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Sunday, 6 December 2015

Rule of flaw...

The Mughal emperors came to India in the early 16th century and, as far as the number game is concerned, ruled successfully until the mid-19th century, but did Mughals really rule India for that long? Or did they lose the empire a lot earlier than we think?
When Babur invaded India, and finding conditions suitable for occupation, founded a permanent kingdom, India was divided into RAJDHANIs (small princely states). Babur had not been the first and by no means the last of the invaders, who ruled India.
Babur had imperial ambitions and he was a descendant of a warrior dynasty. When he, on his second attempt, succeeded in settling in India, he took steps to consolidate his rule and his plans of expansion included negotiations, treaties etc, but above all he and his administration tried to understand the local customs and local people to formulate their action plans. After Babur’s death, his son Humayaun could not keep hold of the sizeable empire that Babur had succeeded in creating, and was kicked or chased out of India by another Muslim invader, Sher Shah Suri. The Suri dynasty could not rule over India for long and eventually, within some ten years, the Moghuls returned to India and this time the empire was there to stay.
The Moghul Empire of India, just like any other empire, had its ups and downs. The third Moghul Emperor, Akbar, really solidified Moghul positions in India. He understood and implemented the way of ruling the vastly Hindu Majority of India, which was nearly enslaved by the ruling families or the Princely administrations. The Hindu financial system was very cruel, because in that system of interest based banking, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, by the day. Not only that the poor had nothing and were stripped of what they might had, but once they had lost everything to blood sucking Banyas (old time Indian bankers, who swindled people out of their belongings just like Citi bank does, but only at a local scale) the poor were enslaved to serve the Banya and his family, for generations to come. So Akbar demonstrated force to compel the Rajas into negotiations, which led to the acceptance of subjugation. Among many good things that Akbar did, was the attempt at bringing two major factions (Hindus and Muslims) of India to terms with each other and creating an atmosphere of coexistence. Akbar was a statesman and a shrewd ruler. He had a clear mind, and although he had his strong religious beliefs, which he showed when he shifted to Fatehpur Sikri from Agra, he was everything but a religious fanatic. Akbar expanded the boundaries of the Moghul Empire greatly, but most of the times he achieved success through negotiations. To appreciate this approach consider the more-than 400 wives in his haram, who were a token of successful completion of business deals, aimed at taming the rebellious Hindu rajas.

Akbar the Great

Akbar gave local Indians a fair representation among the members of his ruling elite and this involvement with locals made things fairly easier for the state. Akbar had brains capable of understanding that to control an area of Hindu majority you better appoint a Hindu governor, who would not have any moral conflicts with the local population. Akbar introduced the idea of tolerance and mutual respect at a time, when such ideas were alien to any other ruler, across the globe.
Anyway, the largely solidified Empire came across the loss of the Great Emperor, but this did not terminate the Empire.
Aurangzeb (Akbar's great grandson) contrary to Akbar had different designs. Although during Aurangzeb’s times the Moghul Empire expanded most rapidly, but that expansion had a totally different design and impact. To understand better, we must first understand Aurangzeb himself. Aurangzeb had strong religious, even fundamentalist, influence on his life. Aurangzeb took over the throne after eliminating two of his brothers and his father. First Aurangzeb conspired with his younger brother Murad, against their elder brother Dara Shikoh and after succeeding against Dara, he got rid of Murad. The story with Murad is very interesting, because Aurangzeb Invited his younger brother to dinner in his Royal camp and served him with alcohol and girls (he himself would not dare drink or fornicate, because he was a good Muslim, but being a good Muslim, he could lure his brother with booze and boob!) and in the morning Murad woke-up in a jail.
To get rid of Murad permanently, Aurangzeb encouraged the son of a diwan of Gujarat, who had been killed earlier. Murad was prosecuted and executed for the murder of the diwan, under religious law (Shariah law). Aurangzeb got rid of his brothers, who contended for the same throne, using Islamic laws to his benefit. In the meanwhile Aurangzeb also had his father Shah Jahan, who was the legitimate ruler of India at that time, kept under house arrest for more than 8 years, never even letting him leave the tower, where he was jailed.

