Tuesday, October 18, 2011
One day (I do not when !) my readers will find it interesting that a search for Hallaj through Google will bring them to my site, however Yahoo will take them to more widely published well known sites dedicated to Hallaj. To keep the record straight I will like to call Hallaj as Husain Hallaj not Mansour Hallaj as most of the writers do, This great person was son of Mansour & His name was Husain. A search from any good encyclopedia will make my point clear.While I am still trying to read about Hallaj & acquire His work my feeling is that He was not an orthodox Muslim, as a matter of fact He may not fit the portrait of a Muslim at all. Therefore, calling him Hazrat, & portraying Him like a Muslim sufi may be a wrong approach. Husain Hallaj expressed his feelings about Love in a way like no one ever did. what He found from His search of truth took Him to the butchers block. Many 'prominent Muslim scholars' of His time & the times after Him believed He deserved the punishment He got. Hence, it will be unfair to lump Him with other Muslims. Unlike Muslims who believe Islam means submission, Hallaj took a different path. His ideas about humanity, love, and self consciousness makes Him a secular humanist, and these views even today may be considered sacrilegious to orthodox Muslims. Therefore, while others may try to drag Him into mainstream Islam, I will always remember Him as a great human being who sought Truth which sat Him free.
This message from Hallaj was posted as a first note. Vagaries of the cyberspace made it disappear, or perhaps Hallaj has to learn little bit about the 21st century. Here are some words for those who are the seekers of truth. A quote from Hallaj sufi master is"Those who know do not speak, and those speak do not know". What is the purpose of hiding the truth?
Thursday, October 6, 2011
PART TWO: Dear Readers, I read the interview of the late Benazir Bhutto in the Parade magazine dated January 6, 2008 with a lot of interest. It was done weeks before her death. And I would like to make some comments about the statements Ms. Bhutto made. On page 7 she mentions that when she was in Dubai "she has only God" a very amusing statement indeed. Was she living in a tent on some sand dune & survived by eating dates? Yet deeper into the interview we find that she hired Hillary Clinton's image maker Mark Penn, while her children were going to some prestigious schools like Oxford, but during this time she did not have any bank account or a credit card? If I was Gail Sheehy, I would of course, have asked that which God Ms Bhutto was worshipping? This God must be very generous and more powerful than the God of Christians, Muslims, Jews, or Hindus, I will worship that God 10 times a day or as many times as He will ask me if he'd pay my bills! I remember when I was going to school here in the USA I ended up with a debt of $40000.00, it took me several years to pay off that debt. If there is anyone out there who knows this god of Benazir Bhutto let me know. When Gail asks about the $1.5 billion Benazir siphoned from the Pakistani government, she does not deny the charge, rather she points her finger towards six other companies in Pakistan which also committed this crime! As if it were the right thing to do-to steal from a poor country. You the people of Pakistan, why you are not asking this question that which are those companies, and why they are not being prosecuted? Mr. Imran Khan of Justice Party will you just chase the mirage of being prime minister of Pakistan one day or would you rather go for some noble cause, here are some suggestions : Expose the crooks in Pakistan from your Party's platform, and try putting some teeth into the land reform acts of Pakistan so that we can get rid of these feudal lords. These people are eating Pakistan like termites. An average Pakistani is so gullible or helpless that she/he can not do any thing about it but Mr.Khan you have some power, exercise it. Remind the people of Pakistan that all these feudal lords are the descendants of those traitors which collaborated with our former Masters, the British. Should the payments of the acts of treason be kept in modern Pakistan as the trophies? There is something else which also bothered me tremendously that Ms Bhutto insulted the Pakistani military by saying that she "will allow NATO forces in Pakistan"(itimplies that the Pakistani Military is not capable of catching the criminals. Hundreds,of Pakistani soldiers have lost their lives, and have caught more militants than any other forces of any other country. If NATO is that efficient then how come Mullah Omar is still roaming around in Afghanistan?) Ms. Bhutto shamelessly indicates that she wants to return to Pakistan, I see several wrong things here, first that she did was breaking the constitution by twisting the arm of the hapless Mussharaff. Then showed the ambition to become the prime minister of Pakistan for a third time. Who gave her the power to break the Pakistani constitution under which she took oath twice and both times screwed her country?Second- that she would allow foreign soldiers to enter in a sovereign country. This also leads to another question that when the number one enemies of the USA were holed up in the eastern mountains of Afghanistan then why was the Chief commander of the US forces sitting thousands of miles away and not where the action was taking place? Why did he not order the American forces to get the enemies? That general retired honorably and was never questioned for this gross act. He recently sold his name to a questionable company that was supposed to be a benevolent charity for veterans. Did he just see the dollar signs or did he investigate this company-or like the war did he "phone it in"?
