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Books and Documents

The Hijab of Cambodia

Most of the 60 Cham Muslim women interviewed tried to hold on to religious tenets by modifying some of their religious practices. The issue of ritual purity was especially sensitive, because the communal kitchens often served pork meat and soup, while some of the agricultural work involved feeding and washing pigs. Some women would try to avoid eating pork as much as possible, which was not easy because there was not enough food to eat in the first place. Others would secretly prepare and eat whatever items they could find……

 
The Holy Vedas: 'Vedic Concept of Creation - Part 2
Edited and Prepared By Pandit Satyakam Vidyalankar

The Holy Vedas: 'Vedic Concept of Creation - Part 2

The theory of evolution is one of the greatest revelations of modern scientific thought. Various philosophers, physicists and scientific men, working independently of one another and in different domains of Nature, have, have established the truth of this theory, so that, instead of remaining a theory, there are evident signs of its soon becoming a proven fact. The theory enunciates the great truth that all complexity came out of simplicity, heterogeneity out of homogeneity, perfection out of imperfection, variety out of uniformity. All this beauty and grandeur with apparent paradoxes is the result of the struggle which Nature wages towards the attainment of order and perfection. In the beginning of the present order of things, in some far-off period, in some distant point of time, the whole universe existed in a state of Paramanu…..

The Holy Vedas: A Golden Treasury - Part 1
Prepared By Pandit Satyakam Vidyalankar

The Holy Vedas: A Golden Treasury - Part 1

Hymns of Creation

In the beginning was Hiranyagarbha (Golden Womb).

The seed of elemental existence,

The only Lord of all that was born.

He upheld the heaven and earth together

To what God other than Him, could we dedicate our life?

(A tharva.4.2.7)

Humanity is proud of this most ancient heritage and it has been the most amazing accomplishment of man-kind to have preserved this divine literature to this day under all hazards and vicissitudes of history. The Vedas constitute the back-bone of our entire culture and development through the millennia not only in India but also abroad. For most of us, they constitute the first literature that dawned on us at the earliest time of man's appearance on this globe. In India, we regard them as the revealed knowledge. What the effulgent sun is to animate and inanimate activity on the terrestrial earth, the Vedic enlightenment is to the prestigious life of man on this planet for the majority of humanity. Man with his most highly evolved physico-psychic complex is a gem in our divine creation, much above animal level. For his fulfilment, the necessary code of conduct is incorporated in the Vedic texts. It is the most precious gift to humanity from our benign Creator and Lord. ....

The Pakistani Woman
Mehr Tarar

“There are two powers in the world: one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women” — Muhammad Ali Jinnah…..

 

Dispatches from War- Torn Afghanistan
Carlotta Gall

This was the idea that made Taliban supremo Mullah Omar take on the US because he was ready to sacrifice everything rather than befriend non- Muslims as that was against his belief and religion. This is precisely the idea that so many Pakistanis espouse everyday in their writings, TV programmes and what have you. And yet if the US thought it would be able to get Pakistan to play along, then surely the Americans were taken up the garden path by the Pakistanis with their eyes wide open.....

 

India’s Islamic Traditions

The religious environment was syncretic in nature. But the fact remains that Muslims remain a force to reckon with today whatever the plusses and minuses of their cultural heritage. What this book provides is a background to the past in all its convolutions. Muslims in India today seem rudderless, but under the new political dispensation they may yet get into the mainstream and become a force to reckon with......

Plato recommended that young men witness the battlefield as part of their essential grooming for adulthood. Graeme Smith was an idealistic 26-year-old reporter for Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper when he was sent to southern Afghanistan in 2005, and the next six years he spent in the country was certainly an education, with Smith confiding at one point that “the charred flesh of suicide bombers got stuck in the treads of my shoes.” His education was also a painful process of disillusionment, as he witnessed all the ideals about the West’s grand vision for reconstructing the country…..

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 62- On Concentration
Hazrat Inayat Khan

There are two aspects of life: the audible life and the silent life. The value of silent life is independent. We are inclined to attach a value to something which concerns our outer life. The silent life does not give us a special benefit but a general benefit. In other words, if there is a minor wound on the body an external application of a certain medicament can cure it. But there are other medicines which can cure the general condition, and this is more satisfactory than the external cure, though it is less spectacular……

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 61- On Strength for Positive Living
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Sufi sees both the Creator and the creation in man. The limited part of man's being is the creation, and the innermost part of his being is the Creator. If this is true, then man is both limited and unlimited. If he wishes to be limited he can become more and more limited. If he wishes to be unlimited he can become more and more unlimited…..

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 60- On the Control of the Mind
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The tendency to be worried over nothing, to become anxious about little things, to be fidgety and restless, to be afraid, to be confused, the tendency of moving about without any reason, the tendency of speaking without purpose, the tendency of being sad without motive, all these things come through lack of control of the mind. Have they also any other effect besides the effect that is made upon one's own personality? Yes; all weakness, errors, and mistakes that man makes against his own wish, all these come from lack of control over his own mind. And if there is a secret of success the key to it is the control of the mind.....

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 59- On the Control of the Body
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Many people think that the physical has little to do with the spiritual. Why not, they ask, cast the idea of the physical aside in order to be entirely spiritual? If without the physical aspect of our being the purpose of life could be accomplished, the soul would have not taken a physical body and the spirit would not have produced the physical world. A Hindustani poet says, 'If the purpose of creation could have been fulfilled by the angels, who are entirely spiritual, God would not have created man.'….

