I shared a post about a newlywed couple, a Hindu man and a Muslim woman, marrying for love only to be harassed and threatened with death by their local community and the Muslim woman’s family because the Hindu man didn’t convert to Islam upon marrying his wife. It was very popular on the subreddit and brought in much discussion on the problems of religious tolerance in regards to a large minority population of a Islamic community and how India is a test-case for what happens when societies respect religious tolerance above Free Speech. Unfortunately, an Admin decided to ban it with no explanation. I wonder how it is that a subreddit claiming to be about open dialogue and good faith discussion about politics and philosophy can just ban topics arbitrarily. I followed all the guidelines, giving a Submission Statement explaining how this was important to better understand the problems that Religious Tolerance can create in a society by using the example of a Democratic country that actively tries to ban criticism of religion instead of allowing Free Speech. In Islam, a Muslim woman can’t marry a non-Muslim man because Islam treats women as property and not as people. While a Muslim man can marry a woman who is a “person of the book” meaning the Abrahamic faith traditions of Judaism and Christianity, even this is not acceptable for Muslim women. This is imposed upon Muslims by Islamic rulings as per Islamic theology and claims that Quran’s Chapter 2 opposes this is moot because Islam’s Tafsir system abrogates older passages and chapters of the Quran with newer chapters. If anyone is confused or curious by how Islam’s theory of Abrogation works and wish to be more informed to better understand why an entire Muslim community is threatening to kill these newlyweds over a Muslim woman’s choice to marry a man she loves, please click here. The US government – supported by both Republicans and Democrats – even has a list of Islamic countries that impose this religiously sanctioned misogyny upon Muslim women. When the newlywed couple sought police protection, the police physically and verbally threatened the Hindu man to change his religion to Islam in defense of the Muslim community’s outrage towards a Muslim woman marrying a non-Muslim man, who were growing in ire over the marriage. The couple then went to the Indian media to beg for help and only the BJP-favorable media like OpIndia has shared the story of their suffering at the hands of Islamic violence.
I feel this is an important issue to highlight, because Western Academia seems poised to just ignore painful truths of history, even if it means genocide denial for the sake of treating all religions as equal. After learning more about the issues within Islam, I had to re-evaluate what I thought was true from US Indology books and so I made this post to highlight a perturbing trend of genocide denial by US Indology departments that seem to be extending across Western Indology and it may be branching into other portions of Western academia as well. That is why I feel it was necessary to make this post because what I thought was fairly innocuous information in Unifying Hinduism is now incredibly alarming when I reflect back on it.
Claims by US Indologists from Chapter 10 of Andrew Nicholson’s Book “Unifying Hinduism“:
“HINDUISM: A MODERN INVENTION? “Hindu” was not originally a Sanskrit word but a Persian term used by Muslims to describe a regional or ethnic identity: the people living near the Indus, or Sindhu, river.44 Only at a relatively late date was the term adopted by Indians to refer to themselves, typically as distinguished from outsider groups known as turuskas (Turks) or mlecchas (barbarians). Cynthia Talbot has recorded the earliest usage of the word “Hindu” in an Indian language from inscriptions in mid-fourteenth-century Andhra, in which some Vijayanagara kings were described with the epithet “Sultan among Hindu kings” (Hindu-raya-suratrana).45 Talbot cautions, though, that in these inscriptions, “Hindu meant Indic as opposed to Turkish, not ‘of the Hindu religion’ as opposed to ‘of the Islamic religion.’”46 In Gaudīya Vaiṣṇava texts written in Bengali in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, “Hindu” was occasionally used to distinguish natives from yavanas or mlecchas.47 Although the context makes clear that these foreigners were Muslims, Gaudīya Vaiṣṇava writers did not state this explicitly until the eighteenth century, when the term musulmāna fnally became common usage in Bengali. In this case too, the word may have designated ethnicity generally and not a specific set of religious beliefs.
Further on in the chapter:
“Unlike later Hindu nationalist intellectuals, who sometimes recorded their fantasies of heroic and violent resistance to Muslim oppression, Sanskrit intellectuals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries responded with silence.28”
Source: Nicholson, Andrew J. Chapter 10: Hindu Unity And The Non-Hindu Other (4806-5293). Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History (South Asia Across the Disciplines). Columbia University Press, 2010.
Note: Two chapters left, but it seems I wasn’t able to make it by the deadline of today, but I am so very close.
