshed in the name of religion. But a year later, in his famous speech in the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947 where he spoke of a secular and inclusive Pakistan, Jinnah tried to put the religious genie back in the bottle. However, the damage had already been done.

    Savarkar had no such second thoughts. Though he was receptive to the idea that Muslims should have their own nation, his hostility towards them remained undimmed. Even at the age of 82, he wrote during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war, "Pakistan's barbaric acts such as kidnapping and raping Indian women would not be stopped unless Pakistan was given tit for tat." Apposite words, perhaps, from someone who used religion only for instrumental purposes.
     
  12. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    As the above two articles proves and many more others like these i would say Project Pakistan was more of Jinnah's personal ambition than for Islam.And in doing so he knowingly or unknowingly became willing tool in the hands of Islamists and the british.In Western india which is now called pakistan muslim league never had that much popularity than the congress.Even Pukhtoonwa was ruled by congress then.It was only that things picked up pace in the melee of partition after the first direct action day in Calcutta when the confusion started and along with rumors it spread like wild fire towards west...Alas the one who propagated the pakistan revolution(ie the bengalis and UP muslims) they themselves became second class citizens in their new adopted country.Which till date reminds how hollow was project pakistan call was...
     
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  13. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well you have to be quite rigid in your definition of Islamist. Any religious or devout person is not an Islamist. One of the main reason why the majority of the ulema and traditional religious scholars opposed Pakistan. Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan another very devout Muslim was also opposed to it. It is similar in concept to how the orthodox Jews were opposed and still are to the creation of the state of Israel.
    The usual definition is a person who advocates the use of Islam for political purposes. This concept is pretty new and was influenced by the new nation states that were forming around the world in the early 20th century and the rising communist and socialist revolutions around the world. Still for example, Maududi until it was sure that Pakistan would be created opposed the creation of Pakistan as state of Muslim of India citing traditional Islamic literature. He later changed his stance and accepted and moved to Pakistan.
    Like I have maintained before using religious values in a personal level by politicians is not wrong. That is, one can be a devout muslim, or hindu or sikh and still be a good politcian. Its when religion is used for politcal purposes that we see grave problems rising. In other words, saying to the electorate, give me a vote if your a Muslim or give me vote if you want to protect Hindus. These parties that don't look and justice or developmental issues will cause more problems for their own constituents than they resolve.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  14. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    The entire article is interesting but here is the main part which highlights the problem with Muslim League politicians in building a nation.
    One Myth, Many Pakistans
     
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  15. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The idea of Pakistan —Ammar Ali Qureshi


    Pakistan as an idea in the 1940s appealed to all sections of Muslim society in India. It would be wrong to assume that sects such as the Ahmedis or Shias took a collective decision

    Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed, in his article “The demand for Pakistan and Islam” (Daily Times, June 8, 2010), has raised a number of contradictory and controversial points that demand clarification and refutation. His statement about Ahmedis and Shias, of being initially wary of joining Pakistan or rejecting it first before accepting it, can be disproved from his own article. For example about Ahmedis, he says that they were wary till Sir Zafarullah was won over by Jinnah. Sir Zafarullah was present at the 1940 Resolution in Lahore and solidly behind Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah at that historic meeting, which means that Ahmedis had embraced the idea of Pakistan in 1940 when it was first presented. It is difficult to divine what anyone’s opinion was before 1940 as the idea of Pakistan had not been publicly presented or articulated before the Lahore Resolution.

    Professor Ahmed quotes a statement attributed to Raja Sahib of Mahmudabad, a Shia, in 1939 in which he is talking about a separate state based on religious laws. If this statement by Raja Sahib is accepted as true, then it also has to be admitted that Shias in India were in favour of a separate state in 1939 and this contradicts Professor Ahmed’s latter statement that Shias rejected the demand for Pakistan in 1945 and later switched their loyalties to Jinnah. Raja Sahib’s statement shows that they were ahead of the game in the quest for a separate state as Raja Sahib made that statement in 1939, which is one year before the Pakistan Resolution was passed in 1940. As for the correspondence between Allama Zaheer and Jinnah, one can say that it represented the personal opinion of Allama Zaheer and it was not reflective of all Shias, just as Maulana Azad’s views or stance adopted by other religious parties towards Pakistan (although they knew that Sunnis would form a majority) cannot be considered as the opinion of all Sunnis.

