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Wake up Now ! جاگو ، جاگو ، جاگو

Wake up Pakistan ! Presently the Muslim societies are in a state of ideological confusion and flux. Materialism, terrorism,...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

How to Save Pakistan from Internal, Economic Threat

 How should the Army handle the free fall?
Shaheen Sehbai
Former Army chief retired General Mirza Aslam Beg has now come out with an open invitation to the GHQ to intervene although he is confused on how this should be done. His considered view coincides with the growing frustration and lack of confidence in Pakistan and around the world in the political leadership of Pakistan to handle the enormous challenges facing the country.

Regrettably, most of these problems and challenges were born or aggravated because they were either not handled properly or deliberately mishandled.

Beg has joined the growing club of concerned people including some top Pakistani diplomats, former holders of important government positions and known economists and technocrats who think the quality of leadership in Pakistan is so pathetic that severe damage was being done to the State of Pakistan which, if not halted now, could become irreversible and fatal.

A known Pakistani diplomat openly discusses this failure in private meetings saying both the military and civilian leadership did not have the capacity to understand the monumental issues and thus the country was slipping deeper into the abyss with each passing day. 

There is not even the capacity to grow up, this diplomat argues, and says immediate changes were needed to put in place people who understand the challenges and can control the damage. About 20 important politicians, economists and technocrats recently met in Pakistan to discuss this leadership crisis and decided to form their own group. Most of them are clean people with a credible record of service and experience.

Top economic managers, the latest being the chief economist and the governor of State Bank, recently resigned in disgust, marking changes in the SBP as a frequent phenomenon. 

Key bureaucrats of important ministers have been shuffled so many times in recent months and years that continuity in policies has almost become impossible. These changes were brought about because of a deep-rooted fear that allowing these powerful baboos to settle in one place makes them dangerous.

The Supreme Court has continuously been giving its observations on specific governance failures but instead of improving performance the political leadership has gone into a confrontational mode and defiance, which has brought matters almost to a breaking point. If the SC loses patience and invokes articles of the Constitution to seek help from the Army and or the bureaucracy, a deadlock will become unavoidable.

Politicians and the ruling party have become even more arrogant with every looming crisis, as if the bigger the problem, the more stinking will be their response. So not surprisingly, misfits have been placed to run critical state organs. A medical doctor runs the petroleum ministry, a junior finance minister is catapulted to be full foreign minister, a self-proclaimed non-practising lawyer has been given the law ministry, an MBBS and diploma holder in hospital management from an unlisted US university has been awarded the information ministry, and so on.

Defenders of the present system, including some known campaigners of human rights and liberal intellectuals, argue that disturbing the present system, especially if the Pakistan Army is again involved, will hurt democracy and the country and will help the present corrupt lot, turning them into political martyrs. So giving a chance to the elected leadership is the only way out.

Top business leaders are so frustrated they are even talking in terms of ending their dependence on the port city of Karachi and finding other outlets, which can help them stabilise and grow their businesses. Some are even looking towards exporting goods through the Indian ports. Some even talk in extremes out of frustration.

This frustration is prevailing round the world because Pakistanis living overseas, who send more than 15 billion dollars every year through official and unofficial channels, feel their money is going down the drain. They realise that without this cost-free bundle of billions, Pakistan would just collapse into a failed defaulted state in no time.

So then, is the Pakistan Army the answer to all this as General Mirza Aslam Beg has publicly advocated? I don’t think so, since the Army is too deeply involved in security issues and does not have the capacity, like the civilians, to handle economic, social and political issues of such monstrous size. But what the Army can do is to put its weight behind forces trying desperately for correction of the course to steer Pakistan in the right direction. That is easier said than done.

Defenders of the status quo ask who will determine which course is right; they say the people should decide this through elections. As a principle this may be the right argument but elections do not frame economic policies, they do not decide whether a mega billion deal is filled with black money or kickbacks; voters do not say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to Swiss accounts. There are laws in every society to deal with these issues. What then needs to be done is that internationally accepted principles of governance, transparency, rule of law, merit and right man for the right job must be enforced collectively by the civil society, the media and the military and civil establishment. This will never endanger democracy.

