Pakistan News Service

Saturday Oct 21, 2017, Muharram 30, 1439 Hijri
Logo Logo
LATEST :

Freedom from fears of faith

04 July, 2007

By Muhammad Ahsan Yatu


  Related News  
US suspends anti-Islam 'military course'
Shootings and bombings in and around Baghdad killed six people
  Related Articles  
Acknowledgement of the Truth
By Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood
On Propaganda and Islamophobia
By Abukar Aman
  Related Speakout  
  More on this View All

The award of knighthood to Salman Rushdie and reaction to it became a reason for hot, but one-sided discussions on ‘culture’. It would have been wise on our part if we had made ourselves aware of the fact that religion is not relevant to the West, and Western society and culture are made up entirely of earthly ingredients. Our multicultural coercive environment, which has been imposed on us by our debauched and despotic elite, too has earthly ingredients, but they are different from the ones that the Western environment has.

Fifty-seven years ago when I was a five-year old and was living in Kashmir, one morning I was awakened by strange cries. I found out the reason soon. My maternal uncle, who was zaildar of the area, was beating a man with a stick. How long the beating and screams continued I cannot recall. A few days later the same man came to meet my uncle. I asked my mother why he came to the place where he was mistreated. She had no answer. How could she explain the human relationships in a feudal culture to a child? Many years after this ugly happening, I learned in Pakistan about feudal lords and their landless subjects.

Forty-seven years ago an old couple lived in a one-room house. The husband and wife were refugees from Delhi. Their new home in Rawalpindi was in Bhabar Khana. One of my friends was their neighbour. During my visits to my friend, I found all too often the couple shouting at each other. The old man uttered tallaq (divorce), tallaq, tallaq, tallaq, till the old woman would interrupt him and respond, ‘give it to your mother’, ‘give it to your sister’, etc. Many times I asked my friend what actually was wrong with them other than poverty and old age. He had no stories. Perhaps they had no children. Perhaps their children had left them. Perhaps their children were killed during their migration to Pakistan. A decade later I discovered that the old couple and many others like them had a culture of their own. It was a culture of the poor and connectionless people. Their miseries were their music, clothing, language, ethics and religion.

During my engineering studies I discovered another type of culture. Ahmed, in spite of my indoctrination, did not cough up on the face of his master. He was the servant of a fellow student from Mianwali. In Engineering University Lahore, he was sharing the room of his student-master with special permission from the higher authorities. My efforts failed to make him Camus’ rebel. Rather, he kept himself away from me after having a few meetings. The servant and the master represented a culture where to one man the other man was god. This culture still prevails everywhere in Pakistan. And so does the one that the old couple of Bhabar Khana had lived by. In Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference ended the centuries-old fiefdoms through genuine land reforms. In Pakistan, faith, greed, deceit and fears became the main hurdles.

One of the obsessions with us is that when we talk about culture, we first bring in religion and lay emphasis on it more than it deserves. Religion becomes an important part of a culture, when it is also a part of the economy of the system. India is the only example to this effect. Elsewhere religion played at the most a role in sustaining the existing order. Societies and cultures experienced revolutionary changes only when they became free of the fears of faith. Religion in India became a major part of culture due to the caste system that was based on division of work. In fact with the passage of time all major castes developed their cultures, wherein religion was an essential part. That is why despite visible development, the modern economic tools succeeded only partially in ending the old way of life in India.

In the Third World, culture may vary from street to street, sector to sector, district to district, city to city, province to province, and country to country. While there are hundreds of examples of variable cultures within Muslim majority countries, the one of our own — of the people living in Islamabad and its surroundings — explains it all.

Sector E-7 is the locality of the wealthiest. None here knows who lives next door. Each house has its own culture. The same is true about the F-sectors, though here one may come across exceptions as well. Falling incomes have brought a sense of harmony to many households. Most residents of the G-sectors belong to middle income groups, who have sustainable and similar resources. Still they have cultural differences. Those living in flats are taken as inferior human beings by the ones who live in houses. In the I-sectors, middle class dwellers do have a uniform culture.

In the surroundings of Islamabad, the best that can explain the difference are words from the wife of a Scandinavian diplomat. After adopting a female village child she said, “I saved one life from hunger and humiliation.” In the villages of Islamabad and for that matter in most of the villages of Pakistan, a majority of the people is poor. They have an almost similar culture. Women do not observe purda. They cannot, even if they wish to. Both men and women have little time to spare for religion and rituals, as they have to work hard in the fields and with their livestock throughout the day.

In government offices and the courts, a uniform culture exists. Officers and subordinates, whether they are generals, judges, administrators, bureaucrats, clerics, patwaris or constables, sit either idle or do only one job – property dealing. They sit on all those files that have a price. Such files move only when a part of the price is paid or the connections of the affected applicant prove more forceful. For the last eight years, the relationship between people and officials has become similar to the one between the ‘student- master’ and his servant. Today, whosoever has authority acts like a god!

The other obsession with us is that we compare ourselves with the Westerners and try to prove that our living is at least spiritually superior. That our analysis takes us nowhere adds to the problem. The end result of the comparison is that we become either confused or depressed or reactionary. Ruling elites, feudal lords, the urban rich, peers, men in uniform, judges and bureaucrats, to perpetuate their authority exploit this confusion, depression and reaction.

The Westerners of today have by and large one culture. It is a culture of similar societies, which have emerged due to rational knowledge, massive industrialisation, abundance of opportunities, little or no religion, the rule of man-made law, and the diminishing difference in incomes of various classes. In the Scandinavian countries where the difference in low and high incomes is 1: 2, society’s cultural development is at its peak — the best so far seen by mankind. The worst — absence of society and abundance of primal cultures — that could happen to mankind can be seen in the Third World countries, where rational knowledge is abhorred, industrialisation is minimum, opportunities are non-existent, religion is surplus, rulers are above the law, and incomes have a difference of a light year.

We and our youth and children are part of an open globe. We can see the difference, the momentum, and the truth. One-sided discussions do not attract us. The Space Shuttle does. The discovery of an earth-like planet 20 light years away does. The West’s Social Democracy does. The resistance of the Chief Justice does. Propagating the culture of coercion is an attempt to confuse and depress us, and to make us reactionaries. Our participation in the Chief Justice’s march proved that most of us are still very much human and have not become vegetables — food for thought for politicians, if there are any.

Reader Comments:

To west every thing is for money or control(power),but they have develped it into science.

Yatu sahib,
It is well thought article and food for thought for politicians and non as well but the point that deserves more focus is why Rushdie was given knighthood now,not earlier not later?Seeing the west's capitalistic instinct of making capital,power or point to the benefit of stronger party even in as non potential areas as scientific research or religious teachings and practice.,it is open that it had a purpose.,of starting reaction in Pakistan or muslim world,of pitting population against the govt,to make muslim population look bad and unbalanced or voilent so may be some bigger action against them can be justified.In every thing the west does there is some material benefit aimed,nothing is for the sake of justice, or fairness.This is my observation having lived here for around 34 years.It would have been appropriate if you would have focused on this angle as well.Also about the relationship of religion and culture it must be very obvious to those who have lived in both muslim and non muslim ocuntries that certain aspects of mercy towards old and women and respect for teachers is because of Islam alone,it is non existent in Western cultures.Today even in health field making money over the human sufferings is more so in West,where old and retired patients with meager income go around pharmacy to pharmcy with prescription in their hands of expensive medicines while cheaper could have been prescribed,but physicians either don't have time or don't care.But your article overall is very good.I enjoyed reading it because having lived in Rawalpindi I recalled the areas you mentioned.God bless you and keep on writing!

Dr.M.J.KhanMD, United Kingdom - 04 July, 2007

Faith Fear knowledge I have Freedom I do not know

I enjoy your concept Mr Yatu. I have never read Rushdie or any big or novel book writers as such in my entire life.I took photos of Lahore Eng University, Rawalpindi Islamabad Bangalore micro chip development. Or Tipu Sultan amid ruins of Nawabs and Forts nr grave in Mysore.I could not breathe in London Mumbai Delhi Karachi Kolkatta .I was able to fit in Well in Boeing 777 admiring luxury. In paradise setting in Canadian wilderness I am watching CNtower cities from 30 km at 6 a.m. (alone) with squirrel Canadian Geese birds Moose and deer with energy water everywhere with no one around to enjoy like me. World is not capable to govern .Incompetent Harper Blair Bush Sonia and Dr Singh and Karzai P Musharaff with guards are in Iraq Pakistan Afghanistan. Imagine such empty paradise with obsolete leaders obsolete democracy fictitious professors and inventors out there squeezing blood and profit in worthless or saturated competition i.e. growth data. Religion is live here in Ontario in green green grass floating clound with free oxygen to Enjoy. Uttering Tallaq for poverty or illicit sex is manmade.For burying dead in cemetery or burning at shamshan ghat while worshipping rat snake and coach roaches in Indian hotels and train and plane does not make sense. This makes engineers of India or Harvard Tokyo graduates worthless. They and their knowledge seem Obsolete. Purpose of education is to learn. Ability is to solve problem. Human gods goddesses or prophets are recent. People and priests are time waster. Western soldiers Without church wedding are globe trotting visiting family and children .Their cemetery is more green And organized like people of religiosity amid common law gay lesbo living Legislation. World need solution of London living and saturated living in Bangladesh China India and Pakistan. I will never again accuse India for being unjust to Muslims. Humiliated living condition around the globe with plenty of education economy Untapped resource makes me wonder why world leaders are failure world organization Do not deserve fund for wage for time Waster. Imam Priests and Rabbis reverend with Prayer for everything – for engine failure, shortage of rain, for flooded heavy rain, lost Crops for victims of quake and cyclone go hand in hand with incompetent engineers Economic gurus and war mongers Taliban and so called experts of world in everything.They need crazypeoples’ pills for sure in designing abundant accommodation everywhere (including London) virtually free homes (instantly)fresh air to clean free water jobs and instant food immediately.Alas, little thing pleases little mind Of those who have taken control holding Hostage to some amid sweeping statement “satanic verses” and knighthood to illicit Rushdie.For they are Obsolete themselves in illicit governace.

be Zee, Canada - 05 July, 2007

unseeing eyes - and mind

Dear Dr. Khan,

I always read what you write about the U.S. with a bit of surprise.

You have lived in the United States for 34 years and you see nothing that is good?

May I suggest, if that is the case, then you have been walking around with closed eyes and an equally closed mind.

If you're not retired yet, I would like to suggest that when you do, you return to your homeland where I'm sure you will find peace and happiness at last. Hopefully, for you, living in America and the West will seem merely a nightmare that has passed.

I don't mean to be rude, but you seem to miss so much about the West. In fact you seem to miss just about everything...

As for your comment about our elderly getting prescriptions for drugs that are too expensive, I don't think that is the usual situation.

In the U.S., if an elderly American gets a prescription that is for a higher priced, rather than a lower priced generic brand, I have yet to see a pharmacist who doesn't pick up on that and refer that person to the less expensive brand.

My elderly relative has social security and medical care which, as you know, are social services provided by the U.S. government. With this stipend, she is able to pay for a supplement to this care and still have income left over for living expenses and other things.

My elderly (almost 92) relative has her own small apartment, family nearby and a group of other ladies as friends who share their time and talents. They are 'the ladies who lunch.'

I have never been with my elderly relative when she hasn't been treated with respect.

I am sure you have seen other cases where the older person is less fortunate. However,I'm sure my elderly relative is more the norm.

I have met no one who finds getting older a pleasant thing, but here in the U.S., we take care of our elderly. Nothing is perfect, however, and perhaps you see the few who 'fall between the cracks' as they say.

One of these times, Dr. Khan, you will write something nice about America and, when you do, I am going to fall over in stunned surprise.

We can at least agree on one thing. Mr. Yatu has written a splendid article. I think it's one of his best...





Ayasha, United Kingdom - 05 July, 2007

PAKISTANI CULTURE

FRANKLY, IT IS DIFFICULT FOR A NON-MUSLIM TO UNDERSTAND ISLAMIC CULTURE ESPECIALLY OF THE PAKISTANI KIND. FROM MY EXPERIENCE (I AM AGNOSTIC) OF WORKING IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND COMING INTO CLOSE CONTACT WITH MANY PAKISTANIS, I CAN SAY THE “ONE BIG PAKISTANI DREAM” IS TO WORK IN THE WEST AND MAKE MONEY.

I NEVER RAN INTO A PAKISTANI THAT DIDN’T TALK ABOUT GOING OVER TO A “WHITE COUNTRY” TO WORK BY HOOK OR BY CROOK. ONCE THEY REACH THERE THE SAME PAKISTANIS RETREAT INTO THEIR RELIGION (FANATIC) BELIEFS AND LIVE UNHAPPILY YET NEVER THINK OF GOING BACK TO THE WARM EMBRACE OF THE TRULY MUSLIM LAND- PAKISTAN. IT IS WELL KNOWN THAT ARABIC SPEAKING MUSLIMS LOOK DOWN UPON NON-ARABIC SPEAKING MUSLIMS AND IN THE MIDDLE EAST PAKISTANIS ARE NEVER TREATED LIKE BROTHERS-IN-FAITH – RATHER LIKE NUISANCE AND TROUBLE MAKERS.

PAKISTANIS LOVE TO WATCH INDIAN MOVIES, SING BOLLYWOOD SONGS AND GO THERE TO DRINK AND ENJOY THE GOODIES AND YET HATE INDIA TO THE CORE.

PAKISTANIS IN THE WEST SAY HOW SUPERIOR THEY ARE TO THE CORRUPT CULTURAL NORMS OF THE WEST – MEANING PAKISTANI WOMEN CANNOT DO ANYTHING WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THEIR MEN AND WILL BE TREATED HARSHLY FOR ANY DIGRESSION. YET NO PAKISTANI HAS EVEN SPOKEN ABOUT THE POLITICAL, SOCIAL AND ALL ROUND CORRUPTION IN ISLAMIC COUNTRIES. AFGHANS WANT TO GO TO AUSTRALIA BY ANY MEANS, WHILE THEY CAN AS WELL GO TO SAUDI ARABIA. AND THEY HATE THE LIBERAL CULTURE OF AUSTRALIA???!!!

A. V. RAO, United Kingdom - 05 July, 2007

Amazing

This is a totally amazing article full of insights I never expected to hear from a Pakistani.

If Mr Yatu is an example of the new voice of Pakistan then that example is a good one.

Hidden beneath the article I see hope.

And hope can be stronger than oppression or the sword.

cbarfield, United Kingdom - 05 July, 2007

HIS OWN CROSS.....

CBarfield made a good observation... "coming from a Pakistani.."

The fact of the matter is this my friend: (Let the enlightenment ensue) - MANY of us share his points of view. Rushdie, right? Let's talk about it.

He was born a Muslim, improved his lot by migrating overseas and soon, seemingly, and conveniently, by chance or by design/appeasement forgot his 'auqaat' as we say in Urdu. FINE. Let it be.

He blasphemes the faith of his fathers, maligns his culture, heritage and Holy Book. SO LET HIM.

He has a right to his opinion, no one need get antsy over that nor go out on a rampage. What's the matter with us? He will, after all, have his own 'Cross to bear'.

Moral of my message is this: We should have the intestinal fortitude to accept each other's opinions, faith, culture, and nuances, and then - let the chips fall where they eternally may... Since we are not GOD, let's stop being the judge and jury.

Moderation, aye? Well, let's not forget what the Prophet said 'There is NO compulsion in Islam'. Enough said.

N. JAVED, United Kingdom - 06 July, 2007

Unseeing eyes and Mind

Ayesha, you deserve the Kudos for telling the truth.Dr. Khan all I have to say to you is why are you here if America is so bad. No doubut you have right to your opinion but do not stay in the United States just because you can make the mighty dollors, live in a comfortable house and go shopping as you please. I have lives in the United states for long time and seen some hard times and good times. I will not trade this to live in Pakistan. As Ayesha said you should retire and go back to Pakistan where you can live in peace. Its a shame that a well educated person is living in the dark. Mr.Khan what kind of sentiments are you providing to your childeren. I hope they have common sense to make their own choice. Let me tell you a true story, one of my Pakistani friend went back to Pakistan because every one told him life is so good there.All of us tried to convience him not leave, guess what happened he got the shock of his life. there is a diffrence between fiction and reality.

Vinod, United Kingdom - 06 July, 2007

Psywar goes on with covernames.

When the war on terrorism(islam)has been waged and will continue for many decades,along with it has come psywar,in which many who get money for it write articles and letters in newspapers with cover names.Some are AYASHA,Dr.Shaheen Qazi,(from USA) and same person writes under NIKUS(From India).The readers already know this and understand.But for those who don't here is a story.When 911 happened US consulate contacted Pakistani jounalists and offered them to write in favour in media,not write impartially but in favour and they were offered money.Surprisingly when there articles didn't appear and they complained they were helped a little pressure on newspapers got them printed.Then they were being sent money and journalist were surprised to see article written by their name.
I wish similar letters and articles can get printed inAmerican newspapers.