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 58- On the Distinction between the Subtle and the Gross
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Imagine the life of Abraham, of Moses, the life of Jesus Christ; and again the life of Muhammad in war and battles, and yet as exclusive and remote, as spiritual as anyone could be. And Krishna, picture him in Kurukshetra fighting in the battle, giving a world-scripture. If they had all lived in mountain caves we would not have been benefited by them. What is the use of those holy ones who never see, never experience from morning till evening the tests and trials of the dense world, where at every move there are a thousand temptations and difficulties, a thousand problems? .....

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 57- On Going from Imperfection to Perfection
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The process of going from limitation to perfection is called mysticism. Mysticism means developing from limitation to perfection. All pain and failure belong to limitation. All pleasure and success belong to perfection. In one's own surroundings, one will find that those who are unhappy and dissatisfied with life and who make others unhappy are those who are more limited. Those who can help themselves and help others, who are happy and bring pleasure into the lives of others, are nearer to perfection…..

Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight against Muslim Fundamentalism
Nancy Graham Holm

"The opposite of fundamentalism is feminism." It might be inappropriate to call a 342-page book about atrocities a page-turner, but this one is. You might not agree with every comment and conclusion Bennoune makes but her message cannot be ignored…

Raising the Pashtun Question

The Pashtun Question is a fast-paced crash course in the contemporary history of Pakistan and Afghanistan relations and the failures of both states. The flawless language, the quirky subtitle ‘unresolved key’ notwithstanding, makes the account eminently readable and does not let the boatload of facts, events, people and dates cited bog the reader down….

 
The Vulture King
Farooq Sulehria

The Vulture King
Farooq Sulehria

The publication of Raja Gidh, if viewed in the context of the Zia dictatorship, assumes a highly political character. In fact, Raja Gidh, along with state-sponsored/state-patronised cultural production under the Zia dictatorship rationalised reactionary right-wing politics (that led to present-day Talibanisation). Unsurprisingly, Raja Gidh’s discourse on, for instance, women and communists neatly sits with Zia-era politics.....

 

A Civilisation of Narcissists
Mobarak Haider

If Muslims kill non-Muslims, they seem strangely unconcerned; when Muslims kill Muslims, as in Sudan, they turn their eyes away. It is only when non-Muslims kill Muslims that they wake up and start complaining and pointing to their general state of victimhood. In his book Tehzeebi Nargisiyat (Sanjh Publications Lahore, 2009), Mobarak Haider goes into the minutiae of collective Muslim narcissism and examines all their overt and hidden postures, and comes up with a key to the understanding of the Muslim mind……

K.K. Aziz: Murder He Wrote
Nadeem F. Paracha

K.K. Aziz: Murder He Wrote

Murder of History enjoyed its third edition in 2010 and is now widely quoted by noted Pakistani and Western historians. Also, ever since his death, a series of books authored by Aziz in the 1990s have appeared. The history sections of books stores across Pakistan now carry a number of works authored by Aziz, something that was almost inconceivable even till the mid-1990s.....

 

The Wars That Pakistan Began and Lost
Syed Badrul Ahsan

From Kutch to Tashkent promises to be a source of delight for researchers of sub continental and especially Pakistani history. In broad measure, it is mirror into the negative psychological make-up that has consistently defined Pakistan's political and military leaders since the country was created in 1947. One wonders if any lessons have been learned.……

'Faisal I of Iraq'
Oren Kessler

As Mr. Allawi writes, a "form of realistic, purposeful and constructive patriotism also died with Faisal, to be replaced with the far more strident, volatile and angry Arab nationalism that swept the Arab world after the end of the Second World War." Today much of the Arab world remains in thrall to that negative nationalism—one opposed to Israel, America and a vaguely defined "imperialism" but unable to articulate what it supports....

 

The Emergence of violent Islamism in the heart of the Western world, and the "war on terror" proclaimed against it, led to some interesting ideological trends. One might be described as progressive Islamophobia: a school of thought which, from a left-of-centre perspective, insisted that militant Islam was really a reactionary force ….

 

The world of Hindu gods and goddesses is varied and complex. Nobody really knows how many gods and goddesses are actually there. Spiritual masters and Indian scholars are unanimous, however, that although the Puranas and other scriptures refer to numerous gods and goddesses, Vedic monotheism considers these godly figures to be various aspects of a single god.…..

 

The War on Terror unleashed immense violence in several Muslim-majority countries, either through outright invasions and occupations or through drone strikes and special operations undertaken by the CIA and various branches of the American military. The ideological justification for these wars rests upon the construction of a nebulous enemy—driven either by an adherence to Islam or,….

 

The Crucible of Iraq

Hallucinations merge with reality in wartime. Your eyes and memory play tricks on you. You experience things and then wonder if you experienced them.  Morality is turned upside down. Killers prey on the weak, the vulnerable and the innocent in the name of God or the state or some twisted ethnic loyalty. Murderers and assassins are rich and powerful statesmen. American soldiers blow up houses on a whim, obliterating entire families. Death is a lucrative industry.….

 

People’s  Poet: Sahir Ludhianvi
Farooq Sulehria

It will not be an exaggeration to state that progressive Urdu writers have popularised Marxist ideas in the Indian Subcontinent more successfully than the Marxist apparatchik….. 



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