Is there a Muslim concept of nationhood?

I should have titled this post as “Islamic concept” since there is a difference between Islam & Muslim.

When I review Two Nation Theory (I am not assessing the merits & demerits of it) it sounds remarkably like the Bahá’í conception of the world.

In the sense that Bahá’ís have a very weak notion of nation or race or even language but prioritise the Faith over all else. Now while there are substantial differences with the parent religion (we must always be loyal to the governments we reside, we can be patriotic, we can take up arms etc, integrate wherever possible) this is ultimately an Islamic concept that wormed its way into the Faith.

Both Christianity & Islam are universalistic religions and Christianity only became reconciled to the Nation-State (after the Treaty of Westphalia – now I could be wrong but that’s not the point of the post – we are talking about Islam here).

The Dharmic religions are about an individual’s relationship to their own path (again I could be wrong) and it is arguable that their institutionalisation May have been speeded up interactions with the aggressive Abrahamic faiths (who as an example have divvied up Africa between them).

The question is what is the equivalent of the Treaty of Westphalia for the Islamic world. Until the abolishment of the Ottoman Empire; there was nominal allegiance (if you can call it that) to the Caliph and some Sunnis have a weakfish relationship with the House of Saud.

Two Nation Theory is a reflection that the universalising tendencies of Islam co-exists with the Western formulation of the Nation state (most complex societies developed into Empires & Kingdoms with few exceptions, which is why projecting nationalism into the deep past is unsatisfactory at best).

The “strange political behaviour” of UP Muslims, who primarily and paradoxically drove the cause of Partition, to then abrogate all power to the indigenous people Cis-Indus (since the 50’s Pakistan has primarily been under Punjabi & Sindhi rule with the exception of Musharraf) is a worthwhile discussion.

A few questions and statements;

(1) for the Muslim-majority provinces Partition was an absurd concept. Until a few years before 1947 political sympathy for Pakistan in the Punjab, Sindh, NWFP & Bengal was tepid at best.

(2) how were these Muslims cuckolded; was it primarily the promise of dislodging their non-Muslim economic elites but then again no one could have foreseen the vast ethnic cleansing to come; the Quaid thought it would be a legal, technical matter (of course Direct Action Day also mena that QeA was no strange to the power of a good communal riot)?

(3) as an aside Quaid-e-Azam was a brilliant tactician but a pathetic strategist. He achieved his immediate goals at the sacrifice of larger ones. He could have withdrawn Muslim support for Independence (which was not strong particularly after the crushing Delhi genocide of our Mughal antecedents post-Mutiny by the Brits) in exchange for a Lebanon arrangement and security guarantees (PM Hindu, President Muslim etc etc / Muslim regiments so on so forth).

(4) why has Pakistan endured? It is arguable just how successful 1971 would have been without Indian support. Indira masterfully tapped into the East Pakistani zeitgeist and galvanised a old Bengali-speaking nation into a new Bangladeshi beginning. Kudos to Indira & Sheikh Mujibur; but Bangladesh (like Pakistan before it) was not a foregone conclusion. The language question was not as important as the political and economic one. Why didn’t Zulfikar cede to Sheikh Mujibur?

(5) what is the Treaty of Westphalia moment for Islam? For South Asian Muslim nationalism it was certainly 1971 as well as Urdu nationalism (why did we import millions of fair skinned Alien Afghans but not couple of hundred thousand darker skinned Biharis – Musharraf stabbed the Urdu-speaking cause in the back when he lectured Bangladesh to integrate them in rather than repatriate to their homes in Karachi). The vast majority of “foreign ancestry” in South Asian Muslim (both Urdu-speaking and Indus Muslims) is in fact Pathan (also Afghan/Pashtun) not Arab, Persian or Turkish. Rohillakand is a good example; the Bollywood fraternity is stocked with Khans, who are only a few generations removed from Peshawar.