Part of my issue has been that I spent far too long last year on reading and considering the views of US Indology, which I had believed to be of credible academic value, only to learn, upon reading The Oxford Handbook of Indology, that they don’t actually do anything else but interpret Sanskrit and other Indian languages to their own subjective opinion. I was astonished to later learn that they had a complete ignorance of Islamic doctrines, which they purportedly aimed to compare the behavior of Hindus in the Medieval era to, and even more astonished to read Will Durant’s book to fact-check Far-Right claims and . . . well, facts didn’t care about my feelings. I learned to value Free Speech upon discovering the truth from credible historians that I could trust like Will Durant much later on. I had purchased and read all of Siva Gita by Andrew J. Nicholson and then several chapters of his other book Unifying Hinduism only to compare to Will Durant’s historic fact-finding research and conclude that Nicholson and the Indologists that he cited in his book were entirely ignorant of Islam’s actual impact in India. He even refers to Hindu intellectuals arguments against Islamic invasion as mythic. I had to spend so much unnecessary time re-evaluating my information and came to unsettling conclusions that I didn’t want to be true, but soon recognized was the truth based on factual evidence and a greater understanding of Islamic theology thanks to the College panel discussions by Ex-Muslims of North America. I feel I owe a great deal to them for opening my eyes to problems that were right in front of me, but for which I didn’t notice.
This may sound odd, but I feel a sense of oddness when reflecting how far my views have been reshaped and changed by doing my utmost to go on fact-finding for my book. I hope there’s no issues – and there shouldn’t be – with Amazon’s guidelines once I’m able to self-publish it. It’ll probably be about a week more; if anyone has been eager to read, then I sincerely thank you for your patience. I really am trying to do my utmost in making this a book full of useful information and critiques for all who are interested in a critique of religion through social and cognitive psychology, Nietzschean philosophy, and my own views and thought experiments added onto it. I hope for the best, but I have no idea how good or bad the book will do in terms of sales and generating interest. When I’m done, I feel like hibernating for a month, because my brain feels like it is on fire and melting as I go through the process of writing, editing, citing, re-editing, and then probably editing once again. My main issue is keeping the word count of the remaining two chapters of Hinduism within the 828 page limit of Amazon’s self-publishing physical copies. I hope I can write concisely and informatively enough to squeeze it in.
Overall, writing this book has been one of the most thrilling and satisfying experiences of my life.
Today is evidently the Buddha’s birthday as recognized by several Buddhist schools of thought and Buddhist traditions. I thought I’d add this post as a celebration. The art is by Sherman Nepali and can be found here. For a quick rundown, on the celebration of the Buddha’s birthday, click here. More information can be found here.
I wanted to celebrate Buddhist art and culture due to the horrifying degree in which it is being culturally erased in Afghanistan, Maldives, and it is quite saddening how little of the Greco-Buddhist culture is left due to Islamic conquests that made a thoroughgoing attempt to destroy it all.
Before and After Images of The Taliban’s violent destruction of the massive 1700 year-old Bamiyan Cliff Statues in Afghanistan via dynamite due to their faith in Islam.
Islam has destroyed so much beauty and wonder, yet still can claim victimhood despite all its horrific actions. Meanwhile, actual peaceful teachings and cultures suffer being referred to as bigoted even after losing so much to such a violent and atrocious ideology as Islam.
Buddhism has such an inner sense of clarity, reflection, and sense of peace towards the world; building beautiful monuments, paintings, and civilizations. Yet, when it is forcibly taken away by a demented and psychotic belief system like Islam, Buddhists are depicted to be the aggressors. I ask you, who gives more value to a civilization? Which culture offers more beauty, wonder, and interest to our collective human experience?
I oppose anti-Muslim bigotry, Muslims should never endure violence because of terrorist organizations like the Taliban or stupid people like in Maldives, but don’t pretend Muslim culture isn’t complete shit.
While I may not agree with many doctrines, it should go without saying that Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Christianity all have beautiful depictions of art, music, and culture. We mustn’t ever allow them to be erased.
Do you remember when intelligent interviews and discussions were the norm? When you got to learn something of incredible value from an interview and it wasn’t a pissing contest with an interviewee leaving the stage because they couldn’t take a few basic questions that journalists asked so they could clarify any confusion for audiences? Or when people could just be part of a panel and not have someone storm off for hashtags and tweets and then be rewarded by the worthless rabble for refusing to even be part of a discussion?
Free Speech seems to already be dead and it is dead because so-called advocates of it don’t even follow its core tenants. The people who behave like the recent so-called “public intellectuals” have killed it and continue to defecate on its corpse while claiming to be its paragons.
I recently happened upon this disinformation article by IndiaToday claiming to be factual. It is full of misdirection, omissions, and lies and I want to prove it to you all.
Sharia law courts must NEVER be allowed in India. Do not allow this horrible, disgusting system infect India because of “religious tolerance” — it is not worth it.
