Tag Archives: majority

Can You Declare Anyone Non Muslim Through Legislation?

By Raza Habib Raja

Democracy is much more than majority

Right now, after 28th May, an issue being increasingly discussed is the status given to Ahmedis through the controversial Second Amendment.

Frankly I would like to say at the onset that I think the Second Amendment is one of the blackest and most shameful acts of legislations ever passed in the National Assembly. Its reprehensible content is reinforced by the fact that it was not an ordinance imposed by a dictator but actually passed by majority through legislative process.

The Second Amendment was passed unanimously and compared to other controversial legal ordinance such as Hadood, appears to have a “democratic’ semblance.   In fact at times more than the religious arguments the supporters of the Second  Amendment come up with the “democratic” defense.

 Supporters say that after all democracy is a game of numbers and if the law was passed unanimously then it reflected the entire collective will of the people. They also say that democracy has to be consistently interpreted and applied. They say that you cannot be “selective” about democratic norms and apply it to your own wishes. The votes cast by the representatives are the most appropriate approximation of the public will and if a bill is passed unanimously then public will has to prevail. The art of legislation is the way of ensuring prevalence of public will.

Though apparently supported by “democratic” credentials, a critical look would reveal that actually this argument is flawed on at least two major accounts. Continue reading

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Filed under Democracy, human rights, Law, Liberal Democratic Pakistan

Urdu and I

IN FIRST PERSON

Noted filmmaker MAHESH BHATT makes an impassioned plea to save Urdu from extinction here

Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

Man is memory, and memory is sound. The first sound that resonates in my heart is the Urdu word “Shireen”, meaning sweet; the name of my mother, who was by birth a Shia Muslim and remained one till the end of her days.

Shadowing that sweet memory is a bitter one. My mother couldn’t marry my Hindu father because my father couldn’t go against the wishes of his staunch Brahmin family in post-Partition India. She concealed her Muslim identity in the predominantly Hindu area of Mumbai’s Shivaji Park where we lived because, in spite of the Nehruvian vision of India as a plural and diverse nation, the rising Hindu fundamentalist movement looked upon the minority Muslim community as the enemy within. So, to arm herself from a possible Hindu backlash, she tried her best to fit in by submerging her true identity. “Do not call me by my Muslim name,” she would caution us in private. “I do not want the world to know about my Muslim identity.” Continue reading

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Filed under India, Urdu