Why Strategic Use of Islam Failed

By Raza Habib Raja

Any state once it is in existence strives to maintain its integrity. All the state institutions are inherently geared to ensure that the state’s writ remains effective and moreover the cohesiveness is not jeopardized.

The problems of cohesiveness and effective writ become more complicated if the country is not ethnically homogeneous. Presence of various ethnicities, keeping other things constant, would require extra care and vigilance to ensure cohesiveness as there will always be tendency to secede.

That is why states which are characterized by presence of sub state ethnicities try to promote what is known as Civic Nationalism.   Civic Nationalism does not have ethnicity as its prime determinant but rather tries to subdue the ethnic identities and cultivate allegiance to the “Country” instead. Failure to do it effectively may result in the breakup of the state.

Any country which at the time of its existence is multiethnic would try to cultivate Civic Nationalism and would exert efforts to manipulate identity is such a way that people would prefer to identify themselves first as nationals and then as members of a particular ethnic group. Theoretically and for that matter even ethically, there is nothing wrong with this concept. Civic Nationalism, if CORRECTLY, cultivated would smoothen out grievances and prevent discrimination on the basis of any ethnicity from emerging.

How does that integration take place? Diverse ethnicities may associate themselves with a federation due to some common factor in the beginning but in the longer run they will associate with the federation, if they are convinced that they are getting a right mix of economic advantages and political autonomy. It has to be remembered that identity based on language and race may become dormant at times but it does not simply disappear. Whereas it is desirable that people should identify themselves with the “country” at the same time it is not possible that their ethnic identities will simply vanish.

Complications start emerging when you try to cultivate Civic Nationalism in the wrong manner. In my opinion Pakistan’s present ethnic strife lies in the way we have tried to cultivate civic nationalism. Instead of integrating diverse ethnicities in a proper manner, we have tried to whip up the only common factor, Islam and supplemented it with coercive tactics whenever any ethnicity has raised its voice.

A lot has been written about political Islam and how so called establishment has fused it with the matters of state. In my opinion the use of Islam and its fusion with the law and its subsequent dominant presence in the educational curriculum has not been done to radicalize the population, but to somehow or the other make the obvious commonality dominant in such a way that ethnic identities are relegated.

Now this kind of tactic may work when exclusion or discrimination is being conducted or perceived to be conducted on the basis of that common factor.  Pakistan movement was successful mainly because in the pre partition times, it was perceived that Muslims are being relegated due to their faith and thus the identity based on faith superseded ethnic and linguistic identities and Muslims across the sub continent were able to unite in 1940s.

Once the country came into existence, this factor lost its rallying prowess. In a Muslim majority country which has sub sects also and is also characterized by various ethnicities and languages, religion cannot be a truly gluing force. Commonality of religion ( that too is dubious because in Pakistan we have sectarian rifts also) in the post partition times could not prove effective  for the cultivation of civic nationalism.

However, instead of understanding this crucial difference between Pakistan movement and post partition times, our political leadership and establishment have always looked towards political as well as strategic usage of Islam to act as one of the unifying force. The consequences have been devastating. 

Although it is often said that objective resolution is what started it, but in reality the religion’s material incorporation in laws started after 1971. Yes, objective resolution provides the basis or what you would call a “blue print” but the actual and effective fusion of religion with constitution and matters of state came after the East Pakistan debacle.  Let’s not forget that Ayub Khan’s regime was largely secular. For keeping the state intact Ayub largely relied on over centralization characterized by one unit scheme and letting centre keep the major chunk of the revenue. Obviously this had severe repercussions as the Bengalis felt discriminated against and Ayub Khan Regime retorted by coercive measures such as initiating cases against Bengali leadership. After the 1970 election, when despite clear majority, Bengalis were denied the right to assume the government; military action took place followed by Indian invasion.

Instead of realizing the true essence of the issue, which was autonomy on ethnic lines, and giving greater economic share, our political leadership as well as establishment assumed that the rest of the West Pakistan could be kept intact through continuing centralization and cultivating an identity based on fusion of Islam and Pakistani nationalism. It was assumed that Islam would somehow or the other “replace” or at least be able relegate the ethnic identities. It was that defeat which actually spurred serious efforts towards strategic use of political Islam.

