Monday, October 31, 2011
in our actions and God's actions.
We often ask, "Why did you do that?"
or "Why did I act like that?"
We do act, and yet everything we do
is God's creative action.
We look back and analyse the events
of our lives, but there is another way
of seeing, a backward-and-forward-at-once
vision, that is not rationally understandable.
Only God can understand it.
Satan made the excuse, "You caused me to fall,
whereas Adam said to God, "We did this
to ourselves." After this repentance,
God asked Adam, "Since all is within
my foreknowledge, why didn't you
defend yourself with that reason?"
Adam answered, "I was afraid,
and I wanted to be reverent."
Whoever acts with respect will get respect.
Whoever brings sweetness will be served almond cake.
Good women are drawn to be with good men.
Honour your friend.
Or treat him rudely,
and see what happens!
Love, tell an incident now
that will clarify this mystery
of how we act freely, and are yet
compelled. One hand shakes with palsy.
Another shakes because because you slapped it away.
Both tremblings come from God,
but you feel guilty for the one,
and what about the other?
These are intellectual questions.
The spirit approaches the matter
differently. Omar once had a friend, a scientist,
Bu'l-Hakam, who was flawless at solving
empirical problems, but he could not follow Omar
into the area of illumination and wonder.
Now I return to the text, "And He is with you,
wherever you are," but when have I ever left it!
Ignorance is God's prison
Knowing is God's palace.
We sleep in God's unconsciousness.
We wake in God's open hand.
We weep God's rain.
We laugh God's lightning.
Fighting and peacefulness
both take place within God.
Who are we then
in this complicated world-tangle,
that is really just the single, straight
line down at the beginning of ALLAH?
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
You can access the article at:
First of all I would like to say that it is always a pleasure reading Mr Hamdani's articles focusing particularly on the surrounding events leading to partition. Even when I disagree with his conclusions, I still admire his zeal for the subject of history which is often ignored in our part of the world. The point of writing this reply is not to dispute his analysis on Nehru Report but rather to complement his insightful take on it. I share his conclusion that it was actually Nehru Report that led to parting of ways between Jinnah and Congress leadership rather than later events. However, I have something to add to this debate. Therefore, the point is to add a further dimension to this debate.
By no means I adhere to a reductionist account of history presented mostly by Indian historians that focuses too much on divide and rule policy of the Britishers but still there is one particular incident that needed to be mentioned in the context of this historical episode. In February 1928, Lord Birkenhead wrote a letter to Viceroy Lord Irwin:
''I should advise Simon to see at all stages important people who are not boycotting the Commission, particularly Muslims and depressed classes. I should widely advertise all his interviews with representative Muslims. The whole policy is now obvious. It is to testify the immense Hindu population by the apprehension that the Commission having been got hold of the Muslims, may present report altogether destructive of Hindu position, thereby securing a solid Muslim support and leaving Jinnah high and dry.''
[Source: Frederick Edwin Earl of Birkenhead: The Last Phase , by The Second Earl of Birkenhead, published by Thornton Butterworth page 258]
How can we explain this letter? Here was an opportunity for Congress to negotiate and come to terms with Muslim League and Jinnah but by exploiting the fears of Hindu Mahasabha, Congress was somehow forced to lose this golden opportunity. It was Birkenhead who wanted Jinnah to feel alienated.
Secondly, I believe at the time of Nehru Report the views of Khalafatists Muslims were in consonance to that of Jinnah. As far as my reading is concerned, despite the Khilafat fiasco, at the time of Simon Commission Muhammad Ali Jauhar and Shaukat Ali represented no different views than Jinnah. Speaking rhetorically Shuakat Ali remarked about Nehru Report:
''As a young man I was a keen observer of greyhounds, but I have never seen greyhounds deal with a hare as the Hindus proposed to deal with the Muslimms''.
As for Muhammad Ali Johar, he has this to say about it in 1930. Speaking in an aggressive tone he denounced Gandhi and Congress in these words:
''Gandhi is working under the influence of communalist Hindu Mahasaba. He is working for the supremacy of Hinduism and submergence of Muslims''.
