One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Magnificent Delusions: Part 1

The first book that I chose to read in geology was "great geological controversies". Somehow, my gut-feeling told me that the best way to have an insight about something unfamiliar is learning about controversies in that thing. To Albert Camus, unfamiliarity is the absurdity and familiarity, however unreasonable, is meaningful. Ironically, the controversies that I am most familiar with are from, and about Pakistan, as not a day passes without some dosage of controversies that I like my countrymen get through media. In other words, I had a delusion that because of my long and regular overdoses of controversies out of Pakistan, I must have a deep knowledge of the country. However bitter it may be, I am not alone in that delusion. In fact, controversies are so familiar that we connect and communicate more through these controversies than anything else. It is how our history has evolved. Let me put this way, In the first Inaugural Meeting of the Pakistani Constituent Assembly, the founder of Pakistan promises (1) to all citizen of Pakistan: " Every one of you, no matter to what community you belong, no matter what your color, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this State, with equal rights, privileges and obligations. . . .While you may belong to one religion or caste or creed, that has nothing to do with the business of the State. We start with the fundamental principle that we are all equal citizens of the State. We should keep that in front of us as our ideal. In course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Moslems will cease to he Moslems, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the nation." Well, the time has proved that this speech was no more than wishful thinking as Moslems have not only didn't cease to be Moslems but they have refined their faiths overtime to become specialized Moslems, such as Deobandi, Brelvi, Shia, Ahle Hadith and so forth .... all united on a single agenda of inventing new controversies.... A lot of people scratch their heads to understand, what we get out of these unreasonable controversies? I think, Albert Camus has the answer for it, and that is, we draw meaning from them (That why, each group strongly believe that only their way of life is worth living and even dying for)

The purpose of this introductory paragraph was to introduce Hussain Haqqani's book, "The Magnificent Delusions". Hussain Haqqani is a former Pakistani ambassador to US that became controversial over controversial memogate case. Just like my first book in geology, as soon as I saw Haqqani's book, I just started reading it. My gut-feeling was telling me that there is some new insight in it. I have just finished the first chapter of the book but I couldn't wait, to not share the following two excerpts from the book, one about founder of the country, Muhammad Ali Jinnah (The nation has given him the title of Quaid-e-Azam: The great Leader) and the second about first prime minister of Pakistan, Liaqat Ali Khan (he is given the title of shaheed-e-Millat: The martyr of nation).

"Landlords in Karachi wanted American diplomats to rent their properties and pay in dollars. A job with the US embassy, as driver, clerk, or translator, was much sought after, and store owners pursued Americans as preferred customers. During a quiet picnic with US Ambassador Paul Alling, Jinnah and his sister Fatima suggested that the ambassador buy their property, the magnificent Flagstaff House, for his embassy. Alling politely informed the governor-general that the embassy had already obtained another property. The ambassador then sent Jinnah a gift of four ceiling fans after he complained about Karachi's sweltering heat."

"The Washington Times-Herald covered the secretary white-tie dinner on its social pages, boasting the headline, Came and Conquered. Separately, Assistant Secretary of State McGhee was impressed by Liaquat's ability to consume alcoholic drinks, forbidden by Islam, without appearing to have drunk at all. But Liaquat's social successes in Washington had to be kept a secret from his own people back home."

At the end of Chapter, Haqqani describes the assassination of Liaqat Ali Khan,

"Then, in October 1951, Liaquat was assassinated while addressing a public rally in the garrison town of Rawalpindi. The lone gunman was a disgruntled Pashtun, motivated by what he perceived to be the prime minister un-Islamic attitude......"

Of course, these two excerpts are unfamiliar to us and they certainly look absurd, as the narratives of our history were composed of cherry picked events.... 

(1) Quaid's promise: Keesing's Contemporary Archive, Vol VI: pdf 

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