BLUNDER

by YLH

An example of a collossal miscalculation by our otherwise very cautious founding father: 

Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.

The truth is that Pakistani Muslims are incapable of growing up and to hold such expectations from them is to set yourself up for disappointment.

Here is Syed Ali Abbas’ blog:

There have been very few times when I have not found the right words to express my grief, sorrow, anger or passion for something and today is one of those days as I write for my man, Prem Chand – A Pakistani Hindu, a true patriot, a social worker who spent his life trying to uplift the condition of his fellow countrymen, he gave sweat and tears to this land of pure. An elected member of PILDAT’s Youth Parliament, whose fellow YP’s say the following about him:

He greeted muslims with a warm Assalamo alaikum…he sent msgs of congratulations on shab barat and other holy days…..He used “Allah” hafiz to bid farewell…and he swore by this name…I hv been with him….He was more of a sufi who believed in all religions and the good things in them.

And it doesnt even matter if he was that intolerant about religious beliefs, even if he were a staunch Hindu he didnot deserve what we gave him. He was on board EQ-202 Airbus 321, Airblue’s flight to Islamabad which crashed in Margalla Hills leaving 152 dead and the nation mourned (officially for 01 day). He was not travelling on personal visit, he was meant to be present at Youth Parliaments session the next day.

And like said above, he gave his sweat and tears to this land of pure – and what did he get? Some religious bigot wrote “Kaafir” (English: Infidel) on his coffin. (Link) We are no short of these religious bigots whose favorite pass time is to judge and discriminate on Pakistanis on basis of their faith – but this sad incident, which killed 152 human beings was an opportunity for these religious fanatics to show their true face. The poor guy, who was born in a Hindu family and spent his life trying to work for the people of his country was given the title of “Kaafir” by someone amongst us. This particular segment of our society pounces on every opportunity to exhibit their religious fanaticism from the very beginning, when Quaid e Azam (the founder of Pakistan) was labelled as “Kaafir-e-Azam”.

Bear in mind, Pakistan was made because people of Indo-Pak subcontinent felt they were discriminated upon on the basis of their faith – The same we are doing with our minorities.

I would cross-post some of his words here:

I believe in democratic process, because true democracy can solve all problems of state. – Prem Chand.

Prem Chand’s last status update on Facebook was: “Comments Can Make a Person & Comments Can Break a Person.”So Be Careful and Ethical While Giving Comments for Someone.” – He rightly said so. A single word comment on his coffin has shattered many across Pakistan.

I protest against these religious fanatics and I salute Prem Chand – And all the Prem Chands in the making and I confess to the religious minorities of Pakistan – that just because of our silence, just because of our muted response to injustices done to you – we stand here after 64 years. I dig my head in shame, and I vow to fight for you, for us, for the Pakistan we were supposed to have.

Please join this page on facebook as we try to take it from, to pick it from here and voice out for minorities of Pakistan.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Below is the letter written by Zulqarnain, Prem’s friend:

Its very painful for me to write to defend such gem of a person. But in a society like ours where people are discriminated on the basis of their faith, Its essential to show these religious bigots their real face.

Prem chand was born to a poor family and was its lone feeder. He belonged to Sanghar, Sindh. He was 25 and was married and also had children. He, however, looked younger than his age and we also used to crack jokes on him for this which he thoroughly enjoyed. He certainly was not a “man” and had those boyish looks. He was doing masters from Sindh university, something pertaining to Social work. He not only called himself a social worker but his text messages also bore this signature. The signature was later changed to “YP Minister” when he was made minister for Youth affairs, culture and sports in previous session of YP. This honour was well deserved as he had prepared and presented a comprehensive research report on state of social welfare in Pakistan. He was hardworking, dedicated and sincere. His educational back ground was such that he could not make flowery speeches.
He was not good at speaking English and his Urdu also had that pinch of Sindhi accent but this never deterred him to stand up and speak whenever he wanted. He was a patriot and loved pakistan, worried about it as much as we “muslims” do, brought resolutions, prepared them, asked for help,  tried to pinpoint and resolve all the problems that Pakistan faces, spoke against India on water issue and had no qualms on the prospect of going to war with her. I say all this to show that he was “normal”. He was not alien or “Indian”.

I have met many people from religious minorities. All of them have that peculiar air about them. they lack confidence, they have fears of the unknown, They are very cautious. Prem Chand also seemed to be the victim of discrimination. Though that did not make him a loner, but it sure taught him to love more. He over tried. tried to be more good to you than u wud expect, tried to make good friends of everyone. Most of the time he lived in the room right next to me during the sessions so he often came over to my room. Thats when I observed this. He would send u text messages just to stay in touch. he wont mind if u didnt reply. I guess, he could not afford to be egotistic.

He was very tolerant in his religious views. We never discussed religion much. Though once I remember a fellow colleague of us talked to him in good faith. He probably wanted to convert him to Islam. Though he never said so. There I came to know that Prem knew much about Islam. He liked Zakir Nayak and comparative studies of different religions. He was interested in Sufism as well. And he wont mind if u asked him questions about hinduism. When interacting with us he would use “muslim” greetings not to prove anything but simply to avoid putting others in a difficult situation.

I still remember the time when we used to hang out. He used to borrow cigarettes from friends and puff away scores of them just for the fun of it. He was not a smoker though. I also remember that prem did not have a FB account. He also did not know how to make one so Hassan Javed (the late youth prime minister) made one for him on his laptop. When the account was made he jokingly asked Hassan to allow him to add Hassan’s female friends as he did not have girlfriends of his own……Thats all I can remember right now hope it helps.

Following is a comment by another colleague of Prem:

I am Muneeb Afzal, a Member of Youth parliament of Pakistan and a Colleague and Friend of Late Prem Chand. An extremely hard-working person he was a symbol of tolerance. My last communication with him was on night before the Air Crash, he gave his greetings to me on ocassion of 15th of Shabaan.
At PIMS fortunately another friend of ours was there when Prem’s Cousin Nanik Das came to search for his body, he quickly hid the tag ‘kafir’ by putting marker lines on it, so that Prem’s family which is already suffering from great grief does not have to bear more hurt. Although later at a memorial session where media was present I criticized the inhumanity and intolerance of those who did this shameful act. I felt this was my duty to my Late friend Prem Chand that i make it clear to the world that we condemn this act of intolerance and Narrow Minded-ness. But a lot of my other colleagues have since objected to my speaking out, believing that my saying this and this news spreading in media would add to hurt of Prem’s family, and in a way they are right too. I would like you all to also keep this in mind as well…
Rest In Peace dear Prem Chand

 

And to end this blog post, an example of prescience from our founding father:

Pakistan was the biggest blunder of my life. 

126 Comments

Filed under Pakistan

126 responses to “BLUNDER

  1. Thank you brother YLH and Raza Rumi.

    The love , care and concern that you guys have for minorities of Pakistan is REALLY REALLY ADMIRABLE.

    I salute Pak Tea House , YLH and Raza Rumi for your struggle against religious extremism.

    A lot of Indians can learn a lot of things from you guys and from PTH.

  2. bciv

    was it a deliberate act of desecration, based on prejudice, or simply an inadvertently insensitive act of an uneducated member of staff or volunteer simply trying to help make the process of identification less cumbersome? after all, if you remove the baggage that muslim bigots and hate-mongers have loaded on to the word ‘kafir’, the word is interchangeable with ‘non-muslim’, especially in rural dialects (e.g hazara and nwfp; a person from that background is less likely to use the word ‘ghair muslim’).

    in any case, it is right to publicise the issue. it must be investigated and if it was a deliberate crime than the perpetrator must be punished. however, if it was the innocent mistake of someone who did not know better and only wanted to help, then the authorities should try and find out if someone who should have known better had an opportunity to rectify the situation.

  3. Hayyer

    One often comes across this quote of Jinnah’s that Pakistan was a blunder. Is there any authentic source for the quote. I believe Sri Prakasa quoted something of the sort too. Where did he get if from?

  4. NSA

    Hayyer,
    Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire
    by Alex von Tunzelmann

    ““Jinnah [in his last days] saw Liaquat [Ali Khan] and told him that Pakistan was ‘the biggest blunder of my life’. Further yet, he declared: ‘If now I get an opportunity, I will go to Delhi and tell Jawaharlal to forget about the follies of the past and become friends again.’ It is impossible to prove whether Jinnah actually said these words or not….”

    You can find this page in books dot google dot com.

  5. NSA

    This is from the Nationalist Muslim Conference, Lucknow, April 18, 1931. This is Dr. M.A. Ansari, moving the main resolution:

    “You are, no doubt, aware of the efforts which the Nationalist Muslim Party made to come to an understanding with other schools of Muslim political thought in order to pave the way for a settlement conducive to the best interests of our country and our community.

    I deliberately say, ‘country and community’ for I wish to give the lie direct to accusations impertinently made against nationalist Musalmans that they do not have the interests of Islam at heart.

    Our accusers should know that it is the spiritual catholicity of our religious faith which has declared in a set of common ideals the brotherhood of man and the supreme shallowness of narrow bigotry that gives us the strength to take up the whole as against the piece-meal point of view. Basing, as we do, the claims of our community on justice, the conflict of country and community does not arise. It is only when the essentially un-Islamic tendency of sectional interests asserts itself and finds expression in the desire to retire tortoise-like in a shell that the conflict becomes manifest.

    We are surely not worse Mussalmans because we refuse to turn our faith into a greedy superstition or an ignoble exercise in political hide and seek, or because we take from it the inspiration of our lives and bring them to the service of the country in which Providence has destined us to live and serve. Our Nationalism is part of our loyalty of our faith and not a betrayal or an infidelity.

    Excuse me, gentlemen, for this digression which was necessary in order to repudiate the mischievous
    attempts to misrepresent our point of view in Indian politics. You are aware, I was saying of the sincere efforts we made to come to a common agreement
    with other schools of Muslim political thought. You know the result. In spite of all our attempts at accommodation and in spite of the assured possibility of a great measure of agreement on important issues, the conversations broke on the joint-separate electorate issue.

    This is not the occasion to expiate on the absolute necessity of joint electorates for the growth of a united nationhood. I am speaking to Mussalmans just now and I wish to tell the Muslim community through you that, apart from wider national considerations, the insistence on separate electorates would prove suicidal to the continuance of the Mussalmans in this country as a political and cultural force of any significance.

    Politically, separate electorates are bound to prove the most effective method of perpetuating and accentuating communal bitterness and sectional exclusiveness.

    Knowing the case with which in a democracy demagogues can play on the passion and fanaticism of the people, separate electorates cannot but prove most potent means of closing the door to the mutual understanding and appreciation by the representatives, and of ruling out agreement by negotiation on matters even of common concern.

    And what does this imply for the Mussalmans ?

    It implies in the provinces where the Mussalmans are in a minority and in India as a whole, the absolute impossibility of their being at all effective as a political force in spite of the weightage that it might get.

    It implies political impotence, with consequent bitterness, sense of futility, demoralisation, ruin !

    In the majority provinces, except where the majority be preponderating, it implies instability, lack of initiative, weak handling of all situations on account of a constant fear of defeat by a determined irrecon-
    cilable opposition returned by an intolerant electorate just to oppose !

    If there is anybody anywhere anxious to see the Mussalmans reduced to absolute ineffectiveness in Indian politics, he must laugh in his sleeves at their own curious insistence on a measure so obviously calculated to bring about that result.

    Culturally, the anxiety to hedge themselves round with impregnable walls would, I fear, result in a false sense of security which would rob the community of its dynamic cultural force and would mean fossilisation and decay. Those who, like me, look back with pride on the great cultural contribution of the Mussalmans to Indian life and who hope to see the Mussalmans play a still more important role in the free India of the future, cannot but view with dismay the assiduous attempt —by some Mussalmans as the irony of things would have it—to remove all possibilities of fruitful contact and appreciation which a group with a living culture and a message should be only too anxious to cultivate.

    Those who by means of separate electorates seek to ensure the existence of Mussalmans as a cultural entity in this country seem to have no notion of the dynamic possibilities of the culture they claim to love. They would unconsciously help to preserve it as a dead specimen in a museum of antiquities.

    But I believe that Muslim culture in India is a living and life-giving force and would not suffer this ossification at the hands of its ignorant, albeit, well-meaning admirers.

    Those being the political and cultural implications of separate electorates and of the self-diffident mental attitude behind their demand, who would accuse us of not having the best interests of the Muslim community at heart if we ask the Mussalmans to refuse to be lured into a trap which some self-seeking men have laid for them and to which a number of honest but mistaken Mussalmans are leading them by their drum beating ?

    It would be useless to try to convince the former of the unholy nature of their enterprise. They die hard but they should know that the growing political consciousness among the Mussalmans and the realisation of their great cultural mission in Indian life would not long tolerate this self-aggrandisement to play with Muslim destiny.

    But it would be idle to deny that there is a body of honest opinion on their side represented by men who have grown grey in the service of Islam and of India. I am confident they would soon see through the lure.

    I respectfully appeal to them in the name of Islam and of India—both of which, I know, are as dear to them as they are to me—to see if the course they have been led to support, really and effectively protects the interests of the Mussalmans and if it can ever help to create that sense of common citizenship which is essential for all political advancement in the country. If it does neither, I do sincerely hope that they would not be led away by appeals to passion made by harping on matters absolutely irrelevant to the issues in dispute.

    I am perfectly willing to admit that their anxiety to secure certain safeguards and guarantees for the Muslim community in the future constitution of the country are genuine and I need hardly assure them that so far as the nationalist Muslims are concerned, they will do their best to press all such genuine demands.

    But they would be no party to a demand tor separate electorates which, it is their considered opinion, would prove highly dangerous both for the country and for the community.

    MR. SHERWANI SECONDS RESOLUTION.

    Mr. Tassadduq Sherwani supporting the resolution, said that it was so worded as to leave scope for negotiation with other Muslims who did not see eye to eye with the Nationalists. The resolution embodied the cardinal basic rights of all Indians irrespective of caste or creed. With one vital exception the resolution included demands put forward by other schools of Muslim thought.

    The exceptional clause was that insisting on joint-electorates. The advocates of separation wanted to erect insurmountable barriers between Muslims and other communities.!

    To this the Nationalists could never consent. The evil effect of separate electorates was apparent from the fact that the spirit of separatism was penetrating among the Muslims themselves. Votes were being
    canvassed on the basis of a candidate being a Mirza or a Pathan, Qureshi or Ansari, Shiah or Sunni. That distinction between caste and caste which ruined the Hindus was creeping into the democratic Muslim
    ranks.

    Under any democratic institution the Government was bound to be in the hands of the majority. If the electorates were separate, the minority groups were sure to be the worst sufferers. Under the present scheme it was possible for 30 fanatic Muslims being pitted against 70 equally fanatic non-Muslims and the latter could conveniently ignore the former but in a joint electorate scheme, no candidate aspiring for election could with equal convenience ignore even fifteen per cent of the voters.

