Deviating from the democratic path

By Yasser Latif Hamdani (Published in the Daily Times on 27 September 2010)
The pictures that have emerged from the Athletes Village at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi have conclusively rubbished the India shining myth. This would not come as a surprise to those Pakistanis who have visited India or have interacted with Indians visiting Pakistan. Most Indians visiting Pakistan comment on how much more developed Pakistan is, how clean Pakistan’s cities are, how much better Pakistani roads are than India’s and how they find fewer beggars on Pakistani roads than on Indian roads. It will, however, certainly shock those who have been brought to believe that India is the land of milk and honey.

The truth is that while India’s humiliation has cheered us up, that country is increasingly placed in an entirely different category and is generally seen as a success story. Pakistan is – despite what we might say or like to believe – seen as a basket case and a country that is likely to disintegrate. Most Pakistanis deep down also believe this and for very good reasons. Therefore, we must ask ourselves what it is that we are doing wrong and what India is doing right.

The difference is that India has – despite all its handicaps – managed to sustain a system of peaceable transfer of power on the basis of participatory constitutional democracy for 60 years, which gives people hope. An average Indian is therefore much more invested in his country than an average Pakistani, because unlike the average Pakistani, an average Indian has ownership in his own country. This ownership is the result of the continuity of the democratic process alone. In Pakistan we have never allowed any process to continue long enough to let it dent our social structure. The first constitution, for example, was allowed to last only two years before it was thrown away to make way for direct military rule, which was welcomed all over Pakistan by all sections of society. It had taken nine long years to make that constitution.

Now, two years after the triumphant return to democracy, the cries for military intervention are once again getting stronger. The Bangladesh model is the new buzz word. The idea that judges and the military can together fashion a civilian government is very attractive to the powers of the status quo today.

That an interim government of technocrats put together and given legitimacy by the Supreme Court will, in the short run, work, is possible, though not probable, but what is definite is that in the long run, it will only weaken the system’s ability to correct itself. Most of our complaints against democracy are part of the same vicious cycle. We pave the way for unconstitutional takeovers when we complain that politicians are corrupt and derived from privileged classes. Yet we forget that every time we break the system, we make the same corrupt politicians martyrs and when democracy is inevitably revived, they return with an even greater mandate.

There are a few simple facts that need to be driven home if we want Pakistan to attain some form of respectability in the wider world. First and foremost, Pakistan was conceived as a constitutional democratic state based on the rule of law where the elected representatives of the people were to be the ultimate arbiters of the nation’s future. It is the departure from this basic principle that has been the cause of much heartbreak in our country. Second, democracy – often messy and based on compromise and accommodation – is not an easy road to take but the only road that leads anywhere. All other roads are circular and lead to disaster. Finally, the only kind of ‘revolutions’ that unelected institutions bring are counter-revolutions. This must be underscored.

We must realise, as Pakistanis, that it is democracy alone that can truly give expression to the incredible mosaic of diversity and multiculturalism that Pakistan is. We often forget – deliberately in our zeal to project homogeneity – that this country of 170 million people consists of people who speak close to a dozen languages and practise almost every religion that is known to man. We count amongst our citizens people of every ethnic and racial stock. The only way such diversity can negotiate with itself is by accommodation, tolerance and mutual respect, values that are central to democracy.

If we take stock of these facts and make a solemn covenant that no matter what happens we will not deviate from the democratic path, there is no reason why we cannot one day in the future hold our heads high amongst the peoples of the world.

The writer is a lawyer. He also blogs at https://pakteahouse.wordpress.com and can be reached at yasser.hamdani@gmail.com

317 Comments

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317 responses to “Deviating from the democratic path

  1. no-communal

    “..Commonwealth Games in Delhi have conclusively rubbished the India shining myth.”

    The “India shining” slogan was coined by the BJP government and used in 2004 general elections. It didn’t take others to reject it, Indians themselves did. BJP lost that election.

    Nobody thinks Indian govt. particularly shines, other than being secular and democratic. The mess in the Games village is not a shock to anybody. Indians know it’s a govt. project.

    “India shining”, to the extent it is true, is due to its private sector.

  2. Ally

    ‘The truth is that while India’s humiliation has cheered us up’

    Thats not true… i hope they do well and pull it off… it doesn’t bode well for the redion when the largest and most developed economy is having problems with things like this… how does it make the rest of look???

    I wish we could look beyond such tu tu mein mein and pettiness!!!

  3. Ally

    Your severe Anti-India stance, and the way it is often expressed, makes it difficult for saner voices to support you, though what you say in Pakistan’s regard is often quite right… if they are derrogative, then please don’t fall to their level, thats what they want and they then drag you down… you are an educated man, dont sully yourself by replying to them…

  4. YLH

    I don’t care much for these “saner” voices.

  5. YLH

    I suppose indians would just have to choose if they want “saner” voices who make excuses for ISI and Mumbai attacks or “crazy” voices that insult them but want peace.

  6. Yell Loud and High

    The failure of the India Shining slogan is 6-year old news, and is only now reaching Pakistani consciousness. At least it is not 63 year old news from the Pakistani Constituent Assembly. That has yet to be delivered🙂

  7. RTZ

    Well, 85 countries had the confidence to come to India to participate in the CWG. And I wager, after the games are over – they would be saying very different things than ones that are warming the cockles of your heart. Atleast some teams are already beginning to come around to that view.

    By the way – how about holding a mirror to your rearside and checking how bright and smelly your own shit is. What did you call it – halwa?? I wouldn’t have you anywhere near me – you dirty shit-sniffing hound. How many times have you eaten shit that it taste like a halwa to you??

    And why not talk about your own country??

    Pakistan could not provide security to a single Sri Lankan team of just 11 players. Forget teams – even individuals are loathe to come to the land of pure (or is it shit). Pakistan’s cricket team is in a royal mess – what with match-fixing, spot-fixing and what-not fixing allegations . You are trying to save your ass from getting banned from the only game you can play. A month of floods has one fifth country under water. You are currently holding the biggest begging bowl ever built and crying your right-to-alms from the rooftop. Your economy is on life support, your president is on lifeline.

    After that, only a high grade fool can begin to compare India with Pakistan – that too based entirely on heuristics. Every Indian is capable of putting our growth story in perspective – thank you very much but we don’t need your help to do that. And yes, we still believe India is much better off than Pakistan – in fact no comparison is even warranted.

    As for India shining, it is 6 year old story that Indians themselves rejected. But while the slogan did not cut much ice with the Indians – a Pakistani got so fooled by it that he is still doing shadow-boxing with a supposed”myth advanced” by India.

  8. Bade Miyan

    “The truth is that while India’s humiliation has cheered us up”

    That takes care of the celebrated nonsense about how Pakistani liberals are a different bunch. Good to see at least one point where the whole of Pakistan unites and cheers!
    Yeah, cheers!

    Just to put things in perspective, the Govt. of India has blown up more money hosting the CWG than the entire budget of the Pakistani Army.

    Rest assure, these may be your last hurrays.

    “how clean Pakistan’s cities are, how much better Pakistani roads are than India’s and how they find fewer beggars on Pakistani roads than on Indian roads.”

    That doesn’t surprise me, what with suicide bombers prowling the streets. Even beggars fear for their lives. That also explains why Pakistanis, in general, are fairer (and fatter).

  9. libertarian

    YLH dude what an awesome flame-baiter you are. Your honesty about your little CWG schadenfreude is a breath of fresh air. Hard to swallow Pakistani “liberals” singing kumbayah like Mother Teresa. It just does not square up with the actions.

    I suppose indians would just have to choose if they want “saner” voices who make excuses for ISI and Mumbai attacks or “crazy” voices that insult them but want peace.

    What kind of retarded logic is that?

    Anyways your point of Pakistan being in crap-street because of failing to grasp the fundamentals of democracy is akin to Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

  10. MAK

    Indian middle class and its delusion dream of being taken seriously comes face to with Indian reality and it seems like our Indian friends can’t handle the truth: India does not have what is takes, not now, not in the next 25 years.

  11. libertarian

    @MAK: to quote YLH: An average Indian is therefore much more invested in his country than an average Pakistani, because unlike the average Pakistani, an average Indian has ownership in his own country.

    Ownership. That’s a reason why Indians of all shades are usually up in arms defending the state. YLH nailed it with the quote above. You can write all the crap you want about Pakistani state, and few will attempt to defend against it.

    So yeah, scratch that little “India Shining” itch. The BJP jumped the gun – that pitch will work in 2020 when poverty drops to 15%.

  12. MAK

    … unlike the average Pakistani, an average Indian has ownership in his own country … Is that why Indians seem eager to discard this ‘ownership’ and spread around all corners of the world. Indians are quick to take offense and it has little to do with taking ownership of India.

  13. My Two Cents

    @MAK

    “What is interesting and telling is that the comments here by Indians themselves are
    pretty much uniformly realistic and critical of India. In the case of many other countries,
    the partisans would be making excusing, denying the reality, defending their countries “honor”.

    This is what, ironically, makes me respect India, for the intelligence and realistic view of
    [at least some] of it’s people.

    Overall, I feel more attracted to messy, chaotic, corrupt, and inefficient India
    than to effective but totalitarian and heartless other countries….”

    Marc
    US
    September 23rd,
    20103:28 pm

    The above is a comment by a non-Indian (judging by the content) to the severely critical Lede blog post on India’s
    CWG preparations in NY Times. As you can check yourself, the comments by Indians there are uniformly critical.
    However, if somebody is “cheered up” by India’s humiliation, he gets the comments he deserves.

  14. great

    Wow! This is a phenomenal exchange, civility is oozing out of every post. The resident liberal(really!) is showing how liberal he is with his choice of words.

  15. Hola

    Guys, don’t be so hard of YLH, he was just giving an underhanded compliment to India in this article.

    Whilst his style may sound abrasive to us Indians, he is much more honest than some of the “liberals” that comment here.

  16. Hira Mir

    @ally. I would agree with you. Let us just eradicate the mindset we have for others. What good will it be if we wish bad for others.

  17. libertarian

    @MAK: Indians are quick to take offense and it has little to do with taking ownership of India.

    Mirthful. Coming from a (presumed) citizen of Pakistan this is funny. Hey we don’t kill people over cartoons. Or ban Facebook and Google over slights to a dude who lived 1400 years ago … (pbuh, saw, blah blah). Or have our military officials call off a trip to the US mid-way for “insults”. Or scream injustice for doodh-mein-dhooli Ms Aafia aka Daughter of Pakistan.

    And defending the Indian state has everything to do with ownership. But then, how would you know?

  18. Sid

    I am sorry to disappoint you Yashur lothief Hamdhyanee. Things could have been done a lot faster in Delhi but still it will be completed before the start of the games…. don’t worry. It’s one day after your cheerful article and the latest developments and reactions by foreign delegates, athletes and ministers are not going to please you at all.
    And even if we had fallen short in CWG, which clearly won’t be the case, would the world change their views on India’s recent exploits and rise in all sectors just because Phakisthanis want them to?
    By the way, I also read your views on not deviating from the democratic path to attain some form of respectability. Sadly for you, even if you are able to do so, you’d still regret missing the bus throughout your life. India has risen too far ahead. It’s cruel to hear .. I know.. but years later in your death-bed, if for some reason, these exchanges with people across the border come to your mind, you will realize that you had been fighting a lost battle.

  19. YLH

    Libertarian, precisely. Well said.

  20. Poke

    Well never expected this sort of retribution from Indians nevertheless YLH proves a point that a liberal educated and so called saner person harbours so much hate for India .
    This country was created on hate and they have been teaching and preaching hate all along and the result is their for all to see.
    YLH you are as hypocrite as your hero jinnah, you proved it yourself

  21. due

    Drugged man leting loose his bad words

  22. due

    In Pakistan some spoilt sons of the feudal lords or the Lt. generals of the army etc. can get away with every abuse. Some on the PTH have retained this pakistani habit. Abusive words and words that are filthy, obscene etc. are their common parlour. The words that you use will follow you even into your kitchen, your professional life and your dreams. They don’t realize this.

  23. HonestlyC

    Before abusing YLH, just read the full article in ‘Daily Times’. As after reading the first two lines, i felt sad but when i read the full article in newspaper, it contain nothing wrong in it. Plz do understand, this article was published in pakistani newspaper for pakistani readers. YLH is well aware of ground realty and he know very well that if the medicine is little bit bitter, it is better to prescribe it with honey so that patient can take it easily.Best wishes YLH.

  24. ZyX

    YLH you are stupid. Nobody says India does not have poverty and filth. So that levels the score ok happy ? What we do also have is Space Research , manufacturing sector with design centres of Ford, Airbus and Boeing and pharma research and what not apart from IT which i want to not talk about as it is too obvious. and in a way all this does change the life of the poor and forgotten Indians in the village albeit slowly but it does . You have to go and see how the hand held devices are helping farmers and how the so called arrogant boasting escapist Indians are returning to India to open schools and NGOs and doing their little bit. Even these bloody call centres have helped sell a lot many cars and vans and done a lot for restaurants and garages. Everything seeps down though it is not apparent from across the border. and that is what Pakistan has to do . Poverty won’t go in a century but the society which has reached readiness ( the middle class ) should be given oppurtunity to do something and things will trickle down and this is where India has surged ahead of Pakistan.
    BTW: Your language only reflects your frustration and your civility / lack of it. or maybe HonestlyC is correct !

  25. Farukh Sarwar

    Democracy has a self regulating mechanism and perhaps that’s why it should be given a chance; the loopholes will start getting filled and the system would move towards betterment.

  26. AZW

    OK guys, enough of abuse and your street language skills. I do not agree with schadenfreude expressed by both parties towards the negative press that our countries get from time to time. I do not find my plight to improve if my neighbour is in trouble. I don’t know what is the appropriate term for this behaviour is; it is maybe another malignant sister variation of the victim mentality syndrome; except in this syndrome, we can have all the problems in the world, but somehow it comforts us to think that the others have problems of their own. This schadenfreude falsely soothes us, takes our eyes away from our own pressing problems, and makes us less troubled about our problems.

    The venom in the comments above is quite remarkable. Good to know that we refuse to rise up above our prejudices and minor provocations bring out the very worst in us in no time.

    I am deleting all the offending comments here, by YLH as well as everyone else. Sorry, but any more comments like the previous ones will also be deleted.

    Moderator, PTH

  27. Indians are the worst critics of India – being one of the most frequently accused of being a traitor to India allows some very unexpected vistas to open up – and also the strongest defendants, and these are both due to the same, the identical reason.Indians are invested in India; nobody likes to see his investment underperforming, and never fails to sound off whenever any underperformance shows up. Indians are invested in India, and have no reason, looking around South Asia, heck, most of Asia, to change their minds and seek to diversify their portfolios; so for the same reason that they are critical, they are also very supportive.

    You can see this happen in front of your eyes: the harshest critics blench and lose no time in turning 180 degrees once the anti-Indian tirade breaks loose (as it inevitably does!).

    Many of the things that YLH says in his article are exactly the same as normal Indians would say. Open any forum and see for yourself.

    BUT it doesn’t sound quite so acerbic and scathing in a Pakistani’s voice.

  28. Your Lovin' Husband

    [i]OK guys, enough of abuse and your street language skills. I do not agree with schadenfreude expressed by both parties towards the negative press that our countries get from time to time.[/i]

    Will you also take the article down?

  29. MAK

    When an Indian self-image collides with unpleasant reality, our self-aware Indian goes into a frenzy of self-flagellation. Up to that point he, in his mind, belongs to the group of people who have and will bend the world to their will even though there is little proof of it in history. I have seen people invested in their country and they conduct themselves differently both in and out of their home country. Indians are mostly struggling with a self-image problem.

  30. Tilsim

    @Zyx

    Pakistanis know that India is not the land of milk and honey for most Indians as yet. However, India has societal, political and economic achievements and more importantly it has hope. There is a still a long way to go but India has the essential ingredients to build a better future and none of us Pakistanis can deny this.

    Let’s not forget, the games are supposed to be about fostering goodwill. Getting all cheery over a rival’s misfortune only feeds a twisted psyche and makes us look bad. I wish the Delhi authorities success in rectifying the problems in the interests of a successful competition.

  31. Bade Miyan

    I am quite shocked that Gandhi has not been blamed for the CWG mess, as yet.

  32. Bade Miyan

    Oh! A perfect time for an Oscar Wilde quote:

    “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

  33. @Tilsim

    Largely right, of course, but what I’m hoping for, with a yearning and a desire, is that we get to nail some of these looters. Imagine the heads of Kalmadi the krook, Bhanot the bizarre, Sheila Dixit the delusional, Jaipal Reddy, who eroded what respect I had for him in this one episode, Gill, the gullible, oh, the whole miserable pack, on your den wall.

    No harm looking at the stars; some day……

  34. Bade Miyan

    Tilsim,
    Many thanks for your kind wishes. Actually, most of us would have been shocked if the games had gone on perfectly. That said, it is still mind numbing to watch the sleaze and shoddy work all around. We don’t even mind the underhand, bloated payments made to all sort of rascals, but at least, the work could have been of top class. Needless to say, it’s been quite disappointing on that front too. Maybe, in future, things would be different. The generation that created this mess is on its last legs.

  35. Bade Miyan

    I wish someone would dump his shit on Bhanot’s face.

  36. YLH

    Time for YLH quote:

    Difference between Pakistanis and Indians: Pakistanis know their shit stinks. Indians devour their shit as Halwa.

  37. Bade Miyan

    Ylh,
    Right! Though I doubt you guys know how bad the stink is. Plus, we don’t dump our shit on someone else.

  38. Your Lovin' Husband

    ***
    Time for YLH quote:

    Difference between Pakistanis and Indians: Pakistanis know their shit stinks. Indians devour their shit as Halwa.
    ***

    Hope that the next time you enjoy your kabz-e-khas-rocher, you turn it around to see the country of origin.

    Your Lovin’ Husband
    Fakir Latif PuraHarami

  39. Prasad

    YLH – I agree fully with you Commonwealth games infrastructure wasnt handled well. Especially when we have Congress members at the helm who had the experience of hosting Asiad previously.

    Having said that, India Shining is not a flop story. It is truly happening and ticking big time. Amidst the flop stories that we have around us ( barring china) – unfortunate but true, it is only India that has consistently performed in FDI, FII, GDP and Job creation consistently over last decade atleast.

    That apart we have Tourism booming in Rajasthan and Kerala, Medical tourism booming across NCR, Bangalore and Chennai ( not withstanding ND enzyme!!) which offers some of the cheapest feasible professional medical support to patients says it all

    Yes. Notwithstanding the hard work put in by private sector ( as someone summarised aptly), Government has miles to go ( probably decades) to reach Singapore levels and infrastructure has atleast a decade or more to go to reach Today’s China levels

    I hope you all will enjoy commonwealth games now that they will be on inspite of Bad infrastructure, worse coverage and worst still – Babri verdict

    Cheers

  40. Prasad

    YLH – Your article is also very precise. There is no other option but Democracy. Slow…but stable and sure to sustain to give unparalleled rights to citizens ( when you compare it with other forms of governance)

  41. Promod Kapoor

    “Most Indians visiting Pakistan comment on how much more developed Pakistan is, how clean Pakistan’s cities are, how much better Pakistani roads are than India’s and how they find fewer beggars on Pakistani roads than on Indian roads.”
    Historically the eastern regions of the sub-continent have been poorer than north-west and west. It is well that East Pakistan seceded from Pakistan, otherwise YLH would never have been able to make this statement.

  42. due

    Pakistan received far more money from outside than did India, both in absolute and relative terms. To give an example: Saudi Arabia gave 1 billion dollar worth of oil to Pakistan for several years free of cost. If it had been fair then should have given 7 billion dollars worth of oil free to India per year in the same time.
    There are many such examples.

    And yet Pakistan has fallen crassly behind in terms of the HDI (Human Development Index) – that is crucial, and not clean streets etc.

    Does the PTH have any rules about not using faecal or obscene language. I wish they had.

  43. Heavy Petting

    @MAK
    “When an Indian self-image collides with unpleasant reality, our self-aware Indian goes into a frenzy of self-flagellation. Up to that point he, in his mind, belongs to the group of people who have and will bend the world to their will even though there is little proof of it in history. I have seen people invested in their country and they conduct themselves differently both in and out of their home country. Indians are mostly struggling with a self-image problem.”

    Now that’s a comment worth pondering over, as in, ‘what the hell does it mean?’. Let’s see:

    “When an Indian self-image collides with unpleasant reality, our self-aware Indian goes into a frenzy of self-flagellation.”

    In your earlier post you came up with the following gem,

    “Indians are quick to take offense and it has little to do with taking ownership of India.”

    Is it just me, or are you utterly confused?

    “Up to that point he, in his mind, belongs to the group of people who have and will bend the world to their will even though there is little proof of it in history.”

    Okay, we are talking sense, or is it nonsense? Now you are loosing us, like in a boring ‘epic’ novel. Indians have not conquered any place, subjugated any race (other than, unfortunately, their own), and, if by Indians you mean Hindus (as most pious Pakistanis do), have not religiously converted anyone. So you are indeed right, “there is little proof of it in history”.

    “I have seen people invested in their country and they conduct themselves differently both in and out of their home country.”

    Yes, like in Australia, US, Canada, and Europe. In an earlier post you asked,
    “Is that why Indians seem eager to discard this ‘ownership’ and spread around all corners of the world”.
    A valid question. I would like to know your opinion about your favorite Chinese. They, incidentally, are found from the top of Mt. Everest to the bottom of the Pacific, selling, dutifully, kung-pao chicken.

    “Indians are mostly struggling with a self-image problem.”

    A few weeks ago there was an illuminating post in PTH, “Identity Crisis of India”.

    No? What am I missing here?

    Work some more on your little novels. Soon enough they will make some sense.

  44. YLH

    Actually promod kapoor you idiot the reality is the exact opposite. North west of the subcontinent was always less industrialized and even illiterate and less developed politically.

  45. Vinay

    Pakistani friends:

    Have your fun while you can. In reality, the current situation (bitter for India-haters to swallow) is that athletes are pouring in, enjoying the facilities and infrastructure, and wondering what the hell all the fuss was about.

    The games went off to a jerky start, but things are looking up, and how! When the games are over, the world will clap at the great show, and a large number of people will begin to wonder about the media hype and negativity towards the start, and the image of India would be much better off after all!

    Digest that, and before signing off, may I say this: at the end of all this, Pakistan will still be in the same situation as it is in today in every sense of the word. Digest that too.

  46. Girish

    Historically, Pakistani Government agencies have managed infrastructure development slightly better than their Indian counterparts. I don’t know the reason for this, but one hypothesis is that there is a clearer line of control and consequently slightly better accountability. Not less corruption, but it is more concentrated and organized, like in China. In India too where this is the case, infrastructure is handled better (e.g. the more autocratic state-level leaders have handled infrastructure development better).

    That said, the comparisons of shinier roads and better infrastructure in Pakistan are a thing of the past and future visitors will likely not be able to make the kinds of adverse references to India relative to Pakistan that are in the article. Airports are a classic example. It is the first piece of infrastructure that hits a visitor, and leaves a lasting impression. Historically, India’s major airports were no better than cowsheds – crowded and rundown, with lots of people milling around with seemingly no work to do. Pakistan’s slightly better airports seemed a world apart in comparison. There is a dramatic transformation underway in India, partly driven by private sector investment. Delhi’s privatized airport, for instance, has just opened a brand new terminal, 5 million square feet in area (compared to 40000 sq. ft. for the old international terminal), with 79 jetways/aerobridges (as opposed to the old 8 in the international terminal and none in the domestic), and comparable in functionality and aesthetics to the best airports in the world. Just as a matter of comparison, Karachi’s Jinnah terminal, which is the country’s main international gateway and a comparably sized city, has 16 boarding bridges, with no concrete plans for expansion. Delhi has built one of the fastest growing metro systems (in terms of route kilometers added per year), tripling in length from about 65 kms in 2005 to about 185 kms now. There is a new high speed rail link between the airport and the city center that will be opened tomorrow and operated by a private player. New expressways have been built, a bus rapid transit system is already functioning, power production in the city (which has privatized its power distribution company) now exceeds demand.

    And the story is not limited to Delhi alone. Mumbai is building a spanking new airport terminal, a second new airport, metro lines, a monorail line (both of which will open in the next few months and will supplement its efficient if overcrowded suburban rail + bus based transport network) and an expressway network, part of which runs over the sea. Chennai is building a new airport terminal, an extensive expressway network and new metro lines in addition to its existing suburban rail system/MRTS. Hyderabad and Bangalore both have functioning new airports, built and managed by private players, and both cities are building metro systems and expressways. Even Kolkata has a new metro line and new airport terminal under construction. Ahmedabad has a new bus rapid transit system under construction, with Phase I functional, and construction on a metro system will start soon. Pune has a bus rapid transit system functioning, with a metro being planned.

    And the story is not restricted to tier one cities alone. Smaller cities like Jaipur and Kochi are planning metro networks and/or bus rapid transit systems. Indore has a bus rapid transit system already functional. Airports in dozens of tier-2 cities already have new terminals or they are under construction.

    Is this enough. By no means. Even after all this, the cities in India look run down and dirty. Villages are not even worth mentioning. The road network, while greatly improved, needs a China-style revolution to cater to existing needs, leave alone future needs. The state of affairs on cleanliness and sanitation is shameful. While there is good medical infrastructure at the top end, what is accessible to a majority of the population is in a terrible state. Educational infrastructure is similar – great at the top end, pathetic in terms of what is available to a majority of the population. But there is hope. What has given hope is the fact that these are failures of the delivery mechanisms of Government, not a lack of resources and not the lack of talent and where they have been fixed (e.g. the various metro corporations), or handed over to the private sector (e.g. airports), things have delivered on time and within budget, and importantly with quality levels comparable to the best in the world.

    Regarding the CWG themselves, if there is anything that gives cheer to at least some Pakistanis, it is probably something that should be welcome relief, even if it is based on hatred. There has been such an absence of good news in Pakistan for so many years that perhaps bad news for an ‘enemy’ is the only thing that can cheer them up. For India itself, these games have demonstrated (if demonstration was ever needed) the contrast between the private sector (and private citizens in India) and its public sector, and the need for fundamental reforms. If, due to these games, even some of these long-needed reforms are undertaken, that would be a lasting legacy of these games.

    BTW, I think YLH’s thesis of democracy being the causal factor for the difference in perception between India and Pakistan is not entirely correct. For the longest time, India was a democracy but its image in the west was unflattering to say the least. The transformation in image has not been because of its democracy, or how vested its citizens feel in its future, but because of the performance of its economy, specifically its private sector, and the achievements of the diaspora. Pakistan’s image has taken a beating because of its export of terror and extremism around the world. The west could care little about the absence of democracy in Pakistan if it was not the security concern that it is.

  47. Girish

    Promod has a point. In largely agriculture-dependent societies, that India and Pakistan both are, areas with good irrigation and the absence of natural disasters have been economically much better off. The Northwest of the subcontinent includes NWFP & Balochistan of course, but it also includes Punjab, which has been the best endowed part of the region for at least the last century or so due to its extensive irrigation network. In a population-weighted sense (since Punjab is where the bulk of the population in the North-west is concentrated), the north-west has very good economic prospects.

    The eastern parts of the subcontinent are prone to periodic natural disasters, and while some parts of the region have a lot of water, it is not available to people due to the difficulty of building an irrigation network there. And these are not comparable to NWFP and Balochistan because these are densely populated regions. Thus, in a population-weighted sense, they have much larger impact on the national economy as a whole.

    Of course, countries & regions have the ability to overcome their natural disabilities through education and industrialization, and having poorer natural endowments is no excuse for poor governance (which has been a characteristic feature of the eastern states in India and to a great extent responsible for backwardness there).

  48. Tilsim

    Vajra
    “oh, the whole miserable pack, on your den wall.”

    No room over here. I have my den wall fully reserved starting with the heads of Ijaz Butt, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Yawar Saeed, Salman Butt and more.. It’s looking more and more like a dump (apropos YLH) than a den🙂

  49. Sardar Khan.

    India is a sham country in every regard.If these so called seculars are so praise worthy of india.Why don’t they imigrate to such a shinening place and leave Pakistan at peace.I am sure when they,they will be treated as shudars and will the full force of discrimination and rath of hindu terrorists like Ball Thakeray.They will miss the Best of Pakistan.
    I don’t think india will accept them in the first place.

  50. YLH

    And now we have chutiyas from the other side in form of Sardar Khan mian.

  51. Your Lovin' Husband

    Girish/Vajra: You people have some patience. I salute you for your efforts.

    But I have a question for you and people like you. Do you *really* think that YLH’s (and others like him) hold their opinions of India in ignorance? Or is it a deep underlying hatred (and these days probably even jealousy) of India?

    People like him are too smart to be ignorant but they choose to conveniently edit/ignore/add information from their ‘analysis’ so as the results suit their prejudices.

    It is a well established fact in behavioral economics that we see what we want to see. Our bodies respond to our “expectations” physiologically. If we want a wine to taste good, it tastes good and vice-versa. This is also why placebos work. So, I can imagine a YLH coming to India desperately searching for cues to keep him able to hold on to his dearly held ‘analysis’ and opinions. I have good news for you. You will continue to hold-on to your points for some time to come (900million defecate in open, 2000million underfed, 1zillion insurgencies, etc, etc) but you ignore a holistic analysis at your own peril. Of-course, the same logic applies to me as well. If I travel to Pakistan with strong opinions, I will be able to find ‘realities’ to suit my biases.

    India is a country so big and diverse that you can find empirical evidence to support any of your predilections.

    A fair comparison between any two countries should not only compare past and current statistics but also the first and second derivatives of the growth and the hope in their sustainability. A snapshot in time can be very illusive. Two cars on a street may be at the same location but one may be recklessly traveling backwards causing risk to others and the other with a strong engine zooming forward. A snapshot will tell a very different story though, hain ji?

    Even if for a second we assume that Pakistan has better infrastructure than India (in 2010 terms), the presence of better infrastructure than India, it will help you to know that good buildings/road are NOT an indicator of current state of economic affairs of a country and neither does it guarantee future growth. There are several cities in the US and communities in large well developed (in infrastructure terms) cities where you will find abject poverty, hopelessness, lack of economic prospects, crime, etc.

    To the mods (AZW): If you are REALLY fair, take this article down. It is a good idea to remove flame-baiting comments but what about the main article itself being schadenfreude? The only place one can respond to the article is in the comments and how fair is it if you only take the comments down? If the main article gloats in the current CWG mess (on the basis of carefully chosen ‘facts’ – but that’s a different point altogether) can I therefore gloat in the floods in Pakistan? Why have different yardsticks for different people?