The political leadership should be forced to follow these globally accepted principles and should not misuse their elected status to hide their corruption and poor governance. There will be no threat to democracy if some top thieves and known looters and plunderers are brought to book. If they happen to be political leaders, so be it. So if the country’s top judges reach the verdict that someone is a criminal, then everybody including the Pakistan Army must support and implement their judgment. It is a constitutional obligation of everyone but the top politicians have politicised this, turning it into a threat to democracy, which it is not. 

In no democracy of the world are criminals, looters and plunderers given room to be judged by their electorate when their term expires. For minor misdemeanours or even a small politically incorrect statement, leaders are forced to resign. For crimes under the law, elections are not the forum for adjudication.

So General Beg must make it clear that he does not want the Army to derail the political system.

In turn the Army should not shy away from enforcing the Constitution, if so asked. 

The free fall of the country into chaos and economic collapse is so rapid that waiting for the next elections so that a verdict on these crimes is obtained by the electorate, would be too little, too late. And for the courts, the civil society, the media and the military establishment, not taking any action would in itself be a crime.

Present political arrangements  is trash left by military dictatorship. Elections-2008 were aimed to prolong the Musharaf's rule under US patronage. How elections held with 35 million fake voters [45% of registered voters] can result in democratic government? So what we see now is jus an illusion of democracy... some reforms are suggested... read >>>http://t.co/nWDNNWN

Back to Machiavelli: Pak Politics: 


The Only Honourable Way to Save Pakistan from Vultures
BY PETER GILL: Allegedly one of Pakistan's most corrupt politicians, Asif Ali Zardari has been elected president by the Pakistani parliament and provincial assemblies. All remaining corruption charges against him were dropped in the.....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back to Machiavelli: Corruption & Pak Politics

Machiavelli’s realpolitik, or pragmatic politics, is justified by not only dictators but also many democratic leaders. Perhaps Pakistani leaders do not read Machiavelli but they are the true embodiment of his Prince. They have sycophants around them to admire and praise them and transform them as great and popular leaders. In return these sycophants are pleased by receiving high titles that they do not deserve. Those who oppose the rulers are isolated, imprisoned and tortured. Under such leaders people are given opportunities for corruption. The state and its institutions become tools to protect corrupt leaders and their interests rather than protecting the people against them. Agitation is crushed by brute force. After studying the politics of Pakistan, we can conclude that some of our leaders have further embellished Machiavelli’s ideology.

Thinkers and philosophers throughout history made efforts to persuade rulers to observe principals of justice in order to protect the weak from the powerful. Plato in ‘The Republic’ emphasised on justice. Thomas Aquinas, a medieval theologian, maintained the same view that state without justice is nothing but a tool of coercion. During the Medieval period, Muslim thinkers also emphasised the importance of justice in politics in many treatises.

There are references to Anushervan, the Sassanid king as a role model. Kai Kaus in Qabusnama, Nizamul Mulk in Siyasatnama, and Ghazali in Nasihat ul Mulk advise rulers to follow the policy of justice. These treatises known as ‘The Mirror of Princes’ encourage the rulers to observe moral values for the welfare of their subjects. However, history shows that rulers had their own agendas to fulfill and were not bound by any advice and sermons.

Machiavelli, the Renaissance thinker had different views regarding the moral definition of justice. In Plato’s dialogue, a Sophist thinker challenges Socrates that “might is justice.” But Machiavelli presents an outline for rulers like Hitler who studied and followed Machiavelli’s teachings.

Presently, many leaders in the Third World countries are too smart to surpass Machiavelli’s thoughts and adopt principals which suit their political agenda. We find Machiavelli and his Prince alive even today, violating all moral values in order to achieve success.

First of all Machiavelli wants to know whether one is ambitious for power. If the answer is yes, then, he advises him to lie and deceive in order to achieve utmost power. He has to be more cunning rather than wise to rule, or in other words, to be a fox rather than a lion. He further advises one to rule with an iron hand and does not tolerate any opposition from the public.

Those who dare to challenge his policies must be punished. His Prince enjoys being surrounded by people who flatter him, and are ready to obey all his commands. His Prince would refrain from having a man of principle in his company who would not be obedient to his corrupt policies.

According to Machiavelli’s advice, a leader should not keep his promise. His views should change with his interests. Practical politics is more important than promises and commitments and the truth may be violated if it becomes an impediment. He should not be ashamed or apologetic if he breaks a promise or a commitment.