Having said that, there were some Khilafatists leaders such as Maulana Azad who endorsed Nehru Report.
I was glad to see a Co-Pakistani admiring Motilal Nehru. The truth of the matter is that Motilal Nehru was cornered by a belligerent propaganda run by Lala-Malaviya Gang who were bitterly opposed to his non-communal politics. In my view, CR Das and Motilal Nehru were probably the two most liberal and non communal Congressmen during 1920s.
Finally, I would like Mr. Hammdani to shed more light on the roles of two muslim delegates of Nehru Report Committe named Ali Imam and Shoaib Qureshi. I think it is unjustified to put all the blame on young Chagla. All these circumstances must be taken into account.
Once again I would thank Mr. Hamdani for persistent work on Jinnah and subcontinental history which seriously needs objective consideration on our part. So, keep on writing Mr Yasser. :-)
Monday, October 24, 2011
The smell of love wafts love-ward from his mouth
He speaks of jurisprudence, what emerges?
From mystic poverty a sweet effulgence
He blasphemes, the scent of faith arises
He offers doubts, no doubt we grow more sure
Rumi from Masnavi 1: 2880-82
Sunday, October 23, 2011
''History isn’t the lies of the victors as I once glibly assured Old Joe Hunt; I know that now. It’s more the memories of the survivors, most of whom are neither victorious nor defeated…or…. What had Old Joe Hunt answered when I knowingly claimed that history was the lies of the victors? As long as you remember that it is also the self-delusions of the defeated’ Do we remember that enough when it comes to our private lives?''
(The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes)
Friday, October 21, 2011
'LAHORE – A desperate young man killed his 18-year-old girlfriend, a student of Kinnaird College for Woman, and moments later also took his own life at the foot bridge built in front of the college on the Jail Road, eyewitnesses said. The death dance was danced on Monday afternoon.' (Courtesy The Nation)
How can you kill someone you love? The boy didn't love the girl and definitely confused his ignoble vanity with such a noble thing as love. Such a deplorable act can only stem from a patriarchal society where males don't cease to impose their will on the other weaker sex. The guy must have been a psycho or abnormal person. These are the stereotypical reactions that I have witnessed in the aftermath of this tragic incident.
The purpose of my blog entry is not to exploit the current situation but rather to explore the complexity of the situation that is generally dismissed summarily by our society. I am using this example as a means to an end. For years I have been thinking about the issue of dark side of love. Nothing can be worse than the recent episode. So, the question arises then what is love? Was the guy really in love with the girl? I think the answer is not a simple 'yes' or 'no'.
Despite being a romantic myself, I have always held the belief that love is perhaps the most selfish of all human desires. As an ideal, love is deceptive. It deceives us into thinking that in love we negate our self for the beloved. This is probably the most commonly held view. In popular culture, Love seems to be equated with selflessness or self abnegation. I object to this understanding. Love genealogically stems from selfishness. Love is not begging; its appropriation. What is love of knowledge then? Its nothing other than possessing knowledge. Same applies to romantic love. Its emanates from human selfishness. The problem arises when the ego devises a strategy to 'win over' the other by giving the pretense of altruistic garb. In fact, the ego makes the lover believe this pretense. Blinds him.
In my view, nothing demonstrates the truth of my diabolical take on love than this current tragedy. The boy may genuinely have been in love with the girl. He might genuinely have thought that his life revolves around that girl. The question then arises as to how could the guy had done such a deplorable act? The answer may not have depended solely on one factor but the dominant factor seems to be the selfish love impulse. The impulse to possess. Reckless lovers make their beloved the center of their universe. Their only idol. So, when failure in love encounters them; they prefer being an iconoclast to being pagans. They destroy the same idol they had themselves created.
In conclusion, every beautiful thing of value emanates from something immoral or bad. The root of flower is always ugly. Love is no different either. Such a holy thing stems from something so unholy i.e Vanity.
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard.
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word.
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
(Oscar Wilde- Ballad of the Gaol)
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
My recent rekindled interest in Nihilism made me realize that as a disease nihilism is the result of the failure of human 'intellect' in grasping the meaning of life. When the intellect tries to see beyond its own limits; it ultimately encounters nihilism. Reason becomes cognizant of its own disability in grasping the ultimate answers and the question 'why' finds no answer. So, is there any cure for this fatal disease?
