ماں بولی، بھین بولیاں، تے پنجاب دی اک لکھاری ‘Mother Language – Sister Languages – and a Writer of the Punjab’ by Fauzia Rafique

 پنجابی دنیا دے ہر کونے چ وسدے نیں،125 ملین دی نفری، اسیں ایس ویلے دنیا چ آبادی دا ستواں وڈا  گروپ آں تےہر تھاں اسیں اپنی ماں بولی نال اک دو بھین بولیاں وی ورتنے آں۔ جیویں پاکستان وچ پنجابی (صوبائی ) ساڈی ماں بولی اے، اردو (قومی ) تے انگریزی (سرکاری ) ساڈیاں بھین بولیاں نیں۔ ہر کسے دی اپنی رہتل پاروں ساڈی ماں بولی وچ بھین بولیاں  تے بھین بولیاں وچ ماں بولی دے اکھر شامل نیں۔ پنجاب وچ اک پاسے ماں بولی وچ عربی، اردو، فارسی تے انگریزی دے اکھر نیں تے دوجے پاسے سنسکرت، انگریزی تے ہندی دے۔ دوواں پاسے پنجاب دے کجھ لکھاری اردو، ہندی یا انگریزی وچ وی لکھدے نیں۔

پنجاب توں باہر رہندے پنجابیاں دیاں کجھ بھین بولیاں اوہناں دیساں دے لوکاں دیاں ماں بولیاں نیں،  تےکجھ نہیں۔ جیویں جرمنی وچ جرمن مقامی لوکاں دی ماں بولی اے، پر کینیڈا وچ انگریزی تے فرانسیسی دوویں مقامی لوکاں دیاں ماں بولیاں نہیں، یورپی  سامراجیاں دیاں ماں بولیاں نیں جیہڑیاں اوہناں ایتھے آ لاگو کیتیاں، جیویں پنجاب وچ انگریزی لاگو کیتی گی۔

ایس ویلے شہری پنجاب دے اندر باہر اکثر پنجابیاں دا روٹی ٹکر بھین بولیاں نال جڑیا ہویا اے، اُتوں پنجاب وچ وی پنجابی نوں اوہ درجہ نہیں دتا گیا جو اوہنوں ساڈی ماں بولی کر کے ملنا چاہیدا اے، ایتھے ہن وی سارے درجے اردو/ ہندی  تے انگریزی کول نیں۔ ایس ماحول وچ ساڈے کول کیہ چوائس اے؟ 

ہر کسے دی بولی اوس انسان دی اُٹھان توں اُسردی اے تے اوہدی ذاتی تواریخ دا حصہ بندی جاندی اے۔ میں ایتھے ماں بولی دے اوس  پروسیس بارے گل کرنا چاہنی آں جیہدے وچوں اسیں چھوٹیوں لا اکٹھے، تے وکھو وکھ، لنگھنے آں۔ میں ہڈ بیتی راہیں دسنی آں، پنجاب وچ اک بالڑی ہوندیاں ماں بولی پکھوں میرے نال کیہ واپری، تےہن پنجاب دی اک لکھاری ہوندیاں میں اپنی ماں بولی تے بھین بولیاں وچ  چون پڑتال کیویں کرنی آں، تے کیوں کرنی آں۔

میں تے میری ماں بولی

مڈھلے ورھیاں میری حیاتی وچ میری ماں بولی دا راج سی۔ اسیں پتوکی دے کول پنجاہ سٹھ گھراں دے اِک پنڈ وچ رہنے ساں، ساڈے گھر اندر باہر سارے پنجابی بولدے سن۔ الف، ب میں دوجے بالاں نال گھر دے ویڑھے  اپنی ماں توں سکھی، پچھوں اِک اسیں قاعدہ شروع کیتا اردو دا تے فیر اک عربی دا۔ میری وڈی بھین تے بھرا لاہور انگریزی سکولاں وچ پڑھدے سن، اوہناں مینوں اے۔بی۔سی سکھائی۔ ساڈے گھر ریڈیو سی، جیہڑا بہتا خبراں سنن لئی ورتیا جاندا، اوہدے تے لاہور، بی بی سی تے آل انڈیا ریڈیو  لگیا ہوندا ۔ لاہور ریڈیو  تے پنجابی لوک گیت، اردو نعتاں، تے دوواں بولیاں دے ڈرامے وی لگدے۔

تسیں نوٹ کیتا ہونا اے، مڈھلی تعلیم وچ مینوں اردو، عربی تے انگریزی پڑھائی گئی، پنجابی نہیں۔ اوس ویلے اوس تھاں پنجابی کلچر چوکھا مضبوط سی، ایس لئی اوہدے نہ پڑھائے جان نال بھاویں سانوں فرق نہیں پیا کیوں جے پنجابی دے درس سانوں ساڈی رہتل  دیندی سی۔ پنڈ وچ میری ماں توں اَڈ اِک دو ہور زنانیاں پنجابی پڑھنا جاندیاں سن، لالٹین دی روشنی وچ میں اماں جیواں دی جُھگی بیٹھ کے یوسف زلیخا، سوہنی مہینوال،سسی پنوں  تے سہتی مراد دے قصے سُندی۔ میری ماں کول بُلھے شاہ، بابا فرید، سلطان باہو، شاہ حسین دے کلام سن جیہڑے اسیں اوہدے توں وی سُندےتے ریڈیو تے گلوکاراں توں وی۔ گِدھے چن راتاں نوں کھیڈے جاندے ڈانس ڈرامے سن۔ موسمی تہوار، عیداں شبراتاں، منگنیاں ویاہ، پورے چن دیاں راتاں، اسیں پنجابی لوک گیت  تےٹپے گاندے، سُناندے ، نویں بناندے، گِدھے پاندے،  تے نچدے۔

  اتے اخیرلا جملہ کجھ ٹھیک نہیں۔ سچ ایہہ اے: ’’اسیں پنجابی  لوک گیت ٹپے گاندیاں، سُناندیاں، نویں بناندیاں، گِدھے پاندیاں،  تےنچدیاں‘‘۔ لگدا اے، میرے پنڈ سارے فن زنانیاں ہتھیں سن تے اوہو اوہناں وچ وادھا پاندیاں سن۔ مرد گاندے وجاندے ویکھے جدوں کدی سپیرے آندے، بین وجاندے، ڈگڈگی تے ڈھول دی لے تے باندر نچاندے، رِچھ دا تماشا کردے۔ کوئی وڈی گل ہوندی تے کھسریاں دی پارٹی آندی، تے اوہ جگتاں وی لاندے، نچدے گاندے وی۔ مُنڈے تے بندے گلی ڈنڈا، کشتی تےکبڈی کھیڈدے۔ اِک ساڈے سکے آندے، اوہ بی ۔اے۔ پاس، علامہ اقبال نُو ں اُچا جاندے تے اوہناں دیاں نظماں زبانی سُناندے۔ اِک انگریزی دی کتاب توں ویکھ ویکھ کجھ لِکھدے رہندے، پتا لگا اک شیکسپئر لکھاری اے اوہدے ڈرامے اردو چ ترجمہ کردے نیں۔ 