    Whoever had personal experience of running elections could corroborate that even a single vote could not be ignored by the prospective candidate. Politically the minorities would be more powerful under a separate[sic] electorate scheme embellished with weightage.

    At this stage, Mr. Sherwani was interrupted by a visitor who enquired whether Mr. Sherwani was saying this inspite of the Cawnpore incidents.

    Mr. Sherwani retorted that Cawnpore was the outcome of separatism. He pointed out Mr. Hasrat Mohani, and said that Mr. Hasrat Mohani and his friends who insisted on separate electorates should be
    called to account for such tragedies.
    Mr. Hasrat Mohani immediately asserted that he
    was not an advocate of separate electorates.
    Mr. Sherwani, proceeding, said that the separate
    electorates scheme was being utilised by interested
    parties for their own benefit. He cited an instance
    of five Muslim members being returned to the
    Assembly in 1925 in spite of the fact that they knew
    not how to write either Urdu or English.

    Mr. Mehar Ali (Bombay) moved an amendment urging omission of the clause relating to reservation
    of seats for minorities on a population basis. He quoted the example of the Parsis of Bombay who formed barely five per cent of the population but
    were always returned in large numbers to all elected
    bodies. He thought that the reservation clause was added to placate communalists and that the communalist was a walking plague and there was no place for him in the modern world.

    Choudhry Khaliquzzaman, opposing the amend-
    ment pointed out that reality always fell short of
    the ideal. As a nationalist he was no believer in
    reservation, but deemed it expedient to include the
    clause in the constitution.

    Mr. Yusuf Hassan, supporting the amendment said
    that fifteen years back he was turned out from this very hall for opposing separate electorates. He would again risk that, and strongly oppose all silly reservations.

    Mr. Hasrat Mohani, with the permission of the President rose to support the amendment, although he was not a delegate. He expressed wonder that a nationalist like Dr. Ansari should deem it fit to include in the resolution a communal clause insisting on reservation. It gave rise to the suspicion that even nationalists were not sure of minority interests being saved unless artificially protected by reservation.

    Such an attitude lent support to the views expressed by some that Shia Mussalmans favoured joint electorates with reservations because they were an interested party to the extent that they had a better chance to get elected from a joint constituency than from a communal constituency.

    Mr. Hasrat Mohani assured the Conference that he was always a nationalist and the resolution minus the reservation clause had his whole-hearted support.

    He added that he never believed in half measures.
    He was either a communist or a communalist and
    nothing in between.

    Speaking immediately after Mr. Hasrat Mohani, Dr. Alam admitted that reservation was not an ideal thing to be embodied in the constitution, but for the sake of general agreement the Subjects Committee had recommended the retention of the clause in the resolution. but for the sake of general agreement the Subjects Committee had recommended the retention of the clause in the resolution……

    _____
    And so on. If there was a blunder, so to speak, is it not in this division among Mussalmans, Nationalists vs Muslim Leaguers?

  6. bciv

    @NSA

    perhaps you should look at the indian muslims insisting on separate electorates, coming up to, say, the date of the quote you have reproduced above. who were they? you might find that your question needs to be rethought.

  7. Hayyer

    NSA:

    Thank you. I read von Tunzelmann’s book when it came out three years ago. I was actually looking for an authentic quote, like in first person.
    Sri Prakasa has Jinnah sending messages to Nehru and about his house in Bombay. Is there an authentic account of Jinnah saying such things to anyone who wrote about it.
    Even hearsay would be worth a consideration.

  8. YLH

    Dear irrationalist,

    Read the full quote again. It was in the sense of citizens of the state.

    Maybe it wasn’t a blunder after all. Reference your quote.

  9. @rationalist

    “”If Jinnah said “muslims would cease to be muslims” – that is ok. But he had no right to say “Hindus would cease to be hindus”.””

    You are applying a favourite right-wing ploy to create more hatred:- Quoting out of context!

    FULL JINNAH QUOTE:

    “”Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, NOT in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.“”

    On this point i fully support Jinnah.
    At the “state level”…..Religion has no place!!!!

  10. NSA

    Hayyer,

    Is there an authentic account of Jinnah saying such things to anyone who wrote about it.

    Not that I know of – we would have to find whether the doctor who attended to Jinnah has some unpublished diary, etc..

  11. YLH

    I have just dusted my copy of Tunzelman never having gone through it fully. Excellent book. Read for example page 246. Little nuggets we never discover.

  12. NSA

    Hayyer,

    One place to look might be:

    Ilahi Baksh
    With the Quaid-i-Azam During His Last Days
    Karachi, Quaid-i-Azam Academy 1978

  13. NSA

    In “Jawaharlal Nehru : A Biography” Sankar Ghose ascribes this blunder thing to Ilahi Bakhsh, as follows (however there does not appear to be a citation).

    “Did Nehru really think that partition would be temporary or that ‘Pakistan would come back to us’? It is true that Colonel Ilahi Bakhsh, Jinnah’s personal physician, reported that Jinnah, on his death-bed in 1948, told Liaquat Ali Khan, in exasperation, that Pakistan was his ‘greated blunder’. Colonel Bakhsh recalled that Jinnah said that if he had the opportunity, he would go to Delhi, tell Nehru to forget the past and to become friends. But then if Jinnah said this then it must have been as a passing remark in a mood of temporary depression.”

    (courtesy of books dot google dot com ).

  14. YLH

    No. There isn’t. The issue is whether the existing nation states will give their minorities a fair deal.

    Blunder or not Pakistan is a fact of history. My post is rhetorical and not a plea for reunion. I am surprised that people would interpret it as such.

    Pakistan is a nation state with a history. Its problems are our cross to bear. We will make it a great and modern state one day and that is what inspires this website, Raza Rumi and other band of brothers who run this website.

  15. NSA

    M.J Akbar in “Nehru: the making of India” also cites Ilahi Bakhsh to the same effect; but google does not show enough to see what his citation is.

    Ilahi Bakhsh’s With Quaid-i-Azam during his last days is on books dot google dot com, and the limited visibility of it nevertheless does not show up this “greatest blunder” incident.

    Supposedly, Time Magazine carried a version of this : “Pakistan has been the biggest mistake of my life” : in the late 90s.

  16. NSA

    One last:

    In “A Slice of History”, Lalit Mohan Bhatia (1991) writes: (courtesy books dot google dot com )

    “Did Jinnah regret Partition in his last days? According to his physician Col. Elahi Bux (as narrated by Mohammad Yahya Jan, former Education Minister of North-West Frontier Province, in his story headlined “Quaid’s Physician Told Me’ published in Peshawar’s Frontier Post quoted by the Hindu 29 November, 1987) Jinnah felt ….”

    So, if someone can find Mohammad Yahya Jan’s article in the Frontier Post of 1987, this would probably be the closest hearsay that we have.

  17. NSA

    Just to confirm, Time Magazine carried a story in 1996 which contained this greatest mistake thing; I did a search of the archives of the USENET groups in google, and the article is mentioned there. However there are no useful details.

  18. Bin Ismail

    The authenticity of these words attributed to Jinnah, fall short of being established and could hence be ignored. What cannot be ignored is the fact that our greatest failure was that we stood by as silent spectators, as our country was systematically hijacked by the mullahs. And this blunder was ours, not Jinnah’s.

  19. Parvez

    I’m confident that people from Bharat and Pakistan can cooperate. For starters we have crime mafias, money changers, smugglers, gun runners, Deobandis, Brelvis, writers, are cooperating fine. Nobody wants to talk about great majority of ordinary people and their economic problems.
    Jinnah is gone, so don’t put every thing on him. How about some self criticism as to what is going on right now?

  20. NSA

    Fatima Jinnah’s “My Brother” is available on the web as a PDF file. In this 1987 edition, edited by Sharif Al Mujahid, the editor says

    “The present volume has been edited according to, the accepted norms, and except for an extremely controversial passage, it truthfully reproduces the contents of the Ms.” {i.e., the unpublished Fatima Jinnah manuscript}.

    I wonder what that extremely controversial passage is.

  21. nasir jan

    YHL – thank you for bringing this story to us – THE MULLAH now holds the Pakistani society by the throat. His version of Islam has plunged Pakistan into an epidemic of honor killings, hate murders and mob executions of fellow Muslims and minorities alike. Society is paying the price for allowing the Mullah to propagate extremism and intolerance from the pulpit .
    What did this poor guy deserve to be treated in this way – HE WAS A PAKISTANI! – what would our beloved Prophet have thought about this? – We need to cleanse Pakistan of this Jahil mentality and the only way to do it is eradicate the mullah. However non of our politicians seem to have the stomach for that (not even the ones with real degrees) they prefer to appease the Mullah through beacause they are shit scared! – Until there is a zero tolerance policy against these hatemongers Pakistan will never prosper.

  22. libertarian

    Blunder or not Pakistan is a fact of history. My post is rhetorical and not a plea for reunion. I am surprised that people would interpret it as such.

    Yes agree. If anything, the Muslims of the sub-continent scored a massive self-goal by dividing themselves into 2 and then 3 states. In the tail-wag-the-dog politics of India today, a 30+% Muslim population would ensure Muslim domination in most public spheres.

    Pakistan is a nation state with a history. Its problems are our cross to bear. We will make it a great and modern state one day and that is what inspires this website, Raza Rumi and other band of brothers who run this website.

    In the 1960’s Minoo Masani presciently remarked that India would have to be saved by the “little man” i.e. top-down politics resulted in ever-increasing political, economic and moral corruption. The same is true of Pakistan. The “little man” will need to upend the current cancerous system and clean out its internals. Best of luck with your fight. You have many folks hoping you win.

  23. Junaid

    @Rationalist

    One irrational lie that I would to point out in your rhetorical diatribe is calling Pakistanis “Arabs.”

    I had quite a few Indian friends who had this opinion that all Pakistanis were Arabs.

    Just to prove or disprove the hypothesis of my misguided Indian friends, I undertook a DNA test conducted by the National geographic project called The Genographic project.

    You can access the web link for the project by visiting the following URL and might also want to send in your own DNA samples as well.

    https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/index.html

    The report sent back to me by the Genographic project revealed that my ancestors have been living in Northern India for well above 20,000 Years.

    Thats long before the Aryans invaded India, long before the Indus valley civilisation, Long before Islam came to India and long before the genesis of Rig Veda.

    I am sure this will have no affect on your sanity as mostly bigots full of hatred seldom lend ears to ideas which contradict their stagnant malice. However, I reproduce it for those who might want to learn some thing.

    Please note, I am from part of Pakistan next to Afghanistan and have more in common with Afghans then with Indian Punjabis or Sindhis.

    So If my ancestors have been in northern India for 20,000 years, the ancestors of Jinnah who you are calling an Arab must have been living in India even before that.

    ******************************************

    Your Y-chromosome results identify you as a member of haplogroup L (M20).

    The genetic markers that define your ancestral history reach back roughly 60,000 years to the first common marker of all non-African men, M168, and follow your lineage to present day, ending with M20, the defining marker of haplogroup L.

    If you look at the map highlighting your ancestors’ route, you will see that members of haplogroup L carry the following Y-chromosome markers:

    M168 > P143 > M89 > L15 > M9 > M20

    (Less is known about some markers than others. What is known about your journey is reflected below.)

    Today, more than 50 percent of the men living in southern India are members of haplogroup L. Marker M20 is rarely found outside of India, in frequencies of one to two percent in some Middle Eastern populations.

    What’s a haplogroup, and why do geneticists concentrate on the Y-chromosome in their search for markers? For that matter, what’s a marker?

    Each of us carries DNA that is a combination of genes passed from both our mother and father, giving us traits that range from eye color and height to athleticism and disease susceptibility. One exception is the Y-chromosome, which is passed directly from father to son, unchanged, from generation to generation.

    Unchanged, that is unless a mutation—a random, naturally occurring, usually harmless change—occurs. The mutation, known as a marker, acts as a beacon; it can be mapped through generations because it will be passed down from the man in whom it occurred to his sons, their sons, and every male in his family for thousands of years.

    In some instances there may be more than one mutational event that defines a particular branch on the tree. What this means is that any of these markers can be used to determine your particular haplogroup, since every individual who has one of these markers also has the others.

    When geneticists identify such a marker, they try to figure out when it first occurred, and in which geographic region of the world. Each marker is essentially the beginning of a new lineage on the family tree of the human race. Tracking the lineages provides a picture of how small tribes of modern humans in Africa tens of thousands of years ago diversified and spread to populate the world.

    A haplogroup is defined by a series of markers that are shared by other men who carry the same random mutations. The markers trace the path your ancestors took as they moved out of Africa. It’s difficult to know how many men worldwide belong to any particular haplogroup, or even how many haplogroups there are, because scientists simply don’t have enough data yet.

    One of the goals of the five-year Genographic Project is to build a large enough database of anthropological genetic data to answer some of these questions. To achieve this, project team members are traveling to all corners of the world to collect more than 100,000 DNA samples from indigenous populations. In addition, we encourage you to contribute your anonymous results to the project database, helping our geneticists reveal more of the answers to our ancient past.

    Keep checking these pages; as more information is received, more may be learned about your own genetic history.

    Your Ancestral Journey: What We Know Now

    M168: Your Earliest Ancestor

    Fast Facts

    Time of Emergence: Roughly 50,000 years ago

    Place of Origin: Africa

    Climate: Temporary retreat of Ice Age; Africa moves from drought to warmer temperatures and moister conditions

    Estimated Number of Homo sapiens: Approximately 10,000

    Tools and Skills: Stone tools; earliest evidence of art and advanced conceptual skills

    Skeletal and archaeological evidence suggest that anatomically modern humans evolved in Africa around 200,000 years ago, and began moving out of Africa to colonize the rest of the world around 60,000 years ago.

    The man who gave rise to the first genetic marker in your lineage probably lived in northeast Africa in the region of the Rift Valley, perhaps in present-day Ethiopia, Kenya, or Tanzania, some 31,000 to 79,000 years ago. Scientists put the most likely date for when he lived at around 50,000 years ago. His descendants became the only lineage to survive outside of Africa, making him the common ancestor of every non-African man living today.

    But why would man have first ventured out of the familiar African hunting grounds and into unexplored lands? It is likely that a fluctuation in climate may have provided the impetus for your ancestors’ exodus out of Africa.

    The African ice age was characterized by drought rather than by cold. It was around 50,000 years ago that the ice sheets of northern Europe began to melt, introducing a period of warmer temperatures and moister climate in Africa. Parts of the inhospitable Sahara briefly became habitable. As the drought-ridden desert changed to a savanna, the animals hunted by your ancestors expanded their range and began moving through the newly emerging green corridor of grasslands. Your nomadic ancestors followed the good weather and the animals they hunted, although the exact route they followed remains to be determined.

