Religious Extremism in Pakistan (part 2/3)

Posted on 17. Aug, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Repainting the National Flag (white portion depicts minorities while the green represents the Muslims)

Repainting the National Flag (white portion depicts minorities while the green represents the Muslims)

(Part 2/3 of the blog Religious Extremism in Pakistan)

When we try to dig in and find reasons behind rise of religious extremism in Pakistan the foremost reason we come across is the kind of distorted history that is taught right from the early days to the children in schools. The effect of this brain washing is permanent as by the time they grow up they tend to become rigid in respect of distorted and tweaked facts they have been indoctrinated with. One of such tweaking of the history is the ‘Two Nation Theory’, which led to incorrect belief that Pakistan was created as a religious state.

Whenever we try to put this so-called theory to a logical test, its results always fail to evidence its ‘religious’ or ‘theological’ nature which it is portrayed as. We don’t find a single trace of two-nation theory when India was ruled by minority Muslims. If religion is not sufficient to bind Muslims living in over fifty countries as one nation, how can it bind Muslims of Sub-Continent into one? Why Muslim countries have visa requirement for one another? Why do the more wealthy Muslim countries not grant nationality to less privileged Muslims from other countries? Why did a Muslim population greater than that in West Pakistan or East Pakistan decided to remain in India after the partition? We could not even retain East Pakistan after the partition. The bitter reality of Islamic history is that Muslims have killed more Muslims as compared to non-Muslims. The theory has always failed to stand up to logical facts and evidence and been misused for religious bigotry.

When Pakistan was founded in 1947, its secular founding fathers wanted to create a homeland for sub-continent’s Muslims, not an Islamic state, along with equal rights for non-Muslims – a stark contrast to theological portrayal of the two-nation theory. Reflecting his secular views, Muhammad Ali Jinnah nominated a Hindu, several Shias (he himself being a Shia) and an Ahmadi to Pakistan’s first cabinet. Jinnah’s secular views were demonstrated not only during the struggle for independence but in his famous speech on August 11, 1947, the same day when the flag was adopted.

Religious Extremism in Pakistan (part 1/3)

Posted on 16. Aug, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Repainting the National Flag (white portion depicts minorities while the green represents the Muslims)

Repainting the National Flag? (white portion depicts religious minorities while the green represents the Muslims)

As the Independence Day, August 14th, came and went national flags could be seen hoisted on the government and private buildings, houses, markets, cars, trucks and motorcycles. Every Pakistani is aware what the national flag, adopted during a meeting of Constituent Assembly on August 14, 1947, symbolizes. The white and dark green fields represent minorities and Muslims respectively. The crescent on the flag represents progress whereas the five-rayed star represents light and knowledge. What is depressing to see is that sixty seven years later Pakistanis are still struggling to live up to what the national flag truly symbolizes.

The size of the white portion of the flag is one-fourth of its size and it was an accurate depiction of Pakistan at the time of partition in 1947 – almost 23 per cent of country’s population comprised of non-Muslim citizens. Today, the proportion of non-Muslims has declined to approximately 3 per cent – a perfect display of Pakistani paradox.

Two events from the year 1979 sum up this Pakistani paradox. It was a landmark year in the history of the country as Dr Abdus Salam became the first Pakistani to win the Nobel Prize in physics for his pioneering work in developing a theory that unifies the weak nuclear force within atoms and the force of electromagnetism. In December of the same year he was prevented from speaking at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad by extremist students who carried out a violent demonstration to protest his presence – reason being Dr Salam was an Ahmadi. On the one hand, the country produces brilliant doctors, scientists, engineers and professionals competing with best in the world. On the other, imbecile religious extremists rampage across the country, killing in the name of Islam. A reality which is more alarming is that their supporters have infiltrated and obtained a foothold in every organ of the state, be it the media, the bureaucracy, the military, the parliament or the judiciary.

(Continued in the next two blogs….stay tuned)

 

Alamgir

Posted on 15. Aug, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Alamgir pic from hotmusic2.blogspot.com

Alamgir pic from hotmusic2.blogspot.com

Alamgir was born in 1954 in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). He is ranked within the top 5 male singers of all time in Pakistan. As a child his only influence to music was Elvis Presley. The very first song that he ever sang was at the age of 10, and that was Elvis’s song “His Latest Flame “. Alamgir remained the King of Pakistan Pop Music until mid 90’s, and then, he disappeared. Many think that he was dejected by what pop music became in the late 90’s in Pakistan. He felt that music should be soothing, instead of ear drum blasting form that it had acquired. To him, the melody and the lyrics of a song were of immense importance.

He turned 40 and realized he had given so much to his fans, but had had not set aside any time for himself. That is when he moved to the USA and settled here, trying to find some space for his own life and family. For the past 10-12 years he has been in the USA, shying away from public spotlight in Pakistan. But his passion for music continues. He has built a studio at home where he sings and rehearses every day, he still performs on the weekends at small events around the US cities, and to his fans like myself, his voice still sounds the same as it did back in the 80s and 90s in Pakistan. Recently, Alamgir went back to Pakistan after more than 10 years when he was invited to a music ceremony to receive a very well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pakistani government. He performed at the ceremony and sang like never before. In his own words he was overwhelmed by emotions, by the love he saw his fans still had for him, and how much they wanted him back.

Alamgir and his music will go down in Pakistani history as an icon. He transformed the music in Pakistan in the 80’s and 90’s. He will always have fans within and outside Pakistan. Understanding the music industry in the country without a mention of Alamgir would be unrealistic.