Thursday, July 26, 2012

 An illuminating Article By Brig. Mehboob Khan in Daily Times of Pakist
Before the advent of this paralysing strain of religious virus in the subcontinent, particularly in the ‘Ziaist’ Pakistan, most shades of Islam were peacefully cohabiting here

Desert is a formidable stilling basin that can soak up volatility and bite in the human beings. It is also a great teacher in patience, determination in adversity and self-reliance against odds. It could even pass on a pinch or two of equanimity to the deserving. However, those are measures of a different scale and are directly proportionate to the capacity of each receiving vessel. Moses came out of the desert stronger in heart and soul whereas Alexander the Great lost experienced soldiers and his life crossing one. There is the third dimension to the desert that is more mundane, more physical. It is want, loneliness, dearth, disease, hunger and thirst. It deals with helplessness of waste, inevitable of aridity and uselessness of expanse. In that useless expanse is found a flying insect, which is universally known as the sand fly and is dreaded globally. This poisonous insect bites unsuspecting but careless victim and the effects begin to appear after six weeks of hatching. An ulcer forms where it had stung and then it begins to expand. It takes long to heal and leaves a permanent ugly scar behind. A sand fly can travel hundreds of miles on the back of wild grazers and attack men out of the blue.
This is not intended to talk about how dreadful a sand fly could be but it reminds one of a similar and vastly deadlier, soul-ulcerating menace that has hit the careless but unsuspecting fellow Pakistanis emanating from the hard crusted Najdis of Saudi Arabia. I am referring to the spiteful Wahabist-Salafist cult that has invaded Pakistan first by stealth, then on invitation, through complacence and finally, outright bribe. There have been two routes that it followed, both willing accomplices in their crime against our wonderfully adjusted and socially balanced belief system and trusting people. The petro-dollar grabbing mullah and power hungry, illegitimate rulers like late General Zia were the co-conspirators and willing accomplices in this despicable plot against the people of Pakistan and the region.
Before the advent of this paralysing strain of religious virus in the subcontinent, particularly in the ‘Ziaist’ Pakistan, most shades of Islam were peacefully cohabiting here. Followers of other religions like Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and even Jews were neither threatened nor discriminated against. We had calm and mutual peace in our different religions and among various sects in Islam as a result of thousands of years of adjustment. After the attack of this black locust from the desert of Najd, it was never going to be so for a long time to come as they slow poisoned our minds and scorched our social landscape comprehensively against growth of reason, tolerance and coexistence. That we were to learn at a regrettably huge and continuing human, diplomatic and material cost.

This massacre of our culture, faith and great social values by Wahabist Saudis is a massive crime against humanity and people of Pakistan. In the traditions of Peninsular Arab, a guest is not expected to stay more than three days; thereafter, he must set off to the next destination or pay for his expenses and for good reason. In the subcontinent, we had so much in plenty and therefore, have always been generous to a guest, never ask him to leave unless he himself decides to go. Barren Najd and fertile Indus-Gangetic plains were and are two completely incompatible and vastly different worlds. Let alone us, they have never been able to reconcile with the more civilised Iraqis, Egyptians or Iranians next door to date. There is no way that their value system, social references and more importantly, mental imagery of social panorama can ever match and mix with ours. That is why this latest Arab re-conquest of Pakistan has resulted in a cultural genocide destroying our lovable traditions, easygoing popular fairs, happy folk festivals and of our inclusive and magnanimous lifestyle. Theirs is a mechanical, dehydrated and a rather stiffer version of Islam. What they can never understand and therefore, would remain averse to is that matters of faith are never mechanical; they belong to the sublime and the superior aesthetic self. It is extremely personal and never regimented. Try as much as they may but they can never understand how much one is in communication with God, at which affectionate wavelength, from which calling station, and how much honey is flowing between the two. For them religion and belief is black and white with no room for the huge humanity outside or the better ones inside. They refuse to grant that God is everybody’s and not a Wahabist monopoly. He is not a mathematical sum or a measurable quantity. God is where one could reach Him and not where you place Him.

Let me explain a little more. Madho Lal Hussain (1538-1599) was a mystic Sufi saint in Lahore in the times of Emperor Akbar, the Great. Lahore then was the core of Muslim heartland in the Indian subcontinent at the height of the Mughal rule. Imagine, Muslims practising parts of Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism simultaneously, 400 years ago in the heart of Muslim hinterland and becoming a venerated saint. This is impossible today but this unique miracle of superlative communal adjustment could happen only in Lahore and in the subcontinent. Lahore is also home to another Sufi ‘heretic’ called Baba Bulleh Shah of Kasur (1691-1757) who could have been burnt on the stake if Najdi paymasters of our pulpit were around then. Lahore is the heart of Pakistan too. See how brutally it has been pulverised by alien dogmas and their bloodthirsty foot soldiers. Their hired assassins, killing dozens of devotees, bombed the shrine of another great Sufi saint, Data Gunj Bakhsh in Lahore. That madness also sadly destroyed a very delicate niche for peace and harmony in the hearts of millions of devotees and common Pakistanis. They cannot make out why the shrine of Data Sahib, who has been held in such great esteem for his piety and benevolence by generations after generations since 700 years, was attacked. This is that moral atrocity perpetrated by the Wahabist-Salafists and their fellow barbarians that one must resist with full resolve. They are bent upon uprooting the entire moorings and grand structure of our society, faith and civilisation. We are being dragged back to more than 800 years of evolution where arenas are being erected for executions of non-adherent other sects, heretics like Madho Lal Hussain, and delightfully outspoken men, like Baba Bulleh Shah. Again, Mansoor Hallaj would be beheaded, people will be persecuted for their faith and their robotic qazis would preside over communities of the mute and the dead, consigning them to the dark and damp dungeons forever.

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