راتاں نوں ’’باتاں پانا‘‘ یا اک دوجے نوں ’’جگ بیتی یاں ہڈ بیتی‘‘ سُنانا روز دا کم سی۔ اَن پڑھاں دے پنڈ وچ جیہڑی باتاں پا لیندی اوہدی  واہوا ٹوہر بن جاندی۔ میں گیتاں توں پہلوں کہانی بنانی سِکھی، تے میرے کول دو سُننہار سن، دوپہراں نوں اپنے نالدے بال تے رات ویلے گھر دے وڈے۔ فرق ایہہ ہوندا، بالاں نوں نِکی کہانی سُناندی  تے اوہدے وچ بولن والے طوطےتے جن بھوت وی ہوندے، وڈیاں نوں لمی کر کے سُناندی پر اوہدے وچ طلسماتی چیزاں نہ ہوندیاں، بھاویں میرا خیال سی اصلی کہانی لمبی  تے  غیر طلسماتی ہوندی اے۔چھیتی ہی میرے گھر آلے کہانی ویلے میتھوں کَنی کتراون لگ پئے۔ اک دن میرے بھرا نے کہیا، اج میں تیری کہانی اخیر تک سُننی اے۔ ادھی رات ہو گئی، نہ کہانی مکے تے نہ ای مینوں نیندر آوے پر میرے بھرا نوں ہار مننی پئی۔

میری کہانی کدی نہیں سی مکنی، اوہ میں وڈیاں کولوں  سنی اک کہانی  ’چڑی آئی تے دانا لے گئی‘ دی تکنیک تے بنائی سی، جیہدا   مقصد بال نوں بور کر کے سوں جاون  تے مجبور کرنا  ہوندا اے۔  جیویں اِک اِک کر کے  چڑی گودام وچوں  کنک دے سارے دانے  نہیں لے جا سکدی سی، اوویں  میری کہانی وچ انسانی نسل  نہیں مک سکدی سی۔ اِک بادشاہ تے اوہدے ٹبر دی کہانی  جیہڑی شروع ہوندی  تے بادشاہ، ملکہ ، شہزادے، شہزادیاں ’دُھپے منجی ڈاہ کے‘ بیٹھے کدی گنے چوپدے ہوندے کدی امب، کدی مالٹے کھاندے کدی امرود، کدی جموں تے کدی توت۔ اخیر ہمیش بھیڑی ہوندی، کوئی نہ کوئی آفات آندی، زلزلا، ہڑ، جنگ، بغاوت، تاپ، چیچک،  سارے مر کھپ جاندے بس اِک ولی عہد بچدا،  اوہ وڈا ہوندا…… باشاہ بن دا، تے  فیر اوہ دُھپے منجی ڈاہ کے  اپنی ٹبری نال ویڑھے بیٹھا پھل فروٹ کھاندا پیا ہوندا۔

 سن سٹھ دی دہائی دا شروع  سی، میں ست ورھے دی ساں جد میرا ٹبر لاہور آ وسیا، میں اک گورنمنٹ پرائمری سکول دوجی جماعت داخل ہو گئی۔ اوتھے پہلی واری مینوں پنجابی بولن توں ہٹکیا گیا۔ سچی گل اے، اوس ویلے مینوں اردو تے پنجابی دا فرق پتا نہیں سی لگدا، میں رلی ملی زبان بولدی جس تے مینوں سکول وچ شرمندگی چانی پیندی۔ اوہناں دناں میرے بھرا دا ویاہ ہویا، میری بھرجائی میاں چنوں وسدی ہوشیار پور دی اک فیملی توں سن تے کجھ ورھیاں توں لاہور پڑھدیاں پیاں سن۔ اردو ادب، شاعری تے میوزک وچ رُجھیاں ہوئیاں، مرزا غالب دیاں شُدیناں، آپ وی غزلاں گاندیاں۔ اوہناں گھر وچ پہلی واری میرے نال اردو بولنی شروع کیتی، تے ہولی ہولی مینوں پنجابی اردو دا فرق سمجھ آون لگا ۔

گھر دے باہر وی حال بدل چکیا سی، شہر دا کلچر ہور۔ پنڈ وچ ہر کوئی اپنا سی، شہر وچ ہر کوئی پرایا۔ گھروں باہر نکلن تے ودّھ پابندیاں ۔ انج باہر دی دنیا وچ سکول میرا گھر بن گیا۔ 

مینوں کہانیاں سُنان توں پہلے سُنن دا شوق سی، سکول دی لائبریری بچیاں دیاں کہانیاں دیاں اردو کتاباں ہوندیاں، کجھ گھر دے رستے وچ کھوکھے توں وی مل جاندیاں، نال دو تن رسالے ’بچوں کی دنیا‘، ’کھلونا ‘تے ’تعلیم و تربیت‘ وی ہوندے۔ میں اپنا جیب خرچ  ایتھے لاندی ساں۔ چنگے نمبر لینے تے کدی میرا بھرا خوش ہو کے مینوں فیروز سنز  لے جاندا ۔ پنجویں جماعتے میرے کول بچیاں دیاں کہانیاں دیاں سینکڑے کتاباں  تے رسالے سن، کجھ انگریزی تے باقی ساریاں اردو، پنجابی دی اک وی نہیں۔ ایہہ سٹھ دی دُہائی دی گل اے، اوس  ویلے مینوں بچیاں دیاں پنجابی کتاباں تے رسالے کدھرے نظر نہ آوندے، نہ سکول دی لائبریری وچ، نہ کھوکھے تے، نہ فیروز سنز۔

ہائی سکول پہنچدیاں مینوں لگیا جیویں حیاتی وچ اگےودھن لئی مینوں اردو تے انگریزی، صوفیانہ شاعری راہیں روحانی ترقی لئی پنجابی، تے دینی تعلیم لئی عربی پڑھن دی لوڑ اے۔ یاں ا یویں آکھو، پنجابی صوفیانہ شاعری دی بولی اے، عربی قرآن دی، اردو تے انگریزی دنیا وچ اپنا مقام بنان دی۔ ایہدے وچ میری اپنی کوئی سوچ یا سمجھ نہیں سی، ایہہ میرے ماحول تے میری ضرورت  مینوں دسیا۔

ایہناں چار وچوں تن بولیاں میں ہن تائيں ورتنی آں۔ کہانیاں بنانیاں میں پنجابی وچ شروع کیتیاں، مضمون لکھنے اردو وچ، تے خبراں  لکھنیاں انگریزی چ۔ پہلا ٹی وی ڈرامہ سیریل اک اردو ناول توں اخذ کر کے اردو چ لکھیا’دستک نہ دو‘،  تے دوجا اک روسی ناولٹ دا انگریزی توں پنجابی ’آپے رانجھا ہوئی‘۔ پہلا ناول پنجابی وچ شروع کیتا1974وچ ’کیڑو‘ جیہڑا ہن 2019 وچ چھپیا۔ کینیڈا آکے کجھ کہانیاں انگریزی وچ لکھیاں، ناول ’سکینہ‘  انگریزی تے پنجابی دوواں وچ اکٹھے،  تے ’ایڈونچرز آف صاحباں‘ اُکا انگریزی وچ۔ پہلی نظم  ستّر دی دہائی وچ لکھی اردو، پچھوں شاعری ہوئی اے انگریزی یاں پنجابی۔