(6) the idealisation in Pakistan are ethnic Punjabis who speak (& ape/aspire according to one’s political vernacular) Anglo/Urdu Mughalai-infused culture (is it little wonder that Kabir & I cant be objective when it comes to the Mughals?) but who also magically look very Pathan (the exact same thing is happening to Persians & Azeris; Persians from the south, east and centre of Iran are traditionally a swarthy olive skinned people who are dramatically lightening up as Azeri assimilate into the Persian ethnicity).

(7) is Two-Nation theory a threat to India vis a vis Urdu speaking Muslims and Kashmir?

(a) The Urdu speakers are resigned to their political marginalisation and seek to make their way in cricket & Bollywood (a bit like African Americans – a very visible rhetorically active population that is also economically weak/ does that make the Jains, Marwaris as Jews; I would suggest the Parsis are like a miniature reflection as they are conscious of their foreign origins). In fact it is the ethnic Muslims (who speak local languages) that seem more susceptible to fanaticism.

(b) Kashmiris fight predominantly for Kashmiri nationalism, Pakistani Pan-Indus (pan-Urdu / pan-Islamic; it’s so nebulous) is a distinct second (more like pan-Indianism is a distant third).

(8) In a case of supra-nationalism; SAARC, CENTO or OIC. Aam admi would go for OIC; Muhajir intellectuals (who are still a very important class, this was BBs social circle) are fond of the Persianate goals of CENTO (which is dead for all intent & purposes; I resurrected it for this post) while SAARC is the pragmatic choice.

(9) however 70years of Pakistani nationalism has very successfully planted the seed of Islamic glories. The hearts of Pakistanis skip a beat when they see Alhambra but they simply mouth off unconvincingly about Taxila or Gandhara. The irony of Partition is that Mohenjadaro & Taj Mahal are really in the wrong countries.

(10) When I made the heated quip about the alien Brahminical scripts it touches up a very really reality that the Highest culture in Pakistan looks West & further West rather than East. We may dance to Bollywood tunes and Pakistan actors look to Bombay but there has been a very real cultural and emotional rupture in the Aftermath of Partition. The mind follows where the heart is..

(11) my final point is that among Pakistanis; Kabir & I form the most “Indian” contingents. We both ascribe to some sort of Indianism, which the vast majority of our cohort do not. The fact that Kabir looks toward Hindu musical traditions and my wife is of course a Hindu-born atheist.. it’s interesting to see we can’t find common ground with the Indian contributors in this blog; maybe because we perceives what it means to be Indian very very differently.

(b) I am willing to give up on Pakistan but without the giant totems symbols of Urdu & the Mughals I cannot relate to India except as my wife’s country of national origin. Desiness would be a meaningless absurd concept in favour of my Persian Bahá’í identity.. what I’ve learnt in the history of Indian Muslim nationalism (like with Sir Syed & Allama Iqbal) emotional catch quixotic soundbites have a surprising way of informing the discourse 50, 60 years onwards..

That’s all for now folks..

Ps: just read the comments let’s refrain from absurd comments; the safest country for Muslims is India (why not Israel come to think of it). It’s absurd; I can agree that for liberal Muslims; India & Israel have some advantages (they have nightclubs & alcohol; are generally less conservative etc). But to be a Muslim in these societies is to be distinctly second-class..

50 thoughts on “Is there a Muslim concept of nationhood?”

  1. There’s a lot to unpack here so just a very quick comment (It’s 11 PM in Lahore).

    I would not call my music “Hindu”. The very beauty of Hindustani Classical music for me is that it is a syncretic product of the Indo-Islamic culture. Yes, it has its roots in the Vedas and in the Natya Shastra but it would not exist in its present form without the Muslims. Khayal developed in the court of Muhammad Shah Rangila. Sadarang was very much a Muslim. We have already discussed Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.

    Urdu is also a product of the Indo-Islamic culture, which is why I identify with it. I don’t get emotional about Arabic.

