Thursday, 6 October 2011

Decontructing Zaid Hamid part 5

Deconstructing Zaid hamid

Philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point however is to change it.
Karl Marx

 Dr Eqbal Ahmed, in his article, Religion in Politics 
[Published Dawn, 31 January 1999] wrote, “All religious systems are made up of discourses which are, more often than not, dialectically linked to each other as in light and darkness, peace and war, evil and goodness. Hence, it is possible to detach and expropriate a part from the whole, divest it of its original context and purpose, and put it to political uses. Such an instrumentalist approach is nearly always absolutist, that is, it entails an absolute assertion of one, generally de-contextualized, aspect of religion and a total disregard of another. The phenomenon distorts religion, debases tradition, and twists the political process wherever it unfolds. The idea of Jihad is a case in point.

It is an Islamic precept with multiple meanings which include engagement in warfare, social service, humanitarian work, intellectual effort, or spiritual striving. The word is formed from an Arabic root jehd which denotes an intense effort to achieve a positive goal. Jihad entails then a striving to promote the good and overcome the bad, to bring light where there is darkness, prosperity where there is poverty, remedy where there is sickness, knowledge where there is ignorance, clarity where there is confusion. Thus mujahada (as also jihad) in early Islamic usage was an engagement with oneself for the achievement of moral and spiritual perfection. A mujtahid is a religious scholar who does ijtihad, i.e. strives to interpret religious texts in the light of new challenges and circumstances.
Without a hint of doubt, contemporary Muslim ideologues and militants have reduced the rich associations of jihad to the single meaning of engagement in warfare, entirely divested of its conditions and rules. Thus the war against a Marxist government in Afghanistan and its Soviet ally became the most famous jihad of the 20th century even though it was armed and financed by the United States, a non-Muslim superpower. Today, such activities as terrorism, sectarian strife, and the killings of innocent people are claimed as holy warfare. This reductionism is by no means unique to the Muslim world.”
Zaid Hamid is a media phenomenon popularized by his programs “Brass Tacks” and later “Iqbal ka Pakistan”. He has been frequently criticised in the mainstream media due to his espousal of conspiracy theories about global domination of Jews and their economic policies. Eight episodes of Iqbal ka Pakistan have been analysed in last four episodes. Given below is the analysis of episodes 9 and 10 of Iqbal ka Pakistan.

Episode 9

Ali Azmat started the show by mentioning that people are accusing him of being an agent of new world order and a CIA Agent. He went on to state the agenda of the program.i.e to make  Pakistani(especially Muslim Pakistanis) realize that we are not living according to Iqbal's ideas and that we have been conditioned. He also said that Iqbal is a way of life. He later expressed his pleasure at getting commercials from Multinational Corporations.

Zaid hamid:I am fascinated that ALL of Pakistani youth is understanding Iqbal's ideology which can convert a man to a superman.

Comment:-  There is no standardized system in Pakistan which could indicate how much viewers watched a certain program(like Nielsen Ratings in the US). How can Zaid Hamid claim that All of Pakistan’s youth is not only watching but also understanding his program. Regarding this issue of Super-man, we have already discussed that this concept was presented by Nietzsche.

ZH:- According to Iqbal's philosophy of Khudi, politicians should stop begging (votes) to become parliamentarians, senators, governors.
Comment:- If politicians should stop begging people for votes, how will the system work.? This argument by Zaid Hamid is an indirect attack at Democratic system. Regarding Iqbal’s views on Democracy, I would like to quote Iqbal himself. He wrote, “For Islam the acceptance of social democracy in some suitable form and consistent with the legal principles of Islam, is not a revolution but a return to the original purity of Islam”.

ZH:- Britishers built roads in Punjab and ordered people to crawl and not walk.
Comment:- This is a blatant lie. No such incident can be found in recorded history that people were made to crawl across streets of Punjab. Incidentally, the majority of population in Punjab, when the British arrived, was of Sikh people. Even in the 1941 Census, Muslims made up around half of population of Punjab.

ZH:- We need to create and channelize Ghairat.
Comment:-  I would like to present the definition and explanation of Ghairat by a much better writer than myself. Nadeem F Paracha wrote, “‘Ghairat’ (pride or honour), is a term that is often heard and used in the Pakistani media these days. This is a term usually associated with TV news anchors, talk-show hosts, analysts and members of political parties who are verbose and smug, who get more space on TV news channels than votes.It is a term that reflects images and sounds related to the muscle-flexing, big-talking and huff-puffing ways of ultra-patriots, or in case of Pakistan’s electronic media – free-wheeling loud-mouthed charlatans playing the role of fiery dyed-in-wool patriots.”  For more explanation, visit here.

ZH:- The biggest problem of Pakistanis is that they are blaming themselves because of hype of western media.
Comment:-  Zaid Hamid thinks Introspection is our biggest problem. We should just stop pointing out the mistakes and deal with “external” threats. From the NFP article quoted in last point,  “This lets-be-positive-through-ghairat outlook is largely delusional. It leaves most of us navel-gazing or passionately contemplating about manufactured issues but conveniently ignoring what we as a society really ought to be doing – making sure that Pakistan is able to compete with the rest of the world on all the vital economic, political and cultural levels. Honourable sloganeering and going around pin-pointing ‘enemies’ and traitors, blasphemers and ‘agents’ will not achieve much”.

