By Nicholas Schmidle
Smithsonian magazine, December 2008
The believers in Islamic mysticism embrace a personal approach to their faith and a different outlook on how to run their country’s government.
In the desert swelter of southern
The camel reached a courtyard packed with hundreds of men jumping in place with their hands in the air, chanting "Qalandar!" for the saint buried inside the shrine. The men threw rose petals at a dozen women who danced in what seemed like a mosh pit near the shrine's entrance. Enraptured, one woman placed her hands on her knees and threw her head back and forth; another bounced and jiggled as if she were astride a trotting horse. The drumming and dancing never stopped, not even for the call to prayer.
I stood at the edge of the courtyard and asked a young man named Abbas to explain this dancing, called dhamaal. Though dancing is central to the Islamic tradition known as Sufism, dhamaal is particular to some South Asian Sufis. "When a djinn infects a human body," Abbas said, referring to one of the spirits that populate Islamic belief (and known in the West as "genies"), "the only way we can get rid of it is by coming here to do dhamaal." A woman stumbled toward us with her eyes closed and passed out at our feet. Abbas didn't seem to notice, so I pretended not to either.
"What goes through your head when you are doing dhamaal?" I asked.
"Nothing. I don't think," he said. A few women rushed in our direction, emptied a water bottle on the semiconscious woman's face and slapped her cheeks. She shot upright and danced back into the crowd. Abbas smiled. "During dhamaal, I just feel the blessings of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar wash over me."
Every year, a few hundred thousand Sufis converge in Seh- wan, a town in
Sufism is not a sect, like Shiism or Sunnism, but rather the mystical side of Islam—a personal, experiential approach to Allah, which contrasts with the prescriptive, doctrinal approach of fundamentalists like the Taliban. It exists throughout the Muslim world (perhaps most visibly in
I asked Carl Ernst, an author of several books about Sufism and a professor of Islamic studies at the
Qalandar was an ascetic; he dressed in rags and tied a rock around his neck so that he was constantly bowing before Allah. His given name was Usman Marwandi; "Qalandar" was used by his followers as an honorific indicating his superior standing in the hierarchy of saints. He moved from a suburb of
In migrating to Sindh, Qalandar joined other mystics fleeing
The "four friends," as they became known, taught Sufism. They eschewed fire-and-brimstone sermons, and rather than forcibly convert those belonging to other religions, they often incorporated local traditions into their own practices. "The Sufis did not preach Islam like the mullah preaches it today," says Hamid Akhund, a former secretary of tourism and culture in the Sindh government. Qalandar "played the role of integrator," says Ghulam Rabbani Agro, a Sindhi historian who has written a book about Qalandar. "He wanted to take the sting out of religion."
Gradually, as the "friends" and other saints died, their enshrined tombs attracted legions of followers. Sufis believed that their descendants, referred to as pirs, or "spiritual guides," inherited some of the saints' charisma and special access to Allah. Orthodox clerics, or mullahs, considered such beliefs heretical, a denial of Islam's basic creed: "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his Prophet." While pirs encouraged their followers to engage Allah in a mystical sense and relish the beauty of the Koran's poetic aspects, the mullahs typically instructed their followers to memorize the Koran and study accounts of the Prophet's life, known collectively as the Hadith.
While the tension between Sufis and other Muslims continued through history, in
I had seen the extremists up close; in the fall of 2007 I traveled throughout northwestern
Over dinner in a
Hyatt watched with despair as his friend adopted the rituals, doctrine and uncompromising approach espoused by the urban mullahs, who, in Hyatt's view, "believe that our identity is set by the Prophet" and less by Allah, and thus mistakenly gauge a man's commitment to Islam by such outward signs as the length of his beard, the cut of his trousers (the Prophet wore his above the ankle, for comfort in the desert) and the size of the bruise on his forehead (from regular, intense prayer). "These mullahs play to people's fears," Hyatt said. “‘Here is heaven, here is hell. I can get you into heaven. Just do as I say.' "
I hadn't been able to find a clear, succinct definition of Sufism anywhere, so I asked Hyatt for one. "I can explain to you what love is until I turn blue in the face. I can take two weeks to explain everything to you," he said. "But there is no way I can make you feel it until you feel it. Sufism initiates that emotion in you. And through that process, religious experience becomes totally different: pure and absolutely non-violent."