The Sharia is essentially Divine Command Theory put into practice; Sharia scholars can only act based on the Quran, the Quran interpreting other parts of the Quran, what the pedophilic Islamic Prophet Mohammad did in his life because he’s seen as the perfect human being in Islam, and then “verified” Hadiths are used to support following certain practices so long as the Quran allows it; after that, Sharia scholars can give an “independent opinion” so long as it follows the Quran, Mohammad’s behavior, the Hadiths, or the First Followers of the Quran. Making new and updated practices for the modern era is strictly forbidden under the rule called “bidah” (invention) in a religion. One thing should be make explicitly clear here: The Sharia Court System is Fundamentally Opposed To All Outside Logic and Reason. No non-Muslim opinion is considered valid. When a Sharia scholar gives a ruling, Muslims are divinely mandated to follow it as unquestioned fact of Islam that they aren’t allowed to dispute. Keep in mind all of the following below has to be accepted by Muslims as unquestioned fact under Divine Command Theory of Sharia.
Don’t believe me? A link to the Tafsir explanation by a noteworthy and respected Islamic Cleric. I’ve added full links next to the one-clicks, if you don’t believe me: https://islamqa.info/en/answers/205290/tafseer-on-the-basis-of-narrated-texts-and-tafseer-on-the-basis-of-individual-understanding
The Sharia means “Divine Law” and in Civil Sharia Proceedings, a woman has half the say of a man even in cases of rape. Meaning two women must be there to verify the statements of a single man in cases of rape.
The Quran supports killing Apostates so in Civil Proceedings, anyone who wants to leave Islam would be killed for apostasy. http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=4&verse=89
Women and little girls being held captive to rape is considered morally justified in the Sharia: http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=4&verse=24
Beating your wife is acceptable under Sharia as per Quranic instructions: http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=4&verse=34
Violence against other religious groups, even different Islamic groups, is mandated thanks to Chapter 9 of the Quran; here’s just a small snippet: http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=9&verse=29
Raping little girls is legal in Sharia Civil Courts because the Pedophile Prophet Mohammad had sex with his 9 year old bride Aisha when he was around 50; it is justified by Aisha’s own admittance in the Hadiths: https://islamqa.info/en/answers/124483/age-of-the-mother-of-the-believers-aaishah-may-allah-be-pleased-with-her-when-the-prophet-blessings-and-peace-of-allah-be-upon-him-married-her
This has real world consequences in Sharia Legal Systems across the Arab world because Sharia courts don’t consider raping women or little girls a crime: https://www.jurist.org/commentary/2017/05/mais-haddad-arab-world-laws-protect-the-rapist-not-the-victim/
I had come to the realization in 10th grade that Christianity and Hinduism couldn’t both be true due to irreconcilable differences. Growing up in the USA, you get a lot of Christian symbolism in television, movies, and sometimes in music. Even the use of the term “God” during the pledge of allegiance made me feel different because as a Hindu, I had been led to believe in a polytheistic view when growing up. I seriously began to wonder if Hinduism was really true around middle school. When I visited India as a kid (at age 12 for my cousin’s wedding), I realized that people really did believe in Hinduism and that Christianity was as vacant in the parts of India I visited just like Hinduism is vacant in the U.S., because there was no frickin’ way people danced around a fire pot for 8 hours to gain blessings for a wedding from various deities. That takes dedication . . . and I was on a rooftop with a bunch of other people sitting in the cold as some Hindu priest rambled on in some nonsensical ceremony while the bride and groom occasionally had to circle around the fire pot with him.
It was later on that I realized people just used their personal surroundings as a sort of “proof” that their religion was real because so many around them believe it. Moreover, I had to come to terms with the fact that if Hinduism is true then the majority of the 300 million people living in the U.S. and millions living in Europe were fooling themselves. By contrast, if Christianity was true, then 1.2 billion Hindus were fooling themselves. Worse than that, I had believed if Hinduism is true then believers of the Abrahamic faiths were condemned to live in misery in the world unless they recognized Hinduism – or in some cases end-up in some Hindu version of hell or reincarnation. To clarify, my belief on that was misguided as the Bhagavad Gita which I read years later clarified that all you have to be is a good moral person and that it doesn’t matter your religion (Hindu or not) to obtain Moksha (Self-liberation to either become one with Brahman or to beyond depending on the interpretation of whichever Hindu school of thought is believed in). Conversely, if the Abrahamic faiths were true then my entire extended family was being sent to hell since before I was born. So, I decided not to lie to myself about the negatives of religion.
By age 14, I became agnostic and began to question the meaning of life. Although, it was more accurate to say agnostic-theist; that is, I didn’t know whether there was a God or gods or not, but still believed. By age 15, I became an atheist-agnostic. And to be honest, I felt the shift from agnostic – that is, the feeling of being unsure of whether a God existed or not – to an atheist-agnostic was more profound and impactful to me personally. It was with the understanding that I couldn’t know whether a God existed or not, but that I didn’t believe in it on a personal level due to the comparisons I kept making. I was confused how anyone else could have confidence. If you were a Christian, then you must believe all non-Christians are going to hell. Muslim? Same thing. Jewish? It wouldn’t matter how many Christians or Muslims there were in the world and the appeal to conversion would stop mattering if Judaism was the truth. Hinduism, same thing.
