Why are some Secular Pakistanis Afraid to be Identified as Such

By Feroz Khan

Pakistanis are not ashamed of being secular but they are afraid of being seen as secular. The reason lies in the question of who made the mullah strong and powerful in Pakistan? It was the so-called western educated Pakistanis, who in hopes of retaining their hold on power repeatedly appeased the religious right. The failure of secularism in Pakistan is the faliure of its liberals, educated classes to define what secularism stands for and this failure paved the way for the religious right’s assendency to power.

From Objectives Resolution in 1949 to Z. A. Bhutto constitutionally declaring the Ahmedis as non-Muslims to Pervaiz Musharraf supporting the MMA into power, it was the educated, westernized, liberal Pakistanis who have historically helped the religious right into making Pakistan a theocratic state. The reality of secularism in Pakistan is that no government will support it, because all governments that come to power do so with the agreement, with the mullahs, that its duration in power is contingent upon allowing the religious right to define for what passes for Islam.

An average Pakistani will not support secularism, because he or she knows that their goverment will readily foresake them to the religious right just to stay in power. To be secular in Pakistan means to have access to powerful patrons and to the right centers of influence and above all else, to be privileged enough to be above the law. Those who have this access can be secular and those who cannot, are afraid because they know they have no protection against the fury of the mullah and hence, are afraid to be identified as secular.

Secularism in Pakistan will happen not because of a media revolution, but because laws are created and enforced that protect the rights of all the people irrespective their of wealth, and positions in society. Secularism comes from a sense of tolerance and tolerance comes when a citizen’s basic constitutional rights are secured from arbitary excesses of power and intimidation. The first step towards this would be to tear up the Objectives Resolution and the 1973 constitution and to create a new social contract that is based on the notions of a political, social and economic equality and not on the basis of a religious creed.

The question is: is Pakistan prepared to do this and if it is not, then all the talk of secularism in Pakistan will remain a mere rhetoric and no law passed, on the basis of religion can be ever be questioned and the end result of this will be perpetual injustice and intolerance and inequality for the majority of Pakistani citizens who were unlucky enough to be born on the margins of privilege and influnece in Pakistan

148 Comments

Filed under secular Pakistan, secularism, Society

148 responses to “Why are some Secular Pakistanis Afraid to be Identified as Such

  1. Talha

    I have oft noted that many call for Objectives Resolution and the 1973 constitution to be torn up but I think that this would be the last step in our move towards secularism, if that were to happen.

    First we have to get rid of the blasphemy laws and Hudood Ordinance in general, this will the beginning of our move towards a better society.

    Islam as our state religion is fine, no harm in that, but we could be secular in nature and an exemplary nation which has a prefixed religion but also secular practices.

  2. AA Khalid

    This article struck me as being very similar to that of the Iranian intellectual AbdolKarim Soroush’s article where he also questions why some Iranian intellectuals are afraid of being identified as liberal and secular.

    Perhaps we can identify one of the reasons as the fact that secularism in terms of the connotations it generates and impression it gives to people in Pakistan is very negative. Constant distortion of the concept by right wing religionists who always define exclusively (and wrongly) as the utter exclusion of religion from public life (indeed translating the word as la deenyiat) is a grave and perhaps insurmountable challenge and obstacle.
    In an interview with John Rawls (arguably the most influential political philosopher of our age) this small exchange is very illuminating:

    ”rawls: Peace surely is a good reason, yes. But there are other reasons too. I already mentioned the good of political life: the good of free and equal citizens recognizing the duty of civility to one another and supporting the institutions of a constitutional regime. I assume that, in line with Vatican II, Roman Catholics affirm these political institutions. So do many Protestants, Jews, and Muslims.

    prusak: It sounds as if you’re really arguing for the dignity of the individual. I’ll turn it back: it almost sounds like, in another way, a religious argument.

    rawls: All right. Why should I deny that? If you want to say that comes down from the sacredness of the individual in the Bible, fine, I don’t have to deny that.

    prusak: But at the same time you don’t want to argue for this on any traditional basis. Instead, your argument for respecting the dignity of the individual follows from the functioning of liberal constitutional democracy.

    rawls: Liberal constitutional democracy is supposed to ensure that each citizen is free and equal and protected by basic rights and liberties. You see, I don’t use other arguments since for my purposes I don’t really need them and it would cause division from the start. Citizens can have their own grounding in their comprehensive doctrines, whatever they happen to be. I make a point in Political Liberalism of really not discussing anything, as far as I can help it, that will put me at odds with any theologian, or any philosopher”

    Though I disagree with Rawls about the fact that arguments for principles (such as rights and democracy, or liberalism) do not matter and if we try to provide conceptual and justifications for these concepts we will enter metaphysical problems.

    But in religious societies, we need to tackle the metaphysical, religious and theological arguments which can help us towards providing justification and legitamacy for some key concepts.

    I do agree with Rawls on the point however that we should argue for concepts such as rights, democracy, human dignity, pluralism and enlightened legislation but we should be open as to how we justify these principles.

    It should not matter in theory whether a person sees these principles as borne out of Quranic teaching or pure human reason independent of religious tradition (indeed the Mutazilite philosophical tradition within Islam would also not have any problems with this but would rather encourage this).

    I would argue that secularism is too burdened in Pakistan with negative conceptions. It is perhaps best to speak in terms of substance rather than theory. To talk of the practical and moral justification for democracy, human rights, enlightened legislation, tolerance and pluralism.

  3. Feroz Khan

    @Talha

    You cannot be a secular state and have a state religion. That is an oxymoron!

    As to the Hudood laws et al, you cannot change them until you remove the Objective Resolution, which is the base for all our laws being in accordance with Islam.

    ciao

  4. Antiquated Tory

    Feroz Khan,
    I don’t know about that. The UK has a state religion (actually, one each in England and Scotland). At one time wars were fought over this. It still has established religion, but in practice it’s pretty darn secular.

  5. Feroz Khan

    @Antiquated Tory

    All countries have religions, which the majority of the people follow. A majority religion can be termed as a state religion in any country, but that country cannot be secular if a religion is used to influence it laws and politics.

    In Pakistan, the state is a theocracy because all its laws are based on religion. England, under Elizabeth I or her father Henry VIII was theocratic, because its laws were based on religion. Spain, under Philip II, was a theocracy. Saudi Arabia is a theocracy. A modern secular state may have a majority religion, but as long as that religion does not influence the politics of the state and is not used to discriminate against other religions, that state can be considered as “secular”.

    England, and Europe, had to experience a bitter, generational, religious war before they decided to leave religion out of politics. In Pakistan, there is a similar trend underway as Pakistan engages in a bitter religious civil war to decide the role of religion in the country. True religious tolerance and for that matter, a true secular status in Pakistan will come only once the people change their minds and refuse to allow religion to influence politics or any other sphere of civic life.

    It will mean, finally, that the people of Pakistan will have to agree to stop accepting the idea that the laws of Pakistan should be made on the basis of religion. I am not sure if the Pakistanis are willing to make this choice, as they are still double minded between wanting a secular state and keeping Islam as state religion. The other side of the coin is that people of Pakistan can keep Islam as the religion of the majority, but it shares the public sphere with all other religions that exist in Pakistan: Hinduism, Shiaism, Sikhism, Zorastrianism, Ahmedism, and yes; even Judism without dominating them or limiting their freedom of expressions or the religious rights of their followers.

    ciao

  6. Salman Arshad

    Maybe the only way out is a compromise.. a middle way out.. a “glorious muslim spain” clone.. an islam that is in essence secular ..

    Ghamidi’s islam is very much that kind ..

    I doubt if simply equality in law could be the way forward.. too much damage has been done..

    One question that many people are perplexed with about secularism is that what will be the “moral” code of the state if it doesn’t have a religion .. In fact that is the first attack on secularism .. A very strange question for a secularist, but a very valid question for a religionist..

    For a religionized person, every action is either moral or immoral .. and so is every state policy.. “what if the state makes immoral policies ??” is a very frightening question.. With a state religion, one has to blindly make policies based on “Quran and Sunnah” .. and they will be morally upright.. With no state religion, the responsibility will be turned towards the elected people’s representatives.. a very frightening case ..

    Which begets another problem, something the writer has mentioned too.. a philosophical system of “morality” is not part of people’s popular idea of secularism.. for a common muslim, it is very confusing how “everything will be alright” simply be tearing out the objectives resolution or removing the state’s religion.. this is a very VALID need for any society..

    maybe simply teaching philosophy to school children will be the best practical solution..

  7. less then an 0.5% Pakistanis are secular, even If you go LUMPS, IBA and ZABIST and ask the most educated and civilized guys about secularism, they will simply reply you “NO”

    99% Pakistani Muslims are against secularism. Secularism has no place in Pakistan because majority specially the educated is extremely against it.

    So don’t make the castle in air and be practical and be realistic…….

  8. Vajra

    @Feroz Khan

    In Pakistan, the state is a theocracy because all its laws are based on religion. England, under Elizabeth I or her father Henry VIII was theocratic, because its laws were based on religion. Spain, under Philip II, was a theocracy. Saudi Arabia is a theocracy. A modern secular state may have a majority religion, but as long as that religion does not influence the politics of the state and is not used to discriminate against other religions, that state can be considered as “secular”.

    I beg your pardon, but this is surely not the correct position.

    England, under Elizabeth I, her predecessors, Mary and Edward VI, and her father, Henry VIII, was not theocratic; while due to the schism with the Roman Catholic Church, the monarch, starting with Henry VIII and continuing till today, in the person of Elizabeth II, was head of the Church of England. This is not the case in any other country.

    The laws of England, however, were based on Common Law, the traditional law, andnot on either Civil Law, descended from Roman Law, as the practice was on the Continent of Europe, or Canon Law, the law applicable to the clergy, which could in a sense be described as laws based on religion.

    It would be fair to say that certain administrative decisions were guided by religion, utterly inaccurate to say that the laws were religious. Quite the contrary.

    There is a possible connection between the Common Law of England and religion, but it is ironic, and I refrain from comment on that with an ironic smile.

    I have no difficulty with the rest of your note.

  9. libertarian

    @Feroz Khan: The first step towards this would be to tear up the Objectives Resolution and the 1973 constitution and to create a new social contract that is based on the notions of a political, social and economic equality and not on the basis of a religious creed.

    Short of Pakistan being placed in international receivership, and a Macarthur to enforce it (not the much touted Marshall Plan), it’s not going to happen. If Jinnah couldn’t make it happen with a blank slate, how is it going to happen with all the baggage of history.

    A better focus would be an economic one. Money makes all problems more tractable. Also a far easier problem to solve.

  10. Octavian

    Ich bin ein Secularist

  11. Vajra

    Das ist Schoen. Und Dann?

  12. Talha

    @ Feroz

    I understand your point but I thought that the first step towards a more secular country would be to repeal the Hudood Ordinance. After all these laws were introduced much later and we were a much better society in the 60’s even with the Objectives Resolution in place.

    Islam should be given a special recognition in the constitution of Pakistan much like Spain has Catholicism.

    The reason that I would like to keep Islam in the constitution somehow is that it will also please our religiously challenged populace (unusually high). We have to please all in our nation and so we should attempt to find a good balance.

    Secularism is the way forward, if it has to come after long suffering because of politicization of Islam then fine. But if we were to slowly move towards a secular society, we should do this by slowly removing the dark laws brought in using the objectives resolution.

  13. Feroz Khan

    @ Talha

    The Objectives Resolution provides the basis of all our laws and the idea of the Objectives Resolution is enshirined, and was included, in all our constitutions. As the preamble exists co-joining all laws to be made in light of Sharia and Sunna, and to make no law that is against Sharia, the removal of the Hudood and the Blasphemy laws is not possible.

    To remove the said laws, without removing the operating preamble itself, would be unconstitutional and illegal itself. The argument here, on my side, is for upholding of the process of the law itself and not making any ad hoc decisions, which severely impairs and undermines the very process of law and justice we seek to preserve. The Objectives Resolution is the root from which all our laws grow and take strenght and without removing it, we will be only dealing with the symptoms of the law and not the problem itself.

    Islam can be given a special mention in the constitution as a religion of the majority, but it cannot be given a special recognition, if that recognition creates grounds for Islam being considered as primus inter peres and allows Islam to be favored in relation to the other religions that are practiced in Pakistan.

    As to pleasing people by appeasing them, this is simply wrong and sets a very dangerous precedent. When the law starts to make distinctions and starts to please one group over another, we encourage injustice. It is because of this, that we had Hudood and Blasphemy laws, because the state and politics were appeasing one group at the expense of another. Rather than making special exceptions, the law should provide equal justice for all and enforce it without favor or exception, which is a far better and more enduring form of securing rights than making arbitary decisions; and besides, who makes these decisions and who elects the people who make the decisions?

    Secularism is the way forward, I agree, but it will not be attained unless we are uniformal in our approach to justice for all and in the fair treatment of all under the law. The way ahead lies through respecting the process of the law itself for amending the law and we cannot become a society of laws, if ignore this idea.

    ciao

  14. Feroz Khan

    @ libertarian

    In reality, Pakistan does exist under an international receivership. We need the international financial institutions’ permission to run our economy; our laws are made in Washington and we seek political guidance from Saudi Arabia and our defense policy is a compromise between Chinese and American regional interests. In terms of national sovereignty, we have none and are, technically speaking, a failed state.

    As to a Douglas MacArthur ruling over us, that would still be a better idea than being cobbled into a problematic regional rubric and identified as Af-Pak. MacArthur gave Japan its modern post-war constitution and created land reforms in Japan and empowered women. Instead, we are governed by the political viceroys from Washington and the pro-consuls from CENTCOM.

    As to Jinnah and his failures, the reason for those failures lie in our disobedience of Jinnah’s message. The failure of Jinnah is our failure, as a nation, to heed his warnings and to ignore his words. As to the baggage of history and if it cannot be changed, then what was the reason behind partition in 1947? In words of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, it was a promise of a new dawn, which in of itself implies an end and a begining.

    In the words of T. E. Lawrence, “nothing is written unless you write it yourself”. The baggage of history can be left behind if we have the courage to do so and are mentally prepared to change.

    Money may make all the problems easy, but too much money also leads to inflation and too much of it used without a conscience also leads to a moral devaluation! In the words of the Bible, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?

    ciao

  15. Feroz Khan

    @ Vajra

    England was theocratic, because the English parliament was passing laws, which resistricted the freedoms of the Catholics. Under Elizabeth I, laws were passed denying Catholics the right to political office and under her father, parliament passed laws, which banned the Catholic church in favor of the Anglican Church of England. Mary, a Catholic, passed laws that prosecuted the Anglicans, which is why she was known as Bloody Mary. Edward did not last too long on the throne to be of any use to anyone. Under Oliver Cromwell, the Puritans dominated the parliament and the parliament itself was dismissed by the Cromwell, who ruled as “Lord Protector” much like Zia-ul-Haq of his times.

    The nature of a theocracy is better judged by the influence of religion on its laws rather than the nomenclature of its institutions. The laws of England, of that time period, were influenced by religion and the Church of England was given political supremacy, by the laws of parliament at the cost of the Roman Catholic Church.

    The laws of England were based on the idea of the supremacy of the parliament as a co-equal with the monarchy in ruling England. This did not stop parliament from passing laws on religion and in denying the power of the kings to make treaties with Catholic monarchies or to meddle in the issues of succession as it did under Charles II, and James II, because they had married Catholics and their children were Catholics. It did not prevent parliament from defining the terms of succession for William of Orange and Mary in 1688. It did not stop parliament from picking Sophia of Hanover, a German protestant, as the regent, when Queen Anne died without heir.

    It was only about a century ago, that parliament passed laws establishing a freedom of religion in England. Prior to that, the tradition on which the laws of England were based, still showed favoritism of the parliament for the Church of England. Even in the last century, the abdication of Edwards VIII was a result of his decision to marry an American divorcee to which parliament did not agree, as she was not from the Anglican church.🙂

    ciao

  16. Bin Ismail

    Feroz Khan:

    1:”…..The first step towards this would be to tear up the Objectives Resolution and the 1973 constitution and to create a new social contract that is based on the notions of a political, social and economic equality and not on the basis of a religious creed…..”

    Well said indeed. Essentially, what Pakistan needs is a Constitution based upon Jinnah’s 11th August 1947 presidential address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. Such a constitution is bound to be secular and just.

    2: “…..The question is: is Pakistan prepared to do this…..”

    In my opinion, the question is: Is Pakistan prepared to forgo its very existence by continuing on its pro-theocracy path?

  17. Vajra

    @Feroz Khan

    Please be sure that my intervention is not intended to distract attention from the invaluable point that you have made and continue to iterate; after this, you may be sure of being able to conduct your further discussions without interruptions on the points that I am about to make.

    However, on the question of England being a theocracy, because the laws passed by the legislative system there (my ambiguity has an explanation, for which please read on) restricted the freedom of Catholics, this is debatable, at best, at the subtle and the obtuse levels alike.

    As you clearly already know, the laws passed were not merely against Catholics, they were against dissenters on the other edge of the Church of England as well. That the laws were intended to guide and determine people’s practise of their faith is correct, and beyond question. The intention was not merely to segregate the doctrine of the Church of England from Rome, but also to define it against factionalism on the ‘enthusiastic’ edge.

    However, it is uncomfortable to find these acts of the King, intended to strengthen his autocratic grip over the realm, being interpreted in a theocratic cast; the religious angle came in solely due to his schism with Rome, partly due to his colourful and complex personal history, but partly also due to his desire to convert the huge accumulated wealth of the Church to his own uses.

    You will not fail to note the point that Henry’s secularisation of the Abbeys was a strong influence on the secularisation of the thinking of the gentry about matters of religion thereafter, after their personal interests became inextricably involved with royal policy! Does a theocracy drive out theocracy? Perhaps this needs a little thought.