To maintain his innocence, power should be handed to a deputy to deal with the enemies brutally. When the deputy becomes unpopular, he should be dismissed, executed or imprisoned to show the people that the ruler himself was always against the deputy’s policies. This way, he absolves and protects himself from ill will.

He does not introduce any reforms as these bring change and may upset society. Therefore, the status quo is maintained and it is in the ruler’s interest to keep the system intact.

Machiavelli believes that his Prince is free from all moral values and is only concerned about maintaining power and to getting rid of his enemies.
There is no question of justice to protect the weak from the powerful. On the other hand the weak are supposed to be obedient and loyal to his rule.

Machiavelli’s realpolitik, or pragmatic politics, is justified by not only dictators but also many democratic leaders. Perhaps Pakistani leaders do not read Machiavelli but they are the true embodiment of his Prince. They have sycophants around them to admire and praise them and transform them as great and popular leaders. In return these sycophants are pleased by receiving high titles that they do not deserve. Those who oppose the rulers are isolated, imprisoned and tortured.

Under such leaders people are given opportunities for corruption. The state and its institutions become tools to protect corrupt leaders and their interests rather than protecting the people against them. Agitation is crushed by brute force. After studying the politics of Pakistan, we can conclude that some of our leaders have further embellished Machiavelli’s ideology.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Nation and Army: Facing the Storm-Winds Together


“My centre is giving way, my right is in retreat; situation excellent. I shall attack.”

– Marshal Foch (First World War)

Under attack from all sides, this should be the motto of the Pakistan Army in these trying and, I daresay, bracing times. For what can be more bracing than the winds howling, the storm-clouds bursting, the earth shaking beneath your feet, but your heart steady and your resolve unshaken?

The army’s past is less than glorious. It has done things for which it has been justly criticised: interventions a hapless nation could have done without, saviours and messiahs – a depressing gallery of four – whose collective output has contributed more than anything else to bring us to our present pass.

But, in a remarkable turnaround, the army has started doing the right things: refraining from political interventionism, thereby supporting democracy; standing up to the United States and refusing to subordinate national interests to American interests. Far from getting credit for this welcome change of course, it is being targeted by agenda-driven cynics from within and American scheming without.

Not that the Americans are our enemies. We should avoid going down this road. But they have their own agenda, and their own pressing concerns vis-à-vis their quagmire in Afghanistan, which may not be in full harmony with our interests.

The Americans want the Pakistan army to expand its Pakhtun wars, to go into North Waziristan in a big way and set ablaze the entire length of the Afghan-Pakistan border. Only then will their insistence that we “do more” be appeased. This at a time when they are exploring avenues to talk to the Taliban.

In other words, as they themselves explore the peace option they want us to go all-out for the war option. Wanting to ease the pain of their exit from Afghanistan, they are entitled to look out for themselves. But doesn’t the same logic apply to us? The Americans may be past bothering about what happens to us when they begin their long retreat from Kabul and Kandahar, but we have to look out for ourselves.

And because the Pakistan Army, after the blind acquiescence of the Musharraf years, has finally started to think for itself instead of jumping to American dictation, the Americans are deeply upset because they are not used to this, certainly not from us.

They are right to insist that Pakistan should not play double games: running with the Taliban and hunting with the Americans. These double games have hurt Pakistan more than anyone else. But they are wrong to insist that in operational matters – the how, why and when of Fata operations – General Headquarters, Rawalpindi, should take its cue from Central Command, Florida.

So not liking this new streak of independence, the Americans are striking back in whatever way they can: editorial broadsides in the New York Times (often a sounding board if not outright mouthpiece for the American establishment) calling for a change of command in the ISI; and, in the latest from Washington, the suspension of 800 million dollars of military assistance.

This last doesn’t make sense at all. Far from making the GHQ bend it will only stiffen its resolve and strengthen those who say that Pakistan should say good riddance to the American alliance. But then great powers, imperial powers, are not unknown for doing things that don’t make sense. That they may be able to get away with it is an altogether different story.

If ours was not a house divided – if external pressure was the only thing the army command had to worry about, it would be no great matter. But apart from American pressure, the army is also under snide and cynical attack from within because, and this is the astonishing part, of its support for democracy.

Support boils down not to extending bayonet protection to the government but simply to non-intervention, a demarcation of lines between the political and military spheres. This precisely is what makes some elements of the domestic scene deeply unhappy; for the past three years their most cherished wish has been for the ISI to destabilise the government and the army to step into the ring. They are not bothered about the consequences as long as the army forsakes its neutrality and swings a battleaxe to the central government’s head.