This book is an excellent introductory for theists, agnostics, and atheists unsure of their atheism on the basic arguments that atheists have against the belief in a God or Gods. Armin Navabi, an ex-Muslim who grew up in Iran and became Canadian after leaving the faith, gives a thorough examination of the most common criticisms of religion that atheists give to theists. If you’re one of the aforementioned people that is genuinely curious about why atheists don’t believe in a God or Gods, then I highly recommend this book. It offers the most thorough explanations about the most common arguments that atheists have against the existence of a God.
Unfortunately, even in today’s time, many theists often pretend to know what atheists think and believe about faith in a God or Gods. There is this erroneous belief that atheists hate or fear a God because of something that happened in their personal life or because that’s what holy books like the Bible give as reasons for why someone would be an atheist instead of simply talking to atheists and asking them why. The belief that atheists fear or hate God or love to wallow in sin is the wrong assessment about most atheists. Many atheists point to scientific evidence and criticisms of theology for their reasons on why they don’t believe in any sort of higher power anymore. Armin thoroughly explains these lines of reasoning. He goes on to dismiss the most common theistic comebacks that have been debunked for decades now such as Pascal’s Wager, arguments from ignorance of how little humans know as a reason to believe in a God, and using smart or famous people as reasons to believe in a God or Gods.
If you’re looking for sincere reasons why atheists don’t believe in a God or why people of your faith are leaving your religion, this book is for you. If you want to sincerely understand the basic reasons, then this book will be incredibly useful in understanding the atheist mindset. If you’re a theist or an agnostic who thinks atheists want to live in sin, or are fearful, or hate God; then I honestly recommend this book so that your misconceptions will be cleared away and you can focus on the real reasons that people are leaving religion and think about them. If you’re so concerned about the increase in atheism and view it as a negative occurrence, why not take a leap of faith and read this book to understand the real motivations and reasons on why people leave? If you don’t understand the real reasons, how will you ever hope to change the mind of an atheist? The reasons why people leave religion and become atheist won’t be found in the Bible or the Quran. They’ll only be found by actually listening to atheists. Perhaps, start with this book?
I have no idea to what extent this view will be controversial or seem misinformed, but after looking into the political situation of India and its surrounding borders, I’ve come to the conclusion that this woman is either willfully ignorant, a charlatan, deeply hateful of her country and her fellow people, or some combination of each of those contentions.
First, I’d like to dissuade any readers that might jeer at me for being some BJP street thug as I’m often accused of online when making any opinion on Indian politics – particularly on websites like Quora. I’m a US-born and raised Indian and I’m only looking at this from a political science lens. I had initially been swept up by the anti-BJP rhetoric that seems to be permeating throughout the mainstream US media as of now, but after looking into matters further, I’ve concluded that the US government and media are too dumb to adequately understand the dangers of this anti-BJP narrative and the Christian missionaries who are pushing for forced conversions are only going to cause an utter bloodbath between Muslims and Christians thanks to the age-old Abrahamic cultural hate that’s existed since Islam emerged in world history.
I’ve since changed my mind after researching the political climate of India and its neighbors. But I’d like to add that the BJP and so-called Right-wing of India’s political culture is overly sensitive to criticism and incredibly stupid in its responses. Thankfully, Modi and his administration are quite competent in deftly handling situations otherwise the corruption and anti-nationalist politics would continue dominating India. Instead of defending rapists, his government has pushed for reforms to punish child rapists, he’s pushed for job growth through environmental initiatives, he’s pushed for policies for child safety measures from abusive households, he’s pushed for women’s rights and celebrated International Women’s Day , and pushed for anti-corruption. The problem seems to be this overly paternalistic and frankly idiotic narrative towards college kids who want to protest for the rights of a convicted terrorist, a terrorist who clearly wants to kill the civilian public, and the college kids protest for that guy’s rights… for whatever reason. Nevertheless, admonishing them for drinking habits and sex is completely stupid. In a democracy, they should have the freedom to do as they please with their life choices. The BJP should have put more effort into the convicted terrorist’s criminal activity instead of personally insulting college youth.