    Regards,
    Support Line: 1-800-YLH-Love

  52. no-communal

    @Girish

    YLH too has a point. Historically the east, specifically Calcutta, developed first. In every which way possible. This was largely centralized to Calcutta alone. At the same time, the vast rural areas underwent repeated famines under British rule.

    However, it was also the east where the British faced the stiffest resistance. The poor in the east (a large chunk of which are tribals, 80% of India’s tribals are in the central to eastern states) have been famously resistant to development. Even the opening of the railway by the British faced stiff resistance in Midnapur. It’s the name you may have seen in the papers as a hotbed of tribal unrest. Politicians have just gone on with the population.

    Along with infrastructure, more than 90% of farmers’ suicides in India are from Maharashtra, Karnataka, and AP. So let’s not boast much about spanking new airports just yet.

    A big reason India’s development has been slower is that it has had to carry a billion population. If you have a big weight, your movement will be slow. China is doing it more successfully, but only under an autocratic set up.

  53. Chote Miyan

    @Your loving…
    “To the mods (AZW): If you are REALLY fair, take this article down. ”

    I don’t think that is a very good idea. YLH did start with some lousy statements in his article, but the later part of his article is in a way, an oblique praise. So let’s not get carried away and start banning or taking down articles. I think the moderators have given enough opportunity to everyone to display their ability in the use of vernaculars. Let’s leave it at that.

    “If the main article gloats in the current CWG mess (on the basis of carefully chosen ‘facts’ – but that’s a different point altogether) can I therefore gloat in the floods in Pakistan? Why have different yardsticks for different people?”

    No. Unlike the CWG mess, people have lost lives in the floods and millions have been affected in a way that would take a long time for them to recover. I am surprised that you are making such a comparison. It’s ok to taunt once in a while, but let’s be human, at the very least.

  54. Chote Miyan

    Sardar Khan Ji,

    It’s actually spelled as ‘shudra’ not ‘shudar.’ Typical ‘suar’ like comments from you.

    I am sure YLH is welcome to our country. We will humbly accept his choice of residence in India, if he decides to do so.🙂

  55. Chote Miyan

    NC,

    Valid points, though Girish’s thrust was on the direction that we have taken. There is a whole lot to be done, no doubt. It’s quite embarrassing when some of us start bleating as to how we are going to be the next superpower.

  56. YLH

    Duck mian, next time you want to pose as a Pakistani atleast do something about your IP and other interacts.

    Ofcourse if you could read better you would see what I was writing.

    Btw I am glad not every Indian is a chutiya like you. I suggest you read posts by Vajra, Girish, Libertarian and no-communal…

  57. YLH

    Your loving husband mian… Your posts are very encouraging. This is precisely the squirming reaction I wanted.

    Vajra and company will no doubt be more distressed than I …because they see now just how insecure little shits like you really are. A true reflection of shining arse that India is.

    I especially loved the comparison of CWG to Pakistani floods. While the latter is a natural calamity, I am glad you now admit that India is a man-made one.

    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  58. YLH

    Girish … What is now India was what was called “de-regulated provinces” of British India. These had political institutions, mercantile capitalism and south asia’s industrial heartland. What is now Pakistan was a provincial backwater ruled through Deputy Commissioner and feudal notables.

    For example United Punjab in 1930 had only 30,000 industrial workers as opposed to 400000 in Bombay alone. Delhi was the capital of British Empire in India and was naturally more developed. Not just Congress leadership but even the Muslim Salariat was derived from UP and Bombay.

    The literacy rate in west Pakistan was about 3-6 percent in 1947 and in India between 13-18 percent if I recall correctly.

    So I am afraid the logic doesn’t hold.
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  59. Girish

    One other thing related to the CWG before I shut up. Typically, countries have used major sporting events as coming out parties. Korea in 1988, Beijing in 2008 are examples that come to mind. What is however not realized is that these events merely showcased a transformation that was underway even otherwise in these places. Would anybody argue that Seoul would not have been a modern metropolis or that the infrastructure in Beijing would not have been first rate if not for the games?

    In that sense, the CWG in Delhi are premature. The fact is that India and Delhi are not in a state of development comparable to Korea/Seoul in 1988 or China/Beijing in 2008. Hence, there were always bound to be issues. Even if the Commonwealth Games village were perfect (and there are no excuses for shoddy preparation), one would only need to go a kilometer from there to see signs of poverty or poor infrastructure. That is the reality that no amount of preparation for the games could have erased.

    On a side note, it is also somewhat troubling to see large sums of money spent on events such as this when there is desperate poverty. Howsoever much I may be proud of my city getting to host the world (alright, only the Commonwealth), I cannot be at least somewhat troubled by the question of what else the money could have been used for. Despite the fact that part of the money should have been spent anyway (e.g. in building a modern transport system that serves the poor and middle classes more than the richest) and part of the money came from private investors and not the taxpayer (e.g. the airport or the express rail line from the airport to the city). There are troubling questions related to corruption and wastage that should make everybody think about the costs vs. benefits comparisons for these games.

    In any case, now that the games are upon us, it is best to enjoy the spectacle and do the accounting after they are over.

  60. Girish

    YLH:

    I would attribute more of the failures in the eastern parts of India to governance issues than to natural factors. However, even in 1947, my guess would be that the standard of living in the western parts of the subcontinent were higher than those in the east and for that matter the south as well and this was driven at least partly by natural factors. The southern states of India are a good example of what even slightly better governance can achieve despite natural disabilities (they are largely arid regions with historically low agricultural productivity).

    To sum up, I don’t want to stretch the argument too much. You have a valid point related to institutions and education. However, all I am saying is that Promod’s point is not totally bereft of logic either.

  61. YLH

    It is entirely bereft of logic because there is data vis a vis industrialisation and development available and I am afraid what Promod Kapoor is just not true.

    Are we talking about famines and the like …but that is neither here nor there.

  62. Your Lovin' Husband

    “Vajra and company will no doubt be more distressed than I …because they see now just how insecure little shits like you really are. A true reflection of shining arse that India is.”

    Not insecure but not as mature and patient as some of these other people are and more reactive. I hold no illusions about what real India is about. But whatever that reality is, I also have no confusions about how it compares to the rest of the neighborhood.

    If a Vajra (irrespective of his nationality) educates me about my flaws and takes me to task, I will listen. But you sir, with you tone, priceless expressions and choicest language get none of that so just f-off.

    On the CWG vs floods, I want to clarify (to Chote Main) that I never meant and never can gloat in the deaths anywhere in the world. But the point still remains. Can I gloat in the mismanagement of the floods? And once you agree that gloating in someone else’s misery is okay, who gets to decide where to draw the line? YLH? ha! Who gets to decide whether an event is “man-made” or natural? Did the mismanagement not make this flood disaster man-made to some extent? Does deforestation qualify as a man-made phenomenon?

    If some liberal Indians treat you nicely and listen to what you have to say please don’t think that you are entitled to our kindness. If you have a right to throw around the “s” word (or halwa as you like to call it) and hurl abuses then have a stomach to take a few punches back in the gut.

    Warm🙂 Regards,
    1-800-YLH-LOVE

  63. YLH

    Abay chutiye you are trying too hard. With the acronyms and long winded farts… etc. I don’t care if Indians “listen to me” or don’t “listen to me”. I am writing in a Pakistani newspaper and on a Pakistani website.

    I don’t give a shit about turds like you and those third rate savages who think they are the world’s next superpower.

    No need to explain your little freudian slip… cracked me up. Kind of reminded me of three chutiyas from India I met on 9/11/2001 in New Jersey. They were flushed and excited …with their heads bobbing like only an Indian’s head can bob they told me “America is finished. India is the next super power no.”

    Hazaron khawaishain aisee kay hur khawaish pay dum niklay…

    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  64. Your Lovin' Husband

    He he, someone is worked up.
    I am so happy.

    With Warm Regards,
    Your Loving Husband
    Fakir Latif puraHarami
    1-800-YLH-CHUTIA

  65. YLH

    Yes I am worked up. Ok.

  66. sai aravindh

    To pin down the difference between Pakistan and India to democracy is not just simplistic, its plain wrong. Many of our Asian counterparts have done exceedingly well for themselves (notably China) despite/due to (take your pick) an authoritarian regime. And these countries were doing worse off than India in the early 50s. Of course, one can also pick up examples of dictatorial regimes which have ended up destroying their nation.

    In a feudal, illiterate and undeveloped societies, leadership (and not the type of governance) is probably the most influential factor in deciding the direction of the society. And it appears to me to be quite a random factor. China of today would have been quite different if Mao was followed not Deng but, by say, Mao II. India was staring at economic catastrophe in the early 1990s when the unlikely duo of Rao-Singh pulled us out of the abyss. Who is to say what would have happened if we had had an unstable government at that point – a period when economic crisis was compounded by deep social unrest in the form of Mandir and Mandal politics.

    An alluring counter factual case would be one where Jinnah had lived at least a decade after partition. I would say, chances are Pakistan would not have been in this mess, democracy or no democracy. The point is strong leaders have a tremendous impact on the long term direction of societies like ours.

  67. Yell Loud and High

    Try having China’s one-child only policy in India or Pakistan!!!!! Yet it is in part the respite from the pressure of a growing population that enabled China to leap forward. Just think about one dimension of it – all of a sudden, the number of new schools the nation needs each year is cut drastically, the money can go to improve the existing ones instead.

  68. Feroz Khan

    My understanding was that when the Delhi metro was being constructed, the Indian government gave the person responsible for it a carte blanche. The organizational heirarchies were clearly defined and red-tape was severely curtailed.

    My question is: why a similar approach was not taken towards CWG?

    It seems that the Indian government stepped in at the last minute and as a result of its interest in the matter, things started to improve.

    Again, my question is why did the Indian government not step in before and sooner?

    On the other hand, good will come from this experience and the Indian public, having being bitterly biten by bureaucratic follies, will be more expectant of future offical behavior. This is where accountibility in public goverance comes from; expectations of efficieny and the demands for it.

    ciao

  69. Sadia Hussain

    Economic instability and rampant extremism are the two most crucial problems faced by Pakistan and unless we eradicate extremism we cannot have economic growth. The fight against extremism is therefore important for bring prosperity to the country.

  70. Girish

    Feroz,

    The Delhi Asian Games in 1982 had that kind of singular authority, and the stakes were high (Rajiv Gandhi was put in charge of the event, and it was an event meant to prove his organizational capabilities). The build up to the games and its organization was smooth due to (or despite) this factor. In 2010, there is no such leadership. An MP who has been a career sports administrator in India (a disability rather than a qualification) was in charge of the Organizing Committee due to his position as the Chief of the Indian Olympic Committee. There was division within the Government about the wisdom of going for these games – the Sport Minister at the time, Mani Shankar Aiyar, significantly delayed approval (in some cases by two years) for many games-related projects since he was bitterly opposed to it. (He recently said that he hoped the games failed miserably and that he was going to get the hell out of Delhi during the games). There was no leadership at the top to provide focus and to demand accountability. There was a multiplicity of agencies working on the various games related projects.

    That said, the games are not a failure by any stretch. Not yet at least. The build up has been less than desirable. But the stadia are ready, the village is mostly ready, the new airport and an extensive metro system (11th longest network in the world as of Oct 2nd, just behind Tokyo) will be in place. New expressways are in place. The bus system in Delhi is now on the road to being comparable with the best in the world, with a large fleet of low floor buses, a bus rapid transit system (with dedicated lanes, modern bus stations and prioritized signaling systems) up and running, new power stations commissioned, security systems completely overhauled, conservation of heritage structures… the list can go on. By any measure, Delhi has undergone a massive infrastructure upgrade. Much of this should have been done anyway, but the games were a catalyst in getting it done now. A much more modern city will be a legacy of the games regardless of what happens at the games themselves.

    And going by the comments of the athletes who have come in, and the reports in the Western media itself, things are looking great on the ground, in the village and at other venues. I am now confident that the games would be organized well. The only worry I have relates to security. Not at the venues related to the games, or for the athletes for that matter due to the extensive security preparations, but at other locations, and for ordinary citizens unrelated to the games. Barring any mishaps on that front, the games will be well organized.

  71. sai aravindh

    “My understanding was that when the Delhi metro was being constructed, the Indian government gave the person responsible for it a carte blanche. The organizational heirarchies were clearly defined and red-tape was severely curtailed.

    My question is: why a similar approach was not taken towards CWG? ”

    As a Pakistani, shouldnt you be asking this question in the reverse?🙂 Just kidding! The answer is pretty simple – The Metro project had substantial international (Japenese) funding , so major goofups/corruption was simply not an option. On the contrary, the rest of the CWG projects were primarily internally funded.

  72. Feroz Khan

    @ Girish & sai aravindh

    thanks!

    ciao

  73. Girish

    I doubt that the source of the funding played a major part in the success of the Delhi Metro. Yes, it had a role because an external funder demands some accountability. However, there are numerous externally funded projects which are hopelessly late and have had cost overruns. For instance, the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (which is upgrading the suburban rail system there) has World Bank funding comparable to the extent of Japanese funding of the Delhi Metro, but has had cost and time overruns.

    In the Delhi Metro case, there was some degree of providence involved. Sreedharan (the chief of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) had recently been in charge of building the Konkan Railway project – a 700+ km rail project on the West Coast, which had been built on time and within budget despite significant engineering challenges (it runs through the Western Ghats mountains for most of its distance). When Delhi Metro needed a head, they looked around for somebody with experience and Sreedharan stood out amongst the pack due to his recent successful experience, coupled with a reputation for integrity. Soon after that, a top leadership (the PM Vajpayee himself) that had put infrastructure development as a top priority and wanted a showpiece project came to power. Had Sreedharan come in at another time, he would not have got the same level of political support he did. And had somebody else come in at that time, perhaps the experience he had would have been missing. He was an insider (a career Indian Railway man) with the experience of running an autonomous corporation (like the Konkan Railway Corporation) but subject to bureaucratic control from the Railway Ministry.

    Once he delivered the first line of the Delhi Metro on time and within budget (and he had astutely chosen the easiest line to be built first, even though it is arguably not as important as the other lines), he had built a public constituency for himself. He would easily win any popularity contest in Delhi today, and I dare say in many other cities as well. Given his reputation for incorruptibility and efficiency, it is hard for any politician to go against him. That gave him a lot of power to execute the challenging project without too much political interference.

  74. Questor

    Girish, that is a great example of how lucky and politically savvy a competent person has to be to rise and deliver in a dysfunctional system.

  75. AndroidGuy

    Irrespective of how the CWG goes, my question to all these Dilliwallas is why Delhi?

    Why not Mumbai, Kolkatta, Chennai? Hyd or Bangalore maybe? Why the hell should it always be that bloody town? You had your place in the sun in ’82. Let the other cities shine….the infrastructure of other cities could have got better. Mumbai, for all its greatness, doesn’t have a single decent soccer stadium. NOT.ONE. go figure.

  76. Girish

    AG:

    Legitimate question. But one rationale given for Delhi was precisely that it had existing facilities that didn’t need to be built from scratch. The Asian Games stadia were refurbished for the CWG. It had better infrastructure overall, without the need to build things from scratch.

    That said, perhaps the mess would have been less in a smaller, more manageable place. Not Mumbai, which has severe space constraints, greater political problems than Delhi and huge economic consequences for even a few days of disruption. But say Goa. It deserves better infrastructure, would have been a big tourist draw (and the games would have helped establish it as an even bigger draw) and would have been easier to manage from a security perspective. Add to that the fact that it is perhaps the newest region of the British Commonwealth (having been a Portuguese colony until 1961).

  77. Girish

    Also, Mumbai’s lack of adequate infrastructure is largely due to mismanagement in the city. It has more resources than all the other cities in India, but has not managed it well. The political class is also trying very hard to destroy its biggest asset – the fact that it is essentially a city of immigrants.

    Had the city been a separate state, it would have been way more developed. But that is a discussion for a different forum and a different occasion.

    Other than the Asiads and Commonwealth Games, other cities have hosted other events. The third biggest sporting event that India has hosted were the Afro Asian Games, and these were held in Hyderabad. Chennai and Kolkata have both hosted the SAF games – though they are smaller in terms of number of participants, the infrastructure required is similar to that for the CWG. So it isn’t true in the first place that everything goes to Delhi. Mumbai has to sort out its own mess first before it can be a credible host for a major multi-discipline sporting event.

  78. Tilsim

    I am sitting here smiling, reading my 8 year old son’s book and it is reminding me of the ‘conversations’ today on PTH…

    “Uncle picked up the telescope as soon as the Old Monkey had gone and had a look at Badfort himself. It’s rather hard when you have a splendid house yourself and the chief view from your windows should be that of your enemy’s dingy fortress, but this had to be endured, and it’s quite useless to pretend that Uncle wasn’t interested in the huge sprawl of Badfort, and the unseemly Badfort crowd who inhabited it.

    Since Uncle. the elephant, became rich the people who live at Badfort have been his chief critics. They are jealous of him, and are delighted when they discover anything against him. For instance, he used to when he was young to find it difficult to tell the truth always, but he was n’t a very clever liar, because he could n’t help blowing softly through his trunk when he was telling a lie, and people got to know of this. People have long memories for such deeds in a great person.

    It is hard to say who is the head of Badfort. Beaver Hateman is the most active person there, and he has two brothers called Nailrod and Filljug. Then there is a cousin called Sigismund Hateman. One of the most objectionable characters is Jellytussle. He is covered with shaking jelly of a bluish colour, and whenever he is about Uncle looks out for trouble.”

    Ahh… to never grow up.

  79. shiv

    Pakistan’s woes and the Commonwealth Games fiasco in India are different issues.

    Personally I think the 30,000 crores spent on the games village and in lining pockets could have been better spent building sports facilities in 30,ooo Indian towns. And to hell with the Commonwealth Games. What the fug is the Commonwealth anyway and what is the British Qyoon Elijabeth to us?

    Ultimately the best way forward for Pakistan is to get out of the “competition with India” mindset and integrate the Pakistani economy with the Indian economy. Pakistan is a largely agrarian nation and the pattern of produce continues to be what it was for centuries on both sides of the border. Cross border trade would probably benefit Pakistan more than India in terms of economy, but that would be a disaster in terms of Pakistani honor and dignity and a Pakistani self image of being richer, greater, fairer, taller, smarter, sexier, cleverer, stronger, sweeter, longer, stiffer and better than India and Indians.

    But for that – the visceral anti-India stance of the Pakistan army has to go. And current delusions of the importance of honor and dignity to a nation occupied by and propped up by all sorts of outsiders has to take a back seat.

  80. Modra

    Ok, my bit of schadenfreude is that Pakistanis, even with the benefit of liberal education and values, are still vain, vindictive, delusional and utterly worthless compared to their Indian counter parts in PTH who come across highly sophisticated and actually more smarter and erudite.

    I agree with shiv though. Pakistani economy has to be integrated with the Indian one for the region as a whole to prosper. For that to happen now, Pakistan will have to show some foresight and maturity which does not come naturally to a Pakistani but will come to pass once they have reached the cape of no hope.

  81. YLH

    Another shitface harping about “erudition” and “sophistication” of dhoti wearing savages who probably can’t speak a sentence in the English language without bobbing their heads.

  82. Modra

    :rotfl: I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me.

    [i]Another shitface harping about “erudition” and “sophistication” of dhoti wearing savages who probably can’t speak a sentence in the English language without bobbing their heads.[/i]

    This is a jem.😀
    Take a bow, the true face of Pakistani liberals.

  83. no-communal

    Chote Miyan

    “Valid points, though Girish’s thrust was on the direction that we have taken.”

    I know. But governance is sometimes being invoked for the direction. That’s not true. Delhi has surged ahead because of the disproportionate attention from the center. Even the CWG should have been in Hyderabad. A fairly large scale infrastructure already exists there because of the Afro-Asian games.

    Aside from Delhi and its many bounties, other regions are getting what their people want. People, not the government. Gujarat is prosperous because its people are entrepreneurial. They also run Mumbai. South wanted capitalism much earlier and got it. Bengal wanted worthless left-wing poetry and abstruse flicks and got it. Tribal lands in central India do not want development and are not getting it. Pakistanis wanted religion and got it. Bangladeshis wanted a cross between ethnicity and religion and are getting it.

    So it’s what the people wanted. ‘Good’ governance, on the other hand, is visible in the CWG mess, politicians arresting each other, underworld connections, and turning from the average Joe to a billionaire in 20 years. The only good fortune for India, and this is a legacy of Nehru, is more emphasis on science than religion. That’s what Pakistanis have to want: more development/science and less religion, even the moderate variety.

  84. @Your Lovin’ Husband

    Girish/Vajra: You people have some patience. I salute you for your efforts.

    This is not an attempt to represent Girish’ views – he is relentlessly logical, and rightly insists on authorities for everything, more than once forcing me into silence while I rummaged around old, forgotten texts. This is strictly personal.

    But I have a question for you and people like you. Do you *really* think that YLH’s (and others like him) hold their opinions of India in ignorance? Or is it a deep underlying hatred (and these days probably even jealousy) of India?

    OK, this is a view of YLH that won’t fly very well, but I’m going to put it out there anyway.

    Normally, YLH is creative. Around the central theme of the need for democracy as being critical to Pakistan’s continued existence – as in, without which the country won’t survive in any worthwhile form – he has built a formidable case for the alternative Islamist case to be rejected. That does not reject Islam; not at all. It recognises the position of Islam as the religion practised by the majority of Pakistanis. This view also states unequivocally that Islam as a personal religion and democracy can co-exist; even, given several authorities on the subject, Ghamidi first of all, but with a plethora of them provided by A. A. Khalid, flourish. This POV has been ably furthered, with various twists of their own, by BCiv, AZW, Khalid, Bin Ismail, Tilsim – actually, listing them will get me into serious trouble, because it leaves out some heavy hitters, so let’s just say that there is a clearly defined body of opinion forming up behind this very attractive proposition – of a constitutional democracy, functioning without genuflexion to a hidden eminence grise within, sustained by the people, and imbuing the people of Pakistan with a sense of rightness and belonging, no, not belonging, but of outright ownership. It is extremely doubtful that such a Pakistan will have terrorist campaigns against India. It is also extremely doubtful that this will happen in the next six months.😉

    It is when trolls come by, an increasingly depressing phenomenon, that Mr. Hyde comes out. That is a totally different, combative, take-no-prisoners kind of personality. The kind of personality that I would be, if I had the exuberant energy of his youth, or his stamina. I really can’t do much about the sheer persistence of these malevolent beings, whose single item of stock in trade is a credo that has been paraphrased enough times to require repetition.

    When YLH talks about India to those who are respectful about his country, without mitigating its problems or difficulties, he talks with warm affinity to the liberal and secular segment within India. A segment, may I point out, that is the most critical of India, with no other wish than to improve India. These same people are also often the most violently reactive to criticism of India from clearly-defined enemies of India.

    Now put Pakistan in place of India and look at YLH’s stand point. Do you see what I see? A secular liberal, born a Pakistani, bred a Pakistani, with Pakistan in every atom of his being, behaving exactly, identically as an Indian liberal would if India were being baited by an India-hater.

    It is easy to understand his point of view and his stance.

    The only mystery is his blind worship of the Pakistani cricket team. That is doomed to lose at the hands of our warriors in blue, but he refuses to accept reality in this one respect, a saddening situation.

    People like him are too smart to be ignorant but they choose to conveniently edit/ignore/add information from their ‘analysis’ so as the results suit their prejudices.

    It is a well established fact in behavioral economics that we see what we want to see. Our bodies respond to our “expectations” physiologically. If we want a wine to taste good, it tastes good and vice-versa. This is also why placebos work. So, I can imagine a YLH coming to India desperately searching for cues to keep him able to hold on to his dearly held ‘analysis’ and opinions.

    He is not ignoring anything. He is simply reacting to unwelcome criticism, criticism that he and his very brave band of like-minded people have made themselves, but with loyalty to their own, whatever it is. It is for him and his friends to point out these faults, they feel, not for hostile, carping critics from India.

    Unfortunately, you two have locked your horns in combat, and it is difficult to disentangle this.

    I have good news for you. You will continue to hold-on to your points for some time to come (900million defecate in open, 2000million underfed, 1zillion insurgencies, etc, etc) but you ignore a holistic analysis at your own peril. Of-course, the same logic applies to me as well. If I travel to Pakistan with strong opinions, I will be able to find ‘realities’ to suit my biases.

    And the reverse of the logic also applies. As he has demonstrated countless times, and to the extent that he does not require to show his credentials any more, he has admiration for Indian democracy and what it has brought to the country. Try looking at Pakistan the same way, with the same openness to its positive aspects, with the same openness towards its progressive and like-minded elements.

    And try looking at YLH as a person who puts his beliefs right out in front, in a country where people get killed for far, far less.

    He goes off at a tangent on occasion, but I cannot bring myself to rebuke someone who visibly demonstrates the strength of his principles in daily life as he does. That is best left to his own affectionate friends; AZW, for instance.

    India is a country so big and diverse that you can find empirical evidence to support any of your predilections.

    A fair comparison between any two countries should not only compare past and current statistics but also the first and second derivatives of the growth and the hope in their sustainability. A snapshot in time can be very illusive. Two cars on a street may be at the same location but one may be recklessly traveling backwards causing risk to others and the other with a strong engine zooming forward. A snapshot will tell a very different story though, hain ji?

    Even if for a second we assume that Pakistan has better infrastructure than India (in 2010 terms), the presence of better infrastructure than India, it will help you to know that good buildings/road are NOT an indicator of current state of economic affairs of a country and neither does it guarantee future growth. There are several cities in the US and communities in large well developed (in infrastructure terms) cities where you will find abject poverty, hopelessness, lack of economic prospects, crime, etc.

    He is reacting to you, and not particularly to India.

    To the mods (AZW): If you are REALLY fair, take this article down. It is a good idea to remove flame-baiting comments but what about the main article itself being schadenfreude? The only place one can respond to the article is in the comments and how fair is it if you only take the comments down? If the main article gloats in the current CWG mess (on the basis of carefully chosen ‘facts’ – but that’s a different point altogether) can I therefore gloat in the floods in Pakistan? Why have different yardsticks for different people?

    In my personal opinion, it is not YLH that they need to sit on, it is the monotonous assembly line of Hindutva freaks who come by and stink things up. I am not including you among them, so please understand what I am saying.

  85. YLH

    Vajra,

    Thanks. I am frankly very surprised by the Indian reaction to this article. It is as if no one bothered to read the second paragraph.

    The first paragraph was a deliberate provocation intentionally placed to light a fire amongst the jingoistic Indian ultras. It is also to set me apart from the pinko-liberal let’s hold hands sing kumbaye types who discredit liberal and secular sentiment amongst the Pakistani populace. I want peace but I don’t want to rat. I want India-Pakistan trade but I don’t want to brown-nose India… I want Pakistan to emulate India in many if not all things while maintaining very consciously a fierce sense of independence.

    However, if one reads the article second paragraph onwards one will realise just how high an esteem I hold the Indian constitution, Indian legal tradition, Indian democracy and most things right about India. In the final analysis it does not matter whether there are clean roads are not… atleast in so far as my priorities or concerned, CWG fiasco does not figure prominently.

  86. lal

    ”The only mystery is his blind worship of the Pakistani cricket team. That is doomed to lose at the hands of our warriors in blue, but he refuses to accept reality in this one respect, a saddening situation.”

    didnt kno dat…actually i first came across suresh raina’s twitter account only when i went through the guys YLH follows

  87. @YLH

    Your article was fine. Everyone got whom the first was aimed at, but some of us with thinner skins than the others also felt the sting. Those people reacted instead of letting the targets react.

    You don’t need to say what you did at 10:41 to those Indian liberals who (a) have read you and other decent and self-respecting Pakistani liberals and understood their point of view; (b) understand that the only way to have a colloquium with a neighbour is on terms of mutual respect, and realise that condescension on one side starts a downward spiral which is rapidly out of everybody’s control.

    You don’t need to say what you did to the Hindutva tribe or the Islamist tribe (both sub-sections of the same, a Sardar Khan identical to a Due, a peculiar tribe, as yet uncivilised, as yet given to savage practises and wholly in the grip of the barbaric myths that their vestigial snake-brains reproduce from the far unconscious); they are not going to change.

    You DO need to talk to the taken-by-surprise, less than considerate, less than sympathetic Indian liberal who thinks that the reason that Pakistan lags in certain respects is because its thinking sections have failed. They don’t bother with the objective circumstances of Pakistan today, any more than they bother with the objective circumstances of India today, and tend to take the trend of recent Indian history as a given, rather than a combination of accident and wise leadership by unwise men, and the native wit and rock-solid common sense of any people allowed to exercise democratic rights, in howsoever corrupted a form.

    It is this vast hinterland that Indian liberals need to co-opt. Their hostility to you or to any other self-respecting Pakistani liberal is a failure of the Indian paradigm in which Pakistan is evaluated, and which needs to be fixed. Those fixing it are usually called traitors and accused of sleeping with the enemy.

    Finally, it is tempting to believe, but there is no evidence for or against available to less-knowledgeable external observers, that a similar segment of potential liberals, perhaps rather more theistic than the avant garde elements whom we are more familiar with, exists in Pakistani society. I am not sure about this, and only some of you can answer this. We can’t expect every Pakistani right-minded sensible decent person and aspiring democrat to be of the impossibly high standards set, let us say, by the incomparable Paracha, or to be as mellow in his matured, deep wisdom as Ghamidi.

    [Ahem]

    Nor can Pakistanis expect Your Lovin’ Husband (if that isn’t sincere flattery, what is?) to be of the standard of understanding and tolerance as Gorki (however sickening he gets in his vast ability to forgive even the dregs). In the responses that you got, you can clearly make out the confused, therefore outraged liberal from the real reptiles.

    Those who haven’t ‘got’ the article so far are unlikely to get it irrespective of the amount of time and space spent hereon. They don’t want to know. Simple as that.

  88. @lal

    That’s a private, running joke. I keep taking potshots at the Pakistan team, and YLH keeps crushing me absent-mindedly while attending to other serious things. He doesn’t mean it, neither do I.

  89. Zyx

    @YLH – You are all correct about second para but here is the thing. You want to appreciate the intangible ( Clever i would say ) while dismissive about the real – the middle class which has actually driven the surge.

    As for your tongue, whatever your intentions , gallis do not do any good

    @Vajra – how would you like to defend YLH’s language ? by saying that Indian boasters deserve the filth YLH throws up ??