   مینوں اک بولی توں دوجی تے جاندیاں کوئی پرابلم نہیں ہوندی، تے نہ ایہہ مسئلہ ہوندا اے کہ کیہڑی شے کیہڑی بولی وچ اے۔ جیہڑی شے نے جیہڑی بولی وچ آنا ہوندا اے، اوہ اوسے وچ آؤندی اے۔

فیر  رولاکیہ اے؟

رولا ایہہ اے، اک تے پرائمری سکول پنجابی نہ پڑھائی گئی، اُتوں پنجابی بولنا وی سکول سسٹم دی نافرمانی تے جہالت دی نشانی سی۔ ایہدی تھاں جے سکولے پڑھائی لکھائی پنجابی وچ ہوندی، میری ماں بولی نوں پنجاب دے ہی اک شہر وچ ہینا کر کے پیش نہ کیتا جاندا تے بھاویں مینوں ہر شے سوکھی سمجھ آؤندی، میں ہور سوہنے گُن سِکھدی۔ اُتوں مارکیٹ و چ اوس ٹائم  بالاں دیاں کہانیاں دیاں پنجابی کتاباں  تے رسالے کوئی نہ ہون، جتھوں میرا ایہہ خیال زور پکڑ گیا کہ پنجابی صوفیانہ شاعری دی بولی اے، نویں زمانے دی نہیں۔ میں سمجھنی آں، ایہناں دو چیزاں کارن میری اُٹھان وچ اک وڈا پاڑ پیا، جنھوں میں پور نہیں سکدی۔

ایہہ پاڑ، ایہہ کھپا، ماں بولی اک مضمون وانگ نہ پڑھ سکن دا ای نہیں، اوہ تے فیر وی پوریا جا سکدا سی۔ اصل کھپا ایہہ پیا،  شہر پہنچدے ای، یک دم، بنا مینوں کجھ دسے پچھے، میرا پورا کلچر ردّ کے پرانہہ سٹ دتا گیا۔  جس بولی وچ میں سوچدی ساں، کہانیاں  بناندی تے ٹپے جوڑدی ساں، وڈیاں چھوٹیاں نال گل بات کردی ساں، اُٹھدی بہندی ساں، رہندی سہندی ساں، اوہ سبھ ’پینڈو‘  دا  میہنا  لا کے پرانہہ سٹ دتا گیا۔ مینوں لگیا، نال مینوں وی سُٹدے پئے نیں۔ پتا لگا، میرے بچن دا  اِکو طریقہ سی، اپنا پینڈو سیلف لکا کے، یاں  مار کے،  اک شہری سیلف بنانا جیہڑا پنجابی تھاں اردو انگریزی بولے، لسّی تھاں چاہ پیوے، چاول چمچے نال کھاوے، تے امب کانٹے نال۔ ایہہ سی روز دیہاڑے ذلیل ہوون توں بچن دا طریقہ۔

مینوں روپ وٹان وچ دیر نہیں لگی کیوں جے پورا ماحول مینوں اوسے پاسے  ٹوردا سی،  تے فیر کیہ کہہ کے  مینوں سلاہندے سن؟ ’’کنی سوہنی اردو بولدی اے، پتا ای نہیں لگدا پنجابن اے۔‘‘ سچ پچھو  تے مینوں اپنا  آپ، اپنا پنجابی سیلف، لکان وچ بڑا مسئلہ ہوندا سی۔ اپنی اصل کون لکا سکدا اے، ’میری بکل دے وچ چور……!‘ اُتوں بال دا ذہن، سمجھ نہیں آؤندی سی کیہ بھیڑ اے جیہڑا  لکوواں، کیوں  لکوواں، تے کیویں۔ ایہہ تریڑ اج وی میریاں نینہاں وچ اے، کیوں جے روح تے لگے پھٹ دی دوا کوئی نہیں۔

مینوں لگدا اے، ایہہ اُکا پنڈوں شہر آندیاں بالڑیاں نال ای نہیں بیتدی، شہری بال ست ورھے دے ہون توں پہلاں ای ایہہ سمجھ گئے ہوندے نیں، پنجابی ہونا شرمساری اے، دُنیا وچ اگے ودھن لئی پنجابی بولی تے کلچر نوں پاسے کرنا پے گیا۔ کینیڈا وچ انگریز سامراجیاں نے مقامی قوماں دے بچیاں لئی انگلش میڈیم سکول بنائے جتھے بالاں نوں اپنیاں ماں بولیاں بولن، اپنے کپڑے لَتے پاون، اپنے تہوار مناون، اپنے گیت گاون، اپنے علوم حاصل کرن دی مناہی سی۔ نابر بالاں لئی چوکھیاں سزاواں سن، جیہناں وچ فاقہ، کال کوٹھری، تے کجھ سکولاں بجلی دی کرسی الیکٹرک چیئر وی رکھی ہوئی سی۔

پنجاب وچ ایہہ تے نہیں ہویا پر برصغیر دی آزادی دے بعد وی ساڈی ماں بولی، ساڈے کلچر، نال ڈاہڈا کوجھا تعصب رکھیا گیا، تے ہن وی رکھیا جا رہیا اے۔

 سوچن دی گل اے، جدوں دا پاکستان بنیا اے پنجاب دیاں کنیاں بالڑیاں تے بال اپنی بولی تے کلچر دی نفی کرن تے مجبور ہو کے ذات دے ٹوٹے کرن والی ایس اذیت وچوں نکلے ہونے نیں، کِنے ہُن نکلدے پئے نیں، تے کِنے ہور نکلنے نیں۔

ایسے پاروں جد میں 2007 وچ  ناول ’سکینہ‘ دے پنجابی ایڈیشن دی لانچ کیتی تے اوہدے وچ بولی بارے اک پروگرام وی پیش کیتا گیا جیہڑا پنجاب دے ست تے سندھ دے دو شہراں وچ ساتھیاں دے ساہمنے رکھیا گیا تے اوہدے تے گل بات ہوئی۔ 

’سکینہ‘ دیاں لانچاں دے اکٹھ اوہدے پبلشر امجد سلیم منہاس (سانجھ پبلیکیشنز، لاہور)  نے ہر شہر دیاں ادبی تنظیماں نال رل کے  آرگنايز کیتے، تے محمد تحسین (ساؤتھ ایشیا  پارٹنر شپ، پاکستان ) دی امداد نال 9 شہراں وچ پیش کیتے۔