A section of the media, indeed a very determined section, retired civil servants, diplomats and generals – dignified by the appellation of civil society, which is a new coinage in these parts – have been in the forefront of this campaign. But the GHQ not obliging, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is being attacked for not doing his national duty.

Which is pretty tough for any army chief: damned if he does, and now damned if he doesn’t. There’s no pleasing Pakistan’s cynical chattering classes.

From all the signs available, the Americans would dearly love to see the last of Kayani. But since this is easier said than done, they are gunning for the next best thing: a change of guard in the ISI, their real bete noire since the Raymond Davis affair. And they are being aided, even if inadvertently (unless it is not inadvertent at all), by domestic voices accusing Kayani and Pasha of shirking their responsibility by not playing the political games their predecessors played with such zest, and with what disastrous consequences we don’t have to be reminded.

The answer to this scheming, and there is a whole lot of it afoot in Islamabad – a city dedicated since its ill-judged inception to conspiracy and intrigue – is to keep calm and not panic. Not a lesson easily learnt because, if we remember, after the Bin Laden affair the GHQ’s response, either by itself or through its conduit the Foreign Office, was to sputter and fulminate – issuing communiqués that were barely literate, let alone being shining monuments to logic.

But there was a welcome change of tone in the statement after the last Corps Commanders’ Conference – the first after the suspension of US military aid. It was restrained and controlled, as such things should always be. Fulmination may suit pulpit-mongers, but not soldiers.

We were taught precis-writing, the shorter writing of a longer note, when I was in Kakul (1967-69). More than ever is this skill required in these storm-tossed days.

But to return to the main road, not only is the army under attack, Pakistan is under attack. Nor can we harbour the illusion that this hostility will cease any time soon...because the more the American adventure in Afghanistan goes sour, and doesn’t play out according to American wishes, the greater the temptation to strike out at scapegoats, none more readily available than Pakistan.

So we should keep calm, always remembering Odysseus’s words, “Patience, stout heart, thou hast endured far worse than this.” Drum-beating and wailing, two sub-continental proclivities, we should avoid and engage with the Americans civilly – leaving shrillness to the howling of the winds – and keep to our course. But also remembering that the days of double hunts and double games are over. On some middling Himalayan peak we should bury the remains of jihad and raise a monument over it, offering our final prayers as the bugles sound. Of all the follies perfected by GHQ, which what once-upon-a-time gave the appearance of being a veritable foundry of follies, this was about the worst.

As for domestic cynics who would like to push the GHQ into the fires of interventionism – and who wouldn’t be found anywhere when the need arises to pull the army’s chestnuts out of the fire – they are best left to their own devices. No need to agonise over their well-deserved misery.

The next 18 months, leading up to the next elections, are likely to be about the most crucial in Pakistan’s history, for they will determine whether we are at all capable of a peaceful and democratic transition of power. Imperfect and rickety as the applecart of our present democracy is, there is no alternative to the democratic process, however much we may hate some of its manifestations. The GHQ’s role is crucial. It has to help in keeping the ship of state from rocking too much.
The old Mukesh song has it wrong: “sub kuch seekha ham ne, na seekhi hoshiari”... we have learnt everything except cleverness. The Pakistani nation has learnt too much cleverness. Now it must learn a bit of patience.
Tailpiece: Another person who could learn the virtues of restraint is Zulfiqar Mirza. Of a walking time-bomb there is no more perfect example.
By: Ayaz Amir , Email: winlust@yahoo.com

The Other side: Positive Role of Madaris

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lounge Revolutionaries: History of Pakistan Politics


There have so far been three major occasions in which Pakistani middle class has broken away from its traditionally conservative disposition to come out and announce ‘revolutionary’ political aspirations. The first time when this class began demonstrating political assertiveness was in the late 1960s when the bulk of its youth began to air grievances against Pakistan’s military-industrialist nexus headed by the first military dictator, Field Martial Ayub Khan.
Keeping in mind its inherent conservative outlook, one expected the middle class to oppose a secular-capitalist military dictatorship by siding with the mainstream anti-Ayub religious parties. But the many young men and women who led the revolt against Ayub turned sharply leftwards, gallivanting towards ideas such as socialism and social democracy, largely expressed through political organisations such as the nascent Pakistan People’s Party, National Students Federation and National Awami Party.