    Secondly, while these were decisions influenced and advised on, at the theological level, by clergymen, and involving intricate points of doctrine after the initial, rather blunt royal step in taking the position of the head of the church, they were all along decisions taken, as you have not failed to point out, by the legislature. We are speaking of the mid-sixteenth century; all countries in Europe, not England alone, were legislating on religion at various levels of sophistication.

    Decisions taken by the legislature effectively meant decisions taken by the monarch. It is also not reflective of actual conditions to say that the laws were passed during the supremacy of Parliament as a co-equal of the monarchy. Until Tudor times, the Commons had merely won the right, through common law court decisions, that no act of the King or the Lords would be a statute unless endorsed by the Commons. That was all. During Tudor times, there was no question of the supremacy of Parliament, if, by that, we mean the Commons, none whatsoever. This would be an opportune moment to discuss the increasing complexity of statute-making, in sharp improvement from earlier submission of petitions in the form of the statute that they were hoped to become, and consequently, Elizabeth’s occasional (accidental) discomfiture, but it would be self-indulgence. She largely enjoyed the support of a loyal and unquestioning Commons, the last monarch to do so.

    It was only during subsequent reigns, after Elizabeth, and most particularly during Charles I’s reign, that parliament gradually wrested power from the monarchy, one step at a time.

    Not in a single instance did Parliament decide the freedom of the monarchy to treat with other states until the disastrous French policy of Charles II, when they were forced to intervene to stop what everyone correctly saw as the meaningless vagaries of policy under the King. While he had given it a vague direction towards building France as an ally to enable it a favourable reception in England in case of possible intervention for his brother or other Catholic relatives, it was so maladroit in its application that he invited Parliament in.

    Finally, the incident regarding Mrs. Simpson was so complex that it is not possible to categorise it as an instance of resistance to a candidate for marriage not from the Anglican church. The correct position is rather different; Mrs. Simpson would gladly have entered the Church of England. That was not an obstacle. The obstacle was that Edward VIII wanted her as his Queen, not as his morganatic wife, an alternative suggested to the King, and this was not possible as the Anglican Church would not recognise a marriage with a divorced person.

    The point is that the application of legislative attention to laws regarding religion had really little connection to nominating Tudor and Stuart England, for that matter, Hanoverian England as a theocracy. Your formulation that The nature of a theocracy is better judged by the influence of religion on its laws rather than the nomenclature of its institutions, is fascinating and innovative, and electrifies our thinking, but is not canonical history.

    It is still, on balance, more reasonable to consider the legislative actions of these times relating to religion as expressions of the gathering strength of the English monarchy, and demonstrations of the will of a strong King, Henry VIII, to rule his land the way he wished to, without external interventions, reversing the disastrous trends of the preceding times of troubles, than as the actions of a theocracy thinking of religion as a primary motive. Religion came in on the coat-tails of the ‘King’s Great Matter’.

    My apologies for the quibbles entered. The nuisance shall cease herewith.

  18. Tilsim

    @ Vajra

    I appreciate Feroz’s broad thrust but find your intervention a very valuable one. You highlight that the main motives behind legislation of the time was something other than the establishment of the supremacy of religion.

  19. @Tilsim

    Precisely so.

    However, his point that it was for the establishment of the supremacy of a religion is unexceptionable.

    The confusion lies in this, in that establishment of the supremacy of a religion in particular was an imperative desire of the King for personal and financial reasons, not for religious reasons.

  20. Feroz Khan

    @ Vajra

    Your interventions are most welcome and I hope that they will continue in the future!

    Regardless of the debate, the freedom of the Catholics was limited by the laws passed by the parliament. The yard stick, which I am using to judge this is if those laws prevented them from the full entitlement of their rights? I agree, with you that in the sixteenth century, while religious wars were raging in Europe, Europe was heavily influenced by the religion in its politics. If we take the premise, and here one can disagree, that the laws of England were designed to buttress the foundations of the Church of England, the question emerges at whose expense was the Church of England benefitted?

    Theocracy is an injust system of laws, whose enforcement is ususally through force and the denial of rights to others. By its very nature, a theocracy violates the first cardinal (pun intended) principle, which is equality before the law. This is not to suggest that Europe was a legal nirvana at that time period. It was not. The laws, at that time as influenced by religion, did create a schism between between religious loyalities of the people and their political views on the basis of religion. The fact that politics used religion for its purposes, as religion exploited politics is a material consideration, when we look at the dynamics of the European situation at the time.

    Laws, regardless, of against whom they were passed or for what reason they may have been passed, if they used the basis of religion to deny rights or to presecute a group, cannot be deemed fair by any standards of justice. For a crime to be commissioned, there needs to proof of an actus rea and a mens rea and in this case, both were present. Rather than judging the laws for their merit, of being theocratic or not, we should also weigh the intent of the law and the reasons, which formulated those laws in the first place and whether the guilty intent did lead to a guilty act?

    What was the intent of the parliament? Even if it was political and economical and a means to grab the property of the Catholic church, the fact remains that religion was used as a basis for those laws and the intent was to use those laws to punish another religion – Catholism.

    In the case of Henry VIII, parliament had an axe to grind against the Catholic church and Henry jumped on the band wagon to simply get a divorce for political reasons, but parliament did take advantage of that situation to press its anti-Rome wishes.

    Hailing, as I do, from a nation, where religion has been used as the thin end of the wedge, I am very leary from experience to condone the intentions of the law, because the experience of the law and its intentions are two different things.

    The experience of the law, in the case of England, suggests something different altogether and history does record the injustices, which were meted out as a result to those, who disagreed with the prevailing logic.

    Theocracy may not drive out a theocracy, but it certainly justifies an opposite and equal theocratic reaction. The end result of this, which is nothing else than the brutalization of a society based on a legality of injustice does not help the due process of the law, under which equality for all can be ensured.

    The standard defination of power, is defined as “the ability to make others do what they would not normally do”. This needs to be applied to England of the time and the answer might be very illuminating as to what the Catholic reactions/options might have been without the laws of the parliament in favor of the Anglican Church of England.

    ciao

  21. Feroz Khan

    @ Vagra

    For the purposes of clarification, let me state I clearly make a distinction, between a supremacy of a religion and a theocracy argument and that they are not the same in my views. My argument is that England, despite all the contextual reasons of the time, and of reasons of the state, did favor a theocratic approach to politics.

    If the intentions of the monarch were otherwise and not religious per se, but more secular – power, money, authority et al – then why did he use religion to attain those ends?

    Every time and any time, a religion is used in the politics, the possibility of a theocratic influence cannot be denied.

    ciao

  22. libertarian

    @Feroz Khan: In reality, Pakistan does exist under an international receivership.

    The elephant in the room is the Pakistan Army. For something as profound as a new constitution, a reconstitution of the Army is a necessary prerequisite. Macarthur was able to fashion a new Japan because it’s belligerent armed forces were vanquished first. Japan had pacifism written into it’s constitution and enforced by outsiders before they imbibed it and started self-enforcing. To this day they do not have nuclear weapons, even in the shadow of a belligerent China.

    The Pak Army is a distinct political class now. Per Ayesha Siddiqa they’ve allocated themselves 12% of Pakistan’s land area – the best agricultural land no doubt – ostensibly to ward off India. Everyone knows how they club democracy on a regular basis. What is less acknowledged is they’ve killed off big business as well. What business does an Army have dabbling in everything from dairy produce to cement? So you have a class that has dominant business interests and the ability to enforce it in an armed manner. Why would that class give up that privilege?

    Against this backdrop, it’s not society’s call on social contract. If the non-armed political forces were to agree (Charter of Democracy – The Sequel) what kind of state and society they wished to fashion, how would they counter an unhappy Army with the means and proven willingness to whack it’s own citizens?

    So I disagree that Pakistan is in international receivership. The IMF and World Bank, or Washington and Beijing, or Riyadh, can only threaten/cajole up to a point. They cross the Army’s red lines, and they have to back off. Pakistan is not an international migraine because of it’s people, or society or even it’s bumbling political class. It is because of it’s trouble-making Army.

  23. @Feroz Khan @ September 12, 2010 at 7:59 am

    It is undeniable that

    1. The freedom of Catholics was limited by the laws passed in parliament (I have taken the liberty of modifying your original statement, “laws passed by parliament”, for purposes which will be clear soon);

    2. Those laws restricted Roman Catholics from the full exercise of their religious and their civic rights;

    3. It was at the expense of its parent institution that the Church of England was benefitted.

    In general, there cannot be a quarrel with your broad delineation of theocracy, its nature, its enforcement and its historical context; so, too, your description of these as ‘unfair’ laws is valid.

    That is the easy part. I continue reluctantly, very reluctantly, with an unquiet conscience, solely in the interests of representing the orthodox historical reading, and (to be facetious) without claiming any infallibility on behalf of that reading.

    What was the intent of the parliament? Even if it was political and economical and a means to grab the property of the Catholic church, the fact remains that religion was used as a basis for those laws and the intent was to use those laws to punish another religion – Catholism.

    This is a difficult formulation. There was, in fact, in the eyes of the grandees, and in the eyes of the bishops and subordinate clergy who formulated the foundational doctrine of the separated sect that became the Church of England, no distinction between the Catholic Church and the Church of England; even in very recent times, before the passage of the 1829 Act, there was always a distinction between ‘High Church’ adherents, between whom and Roman Catholics, there was little clear liturgical or doctrinal difference, and ‘Low Church’ people, who shaded off into Nonconformism. The actual Act of Supremacy acknowledged that Henry VIII was already Supreme Head of the Church; it did not confer this title on him, on the grounds that Parliament was in no way empowered to undertake such a huge step.

    That wording will speak for itself in the context.

    I can assemble off-post for the ready reference of those interested in such minutiae the precise differences enunciated in the Act of Uniformity and the Test Acts; it is heavy stuff for a forum of reasonable-minded people. Suffice it to say that differences in religious terms were minute; nobody in England might have thought that they were splitting from the Catholic Church.

    Most of all, it was not the intention of Parliament to do any of these things, it was the intention of the King.

    In the case of Henry VIII, parliament had an axe to grind against the Catholic church and Henry jumped on the band wagon to simply get a divorce for political reasons, but parliament did take advantage of that situation to press its anti-Rome wishes.

    I regret that this clause is wholly unsupportable. There was no axe that Parliament had against the Catholic Church; far from jumping onto the band wagon, Henry created the band wagon. Parliament had absolutely nothing to do with expression of anti-Rome wishes, except to the extent that the cupidity of the country faction was excited at the thought of the rich pickings from the dissolution of the monasteries.

    I have nothing to say about the four subsequent clauses in terms of history.

    @ September 12, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I am mystified at this post. The level of insight and knowledge with which your argument has been presented earlier does not sit comfortably with this. There is dissonance here. Let us see, anyway.

    If the intentions of the monarch were otherwise and not religious per se, but more secular – power, money, authority et al – then why did he use religion to attain those ends?

    Every time and any time, a religion is used in the politics, the possibility of a theocratic influence cannot be denied.

    This is not entirely correct. Power, money, authority, etc., came in at the second level, not the first. The first, the primary reason for the split was the King’s insecurity at not having any male heir (England had emerged only in his father’s time from the ruinous Wars of the Roses), and his hope that Anne Boleyn would give him an heir. Nothing less, nothing more.

    As you are aware, Henry was not the Prince of Wales; that was his elder brother, Arthur. Arthur was married to Katherine of Aragon (daughter of that Ferdinand and Isabella who united Spain and sponsored Cristoforo Colombo’s trans-Atlantic expeditions) during the reign of their father, Henry VII, but died untimely, leaving Henry the younger brother as the heir. In order to preserve the diplomatic alliances built around the original marriage, the sovereigns concerned agreed that Katherine should be married to this younger brother. Unfortunately, this blameless, beautiful Queen of high character, education and learning and a generous character and disposition, a Queen who became the first woman ambassador in European history as Spain’s delegate to England, could only produce one daughter, the ill-starred Mary, after 24 years of marriage. Henry then sought the dissolution of the marriage on the grounds that there had been sexual congress between Katharine and Arthur, and therefore the subsequent marriage to Henry was barred. Cardinal Wolsey was entrusted with this task; he failed, as the Vatican threw out the proceedings with contempt. Wolsey was attainted, removed from Chancellorship, and Thomas Cromwell was appointed. He, too, failed signally. At this stage, Henry thought of the split, to allow him to bully the native clergy of England into allowing the dissolution.

    Power, money, authority entered the picture subsequently, when Henry realised that the monasteries were now his for the taking. It may not be out of place to mention that the Tudors and Stuarts were always hard up for money, and much of Henry VIII’s flamboyance – his meeting with Francis I on the Field of the Cloth of Gold, for example – was possible due to the prudent and thrifty ways of his father.

    There was no theocratic intention here whatsoever.

    It is true, however, that what began as a selfish act of a King ramified into religious and civic disabilities for the Catholics, and into all the undesirable aspects that you have mentioned, especially after the disastrous revisionist reign of Queen Mary, Henry VIII’s daughter by Katharine of Aragon.

    Thank you for your tolerance of this pedantry.

  24. Bin Ismail

    @Feroz Khan (September 12, 2010 at 8:18 am)

    “…..If the intentions of the monarch were otherwise and not religious per se, but more secular – power, money, authority et al – then why did he use religion to attain those ends?…..”

    In my humble opinion, religion, whenever made available or left to the disposal of political rulers and regimes, will by default, become susceptible to exploitation and abuse, regardless of the nature of their intentions and predilections.

    Regards.

  25. bciv

    Vajra has already pointed this out. the opposite of religious conservative is not necessarily a liberal. none of the unelected dictators and elected despots and scoundrels, in varying ratios, whether or not religious or religious conservatives, were liberal. not a single one of them. greed for power and pleasure may be seen as some perverted form of hedonism but cannot be termed liberalism. liberalism, unlike hedonism, is based on principles. to equate the two is the trick that the mullah has successfully played. mullahs are worse than these dictators and scoundrels because they are even worse hypocrites. much worse. we must not help them in their lies by falling for this trick of theirs.

  26. @bciv

    You have pointed out in your note (if we correct the double-negative in your second sentence, ascribing it to post-prandial excess, unfortunately a significant possibility today) that religious conservatives have created havoc by putting themselves at the other pole from liberal, which is wrong and misleading. I agree.

    So to is Feroz Khan’s argument in favour of due process of law; fiddling with the most damaging parts of the subverted constitution must come after setting the fundamentals right, he argues, and you will agree that he has a case, one in some kind of mutually supportive relation with yours.

    However, while the liberal concept of the rule of due process of law, of founding individual liberty in the provisions of the law rather than in the unpredictable operations of arbitrary rule must be very important, I submit that more than this, more than secularism even, is the matter of democracy.

    It is only through the sustained use of democracy that the broad masses will learn about power. This means not just the liberal skin of milk on top, but the practical, disillusioned masses who have borne the brunt of dictatorial excess without the possibility of escape to a more favourable moral climate.

    They will come to flex their democratic muscles, understand that they can throw out their representatives do not keep their promises, understand that they themselves are a force in the land, understand that it is their writ that determines the leadership of the state, that it is they who decide how the economy is to be managed, that it is their sacrifice that makes future growth possible, and that without them, the state would not exist.

    Increasingly, once they start doing this, parties will align themselves increasingly in terms of pleasing the electorate, the institutions of state with their changing composition of staff will conform to the desire of the people and existing extra-constitutional power centres will slowly wither away.

    This will only pave the way for liberalism, not block it, and in due course of time, it may lead to secularism, of the sort that retains a state religion, but forbids its interference in the personal lives of its citizens.

    Nothing, of course, forbids the simultaneous pursuit of these ideals, moderated by the intellectual classes and proposed to the political classes to fit the temper of the people, that which a brilliant series of quotations from the Indian constitution maker Dr. Ambedkar defined as the constitutional morality of a nation.

  27. bciv

    @Vajra

    thanks for pointing out the error. you are right in your diagnosis except the post part. that’ll not be any time soon, by the looks of it.

    i meant religious conservative in political terms, and mostly and really meant the mullah – bearded or not – and those taken in by him. perhaps, i should have said bigots.

    it is the mullahs’ trick to point out the likes of yahya, ZAB and even musharraf as examples of liberalism. the truth is that these guys (and ayub khan, mirza, GM and others) had nothing to do with liberalism, or any principles or integrity of any kind. what can the terms liberalism or conservatism or religious conservatism mean for those who believe in nothing except power, at any and all cost? the mullah is not different to those he lies about except he takes the hypocrisy a few, even uglier, notches up. we should expose this lie of the mullahs instead of repeating it.

  28. Bin Ismail

    @ bciv (September 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm)

    “…..greed for power and pleasure may be seen as some perverted form of hedonism but cannot be termed liberalism. liberalism, unlike hedonism, is based on principles. to equate the two is the trick that the mullah has successfully played…..”

    Actually, the mullah plays a double trick. He equates, as you’ve rightly pointed out, “liberalism” with “hedonism”, and he the “Sharia Rule” with the “Sharia”. The Sharia Rule is simply Mullah Rule. God, His Messenger and His Message, all are dispatched to oblivion and what remains is the Mullah, to rule, as you’ve said, at all costs.

    @ Vajra

    “…..in due course of time, it may lead to secularism, of the sort that retains a state religion, but forbids its interference in the personal lives of its citizens…..”

    A secularism that retains a state religion, will in all likelihood, fall prey to the state religion. It is this secret back-door that the clergy wants to be left open and preferably not talked. It is through this back-door that, at any opportune moment, the politically ambitious clergy will find its way to the corridors of political power. Once having entered, it will exploit the constitutionality of the “state religion” to retain its status. What you will then witness, is hedonism and sadism in the name of religion.

