Speak, Your Lips are Free: Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Published on Chowk.com on May 31st 2010

Militants gunned down and attacked two Ahmedi mosques in Lahore and Pakistan has tied its panties in knots trying to figure out if the places of worship should be called mosques and if the terrorists were funded by the Indian RAW or the Americans. Similarly, there is a constitutional debate on if Pakistan as a state should finally and rightly divorce itself from decreeing what is sinful and who is what you call a Muslim.

That’s not the point.

The point is that Pakistan, and much of the rest of the world made up of intellectual slaves who aspire to talking bushes, life after death and a prophet who knows better than the average Abdul.

Ahmedis, Shias, Sunnis and the rest have a set of clearly set domains of such dogma protected by gatekeepers who derive their authority, not from IQ tests, but the length of their beard or the color of their turbans, and the ability to stick to their version of divine truth for a longer time.

This is a case of the four mice physiological experiment where the rodents are observed as being cooperative in a combined living coop until the resources started to diminish. People are running out of good and clever ideas to make fools of people, there is less of a brand differentiation between religions.

Take a drive down MA Jinnah Road in Karachi, Attaturk Ave in Islamabad, and The Mall in Lahore and Pakistan seems to be walking a tightrope of sanity. Development projects lie amuck, young girls and boys are leaving the world of boredom, eateries and fashion houses display creative signs of a culture that’s vibrant and has traveled centuries to survive. Yet holding this back is a greater wave of religion, and the irrationality of it, folded in to the very recesses of these street’s nook and corners, and inhabited by a population of co-dependents who live in a culture of denial, pain and a fantasy to rescue and be rescued by a male manifestation of God.

Pakistan is a country where religion is taken to its logical course. Where religious education is considered education, where women are considered property and honor, where every citizen from doctor to maid will hold close to them a symbol of the afterlife – a head covering or a wall hanging in Arabic.

Pakistan is a place where the regulatory authority for communication is hosting the entire world’s third largest internet growing economies, among the world’s top 10 cell phone markets, and yet it bans social network sites like Facebook, not in restriction of blasphemy but to be counted as a believing regulatory authority. In Pakistan even inanimate objects have a religion – Water, meat, buildings, cloth and roads.

Perhaps on its own Islam alone would not have decayed this country, creating a tyrannical, largely fascist majority rule over a group called the “other” which is exponentially dividing into smaller and less meaningful groups, but Islam did this because it was assisted by arms, drugs, and a super power called the US that has discovered freedom, and wants freedom to itself alone.

It’s not classified information now that the US actively supported and went as far as creating an indoctrinating and exclusivist Islamic curriculum though the University of Iowa, seeping textbook by textbook into the lame and limited education system of Pakistan – all to create hoards of foot soldiers in the Afghan war of the 70s. Today no educational institution in Pakistan can launch a scientific discovery into the world of religion because religion is an undisputed reality that shadows all other laws of nature including gravity. Evident by Punjab University goons thrashing of a university professor, the country’s most industrialized province goes to the dogs, while its leadership counts on expanding its conservative vote bank in South Punjab.

From Charlie Wilson, the democratic senator who died this year, to General Zia, each strategic player filled the drug of an altered reality in this regions young men, and in their fear, it created an elite that hob knobs at parties drinking booze and smoking up but wrapping their language and success in enough “glory to Gods” that no one would doubt that they were touched by the virgin Mary herself. No TV channel, no SMS or written or spoken projection into the future can ever end without God’s will by these fashion divas. So afraid are rich Pakistanis of living a life that they take God along like a cow bell around their neck least anyone forget for a moment that they are believers. Pakistan’s rich are shit scared of not having a God.

The notion that the world is coming to an end leaves little motivation to improve this country or to do anything constructive as it sits on the world’s largest coal deposit and holds a human capital that can turn around its economy if invested in productively.

This very notion once destroyed a similar civilization thousands of years ago only 70 km the capital Islamabad. In Taxila, there lived the Buddhist monks, ruled by an administrative setup that had better pluming, superior utilities like health and a system of democratic organization that lasted centuries while resources were distributed with egalitarian principles, lands were farmed sustainably.

Until someone came up with the brilliant idea that priesthood is superior to the political leadership. This resulted of course in the leadership deriving divine endorsement though priesthood. Therein lies the corruption of both the state apparatus, whose duty it is to protect the people and their property and their beliefs as well as the corruption of the religious clergy, whose duty it is to mind their own god damn business because if people can’t know for sure what will happen after they die, neither will they, since their brains are not necessarily more advanced.

In the end, Taxila is a great picnic spot where Pakistanis have forgotten the lessons as they say their bismillahs and chew on their curd.

It does not occur to people in this part of the world, led by the advertisement of the religious brand, that a country does not need religion to be run in an orderly fashion. Let’s take America for instance – A secular country with American Muslims and American Jews and Mainstream Christian Americans not even aware as almost ¼ th of the country doesn’t need the presence of a mighty deity to motivate them to pay their taxes and keep away from addictive substances. This is the developed world’s best kept secret – God can be a personal concept.

Those who tried to point it out in our country are recreated through revisionist history books as a saint. Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah spelt out that Pakistan was not to be a “theocracy to be run by priests with a divine mission.” Yet, soon after a year of Pakistan’s creation, Mullah’s who were initially opposed to Pakistan’s creation took it upon themselves to create a city on the hill, a puritan state and an Islamic ideology state. Hence the crap that Pakistan has landed in. It stinks and no one is wearing nose masks or saying it smells like shit, they are just short fused and angry.

The origins of the obscurantist forces emerge from the one man who the west reveres and holds as a symbol of non violence. During the struggle for independence for United India, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi introduced an idea – That there is this thing called Indianess which involves looking like a naked fakir, practice revivalist Hinduism and befriend other furry faced devouts from your fellow neighbors like the Maulana brothers and chase up a Muslim cause on behalf of the Muslims in what is now Secular Turkey – the cause of the Khilafat.

If Gandhi’s intent was solidarity, he was a misguided missile. And if he really intended to screw over the Muslims, and instill a permanent sense of “Islam in danger” than he was the shrewdest fake prophet out there, as he stands on Pier 42 of San Francisco with a sneer on his statue face as Pakistan burns.

There are no lessons to be learned on how to solve this blood bath and cure this lunacy in the name of religion as people are slaughtered for being non-Muslim in the urban centers of the world’s 23rd largest economy.

There are only wars to be fought. Except that in this country there is no one on the side of logic and rationality. Everyone has a sword and everyone is willing to put their own neck on the chopper for the Almighty. The other side of the battlefield is a dusty path of possibilities.

Let me be the one on the other side. I have doubt. I don’t know if there is a God. And I don’t care. I haven’t since a very long time and the only one thing I care about is my country being among the most advanced among other nations, in terms of Per Capita Income specifically.

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