Young middle class Pakistan’s romance with leftist ideology lasted till about 1974, until its ideological darling, Z.A. Bhutto, gradually dumped hyperbolic leftist action to play a more pragmatic brand of politics. Middle class leftist groups on campuses began to succumb to infighting and disillusionment and the vacuum was gladly filled by the electoral rise of petty-bourgeois student parties such as the Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT).

The IJT’s rise on campuses was symptomatic of the anti-Bhutto and anti-left murmurings that had started to gather steam within the urban middle class, especially in the face of Bhutto’s half-baked socialist policies and increasingly autocratic behaviour. By 1976, the middle class youth, which, in the 1960s and early 1970s, had resonated progressive proclamations, now set themselves to rise once again, but this time they rose in search of an Islamic political and economic order.

Thus began the second phase of middle class-driven agitation in Pakistan that peaked with a right-wing movement against Bhutto’s ‘democratic dictatorship’.

Interestingly, whereas middle class youth had attacked military and industrialist instruments during the anti-Ayub movement, the anti-Bhutto agitation was openly patronised and at times funded by the industrialists. It culminated in a military coup toppling the Bhutto regime, and with the arrival of Pakistan’s third military dictator, General Ziaul Haq, who cleverly adopted the movement’s Islamist idiom.

Throughout the 1980s, the middle class remained split in their support for Zia’s rather bizarre political-economic edifice that crudely fused so-called Islamic policies with a free-flowing version of third-world capitalism. As the progressives and the conservatives went to war on campuses and in the streets, the middle class emerged feeling exhausted by the time of Zia’s violent death in 1988 and the restoration of democracy.

Only minimal political activity was witnessed from this class in the 1990s when Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif unwittingly played in the hands of Zia’s ideological remnants in the intelligence agencies and the big businesses. In Karachi the Urdu-speaking urban middle class embraced a new party, the MQM, and were embroiled in the political turmoil that accompanied the state’s operation against the supposed militant outgrowth of the MQM.

It was during this decade also that that the middle class, especially in Punjab, started to slide backwards into its customary conservative disposition when a new generation of Pakistani bourgeois began responding to social and religious changes enforced during the Ziaul Haq regime.
This tendency exploded into prominence after confusion and identity crisis that followed the tragic 9/11 episode. Gradually large numbers of young middle class men and women became interested in ultra-conservative fringe groups headed by drawing-room preachers and televangelists.

As the 2000s wore on under the country’s fifth military dictator, Pervez Musharraf—who played a cosmetic role of a moderate—the state and the media failed to arrest the Islamisation trend that grew even further from the rugged mountain areas to the drawing rooms of urban Pakistan. In fact, the ballooning electronic media ended up facilitating the born-again variety of middle class conservatism by adding another batch of religious talking heads to ideologically and, more so, commercially cater to the bourgeoisie’s desire to give its born-again status a political lining as well.

Thus arrived the middle class Pakistan’s third agitational initiation. But the interesting thing is, this time the initiative is largely cut off from the country’s mainstream political route, and has taken the shape of electronic lobbying (blogs, SMS, emails, etc.). What is even more interesting is that though these cyber and TV lobbies are portraying themselves as an alternative movement, the truth is, these foyers are mostly riddled with a fusion of convoluted leaps of logic, a knee-jerk mentality and the kind of conservative mindset that was constructed by the ‘establishment’ and politico-religious parties of Pakistan decades ago.

So consequently, what we have at hand as urban middle class ‘activists’ are actually figurative sheep (single-filed mobs), but which, thanks to the mentioned narrative that they have developed, have grown fangs. Retro-reactionaries posing as revolutionaries. Unless this section of the middle class decides to work within the mainstream political edifice of Pakistan and participate in the evolving democratic process (instead of being repulsed by it), it will remain no more than an irritant having only a nuisance value, becoming the harbingers of a TV lounge revolution, at best.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Talking Tall- A peep to Muslim History in India

The roots of the modern-day Hindu-Muslim antipathy in India and sectarian violence in Pakistan lie not in the distant past, but a mere 150 years back in history; or soon after the failure of the 1857 Indian Mutiny.