  29. @Bin Ismail

    I see what you mean. These little loopholes are therefore what the determined underminers look for.

  30. Bin Ismail

    Corrigendum: Please read in my former post as:

    “…He equates, as you’ve rightly pointed out, “liberalism” with “hedonism”, and the “Sharia Rule” with the “Sharia”…”

    “…It is this secret back-door that the clergy wants to be left open and preferably not talked about…”

    My apologies for the typographical errors.

  31. Bin Ismail

    @ Vajra

    Precisely. And these underminers – “determined underminers” – will be on the lookout for any prospective loophole.

  32. Feroz Khan

    @ Vagra

    I will reply, as soon I get through post.

    ciao

  33. @Feroz Khan

    Before you do reply, I hope that you will bear in mind that apart from the specifics of Tudor and Stuart British history, I am broadly in agreement with you. There is no difficulty on my part about accepting your statements insofar as they relate to other European states; in fact, they bear out your case rather well.

    P.S.: On a slightly personal matter, I was enthused and ‘perked up’, even – dare I say it? – uplifted by your variation on my nick at 8:18 am and 8:45 pm. However, it is with a fallen, um, crest that I have to confess to you sheepishly that this damn name has a mere ‘j’, and not an enthusiastic ‘g’ in it.

  34. Feroz Khan

    @ libertarian

    No one is denying the presence of the Pakistani army in the retardation of the political system in Pakistan.

    As to “why” the Pakistani army will give up its interests; the answer is it will not, because it is not in its institutional interest. In order for a group like the Pakistan army, with vested interests, to give up its privileged rights, it has to be subjected to a process of change. The first step in this process is for a political will to emerge and convince one that military interference in politics will not be tolerated. Historically, while it is fair to berate the Pakistani army for its role in politics, one must also look to the political role, which encouraged this behavior.

    Pakistani army’s forays into the political sphere was made possible by the political classes’ willingness to accept its role in politics and the two have existed, since 1958, in a symbiotic relationship. The political sphere has to deny the military the room to poke its nose in national politics. Our political leaders are bonzai creations of the military and the military will continue to call the decisions as long as the politicans turn to it for their own ends and means.

    All military interventions in Pakistani history have been welcomed by the educated classes of Pakistan. This needs to change. The military cannot exist in Pakistani politics unless it has support and this support, which has come from the educated urban middle class, has to end. In the present case, this support is dying and the politicans too are becoming aware of this and resisting the role of the military.

    What will stop the Pakistani military in the future from conquering Pakistan? The Pakistani people and the end of the status quo, which favors military interventions. For starters, people should stop celebrating and passing out sweets when the military over throws a democratically elected government. Pakistani military cannot do anything to a nation; a people willing to die for their believes. Nations, which go down without a fight are never heard of again and those, who go down fighting rise again.

    Let me quote Gandhi on the issue of civil disobedience to an unjust law and resisting it to the bitter end: “They will have my dead body, but they will not have obedience to their laws”. This is the difference in the mindsets between a free people and an enslaved people.

    Do we really wish to resist the military interventions? As to the other nations, who back off the army’s red lines, what are our red lines that we will not allow to be crossed? The army has made its red lines, shouldn’t we make ours?

    As to the military occupying such a huge role in the national economy, it is not a permanent state of affairs and can be reversed. However, any such reversal has to be based on a process and should not be done extra-legally. It is imperative to realize that the greatest harm to the development of Pakistan’s political institutions was done by by-passing the law and making political short-cuts to attain the desired ends.

    We must avoid the impluse of being righteous in our anger, because two wrongs do not make a right and as we correct the mistakes of the past, we should not start off in such a manner, which does not leave us with options to consider our future choices.

    ciao

  35. Feroz Khan

    @ Vajra

    I am sorry for the typo in your name.

    I guess, my argument is not as much about the veracity of the historic truth, as it is about the corrosive nature of a theocracy on a political system.

    To be quiet candid, I have an instinctive reaction, and not a very pleasant one at that, to the role of religion in politics. It is unacceptable to me. In this sense, my argument was an attempt to draw attention, and maybe I was unsuccessful in this, to the nature of the laws themselves. To understand the purpose that a law tries to achieve, we must understand the reasons which led to its creation. Laws do not exist in a vacuum, but reflect, and here we can be subjective, the mores of the society and its aspirations and fears. The laws, by their very nature, are punitive in their intent and the idea associated with “the punishment of the law” is to punish those who break the laws for the collective good of a society. The respect of the law, in a society, comes from the fear of the law itself and the consequences of personal responsibility in breaking it. Justice is really about a personal accountability of an action under the law and the idea behind the “punishment of justice” is to prevent individual acts from harming a greater public good, as defined by a majority representing the wishes of the society at large.

    This is where, I strongly blame theocracy as a process of gradual erosion of a legal system and the codification of a legal system based on the idea of injustice. In this sense, it really does not matter what are the degrees or the nuances behind a religious role in politics, because religion, as a basis of law, can only be enforced, as with all other things in a society, through the application of a punitive law, which punishes any transgression against the law itself. The problem is that the legal enforcement of a religion goes against the idea of equality before the law. In order to enforce a religion, upon a people, the law which supports a particular religion does so by denying the due process of the law to the religion or religions not favored by the law itself. Religion, therefore, can only be enforced through fear, intimidation and denial of basic constitutional and social rights and the brutalization of a society, which is the end result of a process, where law is selectively applied and punishment is arbitrary.

    The end result of this is an ingrained hypocrisy towards the law and the disenfranchisement of the concept of justice itself, as it is more guided by a morality of a personal opinion than by the canons of the law itself. Therefore, religious based laws, regardless of their good intentions, can only be enforced through the creation of a legal system based on the rule of injustice.

    This is the intent, of a theocratic based law, to create a system of injustice for the attainment of a public good and it is no wonder, that such laws reek with double-standards and hypocrisy and when the law forces a compulsion to obey a particular religious belief, on the threat of punishment; it blurs the line between right and wrong in the religion itself by instilling an element of personal and state hypocrisy in legal system itself. People in such a system may profess to believe something, but by their actions practice something else, which defeats the very reason and purpose of a religion – to teach right and wrong and to ascribe to a moral code.

    On the other hand, the experience of such laws suggest a marked duplicity in the administration of justice, where justice is determined by the popularity of a political view, but what is even worse; it absolves the very nature of justice from holding itself accountable to the law and instead, politicizes justice and the intent of punishment.

    It was within this reason that I asked what the intent of the parliament was in passing laws based on religion. I have no trudge against the narrative of history and your arguments in support of it. As an educator and a student of history, I agree with your arguments that there was more to the formulation of religious laws in Europe and England.

    Despite my agreements to the historic narrative, it does not justify the transgression of justice, in spirit and in the letter of the law, as just or reasonable and this was the idea against which I was tilting and will continue to resist. I hope this clarifies my position on this issue and thank you for engaging in a scintillating debate, with me.

    ciao

  36. Neeraj, India

    Feroz Khan, after reading your blog post, then, re- looking at author’s name, I just wanted to add ‘noon’ to your name while replying, but, thought that it would be an impolite thing to do. However, after musing for a few seconds, I realized that, the idea was not as bad as I thought. After all, Pakistan was a much better place to live, during his brief tenure as a prime minister.
    Coming to the content of your writing, you have pointed out at the greatest flaw (spinelessness) of Pakistani civil society. I absolutely agree with you that Pakistanis do shudder at the very idea of calling themselves as secularists, leave alone declaring themselves as atheist or even agnostics.
    That was confirmed to me by my little encounter with a Pakistani gentleman in Sri Lanka. I already narrated this incident in a reputed Pakistani publication in response to a similar article, but, failed to elicit a proper response, other than a single liner. I like to reproduce the the narration without changing a word ( I am a diary writer right from my teenage days and thus tend to preserve every thing that I write.). Here it is;
    “A great piece of writing. Your country desperately needs people like you.Pakistan has a great potential to achieve progress, prosperity and can find it’s right place in comity of nations. But, just too much emphasis on religion is eating away nation’s energies. Religion is fine, as long as it is confined to a person’s own life, otherwise it can distort and degrade the social fabric.
    This was revealed to me when I accidentally met a Pakistani gentleman in Sri Lanka.
    On one of business visits to Colombo, I was at a bank and due to poor service of the staff, I just blurted out ‘kya mushkil hai’ and almost immediately, a stranger approached me and greeted ‘Asslam valeikum’ mistaking me for a fellow Pakistani.
    To cut the story short we soon became friends and ended up sipping beer at a pub. During the conversation I came to know that he is an ardent atheist. Well, that was not very surprising, but I was certainly shocked when he told me of his frequent visits to mosque just to maintain his respect, not only in the society, but in his own family too! And according to him, he was not an exception, but millions of fellow Pakistanis were forced to live double lives.
    That is when I realized Mullah’s enormous influence over Pakistani society despite of not being in power directly as in Iran.
    Separate religion from the state as they can never be compatible to each other. That is the only way to put Pakistan back on the right direction.”

  37. tHE VIEWS BY fEROZE khaN are well articulated; even cause for applause. Be!

    Cause!!

    The greatest damage to Pakistan occurred during the reigns of Bhutto (declaring the Ahmedis to be non-Muslim – – solely to brew some political edge for the so-called People’s Party – – was none of the State business) and Zia Maharaj.

    Regarding Zia .. I must add a personal episode to the epoch. I met Zia along with A K Brohi who implored him not to encourage the emerging/ nascent influx of the foreigners, altogether a different, non-tolerant culture, from Afganistan’s side (back in 1980), warning that the trickle would become a torrent and destroy the very crux of our culture. Zia attentively listened but acted contrary. Seeing this Machiavellian machination (= HyperHypocrisy) of Zia, Brohi Sahib withdrew away from Zia. I became skeptical myself about his good faith.

    In 1980 Zia Sahib said to me: “I had only one house in Islamabad: I needed money and sold it for Rs 40 Lakhs”.Yet his elder son, who used to ply taxis in Chicago while I was Asst. Attorney General of Illinois, now is worth well over a $2 Billions. The credit goes to Loot Maar of Pakistan.

    What the hell went wrong with Bhutto’s spin and attractive catchall slogan: “ROTI, KAPPRA AUR MAKAAN”, all that has gone to sectarian dogs or to off shore nest eggs of our crooKKKed/hedonist bigwigs-on-the-take.

    (All that matgters tgo our mullahs is.. well, err, moolah!)

  38. @Feroz Khan

    [September 12, 2010 at 9:44 pm]

    This post will shortly join my collection of my favourite posts on PTH.

    [September 12, 2010 at 11:04 pm]

    About my name, I am a little deflated. I had hoped that you would smile at the spirit of persiflage in which my tongue-in-cheek comments were imbued.

    Regarding your comments about the destructive elements of a legal system based on religion, I found myself wholly in agreement with you.

    Thank you.

  39. Feroz Khan

    @ Vajra

    The humor was noted, but my single track mind, in pursuit of explaining its logic, is always humorless. The post, which you identified, was the culmination of a long process of introspection and in fact, it was the series of interacts with you, which crystalized my thoughts as expressed in the post.

    Thank You!

    ciao

  40. ramesh

    when religion merges with politics,it becomes devoid of spirituality compassion and tolerance and becomes a instrument of domination.

  41. @ramesh [September 13, 2010 at 1:02 pm]

    when religion merges with politics,it becomes devoid of spirituality compassion and tolerance and becomes a instrument of domination.

    Your summary is admirably terse. It is possible that the Bible in your hands might be summarised as “God is a good thing.”

  42. Talha

    @ Syyed IQball Geoffrey

    Selling guns and drugs was another way Jihadi Generals made money in those days.

    Wasn’t Lt Gen Fazle Haq, one of the richest men in the world during his time as the Governor, later the chief minister of Pakhtunwa.

    If only the 1981 coup against Zia was a success. Things would have been so different.

  43. Hira Mir

    A confused mindset of the educated and secular class is all I can say. The right idea of secularism can make us successful as a country.

  44. Yasir Qadeer

    Agreed that seculars were afraid to come out in open due to the decade of a regime which created extremists, but now after realizing their role in getting Pakistan out of its extremist and militancy issues, seculars have come out. They are not afraid anymore because they promote a culture of pluralism and harmony among everyone which is according to Islam the right way to proper any society.

  45. nazir allahwalla

    i am secular and im underground like a coward because im scared. who will protect me if non-secular people would like to bash and hurt and kill me. I mean the fanatic non-secular freaks.
    The gove is not offering any protection. look they are killing people all over the country and the govt cant do no *hit.
    cheers

  46. Tilsim

    @ Talha

    “I have oft noted that many call for Objectives Resolution and the 1973 constitution to be torn up but I think that this would be the last step in our move towards secularism, if that were to happen.”

    Those who think that this can happen should note the extent of opposition generated against simply bringing rape law under the jurisdiction of the criminal courts. The statements of certain honourable justices of our supreme court (against a secular polity) should also provide a cold shower.

    It does not mean that we should not try to change things towards a secular country but I agree that low hanging distortions of Islamic law are a better focus of energy. The greater ‘jihad’ lies in building the case for a secular state with the wider public. This movement will suffer irreparable harm if secularists are successfully identified with irreligion by the Islamists.

  47. Sadia Hussain

    It is ironic that Pakistan which was envisioned to be a tolerant secular state cannot assure religious freedom its minorities, the discrimination against the Ahmedi’s which was initiated by Zia still continues and the Taliban just add more fuel to their sufferings. The secular elements are muted as they fear that ideas will not sink well with the masses, so now either the seculars can wait till anarchy prevails or set-aside their apprehensions and speak out LOUD!

  48. Talha

    @ Tilsim,

    You are correct in stating that initially we have to build the case for a secular state. As noted, many in Pakistan confuse it with being irreligious. That it is not but the extremists have been very successful in painting secularism with anti religious conviction.

    Jinnah figured out the people of our nation very well when he used Islam to promote secularism. He states that ‘Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody.’

    By stating that Islam has taught what secularism is all about, he made a good case for it by pleasing all across the board.

    It’s just a natural course for us to start on our way to secularism because the ‘Islamic’ project has failed miserably.

  49. Talha

    @ Sadia,

    It was Bhutto who started the state sponsored discrimination against Ahmadi’s by getting them declared ‘Non Muslims’.

    Even his religious advisor Maulana Kausar Niazi (one of the culprits of 1953 anti Ahmadi riots) pleaded with him not to touch upon this matter as it was all but dead. Bhutto being the cunning oppurtunist went ahead with the move.

    Ironically he was questioned on his ‘Muslim’ character during his trail. He said that whoso ever recites the Kalma is a Muslim and Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) had stated that anyone who calls himself a Muslim is a Muslim. This is when Muslims were being counted during the Prophets time.

    Remember it was the Ahmadi’s who gave their unequivocal support to the idea of Pakistan, not the so called ‘Muslim’ parties of India.

  50. Bin Ismail

    Moral of the story: “….Religion should not be allowed to come into Politics….Religion is merely a matter between man and God…..”. [Jinnah, 7 February 1935].

    Ironically, the moral of the story was revealed to us 12 years before the story even began.

  51. Tilsim

    “As noted, many in Pakistan confuse it with being irreligious. ”

    Well we have to also recognise that there are Pakistanis who support a secular state who are atheists or agnostics and some of them are overtly or covertly anti-religion. So it may not necessarily be just confusion.

  52. Majumdar

    Actually, I dont think secular Pakistanis are afraid of being identified as seculars. My friend Yasser is a very good eg. I am sure there are many others, incl in the media.

    The problem is with the political class and with the military and possibly also the judiciary. If you are a politician, a general or a judge and you declare yourself secular, I guess that is the end of the road (MQM perhaps may be the exception).

    Regards

  53. Talha

    @ Tilsim

    Even those who are overtly or covertly anti-religion are only so because of severe reaction to religious extremism. Islamic extremism caused some to view it with contempt and their opinions become highly anti-Islamic.

    Its a valid reaction, the current situation forced people to tend to extreme views on either side. Moderation is the vital element but in current times, it is a rarity.

  54. Ally

    Is there some sort of Secular movement in Pakistan? if not maybe people could start this as a first step!

  55. libertarian

    @nazir allahwala: i am secular and im underground like a coward because im scared. who will protect me if non-secular people would like to bash and hurt and kill me. I mean the fanatic non-secular freaks.

    I admire your courage. If I lived in an anarchic society I would be a coward too. The issue seems less about religion than about anarchy. If an oppressively religious society had decent life-and-limb guarantees, it would still course-correct. “Suo-motu” Iftikhar held some promise but he’s proved himself just another political animal.

  56. Bin Ismail

    A mass scale information-dissipation campaign would be required just to let people come to terms with the following facts:

    1. Pakistan was not created in the name of Islam.
    2. The Two Nation Theory was not an Islam vs Hinduism Theory.
    3. Jinnah believed firmly in secular statecraft.
    4. Secularism is not “la deeniyat”.
    5. Pakistan cannot survive if it cannot do away with Mullaism.

  57. M.S.Vijan

    I suggest those interested in this topic visit the web-site of ISIS Centre for Inquiry.

    (You can easily get to it by Google)

  58. moniems

    In my humble view Pakistan is neither Secular nor Islamic. Does the word “Islamic” carry the same meaning for all Pakistanis? The most important question to ask will be – what is Pakistan? Let us see if we can define Pakistan.

  59. Tilsim

    @ Talha

    “Islamic extremism caused some to view it (religion) with contempt and their opinions become highly anti-Islamic. ”

    I agree that this has inevitably occurred. My point is that the cry for a secular state has to mainly come from garden variety muslims in Pakistan for it to have any realistic chance of success.