Hyatt is now the music director for Coca-Cola in Pakistan, and he hopes he can leverage some of his cultural influence—and access to corporate cash—to convey Sufism's message of moderation and inclusiveness to urban audiences. (He used to work for Pepsi, he said, but Coke is "way more Sufic.") He recently produced a series of live studio performances that paired rock acts with traditional singers of qawwali, devotional Sufi music from
Several politicians have also tried to popularize Sufism, with varying degrees of success. In 2006, as Musharraf faced political and military challenges from the resurgent Taliban, he established a National Sufi Council to promote Sufi poetry and music. "The Sufis always worked for the promotion of love and oneness of humanity, not for disunity or hatred," he said at the time. But Musharraf's venture was perceived as less than sincere.
"The generals hoped that since Sufism and devotion to shrines is a common factor of rural life, they would exploit it," Hamid Akhund told me. "They couldn't." Akhund chuckled at the thought of a centralized, military government trying to harness a decentralized phenomenon like Sufism. The Sufi Council is no longer active.
The Bhuttos—most prominently, Benazir and her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto—were much better at marshaling Sufi support, not least because their hometown lies in Sindh province and they have considered Lal Shahbaz Qalandar their patron saint. Qalandar's resting place became, in the judgment of
As Benazir Bhutto began her first campaign for prime minister, in the mid-1980s, her followers would greet her with the chant, "Benazir Bhutto Mast Qalandar" ("Benazir Bhutto, the ecstasy of Qalandar"). In late 2007, when she returned to
In Jamshoro, a town almost three hours north of
She rose above the
Immortal she became,
The devotee of Qalandar became Qalandar herself.
"So who is next in line?" I asked. "Are all Bhuttos destined to inherit Qalandar's spirit?"
"This is just the beginning for Asif," Sagar said, referring to Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir Bhutto's widower, who was elected president of
Musharraf, a general who had seized power in a 1999 coup, resigned from office a week into my most recent trip. He had spent the better part of his eight-year regime as president, military chief and overseer of a compliant parliament.
In the seven months that I had been away, the economy had gone from bad to worse. The value of the rupee had fallen almost 25 percent against the dollar. An electricity shortage caused rolling blackouts for up to 12 hours a day. Reserves of foreign currencies plunged as the new government continued to subsidize basic amenities. All these factors contributed to popular discontent with the government, an emotion that the Taliban exploited by lambasting the regime's perceived deficiencies. In
Perhaps the biggest challenge for the new government is reining in the military's intelligence agencies, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. The Pakistan Peoples Party has long been considered an anti-establishment party, at odds with the agencies. In late July, the PPP-led government announced that it was placing the ISI under the command of the Interior Ministry, wresting it from the army—then days later, under pressure from the military, reversed itself. A uniformed president may symbolize a military dictatorship, but
In August, I got what I believe was a firsthand indication of the extent of their reach. Two days after Musharraf bid farewell, I began my trip to Sehwan for the urs for Qalandar, along with photographer Aaron Huey; his wife, Kristin; and a translator whom it is best not to name. We had barely left
We continued north on the highway into the heart of Sindh, past water buffaloes soaking in muddy canals and camels resting in the shade of mango trees. About an hour later, my phone rang. The caller ID displayed the same number as the call that had supposedly come from the Interior Ministry Secretariat.
"I am a reporter from the Daily Express newspaper. I want to meet you to talk about the current political situation. When can we meet? Where are you? I can come right now."
"Can I call you back?" I said, and hung up.
My heart raced. Images of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and beheaded by Islamic militants in
My phone rang again. An Associated Press reporter I knew told me that her sources in
The car fell silent. My translator made a few calls to senior politicians, bureaucrats and police officers in Sindh. They said they were treating the two phone calls as a kidnapping threat and would provide us with an armed escort for the rest of our trip. Within an hour, two police trucks arrived. In the lead truck, a man armed with a machine gun stood in the bed.
Another phone call, this time from a friend in
"Man, it's good to hear your voice," he said.
"Local TV stations are reporting that you've been kidnapped in
Who was planting these stories? And why? With no shortage of conspiracy theories about fatal "car accidents" involving people in the bad graces of the intelligence agencies, I took the planted stories as serious warnings. But the urs beckoned. The four of us collectively decided that since we had traveled halfway around the world to see the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, we would do our damndest to get there, even if under police protection. After all, we could use Qalandar's blessings.
That evening, as the setting sun burned the color of a Creamsicle as it lit the sugar-cane fields on the horizon, I turned to the translator, hoping to lighten the mood.
