Jan 4, 2012 - religion, Salmaan Taseer    19 Comments

Why fantastical will always win against rational in Pakistan

With Salmaan Taseer’s first death anniversary approaching, people started talking about that incident again and one of the strangest stories, validating the murder, came from a LUMS graduate (I, of course, do not mean to shame other LUMS graduates, I am just genuinely astounded at the limitations of formal education). 
So this guy I know, an acquaintance, said that his friend’s friend – a lawyer and someone he never met – went to see Mumtaz Qadri – the Salmaan Taseer murderer – in his cell to offer his services as a lawyer. According to the lawyer dude, Mumtaz Qadri met him with great humility but refused his services because a big name lawyer had already offered his services which Qadri had accepted earlier. Though heartbroken to not represent Qadri, the lawyer ended up having a cup of tea with the man in the cell. The lawyer was suitably impressed with Qadri and reported that his cell smelled of rose petals and agar battis (Incense sticks). When asked where he gets the rose petals and agar battis from, Qadri said that he does not have either agar batti or rose petals; the smell follows him around wherever he goes because he is blessed by Allah for killing Salmaan Taseer. My acquaintance and his lawyer friend were both convinced afterwards that Qadri was indeed the chosen one and he had done a great service to mankind by killing the former governor of Punjab.
My acquaintance is a graduate of what is now considered to be the best university in Pakistan and works for a telecom company, yet he chose to believe a half baked story when he heard one from a not so reliable source with absolutely no justifiable evidence. When I asked the telecom guy if his lawyer friend had actually checked the cell for any hidden agar battis and rose petals or checked with the guards if the room has been recently swept and the smell of flowers and incense stick lingered on or if there was any smell to begin with, I was given this incredulous look and he said that I will never get it because my faith is not strong enough. I did not say much afterwards because I literally get sick when people take no time in jumping to judge me for my weak or nonexistent faith. 
Not just this educated guy who is considered smart by all accounts, but the lawyer, who is supposed to view everything with skepticism, chose to not only believe a murderer, but also perpetuated the myth of Qadri being connected to a higher power with incense sticks, probably embellishing the story to make it even more fantastical to support his argument. 
Is there ever any hope of winning an argument based on logic, rationality and clarity of thought in Pakistan? I think not. It was Ayn Rand (no, I am not a neo liberal fangirl of Ms. Rand) who said that when opposite principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side; when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side. If the same logic is applied to the conflict between the secularists/humanists and religious bigots/mindless followers in Pakistan, then the irrational side will triumph. Basically, we are in a race to become more irrational and obnoxious to win the argument and those who can be more irrational, fantastical and obnoxious are clearly in the lead. 
Here is to fun times ahead. 
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  • “When opposite principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side; when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side”

    Good One…..

  • Mumtaz qadri was just the symptom.No one talks about the disease.Qadris are not made in a vacuum,he was brainwashed using religious texts and quotations,the ones justifying taseer’s murder do it by reference to religious precedents as well as quranic verses,hadis etc.
    the moderate muslims trying to pretend that their religion of peace is being misinterpreted should stop kidding themselves.It’s not just the symptoms that ought to be critiqued.

  • So by this logic the ppl who are not chosen should stink?

  • I am a little depressed after reading this article, and to the truth of your words. God bless!

  • Well said! Questioning is the key. Almost all of us have come across such people in our lifetimes who believe EVERYTHING they are told by their ancestors/parents/teachers because Islam teaches to follow their commands. What they fail to see are the Koranic laws against these same parents/ancestors/teachers when they misuse their power because yes,they are human too.
    What they failed to notice are all those laws Islam puts forward in Koran,laws for a thief,for a murderer,for a hypocrite etc. These laws are for all mankind INCLUDING Muslims,according to Koran. So in other words,god knew that Muslims will engage in these activities too. There goes “Talibans are not Muslims” down the drain. They are very much Muslim and so is Mumtaz Qadri. They just got a little carried away.
    Today has been another black day for Pakistan. RIP Salman Taseer!
    Good day!

  • The irrational do not subscribe to the idea of an argument, and the rational are stuck in arriving at a conclusion of an argument based on logic, either by induction or deduction.

    Formal education, especially in our places of higher learning, does not encourage critical thinking or logic.

    Therefore your expectations are misplaced. We will lose all these arguments because the other side does not play by any rules.

    If you believe in the metaphysical, no lines can be drawn as to what is possible.

    We have already lost.