It is ironic that arguably the most intelligent political leader, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who had in fact led a social cum political movement against excesses of Ayub era and had witnessed the carnage of the crackdown against Bengalis, was one of the prime initiators of this process.

There is absolutely no doubt that 1973 constitution was a giant stride forward towards fusion of religion in the matters of state. More than anything else it also set the future constitutional direction of the country.

Second amendment, which in my opinion is one of the blackest laws ever passed, actually becomes defendable when strictly seen in the light of 1973 constitution. The political leadership in its eventual aim of keeping the country “intact” started to aggressively cultivate Islamic brand of Pakistani nationalism. After Bhutto Zia government further accelerated the drive and introduced two more black ordinances, namely Hadood and Anti Blasphemy.  Of course the entire educational curriculum was also changed and made Islamic and Pakistan studies compulsory. Both the subjects were and in fact still taught in a total biased and uncritical manner. The changes in educational curriculum have primarily been effective with urban middleclass, which by and large has become more conservative. This class may not have become radicalized but at the same time has begun more and more to identify itself with the state cultivated image of Islam. But even here despite increasing religiosity the state was not able to successfully subdue sub state ethnicities.

The governments did not try to address the real reasons behind ethnic rifts and consequently it is hardly surprising that although religious extremism in the country has increased but so has the ethnic strife. Fusion of religion with the matters of state and that too in a country where there are no liberal traditions of rational discourse on religion, would only lead to further intensification of religious extremism. In the absence of any such tradition any Shariah law once in place would be almost impossible to repeal. And they have proven impossible to repeal. All efforts to repeal any of the controversial laws (apart from Hudood ordinance which was only partially repealed in 2006) have not gone beyond some newspaper statements which too were subsequently retracted.

Of course even if the state had not instilled these laws, the changes it made in educational sphere to promote extraordinary reverence for religion would have still done substantial damage to the culture of tolerance in Pakistan. But the laws brought in the state’s coercive power into play and consequently bigotry and religious inspired extremism has been institutionalized.

The strategic use of political Islam to tackle ethnicity and also to gain other advantages continued into the 1990s and Taliban were created. Apart from creating so called strategic depth, another rationale for promotion of Taliban was to tackle the issue of Pushtun nationalism. It was assumed that a radical Islamic force with its presence in both Afghanistan and Pakistan would stifle Puktun Nationalism also. Needless to say that today we are paying a heavy price for that blunder.

Instead of unity the political use of Islam has sown extremism and sectarian violence. Moreover, it has further intensified religious bigotry against minorities. In the past one year, we have seen attacks against Sufi shrines, Shites, Ahmedis and Christians. Moreover, draconian laws are still in place and in fact repealing them will perhaps increase violence because of resistance of the religious clergy who have become just too powerful because of active promotion by the state in the past. 

The state as well as the educated of this country has to realize that we can not suffer more of these blunders. Ethnic rifts can only be tackled through greater autonomy and fairer economic distribution. An ethnicity will prefer to call itself a Pakistani first only if it does not feel excluded. A state that excludes sows the seed of its nemesis. You will create ten other problems if you think that religion can somehow or the other unify.

What the educated of this country need to do this is to start a discourse on the role of religion in our political and cultural sphere. We need collective courage for that and no Mullah will dare to oppose it. Who are these people to declare any one as apostate? Who has given them the right to decide that? We become timid in front of them and instead of challenging simply adopt an apologetic and appeasing response. Right now they are calling Salman Taseer an apostate for supporting the Christian woman (who was accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death) and the educated of this country are too afraid to even raise a voice. Let’s start raising our voices and rescue ourselves.

41 Comments

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41 responses to “Why Strategic Use of Islam Failed

  1. Mnoor

    Given the histroical background of creation of Pakistan, it made sense to highlight the Muslim identity at least in the early years. I think as a nation we used the religious identity as a cohesive agent, however we did not realized its limitations. Once a large muslim majority is achieved, the other differences (mostly of sect, ethinicity) start to become more pronounced.

    Although ethinic and sectarian rife existed from early on and there was suffcient grounds to build policies favoring Civic Nationalism, the creation of Bangladesh should have been the final lesson for our political and military leadership that religious identity can no longer act as the glue.
    What should have followed this break up would include greater operational autonomy of provinces, equity in treatment of people of various sects/ethinicity along with greater emphasis on Pakistani identity in syllabus, and in media.