  90. YLH

    Zyx

    I am not dismissive of any middle class. Not sure where you got it from but I discuss in part the middle class in India in this article.

    https://pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/the-future-belongs-to-jinnah/

  91. @Zyx

    I would not defend it at all.

    If you look at YLH’s reaction when friends rebuke him, he does not defend it himself. It is just that he defends as passionately as he attacks.

    He minces no words when serving up Islamist fanatics – they have strangely disappeared, much to everyone’s uneasy pleasure, for some weeks now, but it was a state of siege at one time – a la Mughlai, on a salad bed. He minces no words in defending Pakistan either.

    When we admire him so intensely for setting his lance and charging the serried ranks of the fanatics with such reckless courage, can we not cut him some slack for behaving the way we would if someone were supercilious about that exact same India that we don’t hesitate to criticise?

    I have been so harsh in my language against Sangh fanatics, I cannot criticise him, but it is true that this language is something we have all talked to him about. He listens solemnly and is perfectly understanding of what we say, until the next red rage.

    Tout comprendre, tout pardonner.

  92. @Zyx

    Also, dear Sir, do please focus on that article, the original piece. It was, after all, so very well written; once we understand the irony and sarcasm, things fall into place.

    It is amazing that what is a pro-India piece is read so universally as anti-Indian. Are we now Pavlovian, as a nation?

    I am sure that on a second reading, you will find much in it to feel good about.

  93. “The truth is that while India’s humiliation has cheered us up…”

    Trust me, those Indians criticizing YLH for saying this feel equally ticklish every time a bomber blows himself up in a Pakistani city, every time the US threatens Pakistan of action, every time press reports that Pakistan is on the verge of an economic collapse….

    It would serve us well to look ourselves in the mirror before criticizing others. I agree with Vajra that we Indians are very poor critiques of ourselves. We love to live in a romantic world, far way from our reality – one of the reasons why Bollywood works!

    Anyway, I agree with YLH that democracy is the best option for any nation, more so for countries like India and Pakistan. I think our mutual trouble is that we leave far too many important things for far too few people to do. Involvement and citizenship is the key!

  94. lal

    @vajra
    The problem with the article vajra,is that after reading the first paragraph,nobody will wait to read the full story.We rush to the comments section.Only somebody who knows YLH for sometime will see the bait in it.

    The reaction also shows that there is a sense of fierce patriotism in Indias middle class.These would have been the very people who were writing blogs all around critiscising kalmadi,cheering mani shankar ayyar when he says india will fall flat on its ‘faeces’ and sms ng the ceiling jokes and ‘sir u made lakhs’.Yet when the critiscism is levelled from outside they protect kalmadi as one of there own.

    As for the second part of the article,while democracy in pakistan is desirable,I believe Sai aravind has a point.He talked about China,which is another success story from Asia,but without democracy or private players.So there is no one size fits all success mantra

    YLH,
    As much as anybody here defended CWG,we are planning to send monsiur Kalmadi on a chandrayaan after the games.As a good will gesture,we are offering one seat in the trip for Pakistan,and Ijas butt will be a perfect candidate

    Girish,
    Nice to have u back.didnt kno history books of XI & XII had so much details on asian games and CWG🙂

  95. karun1

    The pictures that have emerged from the Athletes Village at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi have conclusively rubbished the India shining myth. This would not come as a surprise to those Pakistanis who have visited India or have interacted with Indians visiting Pakistan. Most Indians visiting Pakistan comment on how much more developed Pakistan is, how clean Pakistan’s cities are, how much better Pakistani roads are than India’s and how they find fewer beggars on Pakistani roads than on Indian roads. It will, however, certainly shock those who have been brought to believe that India is the land of milk and honey.
    **************************************************

    The problem is my friend in 5-10 yrs time India’s infrastructure will be so ahead(and this is no empty boasting) that you will have no option but to accept it. btw why dont u apply for a visa and judge it for yourself.

  96. YLH

    In a paradoxical sense fierce sense of nationalism shown here is also a result of democracy …which I mentioned above as the reason for ownership. Misguided yes but still relevant to the original point I was making.

    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  97. AZW

    The second half of Yasser’s article is a compliment to the democratic system in India. It pays homage to an otherwise rickety system full of potholes; massive corruption and endemic poverty threatened to derail it throughout its history. One of its biggest leaders of the past 63 years came close to opening the doors of autocracy as she imposed emergency and went on to impose by force her family scion to rule the mother India. The democratic system survived major ethnic and religious fault lines that run deeply through the Indian society. In my opinion, it was the continuous democracy that kept ensuring that these fault lines are realized and respected, not patched up under a thin veneer of quick-fix “Hindustan for Hindus” slogan. India is another excellent example that though democratic system is not perfect, and society can be riddled with corruption, red tapes and occasional economic crisis, the system eventually keeps correcting itself by passing the litmus test of public electorate. This process might be painfully slow for quick-fixing generals and intelligentsia, but life is not about having the ideal solution at our disposals at all times; it is about making careful choices from the ones available to us in a supremely imperfect world.

    While I would call Yasser’s Schadenfreude unnecessary, it probably went on to highlight the importance of the second part even more. And the resident-Indians-on-PTH (many of them openly right wingers who have done nothing but poured scorn on our nation day in and out) completely missed the part where a Pakistani liberal was pointing out to the Pakistanis how an imperfect country like India can keep on going because it perseveres with democracy, and does not reach for instant messiahs all the times. The presence of continuous, but imperfect institutions result in a sense of unified vision for their country, that itself results in the sense of ownership that transcends just the blind rhetoric that empty Pakistani nationalists (Zaid Hamids and the religio-nationalist leaders) trumpet day in and out in Pakistan. While I have not agreed with Yasser on all occasions, Indians may want to realize that over past many years, he has fought the loneliest of battles against the extremist ideological crowd in suits and gowns that dot Pakistani cafes and living rooms. Pakistan is rife with a generation that grew up on a steady diet of Islam-and-Pakistan; it views India as the mother of all evils and to justify Pakistan’s existence, wants to have the Pakistani and Islamist ways dominant in all disputes at all costs, with India, or anyone else. This generation is now fooling itself with the lullaby of conspiracy theories and collective denials, yet old mantras drummed into their heads would not give way. For them, Yasser and PTH are the worst of the lot, and this liberal group sits right in their midst and talk of Pakistan as having nothing to do with an Islamic state, and that Pakistan needing to move away from external threat focused towards a democratic state where its religio-nationalist establishment answerable to the democratic government first and foremost. And since this transformation is fraught with potholes, every single bump gives these nationalists an opportunity to do exactly what India has avoided over the past few decades.

    So while the Indian right wing thumps its chest and berates the liberal Pakistani crowd for provocation and God-knows-what, take a step back, determine for yourself what kind of Pakistan is best for Pakistanis. Because at the end of the day, what is best for Pakistanis is what is best for Indians. This is one of the most undeniable truths that we have kept on ignoring for the past six decades, as we wear our blind nationalist and patriotic cloaks in real lives and on the internet.

  98. AZW

    Sri Arvandh:

    To pin down the difference between Pakistan and India to democracy is not just simplistic, its plain wrong. Many of our Asian counterparts have done exceedingly well for themselves (notably China) despite/due to (take your pick) an authoritarian regime. And these countries were doing worse off than India in the early 50s. Of course, one can also pick up examples of dictatorial regimes which have ended up destroying their nation

    You forgot the great revolution some 40 years ago and some 40 million people that perished in the process in China.

    Yes, it is just a number, but if you are willing to play these odds to pick an authoritarian model over democratic one, be my guest.

    And while I have all the respect for the present Chinese leadership, in the broad backdrop of history, China remain an exception, not the norm. And I hate to pick exceptions and hope they happen again and again.

    A decade down the road, I will be curious to see how the pseudo-capitalist autocracy deals with a middle class that will begin clamouring for democracy and human rights. While China may have an advantage right now due to an iron hand guiding its development, be assured that this iron hand has to give way in a globalized democratic world that is all around China. This is where probably a democratic India would not face the same problems. There is no free lunch in this world. The price of high growth rates in China will need to be paid down the road in the future.

  99. summary

    Summary:

    Pakistanis are materially at least as well off as Indians, but Indians have democracy, and so the average Indian feels an ownership of India that is lacking in the Pakistani.

    Pakistan needs to let the democratic process play itself, using judicial fiat and/or the military to fix the problems of Pakistan is a false shortcut.

    Why Pakistan should be a democracy is to gain respectability in the world; because Jinnah wanted it so; because it is the only non-circular path, and because Pakistan’s diversity can find expression only in a democracy.

  100. Sanjiv

    You say that India’s CWG fiasco has cheered Pakistanis.

    Then perhaps the progress of India – new metro systems, new airports, new roads, much better economic progress, a real success story in IT, all will sadden Pakistanis.

    When the floods happened in Pakistan, some Indians felt happy, some felt sad and tried to help, but most were just neutral. That is the difference – we have many more things to do than bother what our neighbours are doing.

  101. YLH

    NJ Guptas can also state the obvious. Who would’ve thunk!! Thanks summary.

  102. YLH

    Sanjiv,

    If athletes from my country are endangered through bad hygiene and security issues in India, it is my problem.

    I think Pakistan should’ve withdrawn its contingent citing health reasons.

    I also hope that Pakistanis returning from India are quarantined and cleared for any diseases they might have picked whilst in such dastardly conditions as we do from people returning from Africa.

    Now how do you like them apples.

  103. Vijay Goel

    Sirjis ! I think China is moving ahead not because of any autoritarian rule but because they are extremely hardworking talented and above all peace loving people. They don’t thump their chests at every small achievement because they are looking to go a long long way. Whereever they are in the orld and they are almost everywhere they have done well for themselves. No work is too small for them and the whole family joins in being hard working and self effacing. The wisdom of Confucious still runs in their veins despite the violence of Communism.

  104. no-communal

    @Ashish Deodhar

    ““The truth is that while India’s humiliation has cheered us up…” Trust me, those Indians criticizing YLH for saying this feel equally ticklish every time a bomber blows himself up in a Pakistani city, every time the US threatens Pakistan of action, every time press reports that Pakistan is on the verge of an economic collapse…”

    That’s not true. I have always supported Pak cricket team when they played against, say, Australia or England. This support waivered somewhat after Mumbai, especially when Pak govt. was so obviously in the denial mode. It has now returned and I felt really bad after the spot fixing allegations especially for Amir. I hope he is given a chance to play again (and we hire him in the Kolkata team). It’s not true at all that I feel ticklish each time a suicide bomber blows himself up in Pakistan. I felt terribly sad after the Lahore shrine bombing and the plight of millions of poor
    after the floods.

    I always argue with other Indians who tend to look at Pakistanis
    in unfavorable terms, especially after the Mumbai attack. I try to explain to them, and they listen, their various historical constraints, Kashmir issue etc.. I have become a fan of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Saab after watching him and listening to his music in a competition on TV. I really like the small boys and girls from Pakistan on that show, who are so extremely talented. I have my favorite from one of them to win the competition.

    But I did not appreciate learning, not that I didn’t know but not written in cold letters, that Pakistanis were cheered up by India’s humiliation. I think it’s quite unfortunate, on both sides of the border. And this is quite independent of what came after the first paragraph.

    ” agree with Vajra that we Indians are very poor critiques of ourselves.”

    That’s not true either. In fact I find us always criticizing ourselves, even at the apparent
    cost of national ‘honor’, ‘shame’ etc. Don’t forget it’s the Indian TV channels more than any other that are relentlessly showing pictures of the CWG mess. I think we are the biggest critics of ourselves, and that is a very healthy sign. But being critical of oneself and agreeing with others who are cheered up at our discomfiture are two entirely different things. I have no idea where you are getting your wisdoms from.

  105. Your Lovin' Husband

    Deleted in complete for utter non sense and language.

    You need to shut down your PC, take a walk and figure out exactly what is wrong with you. And when you are back on the PC, do not bother to post here at PTH any more.

    Good bye and best of luck.

    AZW (Moderator)

  106. YLH

    Man you write too much. A maniac.

    1, I am not 40 years old.

    2. I didn’t know that in order to be a liberal one had to mince one’s words about third rate shitfaces like you.

    Your angst reflects just how much the truth about India has upset you.
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  107. Your Lovin' Husband

    Good-bye “liberals”

  108. Hola

    “If athletes from my country are endangered through bad hygiene and security issues in India, it is my problem.

    I think Pakistan should’ve withdrawn its contingent citing health reasons.

    I also hope that Pakistanis returning from India are quarantined and cleared for any diseases they might have picked whilst in such dastardly conditions as we do from people returning from Africa.”

    YLH,
    Yes I agree. For their own good, numerous Pakistani singers and “artisits” living in India should be deported back to the land of the pure. Also, no Pakistani should be given visas to enter India in future.

    For their own good !

  109. YLH

    Really. Without Atif Aslam how are you going to make people watch that third rate crap you call bollywood cinema.

  110. YLH

    Karun mian… Pakistan’s infrastructure is about 10 years ahead after floods even. So first catch up.

  111. @no-communal

    You probably don’t but many do! No point hiding from that fact! I remember seeing news articles shared on facebook about Pakistan’s worsening flood situation followed by a multiple likes! It’s sickening to say the least.

    @YLH and everyone at PTH

    I don’t know how you’ll take it but I have to say the following:

    We as liberals have to accept all the mud-slinging and crap that’ll be thrown at us from time to time. When we call ourselves liberals, we sign up to receive all the abuses, mockery etc. that comes along with it. It’s part of being a liberal. But the other part of being a liberal is also to live with it without losing our head and getting worked up about it.

    As much as I like this blog, I must say that I didn’t appreciate the language used by YLH and even more so the removal of someone’s comment. I am sure the commentator didn’t have much to add to this discussion but let’s be honest, this has ceased to be a discussion long ago.

    Banning someone or something runs contrary to the ideals of liberalism. Let these people say what they have to say – ignore them and eventually they will tire of posting on your blog.

    Trust me, I have been involved in one such abusive exchange and it only left me bitter and frustrated with myself. I also run a blog of my own and I know how much determination one needs to not ban a comment or a commentator. But we’ve got to do it for the sake of the higher ideals, don’t we?

    Sorry for this rather long lecture and I understand that it’s entirely your decision about what to say and whom to let speak. Hope you guys take it in the right spirit.

  112. Tilsim

    @ Vijay

    “Sirjis ! I think China is moving ahead not because of any autoritarian rule but because they are extremely hardworking talented and above all peace loving people.”

    Absolutely, and the Chinese are extraordinarily disciplined and competitive too – vastly more than South Asians in my view.

    Many Pakistanis, mostly those abroad, do admit that Indians as a nation are more hardworking than Pakistanis and definitely academically very competitive. In particular those from South India as well as those from Punjab. So whilst a wounded psyche ensures some distorted emotions, it’s not a one way street when it comes to Pakistanis views of India or Indians.

    Democracy is desirable and important but by itself it is not enough and not the only difference between how people see Pakistan and India. Let’s stop focussing on perceptions and appearances – how we love to focus on those. A lot of Pakistanis should simply stop being lazy and change their money for nothing attitude. We should also stop looking over our shoulder and keep on top of what we can or should control. We should know of and insist on good governance and good ethics. Respect will come automatically.

    It is our attitudes to life and values that define us as a people and as a nation.

    I know that as a people, South Asians love to have a slanging match – at every opportunity; Nawab kay naak par makhi nahee baith-tee etc.; hum shair (lion) hain, yada yada. Look at how our parliamentarians conduct themselves; do I need to say more? In contrast, anyone who reaches out to the other is a traitor, pinko, deluded etc. We like to inflict pain and suffer pain readily too – just look at classic Indian and Pakistani cinema and poetry to illustrate what we respond to. However, the not so blood pressure raising truth is that if we desire a better future, our energies are better served promoting calm, productive attitudes and problem solving rather than dissipating these same energies in pointless controversies and slanging matches that cause needless offense.

    Oh, it may not be so faithful to our national characters but heck, it’s time we changed.

  113. Hola

    Miyan YLH,
    Yes it is in India’s best interest to get rid of all the bollywood crap, so that better cinema may take root. Thus, Aslam along with all the fleas that he may have caught must be deported back to Pakistan ASAP.

    And no other Pakistani be allowed to enter in such a hellhole like India in future.

  114. no-communal

    @Ashish Deodhar

    “You probably don’t but many do! No point hiding from that fact! I remember seeing news articles shared on facebook about Pakistan’s worsening flood situation followed by a multiple likes! It’s sickening to say the least.”

    No one is hiding from anything. Take a look at your earlier comment:

    ““The truth is that while India’s humiliation has cheered us up…” Trust me, those Indians criticizing YLH for saying this feel equally ticklish every time a bomber blows himself up in a Pakistani city, every time the US threatens Pakistan of action, every time press reports that Pakistan is on the verge of an economic collapse…”

    Now tell me how they are related. Why are you coming up with a different pointer now (‘those who liked the flood’ as opposed to ‘those who didn’t like the comment’) to identify your target?

    There are sadists who laugh at the sad plight of millions. Actually I shouldn’t say sadists, that’s too harsh a word. But it’s a result of years of mistrust and acrimony that a bunch of people have become insensitive to the pain on the other side. That’s very unfortunate and should be, justly, condemned. However, people who disagree with the comments you refer, and have voiced their displeasure, could be an entirely different bunch. Why are you connecting a long series of dots and calling these two groups identical?

    I could be wrong, but I think I speak the minds of millions of Indians who were saddened by the floods (and glad that our govt. gave 25 M to a neighbor in hard times), but would not appreciate cheers from across the border at our humiliation. In fact many Pakistanis themselves didn’t like the comment (which I think was hastily made). Did they also like the link on Facebook?

    Liberalism should not be equated with self-loathing, as some here constantly profess with an unending monotony.

  115. Kaalket

    To urge Pakistan to integrate economically with India is very clever attempt to hurt Pakistani islamic identity. Economy is not everything in nation’s existence. Pakistani are proud religious people and will never themselves consider equal or lower to Indians.The fast, organized ,disciplined response of Pakistan to flood emergency comparing to this CWG fiasco has once again proven the superiority of Pakistani way of life and its mental, physical toughness. It could have been much better if india has hired Pakistani professionals to manage this whole project. The simple fact is Pakistan has much more experience in running, organizing this kind of large projects and Indians simply cant hide their jelaousy or weakness behind the veil of democracy, hypocracy or simple day to day inferiority.

  116. @no-communal

    Point taken. You are right. There’s no real connection between those commenting here and those I came across on facebook.

    I wasn’t saying that they are the same anyway. I was referring to a mentality that many in India exhibit. And I assumed that at least some of those who responded to the CWG reference in this post had that mentality.

    No liberalism is not self-loathing but it definitely is introspective. At least in my experience, liberals don’t get worked up by what others say or think about them; they generally concern themselves with themselves!

  117. no-communal

    @Ashish Deodhar

    “No liberalism is not self-loathing but it definitely is introspective.”

    That’s a fine statement.

    About getting worked up from time to time, that’s the fun of forums like PTH (among other things).

  118. Chote Miyan

    “Without Atif Aslam how are you going to make people watch that third rate crap you call bollywood cinema.”

    I think people know Aslam because of Bollywood and not the other way around. If the Bollywood movies are so crap, I wonder why Pakistanis trip over themselves to watch such nonsense. And while we are at it, I wonder why Bade Ghulam Ali Khan migrated to India. That was in 50s before Zia and Bhutto. Maybe you could enlighten us about that story too. Of course, my land was immeasurably blessed by his presence.

  119. YLH

    And yet Mehdi Hassan did not. Nor did Nur Jahan.

    Quratulain migrated to India but Manto migrated to Pakistan. Faiz never migrated to India.

    Atif Aslam is not Atif Aslam because of Bollywood… He was

  120. YLH

    Somehow that got sent without completion.

    Chote miyan to add to the previous post one would have hoped that after Ashish sb’s intervention we would have all stopped this pissing match.

    Bade Ghulam Ali Khan moved to India is a stupid argument. Josh Maleehabadi the great leftist poet who was in the Congress corner and a close friend of Nehru and Azad moved to Pakistan in 1957 despite being hostile to the country’s creation …why?

    Faiz Ahmed Faiz was bigger than anyone else in the subcontinent as poet. Nur Jahan ranks with Lata … Neither moved to India.

    Nehru was a smart guy and tried to wean many people to India. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was one of them. Also was Quratulain. The list goes on. And so did we … back when Pakistan used to care about this kind of stuff.

    If you can explain to me why Josh Maleehabadi who was positively hostile to Pakistan’s creation moved to Pakistan in 1957 … You may ask me about Bade Ghulam Ali Khan sb.

    About Atif Aslam … He was Atif Aslam because of his song Aadat … Aadat became Pakistan’s most popular song in 2003-2004…

    It was because of this song that Bollywood chose Atif.

    Also…let me remind you that not every singer in Pakistan is running away to Bollywood… For many in Pakistan’s rock scene, it is considered nothing less than a sin to commercialise their music by lending it to filmi music.

  121. YLH

    And to add… Fatima Jinnah said once that the artists and musicians in Pakistan faced incredible odds because of the way Mullahs were trying to appropriate Pakistan’s ideology…

    That our artists and musicians continue to be world class …is a testament to the natural talent and perseverence of Pakistani people.

  122. Chote Miyan

    “Bade Ghulam Ali Khan moved to India is a stupid argument.”

    Well, what can I say.

    “Josh Maleehabadi the great leftist poet who was in the Congress corner and a close friend of Nehru and Azad moved to Pakistan in 1957 despite being hostile to the country’s creation …why?”

    I don’t need to prove why every x, y, and z didn’t move to India. It’s enough that just one giant moved to India, and, by all accounts, he missed Lahore very much. Nehru had little to do with his settling down in India. He was more loved by Indians, that’s all.

    “Faiz Ahmed Faiz was bigger than anyone else in the subcontinent as poet.”

    That I totally agree.

    You started the pissing match. Ashish is entitled to his views.

  123. Chote Miyan

    By the way, I think Aslam is a horrible singer. Junoon was the last good thing to come out of Pakistan.

  124. libertarian

    @Tilsim: Absolutely, and the Chinese are extraordinarily disciplined and competitive too – vastly more than South Asians in my view.

    Cannot disagree more. Yes the Chinese are disciplined. Yes they are competitive. But in today’s information economy they have a hard time doing more than mass-manufacturing widgets. The widgets get more sophisticated, but they’re still widgets. The Chinese are missing a whole management layer (thanks to Mr Mao) and do not have the internal ability to construct large world-beating companies. The big ones you are hear about are either owned/managed by folks from Taiwan, Hong Kong (e.g. Jack Ma, Li Ka-Shing), Japan or the US. Their banking system is a disaster of unparalleled magnitude.

    The inscrutability and opacity of the Chinese system causes folks who live in freer societies (India and Pakistan included) to compare their own weakest points with China’s strongest. The comparison is despairing (CWG vs Olympics!). But keep in mind that everyone assumed the USSR was the US’s economic equivalent till the purdah came down. Not saying China’s another USSR – but everything’s not all hunky-dory either.

  125. YLH

    I didn’t start any pissing match. I wrote an honest article.

  126. Chote Miyan

    Libertarian,
    You obviously don’t know enough about the Chinese. Anyone who has worked with the Chinese can only marvel at their ability to work so much while eating so less. We have a much better chance of overtaking Maldives than China.

  127. libertarian

    Chote Miyan, I worked with and studied with Chinese of all hues for well over a decade (my kid even learns Mandarin). My opinion is formed by anecdotal and statistical evidence. May not be on the money – but it’s not from lack of data.

    The big reason they’re screwed is their demographics. China will grow old before they get rich. They have a population cliff approaching in 10 years. Their median age is 35 (same as the US!) and rising alarmingly. India’s is 25, Pakistan’s is 22. We have a relatively empty canvas. We can either f**k ourselves or become the stuff of legend in the next 20 years.

  128. lal [September 29, 2010 at 5:34 pm]

    The problem with the article vajra,is that after reading the first paragraph,nobody will wait to read the full story.We rush to the comments section.Only somebody who knows YLH for sometime will see the bait in it.

    The reaction also shows that there is a sense of fierce patriotism in Indias middle class.These would have been the very people who were writing blogs all around critiscising kalmadi,cheering mani shankar ayyar when he says india will fall flat on its ‘faeces’ and sms ng the ceiling jokes and ‘sir u made lakhs’.Yet when the critiscism is levelled from outside they protect kalmadi as one of there own.

    Your second para.

    Isn’t that exactly what I said (at much greater length than your terse summary)?
    1. YLH was behaving exactly the way we ourselves behave on occasion;
    2. We are harsh on India, but hate anyone else getting harsh on India;
    3. We are harsh on India because we want a better India;
    4. We are also harsh on that phony India created by apologists of the Parivar;

    So, counterpoint:

    1. We are behaving exactly the way YLH reacts on occasion;
    2. He is harsh on Pakistan, but hates anyone else getting harsh on Pakistan;
    3. He and his like-minded colleagues are harsh on Pakistan because they want a better Pakistan;
    4. They are also harsh on that phony Islamist Pakistan created by apologists of the mullahs and the _they_who_must_not_be_named;

    Aarey, Dada, we are on the same page.

    About the first: if writing for ToI, tell me honestly, would you start up by saying the best thing about Pakistan, or something that gets the attention of the largest number of people, and then de-constructing the first para at length?

    Still on the same page, methunk.

  129. Hola

    ^^
    ToI was the one which started the Chaman ki Asha Tamasha.

    That the Tamasha flopped because of Qureshi’s hysterics is another story . ..

  130. @Hola

    Your point being?

  131. Hola

    For ToI,
    the best thing about Pakistan=something that gets the attention of the largest number of people.

    Most ToI readers will buy it even if gives positive coverage to Pakistan. This seems to not be the case with Daily Times readers, as you have ably explained.

    Bad thing about India=something that gets the attention of DT readers.

  132. Chote Miyan

    Libertarian,
    The Chinese plan 50-100 years ahead. I doubt if this aspect would have escaped their notice.

  133. Vijay Goel

    @ Tilsim Not very fair friend !! You know my first name and I don’t know yours. Wd love to address you by your first name as you have done to to me. LOL. U r rt. Fair competition is great for waking us from slumber and idle gossip. regards.

  134. libertarian

    Chote Miyan, I think we give the Chinese more credit than they’re due.

    They certainly planned their 1-child policy and executed (sometimes literally) ruthlessly. They’ll claim it’s a success. A strong case can be made that it’s a long-term disaster. To see just how bad it can get look at Japan: geriatric society, working-age population collapsing, population decreasing. Result: no growth for 20 years. Northern Europe and Southern Europe (Italy in particular) are similarly screwed. No amount of incentives seem sufficient to get people to f**k for the country🙂

    China currently has an enormous working population – north of 800M. Partially explains their enormous growth rates. Japan and South Korea experienced the same growth spurts at different times after WWII. But that growth petered out as the population got affluent and the fertility rate dropped below replacement ratio (2.1 kids per woman). In China’s case, their strategic reproductive engineering is going to bite them in the butt. Before the society achieves widespread affluence (say $10K per capita in 2010 dollars), they’re going to have hundreds of millions of old geezers living off their savings instead of contributing to the economy. They’re too big to import people and the population (like the Japanese and Europeans) will be aging too fast to restart the reproductive engine.

    In their (presumed) infinite wisdom, they’re still subject to the same human laws as the rest of us.

  135. @Hola

    That’s a fair point. I agree with you. It wasn’t a quibble but a very fair point reflective of the ToI readership. It should have been a paper more reflective of the equivalent of the DT, perhaps the Indian Express, although this is not entirely fair to the Indian Express.

  136. Tilsim

    @ Hola

    “Bad thing about India=something that gets the attention of DT readers.”

    What a generalisation. I would suspect that DT readers are not knee jerk India haters but quite the opposite. Hyper nationalists read the The Nation in Pakistan, if they read the English press at all.

  137. Naveed

    As an illustration of what I mean in my comment above. Here are two contrasting editorials from the respective newspapers

    DAILY TIMES (Dec 2006)
    Do it for the sake of the people!

    Next month the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan will put their signatures to an agreement that will make a travel visa between the two countries a little bit easier, and there will be few restrictions on where the traveller can go. This is being ostensibly done to promote tourism, we are told, but hopefully it will start the process of disarming the mistrust that has characterised the bilateral equation and bring the two people together to an extent that the bureaucracies on both sides will no longer be able to block normal relations. There is also a report that Pakistan and India have agreed to increase the number of visa counters from the existing two to three, so that over 1,000 visas daily can be issued to businessmen and tourists. Under the new policy, citizens and businessmen of both countries may get a seven-day open visa with no restrictions on visiting a particular city or place. According to the proposed agreement, tourists would also be offered a 15-day visa if their trip is in the form of delegations or groups.

    This is the best news we have had for a long time on the Indo-Pakistan front. The current situation is that Indian and Pakistani tourists are not given group visas though some types of civil society and senior citizens’ groups are allowed to cross over. India will open a new visa counter in Lahore while Pakistan will set up another visa counter in Hyderabad (Deccan). Currently this is done only from Mumbai, New Delhi, Karachi and Islamabad. We hope that the police will be taken off the backs of Indians and Pakistanis and there will be no ‘police reporting’ as such. The entire world knows that this method of ensuring security hasn’t got India and Pakistan anywhere.

    Meanwhile, the bilateral ‘conflict resolution talks’ have got nowhere despite great pledges given to the people by both sides. Each time the dialogue breaks down people are served up unconvincing reasons for the breakdown. But the truth of the matter is that India and Pakistan have too much bitterness buried in the past to step forward boldly and do what the people want them to do. This, despite the fact that out of all the policies of President Pervez Musharraf it is the normalisation process with India and the consequent easing of travel — no longer as easy as it was 2003 — which has found favour with the people of Pakistan.

    India has to make the big move and shift out of its smugness as the status quo power in the region. There is no doubt that Pakistan will benefit from the easing of visas mainly because it has no tourism to speak of from anywhere. While foreign investment is increasingly a dim prospect, tourism from India can fill the revenue gap a little. For this Pakistan will have to prepare itself for upscale visitors, give them the good times they seek and create the de luxe facilities that are lacking now.

    India, in exchange, will get all the rich Pakistanis who are dying to shop till they drop in New Delhi. Equally, though, the not so rich will find it feasible to travel to India and buy the trousseaus of their daughters on the cheap. Many will go to visit the famous shrines and some in search of a glimpse of their roots. From here, if Pakistan cleans up its act in its scenic parts — fast losing ground to Talibanisation at present — it can actually use the income accruing to the tribal population from this tourism to switch off the terrorist blowback it is getting now.

