Sunday, August 26, 2012
COMMENT : Doing evil completely and cheerfully — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
The despicable and reprehensible jubilation and gloating that follows the most inhuman of sectarian attacks insults human dignity thoroughly
The reason for the rapid pace at which fundamentalism has engulfed society is because the state deliberately sponsored and proliferated the regressive ideology of its religion's superiority and allowed fundamentalism to devour the fragile body of religious tolerance, civil liberties and secularity. These trends were targeted because it wanted to impose its own religio-nationalist ideology and identity, while in these trends were seeds of identities and ideas radically opposed to that destructive ideology. To allow its ideology and identity to prosper, it desperately and urgently needed to crush the culture, history, languages and freedoms of the nationalities and minorities that resided here for centuries before the creation of this state.
Knowing that without imposition of its ideology the old nations would resist its hegemony and illegal rule, the indoctrinators employed the principle of Voltaire's thought: "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." To ensure that the majority would believe the absurdity they presented as truth, they passed the Objectives Resolution on March 12, 1949, which guaranteed a state favouring the establishment's ideology. The state relentlessly and single-mindedly used the pulpit, the press, education system and all instruments of coercion, i.e. the army, police and bureaucracy, to implement it. With unlimited resources at their disposal, they not only succeeded in marginalising the contending ideologies, trends, ideas and cultures but also succeeded in intimidating most proponents of opposing thoughts and movements.
The indoctrinators systematically imbued people with a manufactured nationalist ideology, which could not walk a step without the crutches of religion. Diversity they abhorred and punished. Deftly using the slogan of Islam, they deprived the Baloch of their rights and gave Bengal its language martyrs. The Baloch, Bengalis, Sindhis and minorities were relegated to a second-class citizenry, while those who subscribed to state ideology were amply rewarded. Thus were the seeds sown for all that is being reaped today. It would have been a miracle if a tolerant society had emerged from the dedicated and devoted efforts of the establishment to sow discord among nations and sects in the name of Islam.
Their attempt to create a monolithic state on the basis of a monolithic ideology resulted in increasing intolerance of nationalist aspirations, religious freedoms and of all manifestations and expressions of diversity. To ensure its success, the Pakistani state sowed hate, intolerance and bigotry in the minds and hearts of people. This pernicious intolerance has demonstrated itself in the army operations, abductions and killings of the Baloch and Sindhis, sectarian suicide bombings, sectarian carnage, mob lynching on flimsy charges of alleged blasphemy, curtailment of minorities' rights, forced conversions and exodus of minorities.
One cannot expect tolerance towards nationalities and minorities to flourish when the education imparted is not only biased but brazenly racist, jingoistic and bigoted. The generations educated since 1947 have been nurtured to believe in the superiority of state religion and all official narrative has been about the superiority of the majority sect. Irfan Hussain in a piece wrote that young officers at the military academy at Kakul among other things were indoctrinated with "the notion that one Muslim soldier is equal to 10 Hindus." Naturally, those thus indoctrinated would only impart the same to others. Moreover, the clergy — the state's natural ally — was given free rein to prosper, profit and spread hate. Little wonder in Bangladesh fundamentalists fought nationalists and participated in state atrocities against Bengalis. The army and Frontier Corps in Balochistan also claim Islam as their motivator.
The rulers claimed superiority over others not because of any achievement of theirs but simply because they were Muslims. Although it invited Arab ridicule who asked what contribution does a Pakistani have in Alhambra or Algebra, yet they prided in identifying themselves with past Arab achievements. Indebted to Saudi Arabia's largesse, they subscribed to its interpretation of Islam. In an attempt to prove their loyalty to Islam, they adopted radicalism to endear themselves to the Arab world, ended up creating 'strategic assets' and becoming a scourge for humanity as terror exporters, suicide bombers and a sectarian killers' haven.
The persecution of minorities and the fanning of sectarian fires naturally followed the persecution and repression of nationalities and were its natural corollary. Most people, minorities included, did not oppose the persecution and repression of the Baloch, Bengalis and Sindhis in the name of Islam, oblivious to the fact that it was the harbinger of similar treatment for them. All like Pastor Martin Niemöller's quote: "First they came for the communists..." realised late that persecutors of nationalities would soon come after them. They did not realise that their interests coincided with the oppressed nationalities because the state and its strategic assets considered them too as enemies and a threat to their ideology.
The reason for the miserable life of nationalities and minorities due to the Pakistani state's policies and attitudes have been remarkably well explained by C S Lewis, whom I have quoted in the past: "Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." Pakistan is an embodiment of robber barons and omnipotent moral busy bodies.
The state spawned and nurtured bigoted strategic assets for use in Kashmir and Afghanistan to fulfil their aims of a 'national security state' and 'strategic depth'. Unable to achieve much on those fronts and having tasted power and pelf, these strategic assets have now turned upon innocents to quench the bloodthirstiness that they were fostered for. The sectarian attacks on Hazaras and Shias in Balochistan, the killing of Shias in Babusar and elsewhere, and the persecution of Christians and Ahmedis are all the natural corollary of the state's pursued agenda and blame lies with it. The despicable and reprehensible jubilation and gloating that follows the most inhuman of sectarian attacks insults human dignity thoroughly. Fortunately, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), the French writer and Catholic philosopher, explained the reason: "People never do evil so completely and so cheerfully as when they do it in the name of their religion." Pakistan, al Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Anders Breivik are prime examples.
The writer has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He tweets at mmatalpur and can be contacted at email@example.com
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