Socrates of our time – by Suleman Akhtar

“The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die and you to live. Which is the better, only God knows.”-Socrates

(Apology, 42a)

After that, Socrates was condemned to death by drinking a mixture containing poison hemlock by the Athenian Ecclesia. This all started when Oracle at Delphi, subservient to Athenian Polis, conspired against Socrates by declaring him the wisest man living in Athens. Subsequently, he was charged that he worshiped gods other than those sanctioned by the Polis. He is considered as first martyr of “freedom of expression” from antiquity, who outrightly challenged status-quo imposed by oligarchic state.

Post WWII era and subsequent events inevitably led to de-colonization of third world countries, due to the tender economic condition of West. It was presumed as one of the most resilient ideas by the West that nations of Third World would inevitably secularize accompanying by modernization of social and political infrastructure with the flow of time. Significance of modernization is profoundly associated with industrialization, urbanization and subsequent rationalization of preposterous perspectives i.e religious beliefs and ethnic discrimination. Basis of this evolving process are rooted into the liquidation of pluralistic traits such as ethnicity and caste in relation to nationalism. Nonetheless, these reckless presumptions dashed to ground by reason of some conscious and/or unconscious prodigious historical blunders conducted during liberation of colonized countries, which subsequently reinforced some of the most notorious and implacable hegemonies of hitherto history.

Taking into consideration the Subcontinent, red sanguinary divide on the basis of religion, threw this part of world in dark and deep abyss of misery, bloodshed and horrifying hostility, instead of prosperous and enlightened future on the basis of modernization and liberal ideas.

Henceforth, I will establish apprehensions, confined only to Muslim majority faction of subcontinent i.e Pakistan.

Ineptness of leadership, governing newly born country could attributed to numerous historical and social constituents, which left the aristocratic leaders of All Pakistan Muslim League with no clear agenda and doctrine on which the country had to establish subsequent political and social structure. Some indeterminate and ambiguous lines were taken for constitutional and governing architecture of country, deprived of any conspicuous state policy. That enigmatic situation incorporated a deep administrative and policy void, which ultimately filled by theocratic elements of society with the aid of so-called Pakistan’s Magna Carta, formally known as Objective’s Resolution. This starts with :

“Whereas sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to God Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust”.

That was punctilious inception point of Pakistan’s State Policy, cemented with the elements of false nationhood, repression, theocracy, oligarchy and minority discrimination, which further paved the way for radicalization of religion, antagonism between different sects of society, and evolution of a security-state. The most lethal expression of whole doctrine was “sacredness of state”, prototype of Hegel’s concept of state that state is the highest form of objective intellect, which escalated the stature  of state to that illustrious point where nothing is questionable or under the scrutiny because of the sanctity attached to it. At the time, when resolution was presented before the constituent assembly of Pakistan, only “Socrates” of our region who stood against that tyrannical resolution was Mr. Sri Chandra Chattopadhya who stated on point of order :

“All powers, in my opinion, rest with the people and they exercise their power through the agency of the State. State is merely their spokesman. The Resolution makes the State the sole authority received from God Almighty through the instrumentality of people , “Merely instruments of the State”. People have no power or authority, they are merely post boxes according to this Resolution. The State will exercise authority within the limits prescribed by Him (God). What are those limits, who will interpret them? Dr. Qureshi or my respected Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Osmani? In case of difference, who will interpret? Surely they are not the people. One day a Louis XIV may come and say “I am the State, appointed by the Almighty” thus paving the way for advent Divine Right of Kings of afresh. Instead of State being the voice of the people, it has been made an adjunct of religion. To me voice of people is the voice of God, “Jatra jiba tatra shiva.” The people are the manifestation of God. “

Lines were already drawn, sole voice of Mr. Chattopadhya fell on deaf ears and the Objectives Resolution was adopted on 12 March 1949 by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. Crusaders used to cry “God wills it”, here this slogan took a whole new dimension of “State wills it”. Authority was snatched from the hands of masses by an infinitesimal class of society lusting for dictatorship and determined to impose upon the people a certain form of the state, even though entirely contrary to the will of the majority. That flimsy transition of authority ultimately took to the first military Coup d’état in 1958, orchestrating new role  of “guardian of ideological boundaries” for a state institution, along with further structural, social and political ramifications.

General Bonaparte was cunning enough to say ” Give the people a toy; they will pass the time with it and allow themselves to be led, provided that the final goal is cleverly hidden from them.’‘ Guileful tyrants of ruling minority maneuvered two expressions to consolidate their hegemonic rule.

1) Religion

2) Inception of an imaginary foe

Religion has always been exceedingly instrumental for despotic and authoritarian rules since antiquity. Religious constituents of forbearance and submissiveness have always been vulnerable to be manipulated by autocratic regimes. Notwithstanding, religious beguilement is extremely lethal to be practiced in a society which is fabricated of different sects and ethnicities. Religious fundamentalism may exploit the feelings of a nation,a sect or an ethnicity (a group of people sharing racial and cultural characteristics) to preserve their distinctive identity as a people or group in response to real or imagined attack from those who apparently threaten to draw them into a syncretistic or irreligious sphere. That religious stratagem of Pakistani State ultimately gave birth to an extremely hostile and intolerant society with hallmark of inter-ethnic and sectarian violence and conflicts, along with gratuitous antagonism towards neighboring country which is counterfeit vindication for preservation of heavy military equipment.

