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« A piece of history..(Omar) | Main | News trends 2010 (prasad) »

December 31, 2010


"Many in Punjab and Sindh are still dancing at the shrines of saints and otherwise ignoring the wisdom of the Taliban and their supporters...their holy work still has a long way to go."

What does this mean? I'm afraid I don't quite understand. Do you mean to say that many are still too busy with their obeisance at the shrines and not paying attention to the Talibanization of Islam in Pakistan?

Sujatha, I am not an authority on Islam. I suspect what Omar means by that is that many ordinary Pakistani Muslims (rural mostly, I would believe) are still practising the more joyous Sufi approach to Islam, despite the Taliban's wish to force down their throat the super austere, angry and orthodox Wahhabi brand of the religion. I hope Omar will clarify.

Ruchira is correct. I meant that if you actually talk to Pakistanis and visit Pakistan you dont see some kind of Taliban takeover of all aspects of life...they still have a long way to go. But they are determined and they do have powerful friends in the deep state, so I expect we will see some progress in their uncivilizing mission for some years to come, though long term, the project is bound to fail.

Thanks for the clarification, Ruchira and Omar. So you are saying there will be swing in favor of joyless orthodoxy before the pendulum swings back to the more secular trend.

I think the core of the matter is that the ruling elite in Pakistan opted to use religion (or what they regarded as religion....their knowledge is not very deep) to strengthen their hold on Pakistan and to pursue aims beyond Pakistan. They have run into some problems but they have no well-thought out alternative. For the foreseeable future, they will compromise and bend when threatened or paid by outside powers, but will also continue to support "Islamization", so yes, the pendulum may swing more towards joyless orthodoxy. But its not a very deeply rooted ideology (the daily life, everyday concerns, marriages, family feuds, social attitudes and economic life of the population are pretty typically "Indian") and many other trends are also visible (for example, modern education, women working outside the home, economic and social transformation that looks very similar to what is happening in India, in spite of the official Islamic gloss). But the Islamist fringe is armed, determined and supported by the deep state, conflict is pretty much the only certainty..

when 82% of pakistanis would like to see full sharia being implemented in their country, it means that either sufis have been co-opted by the fundoos or they are an irrelevant influence.
in any case i would warn against reliance on any moderate islamic sect, given that taseer's much celebrated assassin, mumtaz qadri, belongs to the relatively liberal barelvi sect.

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