Friday, October 19, 2001, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
E D I T O R I A L   P A G E


EDITORIALS

Powell’s visit and after
US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s flying visit to the subcontinent cleared several cobwebs in the policy-making corridors of New Delhi. One, the dollar kingdom is fighting its own battle against its own perceived terrorist threats and has no time for now to take on other’s (read India’s) problems. Two, the air raids and ground attacks on and against the Taliban bases warrant the logistical support of Pakistan — air space and bases for helicopter-borne commando assaults.

Mounting pressure for UP poll
T
HE Opposition has put the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government in a tight corner. The MLAs (152 in all, in a House of 403) belonging to the three principal Opposition groups — the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress — have resigned to force the Rajnath Singh regime to recommend dessolution of the state Assembly and hold fresh elections. The BSP members submitted their resignation on Wednesday. The Opposition argument is based on the fact that the Assembly was constituted on October 17, 1996, and, therefore, its term is over.


EARLIER ARTICLES
TADA in new garb
October 18
, 2001
A “viable” card
October 17
, 2001
George wins his own war
October 16
, 2001
A tainted Pak trust
October 15
, 2001
Combating proxy war: India can do it
October 14
, 2001
A scuttled initiative
October 13
, 2001
Complete isolation of Taliban
October 12
, 2001
War impact on economy
October 11
, 2001
Testing time for Musharraf
October 10
, 2001
Air raid on Afghanistan
October 9
, 2001
 
FRANKLY SPEAKING

Hari Jaisingh
Of terrorism and democracy

Liberal Muslim opinion holds the key
A number of theories and counter-theories have surfaced in the wake of terrorist strikes at the World Trade Center twin towers in New York. Academicians look at the problem in their own way. Some of them see this in the light of the colonial mindset of carving out spheres of influence — political, economic and religious.

MIDDLE

Vocation without “taur”
Harkishan Singh

PATTI is a semi-urban town in the thick of a rural setting. It is not very far from the border. It is on the railroad from Amritsar to Khem Karan. Before independence of the country it was part of the erstwhile Lahore district; on the very edge of the district territory. I happened to visit the town a few months after partition.

ANALYSIS

The lick and kick system
Mary Parmar
P
UBLIC administration is a discipline which comes in direct contact with
the public. Students form an important segment of the citizenry and have their own perceptions about the theory and practice of the discipline. They clarify and have in certain cases redefined the concept based on their experiences and observations. While evaluating the answer scripts of the students I have come across some interesting redefined concepts of public administration which I would like to share with the readers.

TRENDS & POINTERS

Eyes can tell about stroke
POETS have long seen the eyes as windows on to the soul, but scientists have found they offer a life-saving glimpse of human health. New research has shown that, by photographing the tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye, experts can predict whether a patient is at risk from a stroke. A three-year study followed the health of more than 10,000 men and women in four American cities and found that, of 110 participants who had suffered strokes, nearly all had damaged blood vessels in their eyes.

COMMENTARY

What ails the Muslim world
M.S.N. Menon

WHY is it that the faith they (Muslims) love breeds so many violent mutant strains?” asks Salman Rushdie. “Islam needs to face up to its Bin Ladens,” he says.We cannot agree with him more. But he alone can answer that question, for he alone among the Muslim thinkers is sufficiently detached to go deeper into this phenomenon. It is not enough to say that Islam is all about peace, which is the usual response. That is escapism.

