Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reply to Whither “Progressive” Bacha Khan’s Wife?"

While googling for something else, one link led me back to PakTeaHouse, to this "article". After noting that "Frontier Gandhi" Abdul Ghaffar Khan's first wife died in 1918, and second wife died in 1926, the author says:
Now surely there must be a picture or two of the great Bacha Khan’s wife in public sphere since it has now become fashionable to claim that he worked for women’s empowerment. Can someone please upload it? It is of urgent importance.
Abdul Ghaffar Khan was born in 1890; in 1926 he was 36.  Is there a photograph in the public domain showing him age 36 or younger?

It is further asked:   
So who is Bacha Khan’s wife? Who is Bacha Khan’s sister?  Who is Bacha Khan’s daughter?
Zakia A. Siddiqi and Anwar Jahan Zuber, in an Aligarh Muslim University publication, "Muslim women: problems and prospects", found on, say that
The two Muslim leaders of the freedom struggle who sought to bring political awareness to the women of the Muslim majority provinces dominated by them were Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in the North West Frontier Province of the then united India and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in Kashmir. Both were zealous advocates of education for women and had several schools set up for girls' education. Both were successful in drawing women to their meetings. Badshah Khan, as Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was known, used to say that men and women were like the two wheels of a chariot and that unless the movement was coordinated the chariot would not move. He would attribute the success of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement to the sympathy of the women who made it deep-rooted. It was during Sheikh Abduall and Badshah Khan's time that women began to attend Friday prayers at the mosques in Kashmir and the Frontier Province. Though both these leaders refrained from touching on the desirability of removal of purdah as a whole, it was obvious that they felt about it from the example they set for their own families. Sheikh Abdullah's own wife did not observe purdah. Badshah Khan sent his daughter to a convent and then to college in Lucknow and to London. The family women did not observe purdah.

PS: Badshah Khan's daughter-in-law, Begum Naseem Wali Khan, is a political leader and plenty of photographs of her are available on the web.

PPS: Here claims:
One of his first concerns was the role of women. Badshah Khan had long lamented the traditional system of purdah, which restricts Muslim women from participating fully in society. He encouraged them to come out behind the veil, as the women in his own family had done. His sisters became increasingly active in his movement, until by 1930 they were touring the districts of the Frontier and giving speeches--activities which would have required courage even in the cosmopolitan capitals of Islam, but which in the conservative Frontier showed truly extraordinary daring......

Well known facts of recent vintage

That Bacha Khan encouraged Fakir of Ipi’s militancy against Pakistan is a well known fact - Here

The first case of a revolt against the Pakistani state came from Waziristan by self styled Islamic Amir of Waziristan Faqir of Ipi who denounced Jinnah and Muslim League as “bastions of Qadiyanism”. Faqir of Ipi was supported in his Islamic revolt by none other than Bacha Khan, the frontier Gandhi. - Here

Damned lies and statistics

Over on Let Us Build Pakistan, statistics on "Who buys motorcycles?" was posted.  These are supposed to be numbers from the Pakistan Auto Manufacturers Association.

As reported in The News: 

LAHORE: The production of motorcycles in Pakistan has crossed million units during the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, according to a study conducted by The News.
But the PAMA website (scroll all the way to the lower right) has for July 09 - May 10 (the 11 months of the Pakistani July-to-June fiscal year)  670,892 two wheelers and three wheelers manufactured, and 670,904 sold.

Islam, Muslims in danger

One of the recurrent themes of the All-India Muslim League and its leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, during their campaign for Pakistan, was that Islam and Muslims were in danger in India.  There is a strong denial of this on PakTeahouse..  Since PakTeahouse tends to censor any quotes that actually prove this, it is necessary to put such quotes up here.  I will put them up as and when I notice them.  I'm not going to go out of my way to debunk such crass propaganda.  I will put them in chronological order, with the latest one in a different font color.

Unless otherwise mentioned, the source of the quotes is "Speeches, Statements & Messages of the Quaid-E-Azam" in 4 volumes, collected and edited by Khurshid Ahmad Khan Yusufi, and published from Bazm-i-Iqbal, Lahore.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Which is it?