    We insist that bilateral disputes should be resolved so that that India and Pakistan can be ‘normal’ states again, so that they can open up travel and start trading for mutual profit. We want the disputes resolved so that we do not have to spend a lot of money on national security and do what all states in the world neighbouring each other do. Tragically, however, these disputes have remained unresolved and the ‘precondition’ to allowing peace to prevail has stayed intact. But we must face up to the fact that in the year 2006, the disputes between India and Pakistan are no longer critically important in the eyes of the new generations in both countries.

    If we can’t have peace and our ruling establishment wants tensions and hostilities to continue, it will need public support. It will need it because it is spending a lot of money on national defence. The big spending affects the quality of life of the people negatively and the hardship they endure because of it is often called the sacrifice of the masses for national security. There is a lot of chicanery here if the establishment were to compute who makes the sacrifice and who has a nice time because of the large defence budget.

    Until now, the establishment has tried to face up to India one way: “we will not normalise till India resolves the core Kashmir dispute.” Let us now tackle the problem the other way: let the people mix and let normalisation and peace convince the two states to set the disputes aside. India has to become the ‘accepted’ big brother in South Asia before it can be the big power in Asia. For that to happen, it has resolve its disputes with its neighbours fairly and equitably. Meanwhile, Pakistan has to worry about its western border and a vast territory that it has allowed to lapse from normal jurisdiction because of the ‘threat on the eastern border’. Both countries ‘need’ to build peace with each other. *

    THE NATION: (gem from today)
    FINALLY, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has taken a firm stance on Kashmir. While addressing the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, he linked the ongoing peace process with Indian representative External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to the inclusion of the Kashmir conflict in talks. Under the pretext of the Atoot Ang, the Indian side had always refused to talk on the core issue. And unfortunately, their plan to put Kashmir on the backburner, a part of the nefarious scheme to take it completely out of the context of Indo-Pak equation, appeared to be succeeding. There had been entire rounds of talks when both the sides did not talk about the issue and instead wasted time in photo ops and exchanging pleasantries, in a vivid example of displaying their ostrich-like feigned ignorance to the bloodshed that was occurring in the valley.
    However, now Pakistan through its Foreign Minister has sensibly sought to change the strategy, as manifested by his message to New Delhi that bilateral talks would need to include include Kashmir is a ray of hope that would also ultimately support the ongoing intifada. The more strongly and firmly we snub New Delhi, the more embarrassed it would feel for illegally suppressing the will of the people. And at this point in time, taking the issue before the global stage and unveiling the atrocities would definitely serve the purpose. While there is not much hope that the guilty conscience of the states like the US and UK would be pricked by the Kashmiri intifada, the statement by the OIC head Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu that the organisation strongly believes in the Kashmiris right to self-determination through the implementation of the UNSC Resolutions, also shows that the cry for liberation from the brutal Indian yoke is now making itself heard in various corners of the world.

  138. aiimsonian

    ylh,what’s your take on the Ramjanambhoomi-BabriMasjid verdict by the Hon Allahabad HC ?

  139. YLH

    It is a very good verdict.

  140. Girish

    You really think so? I don’t have comments on the outcome itself (probably a division of the land was the most practical outcome, and in some ways returns the site to its pre-1857 situation, when Hindus and Muslims prayed at the same site in harmony and peace), but it is a dangerous precedent to set when a court starts ruling on things on which it has neither locus standi (e.g. whether Ram existed as a historical personality, was born at that spot or not, etc.) or technical expertise (whether the pre-existing structure under the mosque was demolished specifically for construction of a mosque, or was just a mound with ruins underneath, whether Babar or Mir Baqi constructed it, etc.). Reading the judgement also puts into question the quality of the superior judiciary – it highlights how mediocrity rules even there. For one, these judges need lessons in basic English.

    The court should have ruled on one aspect of this case and one aspect alone – the property dispute. It has no business ruling on aspects of faith.

    Even if this is in the end a desirable outcome, it would be imperative for the Supreme Court to set aside the precedent of courts ruling on matters of faith. In fact, in the 1993 Presidential Reference to the Supreme Court’s constitution bench, the latter had clarified this very point, that courts can rule on legal matters, not matters of faith.

  141. Girish

    Let me withdraw the comment about the quality of English used in the judgement. I am seeing two versions of the same document – one which has grammatical errors and the other which does not. Perhaps one of these (or both) is not the original judgement.

  142. YLH

    I have not read the judgment but are you telling me the court has ruled that it is Rama’s birthplace? From what information I have gotten…the court has stated that it has been seen as such by the Hindus and Hindus have worshipped there before the mosque was made.

    If it is the former, I think it is a very dangerous precedent but latter is perfectly alright. Also is Court’s ruling about Islamic rules of mosque building etc…which is keeping with Common law tradition.
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  143. Naveed

    Regarding Lord Rama’s birthplace, BBC is reporting the key excerpt as following:

    ” It is established that the property in suit is the site of Janm Bhumi [birthplace] of Ram Chandra Ji and Hindus in general had the right to worship Charan [Lord Ram’s slippers], Sita Rasoi [Goddess Sita’s kitchen], other idols and other object of worship existed upon the property in suit. It is also established that Hindus have been worshipping the place in dispute as Janm Sthan, ie a birthplace as deity and visiting it as a sacred place of pilgrimage as of right since time immemorial.”

    “After the construction of the disputed structure it is proved the deities were installed inside the disputed structure on 22/23 Dec 1949”

  144. YLH

    Now this ranks pari passu with Zaheeruddin v state.

  145. Girish

    The dissenting judgement of Justice Sharma says that this is the birthplace of Rama. The majority judgement of Justice Khan and Justice Agarwal does not – they only say that it is the belief of Hindus that it is the birthplace of Rama, which is not inaccurate as you say. (one point of objection though is that they state that this has been the belief for “time immemorial”, which I don’t think has been established).

    However, the site of the central dome of the mosque as the sanctum sanctorum of the Ram Janmabhumi temple has been legally accepted by the majority judgement. This can at best be termed a matter of faith, not a legal position that a court can rule on. Even if the Archeological Survey of India found the remains of a temple under the site, as the supporting documents for the judgement supposedly show, it has not established it as a temple for Rama, or that the exact spot of the central dome was the site of the sanctum, or indeed that it was demolished to make way for the mosque in the 16th century.

    In any case, I have not read the full judgement. But I am disturbed by the encroachment of the courts into matters that are not legal in nature. This will go to the Supreme Court without any doubt. Hopefully, at that stage, this encroachment can be reversed, and a suitable judgement can be pronounced on purely legal grounds. Perhaps retaining the outcome, but clarifying the legal principles.

  146. Girish

    Naveed’s quote is from Justice Sharma’s minority ruling, I believe. Not from the majority ruling of Justices Khan and Agarwal. Justice Khan has his own additional ruling where he makes some points that are not in the majority ruling. For instance, he states that while the mosque stood over the ruins of a large temple, it is not established that the temple was demolished to make way for the mosque.

    There is confusion in the media (as usual) because they are quoting from both the majority and minority rulings without stating which is which.

  147. YLH

    In that case in my opinion it is not a matter of faith but demarcation. It is keeping with common law traditions. India (like Pakistan) follows the common law and therefore it is perfectly legal.

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  148. Naveed

    @ Girish

    Thank you for clarifying.

  149. Naveed

    Indian Express has excerpts from the judgements of all 3 justices. The muslim judge seems to say that the Muslims or Hindus have not established title. However as both have been worshiping there so title is conferred to both. Hmm, my guess would be that many mosques or temples for that matter don’t have ‘title’ documents. As such, it’s not too difficult to forceably occupy a property, start worshipping there and then benefit from getting a joint title. Impossible to give a verdict that would please everyone. Dividing it, is a way of solving it. However I worry about this as a wider precedent based on this reasoning. Let’s see how it goes in the Supreme Court.

  150. YLH

    Mosques are run as trusts or wakfs to God and is covered by statutory legislation and case law dating back to late 19th century.

    Hindu Temples are similarly trusts and recognised as such.

  151. Naveed

    You may well be right. One would need to read the judgement in full to understand all the facts of the case to understand it’s implications on other religious structures. No doubt there will be a deluge of commentary on the judgement.

  152. Girish

    Naveed,

    Almost all states in India have statutes for the purpose, with mosques being administered by officially sanctioned Waqf Boards, and temples being administered by individual trusts, or in some states by a Government appointed body. Some of these statutes date back to pre-independence periods.

    There will be no impact on the status of other religious structures due to this judgement. Parliament enacted a law in 1993 freezing the status of all old religious structures with retrospective effect from August 15, 1947. Thus, there is no threat, in a legal sense, to any other ancient religious structure. The Ayodhya case was one where the legal case predated the law and was grandfathered in. But nobody can now file a case for any other structure claiming title, or asking for a change in the position as existing on August 15, 1947.

    Coming to the Ayodhya case, there is documentary evidence dating back to at least the 1850s, that it was a site that was regularly used for prayers by both Hindus and Muslims. In 1859, when the British administrators constructed a wall to separate the sites used by Hindus from that used by Muslims, it was recorded that the Ram Chabutra, Sita Ki Rasoi and Bhandar were three sites within the Masjid complex that were being used by Hindus for worship for quite some time in the past. Furthermore, the very first gazetteers of the Oudh recorded the name of the place as Ram Kot and recorded that it was a site of pilgrimage for Hindus. There was always a likelihood that the mosque was built on the ruins of a temple – as the site sits on top of an unnatural mound.

    We cannot go back in time beyond the 1850s to say anything conclusive about the history of the site before that. But it is clearly not a case of somebody coming and occupying the site and then claiming title. At least not as far back as records go. At the time of the earliest records of the site, it was already being used by both communities for prayers for quite some time. In that sense, the judgement, which gives joint title to all those who had customarily used it, is in the right direction.

    My concern is with the following
    a. Converting an article of faith into a legal position. This sets a dangerous precedent. Not necessarily in this case, but in terms of what courts can rule on in the future. To me it seems dangerous that the court went beyond the property dispute to rule on points of faith and also points of history, especially where there is no clearcut documentary evidence.

    b. The acceptance of the claim that the site of the central dome of the masjid belongs to the Hindus (even Justice Khan has upheld this). I don’t know just yet the basis for this. Is it based on architectural evidence of the presence of a pre-existing garba griha (sanctum sanctorum) of the temple at that spot? Is it just converting a de-facto situation into a de-jure situation (in that case, what precedent does it set for future cases of de-facto positions that are not necessarily legitimate)?

  153. Hola

    Source: Hindu

    If exclusive ownership is claimed but joint ownership is proved, a suit can be decreed for joint ownership, Justice S.U. Khan held in his separate judgment, broadly agreed to by Justice Sudhir Agarwal in a separate judgment in the Ayodhya title suits case.

    Quoting a Bombay High Court ruling, he said a suit for exclusive possession could be turned into a suit for partition and possession of such share as might be determined to belong to the plaintiff if it was found that the plaintiff was not entitled to the whole share but only a part of it.

    Justice Khan, quoting an earlier judgment, said that though there was no specific prayer made by the plaintiff seeking partition, this should not come in the way of granting a decree for partition and separate possession of the share of the plaintiff. Denial of such a relief would only lead to another suit. Multiplicity of proceedings should normally be avoided as the same tends to delay justice.

    The judge said that in view of the finding rendered by him, “all the three parties (Muslims, Hindus and the Nirmohi Akhara) are entitled to a declaration of joint title and possession to the extent of one-third each and a preliminary decree to that effect is to be passed.”

    He said: “In the matter of actual partition it is only desirable but not necessary to allot that part of property to a party which was in his exclusive use and occupation. Accordingly, in view of peculiar facts and circumstances it is held that in actual partition, the portion where the idol is presently kept in the makeshift temple will be allotted to the Hindus, and the Nirmohi Akhara will be allotted land, including Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi. However, to adjust all the three parties at the time of actual partition, slight variation in the share of any party may be made to be compensated by allotting the adjoining land acquired by the Central government.”

    Justice Khan, in his 285-page judgment, said: “My judgment is short, very short. Either I may be admired as an artist who knows where to stop, particularly in such sensitive, delicate matter or I may be castigated for being so casual in such a momentous task. I have not delved too deep in the history and the archaeology. This I have done for four reasons. First, this exercise was not absolutely essential to decide these suits. Second, I was not sure as to whether at the end of the tortuous voyage I would have found a treasure or faced a monster (treasure of truth or monster of confusion worst confounded). Third, having no pretence of knowledge of history I did not want to be caught in the crossfire of historians. Fourth, the Supreme Court, in Karnataka Board of Waqf Vs. Government of India, has held as far as a title suit of civil nature is concerned, there is no room for historical facts and claims.”

    Justice Khan said:

    “As this judgment is not finally deciding the matter and as the most crucial stage is to come after it is decided by the Supreme Court, I remind both the warring factions of the following. The one quality which epitomised the character of Ram is tyag [sacrifice].

    “When Prophet Mohammad entered into a treaty with the rival group at Hudayliyah, it appeared to be abject surrender even to his staunch supporters.

    “However the Koran described that as clear victory and it did prove so. Within a short span therefrom Muslims entered the Mecca as victors, and not a drop of blood was shed.

    “Under the sub-heading of demolition, I have admired our resilience. However we must realise that such things do not happen in quick succession. Another fall and we may not be able to rise again, at least quickly. Today the pace of the world is faster than it was in 1992. We may be crushed.

    A unique position

    “Muslims must also ponder that at present the entire world wants to know the exact teaching of Islam in respect of relationship of Muslims with others. Hostility, peace, friendship, tolerance, opportunity to impress others with the Message, opportunity to strike wherever and whenever possible, or what? In this regard Muslims in India enjoy a unique position. They have been rulers here, they have been ruled and now they are sharers in power (of course junior partners). They are not in majority but they are also not a negligible minority (after Indonesia, India has the highest number of Muslims in the world). In other countries, either the Muslims are in huge majority, which makes them indifferent to the problem in question, or in negligible minority, which makes them redundant. Indian Muslims have also inherited huge legacy of religious learning and knowledge. They are therefore in the best position to tell the world the correct position. Let them start with their role in the resolution of the conflict at hand.”

  154. no-communal

    “In that case in my opinion it is not a matter of faith but demarcation.”

    I believe Yasser has nailed it perfectly. The order has not encroached in matters of faith at all. Justice Khan has categorically stated in parts of his own ruling (which is not part of the majority ruling) that no temple was destroyed. The ruling doesn’t say anything about the exact location of Ram’s birth place, only what Hindus have believed for a long time. Khan and Agarwal’s majority ruling has accepted joint ownership as the only valid option and demarcated the areas according to religious requirement. Justice Sharma’s dissenting judgement, which is based on of faith, is discarded.

    From the summary of Justice Khan’s ruling below it is easy to see the thoughts that have gone into the majority judgement.

    GIST OF THE FINDINGS by S.U.Khan J.

    1. The disputed structure was constructed as mosque by or under orders of Babar.

    2. It is not proved by direct evidence that premises in dispute including constructed portion
    belonged to Babar or the person who constructed the mosque or under whose orders it was
    constructed.

    3. No temple was demolished for constructing the mosque.

    4. Mosque was constructed over the ruins of temples which were lying in utter ruins since a
    very long time before the construction of mosque and some material thereof was used in
    construction of the mosque.

    5. That for a very long time till the construction of the mosque it was treated/believed by
    Hindus that some where in a very large area of which premises in dispute is a very small part birth
    place of Lord Ram was situated, however, the belief did not relate to any specified small area
    within that bigger area specifically the premises in dispute.

    6. That after some time of construction of the mosque Hindus started identifying the premises
    in dispute as exact birth place of Lord Ram or a place wherein exact birth place was situated.

    7. That much before 1855 Ram Chabutra and Seeta Rasoi had come into existence and Hindus were worshipping in the same. It was very very unique and absolutely unprecedented situation that in side the boundary wall and compound of the mosque Hindu religious places were there which were actually being worshipped along with offerings of Namaz by Muslims in the mosque.

    8. That in view of the above gist of the finding at serial no.7 both the parties Muslims as well as Hindus are held to be in joint possession of the entire premises in dispute.

    9. That even though for the sake of convenience both the parties i.e. Muslims and Hindus
    were using and occupying different portions of the premises in dispute still it did not amount to
    formal partition and both continued to be in joint possession of the entire premises in dispute.

    10. That both the parties have failed to prove commencement of their title hence by virtue of
    Section 110 Evidence Act both are held to be joint title holders on the basis of joint possession.

    11. That for some decades before 1949 Hindus started treating/believing the place beneath the
    Central dome of mosque (where at present make sift temple stands) to be exact birth place of Lord
    Ram.

    12. That idol was placed for the first time beneath the Central dome of the mosque in the early
    hours of 23.12.1949.

    13. That in view of the above both the parties are declared to be joint title holders in possession
    of the entire premises in dispute and a preliminary decree to that effect is passed with the condition
    that at the time of actual partition by meets and bounds at the stage of preparation of final decree
    the portion beneath the Central dome where at present make sift temple stands will be allotted to
    the share of the Hindus.

    Order:-
    Accordingly, all the three sets of parties, i.e. Muslims, Hindus and Nirmohi Akhara are
    declared joint title holders of the property/ premises in dispute as described by letters A B C D E F in the map Plan-I prepared by Sri Shiv Shanker Lal, Pleader/ Commissioner appointed by Court in Suit No.1 to the extent of one third share each for using and managing the same for worshipping. A preliminary decree to this effect is passed. However, it is further declared that the portion below the central dome where at present the idol is kept in makeshift temple will be allotted to Hindus in final decree.
    It is further directed that Nirmohi Akhara will be allotted share including that part which is
    shown by the words Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi in the said map. It is further clarified that even though all the three parties are declared to have one third share each, however if while allotting exact portions some minor adjustment in the share is to be made then the same will be made and the adversely affected party may be compensated by allotting some portion of the adjoining land which has been acquired by the Central Government. The parties are at liberty to file their suggestions for actual partition by metes and bounds within three months.
    List immediately after filing of any suggestion/ application for preparation of final decree
    after obtaining necessary instructions from Hon’ble the Chief Justice.
    Status quo as prevailing till date pursuant to Supreme Court judgment of Ismail Farooqui
    (1994(6) Sec 360) in all its minutest details shall be maintained for a period of three months unless
    this order is modified or vacated earlier

  155. Girish

    There is less concern about the majority rulings than the minority ruling. But there are still issues there. For instance, Justice Khan makes the categorical claim that no temple was demolished to construct the mosque and that the temples there were lying in utter ruins for quite some time before the construction of the mosque. Since there is no documentary evidence for this, he must be basing it on archeological evidence, if indeed he is basing it on any evidence. What is the nature of the archeological evidence that supports the claim? Is it ever feasible to support, using purely archeological evidence, that no temple was demolished to make way for the mosque? I don’t know – perhaps those with expertise on this matter can chime in.

    In any case, this judgement runs into thousands of pages and there will be much that will be written about it. It will also almost certainly go to the Supreme Court – Justice Khan even says that. Hence, this is very much a semi-final, albeit one that has been followed very closely and about which a lot will be written about. If the Supreme Court takes up the case on priority, we should have a final judgement within the next year or two. If it does not, God alone knows when the issue will be brought to a much needed closure.

  156. no-communal

    The part of Justice Khan’s ruling stating that no temple was demolished (but acknowledging the ruins of temples) has not made into the final majority ruling by Justices Khan and Agarwal.

  157. Questor

    Girish:

    Simple imaginary scenario – some local Muslim potentate had temple demolished because it is Kafir – during Lodi era. That results in an ongoing Hindu-Muslim dispute. Babur comes along – the pages of his diary from his time in Ayodhya were lost, so we don’t know what happened, so in this imaginary scenario, he “settles” the dispute by having a mosque constructed, and some of the temple remains get incorporated into the mosque. Then, the temple was not demolished for a mosque, and nor by Babar.

    BTW, the Lodis were pretty destructive. They utterly ruined the area in my patrilineal native place, including burning down miles of groves.

  158. @YLH

    I am deeply disheartened about the rulings. While Girish has more or less summarised the position as it can be understood today, before reading the 8129 page judgement, two things stick out, that it was a legally valid judgement by itself, and that by sticking on the validity of recognition of legend or myth by court, as Sharma J. appears to be doing, they are opening a Pandora’s Box.

    Legally, they did the right things, by disallowing the title suits, and treating these disallowed suits as the basis for a partition.

    The horrible part is the acknowledgement of a Ram Janmabhoomi as a reality, rather than a traditionally accepted site for people of that belief.

    That implies that there was an historical person called Ram, that he was born, that he was born in that spot, and that this has been maintained as a fact through the approximately 2,500 years before a temple was possibly demolished and a mosque was definitely built.

    Two thousand five hundred years on linguistic evidence, and that is the best evidence, assuming that the first versions of the Ramayana were recited around 1,000 BC, even though writing it down may have taken half a millennium more; if we go by the Yugas described and their duration, some incredible leaps of faith are involved.

    I am asked to believe that a court of law can determine through archaeological and other evidence whether there was such an historical personage, and where his place of birth was. Implying also that we can use courts to determine when.

    Well, there goes another academic discipline. We needn’t do history any longer; just ask the nearest magistrate.

  159. YLH

    Dear Vajra sb,

    I haven’t read the judgment but all this is possible under the legal system both our countries follow to decide such matters for the purposes of law.

    How else do you think we Pakistanis got to where we did.🙂
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  160. no-communal

    Why are people commenting on the dissenting judgement, if not with the sole purpose of maligning the majority one? The majority one makes no mention of Ram as a historical character, nor does it specify where Ram was born. It’s a good verdict, best possible. The judgment should be discussed based on the majority order.

    The self-described ‘truth’-seekers would do better by not erecting a straw man and killing it.

  161. no-communal

    And I say this as a person not believing in Ram as a historical character or even god.

  162. Chote Miyan

    NC,
    I agree with you. On the other hand, it’s good to wait for the entire judgment. I don’t think there were any arguments whether or not Ram existed. It was the existence of a temple that was debated. I am a little wary of the slippery slope though. We have the example of “objective resolution” in Pakistan. It would be interesting to see how it plays out in the Supreme Court. The optimist in me thinks that now the idiots on the right wing, thinking that they are on the side of law, may be forced to tone down their initial hard line position.
    Sorry, I didn’t address your points about Delhi as host for CWG. I was caught up in some work.

  163. no-communal

    CM
    How is this judgement a slippery slope? Please see Justice Khan’s remarks:

    “It was very very unique and absolutely unprecedented situation that in side the boundary wall and compound of the mosque Hindu religious places were there which were actually being worshipped along with offerings of Namaz by Muslims in the mosque.”

    Also refer to what Girish wrote earlier:

    “Almost all states in India have statutes for the purpose, with mosques being administered by officially sanctioned Waqf Boards, and temples being administered by individual trusts, or in some states by a Government appointed body. Some of these statutes date back to pre-independence periods.

    There will be no impact on the status of other religious structures due to this judgement. Parliament enacted a law in 1993 freezing the status of all old religious structures with retrospective effect from August 15, 1947. Thus, there is no threat, in a legal sense, to any other ancient religious structure. The Ayodhya case was one where the legal case predated the law and was grandfathered in. But nobody can now file a case for any other structure claiming title, or asking for a change in the position as existing on August 15, 1947”

    I don’t believe this will be a slippery slope. Provided, of course, there will be law and order in the country.

  164. no-communal

    The only way I feel this could have been better is if the premises were divided in half between the Hindus and the Muslims. Unfortunately, there were three parties involved with three independent claims.

  165. Girish

    There is utter confusion in the media, as I stated earlier. Lots of media reports are confusing the dissenting ruling with the majority one. There seems to be, as NC mentions, no discussion of whether Ram existed as a historical person or not, or where he was born and so on in the rulings of either of the two judges whose rulings constitute the majority opinion. At least to the extent that I have read the rulings. Dissenting opinions are just that – one judge’s opinion. It does not affect anything in this case, and to the best of my knowledge, does not constitute a precedent for future cases either.

    I will reserve opinion on the judgement since it turns out that what were being presented as excerpts of the judgement in early media reports turned out to be the media’s own summary of the rulings. Let’s read the rulings at leisure before concluding one way or another about them.

  166. Girish

    Questor: The scenario you have presented is quite plausible. But there is no way of verifying it historically.

  167. Naveed

    @ Girish
    “Thus, there is no threat, in a legal sense, to any other ancient religious structure. ”

    Thank you. It’s very good to hear that legislation exists in India that would act as a roadblock to the similar demolition of other religious structures due to any precedent setting aspects of this judgement. I do agree with you on the concerns you raise otherwise regarding certain aspects of the individual judges rulings. I hope the Supreme Court is able to rectify. In Pakistan, we used to have that hope.

    I was interested to read how the Indian Express, Times of India and Hindustan Times all broke the news. Unanimously, the headlines were that the court had said that this was the birthplace of Ram. Now of course one knows how the media can distort facts but it struck me that this probably reflected and legitimised a certain way of thinking about what India is. A way that was perhaps well captured by Tarun Vijay in the Times of India yesterday ( the article below). If I was a secular Indian, I would see this as further evidence of the inroads being made by aggressive religious nationalism into the power structures of the country. In that sense, I do agree with Chote Miyan and disagree with NC that there are signs of a slippery slope away from a liberal secular India.

    The article by Tarun:

    “An Ayodhya nation:

    Ayodhya was never a temple issue to me. Neither was it a Hindu-Muslim problem. The whole story can be summarized in one line. Ram is we; Babar is not. Period.

    If, God forbid, the goons of Osama break the statue of Liberty and there is a movement to restore the statue, would it be called a movement of extreme right-wing Christians? Or a movement of all Americans?

    “Ayodhya” is standing up against Obama when he meddles with Kashmir and asks us to solve the problem before he agrees to our legitimate demand for Security Council membership.

    India is greater than the exploitative US, obsessed with its hegemonistic diplomacy of appeasing dictators and insulting democracies.

    For Obama, the Saudi king is a great friend. Oil. Oil, my dear. And for the Saudis too, the kafir American security umbrella is acceptable. Money, honey.

    I have never ever seen an American leader expressing sympathy with the exiled Kashmiri Hindus. The entire India desk at Capitol Hill has been so overwhelmingly JNU-ized that they will never think of Hindu pain and a Hindu nation still nurturing democratic values and a pluralism that’s so rare in this world of increasingly shrinking human values.

    For the US, Tianenman can be forgotten and the Dalai Lama is just a matter of breakfast honours. The real meat of friendship and business is with the communist rulers of Beijing. Money, honey.

    “Ayodhya” is genuinely giving shelter to exiled Tibetans and accepting the Dalai Lama. “Ayodhya” is also opposing the firangs to overshadow the Commonwealth Games that we are hosting at a huge cost and inconvenience to the Indian people. Once they were called the British Empire Games. The queen is permanently made to sully the spirit of democracy and pluralism by heading the games organizing body. And we now have to have a dust-binned ‘Prince’ of the colonial rulers to compete with our President to have the games inaugurated. What a shame these “secularists” bring to the nations that gave birth to them!

    If at all, the Congress, Gill sahib and the most revered Kalmadiji thought that the President of India doesn’t deserve to have the honours to inaugurate the games we are hosting, it’s fine. It’s their president, and their levels of respect for her. Still, they could have managed to have an African President to get he games inaugurated. What stopped them?

    Why always a gora whose ancestors looted our nation and bled us like no one else?

    Our dear anglicized friends would say, oh Tarun, grow up. We are a strong nation, why bother about such trivialities? It is this kind of people who testified against Bhagat Singh in the Lahore court and they are the apologists for the likes of Kasab. They could have well taken care of in a Brtitish colony like insects.

    Life is not just “roti” and a chained splendour of “durbarism”. If that was the case, Soviet Russia won’t have collapsed and Gandhi won’t have fought against the British with a loin cloth and Hedgewar would not have started a movement to ensure we never got enslaved.

    “Ayodhya” is to stand up with the patriotic Indian soldier defending the motherland in Kashmir and demanding severe punishment to the Pakistani agents of separatism who sponsor stone pelters.

    The problem is not the British. They are patriotic people. The problem is those self-defeating Indians who love white racism so much, their souls beaten up by Macaulayism. They love to be the slaves of the empire and get some leftover bones.

    They are facilitated by the Indians who crave for some cosmetic positions and an allowance to register their presence in the gora-land.

    “Ayodhya” is all about standing up against such pusillanimous attitude of the neo-raibahadurs.

    Say no to anything that’s against the grain of our nation, her pride and her sovereignty. That’s Ayodhya spirit to me.

    The nation, our dear Bharatvarsha, is a replica of Ayodhya. The symbol of Rama’s nobility and virtuous regime. Those who destroy Ram Setu and go against the Sarayu’s soul are denationalized Indian passport holders.

    India is an Ayodhya nation. Ram Rajya nation of Bapu.

    No to violence and yes to inclusioveness. Where is Hindu-Muslim discord in it?”

  168. Girish

    It would of course speak poorly about Babar and put a lie to claims of his supposed tolerance if he indeed found this to be the solution. To settle the matter where somebody else had demolished a Hindu place of worship by building a mosque at the spot, and using the pillars of the destroyed temple does not seem just in any way. And I am afraid it does speak very poorly of the adherents of a religion if somehow the destruction of others’ places of worship is seen as a badge of honor, as it was in the case of lots of Muslim rulers in India. Their court chroniclers also often exaggerated the extent to which they destroyed temples (and this is picked up by the Hindu right wing as evidence), but the fact is that this exaggeration in itself tells us something about what was considered not just acceptable, but desirable.

    But I have read the Baburnama in English translation and found Babur to be a highly intelligent person. I doubt that he would have come up with that solution, for reasons of pragmatism if not anything else.

  169. Questor

    Girish:

    Babur erected his piles of skulls too. He may have been pragmatic; but his diary includes the proclamations of his victories in jihad. Highly intelligent, yes. Behaved as we think he ought to – then he should have remained in Farghana!

    “For the sake of Islam I became a wanderer;
    I battled infidels and Hindus.
    I determined to become a martyr.
    Thank God I became a holy warrior. ”

    ——

    As descendeth the Lord’s word to me, so do I deliver
    it unto you, O Lalo:

    [Babar] leading a wedding-array of sin
    hath descended from Kabul and
    demandeth by force the bride, O Lalo.
    decency and righteousness have vanished,
    and falsehood struts abroad, O
    Lalo.

    Gone are the days of Qazis and Brahmans,
    Satan now conducts the nuptials, O Lalo.

    The Muslim women recite the Qur’an and
    in distress remember their God, O Lalo.

    Similar is the fate of Hindu women of
    castes high and low, O Lalo.