  2. Freedom of Heresy

    State, in the light of my limited study, is a guardian and protector of its citizens. On the contrary, here it has gradually become a vigilante and it decides who is a Muslim and who is not? ‘Liberals’ and ‘progressives’ here and by that I mean those political parties who cowardly use religious rhetoric to appease the obscurantists, are the biggest culprits. Why don’t they create some kind of think-tank or scholarly society that promotes rational and sane ideas? Why don’t they immediately reform or should I say reinvent the curricula in order to make a sound and tolerant atmosphere?

    Can they rescue me if I write something that openly challenges the established dogma?
    Will they power me? I doubt…

    P.S:
    Why an apostate should be put to death?
    Why can’t I choose what to believe and what not?

    If these questions are heresies then why God put dissent and skepticism in man’s nature?

  3. Rashid Aurakzai

    No religion or ideology is good or bad in itself. They are mere ideas and ‘in their times’ have too played positive roles in humanity’s progress. Nearly all religions at their cores, have the same essence of human salvation, just as liberalism has. It’s the lethal use of religion as a tool, to subjugate, expansionize and silence its critics, competitors and challengers; as described by Kiran Rizvi on this blog, that creates problem.

    Prophets or Founders of religions have been champions of compassion. Therefor Sufis and saints are revered. What we forget while priding in our atheism or ‘secularism’ is that those Sufis too were deeply religious and inspired by God and therefore successful in drawing crowds which otherwise could not have been gathered.

    Any ..ism as long as it serve economics of masses is considered ‘good’. It’s subjects even forget its most weird dogmas and defend & justify its imperialist designs. The problem in Pakistan is that nothing has ever been used with positive intentions, in the interest of nation by the state.

    Seeds of religiosity were sown when AIML chanted Pakistan ka Matlab Kiya. We curse the objective resolution forgetting the urban class that had struggled and sacrificed for the newborn Pakistan, were actually motivated on an ideology that had created numerous fantasies of flawless khilafat in every mind affiliated with the movement.

    Beliefs and Ideologies cannot be taken out of mind like hair from butter. Minds are not formatable Hard Drives and Jinnah’s Sept11, was and is not enough as a formate command. We have to look into our history with open minds. Diagnosis precede cure. Medication without the correct identification of disease will prolong and weaken the ill.

    The partition was a project of Muslim Elites fearful of losing their royalty in democratic India. Urdu-Hindi or Bengal-Bifurcation was not an issue we could not resolve without religion. There was no need of division on these lines. Hindus too equally share the blame with us. English Still remains the official language of both countries.

    Without falling in to this debate, lets look forward. De-Religion-ization is impossible by suggesting the same old rhetoric, ‘education’. The antidote for venom is venom. Solution for bigotry and extremism lies within the religion. Dont curse it and dont throw it in dustbin for the sake of ‘Liberalism’, For liberalism if not meant for progress, is a bigotry much as a religion, refusing rationale.

  4. Harbir

    Wasnt the muslim identity of pakistan clear enough to begin with? Why did it need to be dwelt upon and stressed? Surely pakistan was not uncertain and insecure about its muslim-ness? Or was it?

  5. Harbir

    I misused the blockquote function above. I was Responding to this point made by Mnoor:

    “Given the histroical background of creation of Pakistan, it made sense to highlight the Muslim identity at least in the early years. I think as a nation we used the religious identity as a cohesive agent,”

  6. Anoop

    Jinnah had sown the seeds for a Bangla-desh when he decided Urdu should be the major language in Pakistan, a language which was not even native to Pakistan. Show just how Jinnah devalued ethnicity and identity associated with one’s language and local culture.

  7. We become timid in front of them and instead of challenging simply adopt an apologetic and appeasing response.

    Good point, but the author does not highlight why this phenomenon happens? It is fair to say that our common man is completely uneducated in the basic tenets of Islam. Thus, you cannot challenge a Mullah unless you use his own weapon against him i.e. core knowledge of the Quran.
    For example, when a Mullah tends to single out someone as an apostate, I like to ask: Can you kindly quote a Quranic injunction in this regard? Now, if I, myself, have no clue what the Quran says about basic rights of non-Muslims how can I challenge the Mullah?