    We can still have hope that religiously minded people will respond to arguments of co-religionists about the case for a secular state. However in Pakistan we can be certain that they will run a mile from those who promote the idea of a secular state but who at the same time also promote the idea that religion/Islam is ludicrous. We need to be aware of this to ensure that the arguments are made in the correct way.

  60. Tilsim

    @moniems
    ” Let us see if we can define Pakistan.”

    Can we define France, Uzbekistan, Papua New Guinea? What does such a question mean?

    It’s a line drawn around some land in South Asia – even that is indeterminate in parts. Is there a greater definition that two people can agree upon?

  61. Asad

    What is the person who pretends to be a Muslim, but has none of the virtues of a Mussalman ?

    I feel that the best descriptive term for Pakistan is :
    Munafiq Republic of Pakistan .

  62. moniems

    @Tilsim

    You do have a point.

    The question was in context of the debate, particularly what Bin Ismail has written above on 14/9. The constitution of a state usually defines it. In that sence Pakistan is an Islamic state. Is it really so?

  63. bciv

    @moniems

    there is an islamic character to the 1973 constitution. no law should be contrary the ‘quran and sunnah’ and the IIC can make suggestions in that regard. but parliament is in no way bound to follow the IIC’s suggestion. since the parliament is supreme, and any citizen of pakistan can be a member, we cannot call it a rule by clerics or a pure theocracy. so, pakistan is a non-secular parliamentary democracy in dire need of a huge course correction back to more and eventually full secularism.

    the islamic character of the constitution was enhanced by article 2A which was part of Zia’s 8th amendment. the 18th amendment has addressed a slight of hand as far as 2A is concerned, but it remains part of the constitution, and is therefore law, as opposed to being just the preamble before 1985. the 18th amendment has also left no doubt about requiring the pm to be muslim.

  64. Tilsim

    @moniems

    Thanks. I now understand the context. Pakistan’s constitution does declare itself to be an Islamic republic. I think my point still holds: even described this way, no two people can agree what an Islamic republic is/should be; there are too many doctrinal and interpretive differences on religious laws. The character of a state (righteous, munafiq or oppressive) is a similar nonsensical assertion.

    It’s nonsensical to define a nation state in these ways. These things cannot be the valid basis of a contract between a country and all of it’s people.

    With the mayhem and anarchy of terror around us and the total collapse of the respect for law and ethics, now is the best time for developing a new social contract. Our focus should be developing a consensus around lasting aspirational principles that can bind Pakistan to all Pakistanis. Is n’t that really what the Quaid talked about?

  65. moniems

    @Tilsim

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks.

    I will be the happiest man on earth if Quaid’s wishes can fructify.

  66. moniems

    @bciv

    I do hope the “huge course correction” would keep religion out.

    Religion; any religion, has only divided humanity. If it were not so, Man will never kill Man. Animals do not kill of their own. In my view state and church must be kept apart.

  67. bciv

    @moniems

    indeed religion has been used, in the last few millenia, by man to kill man. but man has been able to do that without needing any help from religion as well. who knows what will the next few millenia be like in this respect? if there were no religion any more, will man no longer kill man?

    allowing the state the slightest opportunity to use religion is extremely dangerous. equally, giving those whose profession it is to use religion any say at all in matters of state, and the slightest control over a state’s enormous power and influence, will also spell disaster.

    the state cannot have any say in matters between man and god, let alone claim to speak for god. indeed, man’s preservation, not just freedom, lies in making the state completely blind, and its laws perfectly neutral, to all religions or lack thereof.

  68. moniems

    @bciv

    I agree with you to a large extent.

    But humanity has reached a state where man kills man, in the present time, mostly in the name of religion. Pakistan has been uniquely unlucky; and there is no end in sight. If it can manage to keep religion out of politics in future, it can only be beneficial for all.

    I have been impressed by the work being done by “ISIS Centre for Inquiry”. There is much I found on their web-site, and I hope, like me, more and more people will like it.

  69. Talha

    @ Tilsim

    Zia’s Islamization had a lot of opposition from a number of circles but he exerted force and was able to push through with his venomous agenda.

    Pakistani’s did not put up a fight then and slowly become radicalized. I wait for something similar to occur, much like what happened in Turkey during Ataturk’s time.

    Pakistani’s have always been influenced by others easily. I expect them to follow in this path as soon as a good case for this is made. Perhaps elevated economic condition and social condition as a cause of this change will have a profound positive affect on them.

  70. Tilsim

    @ Talha

    Attaturk’s hard secularism inspires fear amongst those many Pakistanis who are otherwise secularly minded but religious. I think we refer to Turkey too much. It did n’t get Musharraf anywhere. It’s not 1926 and we cannot risk a civil war over this.

    Pakistan has it’s own objective conditions. The problem, diagnosis and treatment has to be tailored to today’s environment and be realistic in it’s aims. First of all consensus building is needed. Political and religious liberalism is a good place to start.

  71. Ram

    Hello guys,

    Some times I read a comment on this site, that Quran asks Muslims to read and understand it on their on , rather than follow the advice of some Mullah/Religious scholar. Is this correct ? Can somebody give me a referance to relevant verse.

    TIA.

  72. Ram

    *some time back I read*

  73. Talha

    @ Tilsim

    What you said is all well and good but who is going to take the initiative to start all this.

    I sure don’t see anything occurring in the mean time. Sure there is talk of it in media and blogosphere but that it about it.

  74. tilsim1

    @ Talha

    There is no magic bullet in the battle of ideas. It’s a slow and continuous grind. Take a leaf out of the book of Islamists. They have been pushing and pushing their idea for decades and gradually succeeding.

    The media and blogosphere can play an important role to clarify misconceptions. However it’s our stance in our daily lives and in the conversations we have with our friends, family and colleagues that is equally important. Its the opening of minds which can create the space for politicians to start a course correction. It’s going to take time but the ‘azm’ or resolve is personal.

  75. Feroz Khan

    @ Ram

    There is no clergy mandated in Islam. The reading, interpretation and the understanding of the Quran is left to the individual.

    As to the emergence of the clergy itself, it is open to speculation. There is evidence, which implies that the idea of a clergy and a cleric class was imported into the Islamic thought by Turks. It needs to be remembered, as China and its historic example illustrates, that a dominant culture has a better chance to assimilate a weaker cultural identity than a weak culture transforming an already existing and practiced culture.

    It seems plausible that after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire, in 1453, by the Ottomans, their developed a clerical class patterned on the model of the priesthood in Eastern Orthodox Church as the nomadic culture of the Ottomans adapted to the Byzantine culture. References to mullahs “preaching ignorance” can be found in the travel journals of the time, written by Europeans travelling to the east as early as 1600s.

    In the case of India, the same thing might have happened. When Islam came to the region in 712, the Hindu culture was already in existence for thousands of years. It is a known fact that the majority of the Muslims in the sub-continent converted to Islam from Hinduism to escape the social and economic grid-lock of the caste system.

    The point being, just because you convert to Islam does not mean an erasing of the previous life experience. It is possible that these new converts may have brought traits of Hinduism into Islam and as a result, the Islam which emerged in India was culturally different from the Islam in Arabia.

    It is instructive to remember what Nawab Akbar Bugti said to an Italian journalist, when asked what he considered himself to be; Baloch, Pakistani or a Muslim. His reply was that I ha

  76. Feroz Khan

    @ Ram

    There is no clergy mandated in Islam. The reading, interpretation and the understanding of the Quran is left to the individual.

    As to the emergence of the clergy itself, it is open to speculation. There is evidence, which implies that the idea of a clergy and a cleric class was imported into the Islamic thought by Turks. It needs to be remembered, as China and its historic example illustrates, that a dominant culture has a better chance to assimilate a weaker cultural identity than a weak culture transforming an already existing and practiced culture.

    It seems plausible that after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire, in 1453, by the Ottomans, there developed a clerical class patterned on the model of the priesthood in Eastern Orthodox Church as the nomadic culture of the Ottomans adapted to the Byzantine culture. References to mullahs “preaching ignorance” can be found in the travel journals of the time, written by Europeans travelling to the east as early as 1600s.

    In the case of India, the same thing might have happened. When Islam came to the region in 712, the Hindu culture was already in existence for thousands of years. It is a known fact that the majority of the Muslims in the sub-continent were converts from Hinduism to escape the social and economic grid-lock of the caste system.

    The point being, just because you convert to Islam does not mean an erasing of the previous life experience. It is possible that these new converts may have brought traits of Hinduism into Islam and as a result, the Islam which emerged in India was culturally different from the Islam in Arabia.

    It is instructive to remember what Nawab Akbar Bugti said to an Italian journalist, when asked what he considered himself to be; Baloch, Pakistani or a Muslim. His reply was that I have been a Pakistani for 50 years; I have been a Muslim for 1400 years and I have been a Baloch for 5000 years.

    All religions are influenced by the cultural context in which they exist and the prevailing culture often shapes the religion. Look at the practice of weddings in Pakistan; they are more closer to Hindu weddings than they are Islamic, because Islam only allows for a nikkah and a walima. In Saudi Arabia, you can leave the Quran on the floor, but in Pakistan, it cannot be left on the floor.

    This is why it is important that the historic origins of our believes and practices must be investigated and understood. In Pakistan, Islam is not so much as a religion as it is a cultural practice, which also makes people wonder why Pakistani Muslims are so different from other Muslims.

    It is a fascinating field of exploration to discover how Islam morphed in region and the influences, which shaped its intellectual developments.

    ciao

  77. @Feroz Khan

    Instinctively appealing. It resonates so well with the way major_contemporary_political_doctrines_of_a_global_ nature have transmuted into local sub-types aligned with prevalent cultural practices. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  78. Feroz Khan

    @ Vajra

    I recently had a conversation with a friend, who happens to be Hindu. He mentioned that the Hindu epic Mahabartha (sp?) is seldom found in Hindu homes, because of the fear that it instigates family feuds since the story in itself is one of family feud.

    Another tid bid of another conversation was that the reason Sanskrit declined as a language was because the Brahmin priests had a monoploy over the language and they did not allow others to learn it and in fact the Gita could only be read by the Brahmins as the caste system did not allow the non-Brahmins to touch the pages due to the fear of polluating the holy text!

    For that matter, where did the idea of memorizing the Quran come from? I am speculating here, but could the reason be a lack of a written tradition in Arabia at the time the Quran was complied? Could it be that there was a geninue fear of the Quran (and its passages) being lost due to a lack of skilled scribes to write it down and so to preserve it, memorization was encouraged?

    If this is true, it would suggest the memorization of the Quran was encouraged by the reality of an existing condition in society – illiteracy – and not because of a devine injunction, as it is presently understood.

    Getting back to the India and Islam and the clergy, lets speculate again. Could it be possible that the introduction of a clergy was the result of the Hindu converts to Islam bringing the practice of priesthood from Hinduism into Islam as a cultural carry-over trait from their old religion?

    When “desis” move to a different country, don’t they bring their culture with them?🙂 What really changes is the location of the experience and not experience of the person! The person and their memory is the same and you cannot erase it!

    Why did the Lahories react so strongly against the Data Durbar blasts? They identified with the culture of Sufism as seen in the veneration of Data sahib and the blasts were an attack on their culture; their very identies, which went way above the reasons of politics, religion etc.

    Look at Islam in Saudi Arabia. Despite Whabbism, and Islam, the Bedouins have not lost their ancient ways and still maintain them. 🙂

    ciao

  79. Ram

    @Feroz

    Thank You

  80. swapnavasavdutta

    “He mentioned that the Hindu epic Mahabartha (sp?) is seldom found in Hindu homes, because of the fear that it instigates family feuds since the story in itself is one of family feud.”

    Feroz, that is not true. Never heard of this before
    you mentioned it here. And there is much more
    to Mahabharat than family feuding.

  81. Feroz Khan

    @ swapnavasavdutta

    Interesting! Thanks for stating this fact before I made a general impression and assumed what was not correct!

    ciao

  82. Amit Kumar

    Mere Pakistani and Indian..Bhaiyo aur Behanoo. I know i have posted all kinds of kind and not so kind post to this.. But i thank PHT. i helped me in getting to understand not only Pakistan but also about India.

    I think Pakistan is the country which gives most importance to us Indians. i thank them for this.

    Just now I have ordered a book by Deepak Chopra. “Muhammad: A Story of the Last Prophet” This book has got great reviews by Islamic scholar as well. My pakistani friends may be interested in this book.

    Currently Deepak Chopra is sending tweets about Muhammad’s quotes. I can only say these are just divine. I hope this book remove some bad press that prophet is getting.

    If this books contribute to improve the image of Islam, .Can inturn this will help our part of the world. the divide between Hindus and Muslims?

  83. Amit Kumar

    @Feroz Khan…with my recent encounter with reviews for..
    Deepak Chopra’s. “Muhammad: A Story of the Last Prophet”

    Koran means recite (in Arabic). and Prophet was told by angel is just recite the revelation.

    PS.. i am just recalling what i read a bit by Mr Chopra. so no offence if i am wrong🙂

  84. Tilsim

    I feel that the whole idea of a monolithic Islamic culture is really just a political construct. Imitating the Prophet in dress, appearance and taking on the social customs of pre-medieval arabia is a form of worship of form over substance. It’s actually a negation of Islam in my view which infact asks mankind to avoid placing unwarranted emphasis and meaning to the physical form and appearance of things.

    Historically Islam succeeded in establishing itself when it co-opted the local culture. The naats and qawallis in our part of the word are a perfect example of this. It was a syncretic response to the music in Hinduism. It’s so strange to see the blind acceptance of Wahabi and Salafi ideas across the muslim world and the suppression of indigenous cultures. This is a modern political development, not a religious one. Instead of building bridges, political Islam destroys them.

  85. LokSabha

    Feroz Khan:

    The brahminical monopoly was on the Vedic hymns – which are in an archaic form of Sanskrit, rather different from classical Sanskrit whose grammar was described by Panini.

    Puranic Hinduism – which is pretty much what is visible today – includes the Ramayana, Gita, etc., was open to all castes except the Dalits.

    Sanskrit declined for a variety of reasons, which we can discuss at some other time.

  86. @O most excellent Feroz Khan

    A most satisfying post. Now the struggle not to dwell on each point, but to cut each section down to the bone.

    I recently had a conversation with a friend, who happens to be Hindu. He mentioned that the Hindu epic Mahabartha (sp?) is seldom found in Hindu homes, because of the fear that it instigates family feuds since the story in itself is one of family feud.

    The Mahabharata was originally reduced to writing in Sanskrit, but is available in a multitude of languages; almost every language spoken by Hindus in India, I think, has a version. The original was, in full-blown form, around 100,000 verses; I think very few households in India have the original 100,000 verse blockbuster lurking around anywhere.

    Far more likely finds are a full-version in a vernacular language, or one of two English versions: a slim ‘spirit-of’ version by C. Rajagopalachariar, a much more satisfying, but still a single volume version by Kamala Subrahmanyam (this is the version I personally like most).

    I haven’t actually encountered this prejudice against the Mahabharata; that doesn’t mean that some people some where in the community don’t harbour it. Possible. But to reduce it to a family feud is really, er, brusque. Something, to quote myself, like saying the Bible can be summarised as ‘God is a good thing’.

    It would be closer to think of it as it is, a layered epic, around a core, the Jaya or the Bharata (there are academic squabbles about which and how big the original core was). It does not have an artistic integrity; it emphatically isn’t one writing from beginning to end. It was not one of the canonical four books of the Vedas, or their adjuncts; it was, in fact, originally recited, frequently, for entertainment at royal palaces, and clearly, generations of reciters added their own favourite story. Think of it as closer to the Talism Hoshruba; it has everything. You can open it at any page, and find a fascinating story, a personality, a tribe still living, a custom, a dress, a dish to eat.

    You can meet the Kamboh, in their original form, tall, fair breeders of the best horses known to the tribes, the Parama Kamboja, not quite the same as the embattled tribes, but recognised as distant kinsmen, probably speaking east Iranian, probably part of the Scythian tribes, residents of the trans-Pamir regions, around present-day Ferghana, fearless horsemen fighting as cavalry or as charioteers, irresistible in their charges, finally stopped by Arjun putting an arrow through their prince, who was leading the battle, and who then fell slowly, like a tall pine tree, from his chariot.

    Or if the reader is a stiff-necked idiot with more courage than discretion who does not know when to shut up and sit down – self-effacement forbids a closer identification – he can read about that dreadful day when the Pasupat Astra was unleashed on the Pandavas. They escaped total destruction only because Krishna recognised the spell before it had become potent, and shouted to the army to lie flat on the ground, in complete submission; only the wolf-waisted hero Bhim was defiant, standing and glowering in his battle-madness at the spell, as it slowly built up fury and tried to tear him apart, feeding on his resistance and growing momentarily more violent till it seemed that the earth itself would burn. Finally, the horrified Krishna, watching this, was able to get Bhim down, and the spell passed over them and was dissipated.

    Or read how a hungry, thirsty Yudhisthir went after his wife and his brothers, gone looking for water in their forest exile, and found them stretched dead on a lakeshore, and found himself fighting for his life, not physically, but answering cosmic questions on high philosophy, on ethics and the nature of man and of the divine, to be left alive.

    So: the story you heard is possible, but the reason is not very good. Put it down to prejudice. Quite a bit more than a family feud.

    Another tid bid of another conversation was that the reason Sanskrit declined as a language was because the Brahmin priests had a monoploy over the language and they did not allow others to learn it and in fact the Gita could only be read by the Brahmins as the caste system did not allow the non-Brahmins to touch the pages due to the fear of polluating the holy text!

    There was, and is, among the most regressive sections of the priesthood, such a belief, that only Brahmin men should recite the Vedas, but it was the Vedas, neither the Mahabharata or the Ramayana was under such a ban. The two epics were widely reproduced and you will find many who are familiar with the bulk of the story of each, down to individual incidents and details.