Jan 2008 part one Dear Readers, As it always goes that there are three reactions to any event, positive, negative, or indifference; you will be choosing your position very soon. Despite its poverty, and precarious situation Pakistan has been leading the geopolitical debate for quite some time. As if its plate of troubles was not full enough, Pakistan got another blast about on 27 December 2007. She is in the headlines again for another act of infamy. With horror I opened the news channel on December the 27th. just to see that the one of the most pivotal figures from the political scene of Pakistan has been eliminated, it was shocking but hardly surprising; a country where thousands of Pakistani soldiers and innocent people have been killed, where one Prime minister was assassinated, where another Prime minister was hanged, where an army dictator was blown-up in the sky along with the American Ambassador( American silence on this matter is very curious, especially since now some American politicians are asking for an international inquiry for the killing of a Pakistani citizen; was there any demand of this kind back then?), there had been killings of many intellectuals along with several attempts to assassinate for the current head of state. I was in horror until the reality of this tragedy started sinking in; when I got more detailed news of this tragedy, I did what many other people from my former homeland did, I cried and cried for that brave lady who did not deserve this fate (neither did those who have lost their lives for the cause of those demons who have been trying to destroy this poor country since 1947, just a footnote here that even Mahatma Gandhi lost his life to save Pakistan from going into bankruptcy, there was no United Nations to help the poor immigrants of Pakistan and India). After my tears dried, the on going process of soul searching restarted, my memory took be back to the time when Pakistan was about to implement its constitution and an army dictator( General Ayub Khan) took over. One of his protege was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who will later establish Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the constitution was thrown away and a downhill spiral started, then came the the fateful year of 1965 when Pakistan and India had their first military confrontation. Thousands of innocent Pakistani & Indian lives were lost again because the General thought that a few ill equipped freedom fighters will drive out the occupiers of Kashmir -the well trained & well entrenched Indian army! The adventure spread beyond the borders of Kashmir a few weeks later both sides stopped after exhausting their resources. Pakistanis were told that they have won the war. Interestingly neither the UN, nor the USA, nor the UK(who actually was at the root cause of this mess at the time of the independence) intervened; it was the USSR which invited the head of states of these miserable nations. What the deal for settlement was never fully disclosed; the confidence of Pakistanis was breached in the General and his 'brave army' . Mr. Bhutto was the foreign minister by this time and being an intelligent person he decided to abandon the slowly sinking ship of the General. But there was still fear of fading General that Bhutto could not find a political platform. At this point the brave students of Karachi University( the students had a long history of being politically active and paying the price for that) invited Bhutto to a public gathering hall, I happened to be a participant, more than forty years of dust has clouded some of the details of his speech, but one most important theme is reverberating as strongly today as it was back during the late sixties, Bhutto somehow found the right mantra to brain wash the Pakistani's which he will repeat countless times, readers, the mantra was that in Tashkent a secret deal was made to convert the success of Pakistan into a failure, & he promised to tell that secret deal when the right time will come. Millions of Pakistanis took the bait and General was sacked by another Pakistani general named Yahya Khan who was probably an honest and truthful person (unfortunately his weaknesses were whisky and women-I liked him for for all what he was). He promised a fair and honest election and honored his words. Bhutto was the best opportunist & he became the drinking buddy of Yahya Khan. Elections were held in 1970, the results were some what expected, in East Pakistan the Awami league won with a landslide victory; Mr. Bhutto's PPP came a distant second (although in West Pakistan it had the lead); he refused to accept the result of the election and suggested the most bizarre concept that Pakistan should have two Prime ministers. Pakistan went into turmoil, East Pakistanis who were tired of the military junta (mostly composed of Punjabis from the West Pakistan) started demonstrating, the peaceful demonstrations took an ugly turn very soon; this was the golden opportunity for India to punish Pakistan and cut it in two. Indian lead East Pakistani freedom fighters, who were able to defeat the four divisions of the demoralized Pakistani army. By now these fighters were known as Mukti Bahni and East Pakistan was declared as Bangladesh. Some how the Pakistani army was treated under the Geneva Convention, two of my personnel friends were among the prisoners, one chose to correspond with me. Several years down the road they were eventually released, when I questioned him, why out of all the relatives and friends, why he chose me to write the letters(they were allowed to write only 2 letters per week), his response was that he thought that some day I will do something about this tragedy using my pen (he is gone but I am paying that debt today). I have to bring you the most gruesome tragedy of this all, there were literally