    I completely agree with the author that the educated class of Pakistan needs to start a discourse on the role of religion. However, they cannot do it as long as they are themselves ignorant of the Quran and its teachings.

    Just my 2 cents!

  8. KR

    sheepoo: Two reasons why people don’t bother to defy Mullah: takfeer and tarteed. Anyone can declare you a kaafir or a murtad and Someone is always willing to kill you for those two reasons or at least ruin your career/name/family etc.

  9. Raza Raja

    I would like to clarify one thing here. This article is primarily about usage of Islam to cultivate civic nationalism and introspects as to why it failed to do so. It argues that religion can not unite people of various ethncities once partition took place. Rather strategic use of religion is counterproductive as it takes attention away from the real underlying issues behind ethnic rift. Moreover, whipping up religion will also invariably lead to increased religious extremism.

  10. @ Raza

    Ayub Khan may have been a secular minded ruler, but he was also responsible for the erdication of the “left” in Pakistan. Once the left and the communists were hounded out of the Pakistani politics, the nation began to move towards conversatism. Military rulers, by nature, cannot be reactionaries and tend to lean towards the ideas of conservatism.

    Secondly, since political power in Pakistani is usually maintained illegally, religion then becomes the mainstay of legitimacy to stay in office and the creeping Islamization, then the galloping radicalization, of Pakistan was engineered by people in power to preserve their political status quo in the society and they basically abused Islam for their own ends and purposes.

    Third; with the change from teaching history in Pakistan to making everyone study Pak Studies, the curse was said upon the Pakistani educational system, because Pak Studies is nothing, but an apolgia pro forma for political facism. With Pak Studies, the state defines the “reality” and it constructs the narrative to suit its own vision, ideology, political machinations and justifications for its own rule and this over a period of time keeps changing as a result that the Pakistani students do not know or even understand their own past.

    Pakistan is part of the historic Indian civilization and its roots are deeply engrained in the soil of the Indian subcontinent and its history goes to a time, when Rome was not even a gleam in the eyes of the Romans. Its history did not start with Mohammad bin Qasim in 712 AD and if history is objectively studied in Pakistan; then our “local” hero should be Raja Dahir who was fighting and resisting the invasion of a foreign invader – Mohammad bin Qasim!

    Civic nationalism, as an idea, is just a fig leaf to deny fully participatory citizenship rights to a people, within the state and for the state to frame the conditionalities for civic participation. Not unless the people of Pakistan, and its future generations, realize and admit the fact that their ideas of nationalism are rooted in their cultural ethos and those cultural traits may be motivated by the historic experiences of the provinces, pre-dating the existence of Pakistan, but their identies as a people are irrevociablly a part of the Indian civilizational experience.

    Once they start to identify with this theme, they will find the commonalities in their differences and it is from this sense of belonging that nationalism, as an idea, derives its foundational motif for uniting people into nations. Civic nationalism will prove to be incompatible with the Pakistani identity, because it will still seek a linkage with the religion of Islam and Islam will always be an alien idea as far as our historic culture is considered.

    Religion is an idea and as an idea, it stems from a common experience and in the case of Islam, it is an idea associated with the Arab cultural experience of the Arabian peninsula, which was exported to the other nations by the Muslims. Even though we may have been Muslims for nearly 1300 years, we have been, by our cultural and historic experiences, “Indians” for nearly 5000 years and therefore, Islam will have to accomodate our culture and history and exist within those limits. It cannot superimpose itself upon our cultural and historic legacy, and if it seeks to do so; there will be a massive rebellion of a cultural identity resulting in total confusion, which will encourage political defragmentation leading, invaribly, to the social contructs such as civic nationalism, to glue the society-state together.

    Admitting our origins in the Indian experience does not lessen the reality of Pakistan, but it does allow us, as a nation, to rationalize the idea that we will have to find “a place of comfort” for Islam within our history and culture, where it exists as a willing part of our identies instead of forcing an identity upon us, which is alien to our past experience.

    Unfortunately, our problem is that we have rejected the past 5000 years of a historic-cultural experience and in the process of rejecting, for political reasons, any association with India, tried to create our identity in Islam as an anti-thesis to India. As long as Islam will be, for reasons of politics, strait-jacketed upon us, it will remain an artificial identity, and which will have to be politically enforced but will not be intellectually assimilated into the common experience.

