Understanding Islamic Revival In Its Proper Context

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

 My secular comrades and friends will probably disagree with me or maybe not, and it is nothing less than sacrilege for a self proclaimed secularist like myself to say so,   but the core values of any civilization are drawn from the dominant religio-cultural system.   There are contributory factors from other minority strains but ultimately the way society is organized is around the religio-cultural system the majority of its adherents follow.   So for example,  the Western civilization- as we know it today- has for evolved out of a Judaeo-Christian cultural norms and as it is secularized, it is enriched by other cultural strains but it remains manifestly a product of Judaeo-Christian evolution.  It certainly has strong heritage in Hellenistic past but that itself is expressed through established Christian traditions (for example Christmas which is an adopted Hellenistic holiday),  much like Islam adopted a lot of pre-Islamic Arabian heritage as its own.  

We – who live in the Muslim World- are going through painful pangs of an accelerated evolution.  Our predicament has been exacerbated by the information age and what we see today – the terrorism, the in-fighting, sectarianism, absolutism and religious extremism of the worst kind is part of a process that has been accelerated at a greater pace.   Very often secularists – self included- are guilty of ignoring the bigger picture and the process when we express our impatience to irrational and apparently dogmatic adherence most of our co-religionists (to put it loosely) express on a daily basis.   Our analysis has often fallen short on account of our inability to rise above a sense of self righteousness that we justifiably exhibit when interacting with the Mullah and custodian of the mosque.   While we don’t resort to violence like many of the religious bent are given to,   we need to also understand how this process works.

Islamic revival has been a long and painful journey for its adherents.   It often becomes very hard to adequately distinguish between reform movements and revival movements as the two have often complemented each other when these have not been antagonistic. Take for example Jamaluddin Afghani  (not his real name – he was actually a Iranian Shia from the city of Hamadan)– the main force for Islamic unity as well as global Islamic modernism in the late 19th century.  He was a Sunni revivalist, reformist as well as a prominent freemason all in one.    His most direct influence was on Muhammad Abduh,  the liberal Islamic jurist who wanted to reconcile Islam with 19th century rationalist thought.   Muhammad Abduh’s most noted disciple was Rashid Rida who was the most influential scholar of his time.  He founded – ironically –  the “Salafiya order” which seeks to purify Islam from all western influence.    Amongst his followers can be listed men like Hassan Al Banna, Syed Qutb and Syed Abou Ala Maududi – three most influential Islamists of our time.   Syed Qutb’s influence on Abdullah Bin Azzam thus creates a direct link between Al Qaeda’s Islamic terrorist strain and Syed Jamaluddin Afghani- the Islamic modernist, liberal and freemason.   Hassan Al Banna similarly influenced a number of Palestinian Islamists who founded the “Hizbut-tahrir” in 1952-53. From within Hizbut-tahrir has emerged two strands – one a more virulent version of the same called “Al-Muhajiroun” and the second an exact opposite- a modernist, secular interpretation as forwarded by Majid Nawaz and his associates in the Quilliam Foundation.

There is another side to this coin though:   Afghani inspired Allama Iqbal’s Ijtehadi thought as well.   Iqbal inspired another interesting thinker ,  the Islamic Marxist,   Ali Shariati.   Ali Shariati was the ideologue of Islamic Revolution in Iran and this makes the same freemason Afghani directly linked to his own original country’s Shiite Islamic revival.  It doesn’t stop here though.  Most of Afghani’s work was in the Ottoman Empire and his influence on young Turk and then Ziya Gokalp cannot be underestimated.  Therefore Afghani had a direct impact on the secular ideology of Kemalism as well.   Similarly his work in Egypt inspired the modernist nationalist and in a way Gemal Abdel Nasser and his socialist secularism. 

                Taking Afghani’s Islamic strains in consideration for a minute –  Muslim Brotherhood which can directly be traced back to Afghani’s efforts as well through Rashid Rida and Muhammad Abduh has shown remarkable evolution from a subversive Islamist movement of agitation to a democratic Islamist movement which more inclusive and even accepting women’s rights.     Hassan Al Banna – another follower of the salafiya political Islamist strain – was assassinated in 1949.   His grandson Tariq Ramadan- a Swiss citizen- is the foremost scholar at the frontline of reconciliation – to use late Benazir Bhutto’s term-  of Islam and the West.    Banna’s youngest brother Gemal El Banna is a learned Islamic scholar from the same strain who forwards complete equality and secularism as tenets of Islam.

Similarly,  the Ali Shariati strain de-generated into Khomenism but indirectly created Islamic Republicanism and in the last 15 years we have seen a newer version of this Islamic Republicanism in form of Khatami and Mousavi who have emerged as a liberal and progressive opposition to the conservatives.

                In Pakistan Syed Maududi’s “Jamaat-e-Islami” and its student wing Islami Jamiat e Talaba has long been  at the vanguard of the “Islamic Movement” in Pakistan.  Given their antipathy to the Pakistan Movement and Maududi’s opposition to Mahomed Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan,  they’ve been never been successful at a direct election, but they have infiltrated by placing their people and sympathizers in key places within the Pakistani establishment thereby thwarting the state’s growth as a modern nation state.   However Maududian thought itself has splintered into diametrically opposing groups.  Maududi himself took a giant leap in terms of political maturity when he supported Fatima Jinnah’s candidacy in 1965 despite having held the view that women should not be entrusted with the business of running the state’s affairs.   A faction within Maududi’s Jamaat-e-Islami broke away under the leadership of Maulana Amin Islahi whose school of thought was then carried forward by Khalid Masud and Javed Ahmed Ghamidi.   Javed Ahmed Ghamidi today is probably the most liberal and progressive scholar in the entire Islamic world.   This Maududi-trained Islamic scholar has come a full circle by claiming that Islamic state is not an objective of a Muslim but rather the objective of a Muslim is individual reform.  Contrast this to another breakaway Maududian faction –  Dr. Israr Ahmed-  whose Tanzeem-e-Islami is a religious movement working towards “Non-violent attainment of Khilafah”.  Interestingly like Hassan Al Banna,  Maududi’s own family now leans towards liberal interpretations of Islam.

                The essential issue is not of whether a strain is good or bad, but whether there is some intellectual movement forward.   Individual Muslims,  thinking outside the narrow confines of taqlid and madhab- have often found themselves with new ideas and “taabeers” of Islam.  In addition to the above mentioned, this may include Sir Syed Ahmed Khan – the great Islamic Modernist- ,   Syed Ameer Ali whose intellectual contribution to modernity in Islam is second to none,  the Muslim Internationalist Ubaidullah Sindhi (whose disciple Zafar Hassan Aibak went through a profound evolution from a Jehadi to a Marxist to a Kemalist) and Allama G. A. Pervez .    The  last one was a rationalist Quran scholar in the finest Qaramtian tradition of late.    Similarly the “heretic” movements within Islam are also in a way an expression of this trend.  Abdul Baha of Iran and Mirza Ghulam Ahmed of Qadian presented themselves  as Mujadads and reformers.    Mirza Ghulam Ahmed’s movement produced geniuses like Sir Zafrullah- whose legal and political contributions to Pakistan and the world at large make him a towering figure- and  Dr. Abdus Salam who claimed that his remarkable theory which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics resulted from his profound study of the Holy Quran. Meanwhile Abdul Baha’s Bahaism is one of the fastest growing religions in the US.

                There has often been a tendency by some Non-Muslim observers (and now some secular Muslims) of the process of Islamic revival and reform to draw a distinction between a “traditional Muslim scholar” and a “radical Muslim ideologue”- a distinction which is not always useful or fruitful.  This view tends to conclude in general that “traditional Islam” whatever that creature is better than “political Islam”.    This ignores the basic fact that Islam is – whether we like it or not-  largely political. Those who wish to resolve the issue of terrorism by supplanting “political Islam” with Sufism and “traditional Islam” are going against the current of history.   It is political Islam alone that needs to evolve to a secular-leaning paradigm i.e.  Ghamidi or Gemal Al Banna.    Indeed Sufism and “traditional Islam” are likely to fail in this respect because they don’t have any political application because Sufism is at the end of the day an intensely personal creed whereas “traditional Islam” is a misnomer and refers to the Madrassah educated Maulanas who in the long run are even more harmful as they oppose modernity more trenchantly than Islamic revivalists, who over a generation or two seem to be more adaptive.  

                Islam’s on-going Lutheran Movement has not emerged from within the confines of Darul Ulooms and Jamias.    This movement has come from the middle class – and for a time it will remain confused and shall be violent for a while as it is now-  but ultimately it will reform the Muslim World and usher upon it an age of reason, enlightenment and I daresay modern secularism.   Lucky us that thanks to the information age, every thing is accelerated and exaggerated.

193 Comments

Filed under Islam, Islamism

193 responses to “Understanding Islamic Revival In Its Proper Context

  1. Ganpat Ram

    I feel encouraged by analysis like this.

    We Hindus are clearly benefiaries of Partition in that Muslims can be left to stew or thrive in their own juice.

    We don’t need to worry about whether sufism is better that alqaediaism etc.

    All we need to do is learn to look after ourselves. I feel confident about the Indian Army.

  2. Ganpat Ram

    “beneficiaries”, I meant above.

    It’s nice not to have to believe Tariq Ramadan with his wide Arab smile and know that the Indian Army is there to handle all this.

  3. rava ravana

    Author is right in that the reformation process will be expedited. However, it will be bloodier since there are external parties with vested interest e.g., the west. Weapons are deadlier than those in 15-17th centuries. Christian reformation was driven internally while Muslims are kind of being forced by their elites to reform themselves.

    Good luck anyway. You don’t have any choice but to move in that direction.

  4. Ganpat Ram

    RAVANA:

    Correct.

    And Hindus have no choice but to be well armed to deal with all these merry fellows, soft-soap sufis, hard-cheese salafis, morose al-Qaeda, slyly-grinning Tariq Ramadan, knife-between-the-teeth Hizbut, etc.

    We better watch them all and be ready when it happens.

  5. pankaj

    Thank god for partition. .All these MAD people went away.

  6. ylh

    On the contrary gentlemen you have a more virulent strain sitting in Darul uloom Deoband.

  7. yasserlatifhamdani

    “Christian reformation was driven internally while Muslims are kind of being forced by their elites to reform themselves.”

    That is equally true or untrue for Christian Reformation.

  8. sharafs

    As I have observed in the past, this debate is leading elsewhere. I would argue in the perspective of the enlightenment age and the the subsequent explosion of knowledge. Modernity was the major product that led to many effects across the entire canvas. eg, nuclear families necessitated by urbanization to philosophy of positivism, empiricism and epistemology. Similarly SECULARISM was also an effect on two counts.

    First, in the scientific theory, it was needed to counter meta physics and belief in the unknown. It hit the Catholic Church very hard and they still consider it a threat to the existence of God. The same could also be said of religions who believe in the unknown.This is also the secularism that the Islamists abhor.

    Secondly, it brought scientific research into knowledge and because nationhood and governance were within the domain of Social Sciences and outside religion, there was a demand to separate the functions of the two but not in entirety. Have a good look the the American, British and Italian constitutions and know what I am trying to say. The Italian government takes a lot of direction from the Vatican.

    There is also a third aspect in Asia, more-so South Asia. The region has not passed through the same phases of modernity as europe. In fact it never happened here till the arrival of East India Company and that too in the form of modernization and not modernity. Early scholars like Sir Syed, Nazir Ahmad and Khawaja Hassan Nizami tried to contend with this problem. Iqbal’s stay in Europe must have been a rude awakening for him with regards to western philosophy.We see a reflection of that in his poetry of the era.

    Nehru was more pragmatic and he saw secularism in its indic form as an opportunity for political pluralism and instrumentalism. He saw India as a diverse entity and decided to make it the strength. Indian constitution is the most comprehensive document to deal with the vast diversity within the Indian politic body and a job well done.

    To the contrary, Jinnah wrote no books or thesis. I am sure he has the same idea as Nehru. Had he written, many ambiguities regarding the Pakistani identity would be resolved. Belatedly, he tried to enunciate it through his 11 August speech, but clearly the contents indicate that it was hastily prepared. The insertion of the Objective Resolution brought the concept of Secularism in direct confrontation with Religion and the subsequent journey thereof.

    But there is a contradiction.
    Pakistan as a State abhors secularism like the Catholic Church. Yet all university research papers are the result of a secular paradigm.

  9. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ganpat,

    Since I don’t wish to respond on Shorish Kashmiri’s article, I’ll respond to you here…

    Don’t confuse civilization with statehood. A state is a constitutional entity…. it may be Muslim majority, Hindu Majority, or Jewish Majority and that may define its cultural moorings along the lines that I have given above… and no one is denying (or they shouldn’t ) that Indian Civilization is dominated by Hindu ethos, culture and plurality which gives it its strongest point.

    However… when we talk about the state, we are talking about the rights of citizens vis a vis the state … and this where Pakistan the Muslim majority state ought to have been secular… and this is where Nehru got it right vis a vis India. Nehru understood- even if he didn’t care to admit- that Indian civilization was greatly a product of Hindu ethos … but to him the Indian state was secular.

    This too would explain why Jinnah did not see a contradiction between his Two Nation Theory and the clear idea of a secular state that he put forth in his 11th August speech.

  10. akcheema

    it is a nicely put together point of view … problem is that islamic history is rife with internal hegemony pretty much since its inception … and people who tried to make some sense out of the chaos are now looked upon as revivalists (in retrospect)

    this chaos will continue and the socalled secular muslims will simply become yet another sect having its own contributions towards that internal hegemony

    which way it might be heading is anyone’s guess … it just seems to be ‘the pressing issue’ because there are simply more people around in the world at large (hence the apparent greater impact) … and information technology accelerating the dissemination of news around the world, including in our living rooms via TV etc

    from a muslim perspective it is the same too … no matter how much a select few bang on about modernity and other such concepts … all it takes is a madman like zaid hamid and his conspiracy theories and things are back to square one … religion is an airy-fairy concept at the best of times and when someone is able to believe all that BS in the name of allah mian, he/she will believe in anyother BS just as easily (T)

    that is why rationalism has less impact on such a population than airy-fairy ideas, that are vague around the edges … these are always easier to swallow by people as they require relatively low IQ to satisfy oneself of the ‘truth’ … and let’s face it … most people in any given population are not very bright🙂 … in the west ideas like scientology and other such rubbish are always poised to fill in the vacuum left by judeo-christianity (just one example of many)

    problem with the islamic world is then whenever it was confronted with modernity it was under the guise of colonialism (real in the past and are perceived as such today) … unless someone (or many) from within the muslim world change the general perception from the inside, things are not likely to change … and I don’t see that happening anytime soon, since those very ‘reformist’ will always be labelled as ‘colonial’ agents by their opponents … and the airy-fairies will prevail despite the best efforts of the best

    … unless … those ‘airy-fairies’ are challenged head on *-)

  11. Ganpat Ram

    Yasser:

    Your points are fair and well taken.

    I don’t believe a Hindu India would be any less tolerant than a “secular” one. Any more than a Protestant UK state is precluded from being tolerant.

    I admire you for the tolerance with which you allow discussion to take place on this site.

    I sometimes state my views a bit too bluntly, but I respect this site and I respect your courtesy.

    Thank you for taking the trouble to reply.

    Your piece on the links between Al-Afghani and Al-Qadea and a host of other Islamic trends is fascinating.

  12. Hayyer

    YLH:
    That was a succinct piece on trends in Islam over the last 130 years.
    But if I may be permitted as a non Muslim to intervene, I would say that the modern political entity of nationhood has little to do with religion; not Islam, not Hinduism, not Buddhism, Shintoism or anything else of like nature. Even the Christian nations of the west of yore owed nothing to Christianity as such. One might say that the evolution of political morality in the west (to the extent that there is such a thing) owes to Christian values, but many of these are universal human values not specifically Christian.
    It can be said that manuvadi Hinduism and Islam deny universal application of values to humans. Segregationist Christians in the old American South did believe that Christian values applied only to whites, but that was deviant belief. The modern secular polity owes to enlightened political thought, not reform of Christianity. The Pope had no trouble with Franco, Mussolini, Hitler and Salazar.
    I am trying to say that a sound political system with universal values cannot be found in reformed religion. In India it was done by ignoring, even rejecting faith, and this has to be done every day, or faith based injunctions, absorbed with mothers milk come frothing up. In Pakistan and in all Muslim countries, such a course seems improbable.
    Political emancipation won’t come through reforming faith, only by ignoring it. Political secularism finds it tough in the US even now after more than two centuries of existence. With a specifically religious directive in its constitution, and a public reared to believe in the religious basis of its existence it will take more than Islamic reform to underwrite a reformed political future for Pakistan.

  13. Bin Ismail

    In my opinion, a Secular State that is both pragmatic as well as forward looking, can be described along the following lines:

    #1: The Secular State does not at all mean an anti-God, anti-religion or atheistic state.
    #2: The state will not hold the religious affiliation of the citizen to the advantage or disadvantage of the citizen.
    #3: There will be no State Religion in place.
    #4: No particular religion or adherents of a particular religion will enjoy state-granted privileges, exclusive to that religion.
    #5: Adherents of all religions, without exception will enjoy equal civil rights and have equal civil responsibilities.

  14. Khullat

    Jinnah’s golden words ” Equal citizens of one state “ eloquently describe the viable secular state. In fact, this is what the glorious and golden Islamic principle of ”Musawaat” [equality for all] is all about. Only a genuinely secular state can guarantee true Musawaat to all its citizens. A theocracy simply can not.

  15. ylh

    Hayyer,

    Your response seems to be actually addressed to Mr. Ganpat Ram and not me because I haven’t used “nationhood” or “state” in this context.

    This applies to Pakistan only because Pakistan is one of the many directly affected states being a Muslim majority country.

    The age of enlightenment and reason in the west itself was a product of the Christian reformation and cultural renaissance. The father of modern society, John Locke was himself a staunch Christian.

    This is not about India and there are many reasons why this article is not about Pakistan either. This is about the evolution of Islamic thought itself which may one day bring it accept that very idea of statehood that you are talking about…as it did in case of Kemalism for example.

  16. ylh

    It seems to me that people have totally misconstrued this article.

    I am reproducing Indrajit sb’s comments on my facebook notes about this article which is what I was aiming for:

    “It is surprising for some of us to note that what in one generation might be considered in the local context a fundamentalist and regressive stand turns modernist and rational in just another generation, which in the history of ideas might be considered an astonishing speed. There is then every hope that we are not mired in an unending and eternal war between the view of the world seen by orthodox and well-versed Muslim scholars and exegetes but that we may expect the reversals that have been illustrated so clearly in the note to help us all to get greater alignment across all sections of opinion.

    If I have understood the core argument correctly, it is that Islamic reformers, having taken up the tools of rational and logical analysis and applied these to the state of their religion, and the associated political context of their times, may occasionally bring up a model which goes back to an imagined golden, idealised past, but a model which offers little or no space for dissidence, either within or outside Islam. This is misleading, because for the very reason that they have used rational and logical tools for their ‘deconstruction’ of the current state of Islam and Islamic politics and Muslim society and culture in their time, they tend to continue the analysis, either themselves or through their disciples and intellectual heirs. It is this continued analysis which yields surprising and promising results, promising here used without value judgement merely in the sense of compatibility with non-Muslim society and with the possibility of building a paradigm which is enough for Islam to live a self-sufficient and consistent life in a society conforming to the basic tenets of the faith, while allowing space for other trends of thought, other religions and faiths and other belief systems to co-exist without a need for mutual destruction.