    I feel that most Pakistanis (at least the Punjabis and Sindhis) are culturally “Indic”. Our rituals are essentially the same as our Punjabi counterparts across Wagah, excepting the purely religious rituals. For example, the idea of “rukhsati” (or the bride going away to her in-laws home) is essentially the Hindu ritual of “bidai”. All our wedding celebrations are Indic. Islam simply requires a Nikah, but that is not how things are done in Pakistan. Mehndis, dholkis, etc are not “Islamic” as such. Pathans are in a border zone, having a lot more in common with their brethren across the Durand Line than with Indians. Of course, having been part of British India (and before that the Sikh and Mughal Empires), they are also somewhat influenced by “Indic” culture.

    The differences between Pakistanis and Indians are mostly political, having been influenced by the bloody nature of Partition, four wars, and the ongoing Kashmir dispute. Culturally and ethnically we are the same people. Of course this may change as Islamization takes place in Pakistan and Hindutva rises in India. But then again 70 years is nothing compared to the hundreds of years of shared history.

    As for your “hearts of Pakistanis skip a beat” thing, my heart skipped a beat at Gurudwara Janam Asthan. Maybe that’s just me 🙂

    1. As mentioned you are definitely on the Indian end of the spectrum.
      Yes I agree that the basal culture is Indic (marriage is consummated on Rukhsati not Nikkhah).
      However the ideological Super-structure is extraordinarily pan-Islamic (for some suffocatingly so).

      The fact that you mention Vedas etc is immediately a Hindu reference; Pakistan has erased this past very effectively (maybe maybe not – subjective remark) by identifying it as Indian and foreign.

      I’m a strong proponent of open borders but which country will give in first?

      Personally I think it should be Pakistan; we need India far more than India needs us. But then again I’m biased.. lotus temple & my wife are influencing factors..

      1. Zachary Latif, agree completely with your comment. I love open borders and globalization too. Why don’t more people agree with this?

      2. Hindustani classical music in Pakistan has certainly suffered since Partition. The original syllabus of the course I’m teaching called it “Pakistani Classical Music”. I put a stop to that on day 1. Pakistan has only existed for 70 years, but Hindustani music has existed for hundreds of years. How then can it be called “Pakistani”? “Hindustani” and “Carnatic” are in any case terms of art.

        During the Zia period, the names of certain ragas could not be taken on PTV. Imagine saying “Raga Shankara” or “Raga Saraswati”. I’m not sure whether this was state censorship or self-censorship.

        As for open borders, that is not going to happen until the Kashmir dispute is resolved. Two countries that have a territorial dispute don’t usually have open borders. The converse to that is that since the EU now exists, it doesn’t really matter what country Alsace-Lorraine is technically part of (otherwise the French and the Germans used to get very upset about this!) I agree open borders would be economically very good for Pakistan. Punjab-Punjab trade would be very good. More Sikh yatris coming to Nankana Sahab and Kartarpur Sahab would be good. I mentioned in my post on Nankana Sahab that Kartarpur Sahab (where Guru Nanak is buried) is only 3 kms from the border. The Pakistan government under General Musharraf had offered to build a bridge from the border to the shrine so that Sikhs could go visa-free and not technically enter Pakistan. Last year (17 years later), India shot this down. So if even that can’t be done, open borders are not going to happen.

        1. That’s ridiculous of the Indian government but I guess there might have been security reasons?

          How silly of the Brits (or rather Sir Cyril) to allocate such a territory away from the Sikh Heartland.

          1. Kartarpur is in Shakargarh tehsil which was Muslim majority.


            According to Wiki:

            “Sialkot was annexed by the British after the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849. In 1853, Shakargarh Tehsil of Sialkot District was transferred to Gurdaspur District [3] and it remained an administrative subdivision of Gurdaspur District until Partition in 1947. Under Radcliffe Award, three of the four tehsils of Gurdaspur district on the eastern bank of the Ujh river (which joined the Ravi a little further down) – the tahsils of Gurdaspur, Batala and Pathankot – were awarded to India and only one, Shakargarh, was assigned to Pakistan.[4] After the creation of Pakistan, Shakargarh became a part of Sialkot District once again. In July 1991, two tehsils (Narowal and Shakargarh) were split off from Sialkot District[5] and Shakargarh became a tehsil of the newly formed Narowal District.”