millions of Pakistanis of non-Bangali origin who supported the Pakistani military as their patriotic duty against the foreign infiltrators, they did not have any protection of the so called Geneva convention, literally hundreds of thousands of them were hacked to death in the streets of Bangladeshi cities, their ladies were rapped and sold to the brothels across the country and across the border. I have yet to know any figure of international stature to condemn these barbaric acts. Of course the western rock groups who had a sympathy concert for Bangladesh and Ted Kennedy never said word condemning these atrocities(Kennedy wanted to visit Pakistan but was denied the visa, because just like today's Democrats of the USA he has an open mouth but closed ears and eyes. I am yet to solve this mystery that why the Democrats of the USA can not see the true picture of that part of the world, do they have some pay masters who ordered them to do so? I would really like to see the face of that Pay Master to whose tunes these puppets dance.) Well the times changed, and now came the time of poetic justices( it is possible that they may sound cruel to you) ; The Bangla Bandhu (Shaikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman) was slaughtered by his own military, and the bodies of his family members were scattered on the steps of the presidential palace to rot, it happened within the few years of separation. In West Pakistan the things took a slightly different turn. The disgraced Yahya Khan was deposed and died in obscurity and his drinking buddy Zulfiqar became the president of Pakistan he also named a junior general Zia ul Haq as the chief of staff of the Pakistani military (so that he can gain his loyalty); he declared himself as the administrator of martial law (another first for a civilian ruler with no shame). Bhutto considered himself the ultimate ruler he thought that he got the bull by his horn. Newspapers were shut down for just publishing the news of the other parties( my sister was working for one of them). Opposition party leaders were arrested, some of them were brutalized by ruthless criminals in those jails, leaders of Jama-at-Islami should take note before siding with the PPP. A commission was named to find the root cause of this tragedy, it was headed by a Justice named Hamood ur Rehman. The commission failed miserably in pin pointing the cause that "Bhutto was a traitor who caused the division of Pakistan, and PPP was equally responsible in this act of treason". Dear readers, please think what should have been the fate of these criminals? In Pakistan when some women relatives of stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh went on a peaceful demonstration the horse riding police in Karachi ran over them. This was the turning point in my life, I was totally demoralized, ashamed and felt so helpless that I decided to leave Pakistan, it was not a cowardly decision, it was an act of desparation, this was not the Pakistan for which Muslim league struggled since 1906. In the mean time the wheels of times kept on turning and the assasination of the one opposition leader's father came to haunt Mr.Bhutto, he was deposed by his own general and sent to the gallows, probably there could not have been any more cruel and poetic justice than this, that the two main culprits met their fate within a decade of breaking apart Pakistan. As they say rest is history, the daughter of Mr.Bhutto started leading the PPP and the naive Pakistani sent her to the Prime minister's house twice, both times this "champion" of democracy was thrown out on the charges of corruption. What goes around comes around.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
A hiatus of almost 1200 years has kept Socrates, Mansour Hallaj, & us apart, I heard about these great thinkers when I was growing up, despite of their tragic ends, Hallaj's characterhas always intrigued me more because I heard from some orthodox Muslims ' do not follow Hallaj, but do not say bad words about him'. While Socrates remain as a brave philosopher from the bygone era who was forced to drink hemlock for his deeds but the tragedy of his end does not come any where close to Hallaj's. I was not taught any thing about these scholars during my school days but they remained as a part of revered memories in my thoughts. During one of my trips to Athens I tried to find the Socrates prison under the acropolis, either I read the map wrong or the information was incorrect, all I could find a small cave under a steep cliff, recently reading the account of Socrates last day in the prison this could not have been the place. That is beside the point, while Socrates drank the poison in a very luxurious way(if there is any thing luxurious about death) Mansour encountered his fate in the most barbaric way a person can think, yet he is hardly known or praised for his courage except for a few. Recently while reading a book about Socrates by Xenophon I noticed another interesting correlation between Socrates when he describes some counsel from a "divine voice" which he called Demon and another thinker Sarmad(Sufi master of Dara, Aurangzeb's elder brother) who justified his acts by saying ' Shatan quavi ust( Satan is strong)'. Sarmad encountered the same fate as of the other two although not as brutal as that of Hallaj. I wonder why so little information is available on Mansour Hallaj. I will definitely like to read the original writings of Hallaj.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
I am extending an invitation to those who are the seekers of truth to join me on these pages. This is strictly a secular site & even though the memories of some martyrs have inspired me to start this blog but I will never advocate any kind of violence from these pages. As long as we stay civil the dialogues will continue....