Pakistan and the taboo of secularism

January 8, 2011

graveFor everyone trying to understand the implications of Salman Taseer’s assassination, this essay from 2007 is good place to start (h/t Abu Muqawama).  “The Politics of God” is about why Europe decided, after years of warfare over the correct interpretation of Christianity, to separate church and state.  But it is also relevant to Pakistan, where the killing of the Punjab governor over his opposition to the country’s blasphemy laws has shown that what was left of Pakistani secularism, is, if not dead, at least in intensive care.

Read the opening paragraph to understand why it resonates:

“For more than two centuries, from the American and French Revolutions to the collapse of Soviet Communism, world politics revolved around eminently political problems. War and revolution, class and social justice, race and national identity — these were the questions that divided us. Today, we have progressed to the point where our problems again resemble those of the 16th century, as we find ourselves entangled in conflicts over competing revelations, dogmatic purity and divine duty. We in the West are disturbed and confused. Though we have our own fundamentalists, we find it incomprehensible that theological ideas still stir up messianic passions, leaving societies in ruin. We had assumed this was no longer possible, that human beings had learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that fanaticism was dead. We were wrong.”

The point of highlighting this essay is not to argue that Pakistan should emulate the west, nor indeed that secularism is necessarily the answer, but rather to suggest that there is still a debate to be had in a country where even using the word secular is becoming taboo. (And before anyone accuses me of orientalism, the advantage of looking at it through the lens of European history is that it also strips out some of the other factors which contribute to the nature of Pakistani society today — the war in Afghanistan, America’s response to 9/11, the role of the army, its past use of militant proxies, the weakness of its civilian governments, the fragility of the economy etc, etc).

As  the blogger kala kawa put it, ”too much space has been ceded. Too much PUBLIC space has been ceded. This debate cannot go underground. It must not be behind closed doors. We don’t have guns, and we don’t have bombs, and we don’t even want to kill anyone. We just want to talk it out.  Unfortunately, that’s enough for them to want to kill us.”

Or to quote Pakistan’s ideological father, Ellama Mohammad Iqbal, himself not a secularist, in one of his early letters: “Let the many-headed monster of public (opinion) give their dross of respect to others who act and live in accordance with their false ideals of religion and morality.  I cannot stoop to respect their conventions which suppress the innate freedom of man’s mind.”

So back to Europe and “The Politics of God”.  Author Mark Lilla traces the separation of church and state to the 17th century, at a time when Christians had wearied themselves with killing other Christians — just as much of today’s violence is a battle within Islam. In his treatise “Leviathan”, the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes laid down the idea that men would only be free of fear and war if they created political institutions without grounding them in religion.

“This liberal-democratic order is the only one we in the West recognize as legitimate today, and we owe it primarily to Hobbes. In order to escape the destructive passions of messianic faith, political theology centered on God was replaced by political philosophy centered on man. This was the Great Separation,” writes Lilla.

Do read the whole essay, but I want to scroll forward now to what Lilla had to say about the 1930s. It struck me as particularly interesting since that is where the idea of Pakistan finds its ideological moorings (for those who don’t know, this blog, Pakistan: Now or Never, is named after a 1933 pamphlet calling for the creation of Pakistan).

According to Lilla, the idea of political theology never really disappeared in the west with the separation of church and state, just as the human impulse to religious faith never disappears.  But it reappeared in a particularly distorted form in Europe after World War One in ”messianic” notions of how to transform society. And it reappeared especially in Weimar in Germany where that messianic faith in the possibility of human redemption, he argues, led to Nazism.

“All of which served to confirm Hobbes’s iron law: Messianic theology eventually breeds messianic politics. The idea of redemption is among the most powerful forces shaping human existence in all those societies touched by the biblical tradition. It has inspired people to endure suffering, overcome suffering and inflict suffering on others. It has offered hope and inspiration in times of darkness; it has also added to the darkness by arousing unrealistic expectations and justifying those who spill blood to satisfy them. All the biblical religions cultivate the idea of redemption, and all fear its power to inflame minds and deafen them to the voice of reason. In the writings of these Weimar figures, we encounter what those orthodox traditions always dreaded: the translation of religious notions of apocalypse and redemption into a justification of political messianism, now under frightening modern conditions. It was as if nothing had changed since the 17th century, when Thomas Hobbes first sat down to write his ‘Leviathan’.”