    I understand that your argument goes on to urge outside observers, political authorities and external interlocutors of an Islamic society, an Islamic country or an Islamic segment within a country NOT to turn to traditional elements, or to Sufi elements, as these elements, without the tools to critique and propose changes to the current state of things, are compelled to fall back on dead tradition for their responses. The moment they do this, they defeat the purpose for which they may have been approached, typically to offer justification or a basis for co-existence between the Muslims and the others, within the world, within a region or the world, or within a country.

    This is a fascinating analysis, and gives considerable hope for the possibility of a mutually-respectful and mutually-noninterfering Muslim and other community.”

  17. ylh

    Just to add …the emphasis is not on the existence of religion but its necessary deconstruction and reconstruction… This is what Iqbal called “Reconstruction of Religious Thought In Islam”.

  18. Ganpat Ram

    YASSER:

    A great fallacy in this debate is the assumtion that ball religions are alike in suppressing free thought.

    This is far from the case.

    History shows that societies tend to be freer when religions are not monotheistic.

    It is true Socrates had a hard time with the government of his day in polytheistic Greece. But Athenian regimes generally allowed enormous freedom for debate, which is why the city became the field of the incredible Athenian intellectual and cultural flowering, never equalled before or since.

    What happened to that thriving intellectual culture after the conquest of the classical world by monotheistic Christianity?

    We know only too well. Several centuries of persecution and suppression of any thoughts that could not fit into the narrow impoverished desert creed of a Middle Eastern tribe known as the Jews, suppression of the old intellectual elites and learning, ironically too ruthless anti-Semitism leading to the expulsions of Jews themselves to “pagan” areas where there was still tolerance, smashing of the ancient temples and their replacement by churches, etc…All the dreary and (to Hindus) only too well known accompaniments of takeover by Middle Eastern monotheist fanaticisms.

    There were certainly contests for power in Chrstendom between popes and prelates and kings, but the kings claimed to be no less representative of God than the priests – they were in effect claiming to be both kings AND popes. That was what caused the fight. In the Byzantine and Orthodox areas, kings were also the top priests.

    All this obsession with Middle Eastern monotheistic fanaticism took a long time to fade. It was not until the Renaissance, caused by the rediscovery of pagan classical learning, from the fifteenth century onward, that clearly secular ideas made their appearnce in the West, the modern idea that God is unknowable and therefore we should concentrate on what men can do.

    Certainly, the domination of secularist thinking also had much to do with the exhaustion with religious preoccupations that came with the endless wars fostered by the Reformation and the reaction against it. People realised they were paying too heavy a price for these religious obsessions and, with the world having opened out with the discovery of America and the globe as such, they seem to have decided to move on to a higher stage of barbarism.

    That’s European history in a nutshell.

    Europe escaped the barbarity of Middle Eastern monotheism because its society was always more variegated than that of, say, the Arabs, one where the merchant class had a more important role, where Roman law clearly separated the ruler’s political rights from others’ rights to property. Asian societies lacked these clear-cut limits to rulers’ rights.

    European society also had the immense and invaluble wealth of pre-Christian thought to draw upon to save them from the Christian intellectual nullity.

    The Arabs had a naturally more ruler-oriented society, and were unable to retain the intellectual autonomy to develop towards secularism.

    The bottom line is: humanity advances when it is free from Jewish religious obsessions like Christianity and Islam. It regresses when (as today) these obsessions are powerful.

    In general, the post-Christian West, Hindu India and the Confucian Far East, with their easy-going attitudes to religion and the gods (in most of India Muslims can freely and publicly ridicule Hinduism, which is as it should be) will probably make much more headway in the world of thought than the Muslim world dominated by monotheistic fanaticism.

    You are right hat Nehru was steeped in Hinduism. One has only to read his “Discovery of India” to see this. He is polite to Islam, but dismisses it very briefly, but has page after page of thoughts on Hinduism and Buddhism. In one of his last injuctions to the country, “The Basic approach”, he recommends “the Vedantic ideal”.

  19. Ganpat Ram

    “assumption”, I meant in the first sentence, and “all”, not “ball”.

  20. Ganpat Ram

    One shuld not be too hard on the Muslim world. It inherited a monotheistic fanaticis very hard to secularise.

    If the Jews had not spent so long outside the Middle East and absorbed the spirit of post-Christian secularism, I believe they would be as closed a culture as any Midle Eastern one.

    I is the Hindus’ tough luck that they live on the very frontier of a Muslim world undergoing the appallingly violent throes of a montheistic faith fighting a rearguard battle against modernity. If the battle spills over into their territory they will be lucky to survive.

  21. Ganpat Ram

    SARDAR KHAN;

    Well, if the India Army fails, we poor Hindus will have to seek safety in the wide reassuring grin of Tariq Ramadan. Where else can we go?

  22. yasserlatifhamdani

    I don’t know if Nehru was steeped in Hinduism but he understood Hinduism in a larger context to be more than an organized religion…which is why I am always stumped by the rapid growth of Hindu fundamentalists… logically, Hindu fundamentalists should have ceased to be a force some time in the late 20th century.

  23. hoss

    As Hayyer mentioned the basic precept of the article, “the Western civilization…has for evolved out of a Judaeo-Christian cultural norms and as it is secularized” is heavily contested. Bernard Lewis along with Samuel Huntington, both conservative, make the religion as the root cause of the problem which has been effectively countered by many in the western world. Bernard Lewis also circulated the idea that backwardness of the Islamic nations is the result of the lack of secularism. The same theory appears to be the driving force behind this article. If Judaic-Christian values and cultural norms are behind the progress made in the western civilization, then what explains the backwardness of non-Muslim South American, China, India large parts of Africa and the Far East?

    Max Weber’s theory of capitalism actually first recognized the Christianity’s fundamental role in the rise of capitalism but he admonishes those who consider Protestantism as a backdrop for capitalism. Capitalist culture sprang from Pr-existing socioeconomic relationships. ( Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism, Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing, 1995).

    However, what we need to understand is that Muslims cannot follow the path a handful of Christian Nations took some 500 years ago. We should also consider the fact that If Christianity gave rise to Western culture, what explains the Roman and Greek cultural dominance prior to the emergence of Christianity, and what caused the West’s relative cultural demise later during the Middle Ages?

    The development of secularism is not because of evolving religious thoughts. It is due mainly to evolving socio-economic conditions that found religion and state incompatible.

    Let us look at the subject in Pakistan’s context. Pakistan may be one geographical entity but it is not one ideological entity. The thoughts of Muslim unity and Muslim revivalism are popular, and perhaps the reason behind lukewarm opposition to the jihadi groups, in parts of Punjab only and they have no role whatsoever in other provinces of Pakistan. There is no such hair-brain pseudo-intellectual movement or even a semblance of a debate in other provinces about Jamal Afghani and his terrorism loving followers. So it is just a pure fantasy that this could even be discussed in Pakistan’s context. It should be discussed in Punjab’s context only.

    it is preposterous to assume that Ghamidi or Gemal Al Banna can lead any movement that “will reform the Muslim World and usher upon it an age of reason, enlightenment and I daresay modern secularism”. They are just another strand of virulent fundamentalism that is behind the philosophy of terrorism. They are just the fall back options to compensate for the eventual failure of the violent approach taken by the Jamal Afghani’s violent intellectual inheritors.

  24. yasserlatifhamdani

    Yawn. Once again Punjab v. the provinces.

    No dude… this article is not even about Pakistan. So take a hike.

  25. There is a tide in the affairs of men.
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat,
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures. (Julius Ceasar)

    Ganpat Sahib:
    You wrote “Behind all your kind of talk of a supremely inclusive Indic civilization, I sense a huge fear of Muslim violence”

    I can only agree with a part of the above statement; indeed it is a fear that drives me to point out that the overriding characteristic of the Indic civilization was its inclusiveness, but the fear is not of the Muslim violence or any such thing but that in the 21st century we will be left behind if we were to scuttle the one overriding characteristic that allowed India to survive all these centuries; its inclusiveness if we let it fall victim to another pernicious idea transplanted amidst us by the Europeans; that of nationalism and a narrow interpretation of a nationhood. It would further be ironic if we did that at this stage when the Europeans themselves, having been chastised adequately by the two World Wars have seen the folly of narrow nationalism.

    There are two very important reasons for my saying so. The first is that I believe India in the year 2010, is poised at a critical juncture in history which comes rarely, perhaps once in a millennia. If we can set our house in order, ward off the threat of terrorism, reduce communal tensions and focus wholeheartedly on development, we have a shot at being a world power if not a superpower. So like the note of caution in the quote above India too ‘risks to lose our ventures’ if our generation were to behave irresponsibly today.

    The second reason is far more important and far dearer to my heart than the first and that is the status of a citizen in the modern state and the relationship of the between the two. You have mentioned that Hinduism is a tolerant religion and minorities in India will be treated fairly. That may be so but I have a problem with your words ‘tolerance and tolerated’ which are exemplary in the private and personal lives but have no place in my mind in the realm of public arena.

    Why must I, a citizen of a free and sovereign country be ‘tolerated’ and by who? I am not a constitutional law genius like YLH or a scholar like Hayyer who can explain this point far more clearly than I but as a lay person; I can still understand the basis of the Indian statehood.

    Let me digress a bit and consider for a moment what many India haters never tire of pointing out; that India as it exists today has been a single nation only fleetingly in its long history. It is quite true, so then the question comes, what makes us Indians and why must we follow the directives of the Government of India at all times? One answer is what the Hindutva proponents suggest, that a shared faith of a majority and several common cultural characteristics makes us Indians but the division of Pakistan in 1971 demonstrated that the first is not enough by itself and a brilliant essay by Hayyer in these very pages of the PTH last year clearly pointed out something that we intuitively know; that there is no characteristic that is common to all 1 billion Indians and that MAJ was right when he pointed out that in cultural terms,

    India is not a single nation but many.
    In spite of this apparent paradox, India the nation has evolved into an ever stronger entity in the last 63 odd years even as it has successfully overcome the challenge from fissiparous tendencies, (including one very bloody insurgency by my people, if I may add) The reason for this is the modern state of India is organized not as an empire but as a republic, and draws its legitimacy from a simple contract; that between the individual citizen of India and the Indian state. I wrote the preamble in my earlier post to highlight this particular point. The state remains legitimate as long as it delivers on its promise of a justice, equality etc. to all its citizens. The beauty of this arrangement is that it gives each individual a private stake in the system.

    Lest you believe that this is an argument of a dreamy liberal; I would ask you to think again, heed the lesson of history and look at a very illustrative example; that of the republic of ancient Rome. The closest it came to destruction was in 216 BC after Hannibal had inflicted the most crushing defeat on it at Cannae. (Vajra correct me if I am wrong but I believe never was its documented death toll in an individual battle surpassed till the WWI) Rome lay at his mercy that day. He followed it up by military victory after victory for another 17 odd years against Rome and yet Rome won in the end.

    It is generally agreed upon by historians that the single most important reason for this was that very few cities in Italy defected to Hannibal as he had hoped because, Rome had treated the peoples of those cities fairly; as citizens of a republic, guaranteed by a similar laws; in other words the city states of Italy had a stake in continuing a system where there status was arrived upon not on the arbitrary ‘tolerance’ of a victorious or a majority entity but from an inviolable lawful contract.

    That is the lesson of history; like the mostly illiterate citizens of Italian antiquity, people intuitively risk their all and remain loyal to the idea of this contractual relationship far more than any promises of tolerance and magnanimity.

    In the modern era, India’s own battle against the Sikh militants carries another lesson. The Khalistani ideologues cried themselves hoarse protesting the ‘Hindu conspiracy and atrocities’ against the Sikh nation. It also received covert help from abroad; yet this ‘anti-brahaminical’ revolt was put down by (this one is of special importance to you, young and misled Mustapha Shaban) a Sikh Corps commander, a Sikh Division commander, a Sikh chief of the police force, a Sikh Chief minister and a constabulary that was overwhelmingly Sikh. The reason was given by a Sikh officer when asked why he fought for the religion of another against his own. He replied that he fought for the Indian Army and the GOI and neither of these had any religion. We must never let any of our defenders forget those words.

    History also carries with it another painful lesson that you should keep in mind. Superior numbers can not deter a determined foe as the character ‘Henry V’ pointed out in the play of that name:
    If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
    To do our country loss; and if to live,
    The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
    And neither are they a guarantee of a victory in battle as he proved in real life at Agincourt.
    The only guarantee for a safe nation is one in which each and every of its citizens is fully vested in; a republic of equals.

    One last thing; I am very impressed with your stated and demonstrated writing skills, I must say that it borders on genius for this small town man; but I envy both Vajra and Hayyer enough to state that I would be willing to lose a digit or two (of my left hand😉 ) to be able to think and write like them; and I make a living by the use of my hands!

    Thomas Jefferson said that each new generation is a new nation; and has to recreate its nationhood anew.
    Thus the atrocities of the past invaders were not the fault of any Indian belonging to the present generation. Let us not indulge in guilt by association.
    You are obviously a very gifted individual and a nationalist; and I am proud of you for being a product of our generation.
    You would be an asset to our land if you do not let your prejudices get in the way of your responsibilities to our constitution.
    I hope you will give it a serious thought.

    Regards.

  26. Ganpat Ram

    YASSER:

    I am surprised you find the growth of Hindu nationalism so hard to explain.

    Few recent developments are so easily explained.

    In post-Partition India Muslims were reduced to only 8-9 per cent. They made little noise in Indian affairs in the 1950s and even 1960s. The Hindu parties could make little headway in those times. The Muslim problem seemed safely solved with Partition. It was the heyday of Nehruism.

    Reading M J Akbar’s biography of Nehru I was struck by how much more relaxed his mind and life became in the 1950s: there were troubles, especially the growing tension with China, but things were far easier for Indian politicians than in the terrifying 1940s when India was exploding with the Muslim secessionist fervour and more than 25 percent of the population was Muslim.

    However, the Indian Muslim population has exploded in numbers: now it is about 15 percent, and increasingly vocal and demanding. With the rise of Islamist fervour in the Muslim world, Indian Muslims are in no mood to fit in with a Hindu society.

    Troubled times have returned to India. The old Hindu-Muslim contest is back. From the 1980s onwards Hindu parties have grown in influence, accordingly. Hindus feel threatened.

    There you have it. Few things are so unsurprising.

  27. Ganpat Ram

    GORKI

    I think all this agonising about the evil Hindus is misconceived.

    Hindus are a remarkably tolerant people, and the India of Nehru was Hindu in all but name. The man himself was steeped in Hindu philosophy; so was Gandhi.

    In fact, that was why India was able to be tolerant.

    India is held together by the Hindu loyalties of most of its citizens. Hindus arec easygoing with minorities unless very seriously provoked.

    Personally, I see India surviving as a Hindu nation provided it takes security concerns seriously. I am pretty sure all but some Muslims will see a stake in India’s survival.

    So cool down, Gorki. We Hindus are less fanatical than most. You don’t need to worry so much about us. I think most Sikhs know this.

  28. Yasser:

    There is a fantastic maturity and pleasant growing up in this essay. Secularism is an abstraction, not a real belief system as a religion is.

    What you start with a premise (that) “…the core values of any civilization are drawn from the dominant religio-cultural system…” is more important and has no bearing on secularism. This is a reality, multiple currents / strands shall always be present as long as humans have ability to think and act as individual, which according to me is forever.

    Allow me to give an analogy. Religious belief systems or scientific thoughts are with us from the beginning, and can be compared to rivers flowing for time immaterial. And that at the river head, the most dominant current determines the course of the river, the contours of the layout at the river head has the greatest influence. However, as civilizations evolve as a result, akin to river flowing downstream, societies who depend on these rivers evolve and most definitely change the contours of the layout, and change the course and uses of rivers for their benefits. In fact societies themselves often dam and create new streams and currents for greater benefit.

    This last part is akin to evolution of belief system (that is what religion is to me). Societies do evolve due to these changes. Yet the most successful be it the pinnacle of Islamic societies, or now that of the west, always relied on that unhindered flow of thought (= a current in the flow of a river) of an individual, on his / her creativity that changed downstream until further changes can take place. Thus the process continues never stops. It only accelerates because advances in technology, greater mobility, rapid communication and increased knowledge mass. How long regressive forces can fight to stop, certainly not forever.

    Even these attempts to prevent changes are natural outcome of flowing cross currents created from the above advances. Some smaller cross-currents do survive and while others are created. In Pakistan the flow of water body will always gravitate towards “right of center” if democratic forces are allowed to operate freely, for a very long time. I am certain it must have been so in the western societies too.
    Respecting this is the most important act. Being a believer of this thinking, therefore, I did not see wrong in Lal Masjid madarassa teaching students. Arming students with ability to independently think is most important, which education provides not all will always think in one and only when way. Some will come forward and lead the change that will become dominant.

    Invariably the longest surviving current is favored either by prevailing or artificially created contours in the layout. Changes in Islamic societies are overdue is my belief, its rise compared to eastern philosophies, was rapid and even violent, as reforms would be too. Contours in the lay out, technology, greater mobility of humans, rapid communication, increased knowledge-mass in the world-at-large, are substantial and probably have reached a stage where they cause more lasting changes than prevailing religious currents, and hence create greater momentum. The opposition to this momentum is what we are witnessing today in the Islamic world. Non-Muslim actors will not be able to influence changes as greatly as Muslim actors. You are, therefore, in a more important position today.

  29. Ganpat Ram

    GORKI:

    One afterthought.

    The UK is a Protestant State. The monarch is ineligible to marry a Catholic.

    There are Muslims and Sikhs serving in the UK Army.

    Since the UK is not secular by your definition, does that mean those Sikh and Muslim soldiers should refuse to obey Her Majesty’s Government?

    Just curious.

    Why do Hindus and ONLY Hindus need to establish a simon-pure secular stte if the Indian government is to command legitimacy?

    There is a word to describe such a preposterous, insolent attitude: blackmail.

    It is the decision of India’s majority if they want a Hindu state or not.

    You know what I call

  30. Ganpat Ram

    Apologies for the typos. The last phrase was not meant to be included.

  31. Ganpat Ram

    I count myself an agnostic rather than a believing Hindu, by the way.

  32. Gorki

    I think I am being misunderstood. I have no fear of the Hindus or a problem with Hinduism; never did. In fact I admire its philosophy. I would be willing to fight for its survival and for adherents to be able to practice it freely within our Republic.
    But that is immaterial to the matters of my state; the Republic of India which like ancient Rome that you mentioned, is a society based upon a simple contract; between two parties, an individual and the state.
    It does not mean I deny that there are other forms of societies; as you mentioned there is the constitutional monarchy of the UK or the repressive monarchy of Saudi Arabia. I owe them no loyalty.
    I owe my loyalty freely to only two states in the world; India and the US and would gladly give up my life to preserve the idea on which they both were founded and exist; that the State recognizes that I am equal to all other citizens regardless of my cast, creed, race or religion. These two states entered in a contract with me and my progeny; to provide me with full rights in return for my loyalty. I accept the contract. There is no blackmail involved; it is a voluntary contract between two parties.
    The day the Indian state altered the terms of that contract, my loyalty to it would cease; I would still be proud of my cultural heritage but owe no duty to the country; it is as simple as that. In other words my nation has to earn my loyalty just as I have to be worthy of it; simple.

    Regards.