ZH:- Because we let Aimal Kaansi get arrested by Americans, we sold our ghairat.
Comment:-  Again the ghairat issue is being raised by Mr. Zaid Hamid. He is implying that we should let terrorists get away with murder, just to protect our National Pride.

ZH:- If we get united, they can’t do anything if we stop NATO supplies.
Comment:- Thankfully matters of the state are not run by people suffering from Delusional Grandeur like Zaid Hamid. In his opinion, we should stop NATO supplies so that there is no harm to Taliban alongside whom he has fought. He should read the newspapers sometimes. He probably does not know that 35 thousand innocent people of Pakistan have been killed by the SAME Taliban in last 7-8 years.  

ZH:- The system doesn’t let anybody enter itself unless they sell their dignity.
Comment:-  He is referring to the banking system here. As far as I know, no body puts a gun to your head to take a loan from a bank anywhere in the world. If you think it is against your grace, do not interact with them.

Episode 10

Ali azmat expressed his view that teachings of Iqbal should be made a part of our national Curriculum. I don’t think he has ever read a textbook of Urdu from Class 5 right up to Class 12. Even O and A levels students get to study Iqbal if they opt for Urdu as a subject. Which planet are you living on Ali.???
Zaid Hamid said that we want a national revival, to educate people that Iqbal is a powerful Force, without which Pakistan can't become a spiritual super power. He did not explain what a SPIRITUAL super power is. Who, by the way, is the incumbent spiritual super power.?

ZH:- Imam Khomeini was  exiled to France and he returned after 20 yr.s.
Comment:- Khomeini spent about 14 yr.s in Exile(1964-79). Initially, he went from Iran to Turkey, then Iraq and then France. Also, he was not the most popular leader of the opposition until 1977 when Dr Ali Shariati died. To answer If the Iranian model can b recreated in pakistan,read here.

ZH:- Western Civilization is dying and we have started Self Discovery.
Comment:-  We have discussed previously about Western Civilization. It can be argued that Western civilization is dying or not but where is the evidence that WE have started self discovery.? 

ZH:- We are being brought up in an absolutely controlled environment. Mass Media is doing Mind control.
Comment:-  These lines come straight out of the George Orwell novel, 1984, in which there is a Big Brother which controls every aspect of peoples’ lives. This is also an oft-repeated mantra of modern conspiracy theorists and is a classical symptom of Paranoid Schizophrenia.   

ZH: - Patriotism that confronts Islamic Ideology is a farce. In the next sentence, he denies that.
Comment: - In a rational discourse, you have to chose either one argument or its opposite argument. You can't have both as it leads to confusion. Zaid Hamid has ignored this principle time and again. He did it with the above mentioned point as well. According to the leading Islamic scholars of 20th century, Abu-al-Maududi and Syed Qutab, nationalism (basis of Patriotism) is contrary to teachings of Islam. Maududi wrote, 'Islam can't be contained by ideas of nationalism which is based on racial and historical traditions'. He also wrote 'If you want to remain Muslim, you should understand that unlike Judaism or Hinduism, Islam is not based on racial nationalism'. (Maududi, musalman aur maujuda siasi kashmakash; published in 1941; volume 3; pages 46 and 47)

ZH: - People respect Pakistan because we are a nuclear power. We should be proud that now Islamic civilization has nuclear capability. The whole Muslim world is looking at us now.
Comment: - Zaid Hamid should have used the word 'fear' instead of 'respect' because that is closer to reality. 'Western Powers' are fearful of our nukes getting in the 'wrong' hands. Indeed the whole Muslim world rather the whole world is looking towards us, but with suspicion. We are top exporter of terrorism to the world. The assertion that other 'civilizations' have got nuclear bombs and we have not was the brainchild of Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He wrote in his book, 'we know that Israel and South Africa have full nuclear capability. The Christian, Jewish and Hindu civilizations have this capability. The Communist powers also possess it. Only the Islamic civilization was without it, but that position was about to change. (Bhutto, If I am Assassinated, Classic, Lahore, 1979, pages 137 and 138)

ZH: - Balochis are aligned with Israel to disintegrate Pakistan because they claim that Balochistan as it is now was never part of areas in Pakistan. Baloch Insurgency is due to 1% people in Balochistan.
Comment: - Zaid Hamid does not know the first thing about Balochistan. He probably does not know that Army operations have been going on in Balochistan since April 1948(1st operation started on 1st April 1948, 2nd was conducted in 1958, 3rd in 1963, 4th in 1972-3, 5th in Musharraf era). With this kind of history, which sane person would remain safely ensconced in his house and not defend his territory. He also does not seem to know that the claims of Baloch people are right. Due to this ignorance, he laid all the blame on his favorite enemies, Zionists.

ZH: - Islamic terms like Taqwa cannot be translated in English because it is a weak language.
Comment: - Linguists all across the world agree that NO language is made for translation. Every single word in a given language has its distinct sociological background and that word loses its flavor when it is translated to another language. Islamic (Arabic) terms are no exception. Also, you just can’t label a language as weak because you seem to loathe the people who speak it and the language which you yourself speak with relish.!! Also, we can’t translate “BALUNGRA” in english..

(an abridged version of this article was published today at

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