Wednesday 7 September 2011

Deconstructing Zaid Hamid (Part 1)

Deconstructing Zaid Hamid

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, He is not entitled to his own facts” Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York.
Zaid Hamid is a media phenomenon popularized by his programs “Brass Tacks” and later “Iqbal ka Pakistan”. He has been frequently mocked in the mainstream media due to his espousal of conspiracy theories about Global Domination of Jews and Economic matters. These theories are a side effect of the information age. YouTube, a website created to share home videos is filled up with such stuff, so is Wikipedia, the largest encyclopedia in the world today but whose only catch is the lack of authenticity.

In my opinion, probably no one in the mainstream media has taken the threat posed by Zaid Hamid and people of his ilk, seriously (except by Fasi Zaka in 2 of his articles, which can be viewed here and here). The fact that Zaid Hamid filled the ideological chasm in the minds of youth formed due to pathetic textbooks and even pathetic media was not discussed or dissected in detail. Nadeem Farooq Paracha observed how such propaganda gained ground in apolitical Private educational institutions and not in the Public Universities. He was saying all that the youth wanted to hear and thus his fame amongst students sky-rocketed.

He was repulsed initially(in 2009/10) by the dangerous Khatme Nabuwwat people and very few people raised the objection that just by labeling him a heretic would do him no harm in the long run. He came back with a bang riding on shoulders of Ali Azmat and Maria B. A detailed study of the problems posed by Zaid Hamid is required.  

Recently Ayesha Siddiqa commented that “liberals fail to ask themselves is that in the absence of any legwork to eradicate growing radicalism, such as having the will to change the curriculum or creating a social agenda tied with political objectives, how can anyone even begin to change the mindset of Zaid Hamid followers?”

I don’t claim to start a “social agenda” but I am willing to throw the gauntlet as far as the “legwork” is concerned. As a small first step, I am going to highlight the factual errors in History made by the ever-reliable Mr. Hamid during the show “Iqbal ka Pakistan”. I have tried to highlight only those points that are established facts and not the wild theories that he loves. I have used exact quotes from Zaid Hamid and that can be verified by watching his programs as available on YouTube. Please note that I have given as many references as possible and any mistakes in type are entirely mine. Also that I subscribe to the post-modernist view that there is no absolute truth, thus I can be wrong at many places. I have tried my best to use independent sources of history to remain minimally biased. I have undertook this work because as a student of history it pains me to find Mr. Hamid twisting the facts for his own convenience. This is just the first stone and its not the "detailed study" that I mentioned above should be done.

Episode 1

ZH:- Tipu sultan was the greatest visionary of 18th century. He was the pioneer of Rocket Technology and also created a “military industrial complex” in maisore.
Comment: . I have 2 issues with these statements.
i) Based on which criteria is a Military ruler of a small south-indian state a bigger visionary than Voltaire, Rousseau, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin(authors of the Legendary Declaration of Independence which begins as “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation”.),Adam smith, Goethe(who had more influence on Iqbal's philosophy than tipu).?? All these people lived in the 18th century.
2. Tipu sultan didn't 'invent' rockets, the Chinese did. Instead he introduced metal-coated rockets which were improved by a British scientist William Congreve.

ZH: Tipu Ki rocket batteries main pani mila dia gya.(Translation:- Tipu’s Rocket Batteries were rendered ineffective by adding water to them)
Comment:- This is scientifically absurd. John Volta, an Italian physicist invented the commonly used batteries in 1801.!! And which primitive rockets ran on batteries.? Which batteries.? How did water change the chemical composition.?

ZH:-East India Company was financed by Jewish Rothschild’s. Comment:- This is an established fact that Nathan Rothschild invested in East India Company. Problem is that ZH got the time-line wrong. East India Company was formed in 1600 A.D. Rothschild’s started their business in 18th century. Who financed the company before that.? 

ZH:-30 million people(Muslims/Indians)were slaughtered by East India Company and there is no trace in history of that.
Comment:- How awfully convenient in that.!! This pretty much sums up the authenticity of ZH’s own claim. There actually is NO proof of any such genocide in history books.

ZH:-The mutiny of 1857 was a war of Independence and there was a 'massive uprising'.
Comment:- As I have mentioned in my article “10 historical facts our textbooks forgot to mention”  The 1857 mutiny was no more than a localized uprising in some parts of india.Surendra Nath Sen, in his Eighteen Fifty Seven(Calcutta,1958) says “Outside Oudh and Shahbad there are no evidences of that general sympathy which would invest the Mutiny with the dignity of a national war”. R.C Majumdar, in his The Sepoy Mutiny and the Revolt of 1857(Calcutta,1963) declares that “it cannot be regarded as a national rising, far less a war of independence, which it never professed to be”.
Reference:- KK Aziz, Murder of History, Sang-e-meel Publishers, Chapter 2, p149

ZH:- 1857 kay baad Musalmano ki masjidain ghoron ki astabl banay(After war of 1857,Mosques were used as stables)
Comment:- This also is a fact that has been modified for the sake of convenience. This indeed happened after the fall of Baghdad by forces of Halaku Khan and in Punjab during reign of Ranjit Singh(much before 1857).

ZH:- Forces of Napoleon were defeated at Waterloo because the Brits had rocket technology that they stole from Tipu Sultan.
Comment:- Lying about probably one of the most documented war of the modern times is easier said than done.ZH was not deterred by this minor fact though. Tipu Sultan died in 1799, Waterloo happened in 1815, Napoleon was defeating forces left right and centre for more than 12 years before Waterloo happened, why did the rocket technology used against him so late? In fact there was a war between Napoleon and English forces in 1805, Why were the stolen rockets not used then.?  