    We cannot undo the time period since 712 AD, but we can seek to place it in its proper perspective and that can done by studying Islam, as development, in the Indian subcontinent within the linear progression of the Indian history itself. Islam is a part of the Indian history and for us, to reject the Indian historic DNA in the name of Islam is stupid and is the reason for our cultural confusion and the need for ideas such as “civic nationalism”.

    Pakistan will find its political cohesion in the admission of its cultural and historic roots and learning to accept them and live with them and as long as it rejects that reality, it will remain a state in search for its identity, but will never be able to define that identity!

    ciao

  11. KR

    Khan/Raja: Agreed! Pakistan was created to give Muslims a better chance than they would (presumably) have under Hindu Rule. One fourth of our flag proves that we did not intend to mistreat our minorities (or they would not have been represented on the flag.)
    Religion is a small part of a broader culture of a people. Islam is a foreign religion from Arabia. It needs to be trimmed and molded to fit into the broader culture of the subcontinent. Something that was organically happening in the days of the Mughals and is continually happening in India. The Deobandi and Sufi traditions bridge the gap between Indian psyche and Islamic theology.
    Pakistan is multi ethnic, similar to India. Not only we have different languages, we have different races. The Balochi and Pushto are Indo-Iranian languages, Punjabi,Sindhi, Saraiki and Bengali are Sanskrit based. They all are now written in the Persian script (except for Benali) but changing outfits doesn’t change a man, only ‘disguises’ him.
    In Pakistan we are trying to disguise ourselves as Muslims, hiding behind our script, our ‘glorious (PersoTurkicArabic) past’, our ‘kitaabei.n apnei aabaa kii” and our self-proclaimed piety. The fact is that our culture is too strong to be painted over. When we step outside our country and mix with the people in foreign countries, we find ourselves enjoying the company of Hindu Indians, and not Muslim Arabs, Malays, Africans, Berbers and Turks.
    As a migrant from India, my mother prefers the company of Hindu “dillii waalei” rather than Muslim “punjaabii”. She identifies herself with her culture which is far more than just religion.

  12. ramesh

    political islam has always been successful in what it was designed to do,conquer,subjugate and rule with its integrated instruments.same for the so called modrates whose conscience lies ticking under generations of dust and debris of faith unable to rise even for their fellow pakistani.it will take generations and maybe a convulsion to bring out some change

  13. swapnavasavdutta

    Sure KR, everybody knows “Hindu Rule” can’t be trusted but minorities
    can always trust “Muslim Rule” to be just.
    But I heard Nehru offered 49% of future Indian flag of green colour but
    that was not enough for Jinnah, he wanted 51% of the flag to be green,
    and when “Hindu Rulers” did not agree to that, Jinnah asked for a separate
    country for Muslims.

  14. KR

    swapnavasavdutta: well…it seems that at the time of partition the emotions were highly religious…the star / crescent on Pak flag and Veer Chakr on Indian flage does symbolize the religious bias they will have and that minorities will not be as prosperous, BUT less opportunities for minorities in govt. posts does not mean mistreatment or harrassment etc. Most minorities resort to private business and make a good living and slowly ‘buy’ their way into govt.

  15. Milestogo

    Feroz khan @ 8-47

    I agree.

  16. no-communal

    KR

    Just one quibble, the Ashoka Chakra in the indian flag is inscribed on the relics of the emperor Ashoka. If anything, it’s a buddhist relic, not Hindu.

  17. Parvez

    Before we get carried away by this Indian culture, could some body define and outline it. Is Bengali and Punjabi culture the same? I know some are nostalgic about Mogul times. For Pakistan, if a case is to be made then it is Indus Valley culture. Indus people interacted with Ganges valley as well as Central Asia with minimal input from Arabs. That is the history you have to deal with. Why do have a problem accepting it.
    Most of the divisions in Pakistan are of economic distribution. All rational people should talk about economic policies of elite.