  ماں بولی  دا حق

پنجاب دے پنجابی لکھن والے لکھاری دنیا وچ جتھے وی نیں، بھین بولیاں اوہناں دے ماحول تے جنیاں وی حاوی نیں، اوہ اپنیاں لکھتاں  تے تنظیماں راہیں ہر دم اپنی ماں بولی دا مان رکھدے پئے نیں۔ پچھلے دس بارہ ورھیاں وچ ویکھ لو دوواں پنجاباں وچ  تے باقی دنیا وچ پنجابی ادبی میلے ودھ گئے نیں، ایوارڈ ودھ گئے نیں، پنجابی لکھاریاں دیاں تنظیماں چھوٹے وڈے شہراں وچ بن گئیاں نیں، ماں بولی دیاں پالنہار لہراں زور پکڑیا ہویا اے۔

کوئی  ساتھی پاکستان دی قومی بولی اردو، یا سرکاری بولی انگریزی، تے اُلاہما رکھدے نیں یاں اوہناں نوں سِکھن ورتن دا میہنا دیندے  نیں۔ ایہہ  تنگ سوچ  اے، اک توں ودھ بولیاں سکھنا تے ورتنا اِک سوہنا گُن اے، اوہنوں تعصب پاروں گنوانا ، نہ تے پنجابی دی خدمت اے تے نہ پنجابیاں دی۔ دوجا، ایہہ سوچ  ایس مسئلے وچ کنفیوژن وی ودھاندی اے، کیوں جے لگدا اے سجن صوبے تے ملک نوں اِکو جاندے نیں۔ پاکستان دے چار صوبیاں وچ  74 بولیاں ورتیندیاں نیں، جیہناں وچوں چار صوبائی بولیاں نیں پنجابی، سندھی، پشتو، بلوچی، پر ایہناں وچوں اک وی چاراں صوبیاں تے لاگو نہیں کیتی جا سکدی، تے نہ کرنی چاہیدی اے۔

 پنجابی اک صوبے دی بولی اے، پورے ملک دی نہیں۔ ایہدا قومی تے سرکاری بولیاں نال اپنے حقاں بارے تضاد  تے ہے پر  دُشمنی  نہیں۔ دُشمنی ہووے جے ایہہ تِن بولیاں اک دوجے دی تھاں لے سکدیاں ہوون، پر نہ پنجابی پاکستان دی قومی بولی بن سکدی اے تے نہ اردو یاں انگریزی پنجاب دیاں صوبائی بولیاں بن سکدیاں نیں۔ 

تضاد حکومت توں اپنے  اوہ صوبائی حقوق لین دا اے جیہڑے اوس قومی  تے سرکاری بولیاں نوں دِتے ہوئےنیں۔ وفاقی حکومتی ادارے تے کارروائیاں قومی بولیاں اردو یا انگریزی پے ورتن، پنجاب وچ صوبائی حکومتی ادارے تے اوہدیاں کارروائیاں پنجابی وچ ہوون۔ قومی سرکاری بولیاں توں پرہیز دا پرچار کرن دی تھاں پنجاب وچ پنجابی نوں اوہدے صوبائی حق دوانے چاہیدے نیں۔ اوہدے نال ماں بولی وچ  روزگار، تعلیم، تخلیق ودھے گی  تے نالے دوجیاں دوویں بولیاں پنجاب وچ اپنی تھاں  تے آن گیاں۔

ماں بولی دے صوبائی حقاں بارے گل اگانہہ نہیں ودھدی، سرایکی بولی  تے وسیب دے حقاں  تے گل کیتے بنا۔ اسیں اوہ پنجابی آں جو اپنی ماں بولی دے حقاں بارے کوشش کرکے ماں بولی دا مان ودھانا چاہنے آں، سانوں دوجیاں دے حقاں دی گل کھلے دل دماغ نال سننی چاہی دی اے، تے انصاف نال نبیڑنی چاہیدی اے۔ پاکستانی پنجاب چ 70 فیصد لوکی پنجابی بولی بولدے نیں تے 21 فیصد سرائیکی۔ انصاف ایہہ ہووے جے پنجاب دیاں دو صوبائی بولیاں ہون، پنجابی تے  سرائیکی ۔

Languages of Punjab
(2017 Census)[64]

Punjabi 69.67%

Saraiki 20.68%

Urdu 4.87%

Pashto 1.98%

Balochi 0.83%

Sindhi 0.15%

پکی گل اے، پاکستانی پنجاب چ ماں بولیاں دی ایس گھمن گھیری وچوں سانوں دونواں پاسے دیاں ہوشمند لہراں کڈھ سکدیاں نیں،

جوشمند نہیں۔

سارا کاظمی تے  قیصر عباس دی مہربانی جنہاں دی فیڈبیک نے ابس مضمون چ وادھا پایا۔

Photo by Akram Varraich

Fauzia Rafique
Surrey, BC. April 4, 2021.

Read this article in Urdu @ Roznama Jeddojehd, PK

A Doc with a Difference ‘The Massacre at Amritsar: Jallianwala Bagh 1919’ by Rajnish Dhawan

This 42-minute documentary explores the massacre of Indians* by the British at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919. A brutal retaliation of a colonial government against unarmed and peaceful political protesters became the precursor for India’s independence. This tragic yet glorious part of our history is re-visited, this time in the context of the struggles waged by people in South Asia and the Diaspora.

The vantage point used to carry out this exploration connects our current situation as South Asians to our history where both the experiences of tyranny and of our resistance to it can be clearly seen.

Congratulations to Rajnish Dhawan, Satwinder Bains, the University of Fraser Valley, and all who contributed to this project for creating a documentary of such permanent value.

‘Dedicated to all of the unsung heroes who fought against tyranny and those who continue to rise against it.’

I would be happy to recommend this documentary to be viewed in high schools, colleges, universities, public libraries and community spaces.

Fauzia Rafique

*the term ‘Indian’ is used here to mean Indians of South Asian origin.

‘Why the Azaan Should Not be Broadcast over Loudspeakers’ by Omar Latif

: Jamia Masjid, Vancouver, the azaan was broadcast over loudspeakers for the first time in its 112-year history – photo from 30 Masjids dot ca

TO HELP PRESERVE SECULARISM
TO HELP PREVENT ISLAMOPHOBIA

It began with broadcasting one azaan call-for-prayer for one of the five daily prayers during the month of Ramzan at one mosque in Toronto. Within days, the practice spread to many cities – Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, London, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and, Surrey – at the last count. One cleric has already said that he would like the azaan to be announced over loudspeakers for all five prayers, throughout the year!

If this was to remind Muslims about the time of prayer, it must be pointed out that Muslims and, for that matter, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, have all been saying their prayers at home or in their places of worship at prescribed times for hundreds of years without the call-to-prayer being announced from loudspeakers. And how, it was asked, would Muslims know the time of the other four daily prayers if the azaan was sent out over loudspeakers only once a day?