  33. B. Civilian

    “The day the Indian state altered the terms of that contract, my loyalty to it would cease; I would still be proud of my cultural heritage but owe no duty to the country; it is as simple as that. In other words my nation has to earn my loyalty just as I have to be worthy of it; simple.”

    so whose duty would it be to set things right again? the ‘majority’s’? will that not be a case of equal rights but unequal duties? surely, it would be the duty of the insolent, regardless of whether they belong to the majority or minority ethnicity/identity/etc (just like it didn’t matter in the case of rights), to put things right…. notwithstanding whether they’re called blackmailers and the whole idea of opposing what is fundamentally wrong – out of loyalty for your country when it needs you most – preposterous.

  34. B. Civilian

    i can be ungrateful or even insolent if am only tolerated. but i have to step up and take a stand for what i think is right if i’m an equal… out of loyalty to myself and, therefore, loyalty to my country.

  35. Gorki

    Good point. Correction: my loyalty to the state would cease even as my duty to my country demands that I oppose the state. This is what was meant in the first place.
    Regards

  36. B. Civilian

    i should have added that loyalty, of course, means nothing other than honesty. so “out of loyalty to myself and, therefore, loyalty to my country” equals “out of honesty to myself and, therefore, honesty to my country.”

  37. Ganpat Ram

    Gorki:

    Many thanks for your clarification.

    It is a very good thing you are not employed by the UK armed forces. There people are expected to obey the duly elected government.

    In India, if it becomes a Hindu state by choice of the people, the government would be legitimate.

    My guess is that most people in India would have no problems, provided their religions are respected.

    We will take care of the minority who make trouble.

    Thank you.

  38. ikram

    @YLH

    My 2 cents:

    1) “So for example, the Western civilization- as we know it today- has for evolved out of a Judaeo-Christian cultural norms and as it is secularized, it is enriched by other cultural strains but it remains manifestly a product of Judaeo-Christian evolution.”

    I would say the Western civilization-as we know it today- has evolved out of Judaeo-Christian-Islamic cultural norms. My reason:

    First state in USA to allow women to own property, conduct business and be financially independent is California. California law has its roots in Spanish Law. And Spain is first country to grant these rights to women in Europe. Spanish law has its roots in Islamic law brought by Moors.

    2) In last paragraph you wrote:
    “Islam’s on-going Lutheran Movement has not emerged from within the confines of Darul Ulooms and Jamias. This movement has come from the middle class – and for a time it will remain confused and shall be violent for a while as it is now- but ultimately it will reform the Muslim World and usher upon it an age of reason, enlightenment and I daresay modern secularism.”

    Since in your write-up you mentioned Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian “…Mirza Ghulam Ahmed of Qadian presented themselves as Mujadads and reformers…” I will quote him, according to him; it was his Ilham (revelation). Copied from Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement blog:

    ‘Dunya mein aik nazier aaya, per dunya nay oos ko kabool na kia. Laikan Khuda issay kabool karay gha, aur baray zoorawar humloon say oos ki sachai zahir karay gha’

    (A Warner came to the world, but world did not accept him. But Allah will accept him, and with very powerful attacks will manifest his truthfulness).

    So when I see that when even people like “Shaikh-ul-Islam” Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri issuing 600-page fatwa against violence and terrorism in name of Islam, it convinces me that may be this logical change is consequence of “Powerful Attacks” on Islam from within its own ranks. Ironically, it was the same rejection of armed Jihad for which Mirza was smeared by the general opinion.

    Ordinarily, the audience of Ghamdi seem to be moved by his plain logic and rationality, but to someone who has read Mirza Ghulam Ahmed and his lieutenants namely, Muhammad Ali and Khawaja Kamaluddin, Ghamdi clearly sounds the same except that he does not acknowledge these men by their name. But that is okay. Value of mail is in the letter, not the envelope.

  39. vajra

    @Ganpat Ram

    Your mail of March 15 at 12:01 am.

    Is this intended seriously, or is it an elaborate joke?

  40. vajra

    @ikram

    You stated

    Spanish law has its roots in Islamic law brought by Moors.

    Could you say where you got this information? Almost all continental European legal systems are derived from Roman civil law. If Spanish law is an exception, perhaps you have some authorities for that. Could you cite them?

  41. Harbir Singh Nain

    I am not going to comment on the article as it relates to Islam, but I take extreme exception to this statement:

    “the Western civilization- as we know it today- has for evolved out of a Judaeo-Christian cultural norms and as it is secularized, it is enriched by other cultural strains but it remains manifestly a product of Judaeo-Christian evolution. ”

    Christian fundamentalists in the United States (where I live primarily) are always stating this, but I have never seen any remotely convincing argument on this point. Almost everything that defines what it means to be “the west”, that separates the west from everything else, comes out of a revolution against Judeo-Christian tradition, not from its evolution, unless you want to get cute and say that revolution is evolution.

    That’s not to say that the west has lost its Judeo-Christian flavor or affiliations, but the west is not about whether its people go to church. It’s about free inquiry, free speech, freedom of religion, separation of church and state and democracy. The west is about the freedom of the individual to challenge orthodoxy, to challenge authority, to blaspheme, to put forth dangerous ideas about politics, society, religion, business. The west is about constant political, social, and economic renewal. None of these things are found in Judeo-Christian tradition or dogma. The change that brought these things was fought viciously, bitterly by the guardians of Judeo-Christian culture and tradition.

    Modern western civilization did not arise TILL Europeans rejected Judeo-Christian tradition. You can call modern western civilization a secularized evolution of Judeo-Christian tradition, but it is not. It is a civilization in which Judeo-Christian identity survives as a shriveled up, defeated artifact of a war lost against modernity.

    I am not going to comment on the article as it relates to Islam, but I take extreme exception to this statement:

    “the Western civilization- as we know it today- has for evolved out of a Judaeo-Christian cultural norms and as it is secularized, it is enriched by other cultural strains but it remains manifestly a product of Judaeo-Christian evolution. ”

    Christian fundamentalists in the United States (where I live primarily) are always stating this, but I have never seen any remotely convincing argument on this point. Almost everything that defines what it means to be “the west”, that separates the west from everything else, comes out of a revolution against Judeo-Christian tradition, not from its evolution, unless you want to get cute and say that revolution is evolution.

    That’s not to say that the west has lost its Judeo-Christian flavor or affiliations, but the west is not about whether its people go to church. It’s about free inquiry, free speech, freedom of religion, separation of church and state and democracy. The west is about the freedom of the individual to challenge orthodoxy, to challenge authority, to blaspheme, to put forth dangerous ideas about politics, society, religion, business. The west is about constant political, social, and economic renewal. None of these things are found in Judeo-Christian tradition or dogma. The change that brought these things was fought viciously, bitterly by the guardians of Judeo-Christian culture and tradition.

    Modern western civilization did not arise TILL Europeans rejected Judeo-Christian tradition. You can call modern western civilization a secularized evolution of Judeo-Christian tradition, but it is not. It is a civilization in which Judeo-Christian identity survives as a shriveled up, defeated artifact of a war that it lost with modernity.

    I can understand why people loyal to religion would want to see it differently: if western pre-eminence was in a religious context, then it points to the ability of other religious contexts to also evolve to modernity and pre-eminence. But western civilization came from breaking the back of religious orthodoxy, and cannot offer a comforting example to those who hope to reconcile religious authority in society and politics with modernity.

  42. Harbir Singh Nain

    I am not going to comment on the article as it relates to Islam, but I take extreme exception to this statement:

    “the Western civilization- as we know it today- has for evolved out of a Judaeo-Christian cultural norms and as it is secularized, it is enriched by other cultural strains but it remains manifestly a product of Judaeo-Christian evolution. ”

    Christian fundamentalists in the United States (where I live primarily) are always stating this, but I have never seen any remotely convincing argument on this point. Almost everything that defines what it means to be “the west”, that separates the west from everything else, comes out of a revolution against Judeo-Christian tradition, not from its evolution, unless you want to get cute and say that revolution is evolution.

    That’s not to say that the west has lost its Judeo-Christian flavor or affiliations, but the west is not about whether its people go to church. It’s about free inquiry, free speech, freedom of religion, separation of church and state and democracy. The west is about the freedom of the individual to challenge orthodoxy, to challenge authority, to blaspheme, to put forth dangerous ideas about politics, society, religion, business. The west is about constant political, social, and economic renewal. None of these things are found in Judeo-Christian tradition or dogma. The change that brought these things was fought viciously, bitterly by the guardians of Judeo-Christian culture and tradition.

    Modern western civilization did not arise TILL Europeans rejected Judeo-Christian tradition. You can call modern western civilization a secularized evolution of Judeo-Christian tradition, but it is not. It is a civilization in which Judeo-Christian identity survives as a shriveled up, defeated artifact of a war lost against modernity.
    I can understand why people loyal to religion would want to see it differently: if western pre-eminence was in a religious context, then it points to the ability of other religious contexts to also evolve to modernity and pre-eminence. But western civilization came from breaking the back of religious orthodoxy, and cannot offer a comforting example to those who hope to reconcile religious authority in society and politics with modernity.

  43. Gorki

    Ganpat Sahib:

    You are welcome.
    There is nothing special about the fact that in UK ‘people are expected to obey its government’ duly elected or not; all states demand that of its citizens; even in repressive Saudi Arabia people are expected to obey its government.

    Other than that, there is no comparison between the Island nation that make up UK and the Republic of India. The former is a smallish country speaking one major language and has about 5 million minorities, most of them recent immigrants. The later is a political union of one sixth of all human kind. The Indian state of Orrisa has the same land area as UK (50K sq. miles) and its state MP has the same population (about 60 million) which is still less than 10% of India. A better comparison would be between India and Europe; except Europe has a smaller population; 731 Million to 1.1 Billion. (No other continent besides Asia has as many people).

    And then there is diversity. Europe has 38 languages but only 15 are spoken by more than 10 million people; India has 22 languages and 13 of them are spoken by more than 10 million. India has more Muslims than all Europe, the Americas and Australia combined. Every other major religion known to man is present in India as well. The superlatives go on.

    So clearly India is not just your average nation; a political union of such diversity and such gigantic proportions has never been attempted in human history. In fact it has been said that all challenges of coexistence facing the entire human race are present in India; how India deals with these challenges will show the way to entire mankind.

    Fortunately reading your posts, I don’t think your position differs much from mine as things stand; we both believe that Nehru chose the right path dealing with Indian nation; we both agree (I think) that minorities have (and should have) a complete freedom of religion.

    We both agree (again I think?) that only a legally elected government can be the government of India. Thus the only difference is that you seem to think that it will eventually lead to a ‘Hindu’ government while I like most Indians believe that it is but a fantasy. I can live with that difference😉 .

    Since this is a Pakistani forum and many people may be unaware of the ground realities, let me point them out.
    Though Hindus make up 80% of the population, yet the BJP and Hindu parties combined vote percentage has never come even close to a simple majority; it has been steadily losing ground votes received in the recent years and managed to get less than 20% of the vote in the last election that was held in the shadow of the Mumbai massacres! Its new leader, Nitin Gadkari has recently announced that he aims to boost the BJP vote share by 10% in the next few years.
    For it he has said that his game plan is to try to woo the minorities including the Muslims and OBCs. I can live with that.
    That is how a democracy works.

    And for those who don’t believe in following the rule of law and ‘make trouble’ I agree that we; the Indian Republic ‘will take care of them’, their minority or majority status notwithstanding.😉

    Arun: I agree completely with both your points. I use the words ‘World power’ for the lack of a better world; I believe in Nehru’s dream of India, not a military power that inspires fear but a self sufficient nation, progressive scientifically that above all operates morally in international affairs; and commands respect. Also I agree that even if India had been a united political entity over the years, the basis of the modern nationhood can only be the same citizen to state contract. I only point out the past history of political disunity to make it clear that it is also a pragmatic arraignment in the Indian context for those who thing I am a bleeding heart liberal softy.

    Regards.

  44. Harbir Singh Nain

    sorry for the duplicate comment. I seem to not be very skilled at posting comments on wordpress. the first comment may be deleted. thanks!

  45. ylh

    Harbhajan,

    Where did I speak about going to church etc? I am not a fan of religion per se.

    When you admit that the West has retained its Judaeo-christian flavor, you admit my argument.

    If you were read the history of the evolution of law- especially common law- and modern society you’ll see that Judaeo-Christian tradition was a stepping stone.

    So if you want to imagine strawman fallacies go ahead but my argument is entirely different.

  46. ylh

    PS may I cite the example of Rhode Island and how the world’s first truly secular government came about …though even that does not direclty correspond to my argument.

    Religion has no central importance to my argument. My concern is that in religious societies we place too much emphasis on coopting the darululooms and traditionalists. Change will come through the islamic equivalent of what was known as “secular clergy” in Christianity.

    I am not sure why Harbhajan and countless others are reading new things into it …my argument is related to evolution post religion of Islamic society. The rejection of Christianity in the west came through the process started by the reformation which was deconstruction and reconstruction of religious thought.

  47. pankaj

    All said and done ,Partition was the BEST thing that
    has happened to India .
    Imagine 500 million muslims.

  48. Rashid

    @vajra

    Spanish law has its roots in Islamic law brought by Moors

    I think Ikram meant Spanish law is influenced by Islamic law brought to Spain by Moors.
    There is no doubt about the fact that prophet Muhammad was the first law giver that guaranteed woman to own property as inheritance, as part of marriage contract, or by other transactions. After Moors, Spanish Christian rulers incorporated this salient feature of Islamic law. Quran has provided spirit of law. It is only procedures that differentiates Roman civil law from so called Islamic law.

  49. Majumdar

    Ikram bhai,

    ……..First state in USA to allow women to own property, conduct business and be financially independent is California. California law has its roots in Spanish Law. And Spain is first country to grant these rights to women in Europe. Spanish law has its roots in Islamic law brought by Moors. …….

    The Islamic roots of California go even further than you imagine. California was first discovered by Muslim sailors in the times of Haroun ar Raschid and was named in his honour (Khalifa al Haroon).

    Regards

  50. Ganpat Ram

    GORKI:

    You read my meaning exactly. Very glad to see we are on the same wave length. I don’t “hope” that that India will turn towards Hindu nationalism. it is something that is happening anway, no matter which parties are in power, but will not affect India’s democratic spirit.

    We are not like Pakistan. We do not challenge election results by bloody rioting, and we obey legal governments by and large. I think that comes from the easy going spirit of Hinduism, its tendency to a calm, peaceful outlook.

    Best regards

  51. Vali Nasr’s latest book, Forces of Fortune, goes along on somewhat similar lines. He suggests that as the forces of modern capitalism embrace more and more of the ‘Muslim’ world, we see the creation of a decidedly Muslim middle class, both by the actions of the state (bureaucracies, government servants and the military officers) and by the general proliferation of commercial capital in society that gives rise to traders, merchants and other small scale service based individuals.

    This new middle class, because it is definitionally linked to the rationalization/centralization processes of modern capitalism, will eventually refrain from Jihadist or fundamentalist interpretations of religion. After all, no businessman would like violence in his country because its bad for his business. Similarly, the merchants might pay lip-service in support of Shariah law, but they wouldn’t want to do anything that would harm their profiteering. Whether Nasr’s argument is proven right in the case of Pakistan remains to be seen. I just think it is a very relevant argument to make at this particular juncture.

  52. ylh

    Thanks – I have always wanted to read Vali Nasr …

    PML-N’s gestures to India before the Kargil debacle by Pakistan Army seems to prove Nasr right…

  53. Harbir Singh Nain

    YLH,

    You claim evolution where there was revolution. That judeo-christian authority preceded what became modern western civilization does not mean that the latter is an evolution of the former, even if there is some continuity. The most important, most vital aspects of western civilization come out of rejection of judeo-christian tradition, not its evolution.

    If you can demonstrate exactly what part of judeo christian thinking, dogma and tradition forms the ideological basis of the most essential points of modern western civilization, I’ll be very impressed.

  54. ylh

    That is a stupid question and demand because I did not claim that dogma forms part of western ideological thinking.

    Had people gone beyond the first paragraph they’d realize that I am talking about the reform of faith that would help people move beyond narrow confines of dogma when determining their interaction with state, society and the world at large.

    If you can’t read beyond the first paragraph and associate your own interpretation to what I am saying instead of reading then I can’t help you.

  55. vajra

    @Rashid

    Spanish law has its roots in Islamic law brought by Moors

    I think Ikram meant Spanish law is influenced by Islamic law brought to Spain by Moors.
    There is no doubt about the fact that prophet Muhammad was the first law giver that guaranteed woman to own property as inheritance, as part of marriage contract, or by other transactions. After Moors, Spanish Christian rulers incorporated this salient feature of Islamic law. Quran has provided spirit of law. It is only procedures that differentiates Roman civil law from so called Islamic law.

    You state that Spanish law is influenced by Islamic law brought to Spain by the Moors. This is precisely what I sought to know. Is there any documentation of this point?

    The Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were so hostile to the Moorish kingdoms remaining that it is difficult to see the mechanism through which these provisions could have come into Spanish law.

    I do not doubt that Hazrat Mohammed had brought in wide-ranging changes in the laws prevailing in Arabia at that time. Whether it was the first time world-wide is another question. I am not aware of the correct position in this regard. You may well be right.

    Finally, regarding the possibility that only procedures distinguish Roman Civil Law from Islamic Law, I am quite taken aback. When you say this, you are of course aware that Roman Civil Law is based on the legal systems of the Roman Kingdom, then the Republic, then the Empire, and that parts of it date back to 600 BC. There is then at least 1,200 years between the origins of Roman Law and the origins of Islamic Law.

  56. Majumdar

    Dada,

    There is then at least 1,200 years between the origins of Roman Law and the origins of Islamic Law.

    You are of course discounting the possibility that Islamic Law may have preceded Rome much like Islam itself long preceded Rome.

    Maybe Rashid mian can shed some light on the matter.

    Regards

  57. Ganpat Ram

    GORKI:

    I think someone like B (Bloody?) Civilian will be put out to see that like a good and sensible Indian you are for obeying legally elected governments which carry out their functions with the law.

    Excellent.

    May I point out that serious as are my differences with the BJP ( I despise their resort to extra-consitutional agitation and rioting) they have been on friendly terms with the Sikhs?

    The BJP condemned fiercely the anti-Sikh murderous rampage of 1984, rightly attributing not to Hindus but the goons of the Congress Indira Gandhi sycophants. The BJP has also been in coalition with Sikh parties.

  58. Ganpat Ram

    Vajra:

    No, that was no joke. I look forward to enjoying the joke of your attempt to answer it in detail.

    Like to try the Burke-Macaulay style again?

  59. B. Civilian

    Ganpat

    you made the same mistake about gorki, so i’m not surprised.

    there can be no honesty without basic decency. a shallow or self-serving honesty is no honesty at all, regardless of whether it is a best effort.

  60. Ganpat Ram

    B. Civilan

    I have no idea what you mean.

    VAJRA:

    Excellent point about Roman law long antedating Islam.

  61. vajra

    @Rashid

    Subsequent to our brief conversation, I have found some information which is interesting, but is contradictory to some of the ideas that you expressed. Do you wish me to extract these as text comments, or merely forward you the URLs? Both have a bearing on the question of law, one explaining clearly the legal practices of the time in Spain, making it clear that there was a wide gulf and no cross-fertilisation of legal systems in Spain, the other exploring the early days of Islamic jurisprudence, with an opposite phenomenon taking place.