          2. Yes Gurdaspur was an absolute scandal; only went to India to ensure access to Kashmir..

          3. There was also something about making sure Amritsar was not surrounded by Pakistan on three sides, if I recall correctly.

    2. Very perceptive comment Kabir. You have given me much to ruminate over. Thanks for teaching me about Khayal, Muhammad Shah Rangila, Sadarang, and Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Yes Bharatiya muslims have contributed greatly to Bharat; including in technology, engineering, architecture, art, dance, music, song, poetry, literature, religion and spirituality. Bharat wouldn’t be Bharat without them.

    3. Dear Kabir, your hatred for the word Hindu shows. It is not Indo- Persian, or Hindu-Muslim for you. It is Indo-Islamic. Thank god, we had the partition.

      1. I don’t hate Hindus at all. I hate Hindutva. Two totally different things (Shashi Tharoor said the same thing. I don’t think he is a Pakistani).

        Indo-Islamic or Indo-Persian, whichever you prefer. I am OK with either.

        I am very glad that Pakistan exists. So we agree on that. It is my identity and I am very glad that we can rule ourselves from Islamabad rather than be ruled from Delhi. The manner in which Partition was carried out on the other hand….

        1. I would prefer we rule ourselves from Karachi; Isb is so fucking dull (mind my language).

          1. Islamabad has become a lot better lately (even from when I lived there in 2003-04). Lots of new restaurants and stuff.

            But yes, Karachi is certainly much more vibrant and ethnically diverse. But as was pointed out on an earlier thread, it is way at the southern end of the country. Islamabad is much more centrally located.

        2. You are glad that Pakistan exists. Pakistan came into being as a Pure Land. It became purer in 1971 when it got rid of it’s hinduised black eastern half. They just do not seem to get the basic fact that Urdu is a highly cultured language, written in Arabic/Persian script, and they should get rid of Bengali, which is nothing but a barbaric babble written in a Hindu script. Then it was the turn of Ahmadi’s, who were at the forefront of Pakistan movement.

          In India, when Khalistani separatism rose up in Indian Punjab, Sikh separatists gunned down many a Hindus. Did you see any Hindu militant group getting formed taking the retaliatory killing of Sikhs? Do you know that many of the Hindu groups are led by Jains? Do you know that Hindu gods are placed at the foot of Jain deities, to depict their lower status, in Jain temples? Still, have you heard of any Hindu-Jain violent conflicts?

          What next for Pakistan, Kabir? A much much purer land run by Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jammat?

          1. Look here for reference from a Jain, in Quora: Look at Amit Jains answer:
            This is the precise extract:
            Jains believe in heavenly deities who aspire to achieve human form and break free from the cycle of birth & death. These deities are supposed to bow down and worship those humans who manage to renounce their passions and desires and set forth on the path that lead to Godhood.

            This can be clearly seen from the below Sutra of Jina:-

            “Those Who Are Throughly Established In Dhamma (of non violence (Ahimsa), self control (Sanyam) & austerities (Tapas) Are Bowed Down Even By Devta (Demigods)”
            – Sutra No 82

          2. Here is another from Mraduhul Jain:
            jainism considers 63 people as “great” people. these include 24 tirthankaras, Ram, Krishna and many hindu gods.

            but on the contrast, jainism doesnt treat them as Gods. Knowledge is the supreme one in jainism. tirthankaras are the ones who gained the ultimate knowledge. Ram and Krishna were great people with knowledge but still lacked the ultimate knowledge, because that would have led them to renounciate everything they had. but they remained involved with social life and leadership activities till their end.