Another nail in the coffin of already tarnished society was fallacious cohesion of local social, cultural and traditional values with Arab ethics whilst deliberately uprooting the native Indian culture. That poisonous state policy has devastating implications from art, literature, aesthetics to nationhood and sovereignty. Coercive eradication of native culture has laid the foundation of nationwide Identity dilemma which is tantamount to death of creative norms of society. Today, condition of art, music  and literature is miserable, implying arid and lifeless creative sense of society. The spiritual culture of shrines which is the manifestation of love for humanity is under aggression. On the other hand, political and structural ramifications of this notorious state doctrine have paved the way for adaptation of “Neo-Jihad” and “strategic depth” policies, which have proved to be most detrimental for security situation of region, giving rise barbaric frankestein monsters who are deliberately deteriorating the social fabric of society; the ultimate result of bigoted state dogma.

Hundreds of thousands common men have been slaughtered at this embellished altar of oligarchic state policy and still being annihilated. They are Socrates of our time who have no idea if state policy descends from sky or germinates from soil, who even don’t know why are they being forced to drink poison hemlock. All they know is that they want to live in peace and harmony, instead of attaining the status of martyr.

4 responses to “Socrates of our time – by Suleman Akhtar”

  1. brilliant essay, Suleman! Especially this part:

    “Nonetheless, these reckless presumptions dashed to ground by reason of some conscious and/or unconscious prodigious historical blunders conducted during liberation of colonized countries, which subsequently reinforced some of the most notorious and implacable hegemonies of hitherto history.”

    there has to be an honest analysis of the damage done to the country’s social fabric by the events of partition and the tactics employed during the Pakistan movement.

  2. Comments on the article from Facebook

    Abdul Nishapuri Excellent article, Suleman

    Ali Abbas Inayatullah some very pertainent points that we can continue to ignore at our own risk; especially Objectives Resolution.

    Rashid Orakzai Yes we decry the symptoms and deny infections.

    Farhad Ahmed Jarral Excellent article 🙂 You’re a gem of LUBP !!

    Shahid Batalvi ‎”Salus Populi Est Suprema Lex”

    Shahid Batalvi
    What is fascinating is that principle #3 of the Objectives Resolution states that:
    3. principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as ENUNCIATED BY ISLAM, shall be fully observed.
    And principle number #5 states t…hat:
    5.ADEQUATE provision shall be made for the minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures.

    Who defines “enunciation” and “adequate”?
    “Yo mama” as they say endearingly on the streets of Bronx 🙂

    And now i shall repeat the same story:
    On the first anniversary of independence, Ijaz Batalvi interviewed Maulana Maudoodi at Radio Pakistan, Lahore on August 14, 1948. After the interview, both of them walked out of the building and as Ijaz Batalvi was about to get on to his bicycle to go home to Model Town, Maulana Maudoodi said to him:
    “Batalvi sahab, mulk to aap nay hasil kar lea hae, chalaen gay hum.

    Shoaib Mir: I have always believed that the Objectives Resolution has done to the principle of secularism exactly what Hadith has done to the spirit of Islam!!

    Shahid Batalvi: that is perhaps a correct parallel.
    The First Counsil of Nicaea did the same for Christianity but in a much more exteme and expeditous manner.

    Shahid Batalvi: erratum: council

    Rab Nawaz: Sri Chandra Chattopadhya’s speech should be hailed as classic in the history of Pakistan. He not only blasted away the rationale of Resolution but forsaw its dangers. His words “One day a Louis XIV may come and say I am the State, appointed… by the Almighty” fit very much to Zia Ul Haq.
    Suleman this is very good piece of writing. But I feel that its title is less justified and cogent as compared to over all article.See more

    Raza Rumi: Well done – brilliant stuff

    Shahid Batalvi: I would counter and suggest that the first Louis the XIV in this case was Governor General Ghulam Mohammad and his extra-constitutional act of dismissing the Constituent Assembly in 1954.
    This act was validated by Chief Justice Mohammad Mun…ir through the use of Bracton Maxim, “that which is not lawful is made lawful by necessity” and gave us gift of Doctrine of State Necessity, the gift that keeps on giving.
    Hence, the only sensible principle in the Objectives Resolution i .e. #9 was forever relegated to the depths of oblivion.
    This allowed subsequent Louis the XIV hijackers to perform their sacred duty to the State.
    One needs to look at the spatial and temporal location of the bone fragments to trace back the shattered remains of the skeleton lying deep down there in a state of unfinished death.See more

    Suleman Akhtar: I accredit Mr.Shahid Batalvi’s apprehension.
    Commencement and subsequent progression of Zia Ul Haq’s tyrannical regime wasn’t an absolute marvel but mere pertinent continuation of deeply rooted syndrome of falsified state.
    Notwithstanding, qu…alitative and quantitative escalation of atrocities perpetuated by state during his tenure may be attributed to retaliation of underlying state elements to Z.A.Bhutto’s clan who was accused of breaching the highly mystified cloak of sacred state.See more

    Suleman Akhtar: Rab Nawaz ==> Sir, I have a disease to fictionalize the things.

    Nonetheless, as per my limited approach, dogmas and doctrines ultimately affect PEOPLE who bear the brunt in the end. If I’am not writing an academic paper then it’s fine to hi…ghlight PEOPLE to assert my standpoint.See more

    Rab Nawaz: But their analogy with Socrates is less proper.

    Suleman Akhtar: I tried to focus on correlation of both entities as victim of state repression.
    However, I tender my apology if I have been unfortunate of expressing this theme too eloquently to convince you.

    Shafi Ul Huq: ‎@ Suleiman Akhtar. Congrats. A well written and an excellent commentry on the travails of Pakistan since it’s inception. Most people who have the good of Pakistan in their hearts, do understand the malady afflicting the State of Pakistan and its people. What is the remedy, given that a majority has been infected with this disease of the mind – this extreme and twisted form of religion? I know of no remedy for this form of disease,

    Shafi Ul Huq: ‎@Shoaib Mir. Mir Sab, A correct description of the “Objective Resolution” and it’s analogy to Hadith and Islam.