    It is well known that the top leadership of the All India Muslim League, since its inception in 1906, had stalwarts who were Shia — such as Sir Aga Khan, Syed Ameer Ali, Sir Ali Imam, Raja Sahib of Mahmudabad (both father and son presided over Muslim League sessions in Lucknow), Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Mirza Abul Hassan Ishpahani, etc. These leaders were at the forefront of the Pakistan Movement and played a pivotal role in Muslim League politics since its founding. After 1947, a number of presidents and prime ministers of Pakistan were Shia. A lot of debate has taken place about the idea of Pakistan, but there is little focus on who financed the Pakistan Movement. Sir Aga Khan’s generous financial contributions, as well as fund-raising efforts for the cause of the Muslim League, are well-documented. Stanley Wolpert, in his famous biography of Jinnah, has provided the exact details of Raja Sahib of Mahmudabad’s extremely generous annual financial contribution to the Muslim League and the Pakistan Movement from 1936-47, which makes one say that it was Jinnah’s mind and Raja Sahib’s money that created Pakistan. (It is said that Raja Sahib would go on hunger strikes lasting more than three days when Maharani would not allow him to donate money to the Muslim League and she would later give way so that his hunger strike could be ended.)

    Jinnah and Raja Sahib had a very close relationship (like that of a father and son) till their differences arose over the nature of the future state. In his essay ‘Some Memories’ (re-published in 1994 in Mushir-ul-Hasan’s edited book, India’s Partition-Process, Strategy and Mobilisation, pages 415-426), Raja Sahib recalled: “My advocacy of an Islamic state brought me into conflict with Jinnah. He thoroughly disapproved of my ideas and dissuaded me from expressing them publicly from the League platform lest the people might be led to believe that Jinnah shared my view and that he was asking me to convey such ideas to the public. As I was convinced that I was right and did not want to compromise Jinnah’s position, I decided to cut myself away and for nearly two years kept my distance from him, apart from seeing him during the working committee meetings and on other formal occasion. It was not easy to take this decision as my associations with Jinnah had been very close in the past. Now that I look back I realise how wrong I had been” (page 425).

    Pakistan as an idea in the 1940s appealed to all sections of Muslim society in India. It would be wrong to assume that sects such as the Ahmedis or Shias took a collective decision. Individual decisions were taken even at family levels and across all classes and sects as to who would opt for Pakistan and who would stay in India. Otherwise it is very difficult to explain how families were divided by partition — some brothers and sisters ended up in Pakistan while others remained in India.

    Sahabzada Yaqub opted for Pakistan and found himself fighting in Kashmir few months after Pakistan’s creation while his elder brother, who stayed in India, fought in Kashmir from the Indian side. Zakir Hussain remained in India, headed Aligarh University after partition and later became India’s third president, while his brother Dr Mahmud Hussain migrated to Pakistan and later became a federal minister. Mian Arshad Hussain and Mian Azim Hussain, sons of Punjabi politician Sir Fazle Hussain, opted for two different countries in 1947 and served as Ambassadors of Pakistan and India respectively in the same capital in the 1960s. When the Shah of Iran met General Atiqur Rehman, the then Governor of West Pakistan, he remarked that although “we have not met before but I know about your family as your brother is India’s ambassador in Tehran”. All these examples are of prominent people but even among ordinary and non-prominent families countless such examples of brothers and sisters divided by partition can be found, which underscore the point that it is wrong to assume collective decision making on the part of sects or even families as individual choices played an extremely important role.
     
  16. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Smokers’ Corner: Whiplash
    By Nadeem F. Paracha
    Sunday, 13 Jun, 2010

    [​IMG]
    Jinnah’s death in 1948 reduced his Muslim League (from being a dynamic organisation of visionary action) to a rag-tag group of self-serving politicians. It became a pale reflection of its pre-independence past. Gone too was the party’s ability to bring into policy Jinnah’s modernist Muslim vision.

    A consensus across various academic and intellectual circles now states that violent entities such as the Pakistani Taliban and assorted sectarian organisations are the pitfalls of policies pursued by the state through its intelligence agencies to safeguard Pakistan’s ‘strategic’ and ideological interests.