    I hope that you will respond to this in the spirit of enquiry by which I have been guided myself.

  62. Harbir Singh Nain

    YLH,

    You mentioned western civilization to illustrate your claim that “the core values of any civilization are drawn from the dominant religio-cultural system.”

    I am challenging this because the core values of the western civilization ARE NOT drawn from the judeo-christian relgio-cultural system. Europe underwent an intellectual, social, and political transformation between about 1600 and 1800 (“the age of englightenmen” and “the scientific revolution”) during which time were born all sorts of things that displaced judeo-christian “religio culture” to found what we know as modern western civilization.

    There is nothing in the judeo-christian religio-cultural tradition from which you can say that the modern western values of free inquiry, freedom of speech, etc. There is nothing in the protestant reformation that gives birth to these things.

    For sure, as the precursor social order was a religious one, it is inevitable that many of the players and conflicts would happen in a religious context or by people motivated by religious intent. but none the less, the most essential western values today are not derived the judeo-christian religio-cultural system. they are new inventions that rejected the authority of judeo-christianity.

  63. vajra

    @Rashid

    I hasten to add – there is also evidence of the other sort, bearing out your contention that there was in fact interaction between legists and jurists during the al-Andalus period of history. Obviously we must take all information into account before deciding where the greatest authenticity lies.

    Do let me know your convenience.

  64. Ganpat Ram

    HARBIR SINGH NAIN:

    You stated the crushing facts very well indeed:

    “There is nothing in the judeo-christian religio-cultural tradition from which you can say that the modern western values of free inquiry, freedom of speech, etc. There is nothing in the protestant reformation that gives birth to these things.

    For sure, as the precursor social order was a religious one, it is inevitable that many of the players and conflicts would happen in a religious context or by people motivated by religious intent. but none the less, the most essential western values today are not derived the judeo-christian religio-cultural system. they are new inventions that rejected the authority of judeo-christianity.”

    I would only amend this to say the secular, inquring tradition was in considerable part descended from the Hellenist polytheist, “pagan” civilization that the Jews and their Christian descendants affected to despise.

  65. ylh

    Harbhajan,

    You are fighting against a demon of your own making. I have made any of the claims you are fighting against. Frankly try and read beyond the first paragraph and you’ll realize that you are totally reading into something which is different.

  66. krash

    Is it possible that the end result of these internal conflicts will be something that is not identical to the modern secular humanism of the West?

  67. Ganpat:
    Language skills or not, you have your work cut out for you in trying to understand the difference between a democratic republic and a fascist state.

    In a democracy it is the ‘good and sensible Indian’ who sees to it that the legally elected government carries out its functions within the law and not the other way around. Thus people like me and BC are needed to keep the government honest on one hand and the fascist demagogues under check on the other.😉

    Fortunately the Indian electorate ‘sensible Indian’ if you will, is up to the task. The INC found it out the hard way in 1977 and the BJP in subsequent years.

    The reference to the BJP and Akali Dal alliance is immaterial to this conversation.

    The only part you got right was that it would be wrong to blame all Hindus for the anti Sikh riots of 1984 as it would be wrong to blame all Hindus for the Ajodhya atrocities of December 1992. Both were the work of the Indian version of the Indian Sturmabteilung and their supporters; and the enemies of my republic.

    Regards.

  68. Carlos Hernandez

    @PTH YLH
    Please see this website.

    http://www.bmsd.org.uk/

  69. Majumdar Dada:

    Thank you for informing us about the antecedents of California.😉

    You crack me up and are my favorite ‘right winger’ if that is what you think you are.

    Seriously, I think you are wasting your talents; you should be writing one liners for people like Jay Leno of the late night show….

    Regards.

  70. Rashid

    @vajra

    “You state that Spanish law is influenced by Islamic law brought to Spain by the Moors. This is precisely what I sought to know. Is there any documentation of this point?

    I think either Khawaja Kamal ud Din of famed Woking Muslim mission or Muhammad Asad in one of his books mentions Islam’s influence on Europe’s laws, dress, culture over the centuries.

    It must be 10 years or so I read books by these authors.

    When I say only difference between Roman law and Islamic law is that of procedures and terminology I mean both want fairness and justice. E.g. Pakistani law is based on Roman/ English law. It is totally an Islamic law. Victim should be redressed. Marriages are civil contract. etc.

  71. correction:
    Both were the work of the Indian version of the Indian Sturmabteilung and their supporters; and the enemies of my republic =

    Both were the work of the Indian version of the Sturmabteilung and their supporters; the true enemies of my republic.

  72. vajra

    @Rashid

    I am puzzled.

    We are coming closer and closer in some respects, in others you have me completely stymied.

    Pakistani law is based on Roman/ English law. It is totally an Islamic law.

    I was under the impression that Roman Law and English Law were essentially different, that the one was based on Civil Law, the other on Common Law.

    Am I to understand that you believe them to be one and the same?

  73. Ganpat Ram

    Gorki:

    You are rather going overboard with the fascist analogy.

    Looking over what I have written, my express approval of the rights of Muslims, for instance, to ridicule Hinduism as they please in India, your talk of fascism is far-fetched.

    Among the major religions, I would count Hinduism as the least fascist; it is far more tolerant and inclusive than the Middle Eastern faiths, for instance. It has no arrogant claim to an exclusive warranty from God or sole possession of God’s word.

    Nor are the Sikhs without guilt in the violence that happened in India in the 1980s. Before the Congress Party goons went on their Delhi rampage, Sikh extremists had over many years mercilessly slaughtered innocent Hindu villagers – pulling them out of buses in some instances. They seem to have learned this bad lesson from the countrymen of B. Civilian.

    Personally, I think Hindus need no lessons in tolerance from Paks, whose own record is hideous beyond belief.

    As for legitimate, elected states deserving the obedience of citizens, that’s an elementary requirement for a decent society. If India is not to be reduced to a zoolum like Pakistan, it must have such citizens.

  74. Nusrat Pasha

    As far as “Islam” is concerned, it has nothing to do with having a state to harbour it. Islam existed even before the State of Medina was conceived and continued to last throughout the following 14 centuries. The true glory of Islam has always been and will forever remain its spiritual and celestial beauty. The most glorious Muslims were not rulers who were incidentally Muslim, they were the saints and sufis – the men of God that Islam produced. These were the men who conquered hearts instead of lands, and inspired love instead of hatred.

  75. Ganpat:

    My fascist analogy was in response to the following words “someone like B (Bloody?) Civilian will be put out to see that like a good and sensible Indian you are for obeying legally elected governments”

    Who will be put in charge of watching over ‘good and sensible Indians’? Big brother?

    Secondly you wrote “Nor are the Sikhs without guilt in the violence that happened in India in the 1980s”

    How are they guilty unless you invoke guilt by association?
    Specifically any of those massacred in New Delhi and elsewhere, or the women gang raped and burned alive, little children burnt alive guilty of pulling out the villagers and shooting them?

    The “Sikh extremists’ who had “over many years mercilessly slaughtered innocent Hindu villagers – pulling them out of buses in some instances” were hunted down vigorously and then decimated to a man; by the Punjab police, which as I pointed out to you earlier was itself 80% Sikh and invariable led by Sikh police officers, many of whom suffered personal losses at the hands of the same extremists.
    A Sikh Chief Minister himself was killed by those extremists.

    Reading your second declaration (which is even more outragous than the last), I don’t think my fascist analogy is farfetched; demagoguery by the well educated and couched in perfect language is still demagoguery; and just as deadly.

    Regards.

  76. Rashid

    @Vajra

    Obviously, you know much in detail the precise differences between Roman law and English law. My understanding in this regard is very rudimentary.

  77. rex minor

    @Gorki,
    your quotation to Mustafa Shaban about the sikh officer comments, “he fought for the Indian Army and GOI and neither of these had any religion. These are shabby comments and your conclusions are not accurate.

    This proves that the Indian army like the Pakistani Army is not a national army and both have been acting as in the colonial times suppressing their own citizens. Did they not shoot down their fellow countrymen when ordered by the Brits. What did the Rajputs, the Sikhs, the Gorkhas and the Pashtoon militias(Frontier corps) etc. did during the colonial days. Yes, you are right, they had no loyalty to their religion, no ethnic loyalty no human constraints, just kill one’s own kith and kin because that is what they were trained for a few pennies. Are they educated and trained to distinguish between a legal and illegal order? No sir, they are deliberaly kept daft.
    The result would be that the same sikh regiments of heroes are going to surrender against the American or Chinese Armada as soon as they receive the order from their commander.
    I thought you mentioned you have the American citizenship. Is this how their army is trained to follow orders regardless of ?
    While you are in the States, why do’nt you take a ride over the week-end to Canada and share these thoughts with the Sikh migrant community, who left their country on account of what was done to their folks by the Indian might. It is a sad episode and no woder the Sikh regiments are now operating in Kashmir.
    Have a nice day.

  78. Ganpat Ram

    GORKI:

    Who will be put in charge of watching over “good and sensible Indians”? It will indeed be Big Brother if they take it for granted that legitimate governments ruling by law don’t deserve obedience.

    As for “guilt by association” – you have a point there. My wording was incautious. I took it for granted that Hindus are to some extent to blame for the anti-Sikh riots if only because the Congress goons who carried them out have never been brought to book. I meant to say that Hindus had some reason for bitterness because of senseless killings of their innocent fellows, but of course, I did not mean the riots could in any way be excused.

    Just do me the favour of reading what I said. You will have to admit all this talk of fascism is far-fetched, and I could in no way have condoned those riots.

  79. vajra

    @Rashid

    No, no, not true, only what little sticks from reading history academically. This question should be answered for us by YLH or by BCiv.

    Where are the legal experts when one wants them?

    Could you please give me the names of the books you mention?

  80. Ganpat Ram

    GORKI:

    I am sure you don’t want illiterate friends like Rex Minor, preaching his incoherent drivel on behalf of Islamist cutthroatism.

  81. hoss

    Asking people to look past the immediate fallacy build in to the article seems odd. It is like creating a straw man to argue around it and then asking people, who recognize the straw man; to overlook it just won’t cut it.

    Once the straw man is exposed the whole article becomes an exercise to rebuild the same fundamentalism that gave us the Jihadis and the terrorist. Now that people are getting united against the terrorist, the fundamentalism supporters bring in a new paradigm which claims that the same jihadi supporters will usher in the “age of reason, enlightenment, and modern secularism” in the Muslim world. Well no one needs advice and help from the jihadi sponsoring fundamentalists. They will just come up with some new traps to usher in the same old, same old in the guise of building secularism.

    The article refers to many movements and some personalities in Pakistan and other countries; all of them actually tried to revive the “original” Islam and promoted fundamentalist thoughts. (Excluding Mirza Sahib who opposed Jihad and that is perhaps the primary reason his followers were declared non Muslim).

    This creative improvisation promoting that the followers of the fundamentalist ideas would promote “modern Secularism” would be suicidal for the Muslims around the world. The shape of the bottle might be different or it might be wrapped in a fancy paper; it would still carry the same poison, the poison of Jihad and terrorism.

    PS
    It appears that if you disagree with the chief moderator, either you will be banned or put on spam or told to take a hike or your posts would just be deleted. I would appreciate it if other moderators would confirm this policy for the benefit of the posters here.

  82. ylh

    Hoss mian,

    Why don’t you point out one instance where you’ve been put on spam or deleted. You can’t hence you are a liar.

    There is no immediate fallacy. Your entire argument creates a strawman fallacy- typical. The point of the first paragraph was quite clear- to establish that untill and unless Islam gets reformed, there will be no secularism in the Muslim world. It was not to establish the centrality of religion in the issue.
    Now I am being called a “fundamentalism” supporter when I am arguing the exact opposite.

    Meanwhile the crook who was claiming that India was behind the taliban and that Shireen Mazari was right in calling WSJ reporters “CIA agents” is now claiming to be a moderate.

    Read Umair Javed’s comment. Last time around you were kissing his rearend awfully lot.

    While I have fought against Jamaat e Islami and Hizbut tahrir here in Pakistan …hoss mian has been working for a neocon establishment group in Pentagon while claiming to be a leftist.

    The problem that hoss has with me is that I am an independent voice which calls a spade a spade and a crook a crook, be it Jamaat e islami or Hoss mian.

  83. Hayyer

    This thread is going all over the place.
    YLH:
    If I may explain my post of 7:22 pm of 14/3. It was not a reply to Ganpat whom I had answered on the earlier thread. It just happened that the same issue associating religion and nation popped up in this one and therefore required a restatement of position. It is not necessary to comment on his dependence on the Indian Army to solve religious or political issues.
    I shall try and explain and reiterate as briefly as possible.
    You said “Change will come through the islamic equivalent of what was known as “secular clergy” in Christianity.”
    I read into your article the subtext that a reformist Islam can somehow evolve creating conditions for modern secular Islamic nations. Pakistan is only an example of the difficulties that all Muslim countries probably face, Indonesia, Turkey and Malaysia notwithstanding.
    Perhaps I misunderstood you. My point is that the modern secular democratic state owes little to religion reformation. Western Monarchies evolved the divine right of kings against the power of the Papal authority, itself claiming divine rights. Henry abnegated himself to the Pope Gregory at Canossa but only as a tactical manoeuvre. This divine right was itself challenged in turn.
    Democracy goes way back in history in nearly every human society independently of religion. Machiavelli in his Discourses preached the separation of church and state as well as checks and balances. It was the revival of learning in Italy and the growth of city states that enabled humanists to profit from the political theories of the Greeks and Romans
    Erasmus made fun of popes and regretted More’s getting involved with theology. The latter’s Utopia is Platonic rather than Christian. Even Locke whom you mentioned said that civil government is the result of a contract having nothing to do with divine law.
    Modern secular democratic nations were created by ignoring religion. Reformist Islam if it is attempting subliminally to reach the identical destination but on its own track may take an unconscionably long time doing so.
    Gorki:
    Thanks for the kind notices, but I am no scholar.

  84. ylh

    Krash,

    It is possible but not likely. The reason is that democracy in the information age is lethal to all fundamentalisms.

    Hayyer,

    I agree that modern secular society has emerged only by ignoring religion. The point is that Islam’s grip on the believer is so literal and dogmatic that it is impossible for the believer to remove religion from discourse.

    My contention is that with analysis outside the confines of darul uloom alone has the potential of evolving beyond religion.

    It is not “its own track”. It is the same track Christianity took in the west. I am not sure why this strawman fallacy is being created that I am somehow arguing some essential central plank for religion.

    In the process we are missing the entire point.

  85. rex minor

    @Hoss
    Your PS, I have already promised the chief moderator not to comment on his articles.

    I like the comments in your last input, but would suggest the following quantification for the last sentence;

    The poison for terrorism is in the US foreign policy. And the poison for Jehad is mainly coming from the misguided clergy in various parts of the world. They need to invent a different ‘slogan’ for the muslim masses to confront the ex- colonialists and crusaders of the West. The so called terrorism is going to disappear as soon as the US stops playing a “Big Brother” of the world.

    Indian complaints to Pakistan against the Kashmiri resistance groups is a diversion. India should better stop the military suppression of Kashmiris. The resistance groups operating from Pakistan territory would disappear over night. The Brits are no longer prepared to take additional kashmiris from Infdia.
    Regards,

  86. “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain” (John Adams)

    Ganpat Sahib: I appreciate your clarification about the anti-Sikh riots, after interacting with you so far, I believe that you are a decent man and do would not condone such a thing; but my argument with you is not so much as what and where we want our nation to end up but how.

    Specifically I feel that it is very important, even a moral duty of all of us; the educated, pampered lot to keep our heads, not lose objectivity and to help educate our people the lessons of good citizenship. Giants like Nehru and Patel passed to our generation a forward looking, secular nation on a fairly sound political and ethical footing.

    Their generation already fought and paid the price for the identity politics of the day. Today we have a new generation; a new nation; must we fight old battles again?

    If people like you and me, whom India pampered, gave an education while other children our age languished, worked the fields or worse as domestic help in middle class households, can’t lead our countrymen into a more enlightened future then who will?

    Don’t you think that like in the John Adams quote above, we need to do our generational share and pass a better nation to the next generation than the one passed to us?

    I only got involved in this blogging business after 26/11 because like you I want my country to be stronger, not weaker.
    What I am specifically proposing is that we all move away from identity politics, where innocent intemperate remarks such as the one you made above leads one down the slippery slope and before you know it, we are listening to a Nehru great grandson asking Muslims to ‘go to Pakistan’ .

    Our focus should be on building an educated society conscious of both their rights and duties as citizens of a modern state.
    I believe such a state, will not diminish but only bring honor and pride to Hindu culture and Hinduism.

    Since this is a Pakistani forum, I can’t help others overhearing our conversation, but I hope at least some of them will hear us and understand that Indian does not mean nationalism is not anti-Pakistanism (forgive me for the poor word construction but it conveys my meaning)

    Regards.

  87. Correction:

    …that Indian does not mean nationalism is not anti-Pakistanism =
    …that Indian nationalism does not mean anti-Pakistanism

  88. hoss

    I just love the tirade. Reality always bites and hurts. Of course, I don’t need to use that kind of language to make my points. Once you find a moderator or the chief moderator taking swipes with salty language, you know that it wouldn’t be long for others to join in.

  89. Midfield Dynamo

    The practice of Islam, prayer and meditation five or more times a day, cleansing the body and soul, devotion to ones faith and abstinence from certain common vices are some vehicles that instill in the individual a high level of energy, both psychological and physical. Harnessing and channelizing this energy needs far sighted human leadership and mostly the will of God which some of us could term as good luck. Without these imperatives, there is a strong chance that this energy release will be wrongly utilized or wasted away.
    The spirit of Islam lost its glamour when its custodianship passed into the hands of monarchs, who capitalized on the form to embroil their subjects through a conspiratorial alliance with the Mullahs to prevent an uprising by the masses that would challenge the monarchial dynasties with the true democratic tradition.
    To keep the population embroiled in the pursuit of self righteousness it was essential to make the form as complicated as needed, therefore the form continued to evolve and degenerated into dogmatic rituals. It was an effective ploy for the opportunist, anyone with oratorical skills embarked upon making a separate mosque either affiliated with a larger group or in an individual capacity. The mullah was collecting charity and the monarch patronized it because the masses were going deeper into the well of religious form. The true spirit of individual excellence died, what remained was a subservience to the king and the mullah.
    There have been sparks of spiritual resurgence in the form of Bhai, Pervez, Mirza, and others, but too weak to withstand the resistance of traditional dynastic demigods, whereas the monarchs were defeated by regional or off late global powers, the mullahs have retained their hold on religious public opinion. People have had some success in applying tangential forces but no one has either dared to or succeeded in wiping the slate clean across the board and put a stop to these corrupt practices and revert to the true message and spirit of Islam. Many such efforts have eventually come to rest as yet another strain.
    The time has now come to widen the gates of heaven, be all encompassing, disentangle from this intricate web of religious form and grasp the spirit which is evidently common to all, harness this energy for individual excellence and combined policy for the general good of the community and the world at large. Islam in the new millennia can set the pace for Hindus, Christians, Jews and others by means of individual distinction rather than suicide jackets.

  90. ylh

    Hoss,

    Realities do bite. Do you want us to recount them?

    Why don’t you start by pointing out when you were put on spam or banned.

    I am not the chief moderator. There is no such a thing. The only thing I have moderator recently are my own posts where I pointed out some bitter realities about your pathetic existence.