    In addition to a favorable change in climate, around this same time there was a great leap forward in modern humans’ intellectual capacity. Many scientists believe that the emergence of language gave us a huge advantage over other early human species. Improved tools and weapons, the ability to plan ahead and cooperate with one another, and an increased capacity to exploit resources in ways we hadn’t been able to earlier, all allowed modern humans to rapidly migrate to new territories, exploit new resources, and replace other hominids.

    M89: Moving Through the Middle East

    Fast Facts

    Time of Emergence: 45,000 years ago

    Place: Northern Africa or the Middle East

    Climate: Middle East: Semi-arid grass plains

    Estimated Number of Homo sapiens: Tens of thousands

    Tools and Skills: Stone, ivory, wood tools

    The next male ancestor in your ancestral lineage is the man who gave rise to M89, a marker found in 90 to 95 percent of all non-Africans. This man was born around 45,000 years ago in northern Africa or the Middle East.

    The first people to leave Africa likely followed a coastal route that eventually ended in Australia. Your ancestors followed the expanding grasslands and plentiful game to the Middle East and beyond, and were part of the second great wave of migration out of Africa.

    Beginning about 40,000 years ago, the climate shifted once again and became colder and more arid. Drought hit Africa and the grasslands reverted to desert, and for the next 20,000 years, the Saharan Gateway was effectively closed. With the desert impassable, your ancestors had two options: remain in the Middle East, or move on. Retreat back to the home continent was not an option.

    While many of the descendants of M89 remained in the Middle East, others continued to follow the great herds of buffalo, antelope, woolly mammoths, and other game through what is now modern-day Iran to the vast steppes of Central Asia.

    These semi-arid grass-covered plains formed an ancient “superhighway” stretching from eastern France to Korea. Your ancestors, having migrated north out of Africa into the Middle East, then traveled both east and west along this Central Asian superhighway. A smaller group continued moving north from the Middle East to Anatolia and the Balkans, trading familiar grasslands for forests and high country.

    M9: The Eurasian Clan Spreads Wide and Far

    Fast Facts

    Time of Emergence: 40,000 years ago

    Place: Iran or southern Central Asia

    Estimated Number of Homo sapiens: Tens of thousands

    Tools and Skills: Upper Paleolithic

    Your next ancestor, a man born around 40,000 years ago in Iran or southern Central Asia, gave rise to a genetic marker known as M9, which marked a new lineage diverging from the M89 Middle Eastern Clan. His descendants, of which you are one, spent the next 30,000 years populating much of the planet.

    This large lineage, known as the Eurasian Clan, dispersed gradually over thousands of years. Seasoned hunters followed the herds ever eastward, along the vast super highway of Eurasian steppe. Eventually their path was blocked by the massive mountain ranges of south Central Asia—the Hindu Kush, the Tian Shan, and the Himalayas.

    The three mountain ranges meet in a region known as the “Pamir Knot,” located in present-day Tajikistan. Here the tribes of hunters split into two groups. Some moved north into Central Asia, others moved south into what is now Pakistan and the Indian subcontinent.

    These different migration routes through the Pamir Knot region gave rise to separate lineages.

    Most people native to the Northern Hemisphere trace their roots to the Eurasian Clan. Nearly all North Americans and East Asians are descended from the man described above, as are most Europeans and many Indians.

    M20: The Indian Clan

    Fast Facts

    Time of Emergence: 30,000 years ago

    Place of Origin: India or Middle East

    Climate: Ice Age

    Estimated Number of Homo sapiens: Hundreds of thousands

    Tools and Skills: Upper Paleolithic

    Your ancestors were part of the M9 Eurasian Clan that migrated south once they reached the rugged and mountainous Pamir Knot region. The man who gave rise to marker M20 was born in India or the Middle East. Your ancestors arrived in India around 30,000 years ago and represent the earliest significant settlement of India. For this reason, haplogroup L is known as the Indian Clan.

    Although more than 50 percent of southern Indians carry marker M20 and are members of haplogroup L, your ancestors were not the first people to reach India; descendants of an early wave of migration out of Africa that took place some 50,000 to 60,000 years ago had already settled in small groups along the southern coastline of the sub-continent.

    Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is passed from a mother to her sons and daughters can be tracked in a somewhat similar fashion as Y chromosome data. It provides some tantalizing clues as to what may have happened when members of the Indian Clan and the Coastal Clan met.

    The mtDNA of people in this region preserves evidence of the early coastal dwellers in the female lineage, but Y-chromosome frequency for the Coastal Clan is very weak—around 5 percent in southern India, and even less frequent going farther north. These data suggest that the descendants of the Indian Clan may have mated with the women of the earlier coastal population, but that the coastal men were killed, driven off, or otherwise prevented from reproducing.

    This is where your genetic trail, as we know it today, ends. However, be sure to revisit these pages. As additional data are collected and analyzed, more will be learned about your place in the history of the men and women who first populated the Earth. We will be updating these stories throughout the life of the project.

  24. stuka

    Whereas I echo Indian Pundit on YLH’s impeccable record of supporting minorities, I am a bit surprised at the to do.

    First, I believe that as per Islamic canon, we are Kaafirs, just as per Christian canon we are Heathens. It is not a big deal for me to be called Kaafir because well, to put it simply, I am one as far as Islam is concerned.

    Secondly, there is more of a chance that the person wrote Kaafir because he did not want this gentleman to be buried under Muslim rights. He may well have been well meaning in that sense.

  25. stuka

    “He was a patriot and loved pakistan, worried about it as much as we “muslims” do, brought resolutions, prepared them, asked for help, tried to pinpoint and resolve all the problems that Pakistan faces, spoke against India on water issue and had no qualms on the prospect of going to war with her. I say all this to show that he was “normal”. He was not alien or “Indian”.

    HAHAHA, something for Indians to read and remember. Our political identities define us and a Pakistani Hindu is as much an enemy, if not more, than the Pakistani Muslim.

  26. YLH

    Kafir is a negative word. “Ghair-Muslim” is alright. I wonder if “Hindu” would be alright. I would have been ok with that though questions would have been asked.

  27. Hayyer

    YLH:

    My copy of the Tunzelmann’s book is the hardcover Simon and Schuster UK edition published in 2007.
    Page 246 on this edition is a blank being the reverse of the title page announcing Part 3 of the book.
    Could you give me the chapter number?

    Stuka:

    Kaffir means someone who spreads kufr, which is interpreted as blasphemy or disbelief in the truth. It is akin to mlechha.

  28. YLH

    The chapter is called Rainbow in the sky. Jinnah and Mountbatten are in the car during their open air car ride …

  29. bciv

    @hayyer

    Kaffir means someone who spreads kufr, which is interpreted as blasphemy or disbelief in the truth. It is akin to mlechha.

    not so to many a man in the street west of the indus and even parts north (eg the residents of kafiristan are not thought to be ‘spreading kufr’, nor are they thought to be kafir as per the standard theological definition of kufr. the name for their country is certainly not meant as mlechha-istan). to them, it simply means non-muslim. (an aside: in urdu idiom, kafir also means excellent or superb. it has exactly the same usage in pashto too, and perhaps used even more frequently.)

    the mullah and mullah-types who use kafir to condemn each other and non-muslims, of course, would agree with your definition. stuka is right in pointing out the possibility that the label may have been well-meant and used to ensure quicker identification and ensure rites as per the deceased’s own religion.

    however, to urban folk and in the punjab and sindh the term would be used to cause and will cause offense. that is why this must be fully investigated.

  30. Dastagir

    Kufr at its literal meaning in Arabic means “TO COVER”. (The root word for “Cover” is “Kufr”). Someone who knows that he is not on the side of truth but out of stubborn-ness, finds an argument, builds a case., i.e. COVERS the truth. This is the underlying meaning and thought for the word “KUFR”.

    Kaafir is the one who indulges in the above. It is not an abusive term. It is not a derogatory term. If you look at the flavor of Arabic as a language., it is a term that implies negating truth.

    You can research the word “KUFR” for a more detailed explanation.

  31. Dastagir

    Rationalist : You are playing with words. Covering the Truth that is “Kufr”. You took it in the context of “Covering the Body” (Covering the Zeenat.. the body line.. the physical form.. the curves.. if you want to understand it at a crude level) and in the context of women. Women have far more freedom in Islam than in any other ideology. You will have to read 200 books before you form opinions. SMS Scholarship is not my forte. As regards the present condition (2010) of Muslim women., i agree., this is pathetic., and horrible… but Islam is NOT the problem. The muslims have created it themselves. This is a man-made disaster. I requested YASSIR., cuz he writes with such beauty and brevity… to develop 2 thoughts :

    1) Remove purchase of GOLD from the muslim man/woman’s agenda. Gold is very expensive and a huge drain. Its a dead asset. Instead of Gold Jewelry (which is ugly)., muslim women must adorn themselves with health + education. A healthy woman is far better than a half-starved woman wearing 20 tolas of gold ! That is a wonderful thought. I want to see more Muslim girls/women in Book stores than Jewelry stores. However, if they want to look good., let them take to FANCY Jewelry.

    2) Construction takes/sucks up a lot of money. Construction of building : if you go very deep into islamic thought., is DISCOURGED. Its a huge drain on resources.. so construction is not to be encouraged too. People have a 2nd home.. 3rd home.. this is looked down upon Islam… as its LOCKING UP resources and HOARDING is looked down upon, in Islam.

    3) CYCLE. Young people must use the bicycle instead of Motor-cycles… or cars… it will keep them FIT… firm thighs… plus reduce the oil imports. This Fascination for the Bicycle must be introduced as FASHION.

    I try to un-cover truths… unfold truths… to the extent possible… given human limitations !

  32. YLH

    Could you tell me how Gandhi used the term when he called Africans “kaffirs” and savages. Ofcourse he was only using it how it was used. Kaffir was a derogatory term and I am sure it had Arabic roots.

    A Kafir religiously is someone who denies the existence of god. Hindus are according to Islamic vocabulary “Mushrikeen”… Shirk is according to Islamic view a bigger more unforgivable crime than Kufr.

    And then there is the famous saying of Hazrat Ali AS: “a kafir’s reign can be sustained if it is based on justice but an unjust reign cannot be sustained”.

    So maybe Kufr ain’t that bad.

    Proud to be Kafir.

    YLH

  33. Dastagir

    YASSIR : I cant enter into the sub-consciousness of Gandhi ji.. to put forward the meaning from his perspective circa 1919.

    Of course the English word COVER has its roots in Arabic “Kufr” (To indulge in wrapping / covering / hiding truth)… “Kaffara” (The cover itself) … “Kaf-faaraa” (compensation). To understand Arabic is not easy. One word has 700 meanings…. and a razor thin vocal bent changes the meaning to a sea of difference !

    Arabic as a language is incomparable in beauty.. brevity.. though.. vocal delivery.. twist of the tongue.. phonetics.. There is no doubt… it is a Queen of Languages.

    God’s word will not be fully understood in its ENTIRETY until the end of time. To this day, with good intent., we try to reach., find its inner meaning and intent ! At times Science and scientific research confirms as we widen our scope of meaning.

    This is not to say., that since a word has 700 meanings., so comprehension is not possible in a lifetime.. so give up. NO.. That is not the intent. The intent is to highlight the delicate nature of the language with a very vast .. very vast implication of meaning… that these words carry and contain within themselves.

  34. Dastagir

    RATIONALIST : Why shouldnt i self glorify ? Because my GDP has fallen… because my Per capita has reached rock bottom ? Those are your measuring rods / bars of measurement of success / achievement / failure.

    Even if every single Hindu becomes as rich as Lakshmi Mittal / Mukesh Ambani / Anil Ambani / Narayanamurthy (Infosys)., etc. etc. etc. even then…. i shall never compromise on the ideal. May they enjoy their success.. very well… but the ideal.. the principle… the lofty principle… will never be compromised.

    We will not bend-backwards.. even if every single Hindu becomes a $ Billionaire. This is something different. Its a different realm. You dont sell truth and call it “pragmatism”. We are not that business-smart., cuz we dont want to be. And its a conscious decision.

  35. YLH

    Not just Muslims…everyone knows Gandhi was a racist bigot of the “indo-germanic stock” as he said. Read what he had to say about the “Kaffirs”.

  36. Dastagir

    YASSIR / Amna / Kiran / RAZA / Educationists : Please reflect on this.. and write something.. spread awareness.. on E-BOOKS. I paste a clipping.. FYI.

    New York: Mr McNealy, the fiery co-founder and former chief executive of Sun Microsystems, shuns basic math textbooks as bloated monstrosities, their price keeps rising while the core information inside of them stays the same.

    “Ten plus 10 has been 20 for a long time,” Mr McNealy says.

    Early this year, Oracle, the database software maker, acquired Sun for $7.4 billion, leaving Mr McNealy without a job. He has since decided to aim his energy and some money at Curriki, an online hub for free textbooks and other course material that he spearheaded six years ago.

    “We are spending $8 billion to $15 billion per year on textbooks” in the United States, Mr McNealy says. “It seems to me we could put that all online for free.”

    The nonprofit Curriki fits into an ever-expanding list of organizations that seek to bring the blunt force of Internet economics to bear on the education market. Even the traditional textbook publishers agree that the days of tweaking a few pages in a book just to sell a new edition are coming to an end.

    “Today, we are engaged in a very different dialogue with our customers,” says Wendy Colby, senior vice president of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “Our customers are asking us to look at different ways to experiment and to look at different value-based pricing models.”

    Mr McNealy had his own encounter with value-based pricing models while running Sun. The company had thrived as a result of its specialized, pricey technology. And then, in what seemed like a flash, Sun’s business came undone as a wave of cheaper computers and free, open-source software proved good enough to handle many tasks once done by Sun computers.

    At first, Sun fought the open-source set, then it joined the party by making the source code to its most valuable software available to anyone.

    Too little, too late. Sun’s sales continued to decline, making it vulnerable to a takeover.

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and other top textbook publishers now face their, moment in the sun.

    Over the last few years, groups nationwide have adopted the open-source mantra of the software world and started financing open-source books. Experts — often retired teachers or groups of teachers — write these books and allow anyone to distribute them in digital, printed or audio formats. Schools can rearrange the contents of the books to suit their needs and requirements.

    But progress with these open-source texts has been slow.

    California and Texas dominate the market for textbooks used in kindergarten through high school (K-12), and publishers do all they can to meet these states’ requirements and lock in their millions for years.

    Both states have recently established procedures that will let open-source textbooks begin making their way through the arduous approval process. Last year, Texas passed a law promoting use of open, digital texts and is reviewing material that might be used in schools.

    In California, a state board is studying whether open texts meet state requirements. The CK-12 Foundation, a nonprofit financed by another Sun co-founder, Vinod Khosla, has created several texts that have met the board’s criteria.