"It's really beautiful here," I said.
He nodded, but his eyes stayed glued to the road. "Unfortunately, the fear factor spoils the whole fun of it," he said.
By then we could see buses clogging the highway, red flags flapping in the wind as the drivers raced for Qalandar's shrine. The railway ministry had announced that 13 trains would be diverted from their normal routes to transport worshipers. Some devotees even pedaled bicycles, red flags sticking up from the handlebars. We roared down the road in the company of Kalashnikov-toting police, a caravan of armed pilgrims.
The campsites began appearing about five miles from the shrine. Our car eventually mired in a human bog, so we parked and continued on foot. The alleys leading to the shrine reminded me of a carnival fun house—an overwhelming frenzy of lights, music and aromas. I walked beside a man blowing a snake charmer's flute. Stores lined the alley, with merchants squatting behind piles of pistachios, almonds and rosewater-doused candies. Fluorescent lights glowed like light sabers, directing lost souls to Allah.
Groups of up to 40 people heading for the shrine's golden dome carried long banners imprinted with Koranic verses. We followed one group into a tent packed with dancers and drummers next to the shrine. A tall man with curly, greasy shoulder-length hair was beating on a keg-size drum hanging from a leather strap around his neck. The intensity in his eyes, illuminated by a single bulb that dangled above our heads, reminded me of the jungle cats that stalked their night time prey on the nature shows I used to watch on TV.
A man in white linen lunged flamboyantly into a clearing at the center of the crowd, tied an orange sash around his waist and began to dance. Soon he was gyrating and his limbs were trembling, but with such control that at one point it seemed that he was moving only his earlobes. Clouds of hashish smoke rolled through the tent, and the drumming injected the space with a thick, engrossing energy.
I stopped taking notes, closed my eyes and began nodding my head. As the drummer built toward a feverish peak, I drifted unconsciously closer to him. Before long, I found myself standing in the middle of the circle, dancing beside the man with the exuberant earlobes.
"Mast Qalandar!" someone called out. The voice came from right behind me, but it sounded distant. Anything but the drumbeat and the effervescence surging through my body seemed remote. From the corner of my eye, I noticed photographer Aaron Huey high-stepping his way into the circle. He passed his camera to Kristin. In moments, his head was swirling as he whipped his long hair around in circles.
"Mast Qalandar!" another voice screamed.
If only for a few minutes, it didn't matter whether I was a Christian, Muslim, Hindu or atheist. I had entered another realm. I couldn't deny the ecstasy of Qalandar. And in that moment, I understood why pilgrims braved great distances and the heat and the crowds just to come to the shrine. While spun into a trance, I even forgot about the danger, the phone calls, the reports of my disappearance and the police escort.
Later, one of the men who had been dancing in the circle approached me. He gave his name as Hamid and said he had traveled more than 500 miles by train from northern
"He could communicate directly with Allah," Hamid said. "And he performs miracles."
"Miracles?" I asked, with a wry smile, having reverted to my normal cynicism. "What kind of miracles?"
He laughed. "What kind of miracles?" he said. "Take a look around!" Sweat sprayed from his mustache. "Can't you see how many people have come to be with Lal Shahbaz Qalandar?"
I looked over both of my shoulders at the drumming, the dhamaal and the sea of red. I stared back at Hamid and tilted my head slightly to acknowledge his point.
"Mast Qalandar!" we said.
Nicholas Schmidle is a fellow at the New America Foundation in
Aaron Huey is based in
Photographs by Aaron Huey
Thank God for Justice: Renewing the Spirit in Uncertain Times
Dr. Robert Dickson Crane
Posted Nov 26, 2008
Biismi Allahi al rahman al rahim.
In the name of God, Who is both the essence of mercy and the most merciful
Every Muslim, at the beginning of whatever one does or intends to do, asks for the blessing of God by invoking His name in this way.
One might call this the Islamic invocation of the trinity. God, the Father is the essence of power, God the Son is the essence of mercy, and God the Holy Spirit is the essence of wisdom. Like Meister Eckhart, who succeeded St. Thomas Aquinas in the chair of theology at the
My Thanksgiving Day talk today is entitled ‘‘Thank God for Justice’’ because justice is the combination of power, compassion, and wisdom, the Abrahamic trinity.