    They sing paeans of blood, O Nanak,
    and by blood, not saffron, ointment is made,
    O Lalo.

    In this city of corpses, Nanak
    proclaimeth God’s praises, and uttereth
    this true saying:

    The Lord who created men and put them
    to their tasks watcheth them from
    His seclusion.

    True is that Lord, true His verdict,
    and true is the justice He dealeth.

    As her body’s vesture is torn to shreds,
    India shall remember my words.

    In seventy-eight they come, in ninety
    seven shall depart; another man of
    destiny shall arise.

    Nanak pronounceth words of truth,
    Truth he uttereth; truth the time
    calls for.”

  170. Naveed

    This case is interesting in many ways. I did n’t realise that Lord Ram himself was a party to the case. According to Hindu Law, an idol is a juristic entity.

    Zee News below is shedding light on the matter:

    New Delhi: Allahabad High Court’s judgment in the 60-year-old Ayodhya title suit case is unique in many ways, as it not only opens a new chapter of reconciliation among the two communities but also because, through the verdict, gave 1/3rd of the land to Bhagwan Sri Ram Virajman, a litigant in the case.

    It might come as a surprise that Bhagwan Sri Ram Virajman or Lord Ram or Ram Lalla (Ram as an infant) fought the legal battle for 21 long years before the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad HC through his “next friend” Deoki Nandan Agarwal and finally got ownership right over his birth place.

    But the query is: Can a deity be treated at par with a normal human being, and can he (Lord Ram) fight a legal battle, when as the incarnation of God, he is supposed to resolve the problems of his devotees?

    The Allahabad High Court’s stand on this issue has been quite interesting. The court was of the opinion that Ram Janmabhoomi- the place of birth- is a juristic person. “The deity also attained divinity like Agni, Vayu. Asthan is personified as the spirit of divine worshipped as the birthplace of Ram Lalla,” the Allahabad HC said in its ruling.

    In the legal parlance, the ruling of the Allahabad High Court implies that despite being a deity, Ram Lalla enjoys legal rights, albeit represented by his guardian or next friend as he is a minor.

    The Indian judicial system treats deities as legal entities who could have a legal representation in courts through the trustees or managing board in charge of the temple in which they are worshipped by devotees.

    Interestingly, Ram Lalla is not the first deity who has fought a legal battle. In 1983, Sri Adi Visheshwara of Kashi Vishwanath of Varanasi also fought a legal battle in the Supreme Court when the UP government enacted the Sri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983 for better management of the ancient temple.

    The apex court, in Sri Adi Visheshwara of Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi, vs State of UP [1997 (4) SCC 606], acknowledged the right of a deity to move court and ruled, “Properties of endowment vest in the deity, Lord Sri Vishwanath.”

    The Supreme Court categorically rejected claim of the priests that they alone had the right to manage the temple on behalf of the deity and ruled that management of the temple by mahant/pandas/acharyas did not mean it became their property. It upheld the Act saying it was merely for better management of the temple.

  171. Perspective

    For all the alleged crimes that Zardari is accused of, he is like an innocent newborn compared to Babar. History is mostly about great criminals. Babar is one of the greatest.

  172. Naveed

    So much politically charged opinion or just folklore passes for history. Either one is faithful to opinion or to history. Simply take the way the reporting of the Babri masjid verdict has been handled in the 21st century by Indian newspapers. This is being reported in a certain way which panders to a certain opinion and in the absence of a firm factual rebuttal (is anyone listening in any case?), it becomes the new common folklore which becomes the new history.

    It’s just opinion if we selectively judge historical kings to todays expectations of rulers and outside the norms of the times that they lived in and without evaluating the reliability of the sources. Babur should be judged against his peers, putting personal opinions aside if one wants to be faithful to history. Otherwise is my opinion any more worthy than yours? Too much reporting of history these days is not rigorous enough and is just politics by another means.

    Forgive me for taking these views of Babur with a pinch of salt.

  173. Naveed

    “Every civil building connected with Mahommedan tradition should be levelled to the ground without regard to antiquarian veneration or artistic predilection.”

    British Prime Minister Palmerston’s Letter No. 9 dated 9 October 1857, to Lord Canning, Viceroy of India, Canning Papers.

    Should we judge Palmerston by this statement alone?

  174. Perspective

    Babar caused a lot of people to be killed for the sake of his own glory and power. That is a fact, regardless of whether his contemporaries were doing the same or not. Glorifying him today (or his equivalent contemporaries) therefore does say a lot about our contemporary values. A sober assessment would be that he was not a force for progress, but simply more of the same.

  175. YLH

    What an odd family the Guptas of NJ are. Totally uneducated and ridiculously small minded who look at the world in such black and white.

    It is not the question of glorification. Babur was like Cyrus, Alexandar, Julius Caesar, Octavian, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan, Taimur, Henry the VIII, Suleiman the magnificent, Peter the Great, Frederick of Prussia, Napoleon Bonaparte, Bismarck etc … He was a great general and conqueror. He founded an empire that lasted 450 years. What kind of a stupid half assed fool looks at history to find angels and demons.

  176. Prasad

    As regards History, almost all of Muslim Kings resorted to coercion and blatant aggression towards getting the society islamised. This is a fact that we get to know about last 1000 years ( 800AD onwards in Indian Subcontinent) of Muslim rule in India

    India however remains India today only due to a handful of Extremely popular and secular Muslim emperors who came by coincidentally. Shershah Suri, Akbar, Jehangir were stellar examples

    However right from Gazni to Ghori, Abdali to Aurangzeb we get to read only sorrow, harassment and perpetual trouble mostly on communal lines

    I guess it is here British came as a blessing in disguise and bid adieu to Bahadurshah Zafar. This thoroughly gentle soul bore the brunt. But thanks to this action by the British we were technically freed (eventually)

  177. Naveed

    @ Perspective

    He certainly killed a lot of people but also left the following will:

    “My son take note of the following: Do not harbour religious prejudice in your heart. You should dispense justice while taking note of the people’s religious sensitivites, and rites. Avoid slaughtering cows in order that you could gain a place in the heart of natives. This will take you nearer to the people.

    Do not demolish or damange places of worship of any faith and dispense full justice to all to ensure peace in the country. Islam can better be preached by the sword of love and affection, rather than the sword of tyranny and persecution. Avoid the differences between the shias and sunnis. Look at the various characteristics of your people just as characteristics of various seasons.”

    [A copy of this will is preserved in State Library of Bhopal.]

  178. YLH

    I think of these Jahangir may truly rank as secular

  179. lal

    Following is a ‘the hindu ‘ report on justice khans judgement on ayodhya…for those who have not already seen it

    “if exclusive ownership is claimed but joint ownership is proved, a suit can be decreed for joint ownership, Justice S.U. Khan held in his separate judgment, broadly agreed to by Justice Sudhir Agarwal in a separate judgment in the Ayodhya title suits case.

    Quoting a Bombay High Court ruling, he said a suit for exclusive possession could be turned into a suit for partition and possession of such share as might be determined to belong to the plaintiff if it was found that the plaintiff was not entitled to the whole share but only a part of it.

    Justice Khan, quoting an earlier judgment, said that though there was no specific prayer made by the plaintiff seeking partition, this should not come in the way of granting a decree for partition and separate possession of the share of the plaintiff. Denial of such a relief would only lead to another suit. Multiplicity of proceedings should normally be avoided as the same tends to delay justice.

    The judge said that in view of the finding rendered by him, “all the three parties (Muslims, Hindus and the Nirmohi Akhara) are entitled to a declaration of joint title and possession to the extent of one-third each and a preliminary decree to that effect is to be passed.”

    He said: “In the matter of actual partition it is only desirable but not necessary to allot that part of property to a party which was in his exclusive use and occupation. Accordingly, in view of peculiar facts and circumstances it is held that in actual partition, the portion where the idol is presently kept in the makeshift temple will be allotted to the Hindus, and the Nirmohi Akhara will be allotted land, including Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi. However, to adjust all the three parties at the time of actual partition, slight variation in the share of any party may be made to be compensated by allotting the adjoining land acquired by the Central government.”

    Justice Khan, in his 285-page judgment, said: “My judgment is short, very short. Either I may be admired as an artist who knows where to stop, particularly in such sensitive, delicate matter or I may be castigated for being so casual in such a momentous task. I have not delved too deep in the history and the archaeology. This I have done for four reasons. First, this exercise was not absolutely essential to decide these suits. Second, I was not sure as to whether at the end of the tortuous voyage I would have found a treasure or faced a monster (treasure of truth or monster of confusion worst confounded). Third, having no pretence of knowledge of history I did not want to be caught in the crossfire of historians. Fourth, the Supreme Court, in Karnataka Board of Waqf Vs. Government of India, has held as far as a title suit of civil nature is concerned, there is no room for historical facts and claims.”

    Justice Khan said:

    “As this judgment is not finally deciding the matter and as the most crucial stage is to come after it is decided by the Supreme Court, I remind both the warring factions of the following. The one quality which epitomised the character of Ram is tyag [sacrifice].

    “When Prophet Mohammad entered into a treaty with the rival group at Hudayliyah, it appeared to be abject surrender even to his staunch supporters.

    “However the Koran described that as clear victory and it did prove so. Within a short span therefrom Muslims entered the Mecca as victors, and not a drop of blood was shed.

    “Under the sub-heading of demolition, I have admired our resilience. However we must realise that such things do not happen in quick succession. Another fall and we may not be able to rise again, at least quickly. Today the pace of the world is faster than it was in 1992. We may be crushed.

    A unique position

    “Muslims must also ponder that at present the entire world wants to know the exact teaching of Islam in respect of relationship of Muslims with others. Hostility, peace, friendship, tolerance, opportunity to impress others with the Message, opportunity to strike wherever and whenever possible, or what? In this regard Muslims in India enjoy a unique position. They have been rulers here, they have been ruled and now they are sharers in power (of course junior partners). They are not in majority but they are also not a negligible minority (after Indonesia, India has the highest number of Muslims in the world). In other countries, either the Muslims are in huge majority, which makes them indifferent to the problem in question, or in negligible minority, which makes them redundant. Indian Muslims have also inherited huge legacy of religious learning and knowledge. They are therefore in the best position to tell the world the correct position. Let them start with their role in the resolution of the conflict at hand.”

  180. lal

    ”after Indonesia, India has the highest number of Muslims in the world”
    last para…
    i know YLH will react :)….but in general,this was the best news item i came across

  181. YLH

    If Indians want to believe in fiction they are free to.

  182. Naveed

    @ Prasad

    About the nature of Indian history, here is the perspective of Dr Pande in his speech to the India’s Upper House on 29/7/77

    “I have the honour to move the following resolution for the consideration of this House:

    ‘This House is of the opinion that the main factor retarding cultural and emotional integration of the Indian people is the communal interpretation of the medieval Indian history and its distortion by the British historians, while India was under British rule, portraying the Hindus and the Muslims as being divided into two warring camps with little in common between them, and that this distortion paved the way for the emergence of the two-nation theory, and therefore recommends that the government should take immediate steps for the re-orientation of the study of Medieval Indian History …’

    The task is not easy, because unfortunately the histories of India which have been taught in our schools and colleges for generations past were originally compiled by European writers. And Indians have not yet succeeded in shaking off the biases inclucated by their European teachers. These so called histories have presented Muslims as destroyers of Hindu culture and traditions; despoilers of Hindu temples and palaces; and brutal idol-breakers who have offered to their Hindu victims the terrible alternative of conversion or the sword.

    It is hardly surprising that educated men in India drugged with such poisonous stuff from the most impressionable period of their lives grow up to suspect and distrust each other. The Hindu has been brought up to believe that the Muslim period of Indian history which extends over eight hundred years and more is a nightmare.

    How British historians have used these sentiments would be clear from the following quotation from the well-known compilation, Sir H. M. Elliot’s ‘History of India as told by its own historians’. The passage occurs in the general preface to Volume 1. I quote –

    ‘We behold kings … sunk in sloth or debauchery and emulating the vices of a Caligula or a Commodus.

    ‘Under such rulers we cannot wonder that fountains of justice are corrupted: that the state revenues are never collected without violence and outrage; that villages are burnt and their inhabitants mutilated or sold into slavery; that the officials far from affording protection, are themselves the chief robbers and usurpers, that parasites and eunuchs revel in the spoils of plundered provinces, and that the poor find no redress against the oppressor’s wrong and proud man’s contumely. The few glimpses we have even among the short extracts of this single volume of Hindus slain for disputing with Muhammadans, of a general prohibition against processions, worship or ablutions and other intolerant measures, of idols mutilated, or temples razed, of forcible conversions and marriages, of proscriptions and confiscations, of murders and massacres and of the sensuality and drunkness of the tyrants who enjoined them, show us that this picture is not over-charged’.

    A glimpse into official British records will show how this policy of Divide-et-Impera was taking shape. The Secretary of State Wood in a letter to Lord Elgin [Governor General Canada (1847-54) and India (1862-63)] said: ‘We have maintained our power in India by playing off one part against the other and we must continue to do so. Do all you can, therefore to prevent all having a common feeling.’

    George Francis Hamilton, Secretary of State of India wrote to Curzon, ‘I think the real danger to our rule in India not now, but say 50 years hence is the gradual adoption and extension of Western ideas of agitation organisation and if we could break educated Indians into two sections holding widely different views, we should, by such a division, strengthen our position against the subtle and continuous attack which the spread of education must make upon our system of government. We should so plan educational text-books that the differences between community and community are further strengthened (Hamilton to Curzon, 26th March 1886).

    Cross informed the Governor-General, Dufferin, that ‘This division of religious feeling is greatly to our advantage and I look for some good as a result of your Committee of Inquiry on Indian Education and on teaching material’ (Cross to Dufferin, 14 January, 1887).

    Thus under a definite policy the Indian history text-books were so falsified and distorted as to give an impression that the medieval period of Indian history was full of atrocities committed by Muslim rulers on their Hindu subject and the Hindus had to suffer terrible indignities under Islamic rule. There were no common factors in social, political or economic life.

    While I was doing some research on Tippu Sultan in 1928 at Allahabad, some office bearers of a college Students Union approached me with a request to inaugurate their History Association. They had directly come from the college with their text-books. I opened the chapter on Tippu Sultan. One of the sentences that struck me deeply was: ‘Three thousand Brahmins committed suicide as Tippu wanted to convert them forcibly into the fold of Islam’. The author of the text-book was, Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. Har Prashad Shastri, Head of the Department of Sanskrit, Calcutta University. I immediately wrote to Dr. Shastri for the source of his information. After many reminders came the reply that he had taken that from the Mysore Gazetteer….

    … Prof Srikantia informed me that the episode of the suicide of 3,000 Brahmins is nowhere in the Mysore Gazetteer and he, as student of history of Mysore, was quite certain that no such incident had taken place. He further informed me that the Prime Minister of Tippu Sultan was a Brahmin named Punaiya and his commander-in-chief was also a Brahmin, named Krishna Rao. He supplied me with the list of 156 temples to which Tippu Sultan used to pay annual grants. He sent me 30 photostat copies of Tippu Sultan’s letters addressed to the Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Srinageri Math with whom Tippu Sultan had very cordial relations….

    Dr Shastri’s book was approved as a course book of history for high schools in Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Orissa, U.P., M.P. and Rajasthan. I approached Sri Ashutosh Mukherjee, the then Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University, and sent him all the correspondence that I had exchanged with Dr Shastri, with Mysore University Vice-Chancellor, Sri Brijendra Nath Seal, and Prof. Srikantia, with the request to take proper action against the offending passages in the text-book. Prompt came the reply from Sri Ashutosh Mukherjee, that the history book by Dr Shastri has been put out of course.

    However, I was amazed to find the same suicide story was still existing in the history text-books which had been prescribed in 1972 for Junior High Schools in U.P.

    When I was the Chairman of the Allahabad Municipality I came across the dispute regarding the property of the Someshwar Nath Mahadev mandir. There were two rival claims, one of which prepared a file of Farmans issued, by Emperor Aurangzeb which confirmed the issue of a Jagir for the temple. I was shocked to find this reference regarding a man who is supposed to have been a destroyer of temples. At first I was inclined to believe that these (Farmans) were forgeries.

    However, before I reached a definite conclusion, I thought it to be in order to consult Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, a renowned scholar of Persian language. Sir Sapru studied the Jagdambri Shiv Mandir documents and again found Farmans of Aurangzeb which bestowed a Jagir on this temple. A new Aurangzeb was unveiled before me and through further research and investigation, I discovered many more Farmans of like nature with regard to Mahakaleswar temple in Ujjain, Balaji Temple in Chitrakoot, Amparand Temple in Gauhati, Shatranjay Jain Temple and various Gurdwaras. These Farmans were issued between the year 1656 and 1686. [Aurangzeb’s father Emperor Shah Jahan is famous for having built the Taj Mahal, considered as one of the wonders of the world]….

    The story regarding demolition of Vishwanath temple is that while Aurangzeb was passing near Varanasi on his way to Bengal, the Hindu Rajas in his retinue requested that if a halt is made for a day, their Ranis may go to Varanasi, have a dip in the Ganges and pay their homage to Lord Vishwanath. Aurangzeb readily agreed.

    The Ranis took their dip in the Ganges and went to the Vishwanath temple to pay their homage. All the Ranis returned except one, the Maharani of Kachh. When Aurangzeb came to know of it, he was very much enraged. He sent his senior officers to search for the Rani. Ultimately, they found that the Statue of Ganesh which was fixed in the wall was a movable one. When the statue was moved a flight of stairs led to the basement. To their horror, they found the missing Rani dishonoured and crying. The basement was just beneath Lord Vishwanath’s seat. The Hindu Rajas expressed their vociferous protests. They demanded justice. Aurangzeb ordered that Lord vishawanath may be moved to some other place, the temple be razed to the ground and the Mahant be arrested and punished.

    Dr Pattabhi Sitaramaiah, in his famous book ‘The Feathers and the Stones’ has narrated this fact based on documentary evidence. Dr. P. L. Gupta, former Curator of Patna Museum has also narrated this incident … “

  183. lal

    @YLH
    Take it easy man…u r ryt..we r wrong…it is just that most of us read our text books more than ur blogs ..:)..what is ur reaction about the article?

  184. Prasad

    Naveed

    Sir: Thank you for a painstaking yet beautiful response. Yes whatever y0u wrote of Tipu, I have read through various other counts. Poornaih was his PM and Tipu was a secular ruler. Even to this day, he is very popular in Mysore region. Not so as far as Hyder Ali is concerned…

    Secularism was to the whims and fancies of individuals who came by as a sheer coincidence and not by default….Probably it was due to conversion being accepted in Islam and Christanity but not in Hinduism ( until Arya Samaj tried to undo our philosophy…)

    Thank you for your wonderful writeup

  185. Prasad

    what I meant was probably you would have had tyrants from Hindu society as well if conversion was accepted…..

  186. Naveed

    @ Prasad

    Thank you but I am merely a seeker and transmitter. The paintaking work was that of Professor B N Pande. Perhaps Vajra has a view on his scholarship?

  187. Girish

    You guys should look up Zain ul Abidin of Kashmir. He was almost a contemporary of Babur, dying about 9 years before Babur was born.

  188. YLH

    Girish can you tell me why your IP addresses show three or four different schools from all corners of the US everytime you post. Just curious.

  189. Girish

    Don’t know. Does it matter?

  190. Naveed

    ….that’s assuming Vajra sb is not away, busy becoming a magistrate🙂

  191. Prasad

    Girish: certainly not so long as you dont throw crap like vajra ( sorry boss you are a pissoff)

  192. no-communal

    I agree with YLH that Babur should be viewed as a great general and conqurer that he was. His will as reproduced by Naveed is not only pragmatic, but touching as well. Babur, Tipu Sultan, etc. are revered by Indians, as they justly deserve. It is a futile and misleading exercise to evaluate historical figures by our own values of 21st century.

    It is a fact that the British rulers used their dark divide and rule policy to weaken the two major communities. The failed 1905 attempt to partition Bengal based on demographics can be viewed as a precursor to the eventual partition of the subcontinent.

    My only questions are about the story of Aurangzeb and the destruction of the Varanasi temple. They are 1) When did Aurangzeb go to Bengal (people more knowledgeable about history than me would be able to help here), 2) Was it a military or a pleasure trip? If the former, what were the ranis doing there? and 3) Why weren’t the arrest and punishment (may be by death) of the Mahant not considered enough? Why was it necessary to “raze” the temple to ground? Finally, what is the source of this account? I felt compelled to ask these questions not for anything else but to fill a critical gap in my knowledge about Aurangzeb, such as his trip to Bengal.

  193. no-communal

    My questions are for Naveed. But anyone else who knows more about Aurangzeb’s trip to Bengal (such as when, what for etc.) please respond.

  194. Naveed

    @ NC

    I guess you will have to locate Dr Pattabhi Sitaramaiah’s book‘The Feathers and the Stones’ which is cited by Dr Pande and as he suggests it is based on documentary evidence. I have not read the book, but will seek it out too.

  195. Prasad

    NC: All these imports from abroad ( then) were just interested in one thing…loot and take it back. Babur was no exception. He was always an Afghan at heart….your questions will have no answers as there wont be any detailed chronicles…either influenced by the Muslim rulers OR by British…Last 1200 years were just about them

  196. Girish

    NC:

    B N Pande was a politician, not a historian. One devoted to promoting tolerance and reconciliation between people of different religious communities. He quotes Pattabhi Sitaramayya (another politician who was not a historian) for the story of the Ranis and the Benaras temple. Sitaramayya himself quotes an unnamed manuscript supposedly in the possession of an unnamed Mullah who told this story to another unnamed person, who in turn told Sitaramayya about it. That is the source of the story. Nobody knows which manuscript this is, who wrote it and when. Who the unnamed mullah is, who his friend is who told the story to Sitaramayya. Nobody can go and ask them, and they would be long dead anyway.

    Hence, to answer your question, there is nothing to support the story. Nothing that would pass muster for even a casual historian.

  197. Humanity

    Only the prejudiced would deny that Babur laid the foundation for what India is today. Similarly, the English despite their pillage and plunder, gave some of the finest institutions to India. In more ways than one, India is where it is today, because of Babar and because of the English. These are historical facts. Believing otherwise and debating what could or should have been is an exercise in futility. National character includes giving due credit where it belongs.

    Even from a layman’s perspective, the Babri mosque case has been handled well. Now only if Pakistan would learn a thing or two from history.

    Regards.

  198. Prasad

    ”All” may be replaced by ‘many’ since my view that all were not looters (some were rather finest) were documented in posts above.

  199. Prasad

    Humanity:://Only the prejudiced would deny that Babur laid the foundation for what India is today//

    Not sure what made you make these comments/…Babur certainly defeated the Sultans in Delhi. But that was pure lure of power…how did he change India?? An Afghan wanting more power ala Alexander…How will that change India

    Purely c0incidental that Humayun, Akbar and their progenies decided to make India their Home. What was the guarantee of all these when Babur ‘invaded’ India??

    He was just another invader nothing else…Yes his progenies made great names for themselves…Now thats history

  200. Girish

    Regarding Tipu Sultan, one should visit his capital of Srirangapatnam near Mysore to see an example of how a medieval ruler could promote tolerance even while being true to his own faith. There is a grand temple – the Ranganatha temple after which the capital is named – in the heart of his fortress/capital, significantly endowed by him. It is a wonderful example of Dravidian temple architecture, with many enhancements funded by a Muslim ruler. And right next to it is a grand mosque and madarsa complex. There has never been any communal incident in the place to the best of my knowledge. The temple and madarsa/mosque are fully functional religious places even today.

  201. Prasad

    Tipu was a very farsighted ruler. With very limited reign he tried to befriend the french and fix british. He I thought was a revolutionary during his era. He had enough no of french supporting him in his quest for victory against the british. His blunder was not to befriend the Maharajas of Mysore whom his father had defeated and insulted (this joker was a villain)

    ultimately it resulted in his defeat and death

  202. Prasad

    Naveed //Can a deity be treated at par with a normal human being, and can he (Lord Ram) fight a legal battle, when as the incarnation of God, he is supposed to resolve the problems of his devotees? //

    Sir this has something to do with ethos of hinduism….we literally treat a deity someone who lives…his/her clothes are changed on a daily basis…he /she is washed…day in and day out…prasad that is distributed is actually fed to God first….on a daily basis…now how do we explain this??

  203. Naveed

    @ Prasad

    You don’t have to explain and I do understand the context thanks to your explanation. It was interesting to note this and something that most Pakistanis would not be aware of. However it seems that in India religious law is also used in cases like these. This does seem like mixing the religious with the secular.

  204. Naveed

    @ Girish

    Regarding Dr Pande, I have also read contrasting statements that he was a historian and also very careful with his method. I say this not to negate your assertion but to say that there are opposing views perhaps, also on whether Aurengzeb was as bigoted as he is made out. I am not in a position to opine one way or another without reading Dr Pande’s works. That is why I was hoping that Vajra may be able to also comment on his scholarship.

  205. Prasad

    Naveed:

    Sir: had it been so easy you would have a judgement long back in the first place….How would you resolve such a case where worship was claimed for 500 years??

    not many cases are found in subcontinent in any case….Ram Lulla is a litigant and he got his due. We should have both the mosque and the temple and put a full stop to communal tyranny

  206. Naveed

    @ Prasad

    On the face of it, it seems a good political way to resolve things. My concern is also what happens next. Will the VHP stop there even if the Supreme Court affirms the judgement? Somehow, I don’t think that’s what they have in mind.

  207. Prasad

    Naveed//Your post to Girish::Vajra may be able to also comment on his scholarship//

    I’d rather suggest Hayyer, AZW or Chote Miyan will help in much rational way than Vajra… I have followed Pak Tea house for almost a year now and certainly can claim that the above bloggists are far more learned to answer your q

  208. no-communal

    @Naveed

    “However it seems that in India religious law is also used in cases like these. This does seem like mixing the religious with the secular.”

    The context in which the deity has legal rights is clear from the two sections of your post (reproduced below).

    “In the legal parlance,… Ram Lalla enjoys legal rights, albeit represented by his guardian or next friend as he is a minor.”

    “The apex court, in Sri Adi Visheshwara of Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi, vs State of UP [1997 (4) SCC 606], acknowledged the right of a deity to move court and ruled, ‘Properties of endowment vest in the deity, Lord Sri Vishwanath.’

    The Supreme Court categorically rejected claim of the priests that they alone had the right to manage the temple on behalf of the deity and ruled that management of the temple by mahant/pandas/acharyas did not mean it became their property. It upheld the Act saying it was merely for better management of the temple.”

    The deity is “represented” by the trust or the Mandir Committee. It’s really the Mandir Committee which is contesting. The deity or its representatives do not have superior legal rights, if that’s what you mean. Clearly “Sri Adi Visheshwara of Kashi Vishwanath Temple” lost to his devotees, the State of UP.

  209. Prasad

    Naveed//Will the VHP stop there even if the Supreme Court affirms the judgement//

    Sir: Narasimha Rao was the greatest of Indian Prime Ministers after Nehru…. He was far ahead when compared to even the fabled Rajiv Gandhi…He enacted a law that ensures all structures are safe ( except Babri /ramjanmabhoomi dispute) come what may. VHP will not deviate the law. They will be belted if they violate… rest assured…

  210. no-communal

    @Girish
    “He quotes Pattabhi Sitaramayya (another politician who was not a historian) for the story of the Ranis and the Benaras temple. Sitaramayya himself quotes an unnamed manuscript supposedly in the possession of an unnamed Mullah who told this story to another unnamed person, who in turn told Sitaramayya about it. That is the source of the story.”

    That doesn’t sound like much of a source. Can anybody confirm if Aurangzeb ever went to Bengal, even if this story is false? I don’t think he did, but I may be wrong.

  211. Girish

    Naveed,

    You can draw your own conclusions about B.N.Pande’s scholarship based on his characterization of hearsay (that even Sitaramayya himself acknowledges to be as much) as “documentary evidence”.

    Well-meaning, he was. Scholar, he was not.

  212. Perspective

    IDOL’S PROPERTIES:- The properties of an Hindu temple or an idol vests in idol itself, while it’s possession and management vests in the manager of the debutter estate. Deoki Nandan v Muralidhar AIR 1955 SC 133.

    IDOL IS JURISTIC PERSON:- When the property is given absolutely by a pious Hindu for the worship of an idol, the property vests in the idol itself as a juristic person. Kalamaka Devi v M.R.T.Nagji AIR 1970 SC 439, 441.

    “In Hindu law, a family idol has legal personality
    (Pramatha Nath Mullick v Pradyumna Kumar Mullick (1925) LR 52 Ind App 245; see P W Duff, ‘The personality of an idol’(1927) 3 CLJ 42).In Bumper Development Corporation v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [1991] 1 WLR 1362, expert evidence was accepted that a Hindu temple has legal personality in Tamil Nadu.

    borrowed from the web

  213. Perspective

    I thnk I have the right reference

    Peacock Throne; The Drama of Mogul India
    Hansen, W. C. (Waldemar Conrad), 1896-

    but according to it, Aurangzeb never went to Bengal.

  214. Girish

    BTW, is there a reference for Babur’s will to his son, that Naveed has quoted from? I have often seen it cited, with the citation to a manuscript lying in a library in Bhopal. Is there any historian of repute who has studied it and said that it is an authentic document? Or is this similar to the Kashi Vishwanath story, which you see everywhere being cited as a fact with “documentary evidence”, but for which all references ultimately point back to B. N. Pande citing Sitaramayya, who said that he heard about it from an unnamed fellow prison inmate when he was serving his sentence, who in turn claimed to have heard it from an unnamed Mullah friend of his, who was supposed to have an unnamed manuscript that had this story. Which library in Bhopal has that will? Has it been reproduced verbatim in any other book?

  215. Naveed

    @Girish

    Of course the VHP will like to paint Babur in a certain way and we should not forget that the senior most Judge of the Allahbad Court held that Lord Ram’s birthplace is established. The reference I have is as below and probably is at par with the standards above. Someone should check the library in Bhopal.

    “Babur wrote a will, which he addressed to his son and heir Humayun. This was preserved in the State Library, Bhopal C.I. A photocopy was sent on December 11, 1921, by B. Ghosal, the curator of the library, to Sir (Syed) Ross Masood, the then director of public instruction in the then Nizam’s government of Hyderabad”

    It seemed specific and could be verified if someone choses to follow up.

  216. Girish

    Just for the record, the quoted portion in Naveed’s post above is from an article written by Rashiduddin Ahmad in the Daily Star of Dhaka dated Dec 11, 2009. It is an article titled “The Tragedy of Babri Masjid Demolition”. It can be found quite easily using a google search. The author is described as follows

    Rashiduddin Ahmad, Department of Neurosurgery, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.