Many of the men who fought for the creation of Pakistan lived or studied in Europe and cannot have been immune to the political influences sweeping the region in those fateful years after World War One. At the time Europe was reeling from the sheer scale of death wrought by the war and looking for other ways to structure its political systems.  It was a time where people believed again in the possibility of an idealised and perfectible society, rather as they had done in medieval Europe when they fought over Christianity. Communism and international socialism was one such ideal. Fascism was another. It was only after the trauma of World War Two that modern liberal - and secular - democracy, really took root in Europe (and since it has been going for only 60 years, a short space of time compared to centuries of history, it’s impossible to predict whether it has taken root for good.)

It was in that feverish atmosphere that Choudhary Rahmat Ali’ proclaimed in ”Now or Never” – written in Cambridge, England - that the Muslims of South Asia might ”live or perish for ever” if they did not stand up for their faith and the existence of Pakistan. It is a fear that has found expression nowadays in an intense anti-Americanism.  (Interestingly, he also complains that Muslims were in danger of being sacrificed by their “so-called leaders”, who had gone along ”without any protest or demur” with plans for a united independent India, a criticism also levelled at today’s leaders for cooperating with the United States.)

Iqbal believed that only Islam, with its internationalist outlook and faith in common humanity, could break down the barriers of race and national greed which had led to World War One.

And in 1933, he wrote admiringly of Italian dictator Mussolini as an example of the essence of Islamic economics, which was ”to render the growth of large capitals impossible. Mussolini and Hitler think in the same way. Bolshevism has gone to the extreme of abolishing capitalism altogether.  In all aspects of life, Islam always takes the middle course.”

Yet Iqbal was also a scholar, who credited early Islamic scholarship, and its capacity for inductive rather than deductive reasoning, with laying the philosophical groundwork for European humanism — the same kind of reasoning that led Hobbes to reject the politics of religion.  Somewhere in that capacity for intellectual thought, and what he called “the innate freedom of man’s mind”, lies the space for debate.

(File photo of the grave dug for an earlier victim of violence in Pakistan)

Comments

@”The stats on demographics of Indian muslim population I quoted above are from Guardian article authored by an Indian referenced (link given) above.”

I don’t care who’s stats they are, they’re way off the mark. When the literacy rate for the whole of India is app 70% (substantiated 2009 figures), it’s not possible that it’s just 5% among muslims. Same goes for the 2% public access figure, it’s balony. There are literally hundreds of minority welfare programs for muslims in India (you can get the details from the indian govt website, if you want).

“Good that Guardian is exposing the hindu terrorists in your midst, its only a matter of time before Reuters catches up. Financial Times and Economist have recently exposed the corruption, incompetent politicians and lazy bureaucracy in India which is a huge obstacle towards full economic potential.”

It’s not the Guardian or any other foreign newspaper which exposed Aseemanand. The Indian authorities got the confession from him & the Indian media exposed him to the world. Same goes for the corruption scandals, the Indian media is the first one to expose any scandal, not the financial times or economist. I agree that corruption is a huge problem in India but it’s hardly a secret. The fact that India is able to keep growing at 9-10% (and will continue to do so as per most economic forecasters) despite the corruption, beauracracy etc. says a lot about that country.

“No wonder permanent UN seat for India is not even on the cards. Countries like China, Japan and Germany are far ahead in good governance.”

How do you know that a UN seat for India is not on the cards, do you work for the UN? You have absolutely no idea what goes on behind the scenes, don’t go by your own propoganda machinery. You can’t compare India with Japan & Germany, they are developed countries, India is not. And again, you have no idea about the governance in China, nobody does as everything is concealed whereas India is an open book.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@Ganesh
“The question is, what can we change about ourselves”

Now you have asked the perfect question and solution to all problems lies in finding answer to this question. Every single soul has to find an answer to this question. As long as people continue to be sheep they will continue to be shaved off.

“That should be g dot c dot prasad at gmail dot com, but I’m told Gmail doesn’t care about the initial dots anyway”

It does. gcprasad is definitely different from g dot c dot prasad. Just thought to tell you so that you may not make this mistake accidentally. :)

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

You guys have put out so much stuff that even the world intelligence agencies from CIA to ISI must now be completely confused.
I guess you are probably aware that comments contained in this blog are keeping CIA, langley computer very busy.