I’m of the opinion that Arundhati Roy genuinely doesn’t give a shit about her fellow Indians based on her actions. The level of loathing and vindictiveness that this woman seems to have for India as a whole leaves me speechless at times. I don’t think any other democracy would have made her look like some activist fighting for human rights or presuming she has credentials where she really doesn’t since all she has offer is having written a best-selling novel once. I only speak harshly because it seems increasingly obvious to me that this woman, through her actions, deliberately tries to increase tensions and spur loathing and contempt among India’s civilian population. Under veneers of reconciliation and human rights, all she really offers is writing content that exploits scheduled castes, Muslim minorities, and so forth into hating their government and the majority population. I would actually contrast her with Amartya Sen, who I find gets just as much backlash from the BJP supporters but for far less justifiable reasons. Amartya Sen is ridiculed and lumped with Marxists like Pankaj Mishra, but having read his book The Argumentative Indian, I have not found this to be true. He’s further been criticized for wanting to “break India” by many BJP bloggers and Twitter handlers, but this is again untrue. Amartya Sen took extensive pains to celebrate the unity of India by pointing out the Heterodox tradition that foreign travelers independently detailed during ancient times. India is a heterodox culture which he feels proud to be a part of; from what I recall, he explicitly says this and suggests reading about great intellectual icons of India. I had assumed the BJP supporters had similar misapprehensions about Roy, but after looking at the evidence, I can only conclude that their criticisms about her are justified.
The reason being is that only someone willfully ignorant would ignore the devastating realities happening in each Muslim majority country around India’s borders and the selective narrative of the Rohingya refugee crisis that genuinely horrified me when I read more into it. I’d first like to begin with Afghanistan and detail what happened there when Islamic fascists consisting of the Mujahideen took over:
From journalist and Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at UCLA, Nushin Arbabzadah, in what was an attempt by a lecturer from a Liberal College to warn the US public about the dangers of Islam in an article about the Mujahideen and Islam:
28 April marks the 19th anniversary of the mujahideen’s victory over the Red Army forces in Afghanistan. The original mujahideen of the 1980s and today’s Taliban may use the same language of holy war, but their understanding of jihad is worlds apart. The key difference between the original mujahideen and the Taliban is that the former waged a traditional type of jihad. In a traditional jihad, if waged locally, a contest over control of resources takes place between rival strongmen who each run their own private armies. In this scenario, the ultimate legitimacy to rule draws upon military strength, but the contest itself is called jihad simply because Islam is the sole language of political legitimacy.
Crucially, in a traditional jihad, the victorious party has an unspoken right to pillage, rape and loot the conquered population. This is because militia fighters are not paid soldiers in a regular army and hence looting is the material reward they receive for fighting. The original mujahideen followed this traditional pattern of jihad upon coming to power in 1992. Since competition over resources rather than ideology is key to traditional jihad, the mujahideen’s war focused on Kabul where the nation’s wealth and the foreign embassies, another potential source of funding, were to be found.
Judging by a historical account from the 1920s, back then the women and girls of the conquered populations also belonged to the pillage package offered to militia jihadis. Hence, in the diaries of court chronicler Katib Hazara on the siege of Kabul in 1929, we read that the victorious mujahideen of the time had demanded to see the list of girls registered at a Kabul school so as to allocate female students to militia fighters.
Katib’s account might be exaggerated, but the story still reveals that there was an unspoken rule that women and girls were part of the conquest package. As such, the mujahideen’s struggle over Kabul was a continuation of traditional jihad complete with internal rivalries, pillage and looting. The mujahideen were part of the realm of traditional politics in which a conquered region is a turf that can be exploited by strongmen, who call themselves mujahideen so as to appear respectable.
Now, a Hard-Leftist may credibly argue that US foreign policy helped shape that situation. However, it doesn’t explain the utter catastrophe that is Pakistan, which a Pakistani government official has bravely spoken up about and extensively detailed in a book under threat to her own life. Pakistani Farahnaz Ispahani’s book, Purifying the Land of the Pure, goes into the extensive history and effects of the Islamic Republic upon Pakistani minorities who have been ruthlessly slaughtered by the Muslim majority country. The situation of Asia Bibi is only the tip of the iceberg for how destructive, violent, and outright murderous Pakistan is for Sikhs, Christians, and Hindus living as minority groups under Muslim rule. The vast majority of these groups have all fled due to a variety of reasons. From having hands chopped off for blasphemy offenses, to women in these religious minority groups being raped and then being forced to marry their Muslim rapists, to being murdered over a cup of water, being randomly attacked, and now that they’re a fringe minority, the majority Sunni Muslims have turned their sights on Shia Muslims and began murdering them en masse to continue these historic genocidal abuses.
The interview with Farahnaz Ispahani:
From 23% in 1947, Pakistan’s minorities today constitute a mere 3-4% of the population, says Farahnaz Ispahani, media advisor to the president of Pakistan from 2008 to 2012 in her book Purifying the Land of the Pure: Pakistan’s Religious Minorities.