    He does not seem to be a historian, but he cites a book titled “India as seen by Babur” by R. Nath, which apparently cites Babur’s will. Let me see if I can find that book.

  217. Naveed

    @ Girish

    Yes, let me make it easier for you. If you look up Prof R.Nath you will see that VHP is discrediting him pretty verbatim. So you see this is not going to go very far as you have also discredited Prof Bande.

  218. Girish

    I have not discredited anybody. However, I have only pointed out that Pande’s story is based on a claim in Pattabhi Sitaramayya’s book, which has no verifiable source. It is based on hearsay. There is no second source for the story, so unfortunately it will not meet the test of historiography anywhere.

    What has the VHP got to do with this? I would like to see the original source, or any authentic historical reference to it and see what it has to say. Wouldn’t you? Or would you rather just repeat what you read in an article written by somebody who works in a Department of Neurosurgery somewhere? I would rather read what the historian has to say and evaluate it.

  219. Naveed

    @ Girish

    The VHP has everything to do with it.

  220. Girish

    Maybe for you. It does not concern me what the VHP or anybody else has to say. I would like to find out more about it for my own self.

    Since you seemingly don’t have more information, I would ask others who do to help me out with it. I have located a copy of R. Nath’s book in a library nearby. It is described in the catalog as being based on the Babur Nama. Prof. Nath has written several books on Mughal architecture and art, and is likely a historian. Let me see what he has to say on this.

    But let me repeat the question – is there any reputed historian who has seen the original manuscript and do historians as a class believe that it is an authentic document? I see a reference to a Director of Public Instruction of Hyderabad state who is credited as the translator of the will. Was he a historian? Any other historian who has written about the will?

  221. Girish

    BTW, B N Pande was not a Professor. He was a career politician – a member of Parliament, Governor of a state and held other elected and administrative offices as well. As far as I know, he did not get a PhD in any subject either – the ‘Dr.’ title before his name is attributed to a D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) – i.e. an honorary degree awarded to him by some University to recognize his public service.

  222. Perspective

    “In fact, Babar’s Will is considered a forgery by scholars. Annette Beveridge (who translated Babar’s chronicle, the Babur-nama, into English) dismisses Babur’s Will as a forged document citing 15 different problems, including: language and style, calligraphy and spelling, the “unroyal” quality of the seals, mutually contradictory chronology (the top of the Will is dated 933 A.H. and the bottom 935 A.H.), the same title is used for the father and the son, etc. (See: A.S. Beveridge, Journal of the Royal Society of Britain and Ireland, January, 1923, pp. 78-82 for the details). “

  223. Perspective

    JSTOR citation:

    # Further Notes on Baburiana
    # Annette S. Beveridge
    # The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
    No. 1 (Jan., 1923), pp. 75-82
    (article consists of 9 pages)
    # Published by: Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland

  224. Girish

    Thanks for that reference. I downloaded and read Annette Beveridge’s article. It actually summarizes opinions of multiple expert, primarily A.G.Ellis and Ghulam Yazdani, but also Sir T. Arnold, L.D.Barnett, Abdul-majid Belshah, E. Edwards and Sir E.D.Ross (I don’t know who these gentlemen are, but they are said to be “experts in literary technicalities”. The journal itself is a reputed one, continuously published by the Cambridge University Press from 1834 through 1990 at least (this is the last date available on jstor). Beveridge adds her own interpretation, based on her knowledge of the Baburnama, which she has published articles about for more than 20 years before the appearance of this article in 1923.

    This so-called will of Babur, titled his “wasiyat-nama” was purchased by the Bhopal Library from a person in Tonk, whose family had had the manuscript in its possession after acquisition in Delhi. The main basis for Beveridge’s conclusion that this is not an authentic document is:

    a. The script suggests that it was written in the 18th century, not the 16th.
    b. the seal in the wasiyat nama does not correspond to those used in authentic manuscripts of Babur, in terms of how Babur and Humayun are addressed
    c. in the title, the term “shahzada” is used for Humayun, which came into use in official Mughal documents only since the time of Jahangir, the earlier Timurid term being Mirza.
    c. prematurity of the date of the document – Babur died in December 1530, while this document supposedly written on his death bed dates from Jan 1529
    d. the Persian form of the document
    e. terms used which are later Hindustani in origin and were not used in Arabic or Persian
    f. errors and linguistic defects that are unlikely in a royal document of this nature, given the proficiency of both Babur and Humayun to Persian (Beveridge refers to Persian as a second home tongue to both of them even in the period before Humayun’s stay in Persia)
    g. the unlikeliness of the absence of the document from the royal archives and memories when Abu’l Fazl compiled his history.

    While there are admirable exhortations in this document, at least the experts seem to be suggesting that this cannot be authenticated as Babur’s will based on its features, and that it was a later 18th century document. Interesting how there is no reference to the detailed analysis of an established Babur authority, and one predating much of the politics surrounding the character, in any of the casual writings on “Babur’s will”.

  225. Girish

    One other thing – Beveridge seems to be disappointed that this is not an authentic document. She concludes her article by saying,

    “Not to accept it as a matter of regret, for who would not welcome new sayings of Babur Padshah?”

  226. Perspective

    From Beveridge’s paper:

    The Bhopal Wasiyat-nama-i-makhfi

    The document shown opposite, somewhat under its full size (5×8 in.) belongs to the Bhopal State Library and purports to contain secret exhortations of Babur to Humayun. It was sent for the consideration of the Royal Asiatic Society by Colonel Luard, who gave the following particulars about it.

    When starting of the new fine Bhopal library was advertised, MSS were brought in from all sides, and amongst themn was this Wasiyat-nama, which was then purchased from an indigent Tonk Musalman, who stated that it had been for some time in his family and had been obtained from Dihli. As, if genuine, it would add to recognized Babur-writings, it has been examined from the Babur-nama view-point and also from that of experts in literary technicalities, Mr. A. G. Ellis and Mr. Ghulam Yazdani taking the greater part, but also by Sir T. Arnold, Mr L.D. Barnett, Mr. Abdu’l-majid Belshah, Mr E Edwards and Sir E.D. Ross. The results are embodied in this Note.

    Unfortunately we have not seen the original document, hence no opinion is offered about the date of the paper or the cause of defects in the rectangular enclosure of the script. The script itself suggests the eighteenth than the sixteenth century (Mr E.E.); it is Indian nasta’liq of poor quality, seeming the work of one accustomed to write the naskhi; its crowding up to make nasta’liq is greatly exaggerated and rather unnatural (Mr. A.G.E.).

    The contents of the page divide into two parts, the first formed by the invocation seal, descriptive heading and foot-entry; the second containing the Wasiyat-nama-i makhfi itself.

    Part I. (a) The seal differs by its great size, over-clear naskhi script, abbreviated Hijra-sign, redundant titles and the omission of paternal descent from Babur’s authentic ones in the regal Shah-nama Codex owned by our Society. Its legend runs Zahiru’d-din Muh. Babur Badshah Bahadur Ghadhi [sic] H. 933. Babur’s known seal bears Zahiru’d-din Muh. Babur Bahadur ibn Sl. ‘Umar-shaikh Kurkan 900(?); other familiy seals form the same Codex bear Humayun bin Muh. Babur Badshahu’l-Ghazi and Jahangir Shah bin Akbar Shah. The “Bahadur” of the Wasiyat-nama is an anachronism after Babur’s assumption of the higher title Padshah in 913-1506.

    The naskhi of the seal resembles the nasta’liq of the text; the seal and heading are linked by a common error in spelling “Ghadhi” (zal for za’e); the seal and foot-entry are lined by the use in both of the abbreviated “Hijra”, which is in common use in the later Arabic writings (Mr A.G.E.). The items of Part I, seal included, appears to be from one hand.

    (b) The heading thus translates:

    (These) secret exhortations of Zahiru’d-din Muh. Babur Badshah Ghadhi [sic] were written for (or to) Shah-zada Nasiru’d-din Humayun (God grant him long life!) for the consolidation of the Sultanate. It contains two things disassociating it from Babur’s compositions:-
    (1) its use of titles, he using none for himself or his sons;
    (2) he mentions the Timurid style as Mirza (B.N. in p. 344). Jahangir used Shah-zada in posthumous titles for his brothers.

    (c) The foot-entry translated:

    And only its annoucement is incumbent on us, Jan 11th 1529 (Jumada I, 1, 935; Qoran, cap xxxvi, v.16; Sir T.A.). Does its imperfect “H. 9” indicate an underlying date of Jahangir’s reign, i.e., 1035? It is not apparent from the Babur-nama record why, where or when secret exhortations should be made to Humayun at all; still less why they should be announced – by whom and to whom – on Jumada I, 1, 935 AH, when Humayun was operating against Samarkand and Babur alloting sites in his Dulpur Garden. Morever, if the wasiyat-nama were a dying charge, its date is premature, Babur not dying until 26th December, 1530.

    Part II. A primary obstacle to the acceptance of the Wasiyat-nama as composed by Babur is its Persian form; this cannot be explained as a translation from Babur’s Turki because of the non-Babur-like character of its contents.

    The eight exhortations thus translate:-
    (1) O Son! The realm of Hindustan is peopled by various creeds. Almighty God be praised that he confers its sovereignty on thee.

    (2) Thous must cleanse the table of thy heart from sectarian bigotries and do justice according to the custom of each creed.

    (3) Above all, abstain from sacrificing cows; thus will the hearts of Hindustanis be won and the peasants be made loyal by the royal bounty.

    (4) Destroy not the temples or worshipping places of any tribe under the royal rule; thus shall the Shah be satisfied with the peasant, the peasant with the Padshah (c.f. B.N. in E., pp.281-2).

    (5) Islam is advanced better by the sword of kindness than the sword of oppression.

    (6) Close the eye to the disagreements of Sunni and Shi’a otherwise the rift in Islam is made manifest.

    (7) Control thy many-minded subjects by the Four Elements; thus will the body of the Sultanate be freed from various distemper.

    (8) Let (him) keep before his eyes His Highness Amir Timur Sahib-qirani’s Kar-nama so that he may become an expert in government affairs.

    Comments on the exhortations –
    Sect 1. No sovereignty was conferred on Humayun before his father’s death in 937-1530.

    2. The “bigotries” of e.g., Akbar’s day were Musalman fidelities in Babur’s.

    3. This prohibition suits better the time when treaties of Padshah and Raja contained agreement against the sacrifice of cows in Rajput territory.

    4. In 935 AH was completed Babur’s Mosque built on part of the site of an ancient Adjodhya temple.

    8. This section appears to have another than pacific origin; hence perhaps its change from direct to indirect imperative (if it be not a grammatical error). It is disassociated from Babur because he writes uniformly (ex. excp B.N. in E, p. 256) plain “Timur Beg” without posthumous title; also because he mentions no book entitled Kar-nama is this the Zafar-nama? or the Malfuzat of Shah-jahan’s reign? Whatever it be, a History of Timur’s Battles is a strange text-book for pacific exhortations!

    Further linguistic defects- 1.2, bastihkam for ba istihkam(?); mamur for ma’mur; ba hamdu’l-lah, vulgar; Sect 2 has its first clause verbally misarranged; Sect 4, manadir as used in Hindustani but not in Ar. or Pers. (is it Pers. manawar, idol-temple, Steingass?); ma’bad-gah for ibadat-gah; Sect 8, qirani for qiran; foot-entry, yakam, rare in dates; etc.

    In conclusion, one cannot but ask where the document was when archives and memories were searched for Abu’l-fazl’s help in 996-1587, and where it has been hidden so long?

    Not to appear discourteous, through omission to argue against the view of the Bhopal Librarian Mr. Ghosal- kindly communicated to me by Colonel Luard – that the Persian form of the document argues in its favour because Persian was the language of civilization and literature and because Humayun kept close to Persian traditions having lived much in Persia. I mention two matters of fact negativing this argument, firstly that in Babur’s time and before and after it, Timurid families attained a high degree of culture in the arts, literature included; and secondly, that Humayun’s residence in Persia, being in 950-1544 does not affect the question of the document of 935-1529. To both Babur and Humayun Persian was a second home-tongue; they had constant companionship in childhood with Persians; they read great Persian books; their proficiency argues against accepting as genuine a document so defective as the Wasiyat-nama-i makhfi. Not to accept it is a matter of regret, for who would not welcome new sayings of Babur Padshah?

    (B.N. in E is Beveridge’s Babur-nama in English).

  227. no-communal

    Let’s not discuss Babur’s will too much. Babur was a conqueror in the tradition of many such greats in history. But he also was a sensitive soul, a nature lover, drank freely, used narcotics, flaunted and gave away wealth, loved parties and music. All these indicate that he was probably not a fanatic in normal life. It’s not difficult to imagine somebody, who devoted 39 pages of his diary to the flora and fauna of India, advising his son to be sensitive to the local beliefs and practices in his will.

    The story of Aurangzeb and the destruction of the Varanasi temple, however, seems to have major holes. The three questions, 1) When Aurangzeb went to Bengal or even Varanasi, 2) If it was a military conquest why with the Hindu Ranis, and 3) Why was it justified to destroy the entire magnificent temple for the alleged guilt of one, need answering. As Girish points out, there is no “documentary evidence” to speak of in Pattabhi Sitaramayya’s book. Let’s not forget he was a disciple of Gandhi (Gandhi’s candidate for Congress Presidentship against Bose in ’39) and was concerned about communal harmony at a critical time of history.

  228. Girish

    NC:

    Babur may have been all you say. (actually, if you read the Babur nama, he takes pride in acts that can only be termed fanatic, but he was also pragmatic at the same time). But the will is presented as evidence of his tolerance. That is of doubtful authenticity at best, and a fabrication at worst.

    Both Pande and Sitaramayya were probably well-meaning in including the reference to the Kashi Vishwanath incident, both being interested in promoting communal harmony. However, that does not make the incident a real one.

  229. Perspective

    Other citations for the Babur will :

    Translations:

    Dr. Syed Mahmud, The Indian Review, August 1929.
    (however, elsewhere it is Indian Review, August 1923, 499).

    The Twentieth Century, January 1926, pp. 239-44

    Argument for forgery
    S.R. Sharma, Religious Policy of the Mughal Empire (3rd edition)

    Argument against forgery
    Radheshyam, “Babur”.

    The citations are sloppy, so it doesn’t give confidence.

  230. Girish

    In this long thread, references to other examples of tolerance may have got lost. So let me point to Zain-ul-Abidin of Kashmir, a contemporary of Babur (almost). He is not that well known outside of Kashmir. If you want inspiration from historical personalities, learn more about him. Trying to prove Aurangzeb’s tolerance is a lost cause and a laughable attempt at revisionism, and is disappointing because of what it tells us about the person attempting such revisionism.

  231. Girish

    This has been a fascinating thread, in terms of how instructive it has been to me on history. Thanks to everybody who contributed with comments and references. I am signing off for today. I have to get work done, after a long day of loafing around. 🙂

  232. Kaalket

    Is it correct to conclude that only guilty party here in this case is Lord Ram and his devotees? It is so hard to believe that gentle soul like Babar was cursed by Guru Nanak who mistook him for a Paapi of high degree. I think , Indian followers of Lord Ram and Guru Nanak owe apology to Late gentle Babar and his current fans. Thanks Allah, India got blessed with such conqueoror known for soft heart and merciful ideology. Wonder how could both Hindus and Sikhs of India atone their sin of blaming such pure soul doing the work of Allah. They should be either ashamed to death or become Momin .

  233. YLH

    “A family idol has legal personality”.

    Whoa …this is almost as funny as Zaheeruddin v State “Islam is like Coca Cola”.

  234. An accidental Sikh

    The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
    ~Mark Twain

    Dear Kaalket,

    Interpreting history using short posts is risky business because the context often gets lost and in history context is everything; even more so in case of medieval history.

    The Sikh faith has had a deeply intertwined and complex relationship with the Mughals. Incidentally the period of the Sikh Gurus (1469-1708) coincided almost exactly with the rule of the Great Mughals (1526-1707) during which time the Sikh faith grew and matured in a rather close proximity of the Imperial court. Barring some high profile instances of Mughal high handedness (and cruelty characteristic of its age), the Sikh faith (and other saints of the Bhakti movement) was able to preach their philosophy and faith freely and mostly unhindered during this period.

    Interestingly, even according to the Sikh folklore, almost each such acts of Mughal cruelty and highhandedness is matched by another act of tolerance and rapprochement between ‘the two sides’.

    Take for example the Nanak passage quoted above. (It is reproduced on many Indian nationalistic web sites with a anti Muslim slant).

    The passage is taken from Sikh writings attributed to Nanak labeled the ‘Babur Vani’. Guru Nanak was said to have been preaching in Multan on the eve of Babur’s attack on India and in the resulting turmoil was imprisoned by the invading troops along with thousands of other Multanis. According to the cherished Sikh tradition, Nanak was able to perform various acts of mercy and miracles that were reported to Babur himself who came to meet Guru Nanak.

    The Guru reportedly reminded Babur his duty as a ruler (in a quote made famous ironically during the Indian army attack on the Golden Temple in 1984) stating in effect that if the keepers of a national fence start destroying the land then even God himself cannot save it. According to the Sikh lore Babur begged forgiveness and freed the Guru along with many innocents. For this he was duly blessed by Guru Nanak.

    Later on, it was Emperor Akbar who donated the land on which the Golden Temple stands today.
    The fifth Sikh Guru, Arjun Dev, earned the wrath of Emperor Jehangir, not for any act of piety but for providing a small monetary help and blessing to the rebel prince Khusrau. He was martyred on the Emperor’s orders. Guru Arjan Dev’s son, Guru Hargobind, duly revolted and raised a small army in defiance. He was arrested by the Mughals and incarcerated in the Gwalior fort. According to the Sikh sources, yet again the stories of the Guru’s miracles reached the Emperor’s ears and Jehangir not only released the Sikh Guru, they became friends and on the Guru’s insistence he also released some fifty other rebel rulers and princes from the same Gwalior fort. This particular incidence is commemorated annually as the Sikh reason for Diwali.

    During the reign of Aurangzeb, Guru Arjan Dev was martyred for going to the Imperial court to argue the case of Kashmiri pundits. His son, Gobind Singh therefore revolted and created the ‘Khalsa’. Interestingly, most of the opposition to Guru Gobind Singh came not from the Muslims of Punjab but from the Hindu rulers of the Shivalik hills who ganged up on him and attacked his stronghold. It was when he proved too strong that they appealed to the Mughal governor on Sirhind for help and they then jointly drove out the Sikhs from the hills in Dec. 1705. Aurangzeb was not far away in the Deccan when all these events were unfolding in Punjab.

    After being evicted from his hill stronghold of Anandpur, Guru Gobind Singh wrote a letter to Aurangzeb, the celebrated ‘Zafarnama’ in which he held Aurangzeb indirectly responsible, not of any direct atrocities but only of neglect. Again, according to the Sikh lore, Aurangzeb was moved by the letter and invited the Guru to meet him. It was on his journey to meet Aurangzeb, that Guru Gobind Singh was assassinated by the agents of the Sirhind Nawab, who it is reported was fearful of Imperial retribution once Aurangzeb had heard the Guru’s side of the story.

    While all the above accounts are based on folk lore and legends, they highlight one important fact; that while the Mughal Emperors were often cruel and arbitrary in their actions, they were not one-dimensional religious zealots and their subjects (even not always disposed kindly towards them) retained some degree of faith in their impartiality and justice.

    The Mughals were Indian rulers of the medieval era.
    We can only judge them by the standards of their age.

    Regards.

  235. Naveed

    @ Girish @ Perspective

    Yes, that is the BJP/VHP position and citations against the will. It was clear where there this was headed.

  236. Girish

    Yeah, right. The Annette Beveridge article was published in 1923. 56 years before the BJP was founded. 41 years before the VHP was founded. And 2 years before even their parent organization, the RSS was founded. And a good 26 years before the dispute in Ayodhya was kindled. And yes, the Royal Asiatic Journal, one of the most reputed in its field, is also a front for the BJP/VHP. As is Annette Beveridge, credited with a widely circulated and widely praised (including a glowing review by E.M.Forster) version of the Babur Nama (the current Penguin version edited by Dilip Hiro is an abridged version of Beveridge’s translation), a number of papers on Babur and the Mughals in the top journals of her day – she was a closet BJP/VHP supporter as well.

    Good day to you, sir. But I am done discussing with an intellectual bankrupt, and a dishonest one at that.

  237. Girish

    an Accidental Sikh: interesting and informative post.

  238. Perspective

    This is what sikhwiki says about Guru Gobind Singh’s Zafarnama:

    Zafarnama (Gurmukhi: ਜ਼ਫ਼ਰਨਾਮਹ or ਜ਼ਫ਼ਰਨਾਮਾ, Persian: ظفرنامہ) means the “Declaration of Victory” and is the name given to the letter sent by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh in 1705 to the Emperor of India, Aurangzeb. The letter is written in exquisite Persian verse. In this letter, Guru Ji reminds Aurangzeb how he and his henchmen had broken their oaths taken on the holy Koran. Zafarnama is included in Hikayats and it’s the first Hikayat.

    Despite this deception, this treacherous leader could not harm the Guru. Guru Ji states in this letter that in spite of his several sufferings, he had won a moral victory over the crafty Mughal who had broken all his vows and had resorted to underhand behaviour. Despite sending a huge army to capture or kill the Guru, the Mughal forces did not succeed in their mission.

    The letter reads like a reprimand by a superior personality on a higher plane to a cruel and distorted inhuman being on a lower and pitiful plane. Guru Ji in the 111 verses of this notice rebukes Aurangzeb for his weaknesses as a human being and for excesses as a leader. Guru Ji confirms his confidence and his unflinching faith in the Almighty even after suffering extreme personal loss.
    A folio from the ‘Zafarnama’ – dated AD 1872 – in the Patiala Archives -in its original Persian script it is believed to be illuminated and written by Rajaram Tota, a courtier of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

    Of the 111 verses, the maximum numbers of 34 verses are to praise God; 32 deal with Aurangzeb’s invitation for the Guru to meet him and the Guru’s refusal to meet the Emperor – instead Guruji asks Aurangzeb to visit him going so far as to guarantee that no harm will come to him. Though parts of the letter are an indictment of Aurangzeb and the treachery of his Mughal Generals and forces, other parts of the letter are like one from an older wiser veer (brave or valiant brother) more in touch with the part of the jyot (light) of God in his heart, who though terribly wronged on one plane, is asking his lost veer, who he sees as having lost touch with the promise of his own religion and its Holy Koran, to return to the fold of brotherly love and make things right between them again. Amazingly 6 verses actually praise Aurangzeb.

    24 verses detail the events in the Battle of Chamkaur, which took place on 21 and 22 December 1704; 15 verses reprove Aurangzeb for breaking written promises given by him and his Officers, written in the blank pages of a copy of the Qur’an, given to the Guru; In verses 78 and 79, the Master had also warned Aurangzeb about the resolve of the Khalsa not to rest until his empire and its evil practises is driven out of India or destroyed.

  239. Perspective

    Sikhwiki also says:

    Guru Ji received the letter from Aurangzeb and after a period of rest decided to meet with the emperor, hence Guru Ji’s decision to move to the Deccan. Guru Ji had no enmity against Islam. He did not harbour any ill will against Muslims, Guru Sahib Ji saw all with one gaze, a good many Muslims had sided with his cause against the Mughals. Now that Aurangzeb had invited Guru Ji with due humility and promised to do justice against those who had resorted to barbarous acts, Guru Ji felt justified in agreeing to meet the emperor in view of the latter’s old age.

    By the time Guru Ji had entered Rajasthan news was conveyed to him that the emperor had died.

  240. no-communal

    Since this is an article on the democratic process in Pakistan (which has not been discussed in the comments at all), and since Musharraf just formed his party in London, let me ask my Pakistani friends about what precisely are their arguments against him entering the democratic process and be a duly elected president. Isn’t it true that, despite his past adventures, he may be able to keep the army in check and make peace with India, two critical requirements for an upward swing of Pakistan?

  241. Gorki

    After days of depressing news about the CWG 2010(including the earlier acrimonious exchanges here) comes a welcome bit of news that I would like to share with everyone on the PTH.
    May such amity also prevail here on the PTH in future.

    “The Allahabad High Court has given the Waqf Board three months to appeal to the Supreme Court. The morning of September 30 showed the day. For perhaps the first time, the colourful, jolly serial SMSes about the Commonwealth Games gave way to uplifting calls for unity and peace at a moment of impending crisis. Chidambaram wanted to ban SMSes in the belief they would be inflammatory. He did not know his India. They became a source of healing, as samples will prove. “When there’s Ali in DiwAli and Ram in Ramzan, help India in being United.” Chehre nahin, insaan padhe jaate hai, mazhab nahi imaan padhe jaate hai… Bharat hi aisa desh hai, jahan ek saath Geeta aur Quran padhe jaate hai…”
    – India Today

  242. Kaalket

    Accidental Sikh ,
    Thanks for the new persepective on Babar Bani being a political statement for an inavder to learn how to rule like a true King. This makes it very appealing and special as it came straight from Waheguru Almighty through the body of Guru Nanak thus sealing the validity of Babar’s claim even though he carried the “paap ki Janj”. Appreciate the timely appearnace and intervetion and correcting the common held knowlegde that Babar was an evil man . No One can contest the Dhurr Ki Banni with God taking so much interest in Babar and his ambitions and consequesnt little loss of life for centuries following his intelligent tradition to reform Kuffar. Would you be kind enough to provide realistic persepctive on how much weigh should be given to the political aspect of Guru Teg Bahadur’s sacrifice when his teachings clashed with magnificent, Secular King Aurnagjeb and his politics ? There is a theory that the whole incident was a set up by few clever Brahmins.

  243. Perspective

    Kaalket:

    The Sikh Gurus were doing what every great religious figure has done – in Christian terms, it is called “hating the sin, but loving the sinner”. Notice, e.g., Guru Gobind Singh’s Zafarnama said that the Khalsa would not rest till Aurangzeb’s evil practices were banished from the country; but also appealed to Aurangzeb’s better side.

  244. An accidental Sikh

    Dear Kaalket,

    You misunderstood.
    My post was an attempt to contextualize Guru Nanak’s comments; not rationalize the conduct of any medieval age ruler or his progeny. I specifically mentioned the events not as they are reported by historical scholars but as they are recalled in the Sikh folklore for a reason.
    Sikh folklore, if anything is heavily biased against the Mughals; an unfortunate by product of their later day struggle for survival and political domination in the face of heavy opposition first from the later day Mughal Subedars of Punjab and still later, the Afghans. It is quite unfortunate because this account is not only heavily biased (as all such accounts are in Hindustan) it is also somewhat inaccurate because in such accounts many Sikhs use the words ‘Mughal’ ‘Muslim’ and ‘Afghan’ interchangeably.

    I gave the Sikh version for the simple reason that it would be the least likely to suffer from a pro Mughal bias.

    Like I said before, context is everything.
    To understand the social fabric of Punjab in Nanak’s time is not easy even for a modern day Punjabi. One will have to strip away a lot of baggage.
    First would be the baggage of the 20th century, the national divide, partition riots, the political confusion of the Pakistan demand etc.
    Then will be that of the brief Sikh rule in Punjab about which there are assertions from some quarters that the Sikh rulers in some cases desecrated Muslim places of worship.
    Then will be the baggage of the 18th century; a time marked by unbelievable cruelty, lawlessness and mayhem even by Punjabi standards. The last of course will be the baggage of the actions of the Mughal officials in the name of one particular ruler, Aurangzeb whose name is rightly or not, is still synonymous with wanton cruelty among the Sikhs. We will come to him later.

    If one has the patience and fortitude to strip away all of the above baggage, only then will the true picture of the 16th and 17th century Punjab emerge.
    It was a fascinating place then, bustling with intellectual activity. On one hand was the renaissance figures among the local Hindus, influenced as they were by the ideas of Sankara and Ramanuja and popularized in the north by Ramananda among others; on the other were the Muslim thinkers and scholars known as the Sufis, well versed in the teachings of the Koran and the Hadiths but not averse to testing the teachings of their faith in the light of local conditions. They did not form any definite sect or follow any uniform doctrine but emphasized the core message of Islam; equality of mankind and a compassionate God.

    Contrary to popular beliefs, most conversions to Islam in that period was not brought on by coercion of the rulers but by the preaching’s of these simple saints who spoke Punjabi, lived a simple life and were hugely popular with the ordinary people. It was a synthesis of these two streams of ideas that forged the Punjabi and later the Sikh identity.

    When Babur attacked India, the Lodhi power was already on the wane in Punjab. The local governors were busy usurping power and governance took a back seat. On top of it when hordes of unruly foreign troops (who lived off the land and loot) it was very traumatic for the local population, both Hindu and Muslim. Nanak’s comments must be seen in this context.

    Babur though a fierce warrior was fortunately more interested in power than in winning converts for the faith. While there is no historical evidence that Nanak ever met him (as reported in the Sikh lore) there is enough evidence that once the issue of political power was settled, life went on as before for the most part. While religious intolerance raged fiercely in Europe of that time, North India and Punjab continued to enjoy a great degree of interfaith tolerance.
    Guru Nanak found a Muslim disciple; Mardana and a Jat, Bala and the trio freely toured the Punjabi countryside ridiculing both the Hindu and the Muslim orthodoxy with impunity.

    Nanak’s iconoclasm was neither new nor an exception. Before Nanak, there was Kabir, a poor Muslim by birth yet he had freely preached that he was neither a Hindu nor a Muslim because before God, there was only one faith; humanity.
    Before both, was Makhdum Hujwiri (d 1092 AD) a saint revered equally by Hindus, Muslims and the Sikhs (His tomb in Lahore, the Data Durbar, was marbleized by the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh and was recently attacked by the Taliban suicide bombers with terrible results).
    And after Nanak, there was Mian Mir; a Muslim Sufi saint who laid the foundation of the Golden Temple.

    The point is that while invaders brought Islam to India, it established firm roots here not so much because of the coercion of the rulers but because of the uniqueness of its message coupled with a receptiveness intellectual climate in the 15th and 16th century India where people were already experimenting with matters of the faith.
    In such a climate, Islam changed India even as it itself become Indianized.
    The period of the Sikh Gurus (1469-1708) can be divided into two halves; the first of which was an entirely peaceful one. This above is a brief summary of the socio political forces that shaped the first half of the Sikh faith, much more than the activities of any one ruler in Delhi or Agra. It is above all a story of the cultural syncretism of Hinduism and Islam in North India and Punjab.
    Why such a promising process got tragically disrupted is an entirely different story altogether.