The rationale changed: Muslims couldn’t gather in mosques during their holy month of Ramzan due to Covid-19 and would find solace when they heard the azaan over loudspeakers. But, it was pointed out that the overwhelming majority of Muslims lived too far from any mosque to hear it! And what about believers of other religions who couldn’t congregate on their holy days either, for instance, Christians weren’t able to get together on Good Friday this April 8 or Jews during Passover from April 8-16? By that logic, shouldn’t religious invocations for all believers of all faiths be relayed over loudspeakers to provide them comfort during the lock-down? Would that cacophony calm jangled nerves and create harmony among people, or create greater stress and resentment against each other?

Is the push for the broadcasting of the azaan over loudspeakers coming from Muslims as a whole? According to Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, there were a total of 1,053,945 Muslims in Canada – perhaps a total of 1,000,000 adult Muslims currently. Of these, only a small minority says any prayers, much less the daily five. Only a fraction of this small minority goes to mosques to say their prayers, and that too mainly for the Eid or for Friday noon prayers. Anybody can see for themselves how empty mosques are at other prayer times.

The push for the azaan over mosque loudspeakers is not coming from all Muslims but from a small number of Muslim clerics, mainly Sunni, mainly conservative. Some Muslims, thinking that the loud call to prayer demonstrates the power of Islam, or makes it more appealing, also support this idea. However, they are sadly mistaken.

Who has allowed these organizations to over-ride the local noise by-laws? Mainly mayors and municipal councillors from mainstream parties but, unfortunately some progressive ones too, who in return, want to use such organizations as sources for funds, volunteers and ‘vote banks’ at election time.

The broadcasting of the azaan over loudspeakers hardly serves the purpose of reminding Muslims of prayer times or for providing solace during the lockdown in Ramzan since reminders on watches, computers and cell phones would work better. In reality, it appears that this move is a flexing of muscle by conservative Muslim clerics and organizations who are on their way to play a larger political role in society; clerics and organizations who have us believe that they speak on behalf of one, monolithic, undifferentiated, Muslim ummah (nation).

What they are aiming for, a wish NOT shared by ALL Muslims, is to increase the influence of religion and religious values in public life; of views that do not support equality of women with men, views that are against secularism, choice, same-sex partnerships, evolution and other rational and scientific ideas such as, for example, the causes and cures of epidemics and other natural disasters like droughts, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes.

Public pressure has done away with Catholic School Boards in all provinces, and it demanded the same in Ontario in favour of one, secular, public education system for all. Contrary to the will of the people, these clerics push for publicly funded religious schools. It was only after a long struggle that the Lord’s Prayer and other overtly Christian teachings were ended in public schools. These clerics will push for more insertion of religious teachings in public schools. Far fetched? Can happen only in countries of the global south? Just look at what has happened in the US in a few decades!

Over the past four decades, the mainstream parties, at all levels, have enabled the de-regulation of big business, the lowering of taxes on large corporations, the whittling down of social programs, the weakening of labour laws, and the increase in the huge gap between the 1% and everyone else. They have supported militarism and wars, many are being fought against Muslim countries. They have backed Israel in its harsh and unjust treatment of the Palestinian people. None of this matters to these conservative Muslim clerics who are interested only in advancing their narrow, sectarian agenda.

The parties of big business will rely the more on conservative religious forces, of all religions – because they do not acknowledge the impact of privilege, disregard class analysis, the importance of trade unions, instead teaching submission and acceptance by the have-nots of the existing unjust economic structures since privilege and poverty are ordained by God, where justice and fairness is to be found not here but in the hereafter – the more the struggle for social justice grows.

Is the denial of the use of loudspeakers to broadcast the azaan a denial of the right of freedom of belief of Muslims? No it isn’t. First of all, a small minority wants this ‘right’ and only a fraction of this minority will actually hear the azaan. But the main point is that Muslims will still have the right to say the azaan so long as its sound remains within the confines of their prayer halls, and others outside, are not compelled to listen to it. Public complaints have put a stop to the pealing of church bells in many areas. It should be stopped everywhere.

The broadcasting of the azaan over mosque loudspeakers is another intrusion of religion into public space. If it takes hold, other religions inevitably will want to broadcast their chants, bells, hymns etc. over loudspeakers too. The right to religious freedom should be supported as long as it is not socially harmful or a bother to others. Prejudices like Islamophobia and anti-Semitism must be fought but religion whether Islam, or Christianity, or Hinduism or Judaism or Sikhism, should be a personal matter. The separation between state and religion should become more, not less, sharp. Canada should become more, not less, secular.
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Omar Latif is a Toronto activist who has been a long-time member of the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians and of the Communist Party of Canada. This article is based on his personal views, not on those of the CPPC or of the CPC.

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Uddari Weblog is published from
the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

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China and the Uighurs

Chinese Uighur

The situation about the Uighur Muslims has attracted widespread media coverage in the past year.  In light of the West after 9-11 and India under Modi, it may be easy for observers to assume that this is a case of Islamophobia in China.

China’s human rights abuses, while they should be condemned unequivocally, do not constitute a case of Islamophobia as they do in the case of India and China.

First of all, Islam in China has a very different history compared to its history in the West and in India.

In China, Islam came through trade. During the cosmopolitan empire of the Tang Dynasty (618-906 CE). Arab and Central Asian merchants brought Islam to Turkestan (now north-western China) and to Chinese cities like Chang’an, Kaifeng and Luoyan.[1] Islam has long been associated with trade in China’s history and the most famous Muslim in China’s history, Zheng He (1371-1433), was a mariner and explorer.

Turkic migrations

China’s Han majority population also accepted Islam through conversion. Although a minority within the larger Han population, Han Chinese Muslims (known as the ‘Hui’) are virtually indistinguishable from their Han brethren except in their avoidance of pork.

Islam thus has a comparatively peaceful history in China. Compare this to the West where Islam was branded a Christian heresy from its inception and associated with the Crusades or in India where Islam has been associated (especially by Hindu Nationalists) with the looting of Hindu temples by Turkish mercenaries like Mahmud of Ghazni.

Secondly, the human rights abuses suffered by China’s Muslims have been confined to Xinjiang. They do not envelop the entire Chinese Muslim population the way they have Muslims in the West after 9-11 or in India under Modi.

China is home to over 20 million Muslims.[2] Of these, 41% are Uighur while 48% are Han Chinese (Hui) and the remaining 11% belonging to Kazakh, Uzbek, Tajik, Tatar and other ethnic groups.[3]

If Islamophobia were rampant in China, it would’ve been all over the Western media by now.  Instead, what has been making cover stories in the West (besides the Corona Virus scare and the crackdown on the Uighurs) is China’s ability to digitally monitor the activities of its citizens, Uighur, Han or otherwise.

Third, and most crucially, the crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang should be understood in light of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) obsession with maintaining state power and control. This obsession extends to suppressing any religious fervour which threatens or is suspected of threatening the CCP’s grip on power.[4]

The CCP has a long history of penetrating and monitoring religious establishments, ensuring they are subordinate to the party-state.[5]  This is due in part to the official atheism of the CCP, but it owes far more to a long history in China of regulating religion and suppressing religious fervour as a political threat.