    As for your little commentary, there are only two possibilities- you are either stupid enough to believe that nonsense that your spewed against me or that you don’t and are just being a crook.

  91. rex minor

    @Hayyer
    You are a scholar and a very good one too. But you have to understand the Psyche of people believing in Islam which for centuries have claimed to be a way of life. This is the starting base, it is not easy to convince this crowd of a new dogma or a thesis which takes them away from their religion. This is possible in India but not in Pakistan, which for better or worse was created on the slogan of a separate Muslim State. Despite the religion they can easily fall apart further, unless they are assured that they have something very common among them. In Afghanistan the Govt. has already declared that they are not going to implement the western style of democracy. The process of secularism in the Govt. has to be a progressive one, being sensitive to the feelings and emotions of the masses.

  92. ylh

    Rex minor,

    Well said.

  93. ylh

    Erratum “there is no such a thing” should read “no such thing”

  94. ylh

    That is my favorite John Adams quote Gorki sb.

    John Adams was very much on my mind. He was a good moral Christian man who nonetheles was one of the men who decidedly steered US to a course of separation of Church and state. Also on my mind was Jefferson the non believer and his book on the moral teachings of Jesus Christ.

    May I recommend everyone here to read the text that inspired these men:

    “Two Treatise on Government” by John Locke.

    John Locke’s entire argument for social contract has his deep and profound faith in Christian principle. I don’t how many of you have read “the true end of government”.

  95. rex minor

    @idfield Dynamo
    Very good thoughts and perhaps you are also going to enlighten the suicide jacs Have you also a suggestion for the rag tag soldiers how to defend their families against the agressors if you deprive them of their jackets?

  96. rex minor

    @Midfield Dynamo

    Correction.
    Very good thoughts about the mission of expanding the muslim community. Have you also a suggestion for the rag tag soldiers to defend their families against the aggressors if they are deprived of their jackets?

  97. Gorki

    YLH:
    Perhaps we were thinking alike.

    When I first read your article, John Adams came to my mind too.

    Regards.

  98. Rashid

    @Vajra

    Honestly, I do not remember exactly in which book I read. Many books and newspaper articles of Khawaja Kamal ud Din are available on official head-office website of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement (many of them are in Urdu too), and also on Woking Muslim Mission website. You may google them. There are not many books by Muhammad Asad. I do remember reading his ‘Islam at the Crossroads’.

    You probably know under Judeo Law married woman cannot divorce her husband (I read a Texas Court case in which Jewish couple married in Israel, and wife asked Texas court to grant her divorce. Husband took the position that as they were married under Jewish law and wife cannot get divorce under Jewish law). Under Christian Law divorce is not permissible, except few exceptions. I guess it was the case at least in the original Hindu Law (please don’t challenge me on this one). In addition there was concept of Saati (burning surviving widow alive). Islamic Law is the first law that permitted wife to divorce her husband for whatever reason. Today we see Europe and Americas permitting this Islamic provision. Unless someone proves me wrong, I am compelled to accept that even in matters of Family Law, Islam has influenced these countries. This is the reason for my calling their legal system as “Judeo-Christian-Islamic” law.

  99. B. Civilian

    hayyer

    i thought YLH copying Vajra’s analysis of this article would have clarified things to a great degree. i don’t think the article claims that true democracy would come from religious reform. or that, even more preposterously, science would come from it. but that those amongst the religious who do not reject scientific method out of hand are a better hope for bringing the religious to democracy and to science than those who do. but this hope is for the longer journey. in the short term, as YLH has given examples of, these agents of change may go in completely the opposite direction at times, despite using the right tools. on the other hand, at precisely those times, those who reject or are too ignorant and unimaginative/introverted/small-minded to understand or bother with scientific method might appear mild and peaceful enough to present the better hope. but it is a false hope in the longer run. or that’s what i thought YLH is saying and Vajra has understood him to mean.

  100. B. Civilian

    …. i think the point the article makes reinforces the justification for the state to ignore religion. but, as YLH has clarified, the article is not about the state or what it ought or ought or not to do about religion. if the state can wise up to the stupidity of placing any kind of (false) hope on the wrong kind of religious people (in the context of what has been said above, in the previous post), it will do both itself and the religious and their culture (and its future course) a favour. as for those who – whether or not capable of and using scientific methods/tools – confront and attempt to undermine the state, they will be dealt with one way or the other by any state whether a democracy, theocracy or other form of dictatorship, as strongly as the state itself is strong and capable.

  101. Rashid

    @hoss

    (Excluding Mirza Sahib who opposed Jihad and that is perhaps the primary reason his followers were declared non Muslim).

    I’ll like to clarify this. Mirza Sahib (Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani) was NOT the first to oppose Jihad against British Raj. He came much late into the picture. There were many prominent political and religious Muslim figures in India who opposed before him. And of course many opposed after him. It is interesting why he had to publically acknowledge his allegiance to British Raj. It all started after Mirza sahib made claim of ‘Al-Mahdi’. Before him ‘Mahdi-Suddani’ (in Sudan) started a militant movement against British Rulers and even killed their Governor General Gordon. So, British raj people got suspicious of Mirza sahib. In addition Mulla opponents of Mirza sahib held belief that ‘Al-Mahdi’ will be a ‘bloody’ Mahdi i.e. he will start a militant struggle against Christianity and with force will break their Crosses (demolish Churches) and literally kill swine (eaten by Christians). So when these Mulla opponents of Mirza sahib could NOT defeat him in arguments, e.g. on subject of Death of Jesus etc; they started conspiring with British raj that this guy has claimed to be ‘Al-Mahdi’ and will wage war against Christian British rulers etc. As a strategy to lock him up, and prevent any possible rebellion, false court cases were initiated against him. To save his time, legal distractions and troubles Mirza sahib went publically to announce his allegiance and dispel misunderstandings about him. So, he took the stand that since rulers have provided peace and security in the country and Muslims are allowed to practice their religion freely and safely (unlike previous Sikh rule in Punjab and Frontier provinces). So we should be loyal to the government. Mirza sahib approach was to propagate Islam in a peaceful environment. Historically Islam has propagated in peaceful circumstances. He was going for a bigger catch. His plans were to convert Christian rulers in India to Islam and also those in Great Britain. (His plans were to repeat history when Mongol rulers of Baghdad converted to Islam).

    On the other hand Mirza sahib also prophesized 60 years in advance (in 1905) failure of Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri prediction and repulsion of Indian army attack in 1965. I would say Mirza sahib was NOT talking about defense of geographical boundaries of Muslims homeland, by his opposition of Jihad.

  102. Ganpat Ram

    Gorki:

    I too feel that in essence you and I have the same hopes.

    I can very easily understand a Sikh’s bitter disillusionment with Hindus and Hinduism after what happened in the 1980s.

    What perhaps not enough Sikhs realise is what a terrible shock that whole Hindu-Sikh violence has been for Hindus in general.

    Apart from those Hindus in the Delhi and Punjab area who got caught up in all the sectarian fury, it came as an unbelievable tragedy to other Hindus who have always regarded Sikhs and Hindus as part of the same family.

    We had all grown up taking that kinship for granted, and then we had to see men from a community that has so often distinguished itself as protectors of Hindus cutting innocent Hindus down and the “secular” Congress goons killing Sikhs in unbelievably vile ways and Hindus being tainted with the foul deeds. Yet the Congress had long sneered at everything Hindu.

    No doubt the whole sorry affair disgusts you with the very idea of a Hindu state in India…..Only too understandable.

    I was thinking along the lines of Nirad Chudhuri, no Hindu chauvinist, who once said that the claim of needing to have a “secular” state in India was an insult to Hinduism, which only has to be itself to assure freedom to all religions.

  103. PMA

    I will like to make two points regarding this essay.

    True, “the core values of any civilization are drawn from the dominant religio-cultural system” and that Western Civilization “has strong heritage in Hellenistic past”. I will go one step further and add Roman Civilization in to the mix as well. No doubt the Western-Christian societies have its roots in the preceding ancient Greco-Roman societies.

    But it would be wrong to say that the Western Civilization has “evolved out of Judaeo-Christian cultural norms” because in reality no such juxtaposed society and its norms, neither cultural nor religious, exist. For any thing, the Jewish and the Christian norms, values (legal as well as cultural) and believes are in direct conflict with each other.

    The term ‘Judaeo-Christian’ is a twentieth century American invention coined for political expedience. The very basic Christian concepts of ‘trinity’ and ‘father god’ and ‘son of god’ are derived from the Greco-Roman theological believes. They stand in contradiction to the Jewish (and Muslim) believes of ‘separation of man and god’. To the contrary, in the Judaeo-Muslim Abrahamic tradition the laws are given by the ‘god’ and not by the ‘man’.

    Once we realise this distinction, it becomes easier to trace the reasons of the evolution of democracy and secularism in the Western-Christian societies and also the lack of it in the Middle Eastern Jewish, Christian and Muslim societies. How could a man make laws when he is neither ‘god’ nor a ‘prophet of god’; a question that plagues all Muslim countries.

    In the Western societies it is the adaptation of the Hellenistic concept of democracy and Roman concept of republic that manifests and not the Jewish concept of absolute submission to god.

    On my second point, I agree that “Islam is largely political”. Therefor political revival and religious reforms must go hand in hand. They are the two sides of the same coin. Sufism as it is practised in the Sub-continent today has no answers to our predicaments. It is totally irrelevant today. At the same time the ‘traditional Islam’ as practised and preached by Mullah will not bring about reform either. It is not in his interest to do so. The next phase of the reform and revival movement, as its first phase at the turn of the twentieth century, will be led by the middle classes. But are they ready and willing to take up the task?

  104. Ganpat Ram

    PMA:

    I am in agreement with you to a large extent.

    The new idea you have thrown up, that God-centred societies derived from Jewish monotheism CANNOT be democratic because they lack confidence in the human being, and give everything to God, unlike the polytheistic societies, is a fascinating insight.

    I do not believe Israel would be a free society today had it not been for the Jews’ emancipation by the post-Christian Enlightenment.

  105. Ganpat Ram

    I too think Christianity with its man-god Jesus was the result of Greek polytheistic influence on Judaism. No wonder Jews reject it so fiercely.

    The idea of God having a “son” and even a wife is true abomination to the Jews !

  106. Ganpat Ram

    In a very real sense, Christianity is a Greek invention more than a Jewish one.

  107. vajra

    @Rashid

    I can, I think, comment, strictly as an amateur of law, on one or two of the points raised by you. All that I say subsequently is subject to correction by the two known lawyers whom we know of, YLH and BCiv, who are being very irritating by holding aloof in a very marked manner, considering how easy they could make matters for you and I with a brief intervention and with clarifications.

    In the Texas case cited by you, a lot depends on which branch of Jewish law was involved. My understanding is that the three main branches of Judaism recognised in the West have slightly different systems.

    It is interesting that it was claimed that in Jewish law, no divorce is possible, since it was explicitly permitted by Moses, and there was no contradiction of this authority until as late as Jesus Christ, centuries later. It was Jesus who said firmly and without permitting exceptions of any kind that divorce was not permitted. To me personally, discovering this in the Bible was a shock (I confirmed it externally afterwards), as in most respects, His interpretation was a far more relaxed one than the Mosaic. One more exception was His furious outburst against moneylending and usury, one of the rare occasions – I think the only occasion – when He lost his temper.

    What I get from this is that originally, Jewish law derived from Moses permits divorce and Christian law derived from the teachings of Christ forbids it. This aspect of Christian law of course superseded the explicit Roman law on divorce, which was a matter of civil contract, in Europe, for some centuries.

    However, we must remember that in Roman law, divorce was explicitly permitted, including a woman’s right to seek a divorce, for both, man and woman, to be initiated at will. This is centuries old, and precedes Islamic law by centuries, around six centuries. As I mentioned, it was briefly superseded by the ban under Christian law, because of that specific teaching of Christ. This was the original position, and it changed very rapidly. A quick aside: divorce was also permitted in Greece, but not at will; the parties had to appear before a magistrate, who could determine if the reasons given, whatever reasons, were sufficient.

    Islamic Law is the first law that permitted wife to divorce her husband for whatever reason.

    Sorry, this is not true.

    Coming to Hindu law, there is no divorce permitted under Hindu religious law, since marriage is a sacrament, not a civil contract; the sacrament performed with Fire as a witness cannot be undone, under any circumstances. However, under subsequent enactments of law by legislative bodies, which modified the four prevailing Hindu codes of law (popularly and wrongly considered to be two codes of law, Mitakshara for the most of what was called India by commentators from the Early Middle Ages, Dayabhaga for the Bengalis and some eastern peoples), marriage was a civil rite, and divorce thereby became permissible. This was a direct consequence of the introduction of western concepts through legislative action, and a good thing too.

    Sati is not a legal concept, it was a social practice and differed radically between western and eastern India. In western India, it was largely limited to the Rajput community, and may have been an ancestral practice retained by them through their induction into Hindu society. To understand this, it has to be remembered that Rajputs, and Gujaratis too, may have been descended from the Saka-Pahlava invasions of India sometime after the Bactrian Greek kingdoms and before the Tocharians, or the Kushanas. As far as I know, mediaeval sati incidents were restricted to the Rajputs and were voluntary; no virtue could possibly accrue to an involuntary sati. Sati is banned now, but there is an incident every decade or so.

    In the east, it was a horrible and repulsive form that the practice took, and I cannot bear to dwell on it except to say briefly that the possession of property permitted to women under Dayabhaga became a death sentence for widows of rich men.

    In neither instance is it a legal provision, sati is in both cases a social practice, neither accepted nor condemned by traditional law, but explicitly banned by legislation subsequent to the codification of Hindu personal law.

    Regarding your consideration of western systems as Judaeo-Christian-Islamic, this is both illuminating and obscuring.

    First, there was nothing known as Judaeo-Christian law. The term Judaeo-Christian is a modern day invention of some American political commentators (I know I am being sloppy and subjective and a more accurate description may be possible, but this is sufficient for the argument here). There was no admixture of Jewish law into the law codes followed by western society. None.

    Second, law in Europe follows one of two paths, common law in England, later extended to the constituent parts of the Union of Great Britain, later extended to the parts of the British Empire, including what later became the United States of America, and including the Indian Empire. We follow common law.

    On Continental Europe, in sharp contrast, the system followed was Roman Civil Law for the secular person, the person who was not a member of a recognised religious category, and a parallel but similar system for the clergy. This was originally a unified system throughout Europe, but over the pressure of national legislation through the last three centuries, variants have appeared.

    My rudimentary understanding is that there is little or no overlap between Civil Law and Islamic law. To my surprise, I have found authorities who argue that there is clear evidence of the influence of Islamic law on Common Law! Their arguments are convincing, and to that extent, it is interesting to note that we in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka follow that branch of European (Western?) law that was influenced by Islamic law in certain aspects.

    Incidentally, you will be intrigued to learn that the path for this was not, as I have seen some argue, Spain, through al-Andalus, but Sicily. Sicily had enlightened Norman rulers, and they formed the maternal line of the great Frederick II Hohenstaufen, whose rule was completely anachronistic, anticipating the Renaissance by some centuries. I urge those of us not already familiar with his life and times to look him up, and join the rest of us left wondering at this Stupor Mundi. The connection between Sicily and UK is clear and obvious.

  108. Ganpat Ram

    It’s pointless saying Muslims once had elements of progress and enlightenment. So had many others.

    What is important is to have progress and enlightenment now.

    Those Muslims and their sycophants who prate about Muslim advances in the past are usually the very ones who fear a no-ideas-barred debate on reforming Islam root and branch today.

    Instead of saying Muslims have everything to learn, these apologists feed themselves laughable conceits such as claiming the legal system in lower Patagonia shows clear inflences of Islamic law.

    It’s like the nineteenth century Hindus who used to say the Mahabharata proves Hindus had spaceships. The only difference is, the Hindus did not foster terrorism and eventually tended to grow up.

  109. vajra

    @PMA

    It is a relief to read your intervention, as there have been others which have derived a host of conclusions from the Greeks, without any indication of awareness of what was Hellenistic civilisation and what was the composite Roman-Hellenistic culture subsequent to 146 BC.

    Again your comment about the so-called Judaeo-Christian cultural complex is timely in this context; even though that label is useful in a political context, it is a piece of nonsense in cultural or legal terms. As you have pointed out, the branching away of Christianity from strict monotheism began with the homoousion/ homoiousion controversy, which had to be reconciled by the Council of Nicaea. Some students of philosophy seem to suggest that these developments were due to the injection of neo-Platonic thought into the original dogma of the early Church, which was very largely Jewish in derivation.

    There is little or nothing to add to the excellent analysis presented in your subsequent paragraphs.

  110. ylh

    People quibbling falsely about the “chief moderator” should consider this following email from Chowk.com’s chowk staff:

    “Your following post was filtered for objectionable content. For the next 24 hours all your posts will be reviewed before they appear on Chowk. Failure to follow Interact Guidelines may result in your account being suspended.

    Faiz whiskey alcoholic etc … Surely that is a self defeating argument given that Jinnah was given to good scotch as well. And he was pura musalman … He drank whiskey and ate pork as well!

    ⁠Why discriminate then?

    Since the obvious comparison is drawn between PTH and chowk… PTH allows for complete expression …there is banning at anyone’s whim. Those complaining about the so called chief moderator know they are lying when they claim this nonsense because none of their posts have ever been deleted.

  111. hoss

    rex minor March 16, 2010 at 12:17 am
    “The poison for terrorism is in the US foreign policy.”

    I consider that a cop out. Yes, there are many facets of the US policy that you can and should disagree with but dumping the whole terrorism enchilada in Pakistan on the US is neither accurate nor is desirable. The strands of fundamentalism appeared in Pakistan immediately after independence and the Army really started cashing it in the late 60s, when the movement against Ayub took a definite left turn. Army supported the Islamic fundamentalists parties with cash and the army patronage. The fundamentalists parties pressured the civilian government in to declaring Ahmedis non-Muslims and I think that was really the turning point and Pakistan began its plunge in to the abyss. The process accelerated in 1977 and the resulting army role has really pushed Pakistan to where it is now.
    It was Pakistan that initiated the interference in Afghanistan and prepared first lot of mujahideen. The US saw an opportunity because it was there for taking.

    “And the poison for Jehad is mainly coming from the misguided clergy in various parts of the world.”

    I see that happening in a few countries but Pakistan is the breeding ground of terrorism and we should really be concerned with Pakistan first. It is not about just a few misguided mullahs, it is all about an army that has for decades sponsored, aided and abetted many terrorists groups and still calls them jihadi and not what they are, the terrorist. I think you are mistaken in believing that the terrorism in Pakistan would end after the US leaves or stops playing big brother. At least, in Pakistan’s context that is not going to happen. I support the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan, yet I also dread the day when the Pak army and the terrorist groups in Fata, Afghanistan and Punjab would be re-united in victory celebrations. The Pak army’s credo is Jihad fisabilallah and that is what the army teaches to its officers and other recruits. With that kind of mindset no one should expect anything good coming out of that army.

    I think article likes this in the guise of pseudo intellectualism help the fundamentalists to reinvent and protect themselves from the rising public outcry against terrorism.

    Terrorism in Pakistan has nothing to do with the Kashmir issue. Kashmir was just used to raise the number of terrorists in Pakistan whose primary job was to obstruct the growing demands of democracy in Pakistan as much as possible.

