Prem Chand We Are Ashamed – by Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Cross-posted from his blog

There have been very few times when I have not found the right words to express my grief, sorrow, anger or passion for something and today is one of those days as today I write for my man, Prem Chand – A Pakistani Hindu, a true patriot, a social worker who spent his life trying to uplift the condition of his fellow countrymen, he gave sweat and tears to this land of pure. An elected member of PILDAT;s Youth Parliament, whose fellow YP’s say the following about him:

He greeted muslims with a warm Assalamo alaikum…he sent msgs of congratulations on shab barat and other holy days…..He used “Allah” hafiz to bid farewell…and he swore by this name…I hv been with him….He was more of a sufi who believed in all religions and the good things in them

And it doesnt even matter if was he was that intolerant about religious beliefs, even if he were a staunch Hindu he didnot deserve what we gave him. He was on board EQ-202 Airbus 321, Airblue’s flight to Islamabad which crashed in Margalla Hills leaving 152 dead and the nation mourned (officially for 01 day). He was not travelling on personal visit, he was meant to be present at Youth Parliaments session the next day.

And like said above, he gave his sweat and tears to this land of pure – and what did he get? Some religious bigot wrote “Kaafir” (English: Infidel) on his coffin. (Link) We are no short of these religious bigots whose favorite pass time is to judge and discriminate on Pakistanis on basis of their faith – but this sad incident, which killed 152 human beings was an opportunity for these religious fanatics to show their true face. The poor guy, who was born in a Hindu family and spent his life trying to work for the people of his country was given the title of “Kaafir” by someone amongst us. This particular segment of our society pounces on every opportunity to exhibit their religious fanaticism from the very beginning, when Quaid e Azam (the founder of Pakistan) was labelled as “Kaafir-e-Azam”.

Bear in mind, Pakistan was made because people of Indo-Pak subcontinent felt they were discriminated upon on the basis of their faith – The same we are doing with our minorities.

I would cross-post some of his words here:
I believe in democratic process, because true democracy can solve all problems of state. – Prem Chand.

Prem Chand’s last status update on Facebook was:

“Comments Can Make a Person & Comments Can Break a Person.”So Be Careful and Ethical While Giving Comments for Someone.” – He rightly said so. A single word comment on his coffin has shattered many across Pakistan.

I protest against these religious fanatics and I salute Prem Chand – And all the Prem Chands in the making and I confess to the religious minorities of Pakistan – that just because of our silence, just because of our muted response to injustices done to you – we stand here after 64 years. I dig my head in shame, and I vow to fight for you, for us, for the Pakistan we were supposed to have.

Please join this page on facebook as we try to take it from, to pick it from here and voice out for minorities of Pakistan.

Below is the letter written by Zulqarnain, Prem’s friend:

Its very painful for me to write to defend such gem of a person. But in a society like ours where people are discriminated on the basis of their faith, Its essential to show these religious bigots their real face.

Prem chand was born to a poor family and was its lone feeder. He belonged to Sanghar, Sindh. He was 25 and was married and also had children. He, however, looked younger than his age and we also used to crack jokes on him for this which he thoroughly enjoyed. He certainly was not a “man” and had those boyish looks. He was doing masters from Sindh university, something pertaining to Social work. He not only called himself a social worker but his text messages also bore this signature. The signature was later changed to “YP Minister” when he was made minister for Youth affairs, culture and sports in previous session of YP. This honour was well deserved as he had prepared and presented a comprehensive research report on state of social welfare in Pakistan. He was hardworking, dedicated and sincere. His educational back ground was such that he could not make flowery speeches.
He was not good at speaking English and his Urdu also had that pinch of Sindhi accent but this never deterred him to stand up and speak whenever he wanted. He was a patriot and loved pakistan, worried about it as much as we “muslims” do, brought resolutions, prepared them, asked for help, tried to pinpoint and resolve all the problems that Pakistan faces, spoke against India on water issue and had no qualms on the prospect of going to war with her. I say all this to show that he was “normal”. He was not alien or “Indian”.

I have met many people from religious minorities. All of them have that peculiar air about them. they lack confidence, they have fears of the unknown, They are very cautious. Prem Chand also seemed to be the victim of discrimination. Though that did not make him a loner, but it sure taught him to love more. He over tried. tried to be more good to you than u wud expect, tried to make good friends of everyone. Most of the time he lived in the room right next to me during the sessions so he often came over to my room. Thats when I observed this. He would send u text messages just to stay in touch. he wont mind if u didnt reply. I guess, he could not afford to be egotistic.

He was very tolerant in his religious views. We never discussed religion much. Though once I remember a fellow colleague of us talked to him in good faith. He probably wanted to convert him to Islam. Though he never said so. There I came to know that Prem knew much about Islam. He liked Zakir Nayak and comparative studies of different religions. He was interested in Sufism as well. And he wont mind if u asked him questions about hinduism. When interacting with us he would use “muslim” greetings not to prove anything but simply to avoid putting others in a difficult situation.