          3. Here is #3, from the same page:
            Pradip Gangopadhyay, Seeker of Truth
            Answered Jul 8, 2013
            There are Jain Saraswati images in India, for example in Vimala Vasahi temple of Dilwara at Mt. Abu in Rajasthan. Jains do worship Hindu Devatas but consider them to be lower than their own Tirthankaras.

          4. I don’t want the Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jammat to run Pakistan (Around 15 to 20% of Pakistani Muslims are Shia). I want Pakistan to be a modern democratic Muslim-majority state. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is a centrist party (though yes, it is conservative). Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif greet Pakistani Hindus on Holi and Diwali. The PPP, which rules in Sindh, is very friendly with Sindhi Hindus.

            If you had read my post on Nankana Sahab, you would know that I greatly admire Guru Nanak. Pakistan’s non-Muslim minorities are very much a part of the nation and should be given all the rights afforded to the majority. They are not responsible for India’s actions and should not be treated as the “enemy within”.

            You are on very weak ground regarding retaliatory killings of Sikhs. Need I remind you of the Delhi riots when Mrs. Gandhi was murdered by her Sikh bodyguards? Those riots remain a stain on the Congress Party all these years later.

            Your sarcasm is not appreciated. I am answering you politely but I don’t need to further defend myself or my country to you.

  2. Zachary Latif, I completely agree that India treats muslims as second class. Does any country in the world treats muslims as first class? This is the tragedy. Nonmuslims have to treat muslims better. And that starts by trying to restore freedom of art, thought, intuition and feeling to muslims. In the words of Patrick Henry: “give me liberty or give me death.”

    1. Muslims are first-class citizens of Pakistan. That is why the country is called the “Islamic Republic” of Pakistan. Hindus, Sikhs and Christians are treated as second-class citizens. Ahmedis have been constitutionally declared non-Muslim.

      South Asia in general has to start treating its minorities better.

    2. Kabir, Pakistan is getting better over time. But muslims in Pakistan don’t have freedom of art, speech, thought, intuition and feeling.

      1. Pakistan as a country exists so that the Muslims of British India can rule ourselves in accordance with Islam and our own culture. That’s the bottom line.

  3. “(11) my final point is that among Pakistanis; Kabir & I form the most “Indian” contingents. We both ascribe to some sort of Indianism, which the vast majority of our cohort do not. The fact that Kabir looks toward Hindu musical traditions and my wife is of course a Hindu-born atheist.. it’s interesting to see we can’t find common ground with the Indian contributors in this blog; maybe because we perceives what it means to be Indian very very differently.”

    Zachary Latif, in what way do you not “find common ground with the Indian contributors in this blog”? Your thoughts and observations are quintessentially Desi and Indian. I love listening to and learning from you. If Bahá’í isn’t within the stream of Indian-ness and Desi-ness; then I don’t know what is. It is no accident that Bahá’í developed in Arya Iran. Pre Islamic Arya Iran was a sister civilization to Bharat and had a Bharatiya-esque open architecture inspired by trans Arya Dharma culture. I don’t know any Indians who don’t love Parsis and Bahá’í. Please never censor your thoughts and words because wisdom flows through them. And please keep coming to India as often as you can. There are no shortages of places to visit in India. You enrich Bharat. You represent the open mindedness, humor, graciousness and hospitality of Bharat.