  18. Kaalket

    Its very disappointing article.
    Since 47, it has been known and understood that all Pakistani actions are Islamic or sanctioned by Islam in its pure essence as it was at the time of Holy Prophet on this Earth. Now , a new story is told that Islam failed to vanquish local culture and Pakistani are not the children of Arabs or Persian but of Jahiliya and want to preserve their pre Islamic Jahil roots. All this fit so perfectly in old Indian adage of washerman and his lovely pet. Fortunatley or Unfortunately there is no visible sign of any Indianess or “soilness ” in Pakistani body, mind, culture or social norms. After selling soul to Islam , it is dishonest to lay claim on the land ,soil or civilizational heritage which is very antithesis of what Islam stands for. Islam is the way , it made Pakistan and let not Pakistani run away from it as you are the best product of Islamic teachings ,excelling at showing the light of Islam to Kuffar . It is in the interest of India and Pakistan that Islam preavails over all sphere of life in that territory and stand as an example of ideological obsession for the whole world to behold. Dont disaapoint by giving up the fight.

  19. i appreciate your posting on this topic as i was searching for this. also your writing style is much better than some others i have visited

  20. Salman Arshad

    @ Raza Habib Raja

    Who are these people to declare any one as apostate? Who has given them the right to decide that? We become timid in front of them and instead of challenging simply adopt an apologetic and appeasing response.

    The alternative to apologetic and appeasing response will be that the mullahs will invite you for a religious scholarly discourse. And they will win. The blasphemy law isn’t a man-made concoction. Its based on certain hadiths, that have NOT been declared invalid by hadith scholars, so no one can challenge them.

    The mullahs get their power from sacred scriptures. The only way to counter them is to counter the validity of the relevant scriptures that give them power.

    Its difficult to see how any effort against them should work.

    And the strategic use of Islam might have failed to keep Pakistan together, but it has been very useful in keeping the masses in line. I think the establishment only needs to tweak how it is using Islam in its favor, and not give it up totally.

  21. Milestogo

    @Kalkey

    it’s strange that pakistani’s want to acknowledge their pre-islamic history and you don’t seem to like it.

    As an indian I welcome this – this is the only peaceful way forward or atleast a step in the right direction.

  22. Kaalket

    Milestogo
    A convert want to embrace mother culture after gleefully taking side with the rapists of his motherland !! There is theory that weak submitted under duress while strong one kept the struggle alive both externally and internally. Indian civilization is the only one which fought for almost millenium and did not succumb while many went to dustbin under the onslaught of sword or ideology. Why should we share this pride with converts who sided with outsiders. It is highly suspectible that any embrace of sacred soil will come from withing and not a taqiyya . Indians need to wish them best as part of Arab extended family on their periphery. Pakistanis are Muslims and Mslims only and not Indians who have kept the light of Jihalya shinning bright. Soon after after physical retreat, ideological retreat was expected and it must be pushed back from indian side because this supposed deliberation dont stem from the pricking of the conscience or introspection but from sundary mundane expediencies. The similar expediencies which contributed toward the convertion out of Indic spiritual family . They spat on the blood and soul of their forefathers and now want to wipe it . Holy Prophet said “to you your and me mine “. I think the great wisdom in these words apply aptly in this case. Arabs have Civilizational inheritance, So do Persian and even Afghans and they all are rooted in their identity but case of Pakistan is exceptional as it is the struggle of uprooted convert stuck in conflict with imposed or imported dogma and inner soul instincts. This is the battle one must fight alone. Permanent peace will happen when the change in conscience prevail from within. At this stage, there is no reason for Indians be sharing their civilizational inheritence with them. Let the Pakistani History start with MBQ keep the distiction between place and pride of civilizational inheritor and place fit and suitable for covert .

  23. Humanity

    @Kaalket

    The convert does not require your permission to acknowledge his/her legacy and to cherish his/her roots. The motherland is equally compassionate and benevolent to all its children. That is why it is called mother🙂

  24. Samachar

    Kaalket,

    Now, 2010, the NYT carried a story about the western embrace of yoga. From 1908, I have a book published from Harvard, in which the writer hopes that the putrid yoga vidya will eventually go extinct.

    Point is that a people change; cultural attitudes change. But you’re talking as though the state of affairs in Pakistan is set in stone.

  25. Alakshyendra

    {{One fourth of our flag proves that we did not intend to mistreat our minorities (or they would not have been represented on the flag.)}}

    haha! bhai, as much as I agree with the rest of what you wrote, this is hilarious. just because minorities are represented on the pakistani flag, minorities are treated well in pakistan. case closed.

  26. simply61

    Islam as practiced on the sub-continent seems a much more humane,intersting,creative,accepting,vibrant and all embracing religion than what one sees in many of the Arab countries….just my personal observation.