    The decline of Sanskrit is another matter. It was Vedic Sanskrit, akin to Avestan, that was spoken by the tribes, in which they chanted their hymns, which their distant kinsmen on the northern mountains and further still spoke while their own speech changed. Sanskrit, the ‘polished/ground ‘ tongue, was High Chant, spoken by kings and priests; the Buddha in 600 BC found it preferable to preach and speak in the language of the common man, Prakrit.

    My own reconstruction from readings of the experts is that Vedic Sanskrit gradually became Prakrit, the ‘natural’ tongue, until Panini took a firm grip on the situation, wrote his magisterial grammar, and effectively created a high language, Sanskrit, opposed to the low. Around 600 BC and later, Sanskrit was a formalised language in which Hindu scriptures were recorded, but not a living language. In the same play, you might find the king and the rishis speaking the high tongue, but the heroine’s friend, full of news, bursting in with the very earthy usage, ‘Hola, hola, Sa’undale!’ Apparently women and others outside court spoke differently from the great people.

    Getting back to the India and Islam and the clergy, lets speculate again. Could it be possible that the introduction of a clergy was the result of the Hindu converts to Islam bringin
    g the practice of priesthood from Hinduism into Islam as a cultural carry-over trait from their old religion?

    Perhaps it is safer to say that perfectly good traits and practises were introduced from elsewhere, and suffered the strange changes that India inflicts on people and systems.

    So too might we look with speculation in our minds, at the well-recorded concept of the madrassah, and wonder to what extent its implementation in India was influenced by the tradition of the scholar living away from his parents with his preceptor to receive instruction, paying through household service, until certified fit by his master to go out into the world as a householder in society.

    When “desis” move to a different country, don’t they bring their culture with them?🙂 What really changes is the location of the experience and not experience of the person! The person and their memory is the same and you cannot erase it!

    Calloo callay,
    O frabjous day…
    ….and there goes the Indus Man. If I were to daub myself with war-paint, and dance with loud whoops around a blazing fire tomahawk in hand, would you conclude that I rather agreed with you?

    Why did the Lahories react so strongly against the Data Durbar blasts? They identified with the culture of Sufism as seen in the veneration of Data sahib and the blasts were an attack on their culture; their very identies, which went way above the reasons of politics, religion etc.

    Look at Islam in Saudi Arabia. Despite Whabbism, and Islam, the Bedouins have not lost their ancient ways and still maintain them.🙂

    We have been discussing different identifiers, and had obviously come to the conclusion that there were many apart from religious identifiers; ethnic and linguistic came readily to most people’s memories and the discussion. You have made us remember that cultural identity is another factor of identity.

    A useful reminder. Thank you.

  87. Bin Ismail

    @ Vajra

    God addresses Man from His pedestal of absolute knowledge and absolute wisdom. He, out of shear grace, stoops down to our level to make sure His message is comprehensible. He thus, generously employs the tools of allegory, metaphor and symbolism. Man, on the other hand, unfortunately tends to approach scriptures with a literalistic attitude, leaving him to arrive at incorrect conclusions and violent interpretations.

  88. Feroz Khan

    @ Vajra

    Culture is our identity!

    ciao

  89. Bin Ismail

    @ MilesToGo
    @ due

    Although, from the tones of your respective comments, I can figure out without intense reasoning that you are already predisposed unfavourably towards Islam, yet I would like to briefly explain some things.

    1. The concept of “fear”, like any other concept, is liable to be misunderstood if not viewed in the right perspective. The Quran introduces the concept of “taqwa”, meaning fear of God. The fear of God does not resemble the state of fear one experiences when confronting possible harm. Fear of God is more comparable to the concept of the fear of displeasing a beloved one. Thus the Quranic concept of Fear of God is based on Love of God. It is “love for God” that gives birth to “fear of God”.

    2. God has left a lot to man’s free will, including how he chooses to interpret the Word of God. Every single thing is not predetermined since the beginning of time. Indeed, there are some matters and events that were predetermined, but certainly not all. In fact, if man is accountable, it is because man has been given the right to choose. Hence he’s accountable for the choices he makes. Yes, man was susceptible to error, and God knew that indeed, but man was not predestined to make that error.

    3. Before you exalt yourself pompously to the station where you can judge God’s ability to make His message comprehensible for man, I suggest you take a deeper look at man’s eagerness or lack of it, to understand a message delivered to him. You may even like to begin with your noble self. God has delivered His message in diverse ways to man, but man is not always prepared to consider the message. There may be a variety of hurdles in man’s way, foremost of which is man’s own inflated ego.

    4. The typical cynic-cum-skeptic who tends to look upon everyone other than himself as a flatterer-cum-opportunist is all the more liable to make a repeated fool of himself.

  90. AlreadyWalkedMiles

    MilesToGo: the problem is that these guys think that God/Allah has deputized them as the sheriff in town. Instead of minding their own business, they want to police everyone else’s morals and faith. How they have come to think so, I don’t understand.

  91. Bin Ismail

    @ MilesToGo:

    Regarding heaven and hell, and their nature, we should not lose sight of the following:

    1. The Hereafter is not a material life in the sense we live today. The material aspects of our existence will all be left here and it will be the spirit and spiritual senses that will move on to the next spiritual life. Hence, terms like fire and gardens, are all metaphorical terms, used only to describe the general state.

    2. “Jahannam” or hell is not necessarily a place where punishments will be inflicted. It less resembles the gallows and more the hospital. Hell would be a place where the sick soul would be treated and cleansed of all its sins. Muhammad said, “A time would come upon hell that it would be completely empty and the morning breeze would bang its doors”. The hospital would have successfully treated all its patients.

    3. The “fire” refers to “the burning due to guilt – the sense of remorse”. Other metaphorical expressions have similar connotations.

  92. no-communal

    due

    At another time on another thread this is what you admonished us with,

    “Old books and dead persons are not going to help us a bit. If intelligent people keep talking about all this dead stuff then the less-intelligent will be misled and take to them even more fanatically.”

    Now, you are writing,

    “Apparently your god has no ability to make himself comprehensible in an unambiguous manner and thus avoid all the difficulties..”

    So now you are talking about god. God ?? Shouldn’t we give that guy a rest?

  93. @Bin Ismail [September 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm]

    It is not clear what you had in mind. Is it that every composition of man, every profane work, every allegory, or romance, or travellers’ tale, or novel, or poem is a message of God, in which he is to be found (to speak your language: in my ancestral religion, it should be she)? If so, there is an implicit obligation to read every such work, not to miss a single word of however remote a divine origin.

    On the other hand, it is possible that you did not have such a rigorous interpretation in mind, and were only referring to accepted scripture. If so, these epics are not quite scripture; they were rollicking good tales, told for the sake of entertainment initially, then for the sake of the teller’s fame, and finally, increasingly, for the pennies that followed.

    The only part of the Mahabharata that is close to scriptural sanctity is the Gita, very obviously and clearly composed by human hand, to meet human purposes and objects. Its only claim to divine status is because it was put in the mouth of Krishna; whether it was the mouth of a living, breathing Krishna, a wise advisor to his Pandava kinsmen or an avatar depending on your point of view.

    These epics have great story value, some indirect moral value, tremendous linguistic value and so on. And that is where it ends.😀

  94. Dastagir

    YEH TO HONA HEE THAA.
    YLH : 2 Quick Points.
    (1) Means are as (if not more) important than the end. You cannot employ wrong means to reach a “right” goal. It flops.
    (2) The criminalisation of politics (RSS – the world’s largest terrorist organisation with its institutionalised riot systems in India; and the Talibani Mullah in Pakistan) squeezed / narrowed the secular space, the feeble plant of mutual acceptance, diversity and love in the sub-continent. Babu Bajrangi and Amit Shah got “India”, Baitullah or Hakimullah got “Pakistan”., and the Dark Bunngalie/ Bangladeshi (who is not a Bengowli.. that is only for “Bhadralok” was left at the mercy of nature (Bay of Bengal).

    Food for thought : I now quote a column by Shobhaa De (Published : Hindustan Times., 19 Sept 2010), to reflect upon. This is what i have been saying all the while…

    Quote :

    Two years on, Mumbai is marginalizing Muslims
    Shobhaa De
    It has happened. I guess it had to. Perhaps, it happened a few months or a few years ago. Perhaps, it was always there, but swept under the carpet. Society’s dirty secret is finally out — everybody knows about it but nobody talks about it. Ten days ago, I received a call from a Muslim friend. She sounded a little concerned. Her anxiety had to do with her nephew’s admission into one of Mumbai’s better colleges. His marks were good, his conduct exemplary. He had been a prefect at school and participated in several extracurricular activities. I asked what the hitch was. She sounded almost embarrassed as she said, “Well, we are Muslims and that seems to be the problem in a lot of colleges.”
    I was shocked. “Are you sure that’s what it is?’ I said, not prepared to believe it was the situation in some of the ‘progressive’ South Mumbai educational institutions. My friend went on to narrate how her nephew had been subjected to blatant discrimination during interviews and told upfront that it was his surname that came in the way. She apologized again for the ‘trouble’ she was putting me through. She added, “If the boy was not as bright, I would have told him to forget it, and do something else. But he is keen to study science and make a mark for himself — he has always been a good student. If he doesn’t get into a recognized college, his career is as good as over.”
    I made a couple of calls to friendly neighbourhood college principals and asked whether they were really screening students on the basis of religion. One of them denied it; the other sheepishly admitted that such a directive was in place, but on an informal level. “We don’t want trouble,’’ the principal added virtuously. When i asked him to specify what sort of trouble a young man like my friend’s nephew could possibly cause, the principal replied, “These days, you never know. How can you trust these people?” What do you mean by ‘these people’? I persisted. The principal whispered, “Leave it. Don’t make me spell it out. In any case, we don’t have a vacancy.” I called up another college. The person was enthusiastic and polite, saying their list was still open and the student I was recommending, definitely qualified etc. Then i was asked for the name. As soon as i mentioned it, his voice changed. ‘Let me crosscheck with the clerk. I think I made a mistake. So sorry, admissions were closed yesterday.” Finally, I spoke to a lady who heard me out and said, “Send the boy to me tomorrow morning. I’ll see what I can do.” This story has a happy ending — the boy got in.
    But that’s because his aunt was in a position to make a few calls on his behalf. There are thousands like him in Mumbai and across India, who are up against an invisible wall, unable to move forward, determined not to look backwards, but stymied all the way. When I met the young man and his family, they had tears of gratitude in their eyes. The point is: I didn’t do them a favour. And neither did the college. He was entitled to receive the same access and treatment on the basis of merit alone. Any college should have held its doors open for him. Especially as the colleges he had applied to were in Mumbai and not some backward town in the back of beyond. I felt intensely sad, as I accepted a box of mithai from his emotional relatives. It was as if they had crossed an impossible hurdle when it was just a routine matter of showing your marksheet, paying the fees and getting in. Will this boy ever forget the humiliation? Can his family forget the frustrating days when college after college turned them away on some pretext or the other? Perhaps this experience will toughen the lad and make him excel. Perhaps not. It is the ‘not’ that is worrying. Nearly every known privilege that a non-Muslim counterpart can and does take for granted, is denied to him in what was once a liberal, cosmopolitan city with great colleges and outstanding leaders in every field. Today, those temples of education are practicing a nasty version of religious profiling which is going to lead to major problems if it goes unchecked.
    There is no getting away from the current polarization. I used to kid myself that some of my Muslim friends were being ‘paranoid’ when they talked about ‘the problem’ (as we had dubbed it). That ‘problem’ pretty much covered everything — from getting a job to finding accommodation. At the time (post- 26/11), we believed it was a passing phase that would disappear once everything ‘settled down’. Except that nobody quite knew what was meant to settle down or whether it would ever happen. But we consoled ourselves, saying sensitivities at the time were running high — people were angry and afraid. More than that, people were confused. Two years down the line, there are no alibis, no screens to hide behind. Positions have obviously hardened to such a degree that now city colleges have begun to follow their own quota system and turn down eligible students because they are Muslims. We are a few weeks away from the anniversary of one of the most devastating and tragic events that ripped the city apart. No, we cannot and must not forget what happened. That awful attack was the work of hardcore terrorists. What we are doing may be much worse — we are killing the spirit of innocents. The latter crime may have far more lethal repercussions!

    Unquote :

  95. moniems

    @Dastagir

    I would love to know the source of the following in your write-up

    (RSS – the world’s largest terrorist organisation with its institutionalised riot systems in India)

    I have a feeling the Taliban will contest this claim!

  96. Bin Ismail

    @ Vajra (September 19, 2010 at 9:10 am)

    “…..The only part of the Mahabharata that is close to scriptural sanctity is the Gita, very obviously and clearly composed by human hand, to meet human purposes and objects. Its only claim to divine status is because it was put in the mouth of Krishna; whether it was the mouth of a living, breathing Krishna, a wise advisor to his Pandava kinsmen or an avatar depending on your point of view…..”

    Thank you for highlighting something I had unintentionally left out, because perhaps I had taken it for granted. My comment addressed to you [September 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm] was precisely with reference to the Gita. The prior discussion on Mahabharata, prompted the comment.

    With reference to your words, “….Krishna, a wise advisor to his Pandava kinsmen or an avatar depending on your point of view…..”, may I submit my point of view. I believe that Krishna was a prophet and messenger of God, as were Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. In Islamic Tasawwuf [Mysticism] there is a term used for all prophets and men of God – “mazhar-e uloohiyyat”. This term could literally be translated as “manifestation of Divinity”. All prophets, were, without exception manifestations of Divinity, each reflecting Divine attributes to an extent maximally possible by a human being. God’s countenance could be seen in their righteous and illuminated ways. God revealed Himself to peoples of all lands, by sending such individuals. The term adopted for such individuals in the Hindu scriptures, as I understand, is “Avatar”. From my point of view, the Gita was not, in its prime form, a human discourse. I am of the opinion that this was a Divine revelation, revealed to Krishna. The revealed words kept flowing from Krishna’s mouth, of course later on preserved with the help of scribes, and that is how they got to reach us. Like most scriptures, the Gita too, could not remain immune to human intervention and interpolations did creep into the original text. Thus eventually, the Gita became a blend of revelation and human discourse. The Gita, as we know today, in my opinion, is a metamorphosed form of the originally revealed Gita.

    My comment addressed to you [September 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm], was intended to be in relation to the Gita. Indeed, there is a substantial volume of metaphor in the Quran too. Jesus, we know also spoke in parables. My comment, however, was a continuation of the discussion on Mahabharat, more specifically in relation to Gita.

  97. moniems

    To bin ismail

    Please see the web-site of “ISIS Centre for Inquiry” for all information you need on your God.

    (Site can be found through Google)

  98. Prasad

    Vajra //Its only claim to divine status is because it was put in the mouth of Krishna//

    dont treat them with so much disdain..who put these words in the mouth of krishna? certainly it was not created out of thin air….As Bin Ismail rightly mentions Lord Krishna was a messenger of God as he deciphers complexities of Human Life and confusions of relationships so vividly in Gita – solving some of the most complex questions (every human faces at one or the other point in life) with elan that it survives thousands of years and still getting stronger by the day..

    these epics be it Ramayana, Mahabharata or the Vedas were all about celebrating human life/values in their times and hence are great referral points to human blunders, lessons and most importantly humility. It is upto us whether we should just ‘memorise’ and treat them as mere documents OR/ learn something out of them that makes our lives much more richer

  99. Feroz Khan

    @ Dastagir (September 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm)

    A very interesting article. India will have to deal with the consequences of her decisions, just has we had to deal with ours on religion based policies. Any policy made on the basis of religion cannot be anything but unfair.

    The article makes a good point, which Vajra and I also discussed, which is about issue of equality before the law and how the use of religion, in any sphere, destroys that idea (September 12, 2010 at 11:04 pm).

    Once religious based policies are to used to justify discrimination, the level of marginalization that a group suffers is directly proportional to its access to the law. The problem for India, in this case, will come when the Indian Muslims lose their faith in the Indian laws to protect them and do not see anything in common with those laws and the state, which stands behind those laws.

    In India, that situation is still some ways off, but in Kashmir it is very much present and which also explains, why the Indian government is concerned about the events in Kashmir. Once the problem is identified, the real challenge then becomes how fast and smoothly the bureacracy can address the sense of deprivations, because it is the bureaucracy that has to carry out the policies, and how easily traditional institutional interests can change to the situation.

    As some once said, religion is a strong starter but a poor finisher.🙂

    ciao

  100. @Bin Ismail
    @Prasad

    It is difficult but a necessity for both sides to respect each other in a discussion like this one, as clearly you are both theists, and I am an agnostic, acting, evaluating and thinking on that basis. However, even in the same response, there is a difference, a nuance that will come in when I respond thinking of Bin Ismail’s words, from outside Sanatan Dharma, and when thinking of Prasad’s words, from inside. If there is an element of harshness in one over the other, over the difference that I can myself sense even as I think about my post, it is this element of speaking to my own against speaking to a learned person from another community that causes it.

    @Bin Ismail

    From your words, and your definition of mazhar-i-uloohiyyat, it is apparent that there are three distinct forms of Krishna that seem to be visible to different points of view.

    A rationalist and agnostic can see only the Yadav chieftain, strong, skilled in war, feared and respected by all for his wisdom and astute brain, the beloved of women, the eagerly-sought friend of kings and their guide, even when they knew that he was a friend of their greatest foe, supremely confident in peaceful times and perilous, smiling in ineffable contempt when threatened on an embassy. I see a wise man, sure at every step, able to mould matters to his wishes as he judged best for society, for his known world even; he was cursed by Gandhari for allowing the battle to take place and for the death of her hundred (=many) sons, a curse he bowed his head to, knowing that she spoke the truth. Not a cold fish, mind you; he was a romantic when young, but remained the Aryan warrior even into his maturity. When Arjuna, in spite of the backbone-straightening advice of the Gita, failed to summon sufficient enthusiasm against the Grandsire, Krishna lost his temper.