    Rashid March 16, 2010 at 2:41 am
    Thanks for taking the time to write that post to me. The groups that emerged from Punjab in the late 19th and in the 20th century taught basically one thing and that was to Revive Islam to where it was in the 7th century.

    Some of those groups were outright fascist and others marginally fascist. Except for a few things here and there probably just to establish distinction from the competing groups, Ahmedi relied on some minor changes but Mirza Sahib’s primary message was still about reverting to fundamentalism and the revival of Islam of the 7th century. That is one reason I believe most Ahmedi are conservatives and religious fundamentalist.

    However, I have no problem with the people’s faiths and beliefs as long as it is a personal matter and people are not using the political space to propagate the revival of Islam or any other religion.

  112. ylh

    Dear VRV,

    Since you are reading intently.

    Thank you for your comments and feedback.

    Have two points really to make –

    1. Socialist secularism- Read the Indian constitution.

    2. Dr. Salam believed that the Quranic concept of Tauheed was a reference to “theory of everything”.

    The rest of your points I could not follow.

    On the issue of Jamaat e Islami, I thank you for your concern. Their mouthpiece “Daily Ummat” has dedicated no less than a dozen articles to proving why I am at the vanguard of Dahria movement. You should read them. Entertaining stuff. I have my old fan – Kashif Hafeez Siddiqui who is as talented and skilled in the use of English language as you dear VRV- to thank for it.

  113. Rashid

    @Vajra

    “You probably know under Judeo Law married woman cannot divorce her husband (I read a Texas Court case in which Jewish couple married in Israel, and wife asked Texas court to grant her divorce. Husband took the position that as they were married under Jewish law and wife cannot get divorce under Jewish law).”

    Probably, I did not make my point clear enough. I would say again. Under Jewish law, husband can give divorce to wife, but wife can NOT give divorce to husband. Recently, a Jewish woman in UK got “unchained” after death of her husband. Although she got divorce from him, through court, over 50 years ago.

    It is information for me to know women could divorce their husbands in pre-Islamic era.

  114. Gorki

    Dear Ganpat:

    I must say that while I think your comments are sincere and written in a spirit of empathy with the suffering of the Sikhs and I would be lying if I did not say that they left me more hurt than relieved.

    Let me explain. While the Sikh terrorist of the 1980 claimed to fight in the name of the Sikhs many Sikhs, I dare say that up till the attack on the Golden Temple, a majority of the Sikhs did not feel these guys represented them and many held them in open contempt. That was the reason that throughout the period of the insurgency in Punjab, a little more than a majority of the victims were fellow Sikhs. While the massacre of bus passengers made big news, these were random victims; while the Sikh victims were selected targets; families of officers, politicians, social workers, even ex freedom fighters. The communists were special targets. The father of the current police Chief of Punjab, (a respected politician and a family friend), was himself a victim. To most of us opposing the terrorists, it was never a Hindu versus Sikh fight but India’s battle versus obscurantist fundamentalists. Thus the first let down to us was when the Golden temple was attacked, since it was felt that the GOI had itself let things fester to the point that it had to attack a symbol of Sikhism and discredit the nationalists. The second time we were discredited when the riots in Delhi were indirectly condoned by no less than the PM of India. Yet as I wrote earlier, the battle was won by the Punjab police. I know several instances where families lost members to both the terrorist violence and the police. Also remember that in spite of railing by separatist leaders, Punjab never saw riots. The reason was that we never felt we were fighting our battle for anything other than our country.

    Today when rex minor wrote his little incomprehensible rant, I had no desire to respond since he means nothing to me and has very poor understanding of our affairs.

    Yet when you, a fellow Indian sympathized with me not as an Indian to another but as one Hindu to a Sikh; it hurt for it made me feel that I was the ‘other’.

    For looking at it from my POV, the crime of 1984 was not one committed by Hindus against the Sikhs but by the fascist of society on India and its citizens.
    I am not alone in feeling this way.
    Many of us, Sikhs and Hindus, have lived all our lives as Punjabis and Indians, oblivious of the accident of our birth in one faith or another.
    It is this feeling I hope you and other educated Indians can help inspire among the rest of our countrymen as well.

    Regards.

  115. Rashid

    @hoss

    “Except for a few things here and there probably just to establish distinction from the competing groups, Ahmedi relied on some minor changes but Mirza Sahib’s primary message was still about reverting to fundamentalism and the revival of Islam of the 7th century. That is one reason I believe most Ahmedi are conservatives and religious fundamentalist”

    My understanding is prophet Muhammad talked reason, rationality, peace, love, and inspiration. If that is what you mean by “fundamentalism” then I don’t disagree.
    Mirza sahib students would have never been able to convince the intellectuals in Europe if they could not present their arguments with reason and logic. I could recommend number of his students, but here i will only recommend two who extensively wrote in English. Khawaja Kamal ud Din and Maulana Muhammad Ali. I think reading their writings will change your opinion about students and their teacher.

  116. yasserlatifhamdani

    rashid mian,

    Don’t be too bothered by Hoss. He doesn’t know how to make sense.

    Only a complete dodo will call people as diverse as Afghani, Sir Syed, Pervez, Ubaidullah Sindhi, Ali Shariati, Mirza Ghulam Ahmed, Abdus Salam, Zafrulla, Khatami, Mousavi, Ghamidi and Tariq Ramadan …”terrorists”.

    The only person who is a fascist in that list is Maududi.

    Basically Hoss mian is still smarting from all the times is gaps in knowledge are woefully exposed.

  117. yasserlatifhamdani

    PS: Syed Qutb, Maududi and Abdullah Azzam are the failure of the process…

    But as time goes by… more and more Ghamidis will outnumber Qutbs, Maududis, Azzams and Isrars.

  118. Hayyer

    Be Civil:
    I may have set up a strawman as YLH says but the unexpressed idea is probably implied. Even if it is not and I am imagining things I should like to clarify what I was getting at.
    The terms ‘political Islam’, ‘revivalism’ and ‘reform’ were used though the article never did make any normative political recommendations, so I am probably trying to connect dots into a pattern that was never intended. But I ask you to bear with me.

    “… This view tends to conclude in general that “traditional Islam” whatever that creature is better than “political Islam”. This ignores the basic fact that Islam is – whether we like it or not- largely political. Those who wish to resolve the issue of terrorism by supplanting “political Islam” with Sufism and “traditional Islam” are going against the current of history. It is political Islam alone that needs to evolve to a secular-leaning paradigm i.e. Ghamidi or Gemal Al Banna. Indeed Sufism and “traditional Islam” are likely to fail in this respect because they don’t have any political application because Sufism is at the end of the day an intensely personal creed whereas “traditional Islam” is a misnomer and refers to the Madrassah educated Maulanas who in the long run are even more harmful as they oppose modernity more trenchantly than Islamic revivalists, who over a generation or two seem to be more adaptive.”

    I was responding to this particular thought even if taking it beyond the intention of the author. The following quote indicates that even if I was misled I had some cause to be.

    “Islam’s on-going Lutheran Movement has not emerged from within the confines of Darul Ulooms and Jamias. This movement has come from the middle class – and for a time it will remain confused and shall be violent for a while as it is now- but ultimately it will reform the Muslim World and usher upon it an age of reason, enlightenment and I daresay modern secularism. Lucky us that thanks to the information age, every thing is accelerated and exaggerated.”

    Vajra’s is a sympathetic understanding of what YLH is leading to but I expressed disagreement with the possibilities of that line of thought and still do, because I was talking of the political possibilities.

    “i don’t think the article claims that true democracy would come from religious reform. or that, even more preposterously, science would come from it. but that those amongst the religious who do not reject scientific method out of hand are a better hope for bringing the religious to democracy and to science than those who do.”

    And that is my point of departure.

    “these agents of change may go in completely the opposite direction at times, despite using the right tools. on the other hand, at precisely those times, those who reject or are too ignorant and unimaginative/introverted/small-minded to understand or bother with scientific method might appear mild and peaceful enough to present the better hope. but it is a false hope in the longer run. or that’s what i thought YLH is saying and Vajra has understood him to mean.”

    That is undoubtedly true.

    “i think the point the article makes reinforces the justification for the state to ignore religion. but, as YLH has clarified, the article is not about the state or what it ought or ought or not to do about religion. if the state can wise up to the stupidity of placing any kind of (false) hope on the wrong kind of religious people (in the context of what has been said above, in the previous post), it will do both itself and the religious and their culture (and its future course) a favour.”

    That is precisely the point. The state, the secular state cannot put any kind of hope in any kind of religious people.
    I know that Muslims need to relate to politics in a Muslim way, but the problem is universal. After Mustafa Kemal Turkey showed that a secular discourse could take hold out of nowhere. In Indonesia under Sukarno and till quite recently, the state discourse was openly non religious. A determined effort had to be made by Islamic groups to reintroduce Islam into the political space. In Kashmir in India the dominant Sunni Muslim Kashmiris follow a determinedly secular politics. The Jamaat has its following but can never win more than five seats. Even in the so called rigging of 1987 the Islamic grouping would not have got more than twelve. There are always voices for interjecting Islamic values into the body politic but voters respond to agendas of development and justice not those of piety and exclusion. The straw man is just a straw man.
    In the Muslim world dictatorships as in Iraq and Egypt or Syria have suppressed their peoples who never were given a chance to evolve modern democratic political systems. Their straw man may have been Islamic fundamentalism, but in Pakistan the Islamic straw man has been introduced by politicians and even by the army for selective use to resurrect or co-opt as needed.
    Which is my point. No amount of religious reform or revival will lead to secularism and political enlightenment-Democracy possibly, of a strictly religious kind such as seen in Iran, but it cannot be a modern multi-party political democracy. Political power has had to be prised out of the hands of the Church ever since St Ambrose appropriated to the it a power that the Catholic clergy is even now loath to surrender, in places such as the state of Kerala in India for example. I have heard a little about Ghamdi but too little to offer comment. It does not change my feeling that faith based nostrums are inappropriate in this day and age, unless the faith changes, or is ignored as present day Hinduism and Christianity are, in the poltical and even social sphere. In the later half of the twentieth century there was a fresh attack on political space in the Indian Punjab by the ignorant and illiterate jathedars of the Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and the Akali Dal. Faith is a means of exercising power and it is the only path available to those whose vocation it is .

  119. yasserlatifhamdani

    Hayyer,

    I am not sure why you are complicating the matter by going on tangents that cannot be imagined given my record. Like I pointed out that this is not about state’s relationship with religion… nor am I sure how Kashmir’s politics is relevant… how many seats do you think Jamaat has won in Pakistan? Fewer than the proportion that 5 seats in Occupied Kashmir’s legislature is. This is besides the point.

    Am I suggesting that the state place any hope in any religious people?

    Answer is No. On the contrary I am questioning the strategy which does so. Since I am not religious myself I don’t believe in any religious revival. All I am saying is that allowing religion to be interpretted outside the Darul-uloom has a much better chance of it being rationalized than inside the Darul Uloom. As I see it… Europe would have never secularized or ignored religion, had reformation not taken place…. No one is comparing Iranian Islamic political democracy to modern multi-party democracy…. Khatami and Mousavi are not the dissenting trends in Iranian system not its reinforcement. What is more is that Indians forget Hinduism itself went through a century of reform before the independence movement. This was key.

    The problem – which you sidestep- is that the believer has to be convinced to ignore religion in a public sphere… but the believer will not do so so long as he keeps wedded to the mosque and the Mullah in the mosque keeps reminding him of the glories of Islam.
    I would rather the believer would come out of the mosque, become his own priest and I believe that while 1 out 5 times it would lead to Maududiism … 4 out of 5 times it would lead to a greater rational discourse. Do you think the West would have been able to ignore Christianity if reformation had not taken place? What if the majority of Hindus believe that it is their religious duty to establish Ram Rajya?

    So … you are completely off on a tangent – especially if you think I am placing any hope on secularism to emerge from within religion. What I am hoping for is evolution within Islam to make it more amenable to accepting secularism … much in the way Hinduism and Christianity have at different times. When Ghamidi now says that Islam does not obligate the believer to establish an Islamic state, I see that as progress towards secularism.

  120. rex minor

    @Hoss
    I do not live in your country. Nevertheless, even as an observer and very limited knowledge of the dominant military I would agree more or less with your comments. However, I should like you to consider the following exceptions;
    . Fundamentalism does not equal terrorism. Senator Lieberman is a fundamentalist jew, but no one would classify him as a terrorist.
    . Pakistan civilian Govt. asked the army to crush the civilian demonstrations in karachi and this was the beginning of military involvement in running the Pakistan Govt. I know that the military Generals were very reluctant at the time to become military administrators.
    .Mr Bhutto was an erratic personality and some what machiavellian in politics. How could a civilian Institution become so sick to declare willy nilly a group of people as non-muslims?
    . In my view Pakistan has some basic problems. After having the independant State the task of Nation building was never completed. Pakistan military has not been reformed to become a true national army. Today, the civilian central Govt. is in infancy and needs a certain period of orientation and maturity. Is PA going to break the country further or would be content to go back to their barracks. At present Pakistan civilian and military elites are under the control of the US administration. How are they going to counter this pressure, with the help of chinese?
    . Pakistan Army had a very limited involvement in supporting jehadi groups. Pakistan ISI was involved simply as a go between for the CIA.
    . The resistance groups built in Afghanistan by the Arab outfit apparently included people from the occupied Kashmir. Pakistan Army is not directly involved.
    Perhaps you would reconsider and not classify the groups of people who are resisting occupation as terrorists.
    I would still maintain that there are no terrorists in the sub-continent. Try to analyse Mr Gorki’s comments about the ruthless suppression of the sikhs community in India by the sikhs members of the police and the military. They are no different from the participation of the Pashtoon police and the frontier corp and other local militias against the Pashtoon civilians. This is the same music which was played in India for centuries under the Brits. And in my view is the main source for creating radicalism in the country.
    Have a nice day.
    Regards,

  121. rex minor

    @YLH
    Well said!!

  122. B. Civilian

    Hayyer

    i did not state my point clearly enough. the sufi and traditional mullah and aalim seeming milder and more peaceful at certain times does not mean the state should be fooled into taking any notice of them, even if it is with the view of countering the threat to the state at that particular time from the religious ‘reformers’ and ‘thinkers’. otoh, the reformers and agents of change within religion need only be taken any notice of by the state when they challenge the state, which they will at times. and i’ve already said that this ‘taking notice’ can only mean imposing the law and the writ of the state. that the state must never put any hope in any religious types is precisely what i was trying to say as well. indeed, it is what this logic reinforces. perhaps i’ve clarified it better now.

    the two types of religious ‘leadership’ having been taken care of in terms of what view, if any, the state should take of them, what remains is the so-called ‘flock’. that is where YLH has made observations and an analysis which is very much within the cultural domain. an interesting observation is that the non-traditionalist type is at least thinking for himself. that these types, more often than not, come from the middle class. and YLH’s view that it has better hope of achieving progress just as it carries the danger of going extreme and violent. this is what we expect from people who start to think for themselves.

    the wider implication that while the few who will become some kind of (religious) thought leaders to whatever extent, what is more interesting is the much larger number of those ordinary members of the middle class who shall not become any kind of leaders in thought, except their own. they shall remain unknown and just ordinary people. but this process offers a better hope for progress – again, nothing to do with the state or anything other than culture.

  123. B. Civilian

    “-Democracy possibly, of a strictly religious kind such as seen in Iran”

    that is no democracy, since there can be no full democracy without full accountability before the law and there can be no meaningful accountability without equality before the law. and full equality means the law must be blind to religion, race etc. with selective accountability under a selective law there can only be selective representation. that is not democracy. our friend milind kher agreed to call it “quasi-democracy”, i believe, which is typically not a victimless crime.

  124. Hayyer

    YLH:
    I apologize for having inadvertently created an opening for others, or misrepresented what you intended.
    Vigilance is the eternal price of secularism of course. That one in five figure coming out of the mosque seems to confirm to the 20:80 ratio of general theory.
    BC:
    With YLH’s latest post I have nothing more to say.

    “I would rather the believer would come out of the mosque, become his own priest and I believe that while 1 out 5 times it would lead to Maududiism … 4 out of 5 times it would lead to a greater rational discourse. Do you think the West would have been able to ignore Christianity if reformation had not taken place? What if the majority of Hindus believe that it is their religious duty to establish Ram Rajya?

    “So … you are completely off on a tangent – especially if you think I am placing any hope on secularism to emerge from within religion. What I am hoping for is evolution within Islam to make it more amenable to accepting secularism … much in the way Hinduism and Christianity have at different times. When Ghamidi now says that Islam does not obligate the believer to establish an Islamic state, I see that as progress towards secularism.”
    There is hope then-if PML (N) can be persuaded to pursue this line.
    But in general I believe that Pakistan’s particular circumstances may not be applicable across the Muslim world, which is why I brought in other Muslim countries into the discussion.

  125. B. Civilian

    “There is hope then-if PML (N) can be persuaded to pursue this line.”

    i suspect they’ll be followers rather than leaders. they won’t be the last in the queue but will have no intention to be near the top. but then most politicians and political parties cannot be expected to be much different. hence the emphasis on what is happening in society. as that is the sphere most of us function in, we should know what we need to do. will cultural regression undermine and overrun the state or will there be progress which will allow the state to be a source of some good as a means of how society organises itself for practical reasons? lets see… as we fight the fight.

  126. PMA

    vajra (March 16, 2010 at 6:29 am):

    So you and I are in agreement. But what can we say about Mr. Ram (a pseudonym I believe) who is bent upon proving the supremacy of his religion and culture over that of others. He reminds me of that one American general who famously said that he knew that his god was bigger than the god of his enemy! Ridiculing other people’s religion and culture is the silly game that this commenter won’t play. Coming back to the essay and its subject matter. I think other than the ‘Judaeo-Christian’ reference of convenience, the author has done a half decent job in tackling this important issue of Islamic reform and revival.

  127. hoss

    The lies keep flying. I never said anything about Dr. Salam or Sir Zafar. One was a British bureaucrat and the other was great scientist. There is no way they could possibly be listed as terrorist. As far as I know they were not selling religion to the people either.
    Rashid,
    Reason, rationality, peace and love were not invented by Mohammed and there is nothing in his teachings of the 7th century that needs reviving. Religion should never have any space in political space at the state level. It should just be a personal matter. In Muslim countries the fundamentals and revivalists have polluted minds so thoroughly that now known fundamentalist such as Ghamdi and Banna are called liberal and progressives. The conduct of followers of the rest of the scholars mentioned in the articles is before us too.
    Rex Minor,
    Lieberman is no fundamentalist. He is an orthodox Jew and his record in Senate on liberal and progressive causes can put many liberal and progressives to shame. Btw, there is a sea of difference between the religious groups in a secular and political mature country and a country that can’t shake off the influence of religion from its political discourse. Religious groups in secular country are often just pressure groups. In developing secular democracies sometimes they have more influence but they don’t make policies and often fail to sway the middleclass in to following them.

  128. vajra

    @PMA

    There are many of us who have missed your presence and your incisive reasoning. Your absence was painful. I, personally, deeply regret it. Please consider that statement in the spirit in which it is made.

    The troll in question is a carbon copy of G. Vishvas, and of Tathagata Mukherjee before that, and of the entire unimaginative breed. He doesn’t deserve to have time wasted on him. Unfortunately, before realising the truth, one of us gave him some encouragement in the belief that it might be you. The rest, as they say, is history; inaccurate, twisted, misleading history.

