Thursday, 29 September 2011

De-constructing Zaid Hamid part 4

(an abridged version was published on

Deconstructing Zaid Hamid

“In order to reach the truth, it is necessary, once in one’s life, to put everything in doubt.” Descartes

Professor Khawaja Masood, in his article, Marx and Iqbal, wrote,
Before Marx, human genius had accomplished much by giving a scientific interpretation of many natural phenomena. But in the study of social development the past thinkers only groped in the dark. Marx pioneered the scientific study of society. In the words of Engels spoken at the graveside of Marx, he discovered the law of development of human history just as Darwin discovered the law of development of organic nature: “the simple fact hitherto concealed by an over-growth of ideology that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.: that, therefore, the production of the immediate material means of subsistence and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people during a given epoch form the formulation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, art and even the ideas on religion of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which they must, therefore, be explained instead of vice versa as had hitherto been the case.”
These profound ideas are repeated almost verbatim by Iqbal in his first book Ilm-ul-Iqtisad: “There is no doubt that religious principles have played an extremely influential role in the course of human history, but it is also clearly established by daily observation and experience that earning a livelihood is the constant concern of man and it is this concern which quite imperceptibly and unconsciously shapes his external and internal instincts. Reflect how poverty or insufficient provision of the necessities of life effect the conduct of man. Often poverty and deprivation so encrust the clean state of human soul that morality and culture are completely corroded.”
According to Engels, Marx “discovered the special law of motion governing the present-day capitalist mode of production and the bourgeois society that this mode of production has created. The discovery of surplus value suddenly threw light on the problem, in trying to solve which, all previous investigations of both right-wing economists and socialist critics, had been groping in the dark.”
Iqbal’s view on surplus labor closely follows that of Marx. He says in Ilm-al-Iqtisad: “If the wealth of the landlord is not the result of personal effort, then his property is unjust. In view of this fact some scholars maintain that this injustice is produced by the private ownership which is harmful to the national interest. Accordingly, land is not the property of a particular individual and should be nationalized.” Similarly, “the profit which in the present conditions goes into the pocket of the capitalist should accrue to labor. And, increased productivity which is the fruit of labor should entirely benefit labor, and capitalists have no claim over it.”

Episode 7 

Ali Azmat opened the show by saying that this is a soft revolution.
They start discussing Asrar e Khudi which according to Zaid Hamid, in last 64 yr.s this book has never been discussed.
The primary reason for Asrar e Khudi not being popular enough is its langauge. Its written in Persian which is not understood by majority of people in Pakistan. The assertion that it has never been “discussed” is also controversial. The book is easily available in Pakistan, also on the internet. Its english and persian versions can be viewed and bought from Iqbal Academy.  

ZH:-Asrar e Khudi was Iqbal’s first book.
Comment:- Wrong. Asrar e Khudi was the first poetry collection written by Iqbal. His first book(as ZH himself acknowledged) was Ilm-ul-Iqtisad.   

ZH:-It has been doctrine of muslim mystics that they should move to far flung places and become hermits.
Comment:- Mysticism across religions has has the same tradition i.e. Moving away from the populated areas and immersing in religion. This concept was shunned by Islam and Prophet P.B.U.H prohibited muslims from becoming hermits. In history of Subcontinent, we can see that Ali Hajveri, Nizam-ud-din Aulia etc took to cities and preached. Thus, this claim by ZH is absurd and he should read some history. 

ZH:-These days it is believd that power corupts and absolute power is kind of cool.
Comment:- This kind of sweeping statement reflects on the ideology of Zaid Hamid. The original quote as written by Lord Acton i.e. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is as true for today as it was in 1887 when it was written.  

ZH:-Pakistan ban'ne k baad iqbal ko,khasusan Asrar e khudi ko gum kar dia gya(Translation:- After creation of Pakistan, Asrar e Kudi was forgotten). And he lays the blame on freemasons.
Comment:- I have explained at the start of this piece the reasons for relative obscurity of Asrar-e-Khudi. The belief that it was a delibrate attempt and that too by FREEMASONS is not documented in any historical or contemporary text. If any such thing happened, where is the proof.? According to law,the burden of providing proof  lies with the accuser.

ZH:-Har chez k pechay aik poshida hath hota hai.(There is a hidden hand behind everything).
Including Rothschilds, Rockerfellers and Bildrberg group.
Comment:- If there was a gospel for conspiracy-mongers, this line would have been its first verse.Taking the cue from Zaid Hamid, who is behind this Program.? Regarding the Bilderberg group, In a 1994 report Right Woos Left, published by the Political Research Associates, investigative journalist Chip Berlet argued that right-wing populist conspiracy theories about the Bilderberg group date back as early as 1964 and can be found in Schlafly's self-published book A Choice, Not an Echo.Regarding the Rothschilds’ I have explained in part 1 of this series. 