    “In 3.5 yrs, we developed nine core textbooks for high school,” says Neeru Khosla, Mr Khosla’s wife and the head of CK-12. “If you don’t try this, nothing will change.”

    Aneesh Chopra, the federal chief technology officer, promoted an open physics textbook from CK-12 in his previous role as secretary of technology for Virginia, which included more up-to-date materials than the state’s printed textbooks.

    “We still had quotes that said the main component of a television was a cathode ray tube,” Mr Chopra says. “We had to address the contemporary nature of physics topics.”

    Eric Frank, the co-founder of Flat World Knowledge, argues that there is a huge financial opportunity in outflanking the traditional textbook makers. His company homes in on colleges and gives away a free online version of some textbooks. Students can then pay $30 for a black-and-white version to be printed on demand or $60 for a color version, or they can buy an audio copy.

    About 55 percent of students buy a book, Mr Frank said, adding that the leading calculus book from a traditional publisher costs more than $200.

    Publishers have started de-emphasizing the textbook in favor of selling a package of supporting materials like teaching aids and training. companies like Houghton Mifflin have created internal start-ups to embrace technology and capture for themselves some of the emerging online business.

    They are responding in much the same way traditional software makers did when open-source arrived, by trying to bundle subscription services around a core product that has been undercut.

    Ms Colby of Houghton Mifflin puts the state of affairs politely: “I think the open-source movement is opening a whole new conversation, and that is what is exciting to us.”

    Mr McNealy wants to make sure there is a free, innovative option available for schools as this shift occurs.

    Curriki has made only modest strides, but Mr McNealy has pledged to inject new life. He wants to borrow from Sun’s software development systems to create an organized framework for collecting educational information.

    In addition, he wants the organization to help build systems that can evaluate educational material and monitor student performance. “I want to assess everything,” he says.

    Mr McNealy, however, has found that raising money for Curriki is tougher than he imagined, even though so many people want to lower the cost of education.

    “We are growing nicely,” he says, “but there is a whole bunch of stuff on simmer.”

    UNQUOTE:

    IDEALLY the whole K-12 Course Books should be on line and for free. (The Govt. must foot the bill for content creation., maintainence., update and upgradation). Paper books will be out in the next few years… students will carry laptops to their classrooms. That culture is coming.. and we must welcome it. K-12 is grass-roots work… its the foundation… on which a nation (X/ Y / Z) would be built….. I hope Pakistan which is a young nation., adopts new technology., and invests heavily in its School Education. There is huge corruption from Govt. servants., so it can involve NGOs in running Quality Schools.

    The moment Pakistan starts concentrating on its School Education., the process of RE-MAKING A MODERN Pakistan will begin. Until then., its mere talk shop., and chai-biscuit SEMINAR culture… while the ice melts…

  37. NSA

    See www dot khanacademy dot org.
    A labor of love.

  38. Kafir

    The blog quoted by the author say one thing that Prem Chand is a nice, lovable DHIMMI.

    “He greeted muslims with a warm Assalamo alaikum…he sent msgs of congratulations on shab barat and other holy days…..He used “Allah” hafiz to bid farewell…and he swore by this name…I hv been with him….He was more of a sufi who believed in all religions and the good things in them.”

    The blogger likes Prem because he pleased the ears and sense of pious Muslims.

    So blogger or his author has no love for secularism.

  39. tilsim1

    @ Kafir and others seeing fault in Prem Chand or those that spoke for Prem Chand in Pakistan

    When your common man start inviting Muslims to eat in his home and when your middle classes allow Muslims to live in their appartement complexes in Mumbai, please send us a post card.

  40. YLH

    I don’t like greeting people with Assalamualaikum …so it can’t be a question of my appreciation of Mr. Chand’s more loyal than the king attitude.

    All I am concerned about is a society that continues to bother more about afterlife- which in any event does not seem plausible- than material progress here and now in this world.

  41. Mahesh B.

    tilsim1,

    In my Apartment Complex nobody sells house to a person who eats egg be it Hindu, Muslims, etc. Same with Muslim Apartments Complexes they do not sell to a person who eats Pork.

    And for your information, mos of Non-Veg. Eating Hindus order from Muslim hotels if they have planned to eat Biryani, Kebabs, etc.

  42. Androidguy

    @Tislim1,

    “When your common man start inviting Muslims to eat in his home and when your middle classes allow Muslims to live in their appartement complexes in Mumbai, please send us a post card…”

    How many post cards do you need? I for one can send you 7. There are many like me. You made me chuckle. And it is people like you who implore the world not to paint all muslims with the same broad brush of extremism…funny.

  43. Androidguy

    @Mahesh B.,

    How would you know if someone in your apartment complex is or isn’t eating an egg? Talking of which, I am craving a double omelette right now, yumm!!

  44. tilsim1

    @ Android

    Well, please keep on sending those postards. We have to do something about this nastiness which paints members of another tribe as beasts.

    Could it possibly be that there is another explanation that Prem Chand had exceptionally good manners in that he greeted people on their own terms, that he acknowledged their festivities and holy days. This is the sort of tolerance that made him a great human being. He is a credit to his fellow Hindus. He is not an exception, my grandfather and father used to tell me about many like him in pre-partition India. I am sure the same holds true today.

    However what is very sinister is when people start attributing to and defining entire people or their religions in extremely negative ways.

    First of all, it’s very bad manners and then we have a riot.

  45. androidguy

    @Tislim1

    “…However what is very sinister is when people start attributing to and defining entire people or their religions in extremely negative ways…”

    Yes, and thats exactly what happens every friday….where?

  46. tilsim1

    Yes and it happens here too on PTH everyday.

  47. Androidguy

    Good one🙂

  48. tilsim1

    @ Android

    ‘No room for hate’ by David Gould

    Wrote in response to his daughter being killed in the London Bombings of 7 July 2005

    There is no room within my heart

    for revenge, fire or hate

    there is no room within my mind

    for any thoughts like these.

    I cannot find the words to say

    just how it is I feel

    but I know from deepest hurt

    I must forgiveness find.

    The hurt that’s been done to us

    cuts sore like a knife,

    but we must not, repay in kind

    what has been done to us.

    Instead we must try and find

    the way that is so hard,

    and reach out our loving hands

    to find some friendship now.

    There can be no more healing thing

    than opening wide our eyes

    and seeing that most other folk

    are really just like us.

  49. tilsim1

    From: APJ Abdul Kalam, The Life Tree
    (New Delhi:Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd.,2005, p. 15)

    Harmony

    Cranes and seagulls were wandering the sky,
    Sea waves laughing and teasing the shore.
    Musing my school days my mind leapt five decades,
    A small school in Rameshwaram town…

    Hindu or Muslim, mosque or temple,
    None of those divisions nagging the thinking;
    Ramanathan and I, weaving words together,
    Harmonious delight of Creator’s children.

    Suddenly a storm arrived unannounced.
    Turbaned and tweedy, known as new teacher,
    Asked us to sit away awkwardly from each other,
    My tears dripped; Ramanathan wept,

    Nor did we get the meaning of that separation.
    Sunbeams saw through the sorrowful mood,
    Silently lighting our tears into gems.
    Creator of all, aren’t You there?

    Who is this o­ne separates us here?
    Years rolled by…yet we remained friends,
    Sharing the sorrows and joys of yore.
    The socalled educated separate our souls,

    Sowing the seeds of discord and poison.
    They give not knowledge but hate and defeat;
    Tell others not to heed their unwanted advice,
    As the Almighty created all equal and free.

    From: APJ Abdul Kalam, The Life Tree
    (New Delhi:Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd.,2005, p. 15)

  50. harbir singh nain

    Rationalist here looks to be the flip side of the coin that has the “arab quislings” on one of its faces.

    Anyway, on topic I wish I could confidently say that there aren’t hindus who wouldn’t desecrate a dead muslim’s coffin. Communal sentiment runs deep in the subcontinent.

  51. tilsim1

    @ Harbir Singh

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Once we have shared purpose, much more is possible.

  52. NSA

    Wiki says:

    The word was used officially in this way, without derogatory connotations, during the Dutch and British colonial periods until the early twentieth century. It appears in many historical accounts by anthropologists, missionaries and other observers, as well as in academic writings. For example, the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford originally labeled many African artifacts as “Kaffir” in origin. The 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica made frequent use of the term, to the extent of having an article of that title.[7]

    Occasionally, the word was used to refer specifically to the Xhosa people, as in such inoffensive linguistic works as interpreter Bud’ Mbelle’s ‘Kafir Scholar’s Companion’, Kropf’s ‘Kaffir-English Dictionary’, J. Torrend’s ‘Outline of Xosa-Kafir Grammar’, and J. McLaren’s ‘Introductory Kaffir Grammar’, where a distinction was made between the ‘Kaffir’ Xhosa and the other Bantu tribes of Southern Africa; Bud’ Mbelle was himself a member of the Mfengu tribe, closely related to the Xhosa and Zulu people. More recent editions of both of these works have had their names sanitised by current standards, and the word ‘Kaffir’ has been replaced by the word ‘Xhosa’ wherever deemed necessary, especially in the case of the ‘Revised Kaffir Bible’ – a translation of the Bible into the Xhosa language.
    [edit] Apartheid-era South Africa

    During the 20th century, the word gradually took on negative connotations. By 1976, its use was actionable in court in South Africa. On a number of occasions the use of the term Kaffir led directly to violence or even death, as in the case of Almond Nofomela. While working as an undercover policeman during the early 1980s, Nofomela stabbed and killed a farmer after being allegedly called a kaffir.[8]

    The Afrikaans term Kaffir-boetie (English: Kafir brother) was also often used to describe a white person who fraternised with or sympathized with the cause of the black community.[9][10]

  53. Majumdar

    Well, I would rather not comment on this episode, painful and regrettable as it is. But Blunder is completely inappropritae in many respect. The creation of Pakistan helped Muslims of NW/NE India immensely- it created political and economic power for them (esp NW India) which wud never have been theirs in an United India. As Yasser Pai has commented in a different context on chowk, many folks who wud have been little more than peons to Hindoo officers have become reputed “intellectuals” in Pakistan. If not anything else NW IMs were spared becoming a part of the poverty-stricken hell hole that the Nehruvian Stalinist a-holes made India into.

    Regards

  54. NSA

    In his new column in dailytimes on Bangladesh, Mr. Hamdani missed this:

    “Bangladesh SC bans religious parties, upholds secularism
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    Press Trust of India Tags : Bangladesh, SC, 1979 Fifth Amendment Posted: Fri Jul 30 2010, 00:35 hrs Dhaka:
    Islamic
    The Supreme Court ruling sets the stage to ban religious parities like the country’s largest Islamist party like Jamaat-e-Islami.
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    Law and order ,peace… – By RAJAT KUMAR MOHINDRU .JALANDHAR CITY .PUNJAB Introspect yourself – By SuresshGod’s punishment – By SunilCongress terror – By Chandrakant MaratheDouble speak – By nikita singhHindu terror – By ABDULRAHMANHindu terror— – By romesh.sharma
    Sex ‘n Sena Hockey Sex scandalBJPIndo-Pak Talks: Relations Trap

    Islamist parties in Bangladesh face a ban from politics after the controversial 1979 Fifth Amendment was struck down by the Supreme Court in a landmark ruling that also paved the way for ensuring secularism as the “cornerstone” of the country’s constitution.

    Following the Appellate Division’s decision upholding the High Court’s landmark verdict that declared the Constitution’s 1979 Fifth Amendment illegal, restrictions on formation of organisations based on religion were restored.

    “Carrying out activities of any political party based on religion is now punishable offence under the Special Powers Act,” Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said. “Their activities are now punishable offence,” he said.

    Political parties and other organisations using religion as their guidelines now stand banned with cancellation of the Fifth Amendment to the constitution, he said. “

  55. libertarian

    When your common man start inviting Muslims to eat in his home and when your middle classes allow Muslims to live in their apartment complexes in Mumbai, please send us a post card.

    Tilsim1 – consider this that post card. You’re freaking clueless. My Dad (not Hindu or Muslim) lives in an apartment complex in Mumbai with 70% Muslim, and assorted Jain, Sikh, Christian and Hindu families. No, it’s not a shanty – each flat costs upwards of 1cr (INR not PKR). This is middle/upper-middle class in Mumbai. He and a Muslim buddy of his had a hard discussion about the Muslim biwi’s idea of not allowing their kids to celebrate Holi. My Dad’s point – what kind of crap are we teaching our kids? To his credit, the guy spoke to his wife and the kids were down coloring everyone’s faces like the other kids. My Dad also had to negotiate an agreement between the Muslims of the building who spill blood during Bakri-Id and the Jains who don’t even eat eggs.

    It may seem like another universe to you, but it’s every day for us. I listen to the song about Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chrishti in “Jodha Akbar” almost every day. I’ve seen more burkhas in my Dad’s building than I saw in Dubai. When my mother passed away, the old (Muslim – not that it matters) watchman from Azamgarh promised to look after my Dad. My wife’s from another minority – and neither of us is Hindu or Muslim. Our kids don’t know and don’t care what they are.

    Please don’t make an ass of yourself and behave like Pakistan invented Islam in 1947. I’m sure you know that Shafi and Hanafi schools of thought have deep roots in modern India. Ahmadiyyas are Muslim in India i.e. qualify for a Haj subsidy from the Indian Government. Deoband is in UP, not Pakjab. Islam has been in South India since the 7th century (as Christianity has since the 1st century). We’re proud of it and would not have it any other way.

  56. Chote Miya

    Libertarian,
    Thank you. No offense, but I would have preferred you listened to the Sufi song in Garam Hawa or the one in (old)Junoon. I bet HR has mauled the portrayal of Akbar in Jodha…

    “We’re proud of it and would not have it any other way.”
    May your tribe increase.

  57. YLH

    “I’ve seen more burkhas in my Dad’s building than I saw in Dubai.”

    I suspected as much. Now Majumdar’s comments make perfect sense.

    Ahmadis (I think Ahmadis number in only a few 10s of thousands in India) are considered Muslim in India only because India’s fine secular constitution does not force upon others definitions of its own making. However you should consult the status of Ahmadis from the Muslim Personal Law Board which has a semi-official status… or ask Darul uloom Deoband for a fatwa.

    “Deoband is in UP, not Pakjab”

    Yes. Something I have been trying to point out to people for a very long time to… but not quite from the angle you are🙂.

    Only recently Deoband declared Banking haram for Muslims. I wish to point out that Deoband is in India not Pakistan too.

  58. Tilsim

    @libertarian

    Are you misunderstanding my comment?

    My point for the illustration was that bigotry and communalism are alive and well in India – I chose to use the examples of Hindus in India. You have just given me an example of bigotry amongst muslims in India. Are you denying this exists?