I think there is a way out. Nihilism is the problem of a self-indulgent reflective being. In order to cure oneself, the first thing is reliance on 'intuition' rather than intellect. I think Bergson is quite right when he says that human intellect can only study phenomena partially; it is only intuition that can grasp the whole of being. As long as human intellect cannot grasp the whole of being; it will ultimately end up in nihilism. This might be the reason that the common man doesn't find his life utterly meaningless no matter how mundane it is. Is it because he is too stupid? I think not. The common man escapes nihilism by avoiding too much reliance on reflective attitude. Whereas, the self indulgent intellectual man is truly Faustian in spirit who ultimately concludes a pact with Mephistopheles in the form of nihilism.
One may not conclude from my analysis that escaping nihilism demands acting like non-reflective zombies. That is not what i believe. This misconception may arise if one totally distinguishes human intellect from intuition. Like Bergson, i think Intuition is essentially an evolved form of human intellect. The difference between intuition and intellect is only of degree and not of kind. Therefore, the cure for nihilism lies in intuition and action rather than reflection and free speculative contemplation driven solely by human intellect.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
''“Kant’s joke. — Kant wanted to prove, in a way that would dumbfound the common man, that the common man was right: that was the secret joke of this soul. He wrote against the scholars in favor of popular prejudice, but for scholars and not for the people” (from The Gay Science, section 193).
One needs to take a break and ponder how much it actually applies to Imam Ghazali. He wrote against the philosophers and in favor of popular Islam, but for the philosophers and not for the people.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Recently one of my friends asked my view on this issue. This simple question represents the moral crisis which we are facing today as human beings and will continue to face as time goes by. Today, nihilism may not attract much people apart from those familiar with the tradition of continental philosophy but soon this specter will haunt the ordinary individual too. It already does but we refuse to think about it. The burden is great. Denial is the way too be. However, the only way to tackle the problem of nihilism is to confront it head-on once and for all. Escapism is not the cure for nihilism, in fact it allows nihilism to seep into our unconscious mind and then subsequently affects our general outlook on life.
Now coming back to the question, can an individual cognizant of his own finitude, perplexed by the existential questions of life, argue in favor of 'Deterministic nihilism'?
Nihilism is a much abused term. Therefore to have any kind of meaningful debate on it we need to elucidate the term a bit more. Nihilism is a peculiar or should I say radical kind of skepticism that denies all objective claims about 'T'ruth, morality, metaphysics, politics etc. Determinism on the other hand is a metaphysical position which believes that all universe and everything within it is governed by certain immutable laws (be it physical or psychological). Now to say that one is a moral or metaphysical nihilist makes sense. But to say that one is a deterministic nihilist does not.It is sheer perversity of reason to claim that that deterministic nihilism is the most honest philosophy; as the claim itself is incoherent. How can we uphold a metaphysical position and then claim to be a nihilist?
To put it differently if physical or psychological laws determine everything then they must also determine the answers to our existential and moral questions too. And if they do determine our morality as well as meaning of life then nihilism becomes an impossibility. A so called determinist nihilist may counter this by saying that a determinist nihilist was destined by those very laws to be a nihilist and nothing else. This again is a hopeless argument. Assuming that he was destined or determined to be a nihilist by those very laws; still he will not be able to believe in his own nihilism because nihilism by its very nature will deprive him of all the luxuries of objectivity. Nihilism deprives him the order that determinism imposes on him.
The point is one can either be a determinist or a nihilist. Determinism means order, nihilism means chaos. Determinism believes in answers, nihilism in questions. To say that the meaninglessness of the world is determined by certain laws is incoherent because those very laws will hold some kind of meaning for the universe. Similarly, nihilism's denial of values cannot hide behind a crude sort of hard determinism because in denying the objectivity of all values a nihilist will have to deny their origin (deterministic laws) too.
In a nut-shell, Nihilism is not only eating individuals; it is eating itself too. Its the most self defeating philosophy ever.