On the back of my card for the Abraham Federation are three quotes. The first is from Deuteronomy 16:20, “Justice. Justice, Thou Shalt Pursue.” The second is from Pope Paul VI, Si vic pacem, laborate justitiam, “If you want peace, work for justice.” And the third is from the Qur’an, Surah al An’am 6:115, Wa tama’at kalimatu Rabika sidqan wa ‘adlan, “And the Word of your Lord is fulfilled and perfected in truth and in justice.”
The central task of the great scholars in all three of the Abraham religions has been to develop holistic methodologies to explore what transcendent justice may mean in the design of God for the universe and how we creatures may best pursue it.
Justice may be defined as right order in a coherent universe. Transcendent justice assumes that the universe has purpose beyond its mere existence. Justice assumes that sentient human beings are part of this order and therefore that every human being by nature seeks justice as a higher purpose than mere life and liberty, because life and liberty are primarily products of justice. We should be thankful that we as sentient beings have both the capacity and the instinctual inclination to understand the concept of justice and those we have the life and freedom to pursue it.
Now down to the practice of justice and then we will go back again to the theory. I almost always avoid discussion of justice in the
Almost twenty-five years ago, a close colleague of mine in congressional lobbying, Rabbi Herzl Kranz, whom many of you no doubt know as the long-time rabbi of a nearby synagogue, discussed his concern for the security of Jews in
Here we get to the issue of premises. As the philosopher
In fact, we are dealing here with a paradigm that comprises a spectrum of three premises. In his recent book, Religious Pluralism in America: The Contentious History of a Founding Ideal, the dean of historians of religion in America, William R. Hutchison, proposes a framework of three premises for interfaith relations. The first one is “tolerance.” This means, quite simply, “I won’t kill you yet.” The second is diversity, which is somewhat more expansive and means, “You’re here damn it, and I can’t do much about it.” The third and highest premise is “pluralism,” which means “We welcome you because we each have so much to offer and learn from each other.”
Hutchison’s thesis is that in the history of
If we want to aspire to, much less live in, a world of pluralism, we must find common purpose. “Pluralism by participation,” Hutchison writes, “implies a mandate for individuals and groups … to share responsibility for the forming and implementation of the society’s agenda.” This is the difference between suicide by assimilation and both survival and prosperity by integration so that everyone can share the best of the other. Perhaps the highest wisdom of interfaith understanding and cooperation calls us to recognize the truth and wisdom of the prophets, each of whom left the same message expressed in the words of Jesus, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:16.
Last summer at the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Herndon, Virginia, twenty scholars from around the world spent a month discussing what this means as a framework for faith-based justice and faith-based reconciliation, which now is the framework for all of the IIIT’s work.
Aside for a couple of Wahhabis who were invited to provide a wide spectrum of thought, we reached consensus on two things. First, we agreed that we should further develop methodologies and even lead the way to derive truth and justice heuristically from three sources. These are, first, haqq al yaqin, which is divine revelation, second, ‘ain al yaqin, which is natural law or the Sunnat Allah observable in the physical universe, including our own human nature, and, finally, ‘ilm al yaqin, which is the intellectual processing of the first two.
Second, we reached agreement on the purposes of what we might call transcendent justice or even metalaw but what Muslim scholars refer to by the traditional term maqasid al shari’ah. This is the classical Islamic normative law known variously as the maqasid or purposes, the kulliyat or universal principles, and the dururiyat or essentials of universal jurisprudence. This whole subject is clarified in my article in the current issue of The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, entitled “Human Rights in Traditionalist Islam: Legal, Political, Economic, and Spiritual Perspectives.” The state of the art in the development of holistic methodologies for the study of justice is best shown by Jasser Auda’s tome, Maqasid al Shari’ah as Philosophy of Islamic Law: A Systems Approach, which was published this year by The International Institute of Islamic Thought as part of a whole library of books now appearing on the subject.
Among the seven irreducibly highest principles developed more than half a millennium ago by Al Shatibi, who was the greatest of the classical Islamic scholars on the subject, the first maqsud is haqq al din. During the past six hundred years, this has been ossified to mean “protection of true belief,” meaning protection of Islam as an organized and politically approved religion. Beginning in 1946 with the publication of the book entitled Treatise on Maqasid al Shari’ah by the Grand Mufti of Tunisia, Ibn Ashur, and reaching broad acceptability today half a century later, this first principle of classical Islamic thought about justice is understood to mean “freedom of religion” in the true sense of pluralism. This is blindingly clear throughout the Qur’an but much less so in the hadith, many or most of which are either spurious or related by witnesses who had their own biases in understanding what they had heard.