    P.s I am very happy that you all get along in your apartment complex. I hope that one day, others, less fortunate do too. I hope that Indians can also get past their stereotypes of this country.

    The rest of your post, about Pakistan inventing Islam. I don’t know what that is about as I have not talked about that.

  59. Dastagir

    NSA : Thanks a ton. You made my day. I feel happy in a long time. I visited the website you suggested : http://www.khanacademy.org

    It truly is a labour of love. SALMAAN KHAN… what a guy. A hero. There are around 1100 brief lectures… covering Algebra., Trignometry, Math., to History…

    How it made me happy, NSA. I cannot convey the tingling and euphoria my nerves feel right now. Content Creation is True Wealth Creation and Conservation. I have known this. I have heard this in my home while growing up… but man is a selfish creature…

    The beautiful thing is that Salmaan has not concentrated tailor-made course for a particular Sylabbi / Curricula. Its about concept… and that is key. 2+2 make 4., be it ICGSE, CBSE, State Board, IB… and what not. The important thing is to understand the concept that 2+2 equal to 4.

    School Education… using the latest Edu-tools available… how to bring about the best cost-benefit analysis… is very close to my heart. It is the life of my life… because i know this is grass roots work. This intangible work., leads to tangible growth… visible to the naked eye.

    Ghalib had said once : that when spring comes, you cannot see the wind… but you can realise the reality… when you see grass blades moving in the direction !

    Thanks again… for introducing a truly rich guy, Salmaan… and for the fine content (1100 lectures) he put on the web for free.

    I think… content creation… for free… plus the Home School Model… (from our first cousins… i.e. the Israeli Model)… could lead to very fine results… in the field of education. The other day i was reading about kids being imparted technical education (plumbing, caprentry, welding, etc)… around age 15… in a school in Africa.

    Human instincts and inclinations are diverse. All students are NOT academically inclined. There has to be Universal Education (K-12)… and at age 17.. i think… a 2 year course in plumbing.. brick laying.. welding.. carpentry.. electrician.. etc… will make the boy employable at age 19. If even 19 is considered too late… it can be done at age 18. (K-10., and 3 yrs of professional training).. since economic sustainability of families are at risk., and “next meal” is the future.

    Porn sites are the most visited (world over).. because of the human urge and basic instincts.. which is a part of growing up.. and that curiosity.. is a natural thing. However, if the course material is attractively PRESENTED… i am sure… kids would visit those sites too. I hope against hope….in that positive direction… if not today.. someday.. they will. Academia and Studies are equally intoxicating.. as wine.. drugs.. and porn sites. We just have to fine-tune.. and change the direction of the compass… very slowly… very slowly.. to set the ship on course… “ACADEMIA”.

  60. libertarian

    Tilsim1: My point for the illustration was that bigotry and communalism are alive and well in India … Are you denying this exists?

    Of course not. It is alive and well. Your original request was “When your common man start inviting Muslims to eat in his home and when your middle classes allow Muslims to live in their appartement complexes in Mumbai, please send us a post card.”

    Happens all the time in the apartment complex I described. In fact the builder is a Muslim guy who made 200 cr on the project. So it’s the other way around. The Muslims guy allowed the non-Muslims to live in his building. Not sure how bigotry figures. Seemed to be all about the money.

    YLH: “Deoband is in UP, not Pakjab”
    Yes. Something I have been trying to point out to people for a very long time to… but not quite from the angle you are 🙂
    Only recently Deoband declared Banking haram for Muslims. I wish to point out that Deoband is in India not Pakistan too.

    It’s quirky that the virus India let loose is creating havoc in Pakistan but not in India, no? No one in India gives a rat’s butt about what they say. After some other ridiculous fatwa banning women from the workplace, there were several reports of (Indian) Muslim women complaining loudly and vowing not to follow it. They’re effectively relegated to Nutjob Central – where they belong. More importantly, they stay strictly out of politics because there is no viable political space for them, not even in UP or Bihar.

    The same idiots have real political power in Pakistan. The talk about them being marginal political players understates they’re king-making (and trouble-making) ability. Far from being shunted behind the madrassahs’ high walls, they have infected the body-politic. So the awe/terror/disgust they invoke when chatting with Pakistani friends is singularly absent when chatting with Indian friends.

    Chote Miya: No offense, but I would have preferred you listened to the Sufi song in Garam Hawa or the one in (old)Junoon.

    Will make it a point to check out. Thanks for the tip.

    I bet HR has mauled the portrayal of Akbar in Jodha

    HR == Hrithik Roshan?
    I kinda liked him. But then, I’m in awe enough of Akbar himself that Himesh Reshamiyya (HR too!) could have played him and I might still have enjoyed it🙂

  61. YLH

    Not quirky. You know the facts. Pakistan’s military establishment armed your virus.
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  62. nazir allahwalla (Fake Alias)

    EDITED FOR NONSENSE.

  63. Tilsim

    Specifically, I was specifically reacting to the people making the following comments:

    “How deep hate towards India runs in Pakistani society can be seen on the example of this pakistani Hindu Prem Chand. Even though a hindu he had to parrot this “India is our enemy” mantra to survive in Pakistan.”

    “The blog quoted by the author say one thing that Prem Chand is a nice, lovable DHIMMI. ”

    “The blogger likes Prem because he pleased the ears and sense of pious Muslims. ”

    I recall there were others too, perhaps they were deleted.

    These comments say: heads you lose, tails you lose. They are pure bile.

  64. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    Not quirky. You know the facts. Pakistan’s military establishment armed your virus.

    I have a feeling that the Indian establishment is keeping Deoband going for mischief. They produce the virus which RAW exports to Pakistan which are then mutated by ISI. It may be a giant Gandhooan conspiracy.

    Regards

  65. AA Khalid

    @ libertarian

    Although I would love to believe your anecdotes and tales of harmony, the sad fact is that the phenomenono Tilsim1 is talking about has been documented and shown to be widespread by journalists and invesitgators.

    Read this from the Channel 4 website from a documentary from Dispathces called the Indian Miracle? (the investigator is British Indian):

    The new India has a high-tech, highly-skilled economy. The country’s universities are churning out thousands of highly qualified science and computer graduates working in software, biotechnology and engineering firms in metropolitan India.

    But in rural India, where more than three-quarters of the population live, Guru-Murthy discovers the story could not be more different. He meets some of the thousands of widows of farmers who have committed suicide after being driven to despair by debt. More than seven hundred million people depend on farming to make a living but the cost of buying tractors, fertilisers and irrigation pumps for small farmers has left some in debt and with no way out.

    “I don’t know what we are going to eat now. When my father was alive – he used to provide for us. Now I don’t know what we will do,” says the 10-year-old son of a farmer from Punjab. His father killed himself by dousing himself in kerosene and setting himself alight. And as India’s economic boom powers ahead, farmers’ land on the edge of the expanding metropolises is being seized to make way for yet more factories. Unskilled farmers are finding themselves without land and without a hope of working in the new factories in what’s becoming a hidden disaster of epic proportions

    MS Swaminathan, the founder of India’s original green revolution in the 1960’s fears a different kind of revolution if the problems of rural India are not tackled. “Any society which transgresses from the principle of social equity beyond a point then you have an explosive situation,” says Swaminathan. “If you want a country of 500 million landless labourers – then the country will be completely ruined. It will be social chaos of unimaginable dimensions.”

    In Mumbai, India’s financial capital, Guru-Murthy investigates the renewed support for Hindu nationalism which many argue is resulting in widespread discrimination against India’s 150 million-strong Muslim minority. He finds discrimination is excluding Muslims from the new prosperity as they struggle to find employment and buy property. Going undercover in one housing complex in Mumbai, Guru-Murthy is told by security guards that Muslims are not allowed to buy or rent property there. “I feel insulted. I feel humiliated”, says Muslim businessman Salim who has spent the last four years being refused the opportunity to buy property in the complex.

    In Delhi, the country’s capital, Guru-Murthy examines the way in which Indian society also discriminates against huge swathes of the majority Hindu population via the caste system. The Indian government is supposedly trying to tackle this age-old social stratification system which defines the jobs people do through a programme of affirmative action policies in education and employment. The notion of ‘untouchability’ – which defines those at the bottom of the caste system who carry out the most menial jobs and have no physical contact with upper-caste Hindus – was meant to be banned 60 years ago.

    But Guru-Murthy discovers that the caste system is still alive and well and forces those at the bottom of the ladder, dalits, to do jobs like clearing up human excrement. Satish Kumar belongs to the low caste Valmiki community, his job is to clean sewers and toilets, he says: “When my children ask me why I do this and tell me it is dirty, I tell them I do it to feed them. If I don’t they will die of hunger.”

    India’s economy is powering ahead, growing at an incredible nine per-cent a year. But Guru-Murthy argues it is merely widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The ultra rich are now able to live behind electrified fences in entire self-contained cities away from the degradation, poverty and despair of the rest of India.

    QUOTE ENDED

    Type this in google and see the documentary for yourself.

    Now do I go on documented evidence or hearsay? I stick with the documented evidence thank you very much.

  66. libertarian

    A A Khalid: Although I would love to believe your anecdotes and tales of harmony …

    Seems you’ve fallen into the intellectual trap of being a “protector” or “voice” for Indian Muslims as your sworn duty of being Pakistani (Muslim?). Well, I have news for you. Indian Muslims are quite capable of fighting their own battles. Those are battles internal to India, just as Prem Chand is a purely Pakistani issue. Your concern for Indian Muslims is appreciated but is not necessary.

    Guru-Murthy investigates the renewed support for Hindu nationalism which many argue is resulting in widespread discrimination against India’s 150 million-strong Muslim minority …

    Gurumurthy’s observations are hard to fault. Yes, there is discrimination against Muslims. No denying it. That’s why a disproportionate number opt for businesses of their own. The burning question is why Muslims are the only minority that trails the mean and the Hindu majority in all human development indicators. Every other minority exceeds the mean, some by large numbers. Clearly the Indian state and Indian society has not kept it’s other minorities back. They’ve found ways around discriminatory practices when they do exist. Why then is the Muslim experience so sub-par? I do not have good answers. But it’s something India and Indians need to figure out as a priority.

  67. Sher Zaman

    Secularism is the only solution for this country or perhaps a great reformation; there is no other solution to the problem of fanaticism that has been purposely given air in this country. SZ

  68. Tilsim

    @ libertarian
    “Indian Muslims are quite capable of fighting their own battles. Those are battles internal to India, just as Prem Chand is a purely Pakistani issue. Your concern for Indian Muslims is appreciated but is not necessary.”

    Fine. Will you please also address these views to your fellow countrymen who post here or do they deserve a different standard?

  69. AA Khalid

    Libetarian:

    I do not have pretensions of being a protector of anyone, I am merely pointing out empirical studies and facts on the ground as documented by journalists. Also I read many pieces and articles detailing the plight of other minorities in India, (but this is a trend across the developing world, so no surprises there). Other minorities in India suffer aswell unfortunately which runs counter to India’s constitutional commitements.

    But I agree one has to take these issues seriously and make them a priority.

  70. Yasir Qadeer

    The labeling of the coffin with such remarks was indeed a huge blunder. The authorities must take notice of this and apprehend the people responsible. This should be an act of solitary with the family of the deceased and all the minority factions.

  71. Voldemort

    AA Khalid

    {{Also I read many pieces and articles detailing the plight of other minorities in India, (but this is a trend across the developing world, so no surprises there). Other minorities in India suffer aswell unfortunately which runs counter to India’s constitutional commitements.}}

    Khalid mian, this is not confined to minorities alone. Many from the majority Hindu community are also suffering from the same plight. Sometimes minorities have it better, because they are protected and encouraged by government schemes that aim to uplift minorities. These schemes unfortunately are not available for the poor among Hindus because they are a “majority”. So it is a complex problem. There is discrimination, no doubt about it; but it is at a societal level. The government absolutely does not discriminate and in fact, favours minorities. That has been the gripe of right-wing Hindu parties. So please don’t reduce it to simple black and white logic.

  72. Tilsim

    @ Voldemort
    “The government absolutely does not discriminate and in fact, favours minorities. ”

    Fair enough. Under which law in Mumbai can a Hindu take action against a Muslim landlord or tenants association of an apartment block who discriminates against him? The landlord or tenants association prevent a Hindu buying property based on the fact that he won’t even eat eggs or that they celebrate Holi -which may corrupt the kids’ faith.

    If the laws are there, are successful prosecutions taking place?

  73. Prasad

    Tilsim : You are plain stupid in your comments. I find this very warped between people of both sides of the border who have very strong views since they are either very good or/very bad in history. Completely warped and nonsense

    To clarify your post, In India, we dont have laws made on the basis of religion for everything like lets say a hindu tenancy law or a muslim tenancy law. If I am not mistaken, there are laws for inheriting property specifically on basis of religion. Not sure about Pakistan and hence I am a bit amused if your q’s (right from your post card thread) are for serious reading or/ just flimsy arguement

    The article above speaks of problems that Pakistani society faces in accomodating the minority groups overall within their fold. I dont think any one in Mangalore wrote any nonsense on the coffins when many innocent muslim lives were lost in the Mangalore crash recently. The objective is to understand WHAT HAS GONE WRONG IN YOUR SOCIETY AND WHY? you should seriously debate within on the increasing levels of intolerance that is getting highly dangerous by the year for your nation and world in general

    Including India in the discussions pertaining this article is diluting the very spirit with which it was written and the message YLH meant to carry to your youth.

    If you and other pakistani youth want to discuss about INDIA including the disparity in wealth ( between urban / rural), lack of rented flats for muslims in Mumbai, slums in mumbai, Mahatma’s dubious policies in Indian independence, Aurangzeb Alamgirs reign etc, you may want to initiate a seperate article

  74. rationalist

    The idea that all human beings are equal and equal-valued is the root cause of many troubles. It forces hypocrisy.

    Hindus regard muslims as unclean and muslims regard hindus as palid. Each has reason for it. Let it be. Why try to equalize humans?

    That Deoband is in India shows the evil that islam brought into India and poor India has to take blame for it. Deoband may be physically-geographically in India, but its spirit is from Arabia. Imagine how pakistanis would shriek if India had tried or tries to shut down Deoband.

    Islam is the ill-luck of the indian subcontinent. It will destroy till quislings of arab imperialism and backwardness and book-centred fascism take over by hook or crook.

  75. androidguy

    @Tilsim1,

    A quick search on google turned up this:

    “Under laws governing the western Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, housing societies cannot discriminate unless the building is built by a charitable trust.
    However, A Supreme Court judgement in 2005 upheld the right of co- operative societies to restrict membership to their community has institutionalized insularity.

    So its neither black or white. Indians are instinctively clan based, especially the western Indians (Gujaratis, Marwardis, Jains) & some Tamil Brahmins). So as many have mentioned, even Hindus of different castes may find it tough to get an apartment if it is governed by co-op societies having strict rules regarding ethnicity or religion.