  27. mf

    @KR
    “As a migrant from India, my mother prefers the company of Hindu “dillii waalei” rather than Muslim “punjaabii”. She identifies herself with her culture which is far more than just religion”

    unfortunately preference of ur mommy doesn’t represent the preference to all muslims and I guess(only guess) she wont wed her son or daughter to a ‘hindu dillii waalei’ if the only other choice is ‘Muslim punjaabii’

  28. Kaalket

    MF,
    If she was true to her culture , soil and soul the she wont be having name associated with Arabic or Irani society. It will be better if she live with the truth and be at peace in the company of co-relgioist in next province.
    Samachar
    Americans know who they are and secure in their identity. They can add and apply cultural or spiritual ingredients at indivdual or social level without fear of loosing their soul. Converts of Pakistani category who joined invading ousiders have no such liberty or luxury . They made a deliberate decision to opt out of essential indian mileu and took pride in spitting on their raped and dead ancestor’s blood . There is no reason for them to come back and embrace the same when bad time is over . They made their bed and now must sleep on it. They must know that they are not indian and should not remotely associate any part of them related to Indian or Indic heritage. We are 2 separate people with 2 separate paths and it is good for both.

  29. Milestogo

    Kalket

    as long as pakistanis and other Muslims can reform Islam to a point that it becomes compatible with the modern thought, it should be good enough – don’t you think…

    It is really difficult to reverse changes that hav taken place over centuries when there is no incentive to do so…

    Do you think north Indians can now purify their language by discarding Arabic and persian words – I don’t think it is either feasible or necessary…

    Same can be said about pakistanis and Muslims – as long as political radical Islam can be put away – it is good enough for peace in the world…

  30. Amit Kumar

    I always thought how can anyone hate a religion which was practiced by onces ancestors. Then i read some book and was very scary for me. Not sure even 0.01% of Indian “Hindus” are aware of this.
    Those who want to understand the minds of converted Muslims can read V. S. Naipaul. Very informative. He calls Pakistan a criminal enterprise.

  31. Kaalket

    Milestogo
    Islam is perfect, more that God Itself thus any expectation of reform is waste of breath. 97% of Pakistani are free, Islamist , Non Indian people of non Indian origin . Why should they asscociate with Kuffar indian values and why would Indian want associate with them ? Separate and not equal , both should go their own way with best wishes. Let the sons of soil keep the light of Jahilya shining in their land and let the Children of Arabs keep their way .

  32. Milestogo

    For peace?

  33. Rashid Aurakzai

    The Argument is more gloat from neighbors. The same attitude that fueled partition.

    Hum wafadar nahin Too bhi to dildar nahin.

    Not a single religion believed in SubCon is indigenous. Honesty would be to either leave the entire Hindostan Region to Dravidian living in Jhugees or struggle to restore their ownership.

  34. Kaalket

    Milestogo
    Indics are at peace with themselves, They know who they are , secured in their identity these sons of soil are looking forward to build new civilizational India. As neighbor, Indians do have interest in observing Pakistani political, social scene but this dont mean to accept their claim on Indian cultural heritage.
    Rashid,
    Please tell which Indic spiritual path of India has its most sacred places outside India. We dont lay prostrate at the feet of outside power centres nor do we adopt their tribal lineage .There never have been any Muhamamd or Hussein , Syed or Abdal Khandan on the Sub continent. Being foster children of Arabs , it is not right to lay claim on Indic land , values and other resources. Pakistani must realize that they are not Sub-continental people and has nothing in common with kaffirs of Sub-continents. The pride , honor and dignity of civilzational initiater and inheritor cannot be demoted to the level of converted folks. Mainly Indian, Jewish and to some extent Arab people are blessed with this exclusiveness . We can also use modern secular example of American and Canadian attitude toward each other at individual and state level.

  35. Humanity

    @Kaalket:

    Why stop at India? Why not trace your roots all the way back to Africa? Humanity with continue to migrate, evolve, and interact within its self regardless of whether or not you like. The is the beauty of it all. Otherwise, it would have been so monotonous, boring, and darn right sick. Move on and learn to go with the flow, fellow human🙂

  36. Bin Ismail

    Why strategic use of Islam failed – it failed because Islam was never meant to be used for strategic purposes.”Islam” is the attitude of showing submission to God and peace to fellow humans. “Islam” is not a tool to be used, misused or abused, to the convenience of the user, for strategic or political purposes.