@777
People who were living in the part which is now Pakistan, did opt for Pakistan. Mr Jinnah, whatever his reasons or intentions, he did manage to win their confidence at that time. Let us therefore not blame him for the decision which people took without any pressure or coersion.

@KP
History, which one learns from the family members and ancestors, should be more reliable than that which one reads from history books,newspapers articles and other published literatures. The reason is that while one is able to better calculate the influence of emotions, prejudice and exegeration of one’s own family members than those of strangers who are the authors of history and different literature.
For example, how many christians in the world are aware of the alterations and changes which were made in today’s Bible by king Constantine. Whereas, Quraan has remained unaltered throughout its life and kept its original Arabic language. Incidently, Burqa has nothing to do with Islam.

Res later.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Rex
“Mr Jinnah, whatever his reasons or intentions, he did manage to win their confidence at that time. Let us therefore not blame him for the decision which people took without any pressure or coersion.”

When did I speak Jinnah here??

“For example, how many christians in the world are aware of the alterations and changes which were made in today’s Bible by king Constantine. Whereas, Quraan has remained unaltered throughout its life and kept its original Arabic language.”

There starts chest thumping by Rex. Islam is best and rest all worst. No point discussing anything with this man. How is Rex so sure that Quran remained unaltered and Persians did nothing in it to suite their expansion motives. Meditation?? Stomach??

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

@777
you are not the only one who does not feel or recognise the will of the people. Pakistan Govt. and its liberal elites have not understood the message contained in Taseer’s murder, which I regard it as a wake up call, the revolution of the proleterians in their country is brewing. Others are likely to follow.

You can sit back with comfort and wish that Kashmiri people would somehow get subdued by the military and all would be well eventualy. You could also claim like Rehmat that sikh terrorists were involved in the uprise of sikhs(there were many before in their history) and they were all crushed or fled the country. Subject closed. Good for every one. What a wonderful the world would be if things were to be static and every one would go for reason,solidarity, and show solidarity for the country. But real life is usualy different, not only on the Idiot Box. We have all seen the fall of 23 yeras President of Tunisia, the great ally of the USA in war against terror, who went live to his people on the Idiot box, apologised, admitted being ill advised by his govt. ministers and then had to run for his life and escaped to Saudi Arabia, abondoned by France and the USA, his buddies.

We are also watching the rise of China as a super power replacing the USA to a second place, under the strict watch of the current power. Do you genuinely believe that whereas communist Govts have fallen against the democratic movements of the world, India or Pakistan Govts could keep on maintaining the use of military against its own people?

I very much doubt it. People are the power and it is the task of the leaders in a democratic Govt. to create a consensus among the people of their great ideas. One needs that and I genuinely wish that India and Pakistan succeed in this ventures.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@777
Sorry, my mistake, Kp is blaming the leaders. You do accept that the people make mistakes when they choose the wrong leaders. Sorry.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Bloggers
Very straightforward and honest but very simple explanation for prejudice, I thought. Hindus would prefer to live in the neighbourhood of vegeterians.

Could I use this explanation to avoid having an african as a neighbour or avoid living next to an Indian or Pakistan who always cook curry smelling foods or avoid living next to a neighbour who is making bacon in the morning.

Would I not be called intolerant, racist and other names?

I thought people would call me names and therefore decided to have a next door neighbour which is living at a distance of five hundred metres from my house.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@KP
Here India could learn from Europe and ban muslims marrying upto four wives. I trust Indian laws do not allow women marrying more than one husband at atime.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Here is the next PM of Pakistan in the making:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan  /20/daniel-pearl-murder-briton-perjury

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan: “People who were living in the part which is now Pakistan, did opt for Pakistan.”

That is not correct. People who lived in the regions that became Pakistan did not support Jinnah. A referendum was held in this regard in these Muslim majority states and Jinna’s Muslim league came up with 35% of the votes. Pashtuns were opposed to partition. Congress party had won the state legislative elections in Punjab (united), NWFP, Bengal and many other states. The people who liked the idea of partition were those who lived in regions like Awadh (Uttar Pradesh/Bihar etc). Most were wealthy landlords.

The mistake that Congress leaders made was to quit all the legislative assemblies in protest against British recruitment of Indians for WW II. If they had stayed in power, partition would not have happened. Gandhi, Nehru and other leaders started the quit India movement and got themselves jailed. This created a power vacuum. Mr. Jinnah had given up his quest for Pakistan and was living in London as a lawyer for about three years. This power vacuum brought him back to Hindustan and he was asked by Liaquat Ali Khan and others to start the campaign again.

