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 :)
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Sunday, December 22, 2013
in a little bit more detail, “Since 2000, we had almost 8 years of a military-civilian democracy, and it didn't
Sunday, December 15, 2013
As soon as I learned about his diverse interests, I got interested to know his opinions about subjects, that only highly-opinionated individuals have (their well-defined definitions). I asked him, "How do you define arts?".... Without any hesitation and quiet confidently he replied, "Any work that move people (thoughtful pause!!!) is a work of art"... Just as his name didn't move me (it might be offensive for some, but that was may be the reason that my brain didn't have a space for it on the desktop of my mind, and removed it to some folder inside another folder in the least used drive, may be Drive- Z, or some place that I don't have access to it), his answer didn't move me either (Hey, I am not suggesting that, he himself was not a work of art: every human is a work of art, by every imaginable definition. It is just that I was trying to be... let me think of a proper word, "critical"... no, that is very soulless word, better to say, a nightmarish word for artists... what about a "learned person"... no, if I were so learned, then I would not ask that question, right?... OK, what about "curious"... YES!!! this is perfect... as anybody can be curious...neither rude, nor naive... all good :) OK, let's move on. So, I tried to be curious, and I asked him, again (while scratching my chin just to give my curiosity a visual expression), "What do you mean by moving people?" and soon tried to explain my question, "People are moved by wars, lawlessness, economic meltdowns, immigration, technologies, political entanglements and scientific theories that are in conflict with established beliefs more than Michael Angelo's Last Supper or by The Old Guitarist from Picasso's blue period?" ... He grinned (may be he was amused by my naive explanation), "Oh! You have a very narrow perspective of arts. What you are talking about, is fine art" ...He leaned his head towards me (May be he was feeling taller like Sarkozy at that moment) and continued, "Arts can as destructive as war waged by smart-machines that are created by best minds, or can be very constructive such as the three gorges dam. It can be just a theory that changes the self-image of humanity like theory of evolution, or a novel such as Harry Potter that expands imaginations to world of fantasies" .... Well, frankly, I was trying to come up with another more sensible question, but I was totally blank. May be, from my nervousness, he understood that I am ... well, again, I don't know what he guessed ... After a pause of silence, he further explained, "In short, humans are moved either by awe or by something beyond their control and both of them are work of art"... May be, I have been moved so many times, that I was not prepared to be moved again (I belong to the cradle of super-arts: a place famed for conflicts and wars since dawn of humanity, and may remain so till end of humanity, and I already had too much of it) by his definition of art. So, I changed the topic... (By the way, I was not moved at all ;) ....(Again, you guessed it right, the people like me, may be moved by smiles, kindness, and magnanimity, things that are getting scarcer by each passing day in our part of world than those super-works of arts)
Sunday, December 8, 2013
In part 1 of this knol, it was mentioned that, it was the alliance of Abdul Wahhab with House of Saud, that set the boundaries of the modern geography of Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism is principally a puritanical movement, which reject modernism as innovation in the faith. The third King from House of Saud, King Faisal was relatively modernist and set to modernize Saudi Arabia. In 1973 Arab-Israel war, King Faisal boycotted oil sale to US and this led to skyrocketing of oil-prices. The immense wealth from oil-price-rise changed the shapes of Saudi towns, cities, and lifestyles, and behaviors of Saudis. These changes were seen as corruption by some in the Wahhabi state and some chose to return back to the life styles during the Prophet and His companions (salaf) and started calling themselves as salafis. Juhayman was one of them. Here is how Lacey picture Juhayman group's of salafis:
......"We all slept on a mud floor," remembers Nasser Al-Huzaymi, who had dropped out of school and come to Madina seeking purpose in his life through religious devotion. "We had no telephone, and no plaster on the walls. We wanted to live as simply as possible, just like the Prophet's Companions. But we needed to read and study the Koran, so after some discussion, we considered that a single electric light-bulb was acceptable."
There were many such discussions.
"Did the Prophet eat Chicken?" asked someone in the middle of meal.