    A short answer to your question about Guru Teg Bahadur’s martyrdom; there are broadly two versions. One version reported by Cunningham is based upon the Siyar-ul-Mukhtaran (written more than a century later by Ghulam Hussein) states that he was arrested along with a Muslim peer named Hafez Adam, and executed because their joint influence on the masses was felt to be subversive. This is dismissed by many due to inaccuracies (for example according to this the Guru was executed in Gwalior).
    The second version is the one I alluded to and accepted by Macauliffe (and late by Ganda Singh, Teja Singh etc.) According to this, Guru Teg Bahadur went to Delhi in 1675 AD to protest the religious persecution of the Hindus of Kashmir, that were beginning to take place (reintroduced of Jizya was still in the future).

    Aurangzeb was not in Delhi then but a Quazi (clearly enjoying the Emperor’s support) sentenced the Guru to either accept Islam or death. He chose the later.
    His son, Guru Gobind Singh later wrote of his father’s martyrdom in the following words:

    “To protect their right to wear their caste marks and the sacred threads, did he, in a dark age, perform the supreme sacrifice. To help the saintly, he went to the utmost limit; he gave his head but did not cry with pain” (Bichitar Natak)

    One last thing; the words of the Sikh Gurus are not supposed to be words of God or any such thing. Gobind Singh also wrote a word of caution to his followers:

    “I am nothing but a servant of the Supreme Lord,
    Who came here to watch the ways of the world;
    Anyone who calls me a Lord,
    will be condemned to eternal fires of hell” 😉

    Regards.

  245. Kaalket

    Accidental Sikh,
    Thanks for explanation, now i understand the real import of Sikh concept of “Dhurr KI Bani ” which in light of your exlanation is just an allegorical refrence. When Guru Nanak said “preocession of sin from Kabul” and “Jaise avve Khasam ki Banni, tesra karri bekhan ve Lalo” he was just making it up did not mean that his inspiration to speak these words was not actually Divine and his conciousness was not in touch with Almighty. I was also under wrong impression that Last Guru stated that “mai na kahyo sub tuneh Bakhanye” in Dasam Granth. Guess that was also falsly stated according to this new explanation of yours. Guru ji was actually trying to attahc people to bani and not to personalty. Baani nirnakar hai Bhai, Said Guru Nanak.I do realize now that i really wasted few years of my life studying ,trying to underastand Gurbani when i was growing up in Punjab . No surprise Gyani like Sant Maskeen and Dr. Mahip Singh were completly ignorant of this secular knowledge expounded here .

  246. Kaalket

    Persepctive,
    Off course , hate the sins not sinner is the halmark of Saintliness. Light of God is in every one , they being the Gurus will never decriminate or curse or declare doom or hell for any one who wont believe in them. Waheguru is not God who throw people in hellfire to to declare His supremacy.For Him all life forms are His own. The understanding that God will descrimate or punish innocent good people based on dogmatic prejudice is no hallmark of true divine knowledge, experience or worthy of emulation.

  247. An accidental Sikh

    Dear Kaalket:

    From your snide remarks it appears that I have offended your beliefs somehow. If by phrases like ‘Dhur ki Baani’ etc. you are implying that you believe in Guru Nanak’s divinity; then please accept my apologies; I do not want to tread on your belief system.
    I must however point out that is common knowledge that many of the Sikh scriptures are secular in tone and are collected works of the same Sufi saints that I mentioned above. Even the most pious Sikhs do not seem to have any problems with that.

    About Sant Singh Maskeen, he was held in high regard by many, not only as a theologian but also as a scholar who undertook comparative religious studies. I am not sure if he has expressed any views contrary to what I wrote. Anyway, he has my admiration in this regard but with all due respect, he was not a historian.

    Beyond this I am afraid that I don’t understand what you are trying to say.

    My comments above are all in the historical context alone.
    I believe that the question of faith and divinity aside; several of the Sikh Gurus were exceptionably remarkable men; and we do them injustice by putting them on a pedestal beyond the pale of historical scrutiny.

    Regards.

  248. @An accidental Sikh [October 3, 2010 at 9:07 am]

    I read your post with great attention, several times. It is rare to read such a well-rounded, well-balanced analysis, which is so precise and yet so inclusive. Thank you for the privilege.

  249. jtmh

    Accidental sikh

    As a lay sikh, I decided to read Guru Granth sahib a couple of years ago with its english translation. It is my reading that though it does contain the bani of likes of kabir, farid etc, the use of these banis is not as extensive as has been given the impression in Pakistani circles. For example, Baba Farid whose bani is used quite a lot – his total bani was around 15-20 pages in a roughly 1500 page granth. Others were less than 5 or so. Their small couplets are spread across many themes. Hence they may appear to be more widespread then they actually are. 70-80% is bani of the gurus.

    I do not buy your argument about Guru Granth sahib to be a secular document. Rather of all the religious docs that I am familiar with, it is unique in that it deals little in temporal matters, rules & regs etc. It is all about the spirit. Most of it is prayers that help you become one with God. Rest of it is more of imploring people to reach the light of God within them….in my non-religious terms – an instruction set for reaching the divine. There are a few places where the bani cannot escape what was happening around it – like Babur’s atrocities or the general decay in society (it extols people to not do “nindiya” i.e. scurrilous gossip, or look at another man’s wife etc).

    This was a very pleasant surprise because it does not fall into the trap of describing natural world, things that fall into scientific / economic / political realms. That is the beauty of it. Infact many Sikhs in attempt to be like “other religions” do fall into the trap of interpreting spiritual bani into temporal issues.

    Hence I am really confused about your use of world secular to describe it. It is the last word I would have thought of.

  250. jtmh

    Accidental sikh,

    In sikhism, there is only one God – who is described in the FIRST and THE MOST IMPORTANT PRAYER in guru granth sahib – the mool mantra.

    So ,yes the gurus are not Gods. However you cannot brush them off as normal beings. They were more atmas which are very near paramatma, i.e. human beings whose spirit is at a state of near submergence with that of supreme being. Hence their bani is at a very different playing field than saints etc, and is revered as divine an a pathway to our own atma as it travels its journey.

    But these kind of esoterics are very hard to sustain and the human inclination is to bring them down to the natural world. Hence the Sikhs were falling into the danger of worshiping the human form of Gurus. That is why Guru Gobind Singh said what you quoted, that is why there were few other rebelious offshoots starting from the time of Guru Nanak succession.

    Forgive me very much, but another commentator pointed it out too. This is one of the central tenants of sikhism. The way you brushed it off came across very arrogant. Yes, we have poetry of Baba Farid, Kabir and others. But it is a minuscule part of the whole story

  251. Girish

    I am watching the commonwealth games opening ceremony just now (a reference to it in the main article started off the flood of comments in this thread, hence mentioning it here). The loudest cheers from the spectators in the stadium were for Pakistan, when its team marched into the stadium.

  252. An accidental Sikh

    Dear Vajra:

    Thank you for your kind words. You yourself are a much admired scholar by many and I myself relish every word that you write.😉
    I am flattered to be noticed by you.

    Dear jtmh:

    The fact that you have read the entire Guru Granth Sahib makes you a bigger scholar of the sacred text than I and for that you have my sincere admiration.
    I understand that the Sikh Gurus and scriptures are held sacred by millions of people around the world. It is a matter of faith and I do not by any means intend to diminish that. Kindly accept my apology if I have given an impression to the contrary.

    I however believe that even from a strictly historical POV, these were extraordinary men and their words and deeds have had a far reaching influence on the social, political and cultural life of North India. That can only be appreciated fully if one were to see them in the historical context.
    Thus though I understand (and completely respect) your belief when you state that the Gurus were closer to divinity than us ordinary mortals, I can only say that is a matter of personal belief.
    The fact is that none of the Gurus themselves made any claim to divinity or semi divinity (as some of the other prophets have). That is why I quoted the tenth Guru himself making that exact point.

    I used the term ‘secular in tone’ for the Sikh scriptures rather loosely to imply an absence Sikh exceptionalism rather than an absence of faith itself. These are religious texts and of course they deal largely with spiritual matters. They do however make it a point of being very inclusive regardless of caste creed or gender and are consistent in that.
    I believe that this was one of the two major factors for their popularity among the common Punjabis who were a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims; (the other being their easy to understand language).

    This appeal to universal values in the Sikh scriptures has been noticed and commented upon by many scholars of comparative studies; for example this below is what one such scholar, Dr. Fathi Osman has to say about the Sikh texts:

    “Sikh Scriptures condemn the disease of intolerance. The Sikh Gurus vehemently espoused the right of free speech and free choice of faith and defended human rights. Adi Granth, the Sikh Scriptures, contains over 6,000 verses composed by the Sikh gurus and several Hindu Saints and Muslim Sufis. Set to music, the rapturous songs of divine love and mystical emotions also raise a powerful voice for human equality, human rights, and human dignity. The fundamental Sikh tenet is that the formless Creator, the Supreme Soul, resides in every individual. Entire mankind is the manifestation of the Absolute One. There is no non-believer; each human being is entitled to equal respect and equal dignity no matter what the person’s religion, faith, belief or station in life may be. Social divisions, which classify a person as superior or inferior to the other based on birth, stifle socio-economic growth.

    (The One God is the Father of all, we are all His children; Rag Sorath, page 611)

    God is addressed by numerous names including Mother, Sister, and female Friend., thereby emphasizing sexual respect and equality: Woman has a unique role and an exalted place in Creation.

    (Of a woman are we conceived, Of a woman we are born. It is a woman who is friend and partner of life. It is a woman who keeps the race going. From woman alone is born a woman, Without woman there can be no human birth. Rag Asa, pages 463-75)”

    I hope this post addresses some of your concerns.
    Regards.

  253. Perspective

    I doubt the Sikh gurus said anything even close to the bolded part: “Social divisions, which classify a person as superior or inferior to the other based on birth, stifle socio-economic growth.

  254. Bade Miyan

    For your eyes only, from the CWG’s opening ceremony:

    “The crowd’s biggest cheer by far, other than that for their own athletes, was for the Pakistani contingent.”

  255. YLH

    Yes I saw that. Very touching. And not the first time. Pakistani teams and players always find India very hospitable …all banter aside.

    Ironically CWG set off another controversy in Pakistan with the provincial minister insisting on leading the delegation.

    We Pakistanis just love shooting ourselves in the foot.

  256. no-communal

    Probably Dr. Osman said it.

  257. Bade Miyan

    Thanks, Ylh. Just as an aside, I supported Pakistani Hockey Team, sometimes even against India, when Shahbaz Khan and Tahir Zaman(I may be forgetting the names) used to be in the team. And, except for Tendulkar, I always supported Akram no matter who he was bowling against. His wicket of Dravid in the Madras Test was the best ever.

  258. Bade Miyan

    except for **when he was bowling against* *

    sorry for the error.

  259. no-communal

    BM

    Are you just emotionally charged right now or have you always been a traitor?

  260. Bade Miyan

    More than the ceremony, I loved it when Kalmadi received collective boos. It just warmed my heart. Some javelin thrower should have thrown a chappal or two at that rascal.

  261. Bade Miyan

    Well, Akram was a different class. And, it was hard not to support Shahbaz Khan. Did you see that team play? They played like the way Barzil played soccer: waves and waves of spell binding attacks. Or, maybe, I am a traitor. My elder cousin used to cheer Richards when he regularly tore apart our lily liveried bowling attack. 🙂

  262. no-communal

    I never liked Akram bowling against any of our batsmen, including Sachin.

  263. no-communal

    Except, of course, ’03 world cup, when just from the opening shot it was clear what would happen to Akram or anybody else.

  264. Bade Miyan

    I just admired his craft. He bowled like an artist would, unlike McGrath’s boring metronome. It made me quite sad when there were match fixing allegations against him. There was a frisson in the air every time he ran in to bowl. Of course, it didn’t make a pretty sight to see some of our batsmen(not Sachin or Dravid) fidgeting nervously guessing what’s going to come next.

  265. Bade Miyan

    Hmm, well, Akram was a little past his prime then. Even then, remember, there was a catch dropped of his bowling. Of course, Sachin gave an absolute masterclass that day. None of us can forget that!🙂

  266. no-communal

    That you didn’t include Ganguly with Sachin and Dravid tells me you continue to believe he was a weak player of fast bowlers, even after he gracefully retired. Leave alone treachery, that’s nothing short of blasphemy to me.

  267. jtmh

    @accidental sikh

    I think the argument broke out because of two reasons:
    1. use of word secular
    2. divinity of bani and thereby Gurus etc.

    Divinity of Bani and thereby Gurus
    ————————————————-
    Bani is supreme, not the human forms of Gurus. Gurus are cherished but they are “Gurus” in the truest sense of the word. We are all agreed on that.

    Source of confusion/disagreement – the “proof” you have used to show bani is not divine or is secular.

    Sikhs believe that bani is divine, not in the traditional sense of “God spoke to Moses and the seas parted”, but in the sense that these atmas of gurus had traveled the ultimate journey and were about to attain submergence with paramatma. Hence their bani, especially the one uttered in deep meditative state of being one with ONE, is sacred or “divine”.

    You are right that this a matter of faith, as in any faith.

    But you are not right in the “proof” you have used.

    In your desire to show it is not “divine”, you made a big associative jump from Gurus extolling their followers to not make them semi-dieties but follow the bani… to ….”see! Guru Gobind says he is not divine, thus the bani is not divine”. This association is wrong.

    Just because Gurus did not want themselves to be worship as dieties, does not mean that their most sacred messages, uttered in deepest of deep meditations, is not divine.

    The subtle difference is that of time period. When someone is deemed a prophet or a diety, it is assumed ALL his/her actions are actions of God and to be revered. Thus in most religions, tendency to live life as prophets lived their lives.
    For Sikhs, their gurus are just that – gurus/teachers. All of Guru Nanak’s life actions may or may not be divine. But what is divine is his bani.

  268. jtmh

    @accidental sikh

    use of secular
    ——————
    This is what got me all fired up enough bother posting. It is my pet peeve because I have been in few encounters where for some reasons Pakistanis who are interested in Sikhism make a big point of it being mostly a bani of sufi saints. I initially brushed it off as internet fuelled jihad. Then I saw a Paksitani TV program called Choraha with Hassan Nissar. In one program he was really obscenely browbeating a lay sikh to admit that more than 1/2 of guru granth sahib is Baba Farid’s bani. And Hassan Nissar is liberal.

    Normally, I have no problem at all with commonalities between sufi thought and sikhism, or historical understanding that the sufi milieu was very influential. But the undertones of how some pakistanis approach this, is very unsettling and troubling.

    My pushback on secular
    ——————————-
    I pushed back on your use of the word secular is because I have a pet peeve with Sikhs. Often, even highly educated sikhs fall in trap of making Sikhism just like any other religion when it comes to matters earthly versus spiritual. When I said that GGS is all spiritual, what I meant is there are very few dos and don’ts or laws laid out for people. There is almost no attempt to show how many stars are in the solar system, or how physical processes of live. Yet there have been attempts to define Sikh laws ala Islamic laws…or…. use high level of interpretation to associate meanings of prayers as descriptions of natural world.

    That is why I fired back on your use of the term.

    I now understand your terminology. Thank you. You have been very kind and generous in this exchange of thoughts.

    Cheers!

  269. Kaalket

    People who know or practice Sikhi are very clear on the distinction between the person Guru and the Divinity of Baani. Frankly till now i did not have the luck of encountering any Sikh who deny the Divine authority of Dhurr Ki Baani and that too to justify and endorse the act of an invader Babar who was specifically condemend as headmaster of the procession of sin. But just like Tenth Master said “everyone try to explain per individual understanding ” SGSS might be a secular,social ,political document in light of this new perspective and may be its installation as Divine Guru an error.

  270. jtmh

    @accidental sikh-
    I would also like to add my 2 cents to the whole defense of mughal atrocities in the name of religion – they were no more or less barbaric then the rulers of their time and sensibilities

    This is whitewash.

    Reason being that in the mughal atrocities there was a sadistic escape clause. “Convert and all your crimes will be spared, you will be forgiven, you will be able to live your life in glory and riches.” Otherwise you shall die the most horrendous death possible. This rule was applied to men, women and children alike. Note the children bit.

    Thus if the troubles between the Sikh Gurus and Muslim rulers was political in nature, why would you want to give them this option to live and continue their subversive activities in full glory. For example if the 5th guru gave support to a prince challenging your authority, then why give him the escape clause of conversion? How will him being a converted muslim prevent him from furthur collaboration with rebellious prince?

    When catholics and protestants fought their battles in Britian, the nobles of the loosing side lost their lands and privileges, were hanged, their churches destroyed etc. But they were not offered at the gallows, before the executioner’s sword swung, to accept the the winning side’s religion. Neither were their children, wives, mothers tortured to the death point and told to accept the “other” religion.

  271. no-communal

    @YLH

    There are all sorts of garbage being written about the Ayodhya verdict by obviously less qualified people. Some examples:

    “Where angels fear to tread, but judges stomp” —Sikander Amani, Daily Times, Oct. 4, 2010.

    “Mosque verdict betrays India’s bias for obscurantism” By Jawed Naqvi, Monday, 04 Oct, 2010.

    “Ayodhya verdict: faith accompli?”, Hindustan Times, Zia Haq

    Yasser, as one of the most qualified to write about it, should you not write something too? This has the potential to be a gathering storm.

  272. An accidental Sikh

    Dear Kaalket:

    I don’t think many people on the PTH are interested in this discussion any longer but since you won’t let go, let me try to explain it one more time.

    Although certain unfortunate trends suggest that the Sikh faith risks falling in the hands of a Taliban like orthodoxy who would like to dictate a greater degree of dogmatic conformity in religious matters, as far as I know, so far there is no absolute requirement for the Sikhs to accept the GGS any more divine than say Guru Nanak or Guru Gobind Singh.
    In fact I am not aware of any requirement at all for any one to consider himself or herself a Sikh.

    However, as I said earlier, there are many who believe in divinity of the Gurus and the scriptures. Those are only personal beliefs. I respect those beliefs.

    However I also believe that Guru Granth Sahib does not have to be accepted as divine to be accorded the respect that it richly deserves. To understand this fact one has to know a little more about it.

    GGS was first compiled as the ‘Adi Granth’ in 1604 on the direction of Guru Arjan Dev who first sent out scouts to locate and retrieve works of scholars from many parts of India and then painstakingly went through a large body of religious writings to select out the authentic works of saints to include it with a body of his own work and those of his predecessors.
    Thus although the largest numbers of verses did come from the Sikh Gurus, (chiefly Guru Arjan himself; 2218 out of 6000 verses) but it also contained poetry from sixteen other Hindu Bhaktas and Muslim Sufis from all over India.

    Among them were Jai Dev of Bengal; Farid of Punjab; Nam Dev, Trilochan and Parmanand of Maharashtra; Sadhna from Sind; Dhanna and Mira Bai from Rajasthan; and of course Kabir, Ravi Das, Ramananda from UP. The blind saint Sur Das was from Oudh.
    Then there were other contributors as well; Bhatts or bards, like Bhai Mardana, Guru Nanak’s companion of many years.
    The oldest verses among these was by Jai Dev from the 12th century and together they represent four centuries of Indian religious philosophy.

    This was the first version that was completed in 1604 and the original copy still lies in Kartarpur Sahib (Kartarpuri Bir). It contains the opening lines in Guru Arjan Dev’s own handwriting and it also bears a signature of his son, Guru Har Gobind, at its end of the text. Copies of this original were then made to distribute among the far flung Sikh flock and these are the slightly abridged versions. Blank pages were left in the original version for later additions that were expected from the later Gurus.

    The sixth, seventh and the eighth Gurus were not able to add anything but the ninth Guru Teg Bahadur and of course, Guru Gobind Singh, were again very accomplished poets and wrote extensively.
    The tenth Guru’s own works were too numerous and so were compiled separately as the Dasam Granth but he did have 115 verses of his martyred father’s poetry added to the original Adi Granth. These make exceptionally poignant reading.

    It is this third and final version that emerged (Damdami Bir) that is most copied today and read the world over. The text is meant to be read but also heard; a necessary arrangement at the time in order to reach out to the maximum number of common people, many of whom were illiterate then. Accordingly it is arranged not by authors but by musical modes or ragas; to be sung aloud to the congregations.

    The result was truly monumental. Today, even many non religious scholars who study it agree that it is a major work of literature. Though spanning five centuries of work and from many parts of India, there is a unity of theme and language. It seamlessly combines the philosophical underpinnings of the Advaita Vedanta of Adi Sankara with the monotheism of the Sufis to create a new syncretic core philosophy around which the new Sikh faith was organized. Thus it may not be recognized by many but the GGS is a national Indian text to have emerged out of the medieval age.
    It is for these reasons, among others; I believe that not only the Sikhs but all Indians should honor the Guru Granth Sahib.

    Finally, the Granth Sahib, in keeping with the calm dignity and timeless quality that characterize the completed work, does not let the rancor of any contemporary issues show (with the exception of the few verses of the Babur vani) despite the fact that the difficulties of the Sikh Gurus increased with the Mughal rulers over time.
    For the record, please note that I have never said that the GGS either condemns or commends the Mughal rule, and I have already given my own personal views about the Mughal rulers earlier on. One can read them again. I don’t have anything new to add.

    Regards.

  273. YLH

    I have been thinking about it. Is it possible for someone to send me the text of the judgment or a link to a credible source …to yasser.hamdani@gmail.com.

    Thanks.

  274. jtmh

    Dear accidental Sikh.

    It is not just Kaalket, but also I who have attempted to show that divine or not, you are looking at the picture with wrong lens and coming up with some really strange ideas such as “there is no absolute requirement for the Sikhs to accept the GGS any more divine than say Guru Nanak or Guru Gobind Singh”. This is like a sikh saying that muslims believe in idol worship based upon Mecca. It is so WRONG!

    This after all the time and effort made by many to show you where your thinking is wrong about the sikh faith in divinity of “bani”. Instead of making an attempt to understand why sikhs think so, you are busy throwing extraneous facts such as other sufi saints, how the bani was compiled, its role in India, current state of sikh theology etc.

    This stuff is all true but beside the point.

    You are casually saying sikhs do not hold bani divine or have been told to not hold the bani divine …and Sikhs here are trying to tell you that it is not true. They are NOT saying YOU should hold it divine. They are saying they are holding it divine and this is why.

    Anyway, I am done with dogmatic minds for now. good luck!

  275. no-communal

    As far as I know, the full text is not out yet. One can get a gist of judgements of all three judges at

    http colon double slash thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/text-of-the-rulings-on-an-indian-holy-site/?scp=2&sq=lede&st=cse

    The same three judgements in slightly more elaborate forms can be found at

    http colon double slash http://www.thehindu.com/news/resources/article802703.ece

  276. @jtmh

    I am rather disappointed at your peevish response and abrupt departure. It seemed to be a perfectly reasonable discourse, reasoned soundly on both sides, educative and illuminating for some of us who were watching, certainly for me. Why did you suddenly lose your temper? And why do you take refuge in support from Kaalket, the Peeves of this forum?

  277. YLH

    Perspective

    Deoki Nandan v Muralidhar AIR 1955 SC 133 is not found on Page 133 of AIR 1955 SC.

    Can you re-check and give me the right citation since I need it for something completely different.

  278. lal

    1957 AIR 133 1956 SCR 756

  279. An accidental Sikh

    Dear jtmh

    You are obviously a devout Sikh with strong beliefs and it seems my posts have been unsettling for you. I am sorry for that.

    Please note that I do not question your personal belief system and I think you misunderstand me because I have never said that the Sikhs are told not to believe in the divinity of the SGGS; all I am saying is that a believe in the divinity of SGGS is not a requirement for the Sikhs.

    I have a good reason for this.
    Kaalket needs to get out more; because what he wrote is not true. There are many otherwise good Sikhs, (and intelectuals) who highly respect the Granth Sahib but have also been actively involved in researching the historical roots of the Adi granth (out of that respect for it and its authors).

    Yet at least one such scholar, Professor Pashaura Singh, has been humiliated and condemned by the SGPC and even publicly threatened with bodily harm by others if he did not stop.

    I do not either support him or oppose him but strongly feel that since the times of Urban III are long gone; any academic differences with him should be sorted out academically. I believe such behaviour goes agains the very spirit of the Gurus.

    If someone has something to say against such scholarship, it must be done using more scholarship not threats.

    Therefore you are entitled to your belief but hope your belief system does not extend to attacking those who do not share it.

    I hope this clarifies matters some.

    Regards.

  280. jtmh

    @ all

    Apologies for sounding peevish. My frustration stemmed from copy and paste of extraneous information that though some of it is true, does not have any bearing to the well-defined point being argued. It is just mudding the waters.

    It got to me because scarce time and effort was spent on showing how the said point is invalid. Instead of spending time absorbing my response and coming out with a flaw in my argument, we got casual posting of unrelated wiki stuff.

    I am an infrequent lurker here and do not know the posters (except YLH :-)! ofcourse whose reputation preceeds him). However, to an outsider Kaalket was posting valid arguments though in a very underhanded sarcastic manner

    My sincere apologies

  281. @jtmh

    Dear Sir,

    Your generous response reveals the person we had begun to enjoy reading, for the quality of his contributions. Let us put the single sad incident, one single post, behind us.

    A note of explanation: being unable to speak for others, this is for myself alone. Your comments, on both sides, have made many things come to life that were otherwise only paper arguments, read on a drowsy afternoon and very rapidly forgotten. They are unlikely to be forgotten in quite such a manner again.

    It leaves me with an even deeper appreciation, alas, an agnostic’s appreciation, of the religious philosophy of the Gurus.

    @Accidental Sikh

    When you said ‘Kaalket needs to get out more’, I do hope – I sincerely hope – you were referring to PTH.

  282. jtmh

    @ accidental Sikh

    You are reading too much into my challenges of your thought processes and coming to some very wrong conclusions about me.

    I am a sikh because I was born to a sikh family and as a young child was baptised as Khalsa. But in my adulthood of over 20 years, I have been to the gurudwara about 5 times. Although my family is an active part of the sikh community, I am not. I do not believe in Sikh orthodoxy or the shenningans of sikh clergy. I am often in despair at Sikh clergy’s attempt to go down the mullah path. There have been many incidents in India, Canada etc where intellectual activities around sikh theology have been embarrassingly threatened, curtailed etc. The concept of “Excommunication” is one of the worst invented by man, and has been used by sikh clergy often.

    I am extremely frustrated and angry at the insular nature of sikh powers to be. They can see, in their lifetimes, where this path of insularity and closed minds leads. It is happening with the muslim world. They even suffer because of it (a sikh with a turban in western world is the first to be thought of as Al Qaida and attacked by local rednecks). Yet they have closed their eyes to similar trends in that they foster.

    In short, I am a rebel. I would be the brattish, fire-breathing atheist had it not been something in me that makes me attracted to spirituality, i.e. desire to investigate that “energy” that flows threw all of us.

    When I embarked on my study of GGS with spreadsheets and all, it was with the intent of finding flaws in it. Any attempt to describe the physical world or telling me what I can do or not do – like wear, eat etc, would have been “THE END” for me. Put simply, if it told me me something that I knew with modern eyes as not true, it would have been a deal breaker for me.

    Surprisingly, it turned out to be quite different. In a normal sikh’s spiritual life, a lot of extraneous stuff has entered and taken root. Sikhism to a large extent, is still suffering with the aftermath of mughal times. Reluctance to deal with modernity and the the aftermath of sikh troubles -of late 70 and 80s, are also holding back intellectual progress.

  283. Gorki

    jtmh:

    Thanks for your prompt reply.
    Reading it, I am encouraged that some of us do have an open mind; will respond to your points later, time permitting.

    Only you got this part wrong; most of it was:

    “…we got casual posting of unrelated wiki stuff..”

    If it makes you feel better, I had to spend a few hours looking up stuff from my well worn copy of the History of the Sikhs, Vol I. by Khushwant Singh.
    (If it makes you feel even better, I did painstakingly go over his notes too😉 )

    Regards.

  284. jtmh

    @accidental sikh

    I strongly feel you are muddying the waters with mixing the issue of “divinity” of bani (according to sikh faith and religious reading of the bani), with intellectual analysis GGS as a document for spiritual poetry or with historical research into sikh religious history, etc etc……

    Divinity of bani.
    ———————-
    My post at October 4, 2010 at 1:30 am gave my personal take on the issue. Here is how gurbani itself addresses the issue.

    1 “Dhur ki bani” shabad which kaalket was mentioning. Third line in this couplet

    “ਸੰਤਹੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਆ ਸਭ ਥਾਈ ॥
    संतहु सुखु होआ सभ थाई ॥
    Sanṯahu sukẖ ho▫ā sabẖ thā▫ī.
    O Saints, there is peace everywhere.

    ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਪੂਰਨ ਪਰਮੇਸਰੁ ਰਵਿ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਭਨੀ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
    पारब्रहमु पूरन परमेसरु रवि रहिआ सभनी जाई ॥ रहाउ ॥
    Pārbarahm pūran parmesar rav rahi▫ā sabẖnī jā▫ī. Rahā▫o.
    The Supreme Lord God, the Perfect Transcendent Lord, is pervading everywhere. ||Pause||

    ਧੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਆਈ ॥
    धुर की बाणी आई ॥
    Ḏẖur kī baṇī ā▫ī.
    The Bani of His Word emanated from the Primal Lord.

    ਤਿਨਿ ਸਗਲੀ ਚਿੰਤ ਮਿਟਾਈ ॥
    तिनि सगली चिंत मिटाई ॥
    Ŧin saglī cẖinṯ mitā▫ī.
    It eradicates all anxiety.

    ਦਇਆਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਮਿਹਰਵਾਨਾ ॥
    दइआल पुरख मिहरवाना ॥
    Ḏa▫i▫āl purakẖ miharvānā.
    The Lord is merciful, kind and compassionate.

    ਹਰਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਾਚੁ ਵਖਾਨਾ ॥੨॥੧੩॥੭੭॥
    हरि नानक साचु वखाना ॥२॥१३॥७७॥
    Har Nānak sācẖ vakẖānā. ||2||13||77||
    Nanak chants the Naam, the Name of the True Lord. ||2||13||77||

    Few of the other references are
    2. . ‘In the true Guru, He installed His Own Spirit, Through him, God revealed Himself.’ (Asa di Var, pauri 6, page 466)

    3. The Creator Himself acts, and causes others to act.
    Through Him, the Word of the Guru’s Shabad is enshrined within the mind.
    The Ambrosial Word of the Guru’s Bani emanates from the Word of the Shabad.
    The Gurmukh speaks it and hears it. (Majh Mohalla 3, p-125)

    4. This Word is spoken by the One who created the whole universe. (Mohalla 4, p-306)

    5. The Word of the Perfect Guru’s Bani
    is pleasing to the Mind of the Supreme Lord God.
    Slave Nanak speaks
    the Unspoken, immaculate sermon of the Lord. (pg 169)

    so on…….. there and many, many such places in GGS.