  4. Y multiculturalism fails?. Because monotheism hates it. Problem is not admiration of mughals or some other cultural aspect. Problem is unwillingness to accept that others dont admire what you admire and live with it and move on. And if one were to let things flow naturally, the future might not value what one values. The mimetic desire to pass on one version of things, one point of view. While paying some lip service homage to things. Christians do it too with greeko roman heritage, but they atleast took the useful parts in effectively. Their schizophrenia is more evolved ,dynamic and actually useful. Islam is unable to be dishonest, like Christianity when when christians use polytheistic derived ideas for their use instead, take over a pagan festival and celebrate christmas on that. It takes trump level dishonesty to do that, but also complain trump behavior is pagan like andrew sullivan did. There is active persistent dishonesty that keeps things tidied up. Islam is unable to do that, even with is sufi nonsense mild poison. That to large degree is to ensnare others and a gateway to a future of islamic dominance eventually. In all places except Indonesia, Islam has completely dominated all other mimetic cultural legacies. How can one even talk of music when Islam itself forbade it?.Some thing kabir seems to fail to notice.
    It is disgustingly rude to not recognize that one shouldnt demand better treatment or parity than one dishes out to others. However, I do see the possibility of a future where technology will drive things down a direction where this wont matter anymore. What Islam lacks is the dishonesty of Christianity.
    Christians in art imitate the greeks, romans as earlier , but have found a way to live a schizophrenic life where they dont just see it. They have learned to use reason like greeks but dont see how this conflicts with their faith. They invent and discover but do they realize this impulse in its roots is polytheistic? Because monotheists are sure as to what truth is already and how one ought to live for the next world to come. The call for schizophrenia is really a problem for muslims as they havent inundated themselves with endless dialogues, discussions, literature of all kinds, music of all kinds like christans have done so and in doing so allowed the loud noises and chaotic changes to confound them and dull them from introspecting that they are not the stories they tell of themselves.They are not proper christians, they are a chimera.

    So yes, it is possible to lie and live with lies indefinitely, but it does take application of mind to even accomplish that.

    1. There are different interpretations of Islam and not all of them forbid music. Speaking of one essential “Islam” is foolish. Qawwali is an Islamic musical genre (Indo-Islamic) which forms a major part of Chistiya Sufi Islam. You are on very weak ground when you are arguing with someone on something that is their area of specialization (just fyi). Many of the gharanas of Hindustani Classical Music had Muslim founders. Ustad Abdul Karim Khan founded the Kirana Gharana for example. You can argue that he wasn’t a “good” Muslim but then you are partaking in takfirism.

      Your bigotry is showing. That is all I can say.

      1. Again, it is not to me that u need to answer to. That is the whole point of the post. Surely you did read the rest. I hope you go over it again. If you did, you will realize the difference between Christianity and Islam and why they have moved ahead. As for accusations of “bigotry”. That is not even an argument. Its ad hominem. Is 2+2=4 if a bigot said so? or does it cease to be so because of bigotry?. Monotheism can only evolve through active persistent lies, dishonesty. Trump level dishonesty and stop people from looking too closely. That is the only way. Whether it will work with islam is something one is suspicious about. all the information already exists.

        1. To be honest, I think you have no idea about Islam. To repeat, speaking of one essentialized “Islam” is foolish. Some Muslims are very against music and they can point to theological justifications for it, some are indifferent to music and some love it. For what its worth, all my Ustads in Hindustani Music (in the US) were Bengali Muslims.

          2+2=4 is an objective fact that exists in the world. Opinions about “Islam” (or any other religion) are subjective. That is where your bigotry shows.

          There is a difference between Christianity and Islam. Christian countries have historically evolved a separation of church and state. This only happened after a lot of bloodshed in Europe over centuries. Islamic countries have not yet gotten to a point where religious and practical matters can be separated.

          This will be my last response to you. I am not interested in endlessly discussing “Islam” with someone with such a clear disrespect for the faith.

          1. I am only interested in Islam as it creates problems with other religions, that is objective. And opinion regarding that is neither foolish nor subjective. Because it is real and its consequences are as objective as 2+2=4 or anything real and physical.

   as for disrespect for Islam is concerned. The part of Islam that negatively affects others needs to be disrespected. One who blithely wishes to talk of Islam or mughals or lose themselves to music. well, those people also deserve to be disrespected as well. Infact, if world were to be disrespectful to all such nonsense to people of all religious background, the world would most certainly be better off.

          2. bharat, this issue is directly addressed:
            Nonmuslim English people letting this grooming abomination continue on a large scale for