The author of this dailytimes article quotes Iskandar Mirza on Jinnah as follows:
Even more forthright is the version transmitted to us by Iskandar Mirza who quoted Jinnah as saying, “Shariah? Whose shariah? No. I shall have a modern state.”
But elsewhere,  the same author writes (entire comment copied, emphasis added):
That is not what he said. He was informed late and he turned around and said allegedly – don’t tell me anything. I want my conscience to be clear.

This according to George Cunningham who heard it from someone else… Iskandar Mirza actually… I think. Hardly the world’s best source.

According to Fatima Jinnah however … Jinnah knew nothing about invasion Kashmir. Jinnah had sent three major leftist stalwarts to win over Shaikh Abdullah so it is highly unlikely that he would want to stab his own effort.

But then in the lala land of Ishtiaq Ahmed’s imagination everything is possible.
 One other quote from the dailytimes article is worth noting:
That he was willing to negotiate on the basis of united India till the very end is a fact now well established as a consensus amongst historians studying partition whether in the West or in South Asia.
The problem is that the cited consensus does not exist.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Excerpt from Clow to Wavell

Acting Governor of Bombay Sir A.G. Clow wrote to Lord Wavell on September 27, 1946 outlining his thoughts on the political deadlock in India.  Wavell noted "Interesting, but not, I am afraid, realistic".  Clow advocated essentially yielding to all the Muslim League conditions as a recognition of the reality that the Muslims had an essentially different ethos than the Hindus.  There is part of his note that I think we should keep in mind when trying to understand Pakistan.

Fundamentalism at the foundation

In the Daily Times, Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur points to the fundamentalism at the foundation of Pakistan.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A model of an Islamic society

Hoisted from the comments, by shiv. 

"Liberalism" has always been a part of every Islamic society as a "front",  a layer of protection against kafirs who may get upset and fight Islam. When there is an excess of kafirs the liberals are excused as needing to do "taqiya".

Here are two interrelated images depicting Islamic society

The liberals are marked in pale green as "assimilated Muslims" . (the terminology is from a time when I had not yet seen the connection between this group and liberals)

Pak Tea House may well be an example of loss of liberalism in the sense that the same guys used to tolerate the mullahs and fundamentalists. But an increase in fundamentalism has now put their survival at risk.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pakistan was not a negotiating ploy for the average Muslim Leaguer

Elevated from the comments:

xyz_abc wrote:

In 1941, Muslim League passed a resolution making an oath of allegiance to Pakistan as a condition for Muslim League membership.

Muslim League proceedings quoted from Foundations of Pakistan, All-India Muslim League Documents: 1906-1947, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, Vol II 1924-1947, Metropolitan Book Co, New Delhi.

All India Muslim League Twenty-Eighth Session, Madras, April 1941

Moving Resolution II on the amendment to the Constitution[of the Muslim League], Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan said: We are altering our creed to-day and bringing it into line with the Lahore Resolution, popularly known as Pakistan. Our experience has convinced us that one Federation for the whole of India would create chaos, is impracticable and would lead to the domination of one community over the rest of India. It would never be acceptable to the Muslims.

He declared that Pakistan had become their article of faith, and amendment now before the House would be an effective reply to those who had alleged that it was merely a counter for bargaining. Another implication of the amendment was that every Muslim who was to join the League from now onwards would have to take an oath of allegiance to Pakistan.

Explaining the amendment, he said that the safeguards for the non-Muslims in Pakistan would be framed in consultation with the minorities and would not be imposed on them. It should be evident, he said, that our aim and object is to do justice to all. "Those who want India to be free should accept Pakistan, which will lead to the freedom of all", he added. The amendment was supported by speakers in English, Urdu and Tamil.