Next come three sets of pairs. The first pair consists of haqq al haya and haqq al nasl, which mean the duties, respectively, to respect the human person and life itself and to respect the nuclear family and communities at every level that derive from the sacredness of the human person. The first one includes the elaborate set of principles that define the limitations of “just war” theory. The second one includes the principle of subsidiary, which recognizes that legitimacy expands upward from the community or nation to the state.
The second set consists of two responsibilities related to institutionalizing economic and political justice: haqq al mal and haqq al hurriyah. Throughout much of Islamdom this second pair of responsibilities has been observed, more often than not, in the breach. Even when the principles have been acknowledged, the derivative lower level, known as hajjiyat, of institutionalized implementation has been ignored.
The third pair of maqasid consists of haqq al karamah, the duty to respect human dignity especially in regard to gender equity, and haqq al ‘ilm, the duty to respect knowledge, including the secondary level of implementation known as freedom of thought, publication, and assembly. The historical trend of these last two maqasid is now strongly upward because educated Muslim women are gaining recognition as equal to men in the ijtihad of scriptural analysis known as the intellectual or “third” jihad: Wa jihidhum bihi jihadan kabiran, “And struggle to understand it [divine revelation] in a great jihad” (Surah al Furqan 25:52).
Beyond the intellectual development of these universal principles, which increasingly in the West are now known expansively as natural law, and beyond the philosophical debate over whether positivist or man-made law is the only kind of law accessible to human knowledge, is what Yves R. Simon in his book, The Tradition of Natural Law: A Philosopher’s Perspective, on page xxi calls “a connatural grasp of the idea via inclination.”
Here we come to the essence of my talk and the real reason why we should be thankful for our awareness of a transcendent justice and of the responsibilities that this enjoins upon us. The grand master in this aspect of justice is the Rebbe Abraham Izaac Kook, whose wisdom has so grievously been distorted and perverted by his self-styled followers, the Gush Emunim in the modern Settlers’ Movement. He was Chief Rabbi of
The fundamentalist Gush Emunim makes the sacrilegious error of turning his spiritual teaching into a call for secular nationalism of the most extreme kind. Abraham Isaac Kook’s entire life spoke his message that only in the Holy Land of Israel can the genius of Hebraic prophecy be revived and the Jewish people bring the creative power of God’s love in the form of justice and unity to every person and to all mankind. “For the disposition of the Israelite nation,” he asserted, “is the aspiration that the highest measure of justice, the justice of God, shall prevail in the world.” Universally recognized as the leading spokesman of spiritual Zionism, Rebbe Kook went to
This was the exact opposite of “secular Zionism,” which resulted from the assimilationist movement of 19th century
As a Lurianic Cabbalist, committed to the social renewal that both confirms and transcends halakha, Rebbe Kook emphasized, first of all, that religious experience is certain knowledge of God, from which all other knowledge can be at best merely a reflection, and that this common experience of “total being” or “unity” of all religious people is the only adequate medium for God’s message through the Jewish people, who are the “microcosm of humanity.”
“If individuals cannot summon the world to God,” proclaimed Rebbe Kook, “then a people must issue the call. The people must call out of its inner being, as an individual of great spiritual stature issues the call from his inner being. This is found only among the Jewish people, whose commitment to the Oneness of God is a commitment to the vision of universality in all its far-reaching implications and whose vocation is to help make the world more receptive to the divine light by bearing witness to the Torah in the world.” This, he taught, is the whole purpose of
But he warned, again “prophetically,” that, “When an idea needs to acquire a physical base, it tends to descend from its height. In such an instance it is thrust toward the earthly, and brazen ones come and desecrate its holiness. Together with this, however, its followers increase, and the physical vitality becomes strikingly visible. Each person then suffers: The stubbornness of seeking spiritual satisfaction in the outer aspect of things enfeebles one’s powers, fragments the human spirit, and leads the stormy quest in a direction where it will find emptiness and disappointment. In disillusionment, the quest will continue in another direction. When degeneration leads one to embrace an outlook on life that negates one’s higher vision, then one becomes prey to the dark side within. The spiritual dimension becomes enslaved and darkened in the darkness of life.”