There’s plenty of historical precedents to make the CCP nervous. A Daoist sect called the Yellow Turbans undermined the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD).[6] The Red Turbans, a Buddhist sect, led to the fall of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) had to contend with the White Lotus Rebellion (1794-1804), another Buddhist sect. The Taiping rebellion (1850-1864), a Christian millenarian movement, fatally wounded the Qing and killed upwards of twenty million people.[7]

The CCP most notoriously suppressed the Falun Gong sect in the late 1990s and into the new millennium. Besides branding it an “evil cult,” the National People’s Congress amended article 300 of the Criminal Code on October 30, 1999, enabling the CCP to suppress spiritual groups deemed “dangerous to the state” (the Falun Gong claimed millions of members across China).

The oppression of China’s Uighurs is about the Chinese state maintaining its state power and control over the country and its citizens. It should be understood in light of China’s long history of regulating and suppressing any religious fervour (real or imagined) and not as a projection of the West’s own Islamophobia on to other societies.

Sources:

Darren Byler, “China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority,” The Guardian, April 11, 2019 (online): https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/apr/11/china-hi-tech-war-on-muslim-minority-xinjiang-uighurs-surveillance-face-recognition.

André Laliberté, The Legal-Formal Status of Religions in China in In  Dirk Ehlers and Henning Glaser, ed.,  Political and Religious Communities: Partners, Competitors, or  Aliens? Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2019 (forthcoming).

Lipman, Jonathan Newman (1997), Familiar Strangers, a history of Muslims in Northwest China, Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.

 

NOTES

[1] Lipman, Jonathan Newman (1997), Familiar Strangers, a history of Muslims in Northwest China, Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 25.

[2] https://www.pewforum.org/2009/10/07/mapping-the-global-muslim-population/

[3] Armijo, Jackie (2006), “Islamic Education in China”, Harvard Asia Quarterly, 10 (1), archived from the original on 2007-09-28

[4] Darren Byler, “China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority,” The Guardian, April 11, 2019 (online): https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/apr/11/china-hi-tech-war-on-muslim-minority-xinjiang-uighurs-surveillance-face-recognition. Byler reports how the Chinese state has grown anxious over the growing sense of Uighur religious and cultural identity (fostered and disseminated through social media including Uighur Muslims praying five times a day, Muslim women veiling themselves and the import of food, movies, music and clothing from Turkey and Dubai) and in growing Uighur social and political activism.

[5] André Laliberté, The Legal-Formal Status of Religions in China in In  Dirk Ehlers and Henning Glaser, ed.,  Political and Religious Communities: Partners, Competitors, or  Aliens? Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2019 (forthcoming).

[6] The following historical examples are cited by Laliberté in The Legal-Formal Status of Religions in China.

[7] The Qing Dynasty also suppressed Muslim rebellions in the north-west during its expansion into Turkestan in the 18th century.

 

 

Buddhist Political Philosophy

buddha and flower

I first began studying Buddhism in 1999 while living in Canada. Having lived and grown up in the West, I saw how Buddhism was adopted and adapted by the West in terms of science, psychology and the art of living.

I have always been interested, however, in Buddhism as a philosophy and, in particular, as a  political philosophy. For me, this involved thinking about the world and political phenomena from a Buddhist philosophical and ethical perspective.

I will be speaking more about Buddhist political philosophy here in Uddari. For me, it is something that means a lot to me as a South Asian living in the diaspora. Buddhism not only originated and developed in South Asia but it has also become an increasingly influential philosophy in the Western culture in which I have grown up.

India’s Moment of Reckoning

TOPSHOT-INDIA-POLITICS-RIGHTS-UNREST

In 1938, a Nazi law forced German Jews to register their property and assets with the government. In 2001, the Taliban forced all religious minorities in Afghanistan to wear distinctive marks on their clothing to distinguish them from the country’s Muslim majority.

Now, in 2019, the BJP government of India has passed a law which, in effect, will decide whether Indian Muslims are citizens or not on the basis of their religion.

On the face of it, the Citizenship Amendment Act (the “Act”), states that (non-Muslim) illegal migrants who have fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.

When read in conjunction with the National Register of Citizens (the “NRC”), however, the Act threatens to render almost two million Muslims in India (who migrated to Assam from Bangladesh) stateless.

By making religion a condition of citizenship, the Act and the NRC throw the very idea of India as a secular state into question. Will the law apply only to Muslim migrants and their descendants (even if born in India)? Will it be used against those poorer Indian Muslims who have lived in the country since time immemorial but who have no documents to prove their citizenship?

In 2018, Republicans in Georgia threatened to blacklist African-Americans from voting because they could not prove their identity. Will disenfranchisement hang over the heads of Indian Muslims if they cannot show the right kind of documents if any at all?

Historically, citizenship in India (like elsewhere) was acquired by the citizenship belonging to one’s parents (the jus sanguinis or ‘right of blood’ principle) or by naturalization if the person has been resident in India for more twelve years. Descent and residence on Indian territory were sufficient for the sake of claiming Indian citizenship, not religion.

In protest of the law, India has witnessed some of its largest demonstrations in decades with public figures like Ramachandra Guha and Shabana Azmi expressing solidarity with the protestors. The Supreme Court of India has issued notices to the Government of India on petitions challenging the constitutionality of the law.

I hope that these protests are an illustration of the Daoist principle that when things reach one extreme, they revert and start moving back in the opposite direction. Just like we saw with the “wake” movement in the aftermath of Black Lives Matter, the demonstrations in India have the potential to crystallize into a mass-movement that challenges Hindu Nationalism if they are given the right direction and organization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow in Surrey: Women Who Named the Unnamed: Pakistan’s & Local Women Heroes

pakistani women

What inspires me most about this program is the courage of the women it honours. Through their art, their activism, their poetry and their writing, they have dauntlessly challenged institutionalized systems of patriarchal, racial and religious authority, making the world a freer place for all of us regardless of who we are …

Tomorrow, Surrey Muse Arts Society (SMAS) presents “Women Who Named the Unnamed: Pakistan’s & Local Women Heroes” (Sept 28, 6 – 9 PM, Centre Stage, Surrey City Hall). It’s a groundbreaking three-hour stage show which recognizes, for the first time in Greater Vancouver, the contributions of 15 distinguished Pakistani, Punjabi, South Asian, Muslim and women of colour from Pakistan, Surrey and Vancouver to the development of our communities through literature, art, scholarship and activism.

Our distinguished guests for the evening are Sunera Thobani, Harsha Walia, Surjeet Kalsey, Darshan Maan, Indigenous scholar/historian Deanne Reder, and, Katheren Szabo. We will also recognize a Surrey Woman of Courage.

You can find out more about our program here:

https://pakistanswomenheroes.wordpress.com/2019/07/15/women-who-named-the-unnamed-pakistani-local-women-heroes-saturday-28-sept-2019-centre-stage-surrey-city-hall/

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

 

 

Indian Mythology

Kurukshetra

In a country like India, where every fact is infinitely malleable and where every interpretation is politicized, the need to distinguish between history and mythology is more important than ever.