I still remember the time when we used to hang out. He used to borrow cigarettes from friends and puff away scores of them just for the fun of it. He was not a smoker though. I also remember that prem did not have a FB account. He also did not know how to make one so Hassan Javed (the late youth prime minister) made one for him on his laptop. When the account was made he jokingly asked Hassan to allow him to add Hassan’s female friends as he did not have girlfriends of his own……Thats all I can remember right now hope it helps.

25 responses to “Prem Chand We Are Ashamed – by Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi”

  1. It indeed was a heart shattering news, Thanks to S A A Zaidi for such a wonderful post. I have started a piece to be written on the same issue but you have depicted our grief…
    Indeed its a day of humiliation for us as a nation, we denied a son of the land by tagging his coffin with a humiliating word…

  2. yaar, mind my french, but iss madarchodh, munafiq, hippocrite qaum ka kya hoga? it seem even god has given up on the madness we call religion in pakistan. lanaty quam ka yeh hi anjam hoga. ashamed to be a pakistani and a muslim because of such psychotic bigots.

  3. i love u i miss u i pray u prem chand , tumhary thinking aur social work tumhay hamesha zindha rakhengay ,thanks for great feeling sharing .
    irfan urfi

  4. Premchand
    May your soul rest in peace. You were a great Pakistani who died way before his time. You did not deserve the ignominy of a fanatic expressing his hatred on your coffin. With God, you will indeed find peace because God is not unjust. We celebrate your accomplishments, wisdom and brilliance.

  5. Ahmeddiyas are being slaughter like goats but no Islamic fanatic cares about it.

    There is a bomb blasts happening almost daily here in Pakistan but no Islamic fanatic cares about it.

    There are around 154 muslims who are dead in the plane crash but no Islamic fanatic care about it.

    But when one non-muslim dies in the same plane that same Islamic fanatics have willfully marked his coffin as kafir.
    What a strange thing !

    Nice article !

  6. I just came to this website by accident and read about Prem Chand. I have been reading Quran and about Islam for some time, my conclusion is that lot of muslims are good people as seen from the comments here, but the religion of Islam is the biggest problem,which advocate violence towards fellow human, non muslims [kafurs] [infidels] Sura 5:51 ” Believers ,take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends and protectors for they are friends and protectors of one another.Whoever of you seeks their friendship and supports them,shall become one of their numbers,Allah does not guide the wrong doers” Sura 9:111,” Allah has purchased from the faithful…. kill and be killed ” Not until good muslims like you stand up to the evils of Islam, things will never change. May god give wisdom to you all good /moderate muslims.

  7. I am from India and an Hindu by faith . I was deeply shaken by the treatment given to his coffin but more surprise to see that even Pakistani Muslims condemning this shameful act.Indeed there are good muslims to present in Pakistan as in India. Long live India and Pakistan.

  8. Syed,

    Great to read the story! There all millions things I would like to say about Pakistan, Islam, etc. But you just try below site and you can understand what happens to you and your ancestors.We all are supposed be Hindus and live peacfully.

    Your friend

  9. @skai:
    How could the religion be wrong and muslims right? I didnt get your philosophy. It has to be both or none. You cant just blame anybody’s religion for something. How would you feel if I blame your religion for something. My religion is sacred to me and yours to you. And different verses were sent at different times according to the situations. You cant just judge it like that, you gotta read the details and then come to a proper judgement.

  10. @skai
    The Correct View

    I believe that the correct view in this regard is that Muslims are required to maintain cordial and friendly relations with all good people, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, on the basis of their character and their behaviour towards Islam and good Muslims. If there are some such so-called Muslims around who are making fun of Islam, Muslims are expected not to be friendly with them too. On the other hand, if there are good non-Muslims who apart from being good humans are respectful to Islam, there is no harm in making them friends. In fact, Muslims should be friendly with them also with the purpose of bringing them closer to Islam.

    Qur’an has clarified the reason why some Jews and Christians can’t be made friends in the following passage:

    “O believers! Do not make your protecting friends those, from among the people who were given the Book before you and the unbelievers, who have made your religion a mockery or pastime, fear God if you are true believers. When you call for Salah (prayers) they make it as an object of mockery and pastime; this is because they are a people devoid of understanding.” (5:57-58)

    It is the same instruction the Almighty has given to Muslims regarding the hypocrite fellow-Muslims as well. Qur’an says “He has already revealed for you in the Book that when you hear Allah’s revelations being denied or ridiculed by people, you must not sit with them unless they change the topic of their talk, otherwise you shall be considered guilty like them. Rest assured that God is going to gather the hypocrites and the unbelievers all together in hell.” (4:140) “What is the matter with you, why are you divided into two groups concerning the hypocrites, while God has cast them off on account of their misdeeds? Do you wish to guide those whom God has confounded? Whomever God has confounded you cannot find a way for them to be guided.” (4:88)