Rebbe Kook warned that “the irruption of spiritual light from its divine source on uncultivated ground yields the perverse aspect of idolatry. It is for this reason that we note to our astonishment the decline of religious Judaism in a period of national renaissance.” “Love of the nation,” he taught, “or more broadly, for humanity, is adorned at its source with the purest ideals, which reflect humanity and nationhood in their noblest light, but if a person should wish to embrace the nation in its decadent condition, its coarser aspects, without inner illumination from its ancient, higher light, he will soon take into himself filth and lowliness and elements of evil that will turn to bitterness in a short span of history of but a few generations. This is the narrow state to which the community of
“By transgressing the limits,” Rebbe Kook prophesied, the leaders of
We cannot know whether the catastrophe that Rebbe Kook foresaw was merely a warning, or whether the true return is already taking place, but he was confident of the end result. The Rebbe always sharply defended the validity of both Christianity and Islam as religions in the plan of God, and proclaimed that, “the brotherly love of Esau and Jacob [Christians and Jews], and Isaac and Ishmael [Jews and Muslims], will assert itself above all the confusion [and turn] the darkness to light.”
For this we should be thankful. Al hamdu li Allah, wa astaghfiru Allah inna Allahu ghafur wa rahim.
A Thanksgiving Day Talk at
Annual Interfaith Worship Thanksgiving Service 2008
Iqbal, Jinnah And The Lost Glory Of The Muslims Of
By Kaleem Kawaja, November 25, 2008
Muslim Boys' in India The fierce controversy that raged in the minds of the Muslims of India over the issue of pan-Islamism and nationalism in the decades preceding India’s independence and partition in 1947 was profoundly influenced by three pre-eminent leaders of India’s Muslims of that time. These were Mohammad Iqbal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Abul Kalam Azad. All three were concerned with the protection of the future of Muslims in
It is hard to either credit Iqbal with the seed for the creation of
To preserve the autonomous growth of Muslims in
It is Iqbal’s lack of enthusiasm for the Khilafat movement and appreciation for the Turk nationalist leader Kamal Ataturk who abolished it, that clearly spells his disillusion with the concept of a Pan-Islamic state. He accepted that there are distinct national identities within the Islamic community and that Muslims, transcending their nation states, could get politically united, yet they all could not be one nation. He was very conscious of the influence of Arab imperialism invoking the name of Islam to undermine the loyalty of Indian Muslims. In fact Iqbal concurred with the suspicion of the nationalist Indian Muslims that the idea of Pan-Islamism was planted by the British to divert the attention of
Mohammad Ali Jinnah on the other hand was the architect of
An entire generation of educated Muslims in the pre-independence
It was in these circumstances that Jinnah, disillusioned with the politics of the Indian National Congress party which represented all Indians, majority of whom were Hindus due to demographic reasons, initiated the concept of the two nation theory and a separate nation for the Muslims. Even though the concept was impractical and of little use to the Muslims living in the Hindu majority provinces of India, a vast segment of Indian Muslims were so emotionally charged with two decades of Iqbal’s exhortations that they were not willing to reason out its core impractical elements. To them it seemed the only way to regain the lost glory in the subcontinent. The nationalist Indian Muslim leaders notably Maulana Azad, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Mohammad Ali Jauhar, Hasrat Mohani etal, despite their strong efforts at persuading the Muslims to become equal partners in a multi-religious, multicultural nation, could not slow down the flow of the adrenalin of their dream to regain lost glory.
As things have played out sixty years later the consequences for the Muslims of India can at best be described as lack of success. Like the Holy Grail, regaining glory in the subcontinent has eluded them. For the vast majority of Muslims in the many Hindu majority provinces who were sceptical of the idea of a separate nation and who had stayed behind in India along with most of the historical symbols and monuments of the erstwhile Muslim glorious past , the consequences are an unending suspicion of their fellow Hindu citizens concerning their national loyalty. All of Iqbal’s high sounding exhortations and Jinnah’s promises of a better future have rebounded on them. In a sense they have become the lost tribe of the subcontinent.
Far reaching consequences would have followed if Iqbal’s views would have prevailed over those of Jinnah, and only those Muslims who were to actually become part of the new Muslim nation would have been involved in the Pakistan movement. For sure the mindless phobia of Hindus and Muslims regarding each other, their perpetual nemesis, would not have taken root in our national psyche and the continual tension between the two communities would have been avoided. While both Iqbal and Jinnah contributed significantly in the vivisection of
Today the territorial component is as important as religion in the two nation states flanking
” Saarey jahan say accha Hindostan hamara; hum bulbulen hain iski, yeh hay aashiyan hamara”. (This is the best nation on earth; it is our magnificent garden and we were its lovely birds).