    In day to day life, there is no bias against muslims as such. Its a bias against anybody not of your caste/community, though that is starting to diminish, especially in urban India. And amongst the middle classes, I don’t think there is any discrimination against muslims (though middle class muslims are not as much as they should be). Thats my take, having lived 26 years in that country.

  76. androidguy

    @rationalist,

    Islam is a fact of life. Get used to it.

  77. A country that does not treat its children, women and minorities can head nowhere other than ….

    pakistan’s women and minorities will have to fight their own battles,

    The mullah’ and hate mongers should be wiped, like these women did,

    They’re not burning bras, or burqas. But a bunch of non-conformist Muslim women activists are making an attempt to free the sorority from the clutches of a patriarchial clergy.

    Last week, Lucknow-based feminist Shaista Ambar was on television again. This time she was siding with the three daughters-in-law – Nishat, Hina and Arshi – who had beaten up some maulvis at Sultanul Madaris, the city’s famous Shia madrassa which also houses a Sharia court. The maulvis had given talaqnamas (divorce documents) to the women’s husbands without consulting them when they tried to get justice against the advances of their father-in-law.

    Incensed, Ambar batted for the brave women whom the clergy predictably attacked for taking the law into their hands. “The maulvis should have spoken to the women before they wrote the talaqnama. The patriarchal, misogynist clergy will have to mend its ways or women know how to avenge injustice,” Ambar told TOI-Crest in between giving interviews to news channels.

    Ambar belongs to a small but increasingly influential group of Islamic feminists in India. They may not be as powerful as the senior maulvis who head leading Islamic seminaries or run Muslim Personal Law Boards and Sharia courts, both Shia and Sunni. But this band of non-conformist women is silently and successfully ushering in change.

    They may not equal the audacity of the bra-burning feminists of several decades ago, but they’ve hit hard at the patriarchal and misogynist elements in Muslim society. And their guiding sources are the Quran and Hadith (the Prophet’s traditions). Ambar, who founded the Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board in 2005, saved the marriages of hundreds of Muslim couples in Muradabad (UP) village a couple of years ago.

    A maulvi belonging to the Deobandi sect had led the namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayer) of a man from the Barelvi sect. Calling it a sin, another maulvi of the sect issued a fatwa that all those who had attended the funeral prayer under the imamat (leadership) of the Deobandi imam needed to remarry, as their wives had become haram (illegal) for them. “This diktat threatened not just to throw the marital lives of several dozen Muslims into disarray, but also inflame a sectarian strife in western UP,” says Ambar, who quelled the crisis by opposing the fatwa. She cited the example of holy mosques in Mecca and Medina where lakhs worship behind Deobandi imams. Ambar was also among those who opposed the recent Darul Uloom fatwa that called women’s earnings illegal. India’s Islamic feminists are bucking trends courageously and cannily.

    In August 2008, Planning Commission member Sayeda Hameed created history by becoming the first woman qazi when she solemnised a nikah ceremony in Lucknow – that of activist Naesh Hasan and PhD scholar Imran Naeem. “Naesh told me that she would remain unmarried if I didn’t act as the qazi. I had to give in to her demands,” recalls Hameed, who drew flak from a section of clerics who said there was no precedent of a woman acting as a qazi. “I asked them to show me a verse in the Quran or a Hadith which prevented a woman from becoming a qazi. If it was not forbidden by Allah and His Prophet, who were the maulvis to oppose it?” she asks. After they couldn’t come out with a convincing reason, some maulvis spread the lie that Hameed had not covered her head while she chanted Quranic verses during the nikah. This was a lie, claims Hameed, fabricated to malign her.

    The Islamic feminist movement is not confined to occasional acts of rebellion by contrarian “progressives” . There are some feminists who are respected by even senior clerics and regularly invited to their meetings. Mumbaibased Uzma Naheed is one such. Coming from the family of the clerics that founded the famous Darul Uloom Deoband (UP) in the mid-18th century, Naheed is a member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIIMPLB) and heads Iqra International Women Alliance (IIWA), an NGO committed to empowering Muslim women. A few yeas ago, she drafted a model nikahnama which had, among other provisions, a right to talaq-e-tafweez (delegated talaq) which allowed women a right to put certain conditions in the nikahnma. If the husband failed to meet those conditions – like not taking another wife till the first wife was alive – the woman could divorce him. Many members privately appreciated Naheed’s revolutionary nikahnama, but are yet to implement it.

    Unlike most Muslim women who are expected to remain veiled when they meet strangers, Naheed doesn’t use a face veil, though she covers her head with a scarf.

    “Initially, some ulema were uncomfortable with my being unveiled. Now they have accepted me,” she says.

    Another feminist is Zeenat Shaukat Ali, who teaches Islamic Studies at Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College and has made “freeing Muslim women from the clutches of the clergy” her life’s mission. Thirteen years ago, Ali created a stir among educated Muslims with her critically acclaimed book Marriage and Divorce in Islam (1997). “The book’s main argument is that since Allah made male and female as complementary to each other, there is no reason to treat women as inferior to men,” says Ali, who adds that her feminism is not about male-bashing , but about sharing space with them.

    The academic has organised several multi-faith programmes, including a cricket match featuring maulvis, Hindu pandits, Christian, Zoroastrian and Sikh priests as players. Her Art for Peace project had similar multireligious participation where the participants were asked to paint on a theme of peace. “Many of the maulvis had never picked up a brush before,” she recalls.

    Fiery woman activist Daud Sharifa’s aim is to build a mosque exclusively for women. Since mosques are binding forces for practising Muslims, there has been a movement to allow women to worship there, and a few mosques in India, like the Tajul Madaris in Bhopal, do allow women worshippers, though segregated by a wall or a curtain. But an exclusive mosque for women was unheard of in India till Sharifa took up the issue a few years ago.

    Having seen the discrimination against Muslim women at the hands of the local jamaat in Tamil Nadu, Sharifa launched a movement for women’s empowerment not financially but spiritually too. She is building India’s first mosque exclusively for women in Pudukkottai, around 300 km from Chennai. “It will serve not just as a place of worship but even as a cultural centre where women can air their views and discuss their problems,” explains Sharifa whom the local maulvis vehemently opposed, but failed to stop.

    This bunch of Islamic feminists is fighting for a better future for sisters in distress. Ask the three women in Lucknow who, after bashing up the corrupt maulvis, found Shaista Ambar as a shield against the threats, both verbal and physical.

    Spreading wings: Islamic feminism is a decade and a half old. In the 1990s Iranian, Egyptian, Turkish, Moroccan, South African, American, feminists and religious scholars, among others, found they were all simultaneously working on reinterpretations of women’s rights under Islam. It is now well on its way to becoming a robust international movement with more and more women pushing for a progressive Islamic discourse to promote gender equality.

  78. libertarian

    Tilsim: Fine. Will you please also address these views to your fellow countrymen who post here or do they deserve a different standard?

    The Indians who post here are a *tiny* minority who (yours truly included) likely have an unhealthy obsession with Pakistan. We should be held to the same standard. If I interfere in what you consider a purely Pakistani issue, please feel free to shut me up. I cannot presume to speak for other Indians – our bumbling government does that🙂 .

    YLH: squeeze the political space of the mullahs by filling it up with other alternatives – the left is MIA in Pakistan. Surely the Bhuttos were not the last example of a movement that captured the popular imagination. “Build it and they will come”.
    On a related note, India could have politically folded Kashmir in by filling it with decent political alternatives instead of backing one-party (Abdullah) rule and leaving the door wide open for the Hurriyat (so said Rajeev Gandhi).

  79. AA Khalid

    ”: squeeze the political space of the mullahs ”

    With what? By talking in secular terms? The mullahs keep on laughing if you use ”secular language and theory” ( I use secularism in this context as the psychological variety, where it refers to a person’s world view and belief system, not political secularism or objective secularism which entails the separation of religion and the State which I value), because that does not threaten his terrain.

    The thing which threatens the mullah’s terrain is offering an alternative religious discourse, and in this context liberals in Pakistan have utterly failed in every sense of the word. They have abandoned the religious discourse to bigots, fanatics and the illiterate who manipulate religious teaching.

    Burke said:

    ”All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”

    In Pakistan the story of the religious discourse is summed up in this apt quote. The impoverished and appaling nature of religious discourse in Pakistan is because there is a monopoly over religious discourse in Pakistan held by the conservatives and radicals which goes unchallenged.

    No one challenges the mullah on their terms and defeats their arguments. Many think they are being clever by adopting ”secular theory and language” , when really that’s just nonsense. Its like speaking Swahili in the middle of Paris and expect people to understand.

    A great Muslim reformer once said: ”To seek secular answers is simply to abandon the field to the fundamentalists”. This continues to happen in Pakistan and in other parts of the Muslim World.

    The mullah will keep laughing on and still be able to exert influence so long as the terrain of religious discourse in Pakistan is being wilfully neglected by more progressive and liberal forces.

  80. Tilsim

    @ Prasad
    “The government absolutely does not discriminate and in fact, favours minorities. ”

    Thank you. I have been called stupid, freakin’ clueless. It would be good to have a discussion without such comments.

    Your premise would be fine but there are many Indians posting here and telling us how it’s different in India at government level (better). We certainly look to India’s situation for our laws so perhaps we can learn something.

    My question is (to anyone who is able to answer), what religious anti-discrimination laws do you have in place in Maharashtra. Is it possible to take someone to court if that person discriminates based on religion and prevents one from buying an apartment?

  81. Tilsim

    @ Android

    I apologise, I missed your post. Thank you for shedding some more light on the matter.

  82. libertarian

    @A A Khalid: I don’t think you want to challenge the mullahs to a religious discourse. It’s no-win for you. My suggestion was to limit the political space available to them. These guys have no business getting elected at any level of government. One way is for credible people like you to espouse a left-leaning agenda, much the way Bhutto did (except without the emperor mind-set). A grass-roots movement. This blog is a great place to start. Promote it vigorously. In time, your opinion will be widely quoted, and will shape public opinion. Use 21st century tools to bludgeon that regressive 17 century mindset.

    @Tilsim: My question is (to anyone who is able to answer), what religious anti-discrimination laws do you have in place in Maharashtra.

    In buying real estate, can’t think of any. But in a private transaction, there should not be laws stipulating who you can do business with. For instance my Bohra buddy complained that his building had 2 Khoja families and they messed things up! Marwaris and Christians also have their little (fairly high-priced) ghettos. But Mumbai has 20M people. Most folks don’t have the luxury of dictating who their neighbor is – the way it should be. No need for over-reaching silly laws that are then misused.

  83. lal

    @tislim
    i cant xactly talk about mumbai…u r probably talking about all d high profile bolly wood dramas…with due respect to the bhat family,anything involving bollywood shud be taken with a pinch of salt.u may b knowing abt d sharukh episode b4 d release of mnik.

    but some sort of favouritism towards there own group exists in all sections of society.how far u want to take it as anti muslim per se is ur choice…if u read through certain rental advertisements in chennai,dey vl have ‘only vegetarians need apply’…it is a hidden message for non brahmins to f@#k off…

    but it vl be hard to prove it as discrimination based on caste…der r multiple court pronouncemnts regarding a private club can choose its own members based on there criteria as long as it is nt discriminatory

  84. AA Khalid

    @ Libertarian

    The religious parties have never had great electoral success, any gains they make are meagre and they are forever damned to the fringes for promoting such claptrap.

    The issue is with this ”religious space” within the public sphere which seems to be the exclusive preserve of reactionaries, demagogues and radicals. That has to change, and that change must come from engaging in offering an alternative religious discourse.

  85. Hayyer

    lal:

    I thought you were capable of transcribing speech into normal English. Is this lapse into patois episodic, depending upon the hour after sunset, or is it mood induced? Just curious.

  86. Girish

    Tilsim,

    Most of the laws against discrimination relate to discrimination by the state or by institutions that receive any state support. Article 15(2) specifically prohibits discrimination in terms of access to “shops, restaurants, hotels and other public places of entertainment” by private citizens, but home ownership and rental apartments don’t fall within any of these classes. Thus, any prevention of discrimination in terms of purchase and rent of homes/apartments is left to the state-level laws.

    In Mumbai, there are two laws that are of direct relevance to the issue. The Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960 regulates cooperative housing societies (that constitute a majority of the homes in Mumbai). The law prevents discrimination against arbitrariness in membership, i.e. nobody who is otherwise eligible for membership as per the bye-laws of the society can be denied membership. I am not sure if there is anything in the law books that prevents a society from having a discriminatory set of bye-laws, e.g. would the registrar of societies register the bye-laws of a Cooperative Housing society that says that membership is only open to Christians? I don’t know.

    The other law is the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, which regulates rental property. This does not, to my knowledge, have an explicit clause against discrimination, but does require due process.

    Laws that explicitly criminalize discrimination would be a first step, but would not be a guarantee against discrimination by private citizens. The fragmented nature of the housing market makes it very difficult to enforce such a law. Proving discrimination would be difficult to impossible when there is not much of a written record in these matters. Thus, laws need to be supplemented with education and awareness building. And in public housing, desegregation needs to be promoted vigorously. In Mumbai, there are massive slum rehabilitation projects underway, that aim to move people from slums into high rise apartment buildings. There is a big opportunity to promote a Singapore-style mixing of people of different communities in these housing developments.

    BTW, Mumbai is actually not too segregated. There are areas that can be identified with specific communities (e.g. Bhiwandi with Muslims, Dadar with Marathi-speaking people, Matunga/Chembur with Tamil speakers and so on), but that is true in most cities across the world and not necessarily unhealthy. Segregation is lower still the lower one goes down the income/class ladder, due to the economic realities of the housing market. There are other parts of India, e.g. Gujarat, where segregation is quite real, with every incident of violence/communal riots increasing the degree to which communities live in separate neighborhoods due to higher perceived security of living with one’s own community. Promoting desegregation is a higher priority in these places.

  87. Girish

    Erratum: Article 15(2) of the Constitution.

  88. lal

    @hayyer
    k u gt m n dat🙂

  89. Tilsim

    @ all those who helped shed light on the laws

    Thank you very much for your interest and explanations. Specially Girish.

    My impression is that if discrimination for an individual citizen is to be reduced, it seems a strengthening of the laws could be an important option. However, I respect that India is not the US or the UK and different social realities apply which perhaps need to be dealt with by greater awareness.

    Tonight in Karachi there is more violence. Nobody will be going to work tomorrow. An MQM, Sindh MP has been assassinated and sectarian and ethnic strife has escalated in the wake of the killing (although it was summering along for months). It’s good to see that Mumbai is not suffering from this level violence which is a direct result of bigotry.