As the British became a lot more imposing after the failed mutiny, they also began introducing a greater number of modern ideas and technology, some of which suddenly awakened the Muslims to a stark reality. Muslims realised that they were actually a minority in India, something that was ignored by them due to hundreds of years of Muslim rule in India.

As the region’s Muslims finally resigned to the fact that the age of Muslim kings was as good as over, a number of Muslim scholars and reformers emerged and attempted to tackle this dilemma. Four strains of such reforms emerged: The conservative Deobandi movement, the puritanical Ahl-i-Hadidh movement, the ‘folk-Islam’ of the majority Berelvi creed of Islam and the modernist Islam.

The conservative as well as modernist reformers, though disagreeing on a number of issues, agreed that to tackle their community’s sudden minority mindset, Muslims of the region must now start identifying themselves as citizens of a worldwide Muslim ummah. It is also interesting to note that in spite of the fact that many among the modern-day Pakistani clergy and sectarian elements insist that their actions are tied to ideas of the first communities of Islam, a lot of literary material used in Pakistan ever since the 1980s in the shaping of various ‘Islamic’ laws and the rhetoric used to fan sectarian/communal hatred first emerged among the subcontinent’s Muslims not more than 200 years ago.

For example, the Mughals and the Muslims of the subcontinent weren’t all that bothered by the whole concept of the caliphate or for that matter the imposition of Sharia. The Mughals, though Central Asian by decent, were deeply entrenched in the political and social traditions of the subcontinent and so was their Muslim polity.

Also, till even the reign of the last major Mughal ruler, Aurangzeb, there are only a handful of documented episodes involving any serious physical clashes between the Hindu majority and the ruling Muslim minority.

Compared to the communal violence between the two groups in India and sectarian violence in Pakistan today, relations between the two communities and between Islamic sects were largely harmonious—especially during the reigns of Akbar and Shahjehan. What’s more, even after the emergence of the 18/19th century Islamic reformist movements, some of which attempted to reorganise India’s Muslim identity through a more strict and puritanical theology, tolerance between various competing sects amongst Muslims was a lot greater—until (beginning in the 20th century) the intellectual battles between these sects began degenerating into sectarian violence.

As tensions between Muslims and the Hindus and between Muslim sects began to grow, conservative Muslim scholars started reshaping Muslim history of the region as well. To them Mughal kings in general, and Akbar in particular, became villains, mainly for their ‘liberal views’ and detachment from the Ottoman caliphate (which ironically was largely secular and based on kingship). Yet, according to such scholars, it led to the downfall of Islam (secular Mughal rule?) in India.

Of course there was nothing academically or historically sound about such theories, and the scholars espousing them simply failed to look into the obvious political and economic reasons behind the fall of the Muslim rule, but the emotionally-charged claims in this respect resonated with a Muslim milieu ruing its lost status. The rewriting of the history of Muslim India by such scholars soon saw the Muslims of India talking more about ancient Muslim conquerors, and gleefully celebrating plunderers like Mehmood Ghaznavi and Muhammad Ghori, all the while downplaying Muslim rulers who had made India their home and played a leading role in uniting the region as a distinct and diverse empire.

The legacy of communalism in India and anti-Hindu sentiment in Pakistan today are a product of two main historical events: The suddenly discovered political majority status amongst the extremist Hindu fringe, and the Utopian intellectualisation of the Muslims’ minority complex, who were urged to look outside India for inspiration and somewhat ignore the brilliant legacy of (the supposedly Hindu-friendly) Muslim rulers of the region.

Today in Pakistan Muslims comprise a huge majority. So why do many Pakistanis spend more time celebrating Islamic history of regions outside India (especially Arabia), and seem to show more concern over what is happening to their brethren in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kashmir, while drowning out the havoc being perpetrated by Muslims against Muslims inside their own country?

If we study the recent trend of intransigent thinking and of denials doing the rounds, we will notice this denial has now become the vocation of the urban middle class. In an era of populist democracy (mostly associated with the urban working class and the rural peasantry), the middle class feels that it is a minority. Thus, it can be suggested that this class too seems to be suffering from the same kind of a minority complex that Muslims of the subcontinent suffered from after 1857.

Perhaps that’s why, comparatively speaking, it is this class that is today enthusiastically responding to all the retro-Islamic paraphernalia (Caliphate, Sharia, etc.), anti-democracy sentiment and empty, rhetorical muscle-flexing based on glorified fables and myths of “Muslim power” doing the rounds today in the drawing rooms, the popular media and cyber space.