She blames the successive Pakistan presidents and prime ministers for launching a slow genocide against minorities in the country to shore up their political base. She specifically blames Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the Pak army general who was the country’s 6th president, for creating a militant group to target Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians. Edited excerpts from an interview:
Could you tell us something about the title of your book Purifying the Land of the Pure: Pakistan’s Religious Minorities?
Pakistan itself means pure land. The reason I chose it is because I have traced in my book, using historical archives, how Pakistan which set out to be a secular albeit Muslims majority state, ended up becoming what it is today. When Pakistan was being formed in 1947, Pakistan’s population of non-Muslims was 23%, today we are somewhere between 3%-4%. So there has been a purification of minorities.
So my big question was where have they gone? What I have uncovered is quite devastating because it has not been one government or one man who has been culpable. It’s not only (former president) General Zia ul Haq. It has been from the time of Mr (Mohammed Ali) Jinnah, the Qaid-e-Azam of Pakistan, as he lay dying, already the political and bureaucratic wheels were moving towards a more Muslim state.
I am saying that for all religious minorities—Muslim and non-Muslim—there has been a purification. This is what I call drip drip genocide. Normally when people talk about genocide, they talk about Nazi Germany or they talk about Yugoslavia. In the case of Pakistan, this is slow genocide, this drip, drip, drip over 76 years.
You refer to the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) founder and ideologue Maulana Abul Ala Maududi in your book. Was this purification the handiwork of politicians only or did religious leaders and scholars also have a role?
Maulana Maududi did not support the formation of Pakistan; he did not think it would be Muslim enough. Mr. Jinnah, as he was dying, talked at length about Pakistan’s minorities and said no matter what someone’s faith was would not matter in Pakistan. But after he died what happened was, most of the people who were in leadership positions in Pakistan, in the Muslim League like our first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan, were not from Pakistan. So they did not have natural constituencies as politicians.
You have a man like Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan who himself was very secular in most ways. He becomes the man who brings about the resolution which went into every single constitution we ever had, which was very clear in that it said that Pakistan was a Muslim state. And that the Quran and Shariat and Sunnah (verbally transmitted teachings of the Prophet) are to be part and parcel of the state. It was the ugliest form of realpolitik.
What people like Liaquat and Chaudhury Mohammed Ali (fourth prime minister of Pakistan), etc., did was that they revived “Islam is in danger” as the glue to keep them in their positions. Mr. Maududi and his fellow clergymen therefore became of great value to the political leadership of Pakistan to justify their decisions, to keep them in power.
And as you go on, when you have the first proper martial law in Pakistan when General Ayub (Khan) takes over, you see the nexus of the military with the mullahs and politicians who were acceptable to the military.
You have talked of the links between politics, religion and the military. How did militancy come to be linked with this?
The first well-known and well-organised terrorist militia that we know about that dealt with religious minorities was created by Zia-ul-Haq. It was called the Sipah-e-Sahaba and its sole job was to harass Shias. So, that is the first group that we see that is armed and trained and reasonably openly by the (Pakistani) government of that time.
Some of these groups—not all—in some seasons cross borders and in some seasons there are at home purifying the land of the pure, whether it is blowing up Ahmadi places of worship or Christian worshippers at mass or Shia imambargahs.
So the state’s policy that goes back to the very beginning of mixing religion with politics and then religion, politics and the military together has resulted in a terrible situation not just from the point of view of Pakistan’s neighbours but for us Pakistanis as well. Over 60,000 Pakistanis have died due to attacks internally by terrorists.
Of all the politicians who have done their bit for the decimation of minorities, would you say that it was president Zia-ul-Haq who did the most damage?
Yes. Two things, he legalised Islamisation—whether it was bringing in the Hudood (ordinance in 1979 under which Sharia laws applied in cases of extramarital sex, theft and prohibition). From very little things like introducing prayer times in government buildings to very, very, very harsh laws of blasphemy. The other thing would be the birth of these jihadi groups in a very, very big way.
He attempted to alter our culture—Pakistani diplomats’s wives could no longer wear saris—they were considered Hindu and un-Islamic. You could no longer say Khuda Hafiz; you had to say Allah Hafiz.
These small things have now percolated down and they have shaped an entire culture. So that’s what he did, the small things changing the way people thought, the laws which were then impossible to get around and then the Jihadi groups.
How can this state of affairs be changed?
It has to be through political leadership, even though we saw in (Punjab governor) Salman (Taseer)’s case that in spite of everything when (his security guard) Mumtaz Qadri pumped his body full (in 2011) of bullets the other people stood there and watched. Later Qadri was garlanded and the judge who found him (Qadri) guilty, we had to send the judge and his entire family out of Pakistan. I was in government then. He’s never come back.
