Pakistan, India and Elsewhere
Religious teachers, preachers and believers in old religious myths exist not only in the Muslim world but elsewhere too as in America. After the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the ‘End of History ‘as propounded in USA, it ’legitimized’ the so called victory of not only Neo-liberalism, but also the influence of Religion and beliefs in obscurantism over scientific socialism and rationality .Its effects can be seen in America’s destructive foreign policy.
Unfortunately, since 1991, apart from other unfortunate developments like mad race to exhaust material resources, which belong to the future generations, policy decisions point towards possible destruction of planet Earth itself.
Nearer home in India, after an absolute majority by the ruling BJP, albeit with 31% of votes cast, hardly literate and certainly miss-educated and even uneducated persons are coming to the fore. MN Batra is not the only example. Even so-called well educated person like Arun Shourie have written volumes on Islamic fatwas, but hardly much, if at all, on the obscurantist and irrational beliefs and crude and cruel practices among Hindus. In fact, if somebody says anything against such feudal and mediaeval practices, beginning with the caste system itself, he is likely to be threatened if not lynched.
Prime Minister Modi should be careful because India does not need to be taken into the direction of Pakistan, and many other Muslim countries on to the path of obscurantism. To begin with, it was not a very bright idea to appoint Smriti Irani as the Cabinet Minister for human resources development. She is certainly pretty and can act in TV Serials and deliver impressively written out lectures, but many people doubt if she has the wherewithal to comprehend , analyze and evaluate problems of her formidable charge in the vast and complex country like India and then lay down policies and get them implemented .India is not Gujarat . PM should not try to do everything himself.
The various examples of Muslim history and it’s so called relevance to current times in Muslim states apply equally to fairly large segments of Hindu society with its history, beliefs and bigotry. The current examples are a new low and vary from funny to absurd and even harmful. Practices like gifting a cow to make passage to Paradise smoother, continue.
I have met many Indians even with Masters and even doctorate in science, who believe in so-called `Vedic mathematics” and the age of Vedas, Mahabharata, Ramayana etc. The Egyptians were certainly far ahead 5000 years ago as can be seen from their monuments like the pyramids which were built without any present-day equipment, even transporting massive boulders of granite from down south by boats, to Cairo and nearby and lift them into exact huge pyramids facing the Sun God.
I have seen myself English text books for Physics graduate students stating that an aero plane constructed in end 19th-century near Bombay on the basis of Uran Khatola mentioned in Ramayana, was able to fly for a few hundred meters. The growing obscurantism and superstitious beliefs should be treated as such since they lead to dangerous path.
On this score Prime Minister Modi has not uttered much. Let us hope that he having been exposed to science, technology and manufacturing practices during his visits to Russia, China, and Japan, and recently to the Brics Summit in Brazil will lead India to a rational path for its progress and prosperity
In fact, one of the greatest dangers to adult franchise based democracy is the triumph of the lowest denominator activists based on caste, religion, ethnicity and regional based politics in India. Not that many better educated nations in the West are doing any better , brainwashed by corporate controlled media.
Education, research in science and technology and other spheres has suffered very badly. India’s irrational and unrepresentative electoral system has produced new Brahmins in each case and sub caste, who publicly and brazenly appoint their caste members to top positions in service selection boards, universities, research organizations, on the plea that similar practices were implemented by Brahmins and other high caste leaders in the past. They are probably right, but the pendulum has now gone to the other extreme and the country as a whole is suffering.
By amending the Act to appoint his principal secretary, Modi has sent a wrong signal and established a bad precedent. It was unnecessary display of almost a dictatorial streak.
It should be remembered that the current Supreme Court Chief Justice of India R.M.Lodha was in the first batches of those who are appointed to the High Courts by the collegium system. Anyone can see that most of the problems and well-founded allegations have been made against incompetent and even corrupt justices, even about Chief Justices of the Supreme Court, who were appointed before the collegium system. Thus, the collegium system was exploited, abused and misused by senior judiciary members appointed during the time when government played a major role in the appointment of judges to the High Courts and Supreme Court.
Let us hope that the judiciary, legal profession and public will stop the current move to give undue weightage to politicians and their proxies in the appointment of judges to the High Courts and Supreme Court and their transfers and dismissals.
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|