ZH:-Noam Chomsky is Amriki Taliban.
Comment:- Noam Chomsky is Professor of Linguistics at MIT, one of the top universities in World today.  According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index in 1992, Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar from 1980 to 1992. He is also the eighth most cited source of all time, and is considered the "most cited living author". He is also famous for his critique of US Foreign Policy and hegemonistic attitude of US Government toward the world. Comparing such a figure to Taliban is not only stupid, it also explains how little ZH knows about the Taliban(while ZH also claims to have fought alongside such people).He is confusing John Walker Lindh with Chomsky.

Episode II

ZH:-The whole world became Darul kufr after 1st World War.
Comment:-   This claim is wrong. Afghanistan still had a Muslim ruler, as did Iraq.
A similar “fatwa” was passed by Maulvi Abdul Bari, the secretary of Jamiat Ulema Hind in 1920 stating that India was a “Darul harb” and that they should migrate to “Dar ul Islam” i.e countries with a Muslim ruler. Muslims from all over India sold their lifelong homes and set out for Afghanistan, some went to Turkey. The ruler of Afghanistan denied entry to most of these people. According to official estimates, between 5 to 30 lac people died due to this disastrous proclamation. (Reference: Hasan Jaafer Zaidi,Hamari Taareekh fehmi aur hamara fikri bohran, published in Adab e Latif magazine in 2009)

ZH:-'Larkian parh rahi hain angrezi, Seekh li qaum ne falaah ki raah’  
Comment:-  Allama Iqbal, in this couplet used satire that just because women were getting education didn’t mean every think was hunky dory now. ZH used it in the wrong context.

ZH:-Afghan Taliban are good because they didn’t follow International banking system, not corrupted by western civilization..
Comment:- According to the book “My Life with the Taliban” by Mullah Abdus Salam Zaeef, he has explained how as part of the Taliban govt he used to work at the Central bank of Afghanistan and its setup was very much like traditional banks. Glorifying backwardness and tribalism speaks much about the mindset of Mr. Zaid Hamid.

ZH:-Iqbal was a great visionary as he believed, Afghanistan main aman ho ga to Asia main aman ho ga. (Iqbal believed that If there were peace in Afghanistan, there would be peace in Asia)
Comment:-  Iqbal WAS a great visionary but this is very bad logic. Granted that after 1979, Afghanistan has come to be known as the buffer state but before that, or at least at the time of Iqbal, Afghanistan was not involved in any active war. Also, there was no peace in Asia in the 1940s(2 atom bombs were dropped in Japan for god’s sake, where is the basic geography.!!!), the Long March in China caused a considerable loss of life, Burma and Singapore became theatres of war, while Afghanistan was peaceful. Pakistan and India fought two wars in 1965 and 1971 while Afghanistan was peaceful. There goes the logic. Also, Iqbal was not the only one with this much hindsight, Lord Curzon speaking at the annual dinner of the Royal Asiatic Society, London in 1908 said "If the Central Asian Society exists and is meeting in fifty or a hundred years hence, Afghanistan will be as vital and important a question as it is now". Reference: Ahmed Rashid, Descent into Chaos, Penguin Books, Newyork, 2009.

ZH:-Afghan war is about oil.
Comment:- This is a favorite narrative of conspiracy theorists of this country. Another variation is that US invaded Afghanistan because of the minerals. The point is, WHERE is that oil.? Since 2001, American forces have been present on Afghan soil, WHEN and WHERE did they export oil to.? Is there a secret pipeline between let’s say Kandahar and Washington.? Might be, if you listen to ZH.

ZH:-Mullahs have resisted Imperial forces in last 200 yr.s.
Comment:-  The same Mullahs fought from 1979-1989 FOR an Imperialist force.

ZH:-1860s, 1870s main Congress bani(Translation:-Congress was formed in 1860s,1870s).
Comment:-  ZH can’t even get the date/year/decade of formation of Indian National Congress right. It was formed in 1885.

ZH:-Muhamadan School later became 'Sir Syed University'.
Comment:- While it is a fact that Mohammedan Angelo-Oriental College became a university and its students played a prominent role in the Pakistan Movement. It is the only India-based University that was pivotal in the Pakistan Movement but ZH still can’t name it right. Its name is Aligarh University and even students of 9th class can tell that.

ZH:-Iqbal ne ibtadai talim angrezi main he hasil ki(Translation:- Iqbal acquired his early education in English medium).
Comment:- Allama Iqbal started his formal education at Scotch Mission High School located in Sialkot Cantt. He also learnt Arabic and Persian from Maulvi Mir Hassan, one of his famous teachers.
(Also published here)


  1. The Jama Masjid in Delhi was closed and used a stable after 1857

  2. @ ahmad, I admit that. But the incidence of such acts was much higher is the Sikh Era in Punjab than during the British Rule.

  3. wow.. blow by blow analysis of Zaid Hamid comments.. i commend your dedication.. but also feel sorry for all the crap you had to go through :)

  4. When did Jama Masjid, Delhi resume being a mosque from stables?

    Mosque being used as stables is a very generic accusation that is made; e.g., the contemporaries of Mughal emperor Akbar who disliked him, also claimed that in his reign, mosques were turned into stables.

    So some more firm references are needed, that indeed horses, mules and donkeys were housed in the mosque.

  5. @peezo.... in due time u will realize the importance of this analysis and the impotence of zaid hamid... media whores these have the propensity to change/shape public thought....ppl as confused as zh should not be allowed on television....