  • Last year in Pakistan someone told me the story of a person, an apostate most of his life, finding religion on his death bed. Allah’s acceptance of this man’s change of heart was evident in a sweet fragrance that wafted out of the room where he died. The fragrance soon drifted out into the street and into surrounding homes, according to my relative.

    I sat in stunned silence not knowing how to react. But the reason for the story became clear when my relative told me that I still had a chance with Allah, if I sincerely accepted the true way. I said nothing, although I wanted to say that if that is all it took to get to jannat then we can live our lives however we choose and just beg God for forgiveness when we are close to death. The logic of all this eludes me, as do many such displays of blind faith.

  • agar koi kahay us ne hawa ko mutthion mein bund dekha hai…
    tou mat kehna woh jhoota hai.
    bohot mumkin hai wo jo keh raha ho us pe he eemaan rakhta ho.
    tumhein maloom hai?
    eemaan wo wahid haqeeqat hai ke jis ke saamne paanchon hisein bekar rehti hain.

    PS: altaf bhai ki tasveer pattay pe aaee thi back in 1988, you know? he is the real chosen one.

  • when a country is created in name of religion, such events are bound to happen. On the flip side, if it wasnt for Islam, there wouldnt have been Pakistan.

  • People like your acquaintance are not peculiar to Pakistan. We have more than our fair share in India too. What terrifies me about Pakistan is that India could easily go down the same route of official majoritarianism and bigotry

  • Wow. Just.wow.

  • Bonjour Tazeen,

    To be thoroughly irrational means desaster is ahead. Too many of that species in a country means full speed against a thick wall.

    That is so because the only way to solve a problem is to analyse it before action. Hoping and praying is just the contrary because Nature despises bunglers.


  • Hmm. But this just might be a natural extension of the very ‘pious’ and ‘scientific’ experiments regarding the generation of electricity from djinns – that was faithfully conducted during the tenure of the most ‘pure and pious’ general that the land of the pure has ever produced.

    I am not an expert on the teachings and message of the holy Prophet, but aren’t a majority of the strains of that particular ‘ism’ developed in labs, petri dishes and test tubes courtesy various ‘experiments’ conducted in the land of the five sided polygon and ably supported by the land of sands and camels as well as electricity from djinns??

    But then, this was not unsurprising. The person known as Jesus Christ was an Arab – born in what is today known as the Middle East. Strangely, he is projected as a European. If you notice closely, Jesus Christ has undergone a complete makeover: the Anglicization of his name, golden locks, blue eyes and white skin. Folks who have done that to him so blithely, what do you think they can and have done to his teachings and message? And what do you think they can and have and will continue to do – for the other ‘isms’?

    Our history is a mix of lies and half-truths; we have been forcibly brainwashed into believing this fictitious Aryan Invasion Theory, racial superiority and about Alexander’s conquests and magnanimity, among others. Even our great epics are turned into ‘victory of good over evil’ – when we simply do not have this concept of ‘evil’.

    In this part of the world we find rhetorical and mindless harangues about cows, dogs, pigs, etc. But if we were to think rationally, the ‘ism’ propounded by the holy Prophet took roots in a land not known for cows, dogs or pigs. Camels – yes, dates and date palms – yes, sands and mirages – yes; but definitely not cows, dogs and pigs.

    So the versions of the various ‘isms’ that we experience now are most likely “new and improved version XYZ”.

    Now, ‘Tiger’ Khan ‘Tsunami’ is claiming to be the re-incarnation of both the above Prophets as well as that of the nation’s pater. Wonder what is in store next.

  • The fundamental problem in our society is that we are taught obedience NOT critical thinking, from day one. Whether it is our faith, our career decision, arranged marriages or even number of children.

    If obedience to your faith is ingrained in you then any thing is believable. Aren’t we taught to believe in Jinns, Noah’s Story, virgin giving births, parting of seas etc etc. So how does any of those fairy tales different than Mumtaz Qadri fragrance infused cell.

  • This was bound to happen. Any sane person could’ve predicted this 70 years ago. Every person who took part in the division of India in the name of religion is responsible for the plight of present day Pakistan. Jinnah and Iqbal too. Without irrationality, Pakistan can no longer be Pakistan.

  • In reply to @imran bawla
    “Religion is the disease.”

  • Why am I not surprised? This is a tried and tested Indian subcontinent method. After many years, there will be a shrine there in that cell.

    If they kill him, he’s going to be big.

  • This made me depressed

  • Sick that is what Mumtaz Qadri is. As a Muslim I feel ashamed of having him as a part of my faith.

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