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Knee Jerk Patriotism

I kind of get puzzled by the reaction of people on the Independence Day. The celebrations, the road blocks, parade of bikes with mufflers (silencers) stripped off, the disproportioned flags, the aerial firing at midnight, all in the middle of a comedy of crises never witnessed in the history of this country; the water crises, the electricity crises, the hike of sugar prices, the political crises, and what not … though the public rejoices on 14th of August 2009.

Mushkelain itni pareen ke assan ho gain…? Or that was a blatant exhibit, a clear reminder to the world that we are still alive…? I doubt it, something is fishy here. Because the same crowd, probably, torched public and private property of hundreds of billions of Pak Rupees when one of their favorite politicians got assassinated in a suicide attack? Or when a European newspaper published the caricature of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)….? Or after some innocent illiterate children mistakenly sliced an Islamiat text book containing text from the Holy Quran?  … The same crowd? … or different factions hidden within our skins, each of which revealing their ugly face when ever their so called “holy gods” are desecrated, not when they do the same with their own hand but by those who they don’t considered qualified for it!

Are you provoked by the term “So Called Holy Gods”…? What is the first thing that comes in your mind when your eyes scrolled over it?  I can’t read your mind, though I better share what’s inside mine. This ‘holy god’ could be a ‘life or respect‘ of a politician, not her vision, values or mission; or ‘Sacredness‘ of a Holy Book, not the message or wisdom it contains; or ‘Holiness‘ of Prophet (SAW), not His mission and teachings; or even ‘Sanctity‘ of a piece of land, not its stability, security, growth and prosperity of its inhabitants, etcetera … for which “the worshipers” either celebrate to elevate the sanctity or are willing to kill if found desecrated, let alone destroy private or public property along the way.

Hold your horses, for a second, I also don’t mean to say that their god be the vision of a politician, teachings of Prophet (SAW) or wisdom of the Holy Book, et al … not at all! … My intentions here are to theorize the basis of seemingly unexplainable self contradictory mob behavior, for example, just have a look why Pakistan was created? Correct me if I am wrong, in my view the idea behind Pakistan was to provide Muslims of subcontinent a piece of land where they could live according to their beliefs, values and principles etc, i.e. those ascribed in Quran and Sunnah, hence the name “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. Today even after 62 years, we haven’t been able to figure out how that would be? The idea was never to start an unending race of ritualistic practices by sectarian factions, but rather the establishment of a just socio, economic and political system which could end all forms of injustice whether social or economic and bring prosperity to all inhabitants, whether Muslim or Non-Muslim, just like it was done by the Holy Prophet and the four Caliphs afterwards. Khilafat is what I am talking about…

Though the contrary is true, just look at the level of poverty, height of injustice, extent of corruption and depth of feudalism sucking the blood of entire nation behind the facade of democracy! Et al … Welcome to Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the land of Hypocrites, despite spectacularly failing in what we intended to be in the very beginning, we celebrate the freedom (?) in letter and spirit. Freedom it is, to be corrupt, to plunder, to harass, to bribe, to exploit, to discriminate, or to refrain from whatever is being taught in The Final Divine Scripture, a total contrast of where we should have been rather! 

Let us look at this behavior from another angle … Did Prophet Muhammad (SAW) ever taught to indiscriminately and randomly destroy the public and private property as an expression of rage over His desecration, or that of Quran? Or I should rather ask, doesn’t the mob serves the very purpose against which they are enraged, i.e. destroying the Sanctity, desecrating  the teaching of the Prophet, of the Book, themselves, by practically violating Their teachings?

Ad hominem, it is not, though it might appears to some, rather I intend to comprehend the psyche of the mob whose action contradicts their claimed believes. Hypocrite is what I don’t want to label them, though cannot find a better word, or ego worshipers for that matter, or even feudals within their own rights; sometime celebrating their wild freedom or raging against those defaming the idols (as described) or false gods.

But why or what develops such a mindset? (For another perspective on the extreme behavior check the post “Psychoanalysis of an Extremist”) Is it a domino effect, a wildfire where the trees serves as fuel? “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you” was the ethic of reciprocity taught to us by our Prophet (SAW) in the last sermon, today contrary is true and the consequences are obvious, the effect has become its own cause. The ills of the society are nursing a mindset which is in turn becomes catalytic in cultivating even more social problems. However the wildfire burns more the dead stock and what’s left behind are trunks that are fittest to survive; would this be the fate of our Nation? 

Being fire proof, I think is not a matter of fate rather a matter of choice, in my view. If you have a tendency to follow the crowds then it ain’t a good news, as doing so mindlessly, driven more by instincts or ego is the hallmark of behavior we have discussed. If contrary is true for you, then I would congratulate and warn you at the same time as it ain’t gona be easy! However despite the heat, if you chose to resist, and stand by in what you believe, and what is right, then you or your next generation might be among those who would rather wakeup to materialize the 62 year old dream .

By Omar Javaid, Sr. Editor, Critic Magazine. Email: omar.javaid@criticmagazine.pk