This book is like a death sentence for me. Civil society at that time had no leadership. And the reaction was don’t even talk about it. Don’t even mention Asiya Bibi (Pakistani Christian found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death. Taseer opposed her punishment). Look at Salman, he was so foolish. There was no one willing to bury him. I had to find somebody, beg someone to read his last rites. And then, I had to get that person and their family out of Lahore.
So is this the worst for Pakistan and therefore can one say that change can only make things better?
I could never say something like that because its impossible to be so categorical. Pakistan is a functional state still and there is a lot of room for change. I hope things turn around. But I think a big part of it is that jihadi groups have to be dealt with. They can no longer be good jihadi groups and bad jihadi groups. There should be no jihadi groups. Countries can have militaries and countries can have diplomacy. Unless we move past this kind of a situation, the world is losing patience.
Any point when this could be changed?
From the very start. Mr. Jinnah was still alive and they have the temerity to block his speech from the radio. That entire speech was about how important Pakistan’s religious minorities were and how absolutely vital it was for pluralism and to have a successful state for all citizens to have a place. Once you end up introducing a religious law it is almost impossible to amend it or to change it because they are seen as protecting Islam and feelings of Muslims.
In the book, I break this down into four stages – and I call stage one Muslimisation. This comes about between 1945 and 1951. There is a massive decline in Hindu and Sikh populations and therefore Pakistan became more Muslim demographically.
Stage two is Islamic identity. This is where you see from 1958 onwards state-sponsored text books reject pluralism, paint religious minorities very negative, highlight and glorify Islamic history with no South Asian basis. So an attempt was made to forge a Pakistani identity purely on the basis of Islam.
The third stage is Islamisation. This is where legislation in an attempt to make the country’s laws more Islamic resulted in creating a legal framework against the minorities. It started in 1974 and continues up to 1988. This was all done in General Zia’s time.
Stage four is militant hostility towards the minorities, which is the stage at which we are and we have terrorism and organised violence.
First Published: Tue, Jan 19 2016. 12 35 PM IST
Spoiler Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for the mainline Shin Megami Tensei series and other MegaTen related series such as: Majin Tensei I and II, Digital Devil Saga Duology, the Persona series, Devil Survivor series, and well . . . potentially everything MegaTen / Shin Megami Tensei related, but those are the main video game series that get spoiled.
Content Warning: In general dialogue with others online, I tend to use expletives. Not in a way to insult in this context, but as a general habit of discourse. I don’t mean any insults towards Beadman, and apologize if any such comment was inferred or directly made by me. I do admit to purposefully using expletives to properly articulate by annoyance with Eirikjrs in this discussion at one instance. More importantly, Beadman and I have an outspoken and frank discussion on Abrahamic religious theology, its plausibility, and its history based on the evidence given by modern Western academics. I hold very negative views and am frank in my crass humor when talking about religion in general. Although, if you’ve checked my blog, then you probably knew that already.
Below is a backstory if you’re curious to learn more about who Beadman and I are, why I decided to have this lengthy discussion and asked Beadman if it was okay to share it with you all, and why I believe such discussions have value. If you would like to skip it due to lack of interest, please just scroll down below to the slideshow.
For those who may be curious or hold interest in learning about either of us more personally, I am a self-described Hindu Atheist and Beadman is a Transtheist and Surrelativist (an identifying name for the position of Emerging Theism). We had a separate discussion about how he defines his personal beliefs, but I felt it was wrong to add that to the discussion as I don’t want this to be construed as an attempt to shame or insult his beliefs as that is not my intention.
Having thought over the SMT discussion, I couldn’t help but ruminate on the many, many changes on both my beliefs and my interactions with Beadman over such a short span of time. I first met Beadman in 2013 and we had thoroughly diametrically opposed views on the Neutral ending of Shin Megami Tensei IV on the MegaTen Reddit website. He couldn’t believe that the people of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado could be herded through Naraku in a mass exodus without casualties and criticized them all fitting into Cafe Florida at the end of Neutral. I felt he was focused on the wrong details, making a mountain out of a molehill, and quite liked the ending. I stopped following Shin Megami Tensei for awhile, because I was under the false impression that there wouldn’t be another game for another 9-10 years due to the trackrecord of mainline games usually being that far apart on initial releases. To my pleasant surprise, I was wrong, and I got to enjoy a duology from the mainline series. And… a bunch of extremely personal stuff involving my near-death from a car crash happened, and I was not in the best of emotional states because my family basically told me that it didn’t matter that I almost died, didn’t believe I was in severe pain, didn’t believe I’m suffering from lifelong neck pain no matter how many times I tell them clearly and calmly, and well…. I took it out on Beadman at one point. I repeatedly apologized to him since then, but to my surprise, he didn’t remember the incident and he generally gives me the impression that he’s aloof from such things. I think it was because he was practicing Stoicism at the time, but I don’t think that he does anymore and I think he’s better off from it. He seemed to have his own bottled up annoyances, and I don’t believe that it was due to me, per se. I didn’t inquire though, but if there is anything of substance, I sincerely wish him the best in dealing with it.