    A very human figure. I have logic and the precedent of great men being turned into demi-gods on my side in concluding that there may have been a living human being called Krishna, who was no king but was great among kings, a warrior and an elder statesman, and part of a clan that lives to this day.

    The second view is yours, of a human being but one infused by the divine afflatus. There is that; he was insightful and wise, and at least on the occasion of the battlefield sermon that he preached, the Gita (chanted rather than preached, rather than sung), he reached a lofty ethical level. Yes, to that extent, he fits your definition of a great teacher, of a prophet, far more than do other ‘avatars’ (Krishna was an avatar of Vishnu, and you are undoubtedly aware of the ten avatars of Vishnu, also that converting the Buddha into an avatar was a very Hindu way of fighting his influence among common people).

    The trouble lies with the third view. In this view, the orthodox Hindu view, he was God born on earth as man, as is said to happen in Hindu thinking, especially when the world groans under oppression and a cleansing hero is needed. God then appears as such a hero, and has appeared often in the past, and will appear in future. This is so close to your explanation of mazhar-i-uloohiyyat that there is no doubt that looking at the matter through a slight squint, both sides will recognise the vision of the other.

    However, technically, the orthodox Hindu view is that an avatar, while living and acting like an ordinary human being, is actually infused with the god-head; he is to be worshipped. This is the key difference, which resonates very strongly with the Arian-Orthodox controversy among the pre-Council of Nicaea Christians, and all is not lost to monotheism in considering the matter. In the Christian case, matters went too far and the Arians were declared heretic. It need not have, of course; later, both Orthodox and Catholic Churches coexisted with similar disabilities for years, omitting or adding the filioque clause as matters demanded.

    Bottom line: an orthodox Hindu will demand that an avatar be seen as God on earth, an orthodox Muslim will refuse this category outright.

    Below the bottom line: it is the basic message of the Gita that is a problem, not the messenger in whose mouth the authors chose to put it.

    @Prasad

    Apparently you are not sure that Krishna is an avatar and are willing to settle on ‘messenger of God’. Which is fine in terms of denying his divinity, but which still demands the existence of God to justify his being a messenger of God.

    Have you actually studied the Gita? If you have, you will find that it is a Brahminical blueprint of social terms and relations, or of the interplay of social classes, and is a meticulous documented manifesto of supremacy. It is pointless to debate the Gita in the annals of the PakTeaHouse, ridiculous even, but an honest and open-minded reading may help you look under the surface and see the deliberate, directed content of the work.

    It is clearly artificial, created by man, and clearly written to a specification. It serves a purpose, not a divine purpose but a very earthly sacerdotal purpose.

    Finally, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana are epics, not the Vedas. Again, it would help take the discussion further if you could confirm that you have actually read them, even in translation. Not that I doubt it at all, but it would help.

  101. due

    “The problem for India, in this case, will come when the Indian Muslims lose their faith in the Indian laws to protect them and do not see anything in common with those laws and the state, which stands behind those laws.”

    Then they have to go to Pakistan or saudi arabia where they will have it better. They are waiting with open arms with “better” and “divine” laws.

  102. no-communal

    Prasad

    “As Bin Ismail rightly mentions Lord Krishna was a messenger of God as he deciphers complexities of Human Life and confusions of relationships so vividly in Gita – solving some of the most complex questions (every human faces at one or the other point in life) with elan that it survives thousands of years and still getting stronger by the day.”

    Why is what you describe above impossible by a wise, learned, and unusually foresighted person, who was but just a human being like the rest of us? Why does he have to be the “messenger of God”? And why do the words themselves have to be god’s words?

    Some of these so-called avatars had their flaws too, right? Why do we forget Rama killed pious king Bali by essentially playing a trick on him? It was Rama who proposed Sita go through ‘test by fire’ not once but twice. How is that justice to Sita?

    All told, mortals like the rest of us but with strength, wisdom, and other virtues, and some flaws too, is probably a better description of them than “messenger of God” or avatar.

    “these epics be it Ramayana, Mahabharata or the Vedas were all about celebrating human life/values in their times and hence are great referral points to human blunders, lessons and most importantly humility. It is upto us whether we should just ‘memorise’ and treat them as mere documents OR/ learn something out of them that makes our lives much more richer.”

    This is very agreeable to the last word.
    I am happy that our ancestors produced such great pieces of literature that enthrall readers to this day. But, god’s word? That’s a bit of stretch.

  103. no-communal

    Dastagir

    Please don’t give RSS more publicity than they deserve. Remember their chief enemy in the Hindutva camp is one Narendra Modi.

    Shobhaa De’s column does not prove “Babu Bajrangi got India”. Mumbai happened just 2 years ago. Odd what Shobhaa De describes is so much less common in Kolkata. Why? The city is on the other side of the country and psychologically much less affected. I wish this discrmination went away, but, to reiterate, it doesn’t mean Babu Bajrangi got India.

    By the way, how is that paragon of exceptionalism, US of A, fairing on this front 9 years after the attack on its soil?

  104. tilsim1

    It’s amazing to see the level of difficulty some people have with religious people. Most Pakistanis are religious so their comments from a religious stand point should not offend anyone who out of his or her own volition choses to spend time with them. Somehow, it’s not good enough to let the two worlds of religion and irreligion be; instead, it’s necessary to preach actively against religion with evangelic zeal. That’s fine but just remember the shutters go up pretty quickly when uninvited evangelists arrive. Some respect would be in order.

  105. no-communal

    @tilsim

    I am sorry if you or others felt offened by any of my comments.

  106. AlreadyWalkedMiles

    Have you actually studied the Gita? If you have, you will find that it is a Brahminical blueprint of social terms and relations, or of the interplay of social classes, and is a meticulous documented manifesto of supremacy. It is pointless to debate the Gita in the annals of the PakTeaHouse, ridiculous even, but an honest and open-minded reading may help you look under the surface and see the deliberate, directed content of the work.

    Backwards and forwards and sideways. Vajra is talking through the wrong end of his anatomy. There are probably four or five shlokas in all that talk about social terms, relationships or any such.

  107. AlreadyWalkedMiles

    BTW, the idea that God sent messengers to all peoples etc., is a theological idea, it is not a historical idea and it is not an evidence-based idea.

  108. @due [September 19, 2010 at 9:20 pm]

    “The problem for India, in this case, will come when the Indian Muslims lose their faith in the Indian laws to protect them and do not see anything in common with those laws and the state, which stands behind those laws.”

    Then they have to go to Pakistan or saudi arabia where they will have it better. They are waiting with open arms with “better” and “divine” laws.

    If any section of the population loses faith in Indian laws, what makes you think that the rest will keep their faith? or that the rest will see something in common with those laws and the state which stands behind those laws?

    In case a matter of assault is not dealt with, does it matter if a Muslim is assaulted, or it happens to be a Hindu? If the due process does not work for one, do you imagine it will work for the other?

    Or are you pinning your faith on being part of the majority and enforce your individual freedom with brute force? If that be the case, what happens when you happen to be the minority, as might happen when a segment is not monolithic? If two sections of Hindus start fighting each other, will you then argue that the majority should continue to be given preference? If you happen to be in the minority of those factions locked in fighting, will you still think this way?

    Do you think before you write these things?

  109. @AlreadyWalkedMiles [September 20, 2010 at 7:23 am]

    Of course, the old argument. Very conveniently, we are presented only the end, not the reasoning through the argument:

    1. You are right, but not right enough.
    2. You are right to such a small extent that it does not matter.
    3. You are right only to a small extent as far as I can make out.
    4. I won’t say whether I can make this out because I know for myself or think I’ve heard something like that.
    5. I won’t say whether I know any more, and so I won’t say if any of that is wrong or right.

    Backwards and forwards and sideways, I think you said?

    It might be a good idea to go back and read it.

  110. Raza Raja

    @ Vajra

    Sir the above was simply brilliant reply!!!

  111. Dastagir

    Non Communal : I am not exaggerating. I am just saying plain facts, people usually find uncomfortable to utter. They are best pushed under the carpet. But if you push something “real” under the carpet for decades, then such peace or tranquility is very feeble and superficial. While the cauldron is brewing inside…

    There has to be a sense of Justice. “Dharma”… Raaj Dharma… There are no preferred communities. All men are equal before Law., and have equal share in the spoils of the state (admissions to schools, medical colleges, IITs [dont say :IIT for us., and ITI’s for them i.e. muslims], IIMs, AIIMS, IIITs, Jobs in Govt – Union & State, IAS/IPS/Allied Services, UPSC & State Public Service Commission Job Appointments, Banks, Disbursement of Loans, Disbursement of Patta Sites, etc. ). There is an argument of “merit”. There is an argument of affirmative action. There is an argument that INSTITUTIONS (Schools, Colleges, Universities, Seats of Higher Learning, Tahsildar’s Office right upto Cabinet Secretariat, Banks etc.)., must REFLECT the ground reality of society to the extent possible. For instance, India has around 14% Muslim population (official 2001 census); whereas unofficially the figure is put at 18-20%. I hate exaggeration., so let us take the official figure of 14% as base.

    Do our Institutions (enunciated above) have a muslim component equivalent to their population ratio. Why are they no muslims in RAW & IB ? I have no problem if India becomes a Hindu Raj (de-jure), because as of now., it is a Hindu Raj (de-fact0). Govt. Offices have portraits of Hindu deities, Govt. functions start with Pujas., construction of Govt. buildings start with Bhoomi Puja, Raj Bhavans across India have built small temples inside their premises !!!etc. etc. etc. Fair enough. In this de-facto (de-jure in the next few years) Hindu Raj, what should be the position of India’s 2nd largest majority : The Muslims ! This is the key question.

    You cannot push this under the carpet anymore. The presence of Muslims in India is serving as a “shock absorber” and a “punching bag”. For a moment, hypothetically, remove the muslim component in Indian social life., and what we have is a caste-war or civil war between Hindus. Jawaharlal Nehru was the greatest Hindu in the past few centuries, Vallabhai Patel and Bhimrao Ambavedkar (Ambedkar) accepted “De-Jure” Secularism because they knew., that if they went for a Hindu Raj (officially), it would turn Hindu India into what is presently Muslim Pakistan. So, Nehru [who was very well read, and had a good grasp of sociology than most of his colleagues, except for Maulana Abulkalam Azad, whose sociological analysis proved correct 100%], who was the greatest Hindu and the greatest Indian, accepted Secularism, not to save muslims., but to save Hinduism and Hindus from a consistent Dharma-Yuddha or Civil War.

    Mixing Religion with Politics is a Sociological Crime. Once you mix the cyanide., you cant take it out. [Mr. Gandhi did it with Khilafat Movement – which Mr. Jinnah opposed. Gujarati Bania Mr. Gandhi became an All India Leader riding the back of an emotional naive fool Maulana Mohammed Ali Jauhar. Iqbal’s poetry was “wine” for the uninitiated who lost control. Iqbal was completely off the mark when it came ot his sociological and anthropological insights…. though he was a world-class poet… no denying that…] Indira Gandhi mixed religion [her protege Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale thru Zail Singh & Sanjay Gandhi] to make life hard for the Akalis in Punjab… that led to its own reaction(s)… Rajiv Gandhi the Boy Scout, with 400 seats in Parliament, preferred the advice of Arun Nehru the Salesman from Kolkata and did what he did.. Justice Chandrachud gave his judgement in the Shah Bano Case… Syed Shahabuddin tried to be Jinnah-II… and fought the case politically.. and had the Act repealed by an act of Parliament. Advani was not the one to miss this golden chance. He suddenly remembered RAMA… Ayodhya… [By this time, Ramanand Sagar’s TV Serial at 10 AM on Sundays was a hit] ! Advani did NOT remember RAMA Chandra ji… in 1977.. when he was Minister for Information in Morarjibhai Desai’s Cabinet. He / Atal dare not open his mouth and utter “RAMA” in front of Morarji ! But Rajiv played both with Muslim and Hindu communal sensibilities and in the bargain strengthened RSS. He dabbled again in Sri Lanka, on the advice of Jayalalitha and paid the price for his error with his life.

    To summarise : be it Gandhi / Mohamed Ali Jauhar / Indira Gandhi / Rajiv Gandhi / LK Advani / Varun Gandhi : “What is morally wrong cannot be politically correct” – S. Radhakrishnan.

    IF social justice is not meted, if social justice is not seen as being meted out, a segment of population LOSES faith in the system itself. Governance., Laws., Constitution., become dead words. It is then that people become law-unto-themselves… and the country becomes a No-Man’s Land. To save India from becoming Afghanistan., with its Safforn War Lords like Babu Bajrangi., and its Police from becoming completely Vanzara-ised (it already is… nothing but RSS in trousers)., its bureaucracy completely saffornised..

    In the short term., they will have a high (as if on a drug of “hate” and rape).. but in the long term., they will undo both Hinduism and India. The thinking Hindus realise this danger. The long term threat that RSS poses. Intellectually they try to reduce the pace of this Hate Yatra., but regret to note that RSS in India – and the Mullah element in Pakistan – is gaining strength. RSS is now mainstream (and not a fringe element !!). India’s real threat is neither China nor Pakistan, but RSS. RSS will destroy India from within.

    Can India be saved ? It can be… provided the spoils of the state… the benefits… the admissions.. the jobs.. .the pattas.. are distributed evenly. INCLUSIVE GROWTH should be inclusive in reality… not just in word… or just as a slogan (Garibi Hatao 1971 was such a fraud slogan, but it was a hit). The more inclusivity., the more you strengthen the nation AT ITS ROOTS … without noise… without slogans… without shouting-match tactics.

    For political reasons, if one accepts the soft options., and refuses to take the Hate Bull (RSS) by its horns., that would be the greatest dis-service to the Idea of India., the Nation of India., the Union of India., and the Constitution of India. These have to be saved from the imminent threat… the Right Wing Hindu Senas and Private Armies… RSS which has a membership of 1 million soldiers… bombs… swords… gas cylinders… geeps.. infrastructure… and sleeper cells thru-out the country down to the Gram Panchayat level… The RSS has the warewithal to convert India into a safforn Police State !

    In the long term RSS will destroy Hinduism and India… but in the short term, it will provide quick shot JOY to the unemployed youth., as rape and kill with impunity becomes a National Sport.

  112. due

    to vajra

    the reason why a muslim loses (or may lose) faith in indian laws is very different from why a hindu loses (or may lose) faith. the muslim has his indoctrination that kuranic-shariah laws are best and must be enforced. actually indian secular laws very often protected the muslim more than they did the hindus. and yet the muslim remains backwards and mired in his victim-hood complex and superiority complex. the muslim will always feel unwell in india so long India does not become a muslim country ruled by 7th century shariah. their demographic agression from 6.5% to 17% is a march in that direction – this march is regarded by them to be too slow and hence their unending disatisfaction with this “hindu” state. The rate of take-over (by muslims) is a “hindu growth rate”. That is the real cause of their dissence against “evil hindu” India. In Pakistan the hindus were wiped out almost overnight – in India the hindu population has reduced only by 5-10 percent points in 60 years. that is why muslims feel so miserable in India. when indian muslims meet their “brothers” outside of india then they can’t explain why the growth rate of islam in India is so slow. it puts them to shame in front of their non-indian “brothers”. “how come you can’t (couldn’t) get rid of a bunch of hindu cowards and idiots and polytheists and pagans after a time-period of 1200 years ” is the embarrassing qustion that they face. Out of these 1200 years the muslims actually enjoyed huge political power and dominance over more than 600. How embarrassing indeed for the suffering muslims of India. On the one hand they don’ t get into the IIT’s because of the evil hindus and then they have to also face such humiliating questions in Makkah, the power-center of their imperialist ideology.

    I can almost hear vajra’s heart throbbing with pain for the sufferings of the muslims caused by the evil hindus in hindu-fascist India.

    The muslims’ main pain in India is that the hindus are still not exterminated. He is jealous of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

  113. Dastagir

    ISLAM and HINDUISM need not be at logger heads 24×7. They can and have co-existed for centuries. Muslims ruled India for around 700 yrs (and not 1000 as commonly uttered by ordinary hindus… even Mrs. Indira Gandhi had used that term in Parliament Dec 1971.. settled the 1000-yr old score !)… During the 600 years of rule by Kings bearing muslim names., please note that the ECONOMY of the country remained entirely in Hindu hands. Yes, the muslims had power but it was political power.

    The Sufi element., the Bhakti Movement., the Kabir-Panth., and even Guru Nanak Dev… the efforts at synthesis… you have the spiritual Abhangs of Tukaram in Maharashtra.. Saibaba of Shirdi.. and you go down to recent ones like Sri. Sankara from Kerala., or Ramakrishna Pramahansa… or even someone who had sharp views against Islam like Lala Lajpat Rai and Lala Hardayal (founder DAV Schools). They had sharp differences with Islam.. there were clashes.. judgements.. fights.. raised tempers.. FEARS (of the unknown future.. some real / some exaggerated).. Anxiety.. The Hindu Mind’s Evolution and a desire to find… re-define.. re-position.. re-discover. It was an aspirational endeavour. They too started with fears. If you look at the Hindu profile starting with Raja Ram Mohan Roy., GK Gokhale., Bal Gangadhar Tilak.. Ishwarchand Vidyasagar., Michael Madhusudhan Dutt., Sri. Aurobindo Ghosh, Debendranath and Rabindranath Thakur., Rukmini Devi Arundale (in Chennai)., Sri Sankara in Kerala., you find a common thread. An aspiration. A desire. To discover., Re-invent., Re-Claim. You find all of that. Problem is., that in re-constructing the “Hero”., you need a backdrop… a Villian. If it does not exist., create one. That was an occupational “majboori” in reserructing the Hindu Hero. Bankim’s first draft of Anando Math has a British villian ! Since Bankim was a Dy. Collector (the highest position an Indian could reach… Dy. Nazir Ahmed reached it… so did Morarji Desai), in the 2nd edition., he altered it… and changed the villian to a “Muslim”. Bengali Prose (Novella format) is interspread with Poetry. A situational song “Vande Mataram” based around the local diety of Bengal : Durga… it is a Tandava song. Song of Anger.. and Blood ! It was an instant hit the moment the villian was changed to a “Muslim”. Since Muslims were (and are) the 2nd largest majority in India., competition is always between equals… or near-equals. A Hindu-Parsi rivalry will not sell.. it is not exciting enough.. it is not saleable.. it is not inspiring. it is not anger-arousing.