Doing a Jinnah

 (Full exchange here.)
Shiv quoted a pakteahouse piece as made up history. Vajra wrote on pakteahouse:

I am glad you printed that particular passage. Every single line of that, every single word has been substantiated, not by one individual, by collective examination of the records and the analyses, by collective debate and discussion, a lively discussion, whereby parts were enhanced, parts were discarded, and nothing was accepted at face value.
Then on his own blog, Vajra wrote:
The consensus history of Pakteahouse as quoted by Shiv is nothing but the consensus history of Pakistan as written by Shiv and quoted by Shiv.
Vajra has certified the consensus history evolved at Pakteahouse, not the version as quoted by Shiv.
I think we need a new expression in the newly evolving Indian English language - we would say "Vajra is doing a jinnah!".

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On the Lahore Resolution

Pravin Pania has some interesting claims about the Lahore Resolution.  He says that the Resolution as passed, intended:
Sovereignty First.  Then, Perhaps, Confederacy.

However, the Resolution, as interpreted by Jinnah's Muslim League (which expelled Fazlul Haq, whom Pania names as the author of the resolution) was:

Confederacy First.  Then, Perhaps, Sovereignty

Jinnah - Islamic socialist?

This article from dawn suggests that Jinnah was inclined towards Islamic socialism.

Jinnah - secularist or Islamist?

This interview with Saleena Karim is interesting, not because of her book, but because of other material.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Elevated from the comments

xyz_abc writes:
I wrote this letter to the editor in response to a Daily Time article:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ambedkar on Pakistan

Ambedkar tells us (January 1945) that it was wishful thinking on the part of Hindus to believe that Pakistan was a negotiating position.

Revealed - It is India's fault!

That the pakteahouse history is meant to blame India for Pakistan's troubles is explicitly made by bciv, one of the persons who Vajra named as having produced the consensus history.

“If you could be Indian and Muslim you would have no identity crisis”
Kindly, do not steal your opponents’ line and then throw it back at them pretending it is yours. Had the claim to being Indian and Muslim been acknowledged, there would have been no issues.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pakistan Bhagya Vidhata?

A sentence from Raza Rumi's blog caught my eye:
Leaving aside the political debate on the results of the recent Transparency International (TI) survey, the results are pretty damning for the masters of our destiny.
No matter how badly things are messed up, the bhagya vidhata, the dispenser of destiny, to me, is the people.

Yet another

The Daily Times has yet another article, this one by Shahid Ilyas, arguing against the pakteahouse version of history.  I think as a humanitarian gesture, a case of Pepto-Bismol should be delivered to Lahore.

PS: The response on PakTeaHouse is titled "Shahid Illyas' bankrupt article today: Just another example of how General Zia poisoned our youth."

A hard hitting piece by Hoodbhoy

Himal magazine published an article by Pervez Hoodbhoy, and it has been reproduced on pakteahouse.

Hoodbhoy makes the following point
Decades after the horrific bloodbath of Partition, the idea of Pakistan remains hotly debated. It did not help that Jinnah died in 1948, just a year after Pakistan was born, with his plans still ambiguously stated. He authored no books and wrote no policy paper. He did make many speeches, of which several were driven by political expediency and are frankly contradictory. These are freely cherry-picked today, with some finding in them a liberal and secular voice; others, an embodiment of Islamic values. The confusion is irresolvable. 

Pakistan is a bullock cart, not a Porsche

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur in the Daily Times says that Pakistan's problems arise from the actions that led to its creation  (and the conclusion one would draw is that this cannot be rectified by historical revisionism - changing the narrative of Pakistan's founding).

Friday, June 18, 2010



On chaighar, the comments veered towards the Aryan Invasion Theory.  Shiv then very cleverly points out the subjectivity of history.