    Thus Qur’an has mentioned the question of friendship to be decided only on the basis of the merit of an individual’s conduct and character rather than on a person’s apparent religious attachment. If a believer’s faith is in jeopardy while in the company of a bad Muslim, he should avoid his company, while if a believer’s character and faith are safe and secure in a non-Muslim’s friendship which can moreover result in that non-Muslim’s better understanding of Islam, that Muslim would do well to continue to make him his friend. The Almighty wants us to avoid the company of only such people whose “… real wish is to see that you become a disbeliever, as they have disbelieved, so that you may become exactly like them. So you should not take friends from their ranks unless they immigrate in the way of God…” (Qur’an; 4:89) The Qur’an clarifies in another passage that such devious people are only a few and not all the people of the Book. The Qur’an says: “O believers! If you were to obey a group of those who were given the Book, they will turn you back from belief to unbelief.” (Qur’an; 3:100)

    5) Conclusion

    Like in all other issues, Islam wants its followers to deal with the question of making friends too on the criterion of merit. A good Muslim can have friendship with all other good humans, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, so long as they respect his beliefs and not be a cause of threat to his spiritual and moral life4. He must avoid the company of those Muslims ands non-Muslims who have dubious character and who make fun of his religion.

    The traditional Muslim understanding that requires Muslims to maintain a distance with the non-Muslims is based on an incorrect understanding of the relevant Qur’anic passages on the subject. The erroneous interpretation has stemmed from two basic mistakes committed by the traditional interpreters:

    a) They have assumed that since one of the verses of Qur’an requires Muslims to stay away from making friends “the Jews” and “the Christians” (al-Yahud wa al-Nasaraa) their friends, it should be concluded that all Jews and Christians of the world were included in that category. The truth of the matter is that the context of the verse (as already explained) clearly suggests that the people referred to were a particular group of Jews and Christians. The words used for the purpose (al-Yahud and al-Nasaraa), if correctly translated, mean “these Jews” and “these Christians” i.e. who are creating the mischief mentioned in the relevant verses of the passage. The prefix “al” in Arabic is used for many purposes somewhat the same way as the definite article “the” in English. Like in a particular context the expression “the Muslim” would mean a particular group of Muslims, “the Jews” and “the Christians” (al-Yahud wa al-Nasaraa) means the particular group of Jews and Christians who were making fun of Muslims and were conspiring against them.
    b) They have assumed that the word Kafir means all non-Muslims of the world. I have explained that the expression means only those people who deny the message of God despite knowing unmistakably that it is from Him. After the discontinuation of direct communication of God with man through Divine Revelation as a result of the God’s declaration that Muhammad5 is His last prophet, there is no way man can know whether or not a certain individual or group has rejected a message knowing it to be from God.

    The fact is that Qur’an has declared that success in the hereafter shall be made available not only to Muslims but also to the well-meaning non-Muslims who were not Kafir: “Rest assured that Believers (Muslims), Jews, Christians and Sabians – whoever believes in God and the last day and perform good deeds – will be rewarded by their Lord; they will have nothing to fear or to regret.” (Qur’an; 2:62) How can the book that is giving the good news of everlasting success to a certain group of people ask some other people to not make them friends because they were not worthy of it?


    1. Chapter 4 of Qur’an.

    2. “If the enemy is inclined towards peace, do make peace with them, and put your trust in Allah. He is the One Who hears all , knows all.”

    3. Usmani, Shabbir Ahmed; al-Qur’an al-Hakim; Karachi: Taj Company Ltd; 1959; p. 154.

    4. Of course, to make friends is a matter of an individual’s personal choice. It is not necessary that all good people would make all other good humans they come in contact with their friends. The requirement of Islamic teaching is negative: A good Muslim shall not make a bad human his friend. The teachings are not – and cannot be – requiring him to make all good humans his friends by all means.

    5. God’s mercy be on him.

  11. To write Kaffir on the coffin of Mr, Praim Chend is extremely condemnable act. There should be a inquiry that who wrote this and what was his purpose to write this. If there is any need of identification mark at his coffin, his name “Praim Chend” was enough to write, but to write Kaffir, Non Muslim, Hindo or else is not good practice.

  12. This is an act of a sick mindset, Prem Chand was equal citizen of Pakistan and he deserves the same respect as anyone else. Punjab is the home the majority of religious seminaries and it has the most cases of blasphemy, there is a strong link of such institutions spreading hate amongst the masses.

  13. Janab Stop all these blunders and contact prame chand family at 0092-345-7985804 they will confirm that it was not marked with word Kafir

  14. Jia says:
    August 10, 2010 at 3:14 pm
    Janab Stop all these blunders and contact prame chand family at 0092-345-7985804 they will confirm that coffin was not marked with word ‘Kafir’

    …however Kafir is NOT a curse or a bad word, It is just a title for those who do not believe in Islamic teachings. (Day and Night)(Black and White)(Muslim and Kafir). And also there is a place in northern Pakistan called “Kafiristan” where millions of Muslims have been gone to visit, and Muslim still go and visit those people and enjoy with them, no matter if Kafiristanies believe system is different then rest of Muslims.

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