Myths were created by human beings to explain previously inexplicable phenomena such as how the universe was created and where thunder and lightning came from. Unlike history, myths are not meant to be verified.

Myths are thus associated with the religious and cultural beliefs of a people. They do not inquire into the past the way history inquires.

They are valuable nonetheless for helping to create a sense of a common origin among people and in explaining the basis of their religious and cultural values and institutions.

Mythology is the means by which most Indians (Hindus) have sought to understand the past. The mythology of the Vedas, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Puranas, are thus as, if not more, important to the Indian than the legend of King Arthur is to the English or the Kojiki is to the Japanese.

Here are some key myths from Hindu mythology in context:

  • The origins of humanity: the first man is Manu from which the Sanskrit word for man (‘manava’) is derived. Manu saves the world’s animals from the Great Flood (Adam and Noah in one!) and is the father of the first kings and queens in Indian mythology.
  • Dynasties, Kings and Sages: ancient Indian dynasties typically claim descent through lines traced back to one of Manu’s two children (Ishvaku and Ila). The hero of the Ramayana, Rama, traces his ancestry to the line associated with Ishvaku, [1] while the Pandvas and the Kauravas of the Mahabharata trace their descent from the line associated with Ila.[2]

The Puranas contain genealogical lists of kings and sages (e.g. Kashyapa, Atri, Vishvamitra, et al) in a manner reminiscent of the list of patriarchs, prophets and progenitors in the Old Testament (e.g. from Abraham to Ham, Shem, Canaan and Rachab).

  • Bharata: The word for “India” in Sanskrit, “Bharata,” derives from the eponymous mythical emperor. Bharata is believed to have united much of what we now call India stretching from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin.

The “Bharata” were also an ancient clan mentioned in the Vedas which emerged victorious in battle over other Indo-Aryan tribes and clans.[3]

  • The Class (Caste) System: in the Vedas, the cosmic man (Puruṣa), is said to have been divided into four parts. From his head came the Brahmin class (priests and teachers), from his arms and torso came the Ksatriya (warrior), from his legs came the Vaisya (farmers and merchants) and from his feet came the Sudra (servants).

These are just some of the myths which Indians and Hindus look to in understanding themselves and the origins of India.

 

Notes

[1] The Sūryavaṁśa (solar dynasty).

[2] The Candravaṃśa (lunar dynasty).

[3] The Mahabharata also takes its title from this clan.

 

 

The Aryans of India

 

aryan migration

During my mid-twenties, one of my aunts told me that we (ethnic Punjabis) were descended from the Aryans of ancient India.

I first learned about these Aryans while studying Indian history during my undergraduate degree. I learned that that the Aryans had originally migrated into India from the north-west and that they first settled in the Punjab around 1500 BCE. I also learned that their religious beliefs and lifestyle were recorded around 1200 BCE in a literature known as the Vedas.

Like me, most peoples of the subcontinent (particularly northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) claim to be descended from the (Indo) Aryans. The term Indo-Aryan refers not only to an ethnic group (which is religiously, culturally and regionally diverse), but also to a family of languages spoken by this group, including Punjabi, Hindi/Urdu, Bengali and Gujarati.

Of course, not everyone believes that the Aryans migrated to the subcontinent from the outside. Few are more outspoken in their opposition than the Hindu Nationalist who believes that the Aryans were indigenous to India.

This is, of course, really just a political claim. To claim that the ancestral religion of Hinduism (in the Vedas) is native to India is to claim that it “belongs” to India in opposition to those Indians belonging to “foreign” religions (i.e. Muslims and Christians).

Fantasizing about purity of race and origin, however, turn deadly. We can think of Hitler’s ideas about the Aryan Race as German, the Ku Klux Klan theory of the Teutonic Race or the Japanese idea of the Yamato Race during World War II.

Over the past nearly thirty years, Hindu Nationalism has stirred up pogroms, vandalism and attacks on India’s minority groups (especially Muslims, Christians and Dalits or lower-castes). Its pogroms, including the Gujarat “riots” of 2002 against Muslims has left thousands dead and their homes and places of worship vandalized or destroyed.

Hindu Nationalism basically seeks to rationalize and politicize an emotional need: the need to belong and to know oneself. Mythology is a human institution that fulfils that need by giving us a sense of where we come from. Mythologies like those in the Vedas are Puranas, like those in the Bible or King Arthur are valuable in giving us a sense of who our ancestors might have been without needing to be factually verifiable.

To that extent, I have read the Puranas and the Mahabharata.  I am fascinated, as someone of Indian origin, about where I come from and how my ancestors thought of themselves as a people and about my origins. But my fascination is much the same as someone who reads old genealogies of the Bible or of a Han Chinese taking pride in his descent from the Yellow Emperor.

So, I will call myself Indo-Aryan, Punjabi, Sikh, British, Canadian and Buddhist. I can have a sense of where I come from in terms of mythology without proclaiming it as history for political purposes or otherwise. Living on the land of the Coast Salish People in British Columbia, I realize that they too were like the ancient Aryans in migrating across territories rather than being bound by them.

The Hindu Pakistan

Modi with petals

India finally has the dictator it always wanted.

Narendra Modi has won a majority of seats in India’s election and is set to be re-elected as the country’s Prime Minister.[1]

Since coming to power in 2014, Modi’s administration has effectively co-opted the Indian media, judiciary and co-opted under the banner of Hindu Supremacism. Together, they have created a New India of book burnings, student arrests and the slaughter of Muslims, Christians and low-caste Hindus.

As James Crabtree points out in The Billionaire Raj, India’s economy has grown under Modi to become one of the most unequal on earth. Much of the benefits of this growth, Crabtree argues, has accrued to India’s billionaires class and their family run conglomerates (the Ambanis, the Godrej’s and the Birlas) rather than middle-class.

Under Modi, India has become the Hindu Pakistan, an India where Brahmanism (the religious ideology sanctifying caste) and capitalism march hand in hand. The constituents of a fascist society as explained by Jason Stanley in How Fascism Works (i.e. a strong charismatic leader, a romanticized vision of the past, an imagined ‘other’ etc.) were already well underway during the Prime Minister’s first term.

Now, they will be given an opportunity to come to fruition.

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-48389130?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/cg41ylwvgmyt/narendra-modi&link_location=live-reporting-story

India’s Supreme Court Ruling

section-377.jpg
On September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court of India ruled that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was unconstitutional. The section – enacted in 1861 when India was still a British colony – effectively criminalized gay sex.

India’s LGBT communities erupted in euphoria. The Indian and international press joined in the jubilation with one BBC headline ringing, “India’s Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Sex … ”

The Supreme Court’s decision marks an important beginning for India’s LGBT and for the country. For India’s sexual minorities, it represents a victory in a long struggle against an inhumane and draconian law. For India, the ruling holds the promise of a new era where India starts to step out from the shadows of its colonial past.

I too was euphoric after reading the headlines only to confront a few sober realities.

First, the Supreme Court of India ruling has not legalized gay sex. It has declared that the law discriminated against LGBT sex is unconstitutional. The law is still in force and cannot be repealed or amended except by an act of Parliament.