On Congress misrule

January 8, 1942,  Viceroy Linlithgow to Secy. of State Amery:
"Equally I doubt the case for taking up Muslim complaints against Congress governments. As you know I never took those complaints too seriously, and I should be surprised if they did not prove to be either psychological in character or the type of quite minor oppression, insolence, injustice, which in a country so immense as this, so densely populated, and so entirely staffed by Indians of every class and kind, is bound to happen once the impression gets abroad in a major province that there is a Hindu raj or a Muslim raj as the case may be in the government of that province."
There is the historical record that we can examine fully later; but the above remark admirably summarizes the results of such a scrutiny.  It is an appropriate rejoinder to those who make allegations as referred to here:
"It was the hue and cry raised against the atrocities allegedly perpetrated by the Congress ministries in the United Provinces and Bihar that eventually gave the League the nationwide stature and strength to challenge the regional parties in the so-called Muslim majority province where it had not fared well at all."
The foundation of Muslim League stature and strength was falsehood, (and the cry that Islam is in danger).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The relevance of Gandhi

Pakistani liberals as a general rule curse Gandhi.

Fact is that Gandhi has been an enormous positive influence for India. I invite you to browse through stories that mention Gandhi on 

Just one of the examples you will find there (excerpt)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Reflections on History

Chaighar has two new articles:
Ishtiaq Ahmed’s Distortions About The Pakistan Movement
The Idea of Pakistan

You can use this area for comments on these articles.  But why spend any time at all on these seemingly unending and fruitless controversies?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Munir Report 1954

One should read the 1954 report of the judicial inquiry into the anti-Ahmedi riots of 1953. A key lesson for administrators in any of the nations of South Asia is that the public purveyance of hatred directed at any group of people needs to be firmly nipped in the bud. In this case, the police on the scene kept recommending action against rabble-rousing mullahs, but kept getting overruled by higher-ups.

As a grim aside, the precipitating event for the riots was the arrest of the leaders of the anti-Ahmedi movement. Why were they arrested? Because they had threatened a Direct Action Day. (the previous one being the August 16, 1946 Direct Action Day called by the All-India Muslim League). Who but the leaders of Pakistan to know better what Direct Action entails?

An example of Jinnah's "bluff"

The Ayesha Jalal school of thought says that Pakistan was merely a bargaining position to get a better position for Muslims in an undivided India, and Jinnah didn't really intend partition.

The problem with that theory is we know what Jinnah said in private to the British, and also what he said in public, and you have to ask just how could someone intuit that Jinnah might back down from the partition demand.

Here is an excerpt of a report of a Jinnah speech. It is the "Presidential Address at the 28th Annual Session of the All-India Muslim League, Madras, April 14, 1941", as published by the Muslim League itself.

Reply to One Myth, Many Pakistans

As soon as I opened the NYT this morning, I knew Ali Sethi's op-ed piece would feature on the Pak Tea House.  Sure enough, here it is.

One problem with Ali Sethi's piece is that it erects another myth.
Some years later, in a secluded college library in Massachusetts, I read a very different account of the Two-Nation Theory. Here I learned that it was devised in the 1930s by a group of desperate Muslim politicians who wanted to extract some constitutional concessions from the British before they left India.
The Muslims of India, these politicians were saying in their political way, were a “distinct group” with their own “history and culture.” But really, the book told me, all they wanted was special protection for the poor Muslim minorities in soon-to-be-independent, mostly Hindu India.
But the politicians’ gamble failed; they were taken up on their bluff and were given a separate country, abruptly and violently cut-up, two far-apart chunks of Muslim-majority areas (but what about the poor Muslim minorities that were still stuck in Hindu-majority areas!) that its founders (but it was a mistake!) now had to justify with the subtleties of their theory.
It was like a punishment.
This is the view promoted by Ayesha Jalal,   The problem with this view is that you have to be a mind-reader to infer that "all they wanted was special protection for the poor Muslim minorities" - their public statements and their actions on the record simply do not support it.  A online resource you can look up is The Cabinet Mission Plan.  You can read there what special protection was demanded and what special protection was offered, and whether the demand for Pakistan was a bluff.  Decide for yourself.

But that aside - Pakistan exists, has existed for 60+ years and will continue to exist.  There exists a next-to-zero sentiment in India towards any kind of undoing of Partition.  In fact, Indians would be happy if an ocean separated India from Pakistan.    I note instead this curious phenomenon that liberal Pakistanis need to insist that Partition was forced on them - as though that would somehow change the ground situation.