    Both parties erred in defining India as a sociological entity. Fear and Anxiety overtook them all (including Sardar Patel, Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Jinnah… in that order… cuz the cards fell in that order). The easy solution (Chalta hai) was instantly accepted. VP Menon’s plan was very high-school like. The more brainy, intellectual and deep arguments were brushed aside because people were simply TIRED. Personal ambitions also surfaced.

    NOW WHAT ? The Holy Mother at Auroville, Pondicherry had predicted way back at the future of the Indian Sub-continent. It is not a pleasant scenario. It is very ugly… and violent… But i am sorry to say, that things are moving entirely in the direction the Holy Mother predicted !

    India is the leading power in the region., but unfortunately it is not (cannot) display the leadership that is necessary to take the bull by its horns. India feels that it got rid of the “poisoned limb” (Patel’s phrase) otherwise India would be swamped by Muslims today. 80 Million Hindus versus. 55 or 60 Million Muslims ! In a United India., a Muslim would be a Prime Minister today in 2010 !

    But leave aside Hindu and Muslim for a moment. In a United India., would life had been better for the common man of S.E. Asia. Would we have had a better administration (The Steel Frame).. better IAS Officers.. better Police.. Better Revenue Administration.. Better Schools.. Govt. Hospitals ! I am sure in a United India., the common man (Aam Aadmi) would have benefited the MOST… but the vested interests (Banias / Merchant Princes / Marwaris / Zamindars [on both sides afraid of Nehru’s socialism]) protected their financial interests., and in the process destroyed the sociological and anthropological die of SE Asia.

    After Jawaharlal Nehru there is no leadership in India. Rajiv Gandhi had that magic moment (400 seats in Parliament after Indira’s assasination) in 1984… but he missed the chance. He was not just India’s PM… he could have re-structured the whole of SE Asia… but he did not have that WORLDVIEW.

    So India-Pak-Bangla will run around in circles… at times crossing each other.. and there will be ugliness and fireworks. There cant be HARMONY. This is discord upon discord fed by fear. Its only a win-win if SE Asia unites., into the United States of India (USI). India-Pak-Bangla. A secular country… with rights for all. Religion to be in the personal domain. MERIT being the Religion of the State. This will infuse new life in Hinduism (as an ideology itself)., because what Islam did not do in 600 years of rule., 100 of consumerism would do. Consumerism will destroy Hinduism in India… and its new avatars like HINDUTVA will sell like paper-backs… be instant hits… but would not have longer shelf life. Similarly it will weaken the ideological base of the beauty of equality and democracy which is Islam at its heart. In place of spirituality, education, growth, justice and merit., we will have symbols.. green.. safforn.. clashes.. trishuls.. swords.. gas cylinders.. people burning each other.. killing each other.. raping each other. Their full potential would never be harvested. 50-60% of energy would be spent on hating the other. Few families will thrive., but the common man will life and die in utter poverty and deprivation.

    We have had enough of religion in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Muslims cant wipe out Hinduism. A philosophy cannot be wiped out. No way. Even Zoroastranism will survive. You cannot kill an Idea. Similarly Hindus cannot wipe off Islam. Both Hinduism and Islam can give each other “STRENGTH”… and this unity can honestly give new life to both Hinduism and Islam… otherwise Consumerism… will sweep India Pak and Bangla like a tsunami. Spiritualism would be the 1st casualty. We will have people with hindu/muslim names., but the spiritualy would be missing. It would be a huge civilisational loss…

    United States of India is the answer. We spend far too much on defence. The amounts can be used for poverty alleviation. No nation could even contemplate touching USI with its population of 1.5 billion… even in his dream. It would be a powerhouse. Hinduism and Islam will shine and lend support to each other. There is Maryada in Hinduism… that will die… if Hindutva is allowed to have its day. There is “Sila-Rehmi” in Islam., that hard-line Wahabi Islam will destroy… It will be a loss. The Kabir-Panthi., Sufi., Bhakti Heartbeat is the heart-beat of SE Asia. That has to be re-discovered… that musical instrument cleaned.. and PLAYED once more.

  114. Prasad

    Vajra //Finally, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana are epics, not the Vedas. Again, it would help take the discussion further if you could confirm that you have actually read them, even in translation.//

    My friend, I dont need to argue with you. Vedas were all about detailed description of the society, practices et al.

    I wouldnt argue with you again on the Gita – I dont care if it was written by a brahmin/ set of brahmins etc. I am certainly not the one to ‘Qualify’ on those terms before I read anything. I have read the translation and marvel at the wonderful insights the Gita offers to us ordinary mortals.

    You may be beyond all this and hence will repeatedly treat all these age old words of wisdom in your typical style. It ends there ( as far as you are concerned). For us it continues.

    Non communal //Why is what you describe above impossible by a wise, learned, and unusually foresighted person, who was but just a human being like the rest of us? Why does he have to be the “messenger of God”? And why do the words themselves have to be god’s words? //

    Sir – Thank you for your response. I termed Krishna as messenger of God only due to his sheer ability to decipher issues and convincing responses. Nothing beyond that. To me God is in the details.

  115. Prasad

    Dastagir //A situational song “Vande Mataram” based around the local diety of Bengal : Durga… it is a Tandava song. Song of Anger.. and Blood ! It was an instant hit the moment the villian was changed to a “Muslim”. //

    You are an out and out IDIOT and a Big comedian. Nothing more.

    The Song doesnot worship Durga. It worships Mother India whom we all treat as a Goddess. We treat our mother and elders also on the same tone. What is wrong with it ?

    It starts as Sujalam, suphalam, sasya shamala mataram Vande

    It means India the land of clean water, good vegetation…mother we salute you

    HOWEVER
    According to you the transalation is – India is out to ruin the lives of muslims and other minorities. Let us destroy everything out there

    and therefore we went and started bombing in Delhi just before commonwealth games are set to begin right??

  116. due

    Dastagir says islam and hinduism need not be at loggerheads. But how is that possible if the muslims continue their demographic aggression and use it to enforce an old-backward, alien-arabic totalitarian-absolutist system in India? Are muslims trustworthy that they do not wish to do it? The muslim in his Arab homeland is not endangered by the hindus. But the hindu in his own hindu homeland has suffered due to the coming of this arab ideology/theology into his land – no matter how it came. Even if it came by peaceful means (which it certainly did not) it is still a danger due to its inherent lies, manipulations and intimidations.

    Muslims like to speak sweet-false things and many hindus get fooled by it.

  117. Dastagir

    Prasad: I cannot stoop to your levels of idiocy and gutter language. Aapki language, aapko mubarak ho. Period. As you go down the song.. the full song.. you will realise. I feel amused at your level of SMS scholarship… it really doesnt merit a comment.. yet i write this.. so that others who read it., are not carried away by this cheap and street like gutter utterance ! RSS/BJP’s shouting-match tactics wont work here. I am talking and think about peace of the strong.. that is the only way real peace is established.. but Prasad’s sick mind.. is intent on humiliating the other.. and it is a sadistic streak. Taking a positive streak., an extended hand as a sign of weakness… its a perverted mindset. RSS is TRULY afraid of embrace.. and love. Because love destroys hatred and evil… RSS thrives on the fuel of hate and manufactured (false) history.

    Due : It seems that Hindus have accepted Consumerism over spirituality… and are headed in that direction. Where will it take them… 100 yrs from now… A few symbols will remain… as man is attached to symbology… but i am afraid the essence of goodness.. spirituality will vanish into thin air. What will Hinduism be.. after 100 yrs of casino capitalism ? But why do you care.. you should be happy if Hinduism destructs itself … one may ask.

    I say : Let Hinduism thrive with its spirituality… instead of Casino Capitalism and Crass Commercialism. Hinduism is preferred to Consumerism. Its a deep thought… not for SMS Scholars like Prasad.

  118. moniems

    @Dastagir

    You certainly know a lot. But, it is obvious you understand nothing.

    How I wish Prophet Mohammad had permitted us to use our brains.

  119. due

    dastagir has not answered what I wrote. He repeats his own theses. What will happen to hinduism after 100 years. That is of no interest to anyone, not even to hindus. But about islam one can say definitely that it will become more totalitarian and fascistic and brainless. Read George Orwell’s novels “Nineteen-Eightfour” and “Animal Farm” to know what will become of islam. Even now it has already come that far. I regard these two orwellian novels as far more important, instructive and eye-opening for mankind than your so-called holy book. I hope they get translated into languages understood by the muslims (arabic, farsi, turkish, urdu, pashto, bangali, sindhi, kashmiri, panjabi etc.)

  120. moniems

    In continuation of what “due” has written above, I would, as a good friend, suggest to “dastagir” to spend some time in the company of brother Muslims who are available at “ISIS Centre for Inquiry”. (Google to find the web-site)
    And if he/she does not mind the company of non-muslims he/she could find good company at:
    http://prophetofdoom.net/Prophet_of_Doom_Islams_Terrorist_Dogma_in_Muhammads_Own_Words.Islam

  121. @Prasad

    I dont need to argue with you. Vedas were all about detailed description of the society, practices et al.

    Not understood. Please explain this. The Vedas described society? In what sense? It described practices? What practices? Could you explain with just one example of a social description, one example of a practice described?

    Do the Vedas describe the rites of birth? Of marriage? Of death? Do they describe how people sit and share food? Their daily ritual? What is this detailed description of society that you refer to?

  122. no-communal

    Dastagir,

    As usual, we have come a long way from the main topic of this thread. But since you took the trouble of writing such a long post, let me just add something to it.

    I don’t believe, as some appear to do here, that Indian Muslims want to take over the country. Indian Muslims, like all other Indians, want to prosper in the most material sense of the word. And it is undeniable that they are facing some obstacles, at least in the recent times, in this purely material aspiration. This has given rise to some disgruntlement.

    However, Hinduism, at least the way I understand it, and the Indian government policies have little to do with this situation. You, on the other hand, have directly placed at least part of the blame on these factors (now and earlier). You also hold RSS responsible, with which I agree. Although there is a difference between us in the threat perception from that front.

    I want you to consider the following points. They are most unfortunate, and I am not justifying them in any way. However, I am just trying to bring in a little context here. Why are a section of the Hindu community, at least in parts of the west, somewhat averse to the Muslims (as discussed in the article by Shobhaa De you quoted)? After all, Hindus, being polytheistic as they are, don’t have a problem with having just one more god among them. Indeed Hindus don’t have a problem in bowing to Buddha, Mahavir, Jesus, and, as you very well know yourself, to the myriad shrines of pirs, fakirs, and sufi saints that dot this country. Therefore, the religion of Islam itself cannot be the reason. I think, and this is most unfortunate and unfair, that one reason of this discrimination is our recent history of too many terrorist attacks. Indian Muslims, quite unjustly, are viewed in some sections as part of the problem. This is a spontaneous human response, wholly unjustifiable as it is, to a purely human and material issue. Let’s hope it goes away after a few years of uninterrupted peace.

    Let’s now talk about the government and politics. I am going to ignore your comments about the perceived discrimination in the entry to IIT’s, IIM’s etc., because they are quite simply not true. Now, about the political parties, despite the Mumbai attack, and the right wing’s subsequent drumroll, it was routed from most parts of the country. So the issue must be with the Congress party. Eaven earlier, questions were raised here as to why the Congress party listens to the conservative sections of the Muslim community. The answer is, we like it or not, that’s the mainstream among the Muslims. Even from before independence, since Congress has been viewed as mostly Hindu, it has been able to set the agenda for the Hindus. That’s why India could pass the modern laws for the Hindus as early as in the 50’s. Muslim laws, on the other hand, are still the most archaic ones. There clearly is no sinister design here (in fact BJP’s slogan is uniform laws). It’s simply that Muslim mainstream and their personal law board themselves will be furious any time there is a talk about their modernization. The Education bill is a very good example. Again it’s the Madrassa board which is its most prominent opponent because it will have to be regulated and teach modern curriculum. This persistent clinging to conservatism in the mainsteam is the single most important reason why there is no proportional participation of Muslims in the Indian public life. It’s not RSS or BJP, the Muslims in India have suffered because Jinnah didn’t stay with them to steer them to modernity (well, he died, and couldn’t do much to Pakistan either, but you know what I mean).

    RSS is a force worth commenting on only in parts of the west. They are almost non-existent in the east and the south. And, no, they are not the analog of the Taliban in India. That distinction should go to the Ram Sene and similar small outfits. But remember it took only a few hundred pink chaddis to neutralize the ‘threat’ from the Ram Sene. The fact is, along with a few retrogressive elements, we also have a large, very vocal, and articulate section in India, consisting of both Hindus and Muslims, which will ward off any such threat to the society.

    I don’t worry about the talibanization of India as much as you do.

  123. Bin Ismail

    @ Vajra (September 19, 2010 at 9:14 pm)

    With reference to the three distinct views on Krishna, may I briefly add:

    1. The first view, the agnostic view regarding Krishna, which you subscribe to, is no less endearing than the second view which I personally advocate. Your view accentuates the fine human aspects of Krishna’s personality. My view adds to his fine human faculties, an additional aspect of being spoken to and chosen by God to represent Him on earth as His messenger.

    2. I would be of the opinion, and with due respects to the view held by those who deify Krishna, that it was the concept of mazhar-e uloohiyyat, which at some point in time got exaggerated to uloohiyyat or Divinity itself. You’ve rightly pointed out that following the first Council of Nicaea, Jesus’ status as god became more firmly established in the church, although the Unitarians maintained a more puritanical view on monotheism. In my opinion, all religions have shown signs of this doctrinal drift from believing in a prophet as a manifestation of Divinity to deifying him.

    3. Regarding the Gita, I am of the opinion that even as it was revealed, although it as a revealed word, yet it was not a revealed law. Not all revelation contains the element of “law”. However, even if a certain revelation is not law-bearing, it is still a message from God, and that makes its bringer a messenger. The Psalms of David, for example, are considered by most authorities to be revealed, but not a law. Then, with the passage of time and in the hands of the clergy, the Gita like the Gospel, was subjected to interpolations by humans.

  124. Prasad

    Dastagir //I cannot stoop to your levels of idiocy and gutter language. Aapki language, aapko mubarak ho. //

    Stupid Joker. Stop hallucinating…who was using gutter language in the first place?

  125. @due [September 20, 2010 at 2:58 pm]

    I note with appreciation that your response was in its latter half a reconstruction of a mythical conversation between two Muslims. What a justification for a point of view: that two characters who don’t exist may have had a conversation, and if they existed and did have a conversation, you insert their entire conversations, points of view and statements as if these are recordings of fact of their actual words.

    You are getting better and better.

  126. Dastagir

    No Communal : I read your post. But I sincerely believe that the threat perception to India as a nation., as an IDEA and as a Democratic Republic from RSS to be immense… read “RED” level.

    I read a post on the web., which i would like to quote below. It is Digvijay Singh’s statement that RSS/BJP/VHP (Hate Mafias/Armies) cannot be trusted, and these hate-armies will not rest until they do some dirty work. They thrive on blasts, killings, rape and DIVIDING society on ethnic lines.

    Quote :

    RSS-BJP are planning riots post Sept 24 2010 Judgement. They know their case is based on lies and deception. Taiyyari poori kar lee hai. 8 lakh RSS Senas + Bajrangis + Shiv Sainiks + Bombs + Gas cylinders + Jeeps + Acid bombs etc. etc. etc. RSS-mobs in Khaki Chaddis will rape and kill (with impunity); while RSS workers in Khaki Trousers (Police / BSF / RAF / CRPF) look the other way round. A few thousand Muslims will die. A Commission of Enquiry would be formed., that will take 15-20 years to present its report., which will eventually be filed., without any conviction against anyone. The perpetrators of mob vilence will graduate to become MLAs and MPs in the coming years.

    Jama Masjid Attack : RSS/VHP/BJP/Bajrang Dal terrorists are planting bombs thru-out India. Wearing green kurtas and skull caps (Muslim Costume); they are doing this dirty job. It is rumoured that Indian Mujahideen is a manufactured creation of Intelligence Agencies & RSS. This is psychological warfare unleashed on the poor muslims of india. [Read S.M. Mushrif’s book : “Who Killed Karkare]. Indian Muslims have a 3 issue agenda: (1) survival (2) bread-and-butter (3) avenues for growth (education+jobs). They do not have a 4th item on their agenda.

    Shaheed Hemant Karkare gave his life, yet India as a nation is not sensitised to the fact that 90% of all terrorist activity inside India is managed by RSS-BJP.

    RSS Strageties : Based on the past experience of 63 yrs ! (1) RSS workers throw beef in a temple., or garland Gandhi’s statue with beef botis + bones (2) RSS workers throw pork in a mosque (3) Playing music at the time of prayers deliberately (4) Using abusive langauge on the loudspeaker – hate speech at its worst ! The swords, stones, bombs, jeeps, and the mobs are ready ! Riots are planned MONTHS in advance… and are NOT spontaneous ! Armed with computerised print-outs., RSS mobs rape and kill with impunity.