  37. AA Khalid

    Regardless, of the same old rogue Indian nonsense one sees dotted around these informative threads like bird droppings on a Rolls Royce, I have to say that substance of the post RHR is profound.

    How can a nation State exercise authority effectively if there are no civic resources to sustain it? The State relies on non-governmental institutions to foster notions of citizenship, common purpose and the common good and democratic reasoning. The Pakistani State and military’s reversion to Islam is a superifical and dangerous attempt to try and ignore the compleixities of national identity.

    I think national identity inevitably has to be holistic. There has to be a sense of common history, common purpose and common destiny, in the sense there should be some defining principles of the political culture in Pakistan.

    A great book to read on how civic resources in terms of the proliferation of schools, places of community gathering and other such institutions can be utilised to sustain a liberal State is, ”Virtue and the Making of Modern Liberalism”. The premise of the book is that:

    ”Peter Berkowitz clarifies the fundamental issues, arguing that a certain ambivalence toward virtue reflects the liberal spirit at its best. Drawing on recent scholarship as well as classical political philosophy, he makes his case with penetrating analyses of four central figures in the making of modern liberalism: Hobbes, Locke, Kant, and Mill.

    These thinkers are usually understood to have neglected or disparaged virtue. Yet Berkowitz shows that they all believed that government resting on the fundamental premise of liberalism–the natural freedom and equality of all human beings–could not work unless citizens and officeholders possess particular qualities of mind and character. These virtues, which include reflective judgment, sympathetic imagination, self-restraint, the ability to cooperate, and toleration do not arise spontaneously but must be cultivated. Berkowitz explores the various strategies the thinkers employ as they seek to give virtue its due while respecting individual liberty. Liberals, he argues, must combine energy and forbearance, finding public and private ways to support such nongovernmental institutions as the family and voluntary associations. For these institutions, the liberal tradition powerfully suggests, play an indispensable role not only in forming the virtues on which liberal democracy depends but in overcoming the vices that it tends to engender. ”

    The project of liberalism inevitably has to focus on the notion of civic virtue and civic engagement. In turn this should elaborate on the concept of a common, open, pluralistic and inclusive citizenship.

    The umbrella of Pakistan should be widened to include culture, history and tradition rather than simply focusing one factor and hoping that coercion can make the hearts of men and women yield to the authority of the State.

  38. Raza Raja

    @ A A Khalid

    I think national identity inevitably has to be holistic. There has to be a sense of common history, common purpose and common destiny, in the sense there should be some defining principles of the political culture in Pakistan.”

    That was brilliantly put. As usual you have actually improved the original post. Excellent commentary.

  39. Bin Ismail

    @AA Khalid (December 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm)

    “…..The umbrella of Pakistan should be widened to include culture, history and tradition rather than simply focusing one factor and hoping that coercion can make the hearts of men and women yield to the authority of the State…..”

    Very well said. The “one factor” we, as a nation, thought would cement us together, failed to do the magic. The tragedy lies not in the fact it failed. The true tragedy lies in the fact that even after witnessing that this “one factor”, which is the “common religious identity”, could not prevent East Pakistan from becoming Bangladesh, we continue to rely on exploiting it as the sole dependable cementing agent for our nation.

    This does not mean to say that Religion does not unite. Religion does unite, but not on the plane of the State. It unites only at the level of common religious belief and spirituality. Hence, all the while, we were simply using the wrong tool for the wrong job.

    If only we would learn.

  40. Kaalket

    Humanity
    You seems to be blind to that fact that human deveolpment reached at peak in late 6th century in Arabian desert by ending Jahiliya .Any intellectual, spiritual ,scientific development not testifying this Arabic perfection is not acceptable or legitimate part of human heritage . It is natural on part of most developed in spirituality and intellect to be drawn to find their linegae from Arabs who posses such perfection in religion, intellect and scientifc knowledge . As a neighbor , Indians can only watch with jealousy and learn from them but lets not dare to have any other kuffar idea like associating Indian Jahil culture with this highly evolved society . The article has drawn wrong conclusion about the failure of Islam. It has to be conspiracy of outsiders trying to malign the fair, naive, innocent and special people of Pakistan.