"A good question," said Juhayman.
So the eating stopped, and brothers posed over their copies of the Koran and the Hadith. Juhayman kept his books in a huge, locked tin box that was welded into the back of his pickup truck, and at moments like this he undid the padlock to share the contents of his traveling library. It did not take much time to track down the authority for chicken consumption: one verse from the Koran envisioned the Companions relaxing in heaven, consuming "fruits, any that they may select, and the flesh of fowls, any that they may desire."
Chicken was OK, then- the meal could resume."...........
The history of South and Central Asia is shaped by great games, cold war between super-powers and now cold wars between regional powers. One of the regional power is Saudi Arabia, and it is important to learn about her, in order to understand, a lot of whys, that might arise from news of the region. As I am not an expert in the subject, I try to present some of the pictures that I get through books. So here are some pictures in words by Robert Lacey from his book, "Inside The Kingdom" (First a picture of the country's geography and history)
1. Why Al-Saud Family Matters?
"Think of central Arabia as being in three parts- the oil fields in the east, the holy cities of Mecca and Madina in the west, and largely barren desert in the middle. At the beginning of the century, and for most of the previous centuries of the Arabian history, those three geographical units were separate countries and, to some degree, cultures. It is the modern achievement of the House of Saud, through skilled and ruthless warfare, a highly refined gift for conciliation, and, most particularly, the potent glue of their Wahhabi mission, to pull those three areas together so that, by the end of twentieth century, the world's largest oil reserves were joined, sea to sea, to the largest center of annual religious pilgrimage in the world- and to their capital in the wahhahi heartland of Riyadh. That is the historical significance of the Saudi camel jockeys. If it were not for Ibn Saud and his sons, the oil fields now called Saudi would probably be another overly affluent, futuristic emirate like Kuwait or Dubai along the Persian Gulf coast, all lagoon estates and Russian hookers.... "
2. Why House of Saud adapted Wahhabism?
"Born in the Islamic, or Hijrah, year of 115 (1703-4 in the Western, Gregorian Calender), Mohammad Abdul Wahhab learned Koran at an early age. Traveling to holy cities of Mecca and Madina as a teenager, he went on to Basra, in Iraq, to continues his religious studies. By the time he came to dry and austere area of Qaseem, north of Riyadh, in A.H 1153 (A.D. 1740), the thirty-seven-year-old preacher had come to feel that the Muslims of his time has gone grievously astray. People gave superstitious reverences to domes and tombs, even to rocks, caves, and trees that were associated with holy men; they dressed luxuriously, smoked tobacco, and indulged in singing and dancing that did not accord with his own austere reading of the Koran.
Ibn Abdul Wahhab condemned these practices as shirk (polytheism). Calling on true Muslims to return to the central message of Islam, "There is no god but God," he led campaigns to stop music and to smash domes and gravestones in the name of God's Oneness. He and his followers liked to call themselves muwahhidoon, monotheists. They did not consider themselves as separate school of islamic thought- they felt they were simply going back to the basics. But their critics derisively called them Wahhabis, and many of Najd's settlements rejected preacher's puritanical attacks on their pleasures.
Then the first Wahhabi encountered Mohammad Ibn Saud, the ambitious ruler of Dariyah, a small oasis town near the even smaller oasis of Riyadh. History was made. In A.H 1157 (A.D 1733) the two Mohammads concluded a pact. Ibn Saud would protect and propagate the stern doctrines of Wahhabi mission, which made Koran the basis of government. In return, Abdul Wahhab would support the ruler, supplying him with "glory and power". Whoever championed his message, he promised, "will, by all means of it, rule lands and men."
So it proved. In the following year the preacher proclaimed Jihad, holy war, to purify Arabia, and after a series of bloodthirsty military campaigns, the Wahhabi armies swept into Mecca in April 1803 (A.H. 1218), extending Saudi authority from Persian Gulf to the Red Sea. For a moment the House of Saud controlled more territory than the fledgling United States".