ZH:-Allama Iqbal ne 1930 main Pakistan ko daikha tha
Comment:- I have explained this earlier in my article, 10 historical facts our textbooks forgot to mention. Allama Iqbal didn't present the concept of of Pakistan in his Allah-Abad Address (Reference:-Muslim league papers) rather he strongly dissociated himself from the idea in his letter to The Times.
His exact words were 'I do not put forward a "demand" for a moslem state outside the British empire' and that 'No Indian Moslem with any pretence to sanity contemplates a Moslem state or series of states in North-Western India outside the British Commonwealth of nation as a plan of practical politics' 

ZH:-It was decided that “aik mulk bana lo, phir develop kar len gay, expand kar len gay” (Translation:- Lets establish a country and later we will develop and expand it)
Comment:- Nobody said any such thing during the Pakistan Movement. The odds were heavily stacked against formation of a separate country and Mr Zaid Hamid thinks everything was under our control at that time. The part which irked me the most was the “expansion” part. It is the height of spreading a specific propoganda. Again, no proof or reference was presented by erstwhile Zaid Hamid. 

ZH:-Because Mussolinni had consulted with Iqbal once, “Maghrib ne Iqbal ko samaj lia tha”.
Comment:- The term “west” has been used as a demon by fear-mongerers and peddlers of conspiracy theories for quite some time. A detailed discussion can be read here. On top of that, Mussolini was a fascist dictator, citing his example repeatedly can imply that Zaid Hamid also shares some of his ideals. Another thing that Zaid Hamid probably doesn’t know is that Iqbal washimself influenced by “Wetsern” Philosophers and that is why his message was well-received by the “West”. 

ZH:-Iqbal says that get your swords out and capture the world.
Comment:- This is a clear message of jingoism and cultural narcissim. Iqbal wrote his poetry at a time when muslims were in a desparate position. To inspire and instill hope in his fellow believers, Iqbal often used exaggerations and many of his ideas can bedeciphered as being jingoistic. To highlight such ideas selectively is a sign of  moral bankruptcy on Zaid Hamid’s part.  

ZH:-Subah Uthnay wale log, yani Muslaman.(Implying that all early risers are muslims)
Comment:- Stereotyping is a much derided sociological phenomenon. Statements such as “XYZ people are misers/stupid/ignorants etc” are commonplace. There is rarely a convincing proof presented while giving such statements.Some famous contemporary stereotypes include “All Muslims are terrorists” “All Jews are conspiring against others”. Rising early in the morning is a cultural thing mostly, not a religious one per se. More people in the US wake up early to go to work than in Pakistan. One should be careful when saying such things on national media.  

ZH: Dunya se separation k baad insaan main spiritual purity paida hoti hai. (Translation:- Separation from the world creats spirtual purity in humans. )
Comment:- This is a classical example of a thought-somersault. Hardly 30 minutes ago, in the same program he claimed that Iqbal didn’t advocate hermitism and here he is saying just that.!!! This is not coherent thinking, its like a complete U-turn on his previous musings. Pathetic.

ZH: Iqbal was on a prophetic mission.
Comment:- IF this statement had been given on national media by a secular-liberal person, there would’ve been a huge outcry, calls for his/her head, charges of blasphemy, hate-mail and so on. But the fact that this was claimed by a person who wears his religion on his sleeve, who claims to be a descendent of Prophet(PBUH), no one dare speak a word.  

Episode 8

Zaid Hamid started the program by criticizing politicians and accuses them of being “Ghatya log”(Morally Inferior People) and that such “ghatya” people can never bring a revolution. That’s a bit mean and indirectly means that these “civvies” are no good at it. I wonder which particular institution is fond of thinking like this.?

ZH: You should jump into a conflict, not shy away from it.

Comment:- This idea has been used by oppressed people througout history. It is often said that there is a fine line between being brave and being foolhardy. Someone should tell Zaid Hamid about it. Risking your life, being foolhardy, looking forward to conflict are all symptoms of mental instability. Becoming Don Quixote is what Zaid Hamid is preaching and doing himself.
ZH: Insani zindagi ki har cheez kufr k nizam k control main hain(Translation:- All aspects of human life are under control of Capitalist system) e.g. your location can be tracked anywhere in the world courtesy credit cards etc.
Comment:- I mentioned symptoms of mental instability in the last comment. This gem by Zaid Hamid suggests that he is suffering from paranoia. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. Historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state.
The rest of time in this episode was taken up by calls and simple reading of Asrar by Zaid Hamid, so there were no more blunders.

Corrigendum:- I stated in part 2 of this series that Jamal-ud-Din Afghani was not a proponent of Pan-Islamism. I was fortunate enough to discuss this issue with some historians and I learnt that there were 3 distinct phases in Afghani’s life.
  1. When he was in India, his tone was clearly anti-british and Anti-Sir Syed and he hated both of them.
  2. When he was in Egypt, his stance was that of Nationalism.
  3. When he went to Tukey, under the influence and instruction of the Caliph, he started propogating the message of Pan-Islamism.
    For Further Reference, a book based on life and works of Jamal-ud-Din Afghani has been written by Mr Zahid Chohdary which will be available in the market soon.

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