    The supposed ideology was constructed by the ruling establishment many years after the painful birth of this country. It has since been used by the state apparatus, political parties and media men to justify the patronisation and formation of brutal reactive outfits and groups. But whose ideology is it anyway? Pakistan seemed to have had a simple answer till about 1956. This answer, it seems, did not suit the political and economic interests of the early Pakistani ruling elite.

    Till about the late 1960s it was normal to suggest that Pakistan was carved as a country for Muslims of the subcontinent who were largely seen (by Jinnah and his comrades in the Muslim League), as a distinct cultural set of Indians whose political, economic and cultural distinctiveness might have been compromised in a post-colonial ‘Hindu-dominated’ setup. As Jinnah went about explaining his vision of Pakistan, there was no doubt whatsoever in the historical validity of the notion that he imagined the new country as a cultural haven for Muslims of the subcontinent where the state and politics would remain separate.

    The state was to be driven by modern democracy that incorporated the egalitarian concepts of Islam such as charity, equality and interfaith tolerance. According to Professor Aysha Jalal, Jinnah’s view of Islamic activism in the subcontinent was akin to his understanding it as a phenomenon that ‘derided the false and dangerous religious frenzy which had confused Indian politics and the zealots who were harming the national cause.’

    However, Jinnah’s death in 1948 reduced his Muslim League (from being a dynamic organisation of visionary action) to a rag-tag group of self-serving politicians. It became a pale reflection of its pre-independence past. Gone too was the party’s ability to bring into policy Jinnah’s modernist Muslim vision. The idea got increasingly muddled and shouted down by the once anti-Pakistan Islamic forces, who now started flexing their muscles in the face of a disintegrating Muslim League, and the erosion of the ideal that its leader stood for.

    The Jamat-i-Islami (JI) went on a rampage in 1953 in Lahore, hungrily overseeing the country’s first major anti-Ahmadi riots. Of course, by now the famous speech by Jinnah in which he underlined the idea of religious freedom in the new country was conveniently forgotten as the ruling elite grappled confusingly with the crises of its own creation. Eventually, it capitulated to the demands of the handful of vocal Islamist leaders by officially declaring the country an ‘Islamic Republic’. It was classic ostrich behaviour; the sort a number of Pakistani leaders continue to demonstrate whenever faced with the question of Pakistan and its relationship to political Islam.

    Misunderstanding Islamist activism as mere emotionalism, the ruling elite gave the Islamists a bone to play with, without bothering to explain to the rest of the people exactly what an Islamic republic really meant in the Pakistani context — a country buzzing with a number of ethnicities, minority religions and distinct Muslim sects. A democratic order should have been a natural answer to the state’s crisis. But for Islamists, democracy meant the emergence of ethnic and religious plurality that would encourage secular politics and further undermine the notion of the new-found Islam-centric Pakistani nationhood.

    Many years and follies later, and in the midst of unprecedented violence being perpetrated in the name of Islam, Pakistanis today stand more confused and flabbergasted than ever before. The seeds of ideological schizophrenia that the 1956 constitution sowed followed by the disastrous doings of the Gen Ziaul Haq dictatorship in the 1980s. These have now grown into a wicked tree that only bears delusions and denials as fruit.

    As Islamic parties and reactionary journalists continue to use the flimsy historical narrative of Pakistan’s Islamic republicism, consciously burying the harrowing truth behind the chaos the so-called’ Islamic ideology of Pakistan’ has managed to create, whole new generations grow up lapping up this synthetic narrative. While it has continued to alienate not only the religious minorities — Muslim and non-Muslim — it has also stoked intolerance among the very vocal and assertive, puritan Muslims.

    A recent example is the way many puritan Islamic groups have reacted to the conservative Nawaz Sharif’s statement sympathising with the plight of the Ahmadis. Also, one of Pakistan’s outstanding, moderate Islamic scholars, Javed Ahmed Ghamdi, has had to fly out of the country into a self-imposed exile. According to an executive producer at a popular Urdu-language TV channel, Ghamdi was facing a number of threats from certain puritan and violent Islamic groups.

    His sin? He stood out as a mainstream Sunni Muslim scholar who banked on reason and an interpretive take on the Quran, eschewing the myopic literalism of the puritan groups that espouse a violent, political view of Islam.
     

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