    YLH’s essay was another brilliant effort, but if possible, I would like to examine Simon Sharaf’s intervention and see what the relationship is between the two sets of views. One or two others have written similarly.

  129. Midfield Dynamo

    Rex Minor
    I am not sure I comprehend your query entirely, however, my answer should cover most aspects of this predicament.
    The principle is quite simple, we know that the Islamic philosophy is far more advanced then the Hindu or the Judeo-Christian, and if it is employed at individual, national or global level, in a manner that at least within we are at peace with it and with the co practitioners, the result would be highly elevated standards in every sphere of human existence, unencumbered by clever, opportunistic temptations.
    The purpose is not self aggrandizement, or to come at loggerheads with other cultures/religions, but to put our own house in order, and should we succeed at that, others will come not as aggressors, but to learn and emulate.

  130. PMA

    rex minor (March 16, 2010 at 2:48 pm):

    “Senator Lieberman is a fundamentalist Jew”

    hoss (March 16, 2010 at 8:07 pm):

    “Lieberman is no fundamentalist. He is an orthodox Jew”

    Gentlemen: I contend that the Senator is all of the above. On social issues that mostly do not involve or affect his Orthodox Jewish community, he is liberal and progressive. But on political and economical issues that may have an implication on American Jewish community he is very conservative. Being an Orthodox Jew he believes in the fundamental tenets of the ancient Jewish faith. In that sense he is a ‘fundamentalist’. His unconditional support for Israel and Jewish cause world wide, even at the cost of American interests is well known. He was the first one among Democrats to support American invasion of Iraq. He has sided with neo-conservatives on many issues. In 2008 elections he campaigned for Republican McCain against liberal Obama. Now he will like America to go to war against Iran. His political position is deeply rooted in his fundamental religious orthodoxy. He is liberal, progressive, orthodox, conservative and fundamentalist all at once.

  131. Midfield Dynamo

    Rex Minor
    I am not sure I comprehend your query entirely, however, my answer should cover most aspects of this predicament.
    The principle is quite simple, we know that the Islamic philosophy is far more advanced then the Hindu or the Judeo-Christian, and if it is employed at individual, national or global level, in a manner that at least within we are at peace with it and with the co practitioners, the result would be highly elevated standards in every sphere of human existence, unencumbered by clever, opportunistic temptations.
    The purpose is not self aggrandizement, or to come at loggerheads with other cultures/religions, but to put our own house in order, and should we succeed at that, others will come not as aggressors, but to learn and emulate.
    I am sure this will work.

  132. krash

    ylh,
    “the believer has to be convinced to ignore religion in a public sphere”

    The only thing you need to convince the believer is not to impose his religion on others. That’s it.

    Don’t waste time arguing about the scope of his religion. That’s his business – as long as he is not imposing.

  133. rex minor

    @Hoss
    I understand that sometimes people go in circles particularly when they keep on relying on knowledge and logic;

    . I have a different opinion about Lieberman.

    . Please bear in mind that logic is not truth.

    . I fully agree with you that the religion is a very personal matter. However, when a group of people having the same religion organise themselves democraticaly and form a State, the religion takes a political dimension.
    And this is the soup your compatriots have created in a country named Pakistan. The country has since been violently raped by the military elite and the civilian politicians alike and right now, from the outside view of an observer you are looking at country not far away from becoming the second Somalia. The US ground forces shift in the Pashtoon territory could trigger this off at any time.
    Giving these circumstances, I believe that YLH approach is brilliant,the most logical and practical. Most people want freedom, peace and prosperity but not at the expense of taking away their belief.
    PS
    I am not aware of any religion political party in Europe. The only comparable muslim country which has a secular constitution and is now ruled by a muslim party is Turkey. Your military elite is very fond of Turkey and wanted all along their constitution and the military veto power in the Govt. Well, the military veto has now disappeared and is governed by the religion party.

  134. rex minor

    @PMA
    I wanted to write about Lieberman somewhat similar to what you have described more aptly. But this would have been a diversion. After all the article is not about the Americans. Most of the Americans and Europeans who criticise muslim states or their leaders , I immediately take them under my lupe and analyse their background, ethnic as well as religious includind that of their ancestors. In the future it would be possible to look at their genetic heritage to even forecast their attitudes towards other humans.
    Have a nice day.

  135. PMA

    vajra (March 16, 2010 at 8:32 pm):

    Pak Tea House, the brain child of my friend Raza is much bigger than the sum of all of its contributors and commenters. Absence of one does not make any difference to the bigger picture at all. Thanks anyway. But I am somewhat puzzled when you say: “one of us gave him [Mr. Ram] some encouragement in the belief that it might be you”. Now why would I be anybody but myself! Is he that awful?

  136. vajra

    @PMA

    No, it was an honest mistake by the person concerned (the person is not I). The first three or four posts were very engaging; I think all of us found it a refreshing breath of fresh air. The initial approach was distinctly different from previous trolls. It was at this point that the mistake was made. That it was a mistake became amply clear within another three posts or so.

  137. The premise of the excellent post by YLH about various thoughts within Islam has been set aside, for the most part.

    Instead, the discussion here is dominated by many commentators who proclaim or accept India’s “secular” claims without question. The reality on the ground is very different, and there is no clear separation between state and religion when you see that almost every government building in India has a prominently positioned picture of a Hindu deity and Hindu rituals accompany the inauguration of all public works, without exception.

    While India is “secular” on paper, it’s state is anything but secular in practice.

    Here’s how an Indian columnist Kapil Komireddi describes the situation last year in the Guardian newspaper:

    “For decades Indian intellectuals have claimed that religion, particularly Hinduism, is perfectly compatible with secularism. Indian secularism, they said repeatedly, is not a total rejection of religion by the state but rather an equal appreciation of every faith. Even though no faith is in principle privileged by the state, this approach made it possible for religion to find expression in the public sphere, and, since Hindus in India outnumber adherents of every other faith, Hinduism dominated it. Almost every government building in India has a prominently positioned picture of a Hindu deity. Hindu rituals accompany the inauguration of all public works, without exception.

    The novelist Shashi Tharoor tried to burnish this certifiably sectarian phenomenon with a facile analogy: Indian Muslims, he wrote, accept Hindu rituals at state ceremonies in the same spirit as teetotallers accept champagne in western celebrations. This self-affirming explanation is characteristic of someone who belongs to the majority community. Muslims I interviewed took a different view, but understandably, they were unwilling to protest for the fear of being labelled as “angry Muslims” in a country famous for its tolerant Hindus. ”

    The author also describes how “Indian Muslims in particular have rarely known a life uninterrupted by communal conflict or unimpaired by poverty and prejudice.”

  138. vajra

    @Riaz Haq

    There are two distinct schools of thought in India on secularism: one is the Congress’ brand of all-inclusive secularism, which leads to the kind of practice that you have described. The other is the normal type and practice that excludes religion – any and all religion, and their symbols and signifiers – from public vision.

    Your complaint is justly placed against the former. There are many Indians who object to this variety of secularism, which makes little or no sense to secularists who wish to avoid the seepage of religious practices into public life.

  139. OMLK

    @ylh

    “When Ghamidi now says that Islam does not obligate the believer to establish an Islamic state, I see that as progress……”

    You made the above statement in a comment but within ur article did not acknowledge that one of the mentioned reformers’ (Mirza Ghulam Ahmed) reform agenda rested on this principle also, predating Ghamdi by a few decades. Mirza’s focus was on the spiritual revolution of each Muslim on an individual level, for which no top down “political Islam” approach is needed. His view on Jihad was also an extension (of sorts) of this philosophy. Although ur mention of two of his followers is valid (esp. Dr. Salam as his religio-scientific inspiration may have stemmed from Mirza’s philosophy regarding the relationship of the physical to the spiritual) it would have been pertinent, within the context of the article’s topic, to mention the name of the prominent Lahore Ahmadi, Maulana Muhammad Ali (the first Muslim to translate the Quran into English), who has argued on the concept of a moral democracy in Islam. In fact much of what the Ghamdi school of thought is currently expounding is strikingly similar to what Muhammad Ali wrote until his death in 1953. Given that the works of Muhammad Ali have been certified by Al-Azhar Univeristy (the late Shiekh Tantawi was a fan) and the Arabic translations of the same are being used as text books there, the impact of this follower of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad on Islamic Revival may not be apparent in Mullah infested countries like Pakistan where Ahmadis have been forcefully shut out of public discourse, but is becoming apparent elsewhere in the Muslim Ummah (eg. the changing Muslim stance on Jihad in the West pointed out by some other posters earlier.)

  140. karunx

    my idea is puritanical secularism (based on importance of individual as opposed to community, such as in west) leaves us very poor. I feel everything should be celebrated rather than being excluded.

    If i need not be Italian to enjoy pizza, or Indian to CBM then why cannot one enjoy islam and christianity being a hindu.

  141. @karunx

    Individuals should be able to celebrate as individuals whatever is legal within the state, including practicing their religion. But a state that claims to be secular should not favor or endorse one particular faith over other faiths, even if it happens to be the faith of the majority. Display of Hindu deities and use of Hindu rituals by India’s “secular” state clearly crosses the line.

  142. Hayyer

    Hindu deities do not decorate government buildings at least not of the government buildings that I am familiar with, but Hindu rituals have over the last two decades replaced the tape cutting ceremonies while inaugurating public projects. That is definitely unsecular and arises when the Hindu mind confutes Indian with Hindu.

  143. Khullat

    Let the state restrict its interest to providing security to the citizens, to providing prompt and uncorrupted justice, to providing a cleaner, healthier and greener environment, to building the infrastructure, to consolidating the economy and to improving the image of the country on the global stage.

    As for Religion, God will take care of it. He will reform and revive it, as He chooses. He always has. If we stop meddling in His business, I’m sure He’ll help us out of the mess we’ve created by mixing Religion and Politics.

  144. Midfield Dynamo

    It is a huge improvement since days gone by, that there is mention of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed and the readers are not going into a tantrum, calling it blasphemy. Taking on board opinions of contributors from across the border by Sikh or Hindu is also a healthy sign. Whether these contributions are surfacing due the fear of an impending threat to their recently acquired economic competency, or for an open ended intellectual dialogue seems hard to ascertain at this juncture. I hope that our historical prejudices will not stand in the way of welcoming such disparate thoughts and luckily forums such as this are not bound by time constraints and everyone gets an opportunity to speak to their hearts content some off the cuff and others with their very considered research.
    The question is do we hope to accrue any practical advantages thereof, most people are here under pseudonyms and we don’t know if they have any political leverage or executive authority. It would be a pity if all of this is lost to the archives of cyberspace.

  145. vajra

    @Midfield Dynamo

    Taking on board opinions of contributors from across the border by Sikh or Hindu is also a healthy sign. Whether these contributions are surfacing due the fear of an impending threat to their recently acquired economic competency, or for an open ended intellectual dialogue seems hard to ascertain at this juncture.

    You might consider asking such contributors.😀

    They – some of them – might be able to answer coherently and logically, giving due weight to the individual personalities who contribute the most often. Or they might not.

    Why not try and see what is the result?

    Incidentally, without sounding too cheesy, your contributors from across the border – discounting the Chinese, Afghans, Iranians, Emiratis, Sinhala and Bangladeshis just for a brief moment – are Indians.

    Of these regulars, you have a Sikh, two Hindus, coincidentally from the same provenance and of precisely opposed political, social and religious views, a Muslim and a gentleman, the person most deferred to, who has not declared an affiliation to any religion, and whom nobody dares to ask.

    They number among them workers in information technology, doctors, industrialists and very senior persons from administration.

    The question is do we hope to accrue any practical advantages thereof, most people are here under pseudonyms and we don’t know if they have any political leverage or executive authority. It would be a pity if all of this is lost to the archives of cyberspace.

    This was actually addressed in a recent thread.

    The answer was more or less on the lines that if anything concrete emerged, those with access to decision-influencing circles would ensure that the idea was heard and given attention.

    A minority opinion felt that even writing for the archives of cyberspace was not a totally wasteful exercise, but due to the nature of the interactions that these produced, they would contribute to a generally helpful climate of opinion, initially in the minds of people engaged in this discourse on both sides.

  146. karunx

    @Riaz Haq

    you are beating around the bush for inconsequential things.

    As Hayyer pointed out earlier, no hindu deities adorn govt. offices. Its a figment of your imagination.

    As far as Hindu rituals, you are supposed to fight against ‘lighting a lamp’!!, or breaking a coconut! Sounds useless to me that someone should get worked out bcos of this.

    You should ponder why jesuits follow indian traditions in their churches and Mother Teresa’s missionaries of charity wear sarees.

    Cultural symbols are often mistaken for religious ones and sometimes they do co-exist.

  147. Ganpat Ram

    Hayyer:

    India is Hindu, whether anyone says so or not.

    The Muslims certainly think so. Otherwise why Pakistan?

    Why do MUSLIM Kashmiris want to secede?

    The question is, can India be a tolerantly Hindu nation, as the UK is tolerantly Protestant.

  148. Ganpat Ram

    Muslims complain of non-secularism only when they are a minority.

    This stand has zero credibility.

    You can’t get if you don’t give.

  149. D_a_n

    Still stoking the bonfire of banality eh, Ganpat?

  150. Hayyer

    Ganpat Ram:
    I am still not clear what exactly you mean? India is a predominantly Hindu country in that over 80% of its people are Hindus. The Hindu ethos seeps in everywhere, naturally, as say Christianity does in the US. And it seeps in sometimes as in those bhumi pujan and inauguration ceremonies of the public sector, though lighting a lamp instead of cutting a ribbon may have nothing overtly Hindu about it even if Hindu derived. I am not sure about breaking coconuts. They used to launch ships by breaking a bottle of champagne on its hull and Gandhian India decided to use coconuts.
    Beyond that I am afraid it means nothing to say that India is a Hindu country. Not J&K, not Punjab, not Arunachal, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and certainly not Bengal and Assam.
    North Indian culture and language again is influenced by Islam so deeply that it would be a travesty to call it Hindu.
    If you mean that India is a Hindu political entity then I think you would have to line up in the ranks of the Hindutva vadis who are, self admittedly, only aspirational as yet; but in that case you are not only proleptic, but also in cloud cuckoo land.

  151. Gorki

    It is amusing to see that Ganpat Sahib has lined up on the same side as Riaz Bhai to claim that the Indian republic is non-secular.

    The later is a Pakistani anti democracy advocate who supports a military rule in his country and has spent better part of the last decade cutting and pasting every scrap of news disparaging to India and the former is a Hindu nationalist, in the Nirad Babu mold, who in his late senile years claimed that the Ayodhya Masjid destruction in 1992 was justified.

    Excellent line up.

    Ironies abound.
    Ganpat Sahib wants to claim tolerance yet insist on having India defined his way; an oxymoron concept of the word ‘tolerance’ as any can be.

    Ganpat Sahib wants to claim the mantle of tolerance exclusively for the Hindus of India and thinks that only Muslims are intolerant; the rampage by the Ram Bhakts in the wake of Ayodhya notwithstanding.

    Further Ganpat Bahi wants to compare the republic of India with a small island nation of UK; why he wonders, if UK can be protestant and still be a liberal democracy, India can’t be so.
    He forgets that UK is a small kingdom; not an empire.
    To be remotely comparable to India, UK would have to rule over entire Europe, including Muslim Turkey and orthodox Russia and still it would come out short in terms of size.
    I would like to see the Britons try doing that and then insisting that it is a protestant country!!

    Conversely, India can indeed become like UK, a Hindu country but then it would have to give up Kashmir and Punjab, Assam and large chunks of Bengal, Bihar, UP which have several little Pakistans in them.

    Who knows once identity politics takes hold of the popular imagination, the Maratha Manus may want to go his way, and then Tamils can form a nation; after all they are bigger than half the nations in Europe.

    By then the Hindu nation can emerge, in the heartland, somewhere in the central India with parts of today’s MP, UP, Bihar and Rajasthan etc. in it; like mother Russia did, after the breakup of the Soviet Union; but what the heck, it would be a lily pure nation; a nation for Hindus who deserve a nation of their own, just like Israel is a nation for the Jews of this World!!

    Regards.

  152. ylh

    Gorki sb,

    Did you have to bring in Nirad Babu? I happen to be an admirer.😦

    The problem with Ganpat’s argument is the Indian context… Otherwise Great Britain is a classic example of an established state church and religion. Yet Great Britain is a perfectly secular society. Herein lies the rub..the British can allow nostagic mixing of religion on the top precisely because it is so completely secular in spirit… India is a profoundly religious country and this is precisely because it needs top down secularism.

    And this is Riaz sb’s problem. He gives arguments as to why India is not secular by citing the very reason it had to be secular.

  153. Midfield Dynamo

    Vajra, reassuring, at least theoretically…..

  154. Gorki

    Dear YLH:
    Nirad Babu’s writing skills are not in question; his judgement and honesty certainly is.

    After Ayodhya Masjid destruction, he wrote that it was justified because in the last 1000 years every Hindu temple in India under Muslim rule had been desecrated! Even if one were to overlook the gross exaggeration of this claim, one wonders about the judgement of the grand old man who condemn a whole community to guilt by association with one flourish of his mighty pen!!

    Regards.

  155. rex minor

    @Ganpat Ram
    Your statement, India is hindu, whether anyone says so or not.

    Then why are you saying it. No one in the UK says that it is a protestent or a catholic country. In fact the UK clergy is in talks with the Vatican to return into the fold of catholicism. What is important for the citizen is the democracy.

    I would classify you as a nationalist religous individual, for better or for worse. And there are many in Europe, though they do not associate themselves with any religion.
    The only so called secular country I know of who rants(to use yours and Gorki’s terminology) about the religion is Israel. This is simply because they created a state on the basis of a homeland for the jews and then over years discovered that their demography is unlikely to sustain the jewish character of the State. They have all gone crackers since and even their great American jewish supporters are watching this development helplessly.
    Now what is your problem, would you also like to see India as a democratic, secular and a hindu country? Then I am afraid you have created for yourself a problem!! However, if you want a democratic and a secular country then start thinking less of your religion, reform your colonial style military and you are sooner or later going to achieve a cohesive society.

    The problems of Pakistan in my view are twofold, the country is not a true democracy and far away from the secularism. They do not have the demographic constraints, but in view of the influence of military the masses have remained without a visionary leader for a very long time.

    PS
    As a matter of interest, do you still have a caste system?

  156. Midfield Dynamo

    Gorki
    May be an exaggeration, but cannot be refuted entirely, quite valid to some extent, it is an extension of the principle ‘Propagation of Islam’ or ‘Jihad’, the perpetrators, in doing so, were ensuring for themselves a place in heaven and guaranteeing it to all companions. It was their understanding of it, sanctifying a selfish motive of aggrandizement, loot and wealth accumulation.
    Seemingly we have seen the worst of it, should this sway of terrorism be averted, Islam has a good chance of emerging in its true form, a religion of peace for the entire humanity.

  157. Gorki

    YLH:
    Excellent observations BTW, agree wholeheartedly.

    People forget that India is not a country like GB or any other; it is more like the United States of India; except it is several times more diverse
    than the US.

    The only think comparable to the Indian experiment seen elsewhere in the recent years was the former Soviet Union, a Union of many group identities ‘nations’ arising from a former empire; organised for a little while as a union of equals (at least theoretically) and the only thing that can come close to India, politically speaking, in the near future can be a more centralized EU; which now seems less likely.