75 YEARS AGO


Transfer to Lahore

SPIRITUAL NUGGETS

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EDITORIALS

Powell’s visit and after

US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s flying visit to the subcontinent cleared several cobwebs in the policy-making corridors of New Delhi. One, the dollar kingdom is fighting its own battle against its own perceived terrorist threats and has no time for now to take on other’s (read India’s) problems. Two, the air raids and ground attacks on and against the Taliban bases warrant the logistical support of Pakistan — air space and bases for helicopter-borne commando assaults. Use of airfields on the northern side of Afghanistan, particularly Uzbekistan, poses the clear possibility of alienating the majority Pushtun population in the central, eastern and southern parts. This will upset all plans of installing a stable post-Taliban government. The USA has thus to per force kowtow to Pakistan’s compulsions. And it wants, and Pakistan approves of the idea, that the new regime should be opposed to terrorism, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden but friendly to Pakistan. The last wish is asking for the moon. Historically, the Pushtuns and the minority Uzbeks, Tajiks and Hazaras have been rivals and much of the recent upheavals spring from this. Pakistan has reservations about a post-Taliban order headed by former King Zahir Shah and underpinned by the Northern Alliance, the guerrilla formation fighting the Taliban. The presence of the Taliban will make the government less friendly to Pakistan and hence less acceptable to it. The USA has a genuine problem and all the talk of moderate Taliban leaders is so much fluff.

India has seen through this irreconcilable differences of the US-Pakistan relations at this point of time. There was of course a flutter when General Powell talked of Kashmir being central to the relations between the two neighbours. But he mollified the Indians by slurring over it in New Delhi like diplomats do speaking from both sides of the mouth. Having raised a stink over his replies at a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday, New Delhi did work overtime to smoothen bilateral relations. It was a botched job. Differences do remain and some have widened. The present US Administration has no stomach to deliver a stiff lecture that former President Bill Clinton did to General Musharraf in March last year. It can hardly afford in the present predicament. On the other hand, it has to nudge itself closer to the Pakistan position on both Kashmir and terrorism issues. This should alarm Indian leaders and, happily, it has not. The plain fact is that the USA is pursuing its own narrow goals and in its own narrow vision, and Indian problems are not on its radar screen. External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh made this clear while speaking by the side of the US leader. General Powell has come and gone but nothing much has changed.  

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Mounting pressure for UP poll

THE Opposition has put the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government in a tight corner. The MLAs (152 in all, in a House of 403) belonging to the three principal Opposition groups — the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress — have resigned to force the Rajnath Singh regime to recommend dessolution of the state Assembly and hold fresh elections. The BSP members submitted their resignation on Wednesday. The Opposition argument is based on the fact that the Assembly was constituted on October 17, 1996, and, therefore, its term is over. But the Chief Minister's stand is that since the House was convened only on March 27,1997, it must be allowed to last till that date next year. The BJP is opposed to holding elections immediately perhaps hoping that it will improve its image between now and March, 2002. Clearly, the party is worried about facing the electorate at this stage when all poll forecasts have gone against it. Of course, there is no guarantee that the electorate will change their mind during the extended period of the Assembly tenure if the state government refuses to bow to the Opposition pressure. The BJP strategists might be thinking that there is no harm in trying to ragain the ground their party has lost. But the situation has come to such a pass that if it finds some excuse (as Speaker Kesrinath Tripathi says that there will be no constitutional crisis so long as the Assembly continues to have at least 203 members) to hold elections after March next year, the accusation that it is scared of facing the voters may be accepted as truth. That is why, perhaps, senior BJP leaders are expected to reconsider their decision on the issue soon.

It seems people in UP are interested in only two things: development projects and proper maintenance of law and order. Mr Rajnath Singh has tried to concentrate on these aspects after becoming Chief Minister. But he had a short period for this major task (Mr Singh was sworn in as Chief Minister on October 28 last year), particularly for spurring economic growth. Hence his attention for some time to caste-based vote bank politics, so far a deciding factor in any UP election. He created a most backward caste group and announced job reservations for it within the fixed quota. Yet the BJP's calculations seem to be scary. Now efforts are on to whip up passions on communal lines. The hectic activity at Ayodhya is not without meaning. Any communal polarisation has helped the BJP in the past, but it may not be very effective today. The BJP is seen as a party always busy protecting its government, having little time to devote to economic, social and other such issues. This is not to say that any other party or combination of groups which captures power in the coming months will have all the time for development-related problems. The truth is that such a political culture is yet to evolve in UP, or elsewhere in the country. The BJP's major worry is the anti-incumbency factor and the infighting which was more visible before Mr Rajnath Singh took over as Chief Minister. 