Second, as long as it remains on the books, the section will continue to be invoked. Certainly, a better off and well-informed gay Indian will now challenge a policeman who tries to lay a charge. But those LGBT Indians who are poor, working class or villagers are less likely to contest the enforceability of the law.

Third, the ruling leaves untouched the more basic challenges facing India’s LGBT communities. In particular, the ruling does not recognize India’s LGBT communities as legal persons who can claim basic rights or freedoms as any other Indian. It has brought India’s LGBT persons out of the shadow of criminality, without making them persons under the law.

If anything, the Supreme Court ruling stands for the same principle that Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau made back in 1967 that “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” Tushar Mehta, the Assistant Solicitor-General for the Government of India, has otherwise made it clear that the Government of India will construe the ruling narrowly so as not to accord legal status to the LGBT citizens of India in terms of marriage, property rights, government benefits or inheritance.

India’s LGBT communities have just won their first battle against the state, but their war for recognition as equal citizens under the law has yet to begin.

Russia is a threat … or is it?

Putin Threat

Why does the United States perceive Russia as a threat?

Powerful countries like the United States have always viewed other powers (or rising powers) as threats. Athens felt threatened by the rise of Sparta. The United Kingdom and France historically viewed one another as threats, and both countries viewed a rising Germany as a threat on the road to World War I.

The threat of the “other” nation is also a matter of perception. Like individuals, nations find it difficult to perceive reality objectively. Their perceptions are instead processed through and conditioned by their own historical, nationalist and cultural beliefs and biases. The resulting distorted perception is taken as reality.

The United States’ perception of Russia is obscured by the shadow of the Cold War. The Soviet Union not only challenged the United States politically and militarily but was seen by the U.S. as ideologically threatening and unassimilable. Russia today is seen as openly defiant and dangerous. Whether it’s facing off against Washington over Syria, interfering in the U.S. election or refusing to democratize, Russia is large, powerful and plays by its own rules.

Is Russia a threat to the United States? This is largely a question of perception. Perhaps it’s only natural for the United States to view powerful countries like Russia (or rising powers like China) as threats to its own power. In Russia’s case, however, America’s perceptions are further clouded by memories, beliefs and assumptions arising from the Cold War. The result is a distorted view of Russia, the so-called threat.

– Thanks to Marco, a dear friend; and Bilal, a beloved nephew

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Indias

Indus Valley

In a recent paper, scientists from the United States, Russia and India, have concluded that the Indus Valley Civilization was the result of a mixing of South Asians and Iranian peoples.

The study also concludes that the group previously known as “Aryan” were in fact pastoral communities from Central Asia which moved south from the steppe into the Indus Valley.

The study examined the DNA of 612 ancient individuals from across Central Asia, Iran and South Asia. This data was then compared with the DNA of 246 distinct groups in South Asia.

The study identified the Ancestral North Indian and the Ancestral South Indian as the result of the mixing and combination of three potential groups of peoples:

  1. The South Asian hunter-gatherers, the indigenous inhabitants of the subcontinent;
  2. The Iranian agriculturalists who migrated into the subcontinent, and;
  3. The Steppe pastoralists who were also migrants into the subcontinent.

The study provided the following outline based on this genetic data:

  1. The Indus Valley Civilization arises through the mixing of South Asians and Iranians;
  2. The “Aryan” civilization arises through the migration of Steppe pastoralists into the Indus Valley around the 2nd millennium BCE;
  3. Some of the Indus Valley moves further south where they mix with more South Asians, creating the Ancestral South Indian population;
  4. In the North, the Steppe pastoralists mix with the remaining Indus Valley population, creating the Ancestral North Indian population.
  5. Subsequent South Asians are a result of mixing between Ancestral North Indians and Ancestral South Indians.

The implication of this is that there was an “Aryan migration” into the subcontinent from the outside and not vice-versa. That suggestion will anger with the Hindu Rights with its inference that their ancestors and ancestral religion (including the Vedas) originated outside of the subcontinent.

This would undermines the Hindu Right’s claims that they are the original inhabitants of India vis-à-vis those following foreign religions. It also suggests that modern South Asians are a mix of what we previously called “Aryan” and “Dravidian,” with no such thing as a “pure race” or “nation” which is basic to Hindutva.

The Hindu Right is already rewriting history books in India. It is already censoring any views and ideas that would suggest India is the creation of anything but the primordial Hindu Nation. This paper will not affect the momentum of that project, but it does throw to the wind some of the theories on which Hindutva rests.

– Thanks to Satdeep, for inspiration across continents 

 

The Causes We Cherish

Modi_and_Trudue_100455_730x419-m

Jagmeet Singh was interviewed yesterday on CBC Radio. The leader of the federal NDP was asked about a seminar he attended with the National Sikh Youth Federation in the U.K. in 2016. The organizer of the National Sikh Youth Federation, Shamsher Singh, was heard discussing the legitimacy of armed struggle by Sikhs in the creation of Khalistan.

In his radio interview, Singh condemned terrorism without condemning the Khalistan movement. He expressed sympathy with the pain and trauma suffered by Sikhs, while dodging any suggestion that the Khalistan movement was a terrorist movement.

Within hours, the internet was awash headlining Mr. Singh’s name with phrases like “Sikh separatist,” “blood hatreds” and “strange loyalties.”

The Khalistan movement was a violent and divisive movement. It bloodied the towns and villages of the East Punjab for nearly a decade. Its leader, Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, turned Sikhism’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple, into a military stronghold. And the movement turned a generation of young Sikhs into militant separatists.

Murderous and divisive as its legacy has been, the Khalistan cause has long since fallen on the losing side of history. The Canadian media is right to question such causes or, as in the case of Singh, its suspected supporters. Yet the same also fails repeatedly to question those politicians who support “winning” causes like Israel, Saudi Arabia or Canada’s policies towards its own Aboriginal peoples.

Justin Trudeau illustrated this point last month when he visited India. Trudeau met with India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, a man whose government has become perhaps the worst violator of human rights in independent India’s history. In 2002, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi presided over the worst anti-Muslim program in India since 1947. Since his becoming Prime Minister in 2014, India has witnessed widespread and repeated abuses of human rights and civil liberties.

Trudeau failed to condemn any of this, and the Canadian media failed to question Trudeau. His “loyalty” to Canadian values like human rights weren’t scrutinized. For Trudeau, unlike Singh, was on the winning side.

Thank you to Z. Makhdoom for inspiring me

The Honorable Asma Jahangir

Last Rites
2:30 PM
Tuesday, February 13
Outside the Gaddafi Stadium
Lahore, Pakistan

Last Public Speech
facebook.com/justiceforpashtuns/videos/1169041573198913

Last Tweet
‘Nehal Hashmi’s tone and words cannot be defended but use of contempt law selectively only undermines confidence in the system of justice’

human-rights-icon-asma-jahangir-passes-away-in-lahore
great-women-of-punjabi-origin/#ASMA
..