    Police Tumhare Saath Hai – is the unwritten Law. The whole Indian Police / CRPF / BSF is Vanzara-ised. Honest policemen like Hemant Karkare are a “rarity”… hence eliminated !

    CWC Opening: 28 Sept 2010.
    Babri Masjid Title Suit : 24 Sept 2010.
    Obama’s Visit : Nov 2010. (Just a little before President Bill Clinton landed., Indian Intelligence Agencies along with RSS killed around 50 innocent Hindus. To present India as a victim… an aggreived party. Clinton was extremely sharp. He understood the trap., and the fact that this was an intelligence operation designed to garner “sympathy”).
    Bihar Assembly Elections … Before any US Dignitary’s visit… there is a blast… so that the “victimhood” and “sympathy” can be encashed.

    All pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Digvijay Singh is absolutely correct when he predicts that RSS’s deafening silence is the lull before the storm. RSS-Mafia and BJP Senas (Pvt. Army of goons) are planning riots against Indian Muslims ! This is the silence before the storm !!!

    RSS will not rest until it turns India into a Hindu-Afghanistan.

    unquote.

  127. Majumdar

    Dast mian,

    There is strong evidence that it was RSS which funded the 9/11 attacks to embroil the Christian West against Muslims.

    Regards

  128. due

    to vajra

    That is how the muslim world functions and has to be described, sometimes through a dialogue. Even Galileo Galilei wrote (presented) his theses (in physics and astronomy) as a dialogue* between imagined persons. (*Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo (= Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems ) – it is actually a trialogue between Salviati, Sagredo, Simplicio – but Simplicio, as the name suggests is the simple-minded one)

    There is a basic attitude in the muslim world that a muslim who has helped expand the territory under the boot of islam or has brought more human beings under the dominance of islam is the momin (true believer) and the one who has not (or is not enthusiastic about it) is a munafik (hypocrite). These two concepts are from the kuran itself.

    Just get the mesage of how the kuran introduces into the minds of the muslims these attitudes. It is sometimes a very subtle process or result. The behaviour (some of it subtle) of muslims corroborates this.

    Vajra has a perpetual habit of underestimating other peoples’ intelligence(s). He thinks he is the only wise-cum-peace-loving guy around.

  129. @due


    Vajra has a perpetual habit of underestimating other peoples’ intelligence(s). He thinks he is the only wise-cum-peace-loving guy around.

    You will understand the difficulty of coming to any other conclusion when confronted with logic and arguments such as yours.

    When Galileo wrote, he did not concoct an imaginary fairy story, he converted to dramatic form two points of view, one of which he supported, another that he denied. I trust you are aware of that.

    In your case, you have two characters, both of whom you put in the position of articulating positions to which you are opposed, merely to be able to ridicule them.

    The reason for my last post and for this one is to be able to expose your stupidity and lack of sensible thinking. People have suspected this already, naturally, I find it amusing and wish to give it the maximum exposure.

    Please keep on. This is the most fun most of us can wish for. Your labours, and efforts to cover every new mistake, are richly entertaining. Pray continue.

  130. Bin Ismail

    @ due (September 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm)

    “…..Vajra has a perpetual habit of underestimating other peoples’ intelligence(s). He thinks he is the only wise-cum-peace-loving guy around…..”

    Some of the perpetual habits of Vajra that I have come to notice, during these discussions on PTH, are courtesy, civility, rational discourse, keen intellect, humbleness, insightfulness, good humour and spontaneity.

    I’m afraid, in your attempt at describing Vajra, you’ve missed the mark by miles.

  131. due

    to bin ismail and vajra

    Vajra behaves differently towards bin ismail and me. In Sanskrit there is the story of a donkey and a crow attending a gathering. The crow praises the donkey for its beautiful voice and in return the donkey praises the crow for its stunning beauty.

    Such couples are to be found everywhere. “You pat my back and I pat your back”.

    I repeat what I wrote:

    “There is a basic attitude in the muslim world that a muslim who has helped expand the territory under the boot of islam or has brought more human beings under the dominance of islam is the momin (true believer) and the one who has not (or is not enthusiastic about it) is a munafik (hypocrite). These two concepts are from the kuran itself.

    Just get the mesage of how the kuran introduces into the minds of the muslims these attitudes. It is sometimes a very subtle process or result. The behaviour (some of it subtle) of muslims corroborates this.”

    Please answer this carefully and not veer off into ridiculing me.

  132. @due

    The purpose of this post is to point out that the section of your mail that I had answered was very much an integral part of your mail, therefore arguing, or inferring that only the part of it that you have brought up again is important, forces us to ask why then did you bring up something that is not be answered? Stick to your point; you will be answered as others wish, not as you wish, so if you have a point that it is mandatory to address as far as others are concerned, make that point and nothing more.

    Addressing long and rambling posts and then complaining that only part of it has been answered will wring nobody’s withers.

    Perhaps it is time to address you as ‘overdue’, considering how long you have persisted in addressing poorly-argued and badly assembled harangues to a suffering audience.

  133. due

    “Addressing long and rambling posts and then complaining that only part of it has been answered will wring nobody’s withers.”

    Vajra is the one with long rambling posts but always (knowingly?) missing the real cause of Pakistan’s misery.

    My post consisted of two parts – the first to defuse your accusations of misuing the imaginary-dialogue-method, the second was to be answered by you – but then you preferred to rather ridicule me.

    If we stick to the theme, then the question remains: what is the real cause of Pakistan’s misery and then the question posed in the title (why-are-some-secular-pakistanis-afraid-to-be-identified-as-such?) is answered.

    Will the secular pakistanis have the courage to give the honest answer as to why they are afraid. Living under a totalitarian-arrogant-finalist ideology takes its toll on honesty and courage. An ideology doing the blasphemy of misusing the word god in its own service will not allow honesty at any stage.

  134. due

    My post consisted of two parts – the first to defuse your accusations of misuing the imaginary-dialogue-method, the second was to be answered by you – but then you preferred to rather ridicule me.

    Very good. An attempt at getting precise.

    I reproduce your two passages.

    Now which of these two passages was to defuse my accusations, and which was to be answered by me?

    Vajra behaves differently towards bin ismail and me. In Sanskrit there is the story of a donkey and a crow attending a gathering. The crow praises the donkey for its beautiful voice and in return the donkey praises the crow for its stunning beauty.

    Such couples are to be found everywhere. “You pat my back and I pat your back”.

    Is that a counter to being told that your dialogues are phony, or the part that you want answered?

    I repeat what I wrote:

    “There is a basic attitude in the muslim world that a muslim who has helped expand the territory under the boot of islam or has brought more human beings under the dominance of islam is the momin (true believer) and the one who has not (or is not enthusiastic about it) is a munafik (hypocrite). These two concepts are from the kuran itself.

    Just get the mesage of how the kuran introduces into the minds of the muslims these attitudes. It is sometimes a very subtle process or result. The behaviour (some of it subtle) of muslims corroborates this.”

    Please answer this carefully and not veer off into ridiculing me.

    That sounds like it is asking for an answer. Is that it?

    Or are these some other passages? Please let us know so that we know which of your rambles through imagined lands is to be considered your fell rebuke, which a charge to be answered?

  135. Bin Ismail

    @due (September 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm)

    I’m not sure whether the analogy of the donkey and the crow works here. In case you’ve been following the discussion, Vajra spoke of me as a theist and himself as an agnostic (Vajra, September 19, 2010 at 9:14 pm). Even in the face of such basic differences in viewpoints, respect for the other’s opinion is elementary civility.

    Coming to your question, the Quran defines the “Momin” and “Munafiq” both.

    Regarding the Momin, we read: “…Momins (believers) are those who have true faith in God and His Messenger, then doubt not, but make efforts by means of their possessions and their persons, in God’s cause…” [Quran 49:15]

    With reference to the Munafiq, we read: “…They say with their tongues that which is not in their hearts…” [Quran 48:11]

    You may notice that with reference to the Momin, God speaks of two primary characteristics – “true faith” and “then doubt not”. Both these characteristics are states of the heart, and imperceivable to the physical eye, implying that God alone knows who is a Momin. The definition has been stated, but who matches it, is for God alone to decide. Regarding the Munafiq (hypocrite) too, God sets a standard unknowable to man – by mentioning “..which is not in their hearts..”. Once again, what is or is not in the heart, is known to God only.

  136. Feroz Khan

    @ Due

    Have you considered the interpretation of religious texts, primarily those of Abrahmic faith, in a secular sense?

    Religious texts cannot be divorced from the situational context in which they were originally created and from the purpose for which they were orginally codified. Religion, above all else, is a set of laws, which seeks to order the daily lives of its adherents on a heirarchy of principles. The concept of punishment and rewards, in a religion, comes from the idea, which is similar to any law, of offering a form of deterance that prevents violations and transgressions of its rules.

    The guiding principle, for respect of a law, is the effective, credible threat of a punishment and instead of punishment being meted out in the present world; in religion this threat is reserved for the hereafter.

    To consider the commandments of the Abrahamic religions in a secular sense, implies an understanding of the Latin word “seculorum”, from which the English word “secular” is derived from and which means in “the present”.

    Therefore, to consider the Abrahmic texts in their secular sense would imply to interpret them in the present sense; how they governed life on this earth and not necessarily as a preparation for the Hereafter.

    The premise, at this stage, then should question the reasons for the creation of religious laws and religion itself. If, on the other hand, we hold that religion is a set of legal principles designed to modify behavior and make people behave in a certain prescribed manner, then we are stepping into the realm of politics and definations of power and the usages of that particular power.

    The standard defination of power is given as the ability make people do those acts, which they normally would not do otherwise. To further solve this puzzle, we need to understand the prevalent cultural and social practices that existed at the time these religious laws were framed, because all laws exist, and are influenced, within the contextual limitations of real life experiences.

    The rationale then blends into the following question: were the religious laws really designed to control the behavior of the people in this life?

    To answer this question we need to review the socio-culturalisms and practices of the society in which such laws were given and how much of a change was there in terms of behavior, before and after the introduction of such laws?

    Hence, quoting passages from religious texts, without understanding the contextual origins behind them or outside of their proper context, will invaribly produce stilted interpretations. A secular interpretation of religious texts would suggest, then, that their application was intended to apply to people, whose existence was contemporary to the issuance of the religious edicts and will therefore change over a period of time, because they were intended for “the present” and the present in this case could thousands of years old depending on the particular Abrahmic religion in question.

    Another factor to consider is the continued and gradual evolution of religion itself within political, social, cultural, and constantly shifting antropological environments within, which it exists. Therefore, to quote a passage from a religious text intended for a person living in the past and to suggest that it must correspondence with the life experience of a person living in the present or the future, would be a myopic. The revalence of a religious text and its meaning is always going to be unique to the context under which it is understood and so; a person reading the Quran or the Bible or Torah at the age of 5, 15, 30, 50, 80 will have a different understanding of the text and that textual understanding will be a reflection of their life experiences even though the words of the religious text remain the same.

    Religious experience is not monolithic and to make it into such, even if one is against the idea of established religion itself, is to fall victim to a perverse dogma, whereby one’s own hatred of an object – religion in this case – becomes an impediment to learning, reason and understanding itself.

    ciao

  137. due

    to vajra

    you know and yet know not (or pretend not to know).

    one who is sleeping, he can be made awake. but one who pretends sleep, who can wake him up?

    So stop your sleep-pretensions.

    We are writing here in a blog and that goes quick forward. So let it be.

    to bin ismail

    thanks for your explanations. but you must see what the muslim really believes when he uses the words momin and munafik – whatever be in the kuran. the mullah keeps telling him what he has to believe. I was referring to the real situation in the muslim world and not the situation of those who sit with kuran on their laps and claim to understand its language.

    To Feroz Khan

    I agree with what you write about the role of punishment in religion – the difficulties begin when a religion is expansionist and asserts political authority and enforces a particular ethnic/tribal culture on all and sundry. And this began in islam very early.

    Once a tiger eats human flesh he always wants to eat human flesh. Such a tiger has to be killed. He can’t be re-programmed.

  138. Feroz Khan

    @ Due

    How do you plan to kill the tiger?

    All religions go through an expansionist phase and try to impose their version on others through force, but they also change over a period of time.

    ciao

  139. moniems

    @Feroz Khan

    “All religions go through an expansionist phase and try to impose their version on others through force, but they also change over a period of time. ”

    The above applies only to Islam. Christianity was propogated too, but not by force. Other religions got propogated by word-of-mouth, if at all.

  140. due

    To feroz khan

    Every ideology wants more members. That is ok. But some ideologies want not only members but also land, political power and whatever else. Moniems is right in pointing out that islam practises an expansionism that goes far beyond mere memberships. It seeks land, power, enforcement of arabic language, script, names, identity change, changing the history-narrative (to suit islam), fulfillment of its finalist ambitions and cultural practices etc.

    Before you kill the man-eater tiger you have to identify it as the man-eater. If you keep calling it a harmless pussycat then you won’t get the possibility.

    Whether an ideology or religion is fascist or not can be decided by knowing how it (or its god or boss) treats its ex-members.

  141. Feroz Khan

    @ Due

    You did not answer my question. Identification and killing of the tiger are two different things. How do you plan to kill the tiger?

    ciao

  142. Jeff Rubinoff

    @moniems
    I’ve been reading and not commenting, being neither Moslem nor S Asian. But “Christianity…was not propagated by force.” Really? Ever? Anyplace? So, when the Tsar implemented a 10 year draft of Jewish men and the Sergeants beat them for not eating pork, that was in no way any sort of religious coercion? You should have told my grandfather that, he wouldn’t have bothered swimming the Vistula to get away from it.
    The Teutonic Knights and the conversion of the Slavic tribes? The aftermath of the reconquista? I assume you don’t count (endless, innumerable) internal Christian disputes, such as the 30 Years’ War.
    Give me a break, will you? Go back 300 years (less in many places) and there was precious little to choose between Christian and Islamic expansionism. If anything, the Moslem countries tended to a somewhat more subtle approach towards converting subject peoples.

  143. no-communal

    @Jeff Rubinoff

    To be fair to at least some Christians, the British in India didn’t try to forcefully convert anyone. I have read accounts of Christian missionaries standing at street corners and distributing free Bibles. Pages of those Bibles used to end up in neighborhood grocery stores. But I agree, this wasn’t 300 years ago.

  144. moniems

    @Jeff Rubinoff

    I am sorry. My comment was in relation to the Indian experience.

  145. Arun Gupta

    Gandhi in his autobiography says that he had a negative impression of Christianity that took a long time to overcome because of the missionaries that used to stand near the entrance of his school, shouting out abuses of Hindu beliefs. Back in those days, no one assaulted them. There was another 19th century story of missionaries loudly abusing Hinduism in Varanasi and everyone simply ignoring them. These days, I expect at a minimum they would be beaten up; which is why those were the good old days. It might have been apathy, but it might have been a more mature temper that Hindus had. Since then the politics of grievance and that of group identity have come to the fore.

  146. no-communal

    “There was another 19th century story of missionaries loudly abusing Hinduism in Varanasi and everyone simply ignoring them. These days, I expect at a minimum they would be beaten up; which is why those were the good old days. It might have been apathy, but it might have been a more mature temper that Hindus had.”

    A more mundane explanation could be that the passers by didn’t understand what the heck the white man was saying. Plus there was also the fear factor.

  147. due

    to feroz khan

    The tiger is in your courtyard, not mine. It would be unfair for ME to make any suggestions which then YOU have to implement. But one thing is certain: sooner or later YOU will have to name the tiger by its real name. You can’t go on playing shadow-boxing. Unless you mention the name of the tiger devouring your people, molesting your children and women, teaching them to hate their non-arab hindu ancestors etc. – I can have no suggestion to give.

    I gave a singular criterion for deciding whether an ideology is fascistic or not. You can start with that among your people. That alone will lead to a discussion (assuming they are used to anything like a free, peaceful, dispassionate, honest discussion) that will be the beginning of taking a aim at the tiger.

    To Rubinoff

    Jews and hindus have both made very bad experiences with christianity and islam. Not always identical but similar. The jews were persecuted in India only twice. Once by the portuguese (catholics in Goa) and once by the moplahs (muslims in Kerala). Between jews and hindus there always was a very respectful relation. they never tried to encroach upon each other. The muslims resent that. I personally don’t think it is necessary to always bring in the misbehaviour of the christians when one is discussing the misbehaviour of the muslims. One should not give the muslims the chance to relativize their misdeeds by saying the christian did similar things too. The USA itself is in the grip of a coalition of christian fascists and capitalist fascists (both of them rabid anti-communists) since many decades. The republican party of USA and its power brokers represent this very clearly.

    To Arun Gupta

    In deed, Gandhi tried using christian methods to deal with islam, and failed miserably, and thus brought disaster upon the hindus in the 1940’s. For this reasons an angry hindu killed him (which was an extremely dangerous, foolish and counterproductive deed). Formerly the hindus were tolerant because of their ignorance about the real long-term intentions of islam and christianity.Now the hindus are more and better informed. They see it on the TV also. This makes a big difference. There was no TV in british days.

  148. Feroz Khan

    @ Due

    Please answer the question since you brought up the topic. Since you are the one suggesting the killing of tiger, which we all know is a metaphor for Islam, and since you are rabid in your hatred for Islam, please share you wisdom with us on how you plan to erdicate Islam?

    As your comments to Pakistanis and free speech and if such a thing exists, the same applies to India when it comes to matters of religion. Any time an Indian says any thing remotely in favor of Islam and Pakistan, the moral brigade threatens them into making a retraction.

    Can Islam be discussed in India a free, peaceful, dispassionate, honest discussion to use your own words?

    ciao