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Of terrorism and democracy
L
iberal Muslim opinion holds the key 
Hari Jaisingh

A number of theories and counter-theories have surfaced in the wake of terrorist strikes at the World Trade Center twin towers in New York. Academicians look at the problem in their own way. Some of them see this in the light of the colonial mindset of carving out spheres of influence — political, economic and religious.

Politicians flaunt their crude calculations. Hardcore Islamic leaders have their set perspectives. Scholars define and redefine what Islam stands for and what it does not represent.

Liberal Muslims, being shy of toeing the orthodox line, rightly see Islam as an enlightened faith that does not approve of killings of innocent persons. They, however, hardly assert themselves. So, it is advantage mullahs and the ill-informed ulema. This is the tragedy not only of Muslim nations but also of secular countries like India. This indeed poses the biggest challenge to democratic countries having a big Muslim population.

Along with the various conventional and non-conventional theories put forth by experts, numerous medical and psychological factors on the genesis of terrorism are also afloat.

The September 11 horror spectacle has, in a way, thrown up a modern distorted version of the barbaric medieval days. This perverted action may look baffling but one thing stands out clearly: terror knows no geographical, racial and religious barriers. It has acquired a sinister global reach, though it affects Muslims as much as non-Muslims, notwithstanding the attempts by Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda to propagate a highly jaundiced worldview of what it perceives Islam to be.

Among the much-floated theories is the famous proposition invoked by Samuel P. Huntington in his work "The Clash of Civilisations" written in 1993. He suggests that "the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilisations".

It may be convenient for some theorists to see unresolved global conflicts in terms of a clash of civilisations— between the developed West and the underdogs of developing countries which also include Muslim nations.

True, bloody wars have been waged in the name of religion. Even naked aggression has often been justified in the name of religion. Several such conflicts have erupted in the past. Some of these were prompted by economic considerations or greed.

The Marxist theory of class conflict generated its own tension. It could not save the communist Soviet Union. How and why is a separate issue. The world, however, could never see the withering of the state. If anything, the role of the state will only be strengthened by the September 11 events. The question of security is no longer a private matter. The security agencies are sure to have a much bigger role in the western world.

Perhaps, the West will henceforth have a better appreciation of terror-related problems of developing democratic societies like India. Human rights as a concept are both sentimental and sensitive concerns. But, hopefully, Americans will now see the other face of human rights involving innocent citizens who become victims of terrorist attacks.

Coming back to the question of theories on terrorism, it will be too simplistic to suggest that the current clash is between fundamentalism and modernity.

Writing in The Washington Post, President of the Open Society Institute Aryeh Neier states: "One way to avoid a conflict between Islam and the West is to recognise that religion may not be the most important fault line. The calamitous events of September 11 can be seen as a new phase in a long struggle in which tribalists and fundamentalists have identified cosmopolitanism and modernity as their archenemy."

This, again, is a simplistic interpretation of new challenges. Socio-economic and political reality is a very complex matter. The twin towers in New York may be a glittering symbol of success of modernity and free economy, but those who targeted these were a perverted lot. They carried within them distorted religious beliefs. Should we dub this as a new face of feudalism which draws its sustenance from the medieval ages when might was right.

The situation is surely extraordinarily complex. There is no single thread which runs through the Osama phenomenon. In fact, the case of Osama bin Laden is so controversial and many-faceted that it lends itself to almost any interpretation.

In his book "The Ulema in Indian Politics" W C Smith notes that in situations where the Muslim community's power is greatly reduced or totally destroyed, it turns from worldly to religious preoccupations and the ulema emerge as the custodians of its interests. This too is a simplistic way of looking at a highly complex scenario. In this context, certain facts need be borne in mind.

First, Islam as a faith is capable of evoking strong emotions and solidarity among its adherents across national boundaries.

Second, it has not undergone the process of secularisation which, for example, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism have in their metropolitan areas.

Of course, events have a way of facing those problems by creating conditions conducive to their resolution. In the absence of such conditions, it may be difficult to understand the Afghan-related complexities.

In the subcontinent the complexities have several dangerous overtones, which go back to both pre-and-post-Partition events. In fact, the creation of Pakistan, which has to be accepted as a historical reality, has led to more problems than it has helped to solve.

What is disquieting in this setting is that India's democratic institutions have not been able to provide answers to the sort of problems the nation is faced with. This is mainly because of the over- politicisation of problems and the sectarian approach of our spineless politicians to crucial national issues. They view everything in terms of note and vote politics. This has not helped the process of consensus building between the majority and minority communities. And when social consensus is missing, petty politics takes command as has been happening in this country.

It needs to be pointed out that Muslims in India ought to think differently and not allow themselves to be unduly influenced by outside events. Their future lies in taking to the path of modernisation instead of remaining stuck with orthodox thinking.

Secular India provides them an opportunity to live as equals and compete within the parameters of a constitutionally accepted democratic framework. The challenge before them is how to turn the Bin Laden problem into an opportunity to build a more cohesive social and economic order in which the cult of the gun in the name of jehad or otherwise should have no place. This will depend on how strongly liberal Muslim opinion asserts itself.

I personally believe that the answer to terrorism in the long run is a heavier dose of democracy at all levels and in all parts of the world. The dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden is a moneyed man. He left Saudi Arabia since he could not play a politically active role through a normal democratic process. The sheikhs of the Arab world never tolerate dissent. For most of them, dissent is meant for export, not for flowering in their oil-rich desert kingdoms.

Writing in The International Herald Tribune (October 11), former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim states:

"Osama bin Laden and his proteges are the children of desperation. They came from countries where political struggle through peaceful means is futile. In many Muslim countries, political dissent is simply illegal....

"Yet, year by year, the size of the educated class and the number of young professionals continue to increase. These people need space to express their political and social concerns. But state control is total, leaving no room for civil society to grow."

I fully endorse Mr Anwar Ibrahim’s views. To quote him again:

"For more than a hundred years the Muslim world has had to grapple with the problem of modernity, and the issue of its participation in the modern world. Greatest urgency is to work to inculcate an intellectual tamper and political orientation that promote democracy and openness. This work must be carried out with conviction and fervour."

Thank you Mr Anwar Ibrahim for spelling out your thoughts so candidly and in a long-term perspective. Bin Laden's is not a passing problem. It is unlikely to vanish with the capture of the exiled Saudi millionaire. What is, therefore, required is proper understanding of all related matters and evolving honest responses.

In this context, it will be worthwhile to remember these words of wisdom: "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present. The occasion is piled with difficulties and we must rise to the occasion — we must think anew and act anew." An assertive and liberal Muslim thinking can make a qualitative difference between yesterday and tomorrow. 
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Vocation without “taur”
Harkishan Singh

PATTI is a semi-urban town in the thick of a rural setting. It is not very far from the border. It is on the railroad from Amritsar to Khem Karan. Before independence of the country it was part of the erstwhile Lahore district; on the very edge of the district territory. I happened to visit the town a few months after partition.

My village was some five miles away in Amritsar district. One had to walk to reach the town. Some prosperous ruralists who had the luxury of owning bicycles those days managed to reach faster. Not very fast, since there were no roads or regular pathways.

In the pre-independence Patti, the town had predominance of Muslim residents, with the Mirzas constituting the affluent aristocracy. They were all gone, and refugees from other side of the border were coming in. It was not a much favoured place to resettle since it was close to other border.

The town was very small. Mostly people lived in the interior and some in scattered dwellings on the periphery. From centre of the town one could walk to the open in less than five minutes and see the farm lands being tilled or standing crops waiting to be harvested. There were narrow lanes inside the town. A wide road tapering to a bazar reached the railway station.

There was a contrast to what I had seen earlier, and what I found on visiting the town again some years back. The population had increased considerably. There were many living in new housing settlements. The bazars had narrowed, at least so they looked. There was a lot of congestion. An old fortress which houses the police station and had a lot of open space around, was now surrounded by new constructions and crowded markets.

I had to spend more than a week there as some close relation had passed away. I had almost nothing to do. The only diversion I thought of was getting some newspaper so that I could pass my time. I enquired if The Tribune was available. I was told that if I went early in the morning to the local bus stop, I could get the paper. Only a limited supply of the newspaper was received, mostly for regular customers. The hawkers and book stands rarely carried it.

It became a routine for me to walk to bus stop in the morning and grab a copy of the newspaper. So I had something to keep me occupied for a good part of the day, going through whole of the reading material, leaving aside only the advertisements or related announcements.

One morning I bought the newspaper and as I was returning I thought of getting my shoes polished. On a side at the bus stop there was a teenage boy sitting with his small make-shift shop in the open, doing cobbling and shoe shining. He made me feel comfortable by offering me to sit on a small wooden box he had for keeping the tools and material of his trade. As he was polishing the shoes I was going through the main news. He was looking at me. On his own he started a monologue, “Sardar ji, tusi te dawa daw angrezi di akhbar parhi jande jey (you are finding it easy to go through an English paper).” I smiled at him and continued with the piece I was reading. “Sardar ji, mein angrezi wich mar kha gaiya, nahin tan mein parharn wich bahut changa si (it is English which came in my way, otherwise I was very good in studies)”, he continued.

I thought that I should respond to the young boy. I said to him that he had his work spot at a vantage point and must be doing well, and money wise he must be better than what he would have earned by becoming a clerk after doing his matriculation. He said, “eh te theek hai ji, par is kam wich taur nahin (that is correct, sir, but there is no taur in this work).” The expression taur defies a befitting translation; there is no one-word equivalent to it in the English vocabulary.

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The lick and kick system
Mary Parmar

PUBLIC administration is a discipline which comes in direct contact with the public. Students form an important segment of the citizenry and have their own perceptions about the theory and practice of the discipline. They clarify and have in certain cases redefined the concept based on their experiences and observations. While evaluating the answer scripts of the students I have come across some interesting redefined concepts of public administration which I would like to share with the readers.

An answer to the question — what is Lok Prashashan? — was: “Lok Prashashan can be defined as Lok Shoshan i.e. exploitation of the public by the bureaucracy and the political executive.”

Question: Distinguish between public administration and private administration. Answer: Public administration is that when the people in order to get their work done have to make the rounds of offices again, again and yet again without any result, whereas private administration is that in which work is done quickly in one go.

Another student defines private administration as an administration which generally looks after the welfare of the people whereas in public administration there is no concern for the people. In public administration recruitment is done on the nepotism and party basis and in private administration recruitment is done on merit and that one has to really work hard in private administration.

What is hierarchy? Another question for which the answer of a student was “Hierarchy can be defined as the lick and kick system, i.e., the superior is kicking his subordinate to get the work done and the subordinate is licking his superior, i.e., flattery, chamchagiri to avoid doing the work”. 

On politics and administration a student emphasises that in politics people have no morals and conscience, but in public administration this should not be so. 
One student brings out the role of the Deputy Commissioner in the context of parliamentary democracy and writes that the Deputy Commissioner is an officer of high intelligence. He is professionally qualified and trained, but his position in a parliamentary democracy is very inferior. He is subordinate to the MLAs and the Ministers who often scold and humiliate him in public. He can only say ‘yes sir’ and run around them”. 

An answer to the question on eradicating corruption: “An irrelevant question which has no use in actual life. It is an acknowledged fact that everyone is corrupt i.e. the public and leaders as well as the administration. It is only with the help of corruption that we can get our word done. Honesty is an obsolete word which has no relevance in society. If one is to survive it is only with the help of corruption, so there is no need to remove it.”

Ah! values have indeed changed. Well, on another occasion, during a debate a student was asked to give his views on integrity. He politely declined saying that since everyone, including him, is corrupt, he would be unable to speak on integrity. Well, so much on the student’s integrity. 

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Eyes can tell about stroke

POETShave long seen the eyes as windows on to the soul, but scientists have found they offer a life-saving glimpse of human health.

New research has shown that, by photographing the tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye, experts can predict whether a patient is at risk from a stroke. A three-year study followed the health of more than 10,000 men and women in four American cities and found that, of 110 participants who had suffered strokes, nearly all had damaged blood vessels in their eyes. The damage included narrowing or ballooning of vessel walls, blood leakage and ‘mini-strokes’ in surrounding tissues.

Dr Tien Yin Wong of the University of Wisconsin, who led the study, said the results showed problems with the blood vessels in the eyes were an indication of damage to veins and arteries in the brain, which cause strokes when blocked or burst.

The eyes and brain share the same blood supply routes from the rest of the body. ‘The changes in the eyes are essentially “markers” of blood vessel damage elsewhere, resulting from things like longstanding hypertension, cigarette smoking and other insults to the body,’ said Wong.

The only previously reliable way to examine the state of the blood vessels in the brain would have involved surgery. ‘Retinal photography opens a new, non-invasive approach to investigate vascular diseases,’ he added.

Strokes are one of Britain’s biggest medical problems, the third largest cause of death and the single main cause of severe disability. About a third of major strokes are fatal, with another third leading to permanent disability. They hit about 100,000 people in Britain every year for the first time. About 10,000 affect people under retirement age.

The main cause of stroke is high blood pressure, due to smoking, fatty diet and lack of exercise. Other factors are binge drinking, cholesterol and the contraceptive pill. The Observer

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What ails the Muslim world
M.S.N. Menon

WHY is it that the faith they (Muslims) love breeds so many violent mutant strains?” asks Salman Rushdie. “Islam needs to face up to its Bin Ladens,” he says.

We cannot agree with him more. But he alone can answer that question, for he alone among the Muslim thinkers is sufficiently detached to go deeper into this phenomenon. It is not enough to say that Islam is all about peace, which is the usual response. That is escapism.

In the meantime, we have some very prosaic reasons for the present recrudescence of violence. Here is what Benazir Bhutto says on the growth of the Taliban, which is at the source of much of the present violence: “It was a grave error to train and arm the extreme elements of Afghan society at the expense of the moderates.” (Wall Street Journal). She adds: “We unknowingly sowed the seed for the 21st century terrorism, now unfolding around us.”

So, we have it all from the horse’s mouth. In defence, she says, she battled with these same forces, closed their madarsas, cautioned the US administration and so on. This is nothing but an exercise in prettifying her record. It does not explain why Mr Nawaz Sharif and General Musharraf continued to patronise these elements.

Rushdie says: “The terrorist wraps himself in the world of grievances to cloak his true motive.” What is his true motive? According to Rushdie, “Whatever the killers were trying to achieve, it seems improbable that building a better world was part of it.” In fact, they were engaged in pulling down what generations had built up. “Such people,” Rushdie says, “are against, to offer a just brief list, freedom of speech, a multi-party system, adult suffrage, women’s right, pluralism, secularism....” In short, they are potential tyrants, not Muslims, he asserts.

What is the way out? According to him, the terrorist, who is full of certainties, believes that we have no commitment to any beliefs. To defeat him, we must show that we have equally strong beliefs.

The Taliban episode, however, does not explain why Muslims are taking to violence in almost all parts of the world. Violence has spread from West Asia to Pakistan, to India, to Afghanistan, to Russia, to China, to North Africa, even to the USA and South-East Asia. You cannot put the blame for all these on America, the “Great Satan”.

How is one to explain this lack of faith in the democratic process, in the peaceful way, among Muslims of the world? We will wait for Rushdie’s answer.

In the meantime, two explanations can be given: 1) absence of democracy in Muslim countries and 2) support of America to repressive regimes.

The absence of the democratic process denies people the means to settle problems peacefully. Violence is thus in-built in the system. In fact, Muslim countries have a long tradition of suppressing dissent. There is thus no scope for non-violent protest. Violence becomes inevitable.

Europe and America have been supporting conservative and repressive Muslim regimes in order to preserve the status quo. They see any disturbance in the status quo as a threat to their oil interests. This has frustrated all efforts on the part of Muslims to bring about truly representative governments.

Take Saudi Arabia, for instance, which is the home of Bin Laden. There, a highly conservative royalty, backed by an equally conservative Wahabi sect, has remained in power with American support. It has made no democratic concessions. Is there any wonder, then, if Bin Laden sees America as the number one enemy? He sees America as the main barrier to an Islamic resurgence in the world.