Reply to Political theology and literature

A.A. Khalid expands on his essay on Religious Liberalism,

The argument is that in Pakistan (and in the Muslim world) realistically, liberalism can exist only as religious liberalism.
For Pakistani liberals to have a truly transformational effect, they need to speak in the religious idiom and bring to the table a rigorous and charismatic theology of liberality. It is critical to talk about the arts, Urdu literature and the humanities but not as a hope that it will act as a creative buffer against radicalisation. The real buffer against terrorism with a religious impulse is a culture of religious tolerance and pluralism borne out of a unique theology of liberality in combination with these aforementioned disciplines.
Examples of liberal theology, the use of the religious tradition to cultivate democratic sensibilities and cherishment of tolerance and diversity do exist among Muslim intellectuals. Unfortunately, their presence is being felt mainly in traditionally non-Muslim societies in the US and Europe. There is an issue of outspoken religious liberals being exiled or forced out from their own countries due to their writings such as Nasr Abu Zayd in Egypt, Abdul Karim Soroush in Iran or the late Professor Fazlur Rahman in Pakistan. These are the theologians and religious intellectuals who call for greater democracy, tolerance and pluralism, but do so from within the religious tradition which is why their voices are more potent than say the secular left who try and locate these same concepts but in a foreign idiom. That is not to say that one should reject an idea on the basis of its origin. However, this is the reality of social and political discourse in Muslim societies.

Reply to Force, Fear keep Iran Together

Reply to Religious Liberalism - Our Greatest Hope?

A.A. Khalid argues that

1. There is a long-existing Liberal Islam.
2. There is no discourse of Liberal Islam in Pakistan.
3. Pakistani liberals could have connected with this tradition of Liberal Islam. They haven't.
4. The idea of removing religion from Pakistani politics is purely theoretical and unpractical. However, in the pursuit of this idea, Pakistani liberals have ceded the interpretation of Islam to the fundamentalists.
Hence liberals and secularists should stop asking the question if there is too much or too little religion. The question which should be asked is what type of religiosity do we need in order for Pakistan to flourish? What type of religiosity supports democratic governance, human rights, pluralism and tolerance? How can such a religiosity be constructed? The liberals and progressives need to bring to the table a genuine political theology of liberality which can find its legitimacy not only in civic reason but in religious reason in terms of establishing a link with the Quranic text.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Current puzzle

Click in the image to see my current state of confusion.

On a statement of Jinnah

A commenter at the TeaHouse brings up this
3: “.….I am NOT fighting for Muslims, believe me, when I demand Pakistan…..” (Jinnah, Press Conference, 14 November 1946)
See below - what Jinnah was saying is that the creation of Pakistan is necessary condition for independence from the British, and therefore by fighting for Pakistan he is fighting not only for Muslim independence but also Hindu independence.

"I am not fighting for Muslims, believe me, when I demand Pakistan. Pakistan and Hindustan alone will mean freedom to both Hindus and Muslims."
Whether this buttresses Jinnah's secular credentials is in the eye of the beholder.

Mosques and Temples

On CHUP, Kalsoom writes in support of the planned mosque at 9/11's Ground Zero.

In his spare time, perhaps he can write in support of Hindus being able to repair their existing temples in Pakistan?

Budget making

Raza Rumi decries the lack of public in the very public policy represented by the Budget.  Even the availability of the budget documents is a problem.

For that matter, even though India's 2010-11 budget documents are available online,  I wonder how many individuals, public interest groups or news organizations have looked at them closely?

Friday, June 11, 2010

A necessary, but not sufficient condition, and a hypothesis.

The Pew Research Center had a public opinion poll in 2009 in Pakistan.

Q62b Do you favor or oppose the following: b. the death penalty for people who leave the Muslim religion?

Favor 78%, oppose 13%, DKK/Refused 9%

Why does the Pakistani public support so overwhelmingly the death penalty for people who leave Islam?

