By Waseem Altaf
06 December 2012
We have attached respectable meanings to repulsive attributes. Imagine the word “Ghairat” which has been assigned positive connotations, whereas it actually denotes irrational emotionality
The roots of violent behaviour lay in early childhood socialisation. Child battering is a common practice in our society particularly in the rural areas. Psychological research has revealed that children subjected to violence during early childhood exhibit violent behaviour as adults. We also promote hatred against out-groups. In our religious scriptures and text books we teach our children to hate. Aggressive behaviour is also appreciated in our culture as it signifies masculinity. In a number of our sub cultures an aggressive male gets greater recognition among his family members and peer group as compared to a “soft” male.
Then there is no restriction on hate speech. Our clergy spew toxic hate material day and night and there is no check. Ilam Din carpenter and Mumtaz Quadri both were influenced by such mullahs who drove them to act as murderers.
And we glorify them rather than condemning such criminals. Some of the most revered leaders in the Muslim world called for the murder of Salman Rashdi without realizing the consequences.
Our state media shows graphic pictures of mutilated bodies of individuals without following any proper code of conduct. We have been exhibiting films to our audience full of hate and violence, targeting specific religious groups. Such a loose system further strengthens violent tendencies. We post fake pictures of “blasphemers” in agony on the net and then feel pleasure.
Vigilante justice has not only been shown by common citizens, the police and spy agencies have also resorted to it. The brutal murders of Saleem Shahzad, Musa Khankhel and so many others were perpetrated, in all probability by security agencies. Similarly the entire nation watched on TV how the innocent Tajiks were ruthlessly massacred by FC in Balochistan.
The orgies during which sacrificial animals are butchered en masse and “enjoyed” by all and sundry on our streets while pools of blood abound in our streets further engender violent behaviour. During the month of Muharram we frequently witness spectacles of self-flagellation in our streets. This sadomasochistic behaviour acts as a re-enforcer for further acts of violence.
Jihad is what our military is supposed to perform. Hence it is not just the defence of territorial integrity of this country; it is much more than that. The scope of Jihad extends to the entire world and as a consequence you entangle yourself from Xinjiang in China to Kunar in Afghanistan.
We have enacted missiles, tanks and aircraft on various prominent places in our cities. And almost once a month our army gives us the “good news” of firing a Ghauri or a Ghazni while millions starve.
We enjoy and find recreation when destruction takes place in the West. Whenever a storm hits the US shores we feel pleasure and ascribe it to a calamity wrought upon the “enemies of God”. We admire Hitler who even today is perhaps the most hated personality in the entire Western world. We respectfully utter the name of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane. Mahmud of Ghazni, Mohammad Bin Quasim and Ahmad Shah Abdali the predecessors of Taliban are still our heroes.
We still miss Maula Jatt for he was a “real” man. We raise slogans when our hero destroys sacred idols and places of worship belonging to other religious groups. We feel a secret pleasure when such destruction takes place but when the same happens to us for instance the Babri mosque episode; we turn furious and in retaliation destroy several Hindu temples.
We categorize castes in view of the various fighting capabilities ascribed to them. For example Rajputs are regarded as a martial race. Hence the greater the chauvinism and violence associated with a caste the greater respect it carries among the masses.
We have attached respectable meanings to repulsive attributes. Imagine the word “Ghairat” which has been assigned positive connotations, whereas it actually denotes irrational emotionality, extremist and violent tendencies and total breakdown of self-control. Generally murderers who kill their near and dear ones for no cogent reason are socially “exonerated” by calling them “Ghairatmand”. The perpetrators of honour killings receive a special treatment in law for they are treated distinct from other criminals even if the crime is committed in cold blood.
Hence we are socialized into being haters of groups other than ours. We are also socialized into acting violently. The process of socialization begins during early childhood and continues into adulthood.
Violent behaviour takes place when there is little or no rationality, when logical thought process fails and emotions guide a person’s conduct, when the cognitive functioning is clouded.
The hate and the violent tendencies render a person incapable of employing cold logic. It is at this stage that a person is most vulnerable to play in the hands of those who are capable of controlling his behaviour in the name of a particular ideology.
In addition difficult life conditions give rise to scapegoating, destructive ideologies, and the evolution of increasing violence against a designated enemy.
During the Afghan war, ideologically motivated and violently charged jihadists from all over the world came to Afghanistan to fight against the “infidel”. Then there is the classic case of Ajmal Quassab wherein Quassab and associates slaughtered innocent Indian civilians in Mumbai. This clearly demonstrates how an individual is brainwashed into acting as a beast.
During the last few days, a Hindu temple was destroyed in Soldier Bazar in Karachi while over a hundred Ahmadi graves were desecrated in Lahore. These belong to citizens of this country; however there has been no state response. Earlier on, when Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head, the next day President Asif Ali Zardari and Ashfaq Pervez Kiani, the army chief, met at the President House. The same evening Kamran Khan in his show announced that the two finalized the state response to what happened to Malala. That state response is still coming while Malala has left the country for treatment and may never return.
A country where the children are indoctrinated into hating and inflicting harm on the non-believers, a country whose state religion sponsors violence, and in a culture where being violent is respectable, there is every possibility that hatred and violence which led to the birth of the state, would sooner or later also lead to the demise of the state.
Waseem Altaf is a social activist.