In these circumstances, Muslims look to the mosques to ventilate their grievances. They did so because there was no separation of religion and politics in Islam. Dissent is thus expressed in religious idiom. And more often the mullah takes the leadership.

Naturally, mosque-based politics gives centrality to religion. The mullah exhorts the faithful to return to ‘pure” Islam as a solution to all their problems. It gives him greater control over the faithful. All these lead to the growth of fundamentalism. When the state resorts to suppression of this, more often it leads to violence.

What is, however, least known to the world is the growth of Islamists. They are educated nationalists. Like the pilots who committed suicide on September 11. They want to go back to their roots. They see the continuing dominance of the West, even after the demise of colonialism, as a threat to Islam — to its very existence and survival. This is not without some truth.

But the West continues to support the secular and westernised elements (it will never support the nationalists). What does this mean in practice? It means supporting the Sheikhs and oppressive regimes as also the westernised citizens, who look upon Islam and local culture with no great respect. One can add to this list the business community, which is tied to western capitalism.

There is thus a conspiracy among these forces, backed by the West, to keep the nationalists out of power. The classic case was Iran, where the Shah’s westernisation was most drastic. We know what happened there. America is still unable to reconcile itself to the changes in Iran!

Thus, power has been denied to the Islamists in almost all Muslim countries for a long time. They have become increasingly restive and militant.

We have a similar experience in India. Here, too, power passed into the hands of a westernised elite. There is a continuous efforts on the part of this westernised political class, Left forces and bureaucracy, backed by the West, to keep the nationalists out of power. This led to extreme frustration among the BJP and its parivar. But when Mr V.P. Singh tried to deny them power for ever, Mr Advani set out on his Rath Yatra. The violence on the Babri Masjid issue was inevitable.

Muslims have inflicted deep wounds on themselves. One is their assertion that they are different. Another is their claim about the immutability of their beliefs. The first is a false claim. As for immutability of beliefs, even the Catholic Church has given up its doctrine of Infallibility. Indeed, the Pope has admitted the great “errors” in Christian history. For example, the connivance at the Holocaust, the Crusades, Inquisition, discrimination against women, etc. Is Islam ready to make such a concession? It will lessen its heavy burden of the past.

Vivekananda says: “I believe in becoming entirely free from the holy teachers...I have to find my light just as they have found theirs.”

Christianity and Judaism have come to terms with the modern secular world. Not Islam. When it does so, it will be less prone to violence.

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Transfer to Lahore

Amritsar
Khan Zaka-ud-Din Khan, Additional District and Sessions, Judge, Amritsar, who was here for the last three years, first as a Small Cause Court Judge and later as Sessions Judge, has been transferred to Lahore. On the eve of his departure he was entertained at a sumptuous dinner by a number of his friends in the premises of the Service Club where prominent local officials and non-officials were present. The catering was excellently done by Spencer's Railway Refreshment Room.

He was entertained at a breakfast yesterday by L. Muni Lal and was seen off by a larger number of friends who profusely garlanded him. A photograph of the departing train was taken at the station.
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It is the nature of asceticism to patiently endure hardship And not to harm living creatures.

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Austerity belongs to the naturally austere. Others may attempt it but to no avail.

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Is it because they must provide renunciates that others forget to perform penance?

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Should he but wish it, an ascetic's austerities will ruin his foes and reward his friends.

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In this world men do austerities diligently, assured of acquiring desires they desire.

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Men who follow some austerity fulfil their Karma. All others ensnared in desired act in vain.

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As the intense fire of the furnace refines gold to brilliance, so does the burning suffering of austerity purify the soul to resplendence.

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One who has realised by himself his soul's Self will be worshipped by all other souls.

—The Tirukural, 261-270.

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God, Guru and saint are the same in consciousness, This is the eternal essential truth of the scriptures.

Make no difference among them, Even if thou hast to bear the agony.

— Guru Ravidas Darshan, 181

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Worship Guru, the Lord; Love him with body and mind. — Guru Arjan Dev

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Lord, I have been bewitched by my beloved Guru seeing my Guru, I have lost my senses, I am in ecstasy.

— Guru Ram Das
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