"The whole problem with the
world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser
people so full of doubts" - Bertrand Russell
If one cares
to reread the history of Bangladesh, it is very tragic that potent millstones
have seen our national life being repeatedly derailed and consigned to abrasive
and inconsequential debates whenever the issue in hand is religion, or our
respective belief or faith systems.
Never in our
history have we been able to stay away from religion becoming a dominant
feature in our political life, and regardless of the party in power, mediaeval
mindsets and monstrosities are its ultimate and inevitable outcome, and no
voice of sanity or reason ever prevails.
over amplified in screaming matches are terms and dictions, which for all
practical purpose has not helped us in any way. Take for example the sentence
always rubbed-in raw into the national psyche by corrupt politicians and
religious conmen in combi; “we Bangladeshis are God fearing Muslims”.
connotation may be true on surface, but have we ever questioned ourselves as to
what is all so “fearful” about God and what would be a standardized definition
of a Muslim? Have we sincerely explored or enquired about other fundamental aspects
that are very much a prerequisite in the construct and belief of God - the
Do these hate
filled so-called “defenders of Islam”, who in reality are Muslim pretenders,
and are agents for murder mayhem, strife, disquiet and disorder in civic life; ever
consider that attributes such as benevolence, forgiveness and mercy are also foundations
of the Creators all encompassing omnipresence, in the course of human destiny?
of “God fearing Muslims” is a construct of hate merchants backed by Free
Masonic agents, disguised in robes of religiosity, to misguide the pious and ‘religion
sensitized’ masses. That this mindset of division dates back to periods of
Islamic history, post the death of Prophet Muhammad, is rarely, if ever
egalitarian, humane, democratic and secular dispensation of the Prophets
teaching, encoded for posterity in the book of revelation and guidance for
mankind, the Qur’an, were most cruelly usurped by feudal kingships, whose
intentions may have been anything – but Islam of peace, is never discussed.
It is only
for narrow political expediencies and no love for Islam, or the Prophet
Muhammad or the Qur’an, that the religion of billions of marginalized, the
poor, the down trodden has now been globally replaced by that of fear, and most
repugnantly - a fear of death, which again is NOT delivered by God, but a
handful of Pharaohnic individuals.
This is an
unforgiving reality that we are faced with, and we seem paralyzed and helpless
to extricate ourselves completely from the same. So great is our fear of murder
merchants in religious garbs that average citizens in general shy off any
discussion on religion given either their inadequacy on the subject matter, or
because they are plain uninterested, as they don’t want to be exposed to any
circumstances, it is only threats of intolerance, threats of violence, and most
importantly threats of death that is made out to be the Islam of Bangladesh. It
is an equation that has been most devilishly conjured with calculative and unremitting
frequency, and there are good reasons for the same.
discussions on Islam and even those we witness in prime time TV, is limited and
the exclusive forte of so-called Imams, Alems, Ulemas and ‘thinkers’, which in
totality defeats the lofty ideals of Islam, for the religion does not permit a class
of clergy. It is the only religion known to mankind that ensures believers have
direct communion with God, without any human intercession.
On the other
hand there is no “one-glove fits all” standardized definition of a Muslim, nor
are there any certification authority anywhere in the world to classify who a pukkah
(pure) Muslim is, or isn’t! Thus insinuators, demigods and fake theologians
have been calling the shots and will for a precipitously long time to come with
a Muslim majority nation whose bloody birth in 1971 came with the rejection of the
same stereotypical accusations that Bengalee Muslims are “Hindu converts” and
the resultant fear psychosis injected of Islam being in “grave danger” by our former
Pakistani rulers, it is most unfortunate that we have not come out looking any
better in recent days.
The pre-1971 core
seeds of discords which we thought we have been able to jettison and render
obsolete by engagements in the intellectual and cultural front, supplemented by
demands for our liberal space, have by all indicators been squeezed into
constriction. That it cost the lives of millions of martyrs to attain this
space for a nation’s intellectual stimulus in the first place, has for now,
been selectively and most brutally sidelined.
Had the challenges
thrown at us with unabashed regularity by the so-called “faithful” were subject
to enquiry and discourses in the public domain, the results would have been
impressively different? Those opportunities have however, always been denied to
us, for the “faithful” in collusion with
the powers that be, has left us in a state of flux we see today, and not seen
at any particular juncture of time, not even during the days leading on to the
Liberation War of 1971.
Never ever in
the history of this nation have we been exposed to more bigoted interpretations
of Islam, and never ever have the threats, frights and fear of the “faithful”
been more acute than now. Compounding to the problem is the Government handling
of issues, and more than listening to tolerant voices out in the wilderness, in
our grassroots culture, who we patronizingly term the “silent majority”; it has
lent its ears and quality time to unsolicited opinions and views of a conceited
bunch of people representing an illegitimate clergy class.
Clearly the ambitions
of the clergy is no more than a lust for power, and that they will go to any
extent, even misinterpreting Islam, the Prophet or the Qur’an to meet their
blood thirsty goals.
The New Age report of 1st
April 2013 that the Government
in a meeting with “Islamic thinkers” conceded to their demands that it will
bring bloggers responsible for an alleged smear campaign against Islam and
Prophet Muhammad to face justice is a case in point. The other more bizarre issue
raised is “hurting religious sentiments”.
Governments subsequent over-exuberance in arresting and remanding several
bloggers on the 2nd of April 2013, the shutting down of blogs and the overall ‘bending
over backwards’ trends to accommodate and massage sore ego’s of the Islamist
extremist, is not only worrying, it appears to be the beginning of a downward
spiral, which can and will lead on to further nihilism in the public
The arrest of
bloggers is a hand in glove ploy by Islamist and the Government to totally
bypass the original demands from Shahbag – the trial and capital punishment of
religious bigots and war criminals of 1971 who looks like are all set for a repeat
performance in 2013. Conversely, Shahbag
is a movement which has no public record of ever inflaming religious sentiments,
nor has it encouraged or resorted to any violence.
move to arrest the accused, may be overtly laudable and cause the AL Government
to appear to be “in-charge and in-control” of public order, it has nonetheless
opened up a can of worms and a plethora of questions which it will have to
contend with uncomfortably , in the short haul.
In the long
haul however, the issue will have proved succinctly that despite its oft
repeated and pathological rhetoric’s about banning Jamaat e Islami (JeI) as an
extremist party with links to militancy, and despite its (AL) positioning as an
apparently “secular liberal centrist political entity”, the AL has evidently been
in a covert and dangerous dalliance with traitors and national enemies. There
is absolutely no doubt that the days ahead will see the continuity of the same
Thus the War
Crimes Trial which is the centripetal focal point in the disquiet in Bangladesh
since early February 2013 will have fallen foul, if not already - and over time
has all possibilities of being scuttled. That politics is no more than a “scamming
business” will have become institutionalized in the process, and will no longer
be a conjecture, but a hard reality. In the meantime rumors that liquid cash
moved hands to influence the Qader Mollah verdict, awaits confirmation by
begets that hard questions be asked and they must be answered, for posterity
will not forgive us if dissenting voices of today are not recorded. The advent
of the connectivity era means each individual can and does have a definite role
to play in public and political life, without fear or favor. Yet on the same
token millennium democracy and freedom of expression does not mean that hypocritical
juggling acts of infinite precision can be permitted to be the order of the day.
demands decency in public life and human conduct, more so when we have such
unrestrained modes of expressions; character assassinations and slanders
regardless of whether they are of individuals or religious leaders, icon,
Prophets, religions, holy books and sects are condemnable, and wherever laws
are in place, effective actions to the hilt are only desirable.
That said, a
society and a nation that prefers to remain mute spectators when a Government
it has democratically voted to power, capitulates to whims of a miniscule
minority of hated filled groups bordering on fringe lunacy, or individuals with
no real social standing, and whose “religious sentiments” are very easily
bruised and inflamed, is a Government that has proved beyond doubts it frailty
and fragile vulnerability.
And that has
exactly been the case in the Governments recent actions. What has not been
questioned is really who are these “Islamic thinkers” and do they either have
an iota of public acceptance, or are they any authority on Islam that citizens
On the other
hand, there are no public records as of now; as to what transpired in those
“objectionable blog post” and exactly on what specific corollary of the dreaded
Section 54 of the Special Powers Act the arrested bloggers have “hurt religious
lamentable excuse that the contents are “sensitive” and therefore not fit for
public dissemination further reinforces the argument that neither “Islamic thinkers”
nor the Government have any theological credibility or the moral authority to
meantime, for the Court of law, the comrades of young arrested activists of the
Shahbag Movement, who have been branded “atheist” several times over by the
bigots, have asked legitimate and pertinent questions that will lie heavily on
the Government to come up with convincing answer. Failing – it will further
damage its already suspect credibility. It is just not votes that the AL will
lose in the next election, but more specifically in its dalliance with
traitors, it will do a huge disservice to people in general as also to Islam.
the first salvo that should be awaited is how a murderous and zero-centric entity
of Islamist who democratically constitutes less that 5 percent of votes, have
branded two third of Muslim citizens of Bangladesh that voted the Awami League
to power as “atheist and infidels”, which in turn constitutes “hurting religious
sentiments” of the majority?
To sum up,
while we may never know the contents of these “objectionable blog postings”,
what we do know will and should stir up many a hornets’ nest.
First port of
call is to identify innumerable amount of hate materials aimed at minorities or
just about anyone that does not profess to the Islamic faith propounded by
bigots, and available abundantly in the public domain. . There are perhaps thousands of other
print and on-line publications available as proof of “hurting our religious
sentiments” that we can collectively use to nail down these Muslim pretenders
once and for all.
Since a theological
war has been unleashed upon us, we ought to be prepared to launch an
asymmetrical warfare of intellect. I am sure for pious Muslims of Bangladesh –
it may not prove very difficult. The hour is up. The fangs of fanaticism have
got to be uprooted for us to regain a semblance of sanity in these cruelly insane
New Age Op-Ed, Friday 5th April 2013