A necessary condition for forced conversions to be a viable strategy for spreading the faith is a severe penalty for reversion.  Of course, penalty for leaving the faith could be high for other reasons as well, so we cannot infer from the fact of this penalty that forced conversions occurred.

Nevetheless we can pose a hypothesis: the geographical areas with the most forced conversions would have had stiff penalties (like the death penalty) for leaving the Muslim religion; and it has since ossified into tradition even though it is not very applicable today.   Areas where conversion took place voluntarily will not insist on these type of penalties so overwhelmingly, they were less necessary.

Of course, the reason that I bring this whole topic is that as we speak, forced conversions are going on in rural Sindh in Pakistan.

Bad Aid

The chai-ghar put up this article an hour ago, and then removed it.

Bad aid
PATTA SCOTT-VILLIERS   24th May 2010  —  Issue 171 
The {British} government’s promise to up foreign aid risks pumping more cash into a broken system

Dwelling in the past

From a letter in the Daily Times:

Sir: As a 75-year-old Indian Muslim living in the US, I was delighted to read Shahid Ilyas’s article, ‘Stop blaming the West’ (Daily Times, June 2, 2010). What he said is very rarely heard from Pakistanis. I am glad some young people are beginning to think that Pakistan can move forward only by turning its back on the grand narrative of its creational narrative and ideology. Yes, its people must now say, “We exist, we are here, this is 2010 so let us give ourselves something new and bold and freeing.”
Pak Tea House is not among these young people.

The need for debate about religion

Raza Habib Raja's article on the need for debate about religion in Pakistan has been referenced already, but there are a few additional points to be made.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The secular Pakistan narrative

Pakistani liberals place a great emphasis on the vision that Jinnah presented to the Constituent Assembly of the newly formed state of Pakistan on August 11, 1947.  It seems only natural, until one looks even a little deeper.  I hope in a series of posts to raise questions, and I invite all readers to participate in seeking the answers to these questions.

Pakistan has not implemented Jinnah's idea as expressed in that August 11, 1947 speech during the last sixty years, and general public opinion seems to be in favor of strict Shariat law. How will the use of Jinnah's speech change minds now?

Reply to Our Wonderful Hosts

On pakteahouse, Amaar Ahmed is critical of Pakistani TV, among other things, for not letting Ahmedis present their point of view on the air.

Meanwhile there is a report on the state of the Pakistani media from July 2009, from International Media Support : titled "Between radicalisation and democratisation in an unfolding conflict: Media in Pakistan" (PDF file).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sikh-Jinnah Meeting

Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed writes in the Daily Times:

 In a meeting in May 1947 sponsored by Lord Mountbatten to help the Muslims and Sikhs reach an agreement on keeping Punjab united, Jinnah offered the Sikhs all the safeguards they wanted if they agreed to support Pakistan. Only in March 1947 some 2,000-10,000 Sikhs — depending on who you cite — were butchered in the Rawalpindi rural areas so the Sikhs were very wary of Jinnah’s overtures. Chief Minister of Patiala Hardit Singh Malik writes he had an inspiration and asked Jinnah: “Sir you are making all the promises but God forbid if something happens to you, what will happen then?” The exact words Jinnah used in reply will be revealed in my forthcoming book, but the reasoning was that his followers will treat his words as sacred. 

I believe Professor Ahmed is wrong in his date. May 1947 is in any case too late.  I have not yet found any trace of this Mountbatten-sponsored meeting in the Transfer of Power papers for May 1947.   I believe the Jinnah-Sikh leaders' meeting was April 2, 1946. Jinnah there promised them the world.


Shiv had this argument
Pakistani and Western media have made it a point to say that only 12.5646789% of the electorate (or some similar cooked up figure) voted for Islamic parties. This is repeated in report after report after report almost as though people are reassuring themselves that Islamic parties have little support in Pakistan. And this statistic that has been converted into fact by repetition is subtly used to convey the impression that Pakistanis are not “fundamentalists”.

Reply to The Two Nation Theory

Yasser Latif Hamdani attempts to clarify the Two Nation Theory. To get it where he needs it to be, he needs to be selective about facts.