Smokers’ Corner: Talking tall, Nadeem F. Paracha 
Some Comments:

Sir Nadeem Paracha sahib gi….now that you have finally decided to examine history ..deeply ..HERE is what you should & must study deeply…..the British & Imperial technique used to achieve their END…Divide & Rule ….Typically, imperial powers depend on the inability of oppressed local populations to muster a unified resistance, and the most successful occupiers are skilled at exploiting the differences among the occupied. Certainly that was the story of the British Empire’s success, and its legacy of nurtured local hatreds can be seen wherever the Union Flag flew, from Muslim-Hindu hatred in Pakistan and India, to Catholic-Protestant hatred in Ireland, to, yes, Jew-Arab, hatred in modern Israel. Ancient Rome was as good at encouraging internecine resentments among the occupied as Britain ever was…..Some argue that the development and propagation of the Bahai faith in the 1920s and onwards was a distinctly British tactic designed to add another “religious minority” to the Muslim fabric of the Middle-East, most notably in Iran and other lands with an Iranian populace….I can go on & on….the idea is SIR gi Nadeem sahib , don’t ignore..the real issue & stop tracking off track..it want get u anywhere……lol
best wishes & regard as always Sir Gi
URS truly

Nadeem has happily forgotten that The Rise of Marathas and Several other Hindu Powers – Jats (Under Suraj Mal), Bundelas (Under Chattrasal) and Sikhs lead to this insecurity among Muslims. Shah Waliullah quoted many bad words against Surajmal Jat as he plundered Delhi. More than 70% of territory was already under Hindus. Britishers came later. At the time Brits came, Mughals were confined to Delhi only. Other Muslims states in Continent were Awadh – Shia Siraj ud Daulah and Tipu Sultan- Ruler of Mysore. Please reflect the true history.

Jack says:
There have been clear tilts and a certain glorification of ancient Indian (almost completely Hindu of course) as well as medieval Hindu rulers; however, I do not think that the Mughal Empire has been painted as demonic (as mentioned below.Sher Shah Suri was an extremely gifted administrator ruler, and the Mughals (and India as well) benefited from his many contributions – civic administration, the Indian postal system, and the Grand Trunk Rd to name a few. That he was Muslim somehow never even comes to mind. Akbar is seen in the same light as Ashoka – as one of India’s greatest rulers. He must have also been a brilliant strategist, because his reaching out to nearby Hindu kingdoms and his famed religious tolerance did not come in the way of the growing empire. Aurangzeb, on the other hand, is seen to have been the pinnacle of intolerance, and Hindu-Muslim amity (or peaceful co-existence) in future centuries has been marred by his excesses. However, despite this dark period and the subsequent decline in the fortunes of the empire, the longevity of the greater Mughals ensured their wide acceptance as the rulers of India – which is why Bahadur Shah Zafar was the consensus choice if the 1857 mutiny had succeeded.
I humbly agree that misinterpretation and misuse of the system by ‘higher castes’ resulted in the alienation and deprivation of a large section of the Hindu population, and made a strong case for their eventual exodus into the arms of more accepting religions. I also agree that conversion back to Hinduism (a fatuous suggestion by someone just now) is ridiculous on many levels – not the least being that the same ills still plague our society, albeit to a far lesser extent than is gleefully reported in Pakistani media. On the other hand, that conversion was also encouraged by many Muslim rulers can be estimated from the number of years of uninterrupted Muslim rule within a region (take any region of erstwhile India till CE 1857) and the estimated growth in percentage of Muslim population within that region.
I feel pained that Pakistan disavows so much of its history in its unbridled dislike for all things Indian – unlike other Muslim nations like Iran and Egypt which are proudly laying claim to their pre-Islamic past. We (Pakistan and India) must accept that while we are not the same, we have much in common, and highlight our shared history and heritage (of which very little has purely religious overtones), rather than magnifying our differences.

MSalik says:
JAWAHARLAL NEHRU said in his “THE DISCOVERY OF INDIA” (Page 37): “HINDUISM as a faith is vague, emorphous, many sided, all things to all men. It is hardly possible to define it, or indeed to say definitely whether it is a religion or not, in the usual sense of the word. In its present form, and even in the past, it embraces many beliefs and practices, from the highest to the lowest, often opposed to or contradicting each other.”
    • Rag says: