All posts tagged: history

Pakistan is Sinking: Time For Tough Love?

Walter Russell Mead The news from Pakistan remains dire.  The flood waters now sweeping toward the Arabian Gulf have been far more devastating and the destruction more widespread than anyone predicted.  They have cruelly exposed many of Pakistan’s glaring weaknesses: its corrupt feudal elite, its corrupt and ineffective bureaucracy, its lack of infrastructure, its weak civil society, and the presence (unsurprising given the decades long failures of the country’s public and private institutions to do their job) of radical religious extremism and terrorism emerging from the rage and despair of a people betrayed by its leaders. The long term outlook is not good.  Pakistan has failed yet again to educate a rising generation of children and the population is rising faster than the country can find jobs.  While the IPCC may have overstated the problem of glacier melt, long term trends point to a decline in the flow of the rivers on which Pakistan depends.  The growing power gap between Pakistan and India (the world’s two most hostile nuclear powers) is likely to destabilize the …

The Principle of Assumption

By Awaam 15th April 2010 We humans are an incredibly puzzling species. Definitely, one of its own kind. And by that I mean, way better than all the others that there are. No point in being modest!  Still why do I say that? I could come up with innumerable explanations (or justifications?), to support my claim. Yet given human kind’s delusional, but consistently unwavering accord on this one “assumption”, I am glad I won’t have to try very hard. However, being the skeptic that I am, I can’t help but put even this ‘singular’ assumption to test. And if it is at the cost of our ‘speciel’ self esteem, so be it. Is it not amazing how our entire civilizations, histories and possible futures have and continue to rest on a set of few “assumptions”? These assumptions are so crucial to defining our existence that they are deemed as the “Ultimate Truth”- The unchangeable, ever persistent facet of our collective reality…READ MORE

Pakistan ; A Failure of Intellectuals

By azhar aslam & shermeen bano Every Identity has a history and so does that of Pakistan. It is short but tumultuous, although some say it was born with the conversion or settlement of the first Muslim in India. In truly modern sense though India was only itself born, when British firmly established their rule from Afghanistan to Burma, by 1890s. In the process of doing this however, they sowed the seed of national consciousness in the minds of Indians. British influence moulded Indian nationalism by omissions and commissions. However it inevitably also laid the seed of communalism, as different regions and nationalities in the sub continental melting pot, woke up to the British rule and demanded their rights. Without going into the details, Muslim consciousness evolved from being Pathans, Mughals, Punjabis, Sheikhs, Bengalis etc ( term quam was used for all these), to a Muslim nation living in Hindustan. The two main definitions that competed for the attention and eventual adoption by Muslims were those of Azad and Deobandis on one hand and Sir …

The Dream of Reality

Dawn Blog: Khurram Ali Shafique In his prose work, Allama Muhammad Iqbal foresaw the trajectory of the Pakistani masses. The best resource for understanding the work of Allama Iqbal is the collective experience of the Pakistani masses, including the unschooled. Call it a dream, but I consider it to be reality. Let me give an example. The greatest prose work of Iqbal is in English, and is called The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. It was first published from Lahore in early 1930, and later (with some addition) by the UK-based Oxford University Press in 1934. Few Iqbal scholars claim that they can explain even half of the seven lectures contained within that volume. Hence, there is not the slightest chance that the masses of Pakistan, mostly unschooled, may have read, studied, or even heard about it.

Homosexuality & Islam: History Repeats Itself

Posted by Huma in Featured Articles, Dawn Earlier this week, I attended a talk about Islam and homosexuality at a medical school in Karachi. The very fact that medical practitioners, particularly psychiatrists, were gathering to discuss the subject piqued my interest. After all, a variety of psychological and physical ailments have been documented in patients who suppress or conceal their sexual identities in conservative societies. But I was disappointed to learn that the lecturer was taking a historical perspective and simply tracing the history of homosexuality in Muslim societies. It would have been far more interesting to hear a debate about the prevalence of homosexuality in contemporary Muslim societies and consider ways in which psychiatrists and GPs respond to patients who are gay, and whether approaches differ if patients embrace their sexual identity or consider it an affliction.