    Hindu nationalist forget that they can’t have their cake and eat it too; either they can have a much smaller nation of the ‘Hindu pure’ or a much larger but a modernsecular nation state; looking past group identities but not both. what they want is a Hindu empire; benignely ruling over ‘subjects’ but keep forget that the empires went away a century ago; washed away with the blood of people like Bhagat Singh and others like him…..

    Regards

  158. B. Civilian

    “the British can allow nostagic mixing of religion on the top precisely because it is so completely secular in spirit”

    … vehemently secular as far as the working class is concerned, and the largest chunks of the middle class.

    the monarch is not an elected head of state. any one cannot be a monarch. they can have one of their progeny in line for the monarchy, provided they are willing to marry the monarch or the heir apparent (who is willing to marry them too), and convert to the C of E. fundamental rights hardly come into something that is entirely hereditary.

  159. Gorki

    Sorry for the glaring typos;😉 the sense is clear regardless.

  160. Ganpat Ram

    Hayyer, Gorki et al:

    I think it would be a very strange world if Buddhists can have their countries by right of being a majority, Christians can, Muslims can, even the Jews can, but somehow it is barred to Hindus.

    If in 1947 the simple decision had been taken to have a Hindu state where minorities were respected, none of this hypocritical blather would be happening now. We would be focusing on real issues: is India sufficiently respectful of minorities or not?

    The truth is, as Muslim numbers grow and their aggrssiveness grows (Hayyer forgets that West Bengal and Assam are Hindu majority areas) Hindu assertiveness will rise. Hindus will insist that they have a state which protects their religion, as other religions do.

    If Hayyer has so much difficulty with coconuts he can always go to Pakistan.

    Hindus have little patience with Muslims whining about secualarism in India when they themselves are the least secular of anyone.

    If Hindus are challenged, they will hit back.

    Is that clear?

  161. Hayyer

    Ganpat Ram:
    Hindus are not barred from having a country. Nepal is a Hindu country officially.
    If you and your fellow Hindutvavadis want to make India a Hindu republic there is nothing to stop you. All you need is to get the necessary votes and amend the constitution. You may have some difficulty with the Supreme Court which has ruled that constitutional amendments cannot alter the basic structure of the constitution.
    No I did not forget that Bengal and Assam are Hindu majority, but they don’t vote for Hindutvavadis. In the last fifty years there was ever only one MLA for the BJP in Bengal.
    Hindutvavadis tend naturally to talk nonsense, but you loonies don’t decide who may live in India and who may not. I don’t live in India either by your leave, or because of a fondness for or aversion to coconuts.
    As for hitting back- Why, I thought all your kind did was hunt in mobs. What more do you want,-an Ahmedabad every week?

  162. ylh

    Nepal is officially a secular state now…

  163. Ganpat Ram

    Hayyer:

    You are right that if Hindus muster the votes, India will be a Hindu state. I do not believe in any other way.

    As for Muslims who have a problem with this, tough luck. You guys are the least secular of anyone, the least generous to minorities. Your whining cuts no ice.

    If a legitimate Hindu state is trifled with, those who it will do so at their own risk.

  164. vajra

    @Hayyer

    You are dealing with a super-patriot who will fight to the last drop of the Indian Army’s blood.


    If Hindus are challenged, they will hit back.

    Is that clear?


    If a legitimate Hindu state is trifled with, those who it will do so at their own risk.

    Another Ozymandias.

  165. D_a_n

    @ ganpat ram:

    ‘If Hindus are challenged, they will hit back.

    Is that clear?’

    crystal. We agree.

    Now will you kindly be on your way?

  166. Ganpat Ram

    So one chap asks me to be on my way as soon as I express an opinion he doesn’t share……So much for the great “secular” tolerance” he supposedly stands for.

    It would never occur to me to ask him to shoot off because he voices an opinion I disagrree with: my Hindu brand of tolerance is happy with different viewpoints.

    Besides, I am the only one here who can entertain you all by a flawless imitation of Burke.

  167. ylh

    Ganpat,

    As a Pakistani who advocates a complete separation of church and state, I find your comments intriguing. Can we talk about the nitty gritty here…by a Hindu state do you mean:

    1. A Hindu Republic whatever that means?

    2. Do you propose the head of state be Hindu?

    3. Do you propose the state religion to be Hinduism?

    (This is what Islamic republic means in Pakistan) …and there are few other intrinsic questions:

    4. Will you ban cow slaughter?

    5. Reinstitute caste system? Sati?

    6. Will there be a law against conversion?

    7. Would there be a process of reconversion ?

    8. Will places of worship like Babri mosque destroyed and reconverted?

    The last five issues – mind you- have happened in Secular India regardless in varying degrees so you can’t argue Hinduism doesn’t condone this… Secular India holds these retrogressive trends at bay.

    Hindu cultural life forms the dominant factor in Indian secular national identity …there is no question about it but must you pollute religion and governance by mixing them together?

  168. B. Civilian

    Ganpat

    Two ‘ifs’ there in your post of 12:02am. why not first go and preach and plead to the vast majority of indians who happen to be hindu, if you want to do anything about these two big ‘ifs’? instead of imagining demons that may attack what does not exist. as hayyer has pointed out already, if you want to do something about the two ‘ifs’, you’ll have to deal with the supreme court too, at some point.

    It must feel wonderful to imagine yourself in full armour on your trusted steed slaying these imaginary dragons.. or at least threatening them so valiantly. it’s entertaining, but even the best show can survive only so many repetitions.

    no one has denied you the freedom to express your pitiful insecurities in whatever psychotic way you choose or cannot help. nor would we stop you from entertaining us with a good imitation of burke. do go ahead.

  169. ylh

    PS btw my view is that Islam could have held Pakistan (west + east) together had Pakistanis not gone for the over-kill by making Pakistan an Islamic state.

    Paradoxically state’s imposition of official faith (even though Pakistan was till 1979 quite conscious of its multiculturalism) is what discredited Islam in the East wing.

    So think a thousand times before you seek to give Hinduism an official role… It will only weaken Hinduism’s role as the civic religion of India.

  170. Hayyer

    Ganpat Ram:
    “You are right that if Hindus muster the votes, India will be a Hindu state. I do not believe in any other way.”

    So when you muster the votes tell us. Till then keep smoking whatever gets you your high.

    “As for Muslims who have a problem with this, tough luck. You guys are the least secular of anyone, the least generous to minorities. Your whining cuts no ice.”

    I don’t have a problem with something that doesn’t exist. And it is you who seems to be whining the most at present.

    “If a legitimate Hindu state is trifled with, those who it will do so at their own risk.”

    When your legitimate Hindu state comes into existence in India send us a postcard. Till then take your wet dream elsewhere.

  171. AZW

    @ Rashid:

    You had been banned from this website a few months back due to your not-so-subtle attempts at sectarian propaganda. You are not welcome at PTH and any of your comments from now on will be spammed. Don’t bother posting at PTH any more.

    AZW (Moderator)

  172. Luq

    >Besides, I am the only one here who can entertain
    > you all by a flawless imitation of Burke.

    Can we have an answer to questions 1. to 8. ?

    One can imitate style, content and thoughts are something else really. There is still no way to camouflage “your brilliance”.

    Luq

  173. D_a_n

    @ Ganpat

    you spake thus:

    ‘So one chap asks me to be on my way as soon as I express an opinion he doesn’t share’

    Burke smurke!!! It seems you have an issue with basic comprehension m’boy…

    I expressly told I agreed with you. Done. Converted Sire!!! My cup really did runneth over and all that.

    Since your work was done. I felt you were needed elsewhere that’s all and I wanted to nudge you in the right direction. So why the ruckus?

  174. Ganpat Ram

    YLH:

    You write to me:

    “As a Pakistani who advocates a complete separation of church and state, I find your comments intriguing. Can we talk about the nitty gritty here…by a Hindu state do you mean:

    1. A Hindu Republic whatever that means?

    2. Do you propose the head of state be Hindu?

    3. Do you propose the state religion to be Hinduism?

    (This is what Islamic republic means in Pakistan) …and there are few other intrinsic questions:

    4. Will you ban cow slaughter?

    5. Reinstitute caste system? Sati?

    6. Will there be a law against conversion?

    7. Would there be a process of reconversion ?

    8. Will places of worship like Babri mosque destroyed and reconverted?”

    Do you really advocate the demotion of Islam from pride of place in Pakistan. There can only be a handful of your type, and I notice you refer to people like Ayub Khan and Bhutto ans “secular”…..Well, these were obsessedly Islamic-supremacy characters by any serious reading. They were not mullahs, but they were Muslim-obsessed politicians.

    One thing amazes me about supposedly “secular” Muslim intellectuals: they are ready to hand out the certificate of “secular” to avowedly Muslim states and Muslim rulers, on the flimsiest of pretexts: Jinnah made one nice speech, he ate pork and liked whisky, etc.

    It doesn’t wash.

    No Hindu who stands for Hinduism in the way Jinnah, Ayub or Bhutto stood for Islam has the faintest hope of being called “secular”, and quite rightly so.

    Why not call the BJP secular? Vajpayee likes whisky, forbidden to Brahmins?

    And yet these same Muslim intellectuals demand that INDIA be 100000 percent pure-o-pure “secular”, and think the end of the world has come if an Indian leader breaks a coconut to launch a ship. They wantto give honour and place to Islam, and complain hoarsely if anypone else pays even much smaller respect to Hinduism.

    Only the Hindu who dare not call India Hindu is good enough. Having scores upon sof utterly Muslim-dominated countries is not enough. Even the single one the Hindus have has to be taken away.

    This kind of two-faced attitude wins Muslims no friends.

    Going on to your questions:

    1. I see no reason why India should not be a republic with the state religion of Hinduism. Do you? India is 80per cent Hindu. If we have no pride of place even there where will we?

    2. The head of state can be of any religion or one. Hinduism is a tolerant utlook.

    3. Already answered at 1.

    4. Cow slaughter is already banned in some Indian states. The difficulty is enforcing the ban. Many Hindus do feel deeply about banning cow slaughter, not just Hindu nationlists. Gandhi said that it was more important than securing freedom from British rule. Muslims have their sacred cows too. For instance, the odd idea that India should not dare to be Hindu. How about slaughtering THAT sacred cow?

    5. Do I wish to reinstitute the caste system, Sati? To the same extent that you wish to have stoning to death for supposed adultresses. A funny question deserves a funny answer. I believe in a progressive Hinduism.

    6. Will there be a law against conversion?, you ask anxiously. How typical, this Muslim anxiety to get as many people as possible from someone else’s religion while knowing that your own is protected against similar depredation by the fear of missionaries of the Muslim resort to violence to deter conversion! Hindus are easygoing, so they havev to disappear for their virtue.

    I certainly believe in freedom to leave any religion INCLUDING ISLAM, without fear. (Small chance!) But, like Gandhi, I believe foreigners trying to convert Indians should be banned, as should the use of foreign money for spreading religions in India.

    7. Will there be a process of reconversion? I certainly don’t believe in it, bu it is starting to happen as Hindus retaliate against concerted and hate-filled Christian and Muslim attempts to get Hindus into their camp. Hindus are acquiring plenty of money with India’s economic growth, and soon it could be the Christians and Muslims who are threatened by Hindu conversion drives. Their tune on this subject will change when that happens.

    8. Will Muslim mosques be demolished? Not if Hindus have any sense. Will Muslims apologise for destroying so many thousands of Hindu temples even today in Kashmir? Not even as a joke.

    YLH, be serious. As the Muslim threat rises, India WILL be more and more consciously Hindu. It is inevitable.

    The threat that this will lead to Muslim violence is not going to work. Muslims will not pipe down on Islam if Hindus apologise for Hindusim a million times.

    In fact, the Hindu apologetic attitude only emboldens the Muslims, make them a hundred times more demanding. Jnnah demanded a parity of power in India for a minority of 25 percent. Which MUSLIM will concede that to a minority?

    If Muslims refuse to live in peace in a Hindu state that ensures their rights, that will be mostly their problem. As a minority, the resort to violence will hit them most.

    In 1947, India was partitioned, and Muslims got their share.

  175. Ganpat Ram

    Cow-slaughter is banned in the Indian except Kerala, West Bengal and the seven-north-eastern states.

    Even leading Congress politicians have favoured banning cow slaughter.

  176. ylh

    Ganpat that shows the ugliness in your mind. I have never called Bhutto secular. About Jinnah we have discussed the issue to death … and the reasons for calling him secular are not rooted in one speech or his dietary habits… as for Ayub he may qualify because he was the last ruler to actually make Pakistan a simple “Republic of Pakistan”. But this is not about individuals good or bad.

    I stand for a total and complete separation of church and state and demotion of islam from the “place of pride”. Just like India will remain a Hindu country in a demographic sense Pakistan shall remain an Islamic country in the demographic sense …by virtue of their dominant religio-cultural tradition …but there is absolutely no need to make laws on the basis of religion or exclude minorities from complete citizenship. I’d like to see Pakistan revert to a simple Republic and have a Hindu president.

  177. ylh

    PS I am absolutely not in favor of conversions … But I am also against laws persecuting those Muslims who might want to convert to Christianity …or any other faith.

    Similarly my question is an academic one…as an agnostic I am not in any hurry to convert you to Islam… My questions were to understand this “Hindudom” business.

  178. Ganpat Ram

    YLH:

    The days when Hindus could be told to submit to the dictates of other, more powerful religions is over.

    India is growing fast, and money in plenty is coming into Hindu hands.

    The Westerners still talk patronisinglyof Hindus as if they are entitled to be the top dog and show off, but all they have are credit cards. They are being bought out.

    As Hindus acquire money and power, there is a possibility that many Muslims and Christians in India will want to return to the Hindu fold. Their ancestors often quit Hinduism because it was associated with defeat and humiliation.

    Nobody pays attention to those who have no money or power.

    There is no ugliness in realising this fact.

    The world is a tough place because religions like Islam, single minded like the Judaism it is descended from, want supremacy. Hindus have to fight to survive in such a world. Sweet talk is helpless.

    It is easy for you to talk about having a Hindu president in Pakistan when Hindus and Sikhs, once one-third of the population, have been ruthlessly expelled and are now only 2 to 3 per cent.

    Too easy. It won’t wash.

    Hindus are not all fools. They know the demographics. They can count. (They invented the zero.)

    And even Muslims who believe what you claim to can be counted on the fingers of one hand. It is the attitude of the vast majority that matters.

    I believe in a tolerant Hinduism. But a Hinduism that knows how to survive.

  179. ylh

    I do not wish to question your world view. That is yours. Nor do I wish to have a protracted dispute about history …it would be pointless.

    I do however wish to point out that as a Pakistani secularist and liberal nationalist the only thing I admire about your country, am envious of and in awe of is your secular constitution. Infact I wish you success …atleast that will demolish the air of superiority that the Indian republic as and we shall all be Gandhijis in one hamam.

    That said …it is my sincere wish to see a Non-Muslim president. Pakistanis of Hindu faith have always served Pakistan remarkably… Bhagwandas is a hero to everyone and even Jamaat e Islami types are forced to admit the debt lawyers’ movement has to him.

  180. Ganpat Ram

    YLH:

    Fair enough.

    I have spoken plainly because the Hindu-Muslim issue is too serious for anything else.

    It is easy to make a mascot of a member of a community when that community has almost vanished.

    It is like the Americans sentimentalising the Amerindians when the Amerinidian population has almost disappeared. The Noble Sitting Bull gambit, I call it.

    When Hindus have almost gone from Pakistan, the Pakistanis (a few) can afford to lionise one or two of them.

    Westerners think they are cut out to dominate because they have credit cards.

    Muslims often think they can do it with a high birthrate and machine guns.

    Both are due to be bitterly disillusioned, methinks.

    If Muslims resort to violence to challenge the 1947 shareout, they will know, I think, that they will suffer the worst.

  181. Bin Ismail

    @Ganpat

    Somehow your bias against Muslims keeps on manifesting itself in diversely amusing ways. You perfectly symbolize the mythical Indian Secularism. I would have to agree with YLH that India’s secular constitution is indeed something commendable – something we miss badly in Pakistan. However, it would be in line with objectivity to recognize that India’s secularism is limited to the extent of its constitution.

  182. swapnavasavdutta

    Bin Ismail, so you think Indians call themselves
    secular but they are not perfect secular.
    How about Pakistanis call themselves Muslims
    but they are not perfect Muslims!

  183. ylh

    These are all value judgments. States are secular not people …similarly people have religions not states.

    I disagree with my compatriots who say India is not a secular state…it is a secular state..with an overwhelming Hindu majority. Pakistan ought to have been its Muslim majority equivalent.

    As for society – India is a deeply god-obsessed society…and Pakistan is well a religion-obsessed society.

  184. PMA

    Mr. Ram,

    You are an outspoken critic of Muslims and Islam. Do your views extend to the entire Muslim Civilization or, you are limiting yourself only to your own country India and her Muslims. And by the way. Why here. I mean why here at Pak Tea House Blog.

  185. Ganpat Ram

    PMA:

    Why not at Pak Tea House?

    It’s a good place to tell Pakistanis a few interesting facts.

  186. PMA

    OK Mr. Ram. When you speak of ‘Muslims’, are you speaking of the entire Muslim Civilization? Please do not be shy now.

  187. hanoodmarkhor

    @Gandphat Ram

    With prosperity hindus education level will rise. With increased literacy rationality will increase. With rationality hindus will cease to remain hindu and followers penis, monkey and cow gods.

  188. Ganpat Ram

    HannodMarkhor

    That would be a huge pity. it will make us as fanatical and blind as the followers of some other religions.

  189. Ganpat Ram

    HannodMarkhor

    That would be a huge pity. it will make us as fanatical and blind as the followers of some other religions.

  190. D_a_n

    @ Ganpat Ram…

    It took you……..acting as a commode……..to attract flies like hanoodmarkhor….

    thanks a lot!

  191. Bin Ismail

    @Ganpat Ram

    “…it will make us as fanatical and blind as the followers of some other religions…”

    Are you somehow dwelling in the illusion that you are immune to fanaticism and blindness. You see my friend, a competative dialogue can go on till eternity, with each claiming “…I’m good, you’re bad…” and with ever increasing fervour. The attributes of fanaticism and blindness, if you like are widely prevalent among South Asians. Borders drawn merely six decades ago, will not alter our genetic make-up. The likelihood is that fanaticism and blindness will continue to flourish on either side of the border for many generations to come. What we have to learn is to be able to keep religion distinct from statecraft, on all planes and along all dimensions and to be more accommodative at the level of society as well.

  192. vajra

    @Bin Ismail

    Well said.

    It is sometimes difficult for an Indian and a Hindu to go into detail on these points, since it leads to a suspicion of sycophancy towards the others on this blog. It is also not entirely dignified to go into such detail.

    Your broad-based rejoinder covers the ground very satisfactorily.

  193. fair mind

    “With rationality hindus will cease to remain hindu and followers [of] penis, monkey and cow gods.”

    “That would be a huge pity. it will make us as fanatical and blind as the followers of some other religions.”

    Ganpat Ram

    If history is of any value to you, you can see in UK, where Queen is defender of Christian faith, number of Christians attending church mass in the entire year including Christmas mass, are far less than number of Muslims attending Friday mosques prayer in any given week. Average age of Christian priest is almost 65 years. Today’s Christian clergy are already working in their retirement age. Over whelming number of people born in Christian homes are not Christian anymore.