I came to terms with my own personal issues upon recognizing my family, specifically my parents, are completely awful at articulating that they care in explicit terms. They’re the unique kind of… special that can’t verbally articulate or explicitly show they care, but instead do so with actions… and ignoring social problems deliberately because they’re awful at dealing with stress; but still support me through and through. It’s a very bizarre relationship; I’m living it and I don’t know how to fully describe it. I don’t go into too much detail because they have this fear and paranoia of being judged by the public that I never quite understood so on the off-chance they ever read this and know its from me, I’ve made sure to keep terms vague, because I just don’t want to deal with any potential future melodrama from them. I’m of the personal opinion that it largely doesn’t matter, anything you say about your life to the public will be absorbed for like five minutes of conversation, maybe an insulting text or a slew of insulting texts for a little while, and then promptly forgotten about because nobody truly cares about such gossip or melodrama beyond feeling better than some stranger online for however long the emotional superiority feels good to an individual.
As you can well imagine, I had to work on my own existential dread for awhile and my ire with politics, which I think affected me more deeply than most people since I am a political scientist albeit a low-level one, Beadman has publicly mentioned on Reddit that he minored in Philosophy while majoring in a STEM related field. For my part, I’ve read every major book of Friedrich Nietzsche’s and criticized his depiction of Nietzschean philosophy as it seemed to be based on Bertrand Russell’s godawful strawman depiction rather than genuine Nietzschean philosophy. At the same time, I’ve had to modify my views on Consequentialism and Utilitarianism, because that was his main focus and he clearly knows far more about it than I do. Due to Beadman’s influence, I read and finished John Stuart Mill’s Three Essays on Religion and I find it to be a fairly good critique of the failings of religion connected to State politics, but I also discovered that Mill was a racist moron. Beadman had once criticized Atlus for the “unclean” but I pointed out that if he’s right and I’m wrong about contentions I had against Law being Utilitarianism, then Atlus was completely justified in depicting Angels borderline racists against Japanese people. Mill repeatedly, and I do mean nauseatingly so, goes on and on about how Asians are untrustworthy thieves and diseased. Even if one were to argue that Atlus should focus on the philosophy and not the person, you have to keep in mind that if they did read Mill, it would be earnestly taking the time to read this man’s philosophy while he goes on paragraph upon paragraph about how diseased their culture is, how they aren’t worth trusting and should be looked upon with suspicion, and how their culture and society is a garbage heap. Atlus depicting Angels saying Japanese are “Unclean Ones” or “the Filth” is . . . incredibly benevolent and mild compared to the asinine comments that John Stuart Mill wrote repeatedly about Asian culture. Please believe me when I say that I’m not overstating this. It’s the equivalent of I, as a US-born and raised person, reading a book which falsely claims that the US is a disease-ridden group of morons with no moral values or positives repeatedly strewn across various paragraphs while a foreign person is passionately discussing their moral philosophy. It might credibly be the case that Atlus is trying their best to depict Utilitarianism in a neutral context from the standpoint of what Mill actually said about Asian societies as a culture and people in his own very homogenized context. Please keep in mind that I actually liked what I read about John Stuart Mill’s philosophy when he kept focus on the philosophy itself, but when he went into foreign cultures . . . it got very stupid, very fast. This judgment of mine is also based upon one small book of his, I have no idea how Mill addresses Asians within the context of his larger philosophical works. Nevertheless, I now realize I misunderstood what Beadman meant since I thought he was saying Law was focused on John Stuart Mill’s Pleasure-Pain principle, but in fact, he places more emphasis on Bentham before John Stuart Mill. To the best of my knowledge and based on what I read from Mill about his own personal teacher, Bentham’s views are more vague and less focused on pleasures in his Consequentialist ideology. Mill is the one who fleshed out the philosophy to be more coherent and it seems Beadman was emphasizing the more vague version of Consequentialist ethics when critiquing Law.
Anyhow, before I began the discussion presented below, I had given him my explanation for why Nietzsche has a very big emphasis with Atlus’s work. I’m fairly sure my essay had an impact as I showed the various forms of symbolism and allegories to Nietzschean philosophy throughout the Shin Megami Tensei IV-IVA duology. I had always wanted this sort of discussion with him because I feel such a discussion, and publicly sharing such a discussion, has far more to offer than the nonsensical travesty that has become Eirikrjs blog. To emphasize this further, and to give more credence to my argument about the Anarchy route foreshadowing from a year ago, consider the fact that Dagda’s Theme is a remix of The White’s Theme.