    Karachi is the younger sister of Mumbai in some respect (no equivalence implied!) so in the ideal world, both the City administrations could learn from each others’ experiences to improve their governance.

  90. Kafir

    Tilsim,

    It’s not same-same between India and Pakistan. You saying that let Muslims eat and live in your houses then send a post card.

    That’s plain ignorance. You go and see by yourself in Mumbai if what’s said in your media is true. Those who say this (eating, living together) are ignorant of Indian peoples whether it’s Hindus or Muslims.

    The new Indian Hindus are getting love for pork nowadays. Please tell me if Muslims lend house to those pork eating Hindus, Christians or North-eastern tribals. If they do then please send me a post card.

    Caste X dont prefer to lend house to caste Y but X prefers variants of X ie X1, X2 or X3 even if caste X and caste Y belong to Hindu religion.

    In Mumbai ther are more than 30 lakh Muslims. Tell me if they are living without any normal social interaction with other Indians, be they Hindus, jains, parsis, Christians or Bahais.

    Most of the Pakistanis here are ignorant abt India.

  91. lal

    @ girish
    “”I am not sure if there is anything in the law books that prevents a society from having a discriminatory set of bye-laws, e.g. would the registrar of societies register the bye-laws of a Cooperative Housing society that says that membership is only open to Christians?”‘

    Kindly go through indiankanoon dot org doc 713373 or google ‘ zoroastrian CO-OPERATIVE HOUSING SOCIETY LIMITED VS District Registrar Co-operative Societies ,supreme court judjement in 2005.

    Briefly, Zorastrian co-operative society in its bylaw, holds that transaction of houses under it can only be done between members of Parsi community.When this was challenged before Registrar of Co-operative Societies, it took the view in an interim order that the bye-law restricting membership to Parsis was a restriction on the right to property and the right to alienate property and, therefore, was invalid in terms of Article 300A of the Constitution of India.Later this was upheld by the Gujarath high court.

    When the case was appealed in supreme court , Soli J. Sorabjee, contended that under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution of India, Parsis had a fundament right of forming an association and that fundamental right cannot be infringed by thrusting upon the association, members whom it does not want to admit or against the terms of its bye- laws.

    Can you please go through the above site for the crux of the argument and other similar cases.It also gives the detailed judgement.The judjges contended that “Thus, it is settled law that no citizen has a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(c) to become a member of a Cooperative Society. His right is governed by the provisions of the statute. So, the right to become or to continue being a member of the society is a statutory right. On FULFILLMENT OF QUALIFICATIONS prescribed to become a member and for being a member of the society and on admission, he becomes a member. His being a member of the society is SUBJECT to the operation of the Act, RULES AND BYELAWS applicable from time to time.

  92. Girish

    Thanks, lal. As per this judgement, it is lawful for a society to restrict membership on the basis of community and if the society has such a bye-law, people of other communities don’t automatically have a right to membership. The court essentially says that it may be desirable to prevent such bye-laws, but then the laws would need to be amended to make such prevention possible. Before this judgement, there were other judgements by the Gujarat, Maharashtra and MP High Courts that had ruled that such bye-laws were unlawful as they were repugnant to the Constitutional scheme of things. But the Supreme Court judgement obviously takes precedence.

    Nothing, however, prevents states from enacting new laws or amending existing laws to prevent such bye laws from being legal. I don’t believe such bye laws are widespread though and yet the practice can be quite widespread, indicating that the solution does not lie in enacting laws alone.

  93. Tilsim

    @ AA Khalid

    I agree that leaving religious discourse and education to the Mullah is the failing of all Muslims and it is producing disastrous results.

    Question is how best to address this in an effective manner. Perhaps a topic for a different thread.

  94. Tilsim

    @ Kafir

    Do you think this social segregation around caste lines or religious lines is an acceptable reality – even if it’s just in the context of apartment blocks and the foods that people consume?

    Do you think like untouchability, this issue may pass with time as attitudes change – after all some Hindus have started to eat Pork?

    Please read my earlier comment as to what prompted me to make the comment that I made. I was pointing to bigotry which unfortunately no nation is immune from including India. We see the violent effect of this in Pakistan…we have created our own tribal rivalries even though we are 90% from one religion.

    You called me ignorant. Do you think those comments that I refer to from some Indian bloggers posting here are acceptable?

  95. Tilsim

    And yes, there is no same-same between India and Pakistan at the moment (in my view), the situation in Pakistan is many orders of magnitude worse in some important aspects. I think many Pakistani are disabused of that illusion even though they may have not visited India.

    However, we are same-same too. The land of India was divided into three nations. We also are a part of this great sub-continent. I am proud of that and I naturally have empathy for the people of these nations. That is why I am interested in learning more, breaking down the physical and mental barriers between us. My focus first and foremost is fellow Pakistanis. However, this forum gives me a chance to interact with Indians and the occasional Bangladeshi which is an added privilege.

  96. Bade Miya

    Ylh,
    “Muslim in India only because India’s fine secular constitution does not force upon others definitions of its own making. ”

    True, and one can also say that it has remained a fine document because of its people.
    After all, two men claimed to have drawn inspiration from the same book. One wins a Nobel Prize and the other blows himself up.

  97. Bade Miya

    Btw,
    Moderators, could you please check why my comments are not posted due to which I have to keep switching between different flavors of Miya Ji. I doubt anyone can find anything abusive in my posts.

  98. YLH

    Well said bade miyan… And the one who wins Nobel Prize after being inspired from the Quran is declared non-Muslim by his country.

    That is why A A Khalid’s project is doomed to failure.

  99. Bade Miya

    I think the moderators would do well to post some links to where contributions can be sent for the flood relief. It sounds rather surreal to debate these issues right now.

    Thanks.

  100. AA Khalid

    ”’That is why A A Khalid’s project is doomed to failure.”’

    Excuse my YLH I can talk for myself, I do not need any other individual to do so unless of course I hire a lawyer…

    In no way shape or form have I ever said that minorities or citizens who have dissenting theological or existential views should be discriminated against. Before our convictions and creeds, we have rights and the notion of honour is bestowed on all human beings by God (Q 17 70).

    YLH you can ignore the ulema and ignore the mullahs, you can keep allowing them to maintain their ”religious constituency”, by giving secular answers to quintessentially secular problems, and you know what the mullah will laugh at you (wrong because what you say is right, but its the way and approach of what you say). Using militancy ( you have advocated militant secularism in the past which seems very ominous) is not the answer, since that solves nothing at all.

    If one can argue for liberty, rights, pluralism and tolerance using religious arguments in a religious society the chances for fruitful transformation are greater. What prevents you YLH is your belief that religion is essentially ( I will not use the word evil, that is too strong) counter productive, which is fine since religious belief has to be an examined and wilful conviction free from coercion and intimidation.

    If I use religious arguments in a very much agnostic society such as France for instance I must be high on drugs, since there is little chance for me to have any real effect on the public discussion, in that case my project is doomed to fail in every sense of the world.

    As a participant in public debate, and YLH as part of a minority viewpoint (let’s face it liberalism/secularism/modernism/reformism are all minority viewpoints in Pakistan), we cannot hope to completely change the parameters of the social and civic discussion, (many have tried in the last 60-65 years, the end result is that the public sphere is dominated by mullahs and acidic ulema with no one to challenge them on the religious terms).

    Why is it that the radicals and conservatives dominate the religious discourse in Pakistan? Why is it that radicals and conservatives dominate the public sphere in Pakistan? Why? Because there is no opposition to such thinking at all, they are allowed a free ride….

    By abandoning the religious discourse and the associative influence of moral/religious language what is the real influence of liberal thought today in Pakistan? Very dismal one has to brutally and honestly say, why? Why for so long, its been so many decades has liberal thought still not taken root in Pakistan?

    If we were in France we would discuss topics using secular language and theory and that is good we should do that, however in religious societies (see the Gallup Poll YLH for the sentiments of the Pakistani people, rather than trying to image a reality which does not exist), there is a different approach. This is not relativism, its using different methods to approach the same values and same objectives of liberties, rights and pluralism.

  101. AA Khalid

    sorry:

    ”quintessentially secular problems”

    read ”religious” instead of ”secular”.

  102. Hayyer

    A A Khalid:

    “By abandoning the religious discourse and the associative influence of moral/religious language what is the real influence of liberal thought today in Pakistan? Very dismal one has to brutally and honestly say, why? Why for so long, its been so many decades has liberal thought still not taken root in Pakistan?”

    A deep question; why hasn’t it? Why has it taken root in the valley of Kashmir?

    “If we were in France we would discuss topics using secular language and theory and that is good we should do that, however in religious societies (see the Gallup Poll YLH for the sentiments of the Pakistani people, rather than trying to image a reality which does not exist), there is a different approach. This is not relativism, its using different methods to approach the same values and same objectives of liberties, rights and pluralism.”

    I am afraid it is relativism, nothing else. Do you think that Hindu society is not religious, even to I dare say, an insane degree. It took guts for Nehru to push through the secular laws as they affected Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. I get the feeling that those secular Pakistanis who want a political discourse that includes Islam are somewhat like Vallabhai Patel and Rajendra Prasad; rationalizing their own prejudices.

  103. Tilsim

    @ Hayyer

    I am afraid AA Khalid is closer to the reality.

    In pakistan if you are a religious liberal and in the public’s eye your life is under mortal threat. There are many examples of exiles/ murders. Such is the state of affairs around dogma. I don’t think Vallabhai Patel analogy works here. Times are also different. Religious liberal leaders are the most obvious challenge to the Mullah’s monopoly over the religion. There are only a few of these brave souls unfortunately but they are beginning to get a share of the voice.

    Hard secularism gets challenged less by the mullah – everyone just ignores you and thinks you are an eccentric/ idiot. You might get killed for being thought of as a Western agent more than a threat to the order. There are very very few hard secularists in the public domain.

  104. AA Khalid

    ”I am afraid it is relativism, nothing else. ”

    I am afraid then if you think there is only path to liberty then you are unfortunately narrow minded (that’s not a value judgement of your character) in this respect.

    No one is relativising anything, all that is being said is this we cherish the values of liberties, rights and pluralism but in order to justify these, support these noble ideas, let them take root and grow we must tackle the conservatie and regressive monopoly on religious discourse, and Pakistani liberals/secularists/modernists (whatever nomenclature you may wish to use) have utterly failed in this regard.

    I am not trying to argue for some cultural and religious exceptionalism. I am arguing that to establish liberty and human rights we must talk to our societies not only in rational terms but also moral and religious terms and concepts.

    Every society has a tradition and a sense of community which needs to be engaged in order to introduce new ideas. The communitarian critiques of MacIntyre, Micheal Sandel and Charles Taylor is illuminating that the concept of the individual in classical liberal thought is too atomistic isolating the individual from the community and tradition at large.

  105. PMA

    AA Khalid (August 4, 2010 at 12:39 am):

    “Every society has a tradition and a sense of community which needs to be engaged in order to introduce new ideas.”

    Your efforts may bear fruit.

  106. Hayyer

    If it is not exceptionalism what is it? I mention Kashmir for a reason. Muslims constitute over 95% of its population (including the displaced Pandits). The Mullahs do not dictate the political discourse because secular Kashmiri politicians, even the pro azadi ones never gave them control. There is no call for Shariah in Kashmir.
    The JKLF ran a mostly secular movement (except to the extent that it connived at the expulsion of Pandits, which is a different story). It was the ISI that funded the Jamaat e Islaami group of the HM to wipe out JKLF cadres and then introduced other fundamentalist groups like the HUM and LeT .
    The communal virus in Pakistan is not inherent but injected forcibly. If secular folk in Pakistan seek to arrive at a modus vivendi with the Mullah they are bound to fail. I mentioned the fate of Ghamdi in an earlier post on another thread.
    Political leaders may hope that communicating with their voters in an Islamic idiom can moderate the extremist outlook. They are going to fail. Kashmiris are no less religious than Pakistanis but they keep the religious discourse far away.

  107. AA Khalid

    @ Hayyer

    Its not exceptionalism. The great secular political theorists Richard Rorty, and Micheal Ignatieff have rightly said that there should no real metaphyiscal and religious arguments for concepts such as liberty and rights in European societies because there can be little chance of consensus and little chance of such a move having a transformative effect. In the words of Richard Rorty, ”Religion is a conversation stopper”. This is very true for European societies.

    However, what other intellectual route can you suggest which will convince Muslims (who take their faith seriously) at large about the virtues of human rights, liberties and pluralism? What other intellectually honest route is left? In Muslim societies not talking about religion is a conversation stopper. We need to keep the conversation and dialogue on rights, pluralism and liberty going and that requires a religious dimension and engagement.

    So its only a means for communication, and justification.

    The example of Kashmir is a red herring, there is no liberal discourse in Kashmir, no real discussion of rights, no discussion on democratic discourse. It’s religious discourse may be less prone to violence, but that’s not the sign of a liberal political theology.

    Non violence is not the sign of liberal theology, even conservatives can abhor violence.

  108. rationalist

    to ylh
    You wrote:

    “Well said bade miyan… And the one who wins Nobel Prize after being inspired from the Quran is declared non-Muslim by his country.”

    So you too are peddling this stuff about kuran inspiring modern physics?!

    Which term in the Lagragian of the electro-weak theory (for which Abdus Salam got the Nobel prize) is derived from kuran (and kuran only)? May we know that from your lawyer’s pen?

    Khalid wrote;
    “…there is no liberal discourse in Kashmir, no real discussion of rights, no discussion on democratic discourse.”

    And thanks to islam and the islamic islam-glorifying history-writing it never will be.

  109. rationalist

    1) I have the right to live in a housing complex where it does not smell of meat or fish being cooked or beer/wine being drunk or loud music etc. That is part of my human dignity not to be subjected to abhorent smells or noises. This brings in the necessity and desirability of the caste system.
    2) Politicians make laws so that they can win elections with the help of the majority and the majority consists mainly of low-caste and low-class people (not only in the indian subcontinent but all over the world).
    3) The kuran (plus hadith and shariah) gives the islamofascists an advantageous position. Hence in the liberal vs. fascist discourse within islam the latter is (will be) the winner. The development in Pakistan proves this – it would have happened so even if Jinnah had lived another 20 years.
    4) An ideology that regards a book as divine or unquestionable or final perfect guidance etc. will end up putting the liberal at a great disadvantage and the fascist in a position of authority over him. This what islam/kuran-praisers don’t want to see/acknowledge.

  110. Majumdar

    That is part of my human dignity not to be subjected to abhorent smells or noises. This brings in the necessity and desirability of the caste system.

    Ahem, the Gandhoo is alive and kicking in India…..

    Regards

  111. Hayyer

    A A Khalid

    “However, what other intellectual route can you suggest which will convince Muslims (who take their faith seriously) at large about the virtues of human rights, liberties and pluralism?”

