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Neither Hindu nor Muslim
Sacrificing pride, let us sit together.
Neither Sunni nor Shia,
Let us walk the road of peace!
But things don’t look like so among us proud Pakistanis. We see God as the one who takes revenge against the betrayers of his mis-interpreted religion (read dogmas)and his pleasure-seekers are doing the deed by violently and mercilessly murdering those who have not an iota of an understanding of their brand of Islam. Hegemony holds sway in the land of blood. Hatred champions itself in the land of the righteous. Untried blasphemers are lynched and torched alive in this very land of the pure. Women are disfigured and defaced by acid throwing or are gang raped by orders of village elders for honor’s sake. And then they say speaking against all this as ‘Western Propaganda”? How ironic. Who is a Westerner here? Is common-sense related to Blackwater Co here?
What if we see God above all this who actually has come down, pleading his staunch followers, for mercy and change in thought to stop humiliating Him like this? Is it not possible to see Him in human terms rather than kill your sons and daughters in blind faith? And if one is indeed a true Muslim, then what’s the point in reciting the First Kalma aloud time and again? It doesn’t lessen any faith, and we all know that. Our sleeves are full of it. Piety here has indeed become a curse and it’s good to see that Baba Bulleh Shah died long before he could witness all this. With the young doctors on strike, he’d have died of a heart attack today and no one would be there to weep for this blasphemer.
The language we use today has become bigoted. The offices we work at have become cesspool of anti-Shia, anti-Ahmediya, ant- Christian, anti-Jew, anti-Hindu, anti-Sikh and anti-human gup shup. An average child who goes to a middle level public school believes that it is sin for women to work outside their homes, and the best is that they actually lose their virginity by driving cars, thanks to the Saudi fatwa.
So what has been inclining everyone, even the ones who want to be considered liberals because they wear Levi’s jeans, towards this retrograde and moral degeneration. Moral degeneration is not that we see Katrina Kaif on Billboards, but is the lack of confrontation against the powerful radical clergy that blacken the faces of models on advertisement posters and posting violence-inciting messages in our residential areas. The best example can be noted at our universities where religiosity has taken such strong roots that many professors and students have been harassed and attacked with gun shots at their residences and yet no action has been taken by the concerned authorities for fear of backlash.
For any culture, preservations should be made on the principle of its inherent indigenous core without it being oppressive or hegemonic on others. In our case, unfortunately, there are conflicts of political interests, causality of which we see in our society that suffers from its identity chaos and even, bloodshed in some cases. During Zia’s draconian era, major reforms took place in the education curricula (allegedly prepared by University of Nebraska) to harden it with Jihadi references, even for elementary students, to recruit Mujahideen to fight against the Russians in Afghanistan in the 80’s during cold war. The literature developed lacked any cultural or religious sensitivity. Moreover, tones of private editions were published for the surfacing militantmadrassahs that brainwashed the adrenaline-rushed youth into something more destructive than using their worth towards productivity. Ever since the cold war ended, the US-Petro dollars didn’t stop flowing, however, no serious effort has been made to reverse the education damage that is to be blamed for ill-informed and biased populations that have been geared towards more hatred. News papers and current media are no exceptions in spreading biased opinions and lies. The alienation of the very people who are the citizens of Pakistan is doing an economic harm of the worst kind and the fact remains neglected politically. The first such example of harming the nation lies in the very preamble of the Objectives Resolution that was passed by the constituent Assembly in 1948 only after the death of the Quaid, founder of Pakistan. The second most damaging act ever done to Pakistan as a nation was by Z.A. Bhutto through the formation of One Unit, which homogenized the variant nature of all the diverse regions of Pakistan, thus causing resentment among ethnic and minority groups besides damaging the institutions indirectly, in particular, the education institutions.
Accepting the fact that Pakistan is a multi ethnic diverse country is important for its progress, otherwise, giving in to the demands of the nexus of radical clergy, the powerful feudal lords and the army, will bring more resentment and disaster than any productivity or protection of the assets that the ‘deep state” considers important. This can only be done through proper identification of the problems and the right political lobbying for the right measures to be taken to address the growing problem of the militancy and for an educational evolution that can bring us out of the vortex of hate for other nations who live among us too. Nothing, in our case, should fall short of human dignity belonging to any religion, caste, creed or sexual orientation.