Most people who stayed behind in the Awadh region were low caste Hindu converts. The same in Bihar. Biharis moved into East Pakistan at the time of partition. The others stayed behind, while the rich folks emigrated to their promised land. Many have marriage alliances with Muslim families in Awadh region even now. AQ Khan moved from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

Poor Muslims in Bihar and UP remained poor. Hindu dominance did nothing to their economic state. Many worked in leather industries making shoes and garments. Dying and clothing business also was dominated by the Muslims in Awadh.

Most people hate migration, especially if they are poor. They live with huge family networks spanning over generations. Poor people do not have the will and resources to start from scratch in another place, if they could live the life they have been leading all along at the same place. It has nothing to do with them being Muslims. Only when they lose everything do they get forced into migration. Otherwise they are happy where they are. Many Muslims opted to stay in India in the Awadh region because they were poor and had well settled for generations.

Those who lived in regions that became West Pakistan had no interest in Pakistan either. By instigating divisive violence, Jinnah, Suhrawardy etc managed to drive these people to their destinations. And the British colluded with them all the way through.

Pakistan happened not for the benefit of Muslims. It happened because of past era super power geo-political ambitions. Division had to be created and sustained by creating an unhealing would.

Think of this, before partition, Muslims and Hindus have been living in the sub-continent over eight centuries. There is absolutely no record of any anti-Muslim violence during that time period. Muslims and non-Muslims fought wars together against Muslim and non-Muslim kings and emperors. Pakistan was deliberately created.

“Mr Jinnah, whatever his reasons or intentions, he did manage to win their confidence at that time. Let us therefore not blame him for the decision which people took without any pressure or coersion.”

Jinnah died a year after the formation of Pakistan. There was no time for him to win anyone’s confidence. He was not elected as the Governor General of his country. He was a British puppet. He belonged to the Shia community and was a Muslim only in his name. If he had lived a little longer, the local war lords would have used that against him and finished him off. Look at what happened to Mujibur Rehman in Bangladesh. Violent methods lead to violent ends. Pakistan will prove that point.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan: “Hindus would prefer to live in the neighbourhood of vegeterians.”

Wrong. Vegetarians prefer to have vegetarian neighbors. There is no discrimination here. Gay people do not get accommodation in many places either. When I went to grad school in the US, the apartment manager asked us to confirm that we were not gay. In general Indian students take up room mates. There are people who do not like smokers around. People will not allow former convicts to rent apartments nearby. Child molesters are not allowed in family neighborhoods. Are you saying everything is discrimination? I’d use the word preference instead.

Your logic goes like this: All lawyers are educated. Therefore all educated are lawyers. Think about it.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@KP
Are you again in your moments of blowing in the air. I make errors but you misunderstand and quote wrong history.

1) I do not consider a vegeterian(your words)preference to live next to a vegeterian as discriminatory, but others would. I also do not consider white preference for white and non Indian or Pakistani preference to live in the neighbourhood of a non Indian or Pakistani, as discriminatory. But others, the public and human rights people would! Comprendo.

2. The Pashtoon province of NWFP overwhelmingly voted for Pakistan in the 1947 refrendum despite being overwhelmingly the congress party consituency. Mr Jinnah was able to win them over for Pakistan. Had this not occured there would not have been a Pakistan today. Now stop being a naive person blaming the Brits or the Americans for all the ills of what is happening in Pakistan.
You read a lot of material and tend to mix apples even with cherries. Jinnah with Stalin (the dictator) and then the serbian thug!
Think over it. I know it is damn tough to live in Canada, but do not worry G Prasad has a grand plan to settle your people in Kashmir!

People are reponsible for decisions in the end and not those who knowingly or in ignorance elect their leaders.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor said:

> G Prasad has a grand plan to settle your people in Kashmir!

