On Tuesday (Oct 9), in Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old girl from the Mingora town of Swat District in NWFP was shot by Taliban. She has been fighting for women’s rights and specially girls’ right to education since 2009. She had been writing a blog for BBC detailing her life under Taliban.
Her shooting has created a big uproar in Pakistan and also around the world. Many candle light vigils are being held in various cities of Pakistan and column upon column is bring written about her courage. Many also want her to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I agree with all that and applaud the sentiment.
But I do not want to back Malala up so much that she becomes the focus. The fight Malala is fighting is important. The issue she is fighting is critical to the very existence of Pakistan, because it is not just girl’s education. Girls’ education is one that gets more prominence because of its obvious negativity. But this is a far bigger issue.
The idea that the Morality of an entire nation, indeed the Islamic Ummah is being forcibly thrust upon the shoulders of a minor girl is reprehensibel. And that is PRECISELY what is happening! The victory of “Good over Evil” is being vicariously lived through her, by all those who were in the first place responsible for the very forces which have shot Malala.
Last year Saleem Shahzad had been shot dead, most probably by ISI. He was killed by the same force.
To say that there is any difference between Taliban and ISI is complete hogwash. The ideas that were floated in the 1980s when the same people who are backing Malala were lauding and lapping them up, have now shaped themselves in the form of bullets that were thrust into Malala!
Time and time again, the promotion of Islam has culminated in denigration of women, killing and atrocities on minorities and subjugation of education and science, in particular. Pakistan, built on the very principle that it will be Islamic republic is a living testimony to that. All the Middle East states are as much, and the only reason why their degradation is not obvious is because (1) there are no minorities, which are there have no rights (2) the wealth and prosperity masks the ills in their country, specially the atrocities on women.
For Pakistan, the sickness runs very deep. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, had said this about Pakistan before Partition:
Now as I gather from the attitude of my own colleagues in the working committee, the division of India appears to be certain. But I must warn that the evil consequences of partition will not affect India alone, Pakistan will be equally haunted by them. The partition will be based on the religion of the population and not based on any natural barrier like mountain, desert or river. A line will be drawn; it is difficult to say how durable it would be.
We must remember that an entity conceived in hatred will last only as long as that hatred lasts. This hatred will overwhelm the relations between India and Pakistan. In this situation it will not be possible for India and Pakistan to become friends and live amicably unless some catastrophic event takes place. The politics of partition itself will act as a barrier between the two countries. It will not be possible for Pakistan to accommodate all the Muslims of India, a task beyond her territorial capability. On the other hand, it will not be possible for the Hindus to stay especially in West Pakistan. They will be thrown out or leave on their own.
If you see whatever he said has come true. He gives his argument based on Islamic historical events:
You are using the name of Islam for a cause that is not right by Islamic standards. Muslim history bears testimony to many such enormities. In the battle of Jamal [fought between Imam Ali and Hadrat Aisha, widow of the Holy Prophet] Qurans were displayed on lances. Was that right? In Karbala the family members of the Holy Prophet were martyred by those Muslims who claimed companionship of the Prophet. Was that right? Hajjaj was a Muslim general and he subjected the holy mosque at Makka to brutal attack. Was that right? No sacred words can justify or sanctify a false motive.
If the rot had set in from the time of Mohammad itself – or right after that (Aisha’s time) – then one wonders when was it ever done right?
And it is a serious question.
Pakistan’s future is not in the sacrifice of Malala. That is the sign of an impending disaster. For, if the future of Pakistan has to secured by a 14 year old girl from the jaws of the beasts, created by the Pakistanis themselves.. .and still not unequivocally denounced (barring spiced with arguments of “Conspiracy theories”), then it is no solace to any one watching Malala’s heart and organs working right now.
A systemically sick society cannot be redeemed by the sacrifice of an individual.