    That is the exceptionalism. To assume that Muslims take their faith more so much more seriously than others that they can only understand human rights, liberty and pluralism through religious paradigms. I don’t believe think that any religious text talks of human rights liberty and pluralism. Religious texts talk of the other life not this one, and some preach some universal moral values.

    I know that in Muslim societies agnostics and atheists keep their views to themselves. Especially politicians. But its not as if they are ostracized if they make a strict observance of the faith unless the Mullahs get after them.

    “We need to keep the conversation and dialogue on rights, pluralism and liberty going and that requires a religious dimension and engagement.”

    You appear to suggest that in Muslim societies it is dishonest to discuss universal human values outside the religious framework. I don’t agree. Indian Muslims in pre-partition India were perfectly able to comprehend a modern political concepts outside of the faith.

    To dismiss Kashmir as a red herring can be due to ignorance about the situation there, but it can also be just plain evasion of the point.

    Right from 1932 the discourse in Kashmir is a liberal one. India’s interference in the process of J&K’s political development started only in 1953-but neither the National Conference nor even parties in the Hurriyet conglomerate except the JeI ever talk about abandoning secular governance or the imposition of sharia, and even the JeI does not do that.

    “There is no liberal discourse in Kashmir, no real discussion of rights, no discussion on democratic discourse. It’s religious discourse may be less prone to violence, but that’s not the sign of a liberal political theology.”

    There was a liberal discourse there alright with the exception of this India-Pak plebiscite business, or of the right to secede. In the last two decades Delhi has mishandled the situation repeatedly but it never disturbs the set political discourse, which is democracy and secular governance. The internet has led to some increase in religiosity but not in the abandonment of the secular ideals.

    It may be due to the fact that J&K has a substantial non Muslim minority, but even before 1947 when the Muslim percentage was greater no one said that you had to approach governance through Islam. Islam is the answer is a slogan of recent coinage and inspired by lobbies within Islam. I doubt ordinary Muslims jump to this sort of conclusion naturally. You have Bangldesh now as an example. The rise of the Justice party in Turkey can hardly be called a revolt against secular governance. It is the Islamists in fact who want to allow Islamic rules in the face of a severely secular state. As a rule of thumb, you give religion an inch and it takes over body and soul. Isn’t that what happened to Pakistan. If you want to use the exceptionalist argument I suggest using it in reverse. i.e. avoid giving religion even the slightest political space in Muslim countries or they will want to take over the whole shebangs.

    “Non violence is not the sign of liberal theology, even conservatives can abhor violence.”

    I don’t know what non violence has to do with the argument at hand.

  112. rationalist

    to majumdar

    The caste system exists in EVERY human society. Those who outwardly claim not to have it or not to practise it or to have transcended it etc. are often the worst practitioners. Hypocrisy makes things really worse – even those things that are otherwise not bad.

  113. Momin

    yes in Pakistan there is Casteism of Momins and Kafirs

  114. PMA

    rationalist (August 4, 2010 at 1:02 pm) says:

    “I have the right to live in a housing complex where it does not smell of meat or fish being cooked or beer/wine being drunk or loud music etc. That is part of my human dignity not to be subjected to abhorent smells or noises. This brings in the necessity and desirability of the caste system.”

    Hayyer: Think I have said that somewhere before. In my parents’ house there is a group picture of my father from his pre-independence college days. On the top of the picture it says: “Muslim Hostel”. Subsequently I told you and the ‘dashtnaward’ (gods bless his soul) the story of this Hindu family-friend who would not sit on sofa in our house. That was fifty years ago.

    These days one of our family-friends have a backyard swimming pool in their house. They have never opened up that pool to any other friends except to those from their own ‘community’. Wana guess what is their religion. One clue. They are neither Muslim, nor Christian, nor Jew. Which by the way are most of their children’s friends. So I know where ‘rationalist’ is coming from.

  115. AA Khalid

    @ Hayyer

    I advise you to read ”Liberal Islam – A Sourcebook”, edited by Charles Kurzman and ”The New Voices of Islam : Edited by Mehran Kamrava”. These books are anthologies of writings by liberal theologians and thinkers advocating for liberty and human rights. Hayyer actually read these books, and you will get an insight to the liberal discourse in Islamic thought, then you can make up your mind with a greater idea of what I am talking about.

    The problem is Hayyer that once we fear the ”religion”question, other more conservative and fundamentalist preachers will be more than happy to fill the void.

    I am not advocating the slogan ”Islam is the answer”. No not at all, I am saying that to correct the injustices in Muslim societies the best resources to mobilise are education and religious discourse. Using this to combine modern intellectual tools with religious scholarship can squeeze the mullahs out completely and allow us to establish the noble ideas of liberty and rights.

    ” I don’t believe think that any religious text talks of human rights liberty and pluralism. ”

    I am not advocating text fundamentalism at all, but reimaging the conceptions of Muslim law and interpretation which underlie the conservative framework which stunts any development towards a more liberal political discourse.

    ”You appear to suggest that in Muslim societies it is dishonest to discuss universal human values outside the religious framework”

    Its not dishonest, it just has a limited impact. You try talking to the French in religious terms and you will have a limited impact. I agree in an ”ideal” world we should have secular and religious narratives on human values, but the best strategy which will have maximum impact is through the religious discourse.

  116. Bade Miya

    Rationalist,
    “That is part of my human dignity not to be subjected to abhorent smells or noises.”

    I presume, you don’t use public transport. I guess, most of us can’t afford private limousine or drivers. One is also inclined to assume that your drivers are also vetted with respect to their caste affiliations, etc.

    It’s rather rich, your diatribe against Islam, especially since you waxed lyrical about the heinous caste system. I think taking rationalist as your id is probably a weak attempt at dark humor.

  117. Hayyer

    A A Khalid:

    Thank you for recommending the books. I do not know if they can be obtained in India or whether they are downloadable (awful word).

    My views are based on observation in India not scholarship. I have read on the foundations of Islamism in the 2oth century. It does not affect my view that Muslims are not blocked off from the universal values of the enlightenment simply by being following their faith. Mullahs may oppose secularism and democracy in the face of the rule of God as interpreted by the Ulema, but the ordinary Muslim educated in the western tradition doesn’t buy the Mullah’s argument. Indeed the Mullah is an object of derision, and the masjid imams only useful for their functionality.
    For the illiterate, or madrassa trained Muslim your sort of discourse may work but it is not necessary. I believe that ordinary Muslims follow their political leaders rather than the mullahs in political matters. The mullah may rant that it is un-Islamic but does he get the votes. It is a matter of developing a political outlook in the face of mullahdom. That existed pre 47 in India. It exists today in Kashmir. I do not use the example of Indian Muslims because they are in a peculiar situation as a result of the historic blunder of supporting a Muslim state which they are no part of. Talk of the sins of the fathers visiting on the sons. What you have in Pakistan is a peculiarly Pakistani disease, which is that the state Islamized a society in the hope of strengthening it and giving it meaning and identity.

    Some Muslim leaders may well start out as religious leaders, say Maulana Azad, or make a display of their religion while preaching a purely secular and socialistic discourse, like Sheikh Abdullah, but there are others like Jinnah who while representing their community or speaking to it use an entirely secular vocabulary. The impact of a purely secular address is not limited at all as is evident in Kashmir, or by Jinnah’s success.

    PMA:

    “On the top of the picture it says: “Muslim Hostel”. Subsequently I told you and the ‘dashtnaward’ (gods bless his soul) the story of this Hindu family-friend who would not sit on sofa in our house. That was fifty years ago.”

    What does that show? That Muslims and Hindus could not dine together in those days. Those were the Muslim Pani Hindu Pani days. There are even today some Muslims in Kargil, who will not eat out of a dish used by a non-Muslim. As you said it was over six decades ago.

    “These days one of our family-friends have a backyard swimming pool in their house. They have never opened up that pool to any other friends except to those from their own ‘community’. Wana guess what is their religion. One clue. They are neither Muslim, nor Christian, nor Jew. Which by the way are most of their children’s friends. So I know where ‘rationalist’ is coming from.”

    I suppose you mean that your friend is a Hindu who wont mix with Muslims. Surprising that he is your friend. I wouldn’t be friends with someone like him, and I don’t know anyone in India like him. In the parts of India that I am familiar with, and that is East to North that sort of behaviour would be very unusual.

    Inter-dining is common and hardly worthy of comment in modern India. I eat beef and I have two Muslims friends who do eat pork. I am not religious but they are in the sense that they observe the rozas sometimes and attend Eid prayers. India is hardly a paragon of communal harmony, there are tensions and mistrust but the Hindu pani Muslim pani thing is unknown nowadays. The halal meat thing often crops up but it would surprise you to know that Muslims do eat out in modern restaurants where no one knows what is being served. Would it surprise you to know that in the Punjab the McDonalds chain is serving halal meat to Sikhs and the Akalis haven’t made a fuss for feed ‘kutha’ to the Khalsa.

    Of course all this has nothing to do with our subject, which is of how Muslim societies should approach secular governance.

  118. AA Khalid

    @ Hayyer

    Yes concerns about mullahdom are valid, but if we can squeeze the mullah’s religious influence by offering a more inclusive discourse the long term effects in terms of citizenship, rights and pluralism could be very fruitful.

    Unless we take the religious discourse for ourselves and determine if for ourselves the mullah will be a constant threat.

    Why is liberalism or reformism a minority discourse in Pakistan?

    What I am advocating does not incorporate the mullah. For one the average mullah is hopelessly ill educated both in the Islamic tradition and other intellectual traditions.

    Wherever liberals fear to tread the conservatives will be happy to rush in to exploit the vacuum.

  119. rationalist

    to Khalid

    Restore the hindu population component in Pakistan as a start. Then only you can squeeze the mullah. Not before that. Secularism is not possible in a country with 90+x% muslims. Secularism is possible if muslim population component is below 10%. In India appeasement of muslims is necessary for political survival of the various opportunist parties. So secularism in India is going down the drain too.

    The mullah is the punishment on Pakistan for having exterminated the hindus.

  120. Bade Miya

    Hayyer,
    “I suppose you mean that your friend is a Hindu who wont mix with Muslims. Surprising that he is your friend. ”

    PMA is a closet masochist. He enjoys humiliation by being friends with such folks. Growing up, I thought halal was practiced because it made meat more tender. lol.

  121. Majumdar

    Bade Miyan,

    PMA is a closet masochist. He enjoys humiliation by being friends with such folks.

    Good observations. On chowk he wud be described by his own compatriots as having a “shudder-achhoot” mentality.

    Regards

  122. @PMA

    Hayyer: Think I have said that somewhere before. In my parents’ house there is a group picture of my father from his pre-independence college days. On the top of the picture it says: “Muslim Hostel”. Subsequently I told you and the ‘dashtnaward’ (gods bless his soul) the story of this Hindu family-friend who would not sit on sofa in our house. That was fifty years ago.

    Fifty years ago, and earlier, and later, lots of bizarre things happened. They will continue to happen, as long as South Asia is populated by such an assorted bunch of partially and fully lunatic people.

    Example: My mother was visiting her friends, children of a Tamil Brahmin family, of which the father was District Collector, in Madras more than seventy years ago. Midway through lunch, she was urgently asked to gulp down the rest of her food, as their ayah of many years had crossed the verandah in full view of the dining room; the food had to be thrown away as it was now polluted and unfit for consumption by the pious.

    Example: Presidency College in Calcutta was originally the Hindu College. During our times, a person who subsequently was an Indian director of the Asian Development Bank asked why M. J. Akbar should be allowed to study there! We didn’t get his point at first; when we did, the looks he got in response shut him up.

    Example: In that same college, we went to visit a female fellow-student, without previous warning. We were given water in three different glasses; the Brahmin in one, I in another, our half-English friend in a third.

    Right.

    That should prove something. Let’s see further.

    Example: My father, who was pretty much a volatile Dhaka youngster, used to be bandaged up by his mother before being sent back to the fray in the battles between school-going youngsters of both Hindu and Muslim sides in Dhaka in the 30s. Recently, he finished his memoirs and started his sixth book at the age of 90. When I asked him to define the subject, he said wistfully that it was about three friends and a fourth very close acquaintance whom he missed very much in this old age.

    These were Taslimuddin Ahmed, his batch-mate in the IP, who became IG, was nearly shot by Tikka Khan for insufficient enthusiasm and reluctance to cooperate with ‘Searchlight’, and survived to become Home Secretary in Dhaka in Bangladesh; Akhtar-uz-zaman, the nephew of Humayun Kabir, and a frequent house-guest, whom I remember from his squeaky and high-pitched chuckle; Iqbal Athar Ali, who joined the foreign service in Pakistan after independence, and was a high Pakistani diplomat in The Hague, with whom my parents stayed during their visit to Bruxelles, to the annoyance of the Indian Ambassador; and the acquaintance was Hasan Shaheed Suhrawardy.

    It did not occur to him till it was pointed out that there was a remarkable pattern on display. At that point, he recovered smartly and claimed credit for such broad-based friendship.

    He left out Khwaja Mohammed Kaiser, who presumably needs no introduction to Pakistanis, because it was an impossible friendship to unravel.

    These days one of our family-friends have a backyard swimming pool in their house. They have never opened up that pool to any other friends except to those from their own ‘community’. Wana guess what is their religion. One clue. They are neither Muslim, nor Christian, nor Jew. Which by the way are most of their children’s friends. So I know where ‘rationalist’ is coming from.

    So do I.

    That kind of malice comes straight from the drain, where dregs from every faith belong.

    There are bigots (not rationalist), fundamentalists and fanatics in every religion. Also in every camp that holds excessively strong views, extreme views on a matter; the Communists and the Fascists have them too. No faith, not even some of the agnostic or atheistic camps, is free from them.

    How can they be quoted as serious evidence in any debate? The moment you ascribe these ridiculous views to the Hindus, you open yourself to attack by the ridiculous, who ascribe these views or worse to the Muslims. Is it difficult to see that both positions are wholly untenable?

  123. Bade Miya

    Bathplug,
    Don’t mean to pull your plug on that one, but..
    “In that same college, we went to visit a female fellow-student”

    Are you talking about Presidency College, Calcutta. How long ago was it? I am not sure if you are accurate about that one. I made a mistake of going there with my parents. After coming out, they said they needed some water, due to entirely different reasons. I, of course, was excited about the campus, for exactly the same reasons that horrified my parents.🙂

  124. @Bade Miya

    1968 – 1971, extended by a year due to lack of classes, leading to resultant gaps in education.

  125. Bin Ismail

    @ Bathplug (August 5, 2010 at 1:53 pm)

    “…..Fifty years ago, and earlier, and later, lots of bizarre things happened…..”

    Bizarre things still happen.However, in fifty years, a lot of water has indeed flowed through the Indus, Ganges and Jamuna.

    Regards.