Aurangzeb the Fanatic

Aurangzeb believed in force rather than negotiations. For him expansion of Empire was important, and it would be important for any Emperor, but he wanted to expand through elimination. He never wanted to talk to Hindu Rajas, he wanted to eliminate them. This was the result of Aurangzeb being strongly influenced by religious clerics, since his early years. The Moghul Empire expanded to the south of India in a very short time, but was that expansion stable? No it was not. Because, although Aurangzeb was just the 6th of the 17 Moghul rulers of India, the Moghul Empire never experienced even a single day of stability after Aurangzeb’s rule. The Moghul influence in India kept dwindling and the British influence kept increasing, until in 1857 the British took total control of India.
I would not blame the British for using the circumstances and eventually colonizing India, although my position against colonization is just as strong as it had always been. On the other hand, had it not been for the fanatic policies of Aurangzeb, the British might have had a hard time finding local support. The British used the situation and arming the Hindu opponents of the Moghul Empire, gradually weakened the Empire to a state of collapse. From the British point of view, they did the right thing.
Now let us come over to the twentieth century. Nearly hundred years of political struggle by local Hindus and Muslims, and military campaign of the Third Reich, made the British leave India. The emerging states of Pakistan and India embarked on a path of independent development, and growth, as nations. Pakistan prospered for the first couple of decades, because the founders of Pakistan believed in coexistence of like-minded citizens. Pakistan kept religious fanaticism and fundamentalism at bay and the state was run by trained, educated officials, whose religious belonging had the least to do with their eligibility to serve the nation.
Then came a time when Pakistan was taken over by a religious fanatic called Zia-ul-Haq. Zia came into power after jailing and subsequently murdering the legitimate ruler of Pakistan (you may not like ZAB, but he was at that time the legitimate ruler of Pakistan). What a coincidence, Zia also used the murder of some mid ranked politician, to legally execute ZAB. How exactly predictable are the actions of these fanatics. They use religious fundamentals to get rid of political opponents.
In Zia’s time Pakistan very quickly took its place on the center stage of world affairs, getting involved in the big game (indulging directly in USA-USSR conflict of interests), but just like in Aurangzeb’s times, this balloon-like sudden expansion resulted in very fast and hurting deflation. It just took a little more than a decade for Pakistan to transform from a progressive state into a terrorist state.
People in Pakistan were Muslims before Zia’s time, but they were sensible Muslims, who knew when to do, and what to do. It was the people, who knew that only praying and sitting in a mosque won’t bring food to their tables. It was the people, who respected others’ opinions, which is why before Zia’s rule Sunni Muslims in Pakistan would mourn during the ten days of Muharram, just like Shia Muslims of Pakistan. It was a time when Pakistani Muslims didn’t mind sharing the joys of their Eid with Pakistani Christians, and when Pakistani Muslims didn't think that congratulating a Pakistani Christian on Christmas was a major sin. It was a time, when Pakistanis had dreams of progress and Pakistani children wanted to go to space, they wanted to fly jets and they dreamt of becoming scientists.

A Pakistani politician, before the era of radicalization

But after Zia’s time Pakistanis prefer going to heaven, then exploring outer space. They prefer becoming TALIBAN, rather than becoming jet pilots or scientists. Zia’s regime has brought Pakistan to the verge of extinction just like Aurangzeb’s religious fanaticism brought the Moghul Empire to its knees.
Although, reading this you might think that I am talking only about Islamic fanaticism, but in fact my point is that fanaticism, especially religious fanaticism, independent of whatever religion you may have, is a destructive factor. I believe it would not be news to remember the acts of religious fanaticism, committed by Indian Hindus in the form of 1992 demolition of Baburi Mosque and several religiously instigated Hindu acts of fanaticism across India targeting Indian Muslims. The point of the matter is that, when one faction wants to unleash a religious fanaticism campaign, it has to unleash it against some other faction, and since the nature of fanaticism is religious, it requires a target of a different religious belief. So in India it is the Muslims, who get targeted by the Hindu fanatics.
In Pakistan, since Zia’s times this religious targeting has covered all possible aspects to such an extent that now it is Muslim against Muslim and not even Sunni Muslim against Shia Muslim, it is Sunni against Sunni and so on.

A Pakistani politician after Islamic radicalization of Pakistan

We have been subjected to western hegemony coated with religious sugar for the last more than 3 decades. It probably is high time to wake-up and say no to these extremist and fundamentalist religious ideas and practice religion as a way of gaining personal calm, through prayer and other rituals, instead of using religion as a set of rules drafted to suppress and annihilate opposition, enslave women and push hundreds of millions of citizens of Pakistan farther into the darkness of ignorance.

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