    The historical record of Guru Nanak’s own life states that many times he turned to his companion Mardana and said, “Mardana, start playing the rebec, Gurbani is coming.”

    Given all this and more, can you tell me why you think that it is not a central tenant of sikh faith. One can make a lot of arguments about not being a practicing Khalsa and but being a sikh. But not believing in divinity of Gurbani (as the name itself connotates) is head scratching :-)!

    Like with humanity in general, there are very few sikhs that truly attempt to live their lives with ego in check, submerged with divine as specified in SSG. 99.9999% including the clergy are ritual sikhs.

    Now I really must get back to my work
    caio

  285. Gorki

    jtmh:

    “I strongly feel you are muddying the waters with mixing the issue of “divinity” of bani (according to sikh faith and religious reading of the bani), with intellectual analysis GGS as a document for spiritual poetry or with historical research into sikh religious history, etc etc……”

    The water has been muddied, but not by me but by the conservative Sikh lobby, the SGPC and all those who feel that :
    a) GGS was divinely inspired
    b) because the first point can’t be questioned, any research into its sources is blasphemy.

    May be your position stops only at the first point, yet by making the first, and insisting that all others accept it too; you facilitate the second.

    This is not just an academic point. Based on this line of reasoning a noted scholar, Dr. Pashaura Singh at UC Riverside is currently besieged by a self appointed watchdog group (and has been punished by the SGPC) because of his otherwise very rigorous and elegant historical research on the sources of the GGS.
    The very same kind of Taliban like elements that you seem to rail against are using exactly the same argument that you make (divinity of Bani is central to Sikhism) to justify death threats against this man!

    Metaphysics is not my forte and neither do I have much interest in it; my interest in the whole issue is as a student of history. You are free to believe anything as long as you don’t insist others do the same.

    So let us see if you can help clean this water up a bit; may be we needn’t debate this thing after all.

    Let me ask you two questions.

    1. While I understand that you hold the Bani divinely inspired, can you accept others as Sikhs even if they may not hold so?

    2. Do you believe that it is a required of the Sikhs to believe in divinity of anything at all? In other words can one be an agnostic but still be a Sikh?

    If your answer is a ‘yes’ to both, we have no disagreement and we need not go any further.

    Take your time.

  286. jtmh

    Gorki

    1. Am I correct in understanding that you are also accidental sikh? If so, why 2 identities?

    2. Please do shed some light on what exactly is this prof saying.
    I do not know anything about what this controversy. I tried quick googling and the brief info I got was that he is of the opinion that the basic prayer – mool mantar, mentioned in one of my previous posts – has been changed. He has also questioned the authorship of some of the stanzas in GGS.

    He has perfect right to publish his own research and his own interpretations. If another sikh intellectual has issues with his interpretations, he should publish his own analytical challenge. Sikhs should not, in any way shape or form, conduct censorship. If he questions mool mantar, let him. They should be afraid of ideas. Don’t like an idea, reject it. But do not silence it.

    I personally am having a “head scratching” moment as mool-mantar is essence of Sikhism, i.e. Sikh definition of God. I can see why sikhs are all up in arms, but I do not know what position the prof is maintaining on it. Here is the link to mool mantar
    http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Mool_Mantar. It is a stanza of 12 words.

    Anyway, he should be challenged (just like I have been challenging you), but not excommunicated.

    My personal blasphemous project – One day I would also love to have some brave scholar look at the negative side-effects of “Khalsa” concept, and to what extent has it overpowered the bani of earlier gurus.

    To Be Continued…..

  287. second try

    This is a test post from jtmh to see there is a computer glitch somewhere or if my posts are really being moderated. Don’t know why.

  288. Perspective

    Gorki: I guess the only question is who does one accept as one’s guru. If it is from the spiritual lineage of the Sikh gurus, then I guess one is a Sikh. No?

  289. second try

    It appears I have upset some powers to be as my posts as jtmh are being moderated. I will post my response to Gorki as “second try”. Maybe they will pass the moderation test.

    @Gorki / Accidental Sikh et all

    1. Please do shed some light on what exactly is this prof saying.
    I do not know anything about what this controversy. I tried quick googling and the brief info I got was that he is of the opinion that the basic prayer – mool mantar, mentioned in one of my previous posts – has been changed. He has also questioned the authorship of some of the stanzas in GGS.

    He has perfect right to publish his own research and his own interpretations. If another sikh intellectual has issues with his interpretations, he should publish his own analytical challenge. Sikhs should not, in any way shape or form, conduct censorship. If he questions mool mantar, let him. They should be afraid of ideas. Don’t like an idea, reject it. But do not silence it.

    I personally am having a “head scratching” moment as mool-mantar is essence of Sikhism, i.e. Sikh definition of God. I can see why sikhs are all up in arms, but I do not know what position the prof is maintaining on it. Here is the link to mool mantar
    http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Mool_Mantar. It is a stanza of 12 words.

    Anyway, he should be challenged (just like I have been challenging you), but not excommunicated.

    My personal blasphemous project – One day I would also love to have some brave scholar look at the negative side-effects of “Khalsa” concept, and to what extent has it overpowered the bani of earlier gurus.

    tbd….

  290. third try

    I will compose my response and submit it. Maybe it will pass moderation or maybe not.

  291. no-communal

    @third try

    Avoid using website links. They prompt the post into moderation.

  292. jtmh

    We are debating many points here. I’ll attempt to address them with my miniscule knowledge. Please, pretty please, bear with me.

    1. What is a faith, what is a religion if its central tenant, if its most basic definition –i.e. how it relates to divinity/God is taken away?

    If you take away Jesus from Christainity, or Mohammed from Islam, what is left? Can the remainder be still called Christianity and Islam? Will the people of these various faiths accept it as such?

    For Sikhism, the core is not around a man, but around bani – which at is most basic definition is ecstatic poetry that came out of Gurus when they reached the state of transcendence. As I gave examples in my previous posts, there are many couplets where Guru Nanak has said this explicitly.

    Now, if you take this central theme COMPLETELY away from Sikhism as a “Faith” concept, what is left? One can argue that certain couplets do not belong in the bani….or…these couplets have been corrupted….or…. the interpretation is wrong ….or they were not said by the gurus etc…etc.
    But you cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to the central, defining tenant of a faith.

    Faith by definition implies relationship with divinity and for Sikhs, it is the general concept of “Gurbani” that defines relationship with divine.

    2. Now problem with GGS is it is a compiled work. Law of probability states that there will be errors. Now here the dreaded DOGMA enters. Once something has been deemed to be authentic and “the” final version, any questioning of text will raise hackles.

    This prof seems to have fallen into this hell-hole. Based upon my very quick scan of the charges against him, it seems he challenged authorship of certain stanzas, completeness etc. Simply put, he is nitpicking. His thesis is not that Sikhs should not believe in the divinity of bani, he is challenging a few couplets of it, their completeness, authorship, whether it was 1st guru or 5th guru etc.

    It speaks to the malaise of the sikh community that they are so bent out of shape on this. If you do not like what he is positing, then publish a rebuttal. No one has a right to silence him. The problem is that of Dogma. “If this is the authentic version of compiled bani, then by God, everything in here, every single alphabet, very single punctuation etc is set in stone and anyone who questions it is enemy number 1”.

    *******This dogmatic, shortsighted attitude results in divinity of the bani being transferred from the bani to the compilation itself. ******

    That is what is happening here and is atrocious. I also think that you may be a victim of this “transferrence” given that this case against the Prof is defining your thoughts.

    Scholars should be allowed to question everything including the divinity of the bani and what would Sikhism be without it. It is another matter altogether whether their thesis is accepted or not.

    3. You state – “The water has been muddied, but not by me but by the conservative Sikh lobby, the SGPC and all those who feel that :
    a) GGS was divinely inspired
    b) because the first point can’t be questioned, any research into its sources is blasphemy.
    May be your position stops only at the first point, yet by making the first, and insisting that all others accept it too; you facilitate the second.”

    Two points here.
    One, your framing is wrong. It is not SGPC or me who are saying this. Bani itself says this. I am not an actor in this scenario. I do not say it…or…interpret it. It is there in black and white.

    Secondly, you are saying that if I am in favor of intellectual freedom, I have to ignore what the bani says and just blindly adopt the opposite position. Thus to foster freedom of thought, I have to deny defining concept of the faith that is explicitly laid out. This is REVERSE DOGMA.

    As the saying goes ”I do not agree with what you say but I will die fighting for your right to say it”.

    Please note that the “I” here is a generic “I”, not a personal “I”. In my next post I will address your 2 questions from a personal perspective.

  293. jtmh

    Personally, I struggle with this issue.

    Certain parts of the bani do speak to my soul and I can easily believe that they were said in that special moment of transcendence.
    Yet there are a few parts where the male/female relationship as an allegory for atma/paramatma raises the feminist hackles in me, even though I intellectually understand the intent and the context.

    Then there is the whole matter of rejection of the “tribe” called sikhs.

    So, am I a Sikh because of I was born one and now I am attracted to its spirituality?
    Am I not a Sikh because I ponder sometimes if the gurus really had that “JOT” or is there really such a concept as “transcendence”.
    What if I was not born a sikh and still had these conflicted attitudes?

    I can say this. If someone is not born one, is agnostic and then questions the basic precept of sikh “Faith” (i.e. not nitpicking but the whole shebang, the foundation itself ), then he by definition is not a Sikh. He/She may be attracted to sikh philosophy, poetry of ecstasy etc, but still, there is no “there there” to hold him/her to the faith.

    Even the attraction may be only at an intellectual level, not spiritual because agnostic does not know if there is a God. Given that, how can you from connection with something which is all about ecstasy of merging with God….or… techniques for merging with God?

    It like reading a romance novel. Some of us may get very caught up in the characters and their love story, but we know it is fantasy. We enjoy it for a bit and then move on. We do not then spend our lives chasing these characters, or trying to emulate them. Then there are people who actually believe the fantasy and “get religion” so-to-speak.

    Summary
    ————
    So can an agnostic be a sikh and question the central concept of the faith in its most basic form – No. I cannot see how. I am prepared to be convinced otherwise.

    He can certainly believe in the concepts such as langar, community service, equality, openness to other faiths etc. But these concepts are more social then truly spiritual.

    So with Sikhism as a social construct, an agnostic can be a sikh. But as a spiritual construct, I do not see how.

    Perhaps others can shed more light. I have exhausted my limited supply of brain cells.

  294. An accidental Sikh

    Dear jtmh
    Thank you for your very honest and from the heart replies. You seem like a very decent man and it pains me that you may think I am trying to assault your faith. I am not. Please consider my points carefully.
    I have never said that the scriptures (Bani) are not central to the Sikh religion because that would be an oxymoron; all faiths are based on scriptures and so is Sikhism. I have not even questioned your personal right to consider it divinely inspired or even a word of God. The problem arises when one is asked to make a leap from ‘centrality’ to being ‘divine’ and thus infallible. To make my point more clear, consider the other ‘central features of Sikhism’ the five ‘Ks’. Many Sikhs have dispensed with four of them and still remain good Sikhs in their hearts. Similarly while many of us hold the Bani as a guiding principle of our life even use it as a source of inspiration and strength from time to time, yet have no problem accepting the fact that it is a collected wisdom of many men who were some of the giants of philosophy.
    Why must, then I hesitate to take a step further and consider it a divine text publicly?

    Two problems; the first one is a minor one, ironically the one that got me involved in this discussion. Kaalket wants to use the Bani as a source of history about Babur. I don’t even have a problem with that if it is used within the parameters of historical methodology; as one source but discussed in a proper context. I only have a problem if a historian wants to use this as an unquestioned source citing divine origins in which case it would be distorting history.

    The bigger of the two problems I have with publicly accepting it as God’s word is because we live in a multicultural world. If the Sikhs accept the centrality of one God (Koi Bolle Ram Ram, Koi Khuda ) then one must also accept that the same God speaks to others too. So far so good. Now consider this; your opposite number in the Islamic faith considers his holy book a word of God, the one that says ‘there is no God but Allah and his last prophet is Muhammad’!
    Do you see the difficulty now? This means that either the Muslim faith is false or else Guru Nanak through Gobind Singh were all false prophets!

    This difficulty can be overcome if one were to see things from a humanistic aspect in a context of comparative religious studies; see and hear each one as metaphors, and guides for good and moral living but take a compassionate almost holistic view when talking religious beliefs in public. Keep your faith in private. This does not mean not accepting one’s identity in public. Sikhism burst upon India as a religion but also a dynamic social cultural revolution. At one stroke it Indianized the central and most important tenets of Islam; ‘a single God and equality and brotherhood of man’. The revolution raised my people from simple farmers to politically conscious fraternity. It is something to be proud of and celebrated. It is a faith of my fathers and it inspires me and my children to be better human beings, by being truthful and caring, hardworking yet humble. That to me is a Sikh; not a flamethrower like Kaalket.
    You are a gentleman and a thinker; an honest, decent man. Guru Gobind Singh would be proud of you as I am for being a part of your fraternity. Please stay around on the PTH and write more. I would love to hear from you.

    Regards.

  295. An accidental Sikh

    ..If the Sikhs accept the centrality of one God (Koi Bolle Ram Ram, Koi Khuda ) then one must also accept that the same God speaks to others too..=

    ..because the Sikhs accept the centrality of one God (Koi Bolle Ram Ram, Koi Khuda ) then one must also accept that the same God speaks to others too…

  296. Perspective

    The bigger of the two problems I have with publicly accepting it as God’s word is because we live in a multicultural world. If the Sikhs accept the centrality of one God (Koi Bolle Ram Ram, Koi Khuda ) then one must also accept that the same God speaks to others too. So far so good. Now consider this; your opposite number in the Islamic faith considers his holy book a word of God, the one that says ‘there is no God but Allah and his last prophet is Muhammad’!

    Do you see the difficulty now? This means that either the Muslim faith is false or else Guru Nanak through Gobind Singh were all false prophets!

    Either both Muslims and Sikhs must accept that their holy books are not inspired or dictated by God, or both can agree to civilly disagree. You cannot ask one to give up their claim for the other – it is not going to happen.

    As long as no one is sic’ing Sikh or Islamic law down anyone else’s throat (whether fellow believers or other believers or non-believers) it is quite a non-issue. It is when someone says “I’m justified in doing X,Y,Z to you because God authorized it” that the problem starts.

    Look at it this way – if God told me, I have given you the best mother in the world, and God told you, I have give you the best mother in the world, both statements could be true and we could both accept it, and we have no quarrel with each other – in fact, we might be in great agreement. It is when you say – you must accept my mother and abandon your mother, God told me my mother is best, that the trouble starts. i.e., the claim of universalism lies at the root of disputes.

    It is here there is an asymmetry – I have not heard any Sikh claim to universalism, but Muslims claim it all the time.

  297. jtmh

    @ Gorki/Accidental Sikh

    Running joke in my family is that if by cruel twist of fate, I was ever invited by a gurudwara to give a talk, within a couple of mins the powers-to-be would come to me with folded hands and say “Bibi, sanu chuup da daan baksho”/”Dear lady, please grant us a boon of silence🙂 “

    I think fellow members of this board may also be having similar thoughts :-)!

    So I will quickly make a few closing remarks.

    1. You are proposing that the way to address the problem of religious stagnation or inter-religious conflict is to treat religion as a social construct, a philosophical construct, but not a faith construct because then you enter into the problem with “divinity”.
    Fine by me.
    But you do need to keep in mind that most people, even religious fanatics (I should say “especially” religious fanatics) treat faith as a social construct. There is little spirituality we see in the world. The aggressive desire for converts, the rigidity and orthodoxy etc, are all to maintain social control of a tribe, not a means to spiritual enlightenment.

    In fact I would like to posit that religion of today is a social construct with “divinity” used as a political tool to make gains in earthly matters.
    If religion was only left to deal with the matters of spirit, then this whole problem of “divine” verus “non-divine” causing human suffering would not exist. It would become a personal faith issue, but me and my God.
    Instead it is a “Tribe” issue.

    contd…..

  298. jtmh

    @ Gorki/Accidental Sikh

    Running joke in my family is that if by cruel twist of fate, I was ever invited by a gurudwara to give a talk, within a couple of mins the powers-to-be would come to me with folded hands and say “Bibi, sanu chuup da daan baksho”/”Dear lady, please grant us a boon of silence🙂 “

    I think fellow members of this board may also be having similar thoughts :-)!

    So I will quickly make a few closing remarks.

    1. You are proposing that the way to address the problem of religious stagnation or inter-religious conflict is to treat religion as a social construct, a philosophical construct, but not a faith construct because then you enter into the problem with “divinity”.
    Fine by me.
    But you do need to keep in mind that most people, even religious fanatics (I should say “especially” religious fanatics) treat faith as a social construct. There is little spirituality we see in the world. The aggressive desire for converts, the rigidity and orthodoxy etc, are all to maintain social control of a tribe, not a means to spiritual enlightenment.

    In fact I would like to posit that religion of today is a social construct with “divinity” used as a political tool to make gains in earthly matters.
    If religion was only left to deal with the matters of spirit, then this whole problem of “divine” verus “non-divine” causing human suffering would not exist. It would become a personal faith issue, between me and my God.
    Instead it is a “Tribe” issue.

    contd…..

  299. jtmh

    I second what perspective said.

    You are saying because Muslims belief in divine exclusivity of Mohammed is problematic, Sikhs should not believe in the divinity of “Koi Bole Ram Naam”.

  300. An accidental Sikh

    The devil can site scripture for his own purpose
    [Merchant Of Venice Act I Scene III]😉

    Dear Perspective:

    “Look at it this way – if God told me, I have given you the best mother in the world, and God told you, I have give you the best mother in the world, both statements could be true and we could both accept it, and we have no quarrel with each other – in fact, we might be in great agreement. It is when you say – you must accept my mother and abandon your mother, God told me my mother is best, that the trouble starts. i.e., the claim of universalism lies at the root of disputes…..”

    It is more like God told one that he had the best mother in the World and all other mothers were imposters.

    But the problem is even more complicated than that.
    If a Sikh actually believes:
    a) That there is only one God (Ram, Allah, Karta Purukh)
    b) God speaks to ordinary men

    Then how does a Sikh believe without a doubt, that it is his Gurbani that is God’s word and not the Koran?
    Jtmh says that the proof is that the Gurbani says so; but then the Koran also says so! (so does the Bible but let us keep it simple).
    If one were to believe that God indeed speaks to men then either there must be some other irrefutable proof as to which one is the true word of God (other than the scripture’s own words vouching for itself) or else one has to leave the possibility that the other guy’s scripture is the real truth. I am leaving out the possibility of an evil God telling different things to different people.

    In my opinion one can still deal with this on a spiritual\ metaphysical level they way I believe the Sikh Gurus intended; to believe that the Gurus were human thinkers; that they (as well as the Gurbani) were merely guides to the path to salvation which is the true meeting with God.

    Dear jtmh:

    A thousand apologies for assuming your were a man, and thank you for pointing it out so gently and graciously…

    Regards, from not only the accidental but also the errant and ignorant one😉

  301. MAHALINGAM KHAN

    I think the question comes to mind is is the attributes or nature of God in Gurbani, Vedanta and Quran and the appeal to reson,logic, mind, soul, morals ,charachter, inspiration, basic conduct toward all forms of life. Buddhist and other doctrines can also be explored applying similar standards.

  302. no-communal

    Why must there be only one god? What’s the logic for it other than ‘because I said so’? Why can’t there be a team of superheroes, like, say the fantastic five, one for each group? In my opinion that’s where the real problem is.

  303. no-communal

    I meant a team of superheroes one (or more) “in charge of ” each group.

  304. Anonymous

    @jtmh

    Running joke in my family is that if by cruel twist of fate, I was ever invited by a gurudwara to give a talk, within a couple of mins the powers-to-be would come to me with folded hands and say “Bibi, sanu chuup da daan baksho”/”Dear lady, please grant us a boon of silence

    Please, without wishing to sound peremptory or imperative, that is for us readers to say.

    This reader, not one of a faith, but one with some reasonableness and belief in humanity, enjoyed the discussion; reading accidental Sikh, you and perspective was edifying, but never dull.

    This although AS turned out, most disconcertingly, to be our own Gorki Pa’ji in false whiskers over his regular set of whiskers, an astonishingly superfluous manoeuvre, for which he has currently been sentenced to a bread-and-water diet.

    Only our own dear Bin Ismail and the learned AA Khalid match your collective lightness of touch when dealing with these very sensitive matters, your ability to put across difficult matters without offending every other person within hearing.

    I enjoyed it, as I am sure others must have done; the discussion also lent flesh and bones to that irrational desire to be a better person that overwhelms one standing in queue for a darshan in the Golden Temple, when the granthis strike up a well-known hymn, and the long and patient queue sings along with it. Even an agnostic has his moments of uncertainty!

    An urgent petition: as long as you collectively have something to say, please do not listen to that unseen collection of powers-that-be. Those mythical bozos don’t exist except in your over-scrupulous, over-sensitive diffidence. And please convey our sincere respects to the wags in your family, and could they please cork up.

    A hopeful reader.

  305. Perspective

    An accidental Sikh:

    Your solution does not work, for the following reason. Say jtmh, a very reasonable lady, starts to thinks of Gurbani as merely a guide to salvation, and thinks of the Quran in exactly the same way. Along comes Mr Jawaad Khan of Capricious, and says, you $#*! jtmh, Quran is not merely a guide to salvation, it is the word of God, and until you believe so, I won’t leave you alone. You going to convince him?

    The answer to conflicting beliefs cannot lie in shedding the belief. In any case, that is unilateral disarmament.

    I don’t believe the only way to salvation is through Jesus. I don’t believe that if there is heaven and hell, there is eternal hellfire or heaven as a result of a finite life (I prefer the Hindu idea that finite causes have finite effects; if there is heaven and hell, one’s time in it is limited, and then the cycle begins again). That puts me in conflict with only those Christians who proclaim they have the universal truth and that I must yield to them. It doesn’t put me in conflict with my friends and even my own relatives, who have their deep faith, but understand that it is theirs and they must leave me to mine.

    Beliefs cause conflict only because A believes in inflicting his beliefs on B. If I’m saying “Ganapati Bappa Moriya” I don’t think jtmh is going to come and tell me, “that is all falsehood, blah blah blah” or “you stupid idolator” or whatever. I know this not just from the people I know, but because I have seen in one public room Hindu Sikh and Buddhist joint worship area.

    As to me, it doesn’t matter that the Muslim true believer will think what I have is false or corrupted. If there is an afterlife, it is not he nor I who has a say in it. If Muhammad is the Last Person God spoke to, this true believer can hardly speak for God. It is when he says, I want to be a Ghazi, a killer of kafirs, a destroyer of temples, a Babur or a Mahmud of Ghazni, that I have a problem.

  306. An accidental Sikh

    “I meant a team of superheroes one (or more) “in charge of ” each group….”

    Can’t be done, Gurbani is already committed to one God, and to the fact that Allah, Ram, Karta Purukh are all one and the same. It is the basic tenet of Sikhism that even I can’t deny, otherwise we are deny the Bani.
    Do you see my problem better now?

    “The answer to conflicting beliefs cannot lie in shedding the belief. In any case, that is unilateral disarmament….”

    It is nothing of that sort; it is first convincing one’s own self that God spake only to my side. How does one believe that? Why is a Muslim claim of hearing God’s voice not true?

  307. An accidental Sikh

    Dara Shikoh had a penchant for associating with mystics and Sufis. One of his associates was Sarmad, the Armenian. Sarmad first embraced Islam and later renounced it to become a Hindu recluse. Still later he outraged the faithful of all faiths by going around naked and proclaiming: ‘There is no God…’
    After Dara was accused of apostasy and executed, Sarmad lost his benefactor and was soon arrested and tried for heresy.
    He readily admitted that he had gone around saying there was no God but in his defense asked the Kazi to recite the Kalima.
    “There is no God but Allah…” the Kazi began.
    Sarmad stopped him right there and said he too had been saying the first few words of the same Kalima (There is no God…)
    ‘Then why don’t you recite the whole? Why do you stop short?’ asked the Kazi.
    ‘It is because I have not yet understood the meaning of those first few words’ replied Sarmad.
    Unfortunately his argument was not accepted and Sarmad was executed in 1661 AD. (People still worship at his graveside in Delhi.)

    So dear Perspective, like Sarmad, I am still trying to understand one single concept at a time:
    If several different people claim that the Supreme God of all Universe indeed spoke to their messenger (but said contradictory things) then whose version does one accept and why?

    Regards.

  308. An accidental Sikh

    jtmh ji:

    ‘… It would become a personal faith issue, between me and my God…..’

    Thank you very much for saying so. I agree.

    Regards.

  309. Perspective

    If several different people claim that the Supreme God of all Universe indeed spoke to their messenger (but said contradictory things) then whose version does one accept and why?

    To echo jtmh, it is a personal choice. Why should there be any fight over it? There will be a fight only if some of those people claim that God told them they have the right to conquer and convert other people.

  310. Perspective

    A Accidental Sikh:

    Why is a Muslim claim of hearing God’s voice not true?

    If you’re not a Muslim already, I can argue that you have already judged that claim, and found it not credible enough to become one.

    If you say that no claim of hearing God’s voice is true, you’re in conflict with those who make that claim.

    There is no position from which you can avoid conflict with those who want to inflict conflict on you.

  311. Perspective

    A Accidental Sikh:

    You could take the Thomas Paine approach (The Age of Reason)

    ” EVERY national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet; as if the way to God was not open to every man alike.

    Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.

    As it is necessary to affix right ideas to words, I will, before I proceed further into the subject, offer some observations on the word ‘revelation.’ Revelation when applied to religion, means something communicated immediately from God to man.

    No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication if he pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and, consequently, they are not obliged to believe it.

    It is a contradiction in terms and ideas to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication. After this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner, for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him.”

    “When Moses told the children of Israel that he received the two tables of the commandments from the hand of God, they were not obliged to believe him, because they had no other authority for it than his telling them so; and I have no other authority for it than some historian telling me so, the commandments carrying no internal evidence of divinity with them. They contain some good moral precepts such as any man qualified to be a lawgiver or a legislator could produce himself, without having recourse to supernatural intervention. [NOTE: It is, however, necessary to except the declamation which says that God ‘visits the sins of the fathers upon the children’. This is contrary to every principle of moral justice.–Author.]

    When I am told that the Koran was written in Heaven, and brought to Mahomet by an angel, the account comes to near the same kind of hearsay evidence and second hand authority as the former. I did not see the angel myself, and therefore I have a right not to believe it.

    When also I am told that a woman, called the Virgin Mary, said, or gave out, that she was with child without any cohabitation with a man, and that her betrothed husband, Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right to believe them or not: such a circumstance required a much stronger evidence than their bare word for it: but we have not even this; for neither Joseph nor Mary wrote any such matter themselves. It is only reported by others that they said so. It is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not chose to rest my belief upon such evidence.”

    —-

    But Thomas Paine is operating from reason, not from fear of conflict.

  312. Gorki

    Dear Perspective:

    In communication of this kind there is a lot of room for misunderstanding, and I think you have misunderstood my position. I am arguing two different things.
    First, the personal spiritual belief limited to myself. I am not afraid of conflict, it is all in myself. Like Sarmad example, I myself fail to be convinced that God speaks to men. Thus as you quoted TP below, this is my exact personal position. I have a college freshman son and an older daughter and they too have the same position, spiritually.

    ‘After this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner, for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him.”

    We are not atheist, rather deists.
    My wife’s position is closer to that of jtmh ji. It is for people like her that I argue that a faith is a personal thing……

    Hope this clarifies things.

  313. Gorki

    ‘In fact I would like to posit that religion of today is a social construct with “divinity” used as a political tool to make gains in earthly matters.
    If religion was only left to deal with the matters of spirit, then this whole problem of “divine” versus “non-divine” causing human suffering would not exist. It would become a personal faith issue, between me and my God.’

    Dear jtmh ji:

    Darn it but your above words have left me strangely unsettled because till now I have lived in the safe comfort of agreeing with your first sentence and leaving it at that.
    By writing the second (sentence) you force me to confront the whole issue of the spirituality as a human need for once again. I will have to give it some thought and respond if I have something worthwhile to say (and when time permits)

    PS: I think you should go to the local Gurudwara and say a few words once in a while; if it is anything like the one in my town, I am sure your words will do some good to at least some people. 😉

  314. hayyer

    no-communal:

    “Why must there be only one god? What’s the logic for it other than ‘because I said so’? Why can’t there be a team of superheroes, like, say the fantastic five, one for each group? In my opinion that’s where the real problem is.”

    It is an endlessly fascinating subject, one could discuss it forever. Let me take a shot at answering you.

    The first answer is the natural one. It’s a question of hierarchy. There has to be a Capo di tutti capi in all human concepts and God is undeniably a human concept. So all your little capi are accounted for as jinns in another belief system and there is only one true Capo.

    A logical answer, assuming that logic like mathematics transcends humanity could be that more than one God violates Occam’s Razor. If one can do the job why do you need more, all bickering and fighting and making hay for the owners, tribe or family.

    If I can think up any more answers I’ll be back with them.

  315. pseudo-socialist cum revolutionary

    @YLH
    “Therefore, we must ask ourselves what it is that we are doing wrong and what India is doing right.”

    I think most precisely what we are doing wrong here than the reason given by you is managing perceptions. Our media is pathetic and a sorry excuse – India is what it is because they project a certain image of themselves world over (be it true or untrue) they sugar coat the filth and scrape the dirt under the rug – their expats as well as their foreign ministry is very active globally –
    in contrast our media only runs the worst of the worst news – it sensationalizes it – adds spice and ‘masala’ to it – it projects Pakistan as a terror-stricken, down-trodden, near-disintegration country – and don’t even get me started on out foreign ministry – i might blow up while writing down what is wrong with them –
    my point: the difference lies in perception –
    we always see the glass half full –

    ps: i do not think there is a harm in accepting others acheivements and successes – and learning from them – that is a characteristic of great civilizations of the past – they take the best from everyone around them – and own up to their mistakes by discarding them –