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Humayun Gauhar | 5 JANUARY, 2015

Jihad of the Pen

Pen is mightier than the sword!


After my last article about God giving honour or dishonour to whom He pleases I was asked why I was delivering ‘sermons’. When you see the existence of your homeland in jeopardy, a man like me gives ‘sermons’ as a last resort. You use Islam in a State that has the pomposity and temerity to call itself ‘Islamic’ when it is anything but, which in itself is a grave sin because it is hypocrisy of the highest order, for in so doing you try to fool God and his vicegerents. Thus the best a man who is beyond his physical prime can do is wage ‘Jihad of the Pen’ which is also a ‘Jihad of Ideas’. It is the most powerful Jihad. God taught Man by the Pen, which means methodologies of disseminating information. It is more powerful than any sword, bomb or missile. When Muslims lost the ‘Pen’ some 800 years ago, they lost power. Europe picked up the Pen and achieved power.

I am writing both for people and world rulers many of whom come to believe in their alienated minds that they are god on earth, which is reflected in their conduct, actions, attitude, pomp and panoply. I talked of the caveat that God’s decision to bestow honour or dishonour on someone depends on that person’s intent behind his conduct and actions. Attracting God’s pleasure or displeasure, therefore, is in our own hands so the onus is on us. I also said that the only assets a man takes with him from this world to the next are his deeds, intentions and acquired knowledge. The rest is worldly, ephemeral, passing, just a knowledge-acquiring moment in cosmic time, a short learning stage that later seems like a brief dream in everlasting, infinite time.

It is said: “Own only that which you can carry with you; know language, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” In this world, sadly, the majority of us do something mostly for people who can do something for us in return. All you need really is that person’s goodwill and prayers and get God’s pleasure.

Alexander the Great understood this and instructed that his hands should be outside his coffin so that people could see that he, a man who had conquered everywhere he could get to, was taking nothing of his worldly goods with him. The Pharaohs did the opposite: they entombed all the gold, silver, ornaments, concubines and servants with them in their pyramids to help them in the afterlife. Where are they now? The embalmed bodies of some Pharaohs and their ‘treasures’ lie in museums as objects of curiosity. Where are the Mughal Kings whose earthly pomp and grandeur were without match, or the Nizam of Hyderabad for that matter whose jewels could cover the whole of Piccadilly Circus? What remains of the Mughal family is living on a Delhi railway platform. Yet today’s Pharaohs are blind to this.

Remember Shelly’s famous poem? “I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Our Pharaohs have possibly never heard this poem, leave alone contemplate it.

People – even those who regard themselves as educated – think that all that is required is for Nawaz Sharif to go and they will find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that appears after a deluge. Sharif has fallen twice before. What difference did his earlier exits make except that we were back to square one? What difference did toppling President Ayub Khan make? We retrogressed to the old British parliamentary system, the country was rend asunder after national elections and most of Ayub’s reforms were twisted. We went back behind square one: having lost Jinnah’s “moth eaten” Pakistan we were left with Bhutto’s truncated “New Pakistan” that is now in danger of disappearing. So as a last resort I write to try and din some sense into our rulers, leaders and people. This is what happens with movements without a holistic plan. Those few to whom God has given the inner eye to see beyond their emotions, likes and dislikes, attachment to alien constructs for lack of original thought and self-interest, should understand.

When you divorce morality and fundamental universal principles from politics all that is left is tyranny camouflaged in the seductive dress of electoral ‘democracy’ in which they count people, not weigh them. So just toppling Nawaz Sharif would make no difference without toppling the system. Just holding unrigged elections after toppling him would make little difference because it would throw up a similar government of feudal-industrial barons with a smattering of the urban middle class with wanting education and little understanding of the global dynamic in which Pakistan must find its positive place.

To renew Pakistan – and that is what is the imperative to save it – we must go back to the beginning by making Mr. Jinnah’s speech of August 11, 1947 our social contract and amend the constitution to make Pakistan a truly ‘Islamic Welfare State’ by implementing the Rights of God’s Creation as its justification to exist. There is no other way. Islamic politics is dynamic, not pro-status quo, which means that it keeps changing and improving with the times to meet new needs as they arise. Western politics is pro status quo and soon falls behind change, as witness the USA, France and the United Kingdom with their economies and societies in decline. Comparing their condition with our condition is to fool oneself: our condition is so bad that anything would look good compared to us.

Man makes states by cobbling together many nations and countries because he believes that in the new dispensation his and his progeny’s condition will improve continuously and significantly. When the human condition stops improving or regressing the state loses the justification for its creation. In every instance where states have collapsed this was the reason, as witness the Soviet Union. It is when the state loses its justification that it is conquered and occupied because it could not look after its people, only a tiny ruling elite. Pakistan was not made for a tiny elite; it was made for all of its citizens as equals as a homeland for India’s Muslims. Just because the condition of Indian Muslims is even worse than ours is neither justification nor cause for celebration. You can win all the hockey and cricket matches you like against India, it will not make a jot of a difference to our human condition except for a passing moment of joy. I would rather that Pakistan were a progressing country in which all human beings had their fundamental rights and high-speed upward mobility even if we lost every game. When 54 percent of your people are living in abject poverty and some 75 percent are living in poverty, when 55 percent children of Balochistan are malnourished, dying like flies in Thar due to lack of medical care, food, water and shelter, when not one person has all his fundamental rights except the tiny ruling elite that is above the law, what right do we have to be proud of ourselves?

Nawaz Sharif only symbolizes the system that causes human and national degradation. He or any other product of this system is neither here nor there. Imran Khan catalyzes change of government, not change of system. If we are not sensible a catalyst could become a cataclysm. Change means a period of a reform government based on existing power realities that comprises specialists with good credentials legitimized by the Supreme Court with clout from the military. Sad, but this is our reality. The other option is to let this system continue to evolve, but what is the guarantee that it will evolve for the better, not worse or even cause state collapse? In a fragile state like Pakistan that many consider to be as artificial as any European-created state out of their former colonies, like India, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria et al, it could collapse in an unchecked evolutionary process.

Perhaps that is where we are all headed, towards the equilibrium of natural pre-colonial states created largely on linguistic or tribal lines, but that could take long and would certainly be very painful. It would in a sense be defeat too for it would mean that we cannot progress to a pluralistic multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-faith state. There are still people alive who saw states disappear and new ones formed after the two World Wars and the Cold War when the Soviet Union and eastern Europe collapsed and we saw the demise of many states artificially cobbled together by hegemons to exploit their natural resourses. America and the West’s interest in the creation of Pakistan was not to give the Indian Muslims a homeland else it would not have been “moth eaten” in which many Muslims got left behind but to create a buffer between “creeping Soviet communism” and India where the ideology had already “alarmingly crept in”. They could see then that China would most likely go “Red” and they couldn’t afford the three largest landmasses of Asia going communist. So they decided to ‘save’ India, even if they had to truncate it.

It is good to see that more and more people are understanding this, that the fault lies not in our stars but in ourselves that we accept alien systems and the horrible governments they produce. God save Pakistan by showing its people the correct path.

Now Imran Khan is after a “New Pakistan”. Wouldn’t it be better to call it “Renewed Pakistan”? “New Pakistan” has bad connotations for people my age.

As it is, most adult Pakistanis including myself think that they have the answer. No one does, but if they try to improve things with good intent and wage the struggle in their own way, there is no reason why they will not see their dreams come true one day. That is all Man can do. The rest is up to the Almighty, but know that He says that He helps those who help themselves.

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