Eh? Learn to attribute references correctly. This is sloppy journalism.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

@Rex
“I tell you what your problem is that You are too clever, always trying to act like the devil’s advocate. I have no qualms about your comments, I fully agree.”
***I guess that was a complement. :-) Thanks!!! Since we agree, and you closed the subject, see you later.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

@Rex
“Hindus would prefer to live in the neighbourhood of vegeterians”

“SOME” Hindus would prefer to live in the neighbourhood of vegeterians because they are themselves vegetarians. Its same like a non-smoker would PREFER company of a non-smoker. You may call it racist or whatever you like but we don’t care. People in India for a large part respect each other’s eating habbits and vegetarians do like to have vegetarian neighbours. You would even find even some non-veggies become veggie on some occasions for some auspicious days. That’s how India is.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

@Rex
“People are reponsible for decisions in the end and not those who knowingly or in ignorance elect their leaders”

‘People are responsible for decisions’ — Correct I agree for the first time with you.

‘not those who knowingly or in ignorance elect their leaders’ — Its the people only who elect the leaders and are responsible for electing wrong leaders out of ignorance thats what u said…I seriously did not understand your sentence. I think what u meant what “not those who ARE elected (leaders) BY people knowingly or out of ignorance”?? If not then, please detail out.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

@Rex
“I thought people would call me names and therefore decided to have a next door neighbour which is living at a distance of five hundred metres from my house.”

In India we don’t have luxury of space :( so we do not find it racist to choose neighbours based on eating habbits but some fools give it a religious colour and make outsiders like you and Umair FALSELY see India as a racist society.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

777xxx777 said:

> [In Gmail,] gcprasad is definitely different from g dot c dot prasad. Just thought to tell you so that you may not make this mistake accidentally. :)

Well, I sent mails to myself with all combinations of dots present and absent, and all mails reached me. So I believe Gmail really doesn’t care about any dots before the ‘at’ sign.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

@Ganesh
“Well, I sent mails to myself with all combinations of dots present and absent, and all mails reached me. So I believe Gmail really doesn’t care about any dots before the ‘at’ sign.”

Good then!! Good for all of us :) may be my info was outdated. Thanks for correcting.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

@Bloggers
If any one does not comprehend or agree with certain comments, then why do you insist on clarifications and definitions. There are no worldwide standards that one can rely on, every thing can be and has been challenged. We have no more appetite of the NYTimes, Washington Post and the guardian from the UK, not to mention the self proclaimed angel WikiLeak. Nothing good is going to come from the liberals, who are talking about a world for which there is no consensus.
There are people who are even confused with dots and at signs and now trying to tell us that those who prefer to live next to a vegeterian is not a racist. The next we should be ready to read from many good people that India is not a racist country, and most probably many would say that the USA and Australia have never practiced racism.

The most important thing is how one feels about it ones self; and if any of you personaly feels that people preferance for ceratin types of people over others for one reason or the other ( nobody in the world is a nut to do things without a reason)is nothing to do with racism then it is o’k with me. Never mind the others, after all one has to live with one’s own conscious! There is no need for the rant about what the Germans what they did during the war,if one is quite on what the Austarlians did to aboriginies in peace times and the Americans did to the slaves and the Europeans ( not only Germans) did to jews and the Spaniards did to muslims and jews and the English did to Indians, scots and the Irish. We are all sinners and we must all repent since we are all capable of doing things to each other which the animals are not capable of doing to their own kind. So please stop playing the role of a ‘good’ and defining who the ‘Bad’ or Evil’ for believers is?
Now all this has very little to do with the article similar to the role of clergy and religion, this has nothing to do with it.

Myra, the Pashtoons ahve a slogan, if I am not able to do something against the enemy, I shall kill my father!!

The facts are that in most parts of the world, Pakistan is not an exception, we do not find leaders with vision who could implement reforms in their countries and make laws more humane and suitable for our times. Even the graat Obama, elected on the slogan of ‘change’ has been unable to make the USA more humane?
In muslim countries, including Pakistan, the change for better or worse is on the horizon from its own population of under twenty and this is likely to surprise most in the next decade. what has happened in Pakistan was just a misfire too early, people have had enough of this double standards and kow towing of their domestic policies in the interest and on behalf of the foreign powers. We are witnessing a new type of revolution for freedom and peace( foreigners must quit is the slogan)and the sooner one recognises it the better it would be for peace.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@777
you could buy a small piece of land in Dharamsala, in the foothill of Himalayas for weekends and enjoy the nature! You would hardly find a Mcdonald shop?