M.Akram, United Kingdom - 06 July, 2007

Psywar goes with physical war

I every now and then see muslim countries papers when some event happens,like knighthood of Rushdie.M.Akram you are right,In Phillipine when US had invaded us to so call"liberate" us from Spain,and thereafter in fighting to support puppet govt whose speeches were even written from US embassy this war was infull swing,called psywar.In this war which is actually a pretty name for propaganda which is pretty name for "lies,lies,lies"goes on in the support of the president who in turn agrees to even read speaches written by US embassy staff.The big problem is when such a liasion is set up then the people suffer both ways from ruthlessness of their govt and from that of US.Yes when such people go visit US they are given hardtime.Thatswhy the countries whose leaders are proUS get worst treatment in US.I lived in US for few years and just came back.Such unfortunate countries are Pakistan,Jordan,Morrocco,Egypt etc.
US has since its creation embarked upon killing of innocent people in different countries or in its own for different reason.They played havoc in SOuth America,then due to the presence of USSR they used to talk about human rights,freedom of speech,but now they say "Might makes right".This is the reality we are living in.No country is safe from USA and its policies.

carlos, Peru - 07 July, 2007

Pakistanis pray to God for freedom

It is interesting to read the articles and the letters in response.It is tragically true.The war on terrorism is actually war on Islam.the purpose is
1)to control the muslim areas rich innatural resources
2)to create and support puppet Govts there who will work for US against their own people
3)Help develop Non Muslim and Anti Muslim countries become strong while muslim countries become poor and confused.
By reading letters of Ayasha,Qazi,VInod and N.Javed and NIckus,it is obvious that the material is same i.e.support the corrupt govt and army,support the steps it has taken in surrendering to US and push it towards acknowledging Israel.This person who is one even corrupts the polls put out by Tribune in favour of US policy.He should have moral courage to write his correct name.

Rasool, Seychelles - 07 July, 2007

Ayasha what is going on.

Qazi,or Ayasha or Vinod, or N.javed,or Nikus what is happpening are you still sniffing the cocaine you used to when you were in columbia,.Did you get raise,I mean you work hard,you use names like Qazi,Vinod,Nikus etc,Why don't you write some muslim favouring articles or letters in American newspapers.I read NY times,LA times on net.You will develop certain credibility.But why would you ,you are busy as hell,you have staff reading urdu newspapers,translating it for you,you write letters in different newspapers .You are working for the promotion of western culture,As sums up an article "Constant conflict" in www.informationclearinghouse.info. There are two purposes of US army,it says,open markets for US goods,and support for assault of US culture.You are on the side of culture ie.psywar.For sometime change name,but still because you do cocaine,you miss the brothels.Life in Pakistan is hell,

faiz, Georgia - 07 July, 2007

RESPONSE TO FAIZ, GERMANY

HMMM....

You know, at first blush, I was uninclined to dignify your wayward comments with a response, but then prudence sought the better of me. Indeed some enlightenment begs happening.

Looking at this from your vantage point, it is evident that the Prophet (PBUH) should not have made peace with the Jews and Christians, that the world should insist on the age old admonishment which compels an eye for an eye, and that at some perilous cost to Pakistan, President Musharraf, unastutely, should have gone against the coalition after 9/11. Hmmm... I wonder where that may have taken us instead of the current 8% GNP and standing we seem to be enjoying.

An age old dictum also asserts that those who live by the sword, often perish by the sword. Islam implores, indeed beseeches us to seek peaceful avenues of resolution and pursuit. Some, obviously, seem hell bent upon choosing the contrary, and that is most unfortunate.

To you and other seeming 'hardliners', my message is clear. It is, indeed, at long last, time to wake up and smell the coffee. It's truly time to try a different flavor than the one that did not work, if it ever will.

And while, lacking proof, I am unable to comment on others who may or may not be conveniently and quietly appearing incognito from our neighboring country, etc. as you seem to opin, be it known, that IN SUPPORT of our beloved motherland and faith, this humble fellow has seen his name appear in the following publications:

US NEWS & WORLD REPORT
SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
THE SAN JOSE MERCURY
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE (and a few others that I have probably forgotten over the years)

Once again fellow Muslims, please, peace (dialog).... NOT pieces.









N. JAVED, United Kingdom - 10 July, 2007

great article

this is a great article,we have to keep religion and mullahs away from politics and puble.religion should be personal.thats why india is growing as well as west and we are killing ourselves

ahmad, Pakistan - 10 July, 2007

 What do you think about the story ? Leave your comments!

Heading (Optional)
Your Comments: *

Your Name:*
E-mail (Optional):
City (Optional):
Country (Optional):
 
 
Field marked(*) are mandatory.
Note. The PakTribune will publish as many comments as possible but cannot guarantee publication of all. PakTribune keeps its rights reserved to edit the comments for reasons of clarity, brevity and morality. The external links like http:// https:// etc... are not allowed for the time being to be posted inside comments to discourage spammers.

  Speak Out View All
Military Courts
Imran - Qadri long march
 
Candid Corner
Exclusive by
Lt. Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
Pakistan itself a victim of state-sponsored terrorism: Qamar Bajwa
Should You Try Napping During the Workday?
Suggested Sites