@G Prasad

Indeed I was very polite! Do you regard Sikhs as flunkies to fight for India, to seek asylum in foreign land when naked force is released aginst them and now your proposal for the rest to become jews of India and settle in Kashmir, depriving kashmiri muslims of their land?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@KP
I did not understand your joke about lawyers and education? I would not classify lawyers as educaterd people. Study of Coutries criminal or civil laws or its constitution provides very limited education. The next you would say that those who are good at spellings are educated people? Think over it!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor said:

> Indeed I was very polite! Do you regard Sikhs as flunkies to fight for India, to seek asylum in foreign land when naked force is released aginst them and now your proposal for the rest to become jews of India and settle in Kashmir, depriving kashmiri muslims of their land?

You have failed to understand me yet again. I did not make the point about Sikhs settling in Kashmir. KP Singh did. Please learn to attribute comments to the right source before you comment.

See this link: http://reut.rs/g7FMyc

“Many Sikhs will gladly settle down in Kashmir.”

Please don’t argue with me about things I did not say.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor said:

> Myra, the Pashtoons have a slogan, if I am not able to do something against the enemy, I shall kill my father!!

I am filled with awe and admiration for the Pashtoons. I would never have considered such an innovative course of action. Is there anything these superhumans cannot do?

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

@GPrasad
The Pashtoon phrase was addressed to Myra, the qualified journalis, not to you. If you do not understand something not meant for you then move on! Is this not what you were taught in the primary schooling or at home?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@GPrasad
You know very well that KP is a lost man making his voice heard from the wilderness, just top tell the world that he is still living. What the Indian Govt. has done with his folks is a trgedy unmatched in modern history: Perhaps the old Indian tribes who crossed into Canada from the current USA met similar fate from yanks.

I always regard his statements with care and not on face value. You as a former citizen of India should realize what his family has gone through and yet he tries to talk about his loyalty to India, whatever it means.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Rex
“you could buy a small piece of land in Dharamsala, in the foothill of Himalayas for weekends and enjoy the nature!”

Now who is being rude?? If you do not understand something then take your own advice and just move on.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

“the Pashtoons have a slogan, if I am not able to do something against the enemy, I shall kill my father!!”
Posted by pakistan

Of course, that makes a lotta sense! No wonder, pashtun land is populated with so many fatherless!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

“the Pashtoons have a slogan, if I am not able to do something against the enemy, I shall kill my father!!”
Posted by pakistan

Of course, that makes a lotta sense! No wonder, pashtun land is populated with so many fatherless!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor,

It would show culture if you apologised for wrongly attributing KP Singh’s statement to me and arguing with me about it. You are noticeably silent on your mistake.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

@G Prasad
I guess I should tell you the meaning of the Pahtoon phrase, though it was meant for Myra, the brilliant jounalist in my view and I guess she has understood it.
It simply means that when you are unable to find the culprit responsinble, you just blame some innocent one. This is what is happening with Taseer’s murder. The Clergy gets the blame!
Now tell me, did you write KP’s statement about Kashmir in your post? If you did not, then I am sorry, but if you did then you carry the blame! And therefore my apology would be unnecessary. Should’nt KP not apologise as well in your agnostic view?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor,

You have written so many non-sensical things one after another, I have no idea which ones I should address first or just leave the non-sense to you. I think I will do the latter.

I am slowly beginning to realize that Pakistan mostly is made up of people like you. I saw the videos cheering Mumtaz Qadri. That tells me everything. When population becomes filled with Rex Minors, that country is doomed to fail. It is becoming filled with people blinded by emotions, frustrated and filled with fury. It is only a matter of time before it all blows up.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor said:

> Now tell me, did you write KP’s statement about Kashmir in your post? If you did not, then I am sorry, but if you did then you carry the blame! And therefore my apology would be unnecessary. Should’nt KP not apologise as well in your agnostic view?

I don’t know whether you honestly fail to understand an issue, or whether you just act like it. Maybe your thought process is just very different.

The statement by KP on Sikhs being willing to settle in Kashmir is *his opinion* for which neither he nor anyone else has to apologise. You may dislike his statement intensely but he need not apologise for having that opinion.

You thought that *I* had made that statement and continued to argue with me over it, even though I have no strong opinion on it either way and have never written about it. The wrongful attribution of a statement not made by me is the only thing that needs an apology, in my agnostic view, not the expression of an opinion on Sikhs settling in Kashmir. Since you have apologised for the wrongful attribution, I will treat the matter as closed.

And you can learn to accept that KP can have his independent opinion without having to apologise to you.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor said:

> It simply means that when you are unable to find the culprit responsinble, you just blame some innocent one.

Ah, now I understand that it’s meant to be ironical. I apologise.

> This is what is happening with Taseer’s murder. The Clergy gets the blame!

The clergy is *not* innocent, but of course they are not being blamed for the actual murder. They are being blamed for encouraging it by declaring Taseer ‘Wajib-ul-qatl’ (deserving of being killed) and for supporting the killing afterwards by threatening anyone who wanted to mourn his death. They have created the atmosphere of intolerance that caused his death.

MJ Akbar, the Indian journalist, has rightly pointed out that if Taseer had been an Indian Muslim, he would still be alive. The level of intolerance in India is nowhere near as high as in Pakistan, if you will just be intellectually honest enough to acknowledge it.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

@GPrasad
I am honest enough to believe in what you state, though I have not the knowledge of Indian and Pakistani intellects and I am sure many would not agree with me. What I have experienced on this blog also tells me the opposite, perhaps not a good sample of people? Incidently, Indira Gandhi would also be alive today if she had not blindly relied on her security guards after inflicting injury to the dignity of sikhs? Try not to quote or follow analogue people who have a very limited view of events. Rely on your own talent and feelings coming from your guts. Do you feel that India with its caste system is more tolerant than Pakistan?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Ganesh to pakistan “if you will just be intellectually honest enough to acknowledge it.”

He’s neither intellectual, nor honest. So don’t push your luck!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor,

One’s own stomach or guts can provide opinions, not facts. A lot of it is quite literally gas. A person with opinions that are not based on facts and will not change his opinion when facts are presented is called a bigot. It is not a bad word but an accurate description of such a person. If the cap fits, wear it.

You have heard the term ‘caste system’ but do not have anything more than a superficial knowledge of what has happening in India around caste since the days of independence. Indian society is not static but your textbooks probably are.

Before you talk about caste again, I expect you to do some research (not from stomach or guts please) on the following terms:

Mandal
SC/ST
OBC
Mayawati
BSP
DK and DMK

We can then debate your question with more insight, “Do you feel that India with its caste system is more tolerant than Pakistan?”

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Correction:

…what has BEEN happening in India around caste…

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

@Prasadgo
You want to know about the “Indian Caste System”?
Just google the foregoing words and your IPad would show you 693,000 results.
Have a good read!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor said:

> You want to know about the “Indian Caste System”?
Just google the foregoing words and your IPad would show you 693,000 results.

You are an intellectually dishonest person because you act deliberately obtuse. I asked you to research the progress made on caste relations in India, and you pretend not to understand. You have proven that it is impossible to have an honest debate with you. Other readers will have understood this as well.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

They tried to build a secular society using Islam as a foundation. Using a religion as a basis for founding a secular state is a contradiction in terms….particularly so when it’s an Islamic state that pretends to have secular aspirations. The founders of Pakistan saw what they wanted to see. They saw the secular values that they so cherished in their idealistic view of Islam. Secular moderation was to be found in a supposed moderate faith that always chooses the “middle path”. How wrong they were.

This leaves the Pakistanis confused. They keep trying to find a middle path. They don’t want to be Saudi Arabia. But they don’t want to be the West either. But I really do wonder if compromise is possible at all. I don’t think it is. Pakistan will slowly become another Saudi Arabia (and if the treatment of minorities is an indication, the pretense of even moderate secularism is slipping away). There’s very little chance it will go the way of Turkey and become a secular state with a large Muslim majority.

I know Pakistanis aspire to be Turkey. But the difference is that while there is debate in Turkey about secularism, most Turks understand and accept the necessity of separating mosque and state. In Pakistan, increasingly this is not the case. When the starting point of debate is that you are an Islamic Republic, that leaves very little room for debate.

Moreover, the situation of Pakistanis, ignores context. Pakistan was founded in direct contrast to the view that India would be a Hindu state. As such, Islam is a part of Pakistan’s identity. Even more than that, it’s Pakistan raison d’etre. Pretty hard to turn secular if the founding image of the country is based on the idea that Islam in South Asia was under threat from the Hindu hordes.

I do wonder what the founders of the Pakistani idea would think of the state of affairs today: an increasingly secular India (not perfect but constantly progressing away from sectarianism), sitting next door to a Pakistan that’s breeding more and more religious intolerance and fanaticism. Too bad. Pakistan could have been the Switzerland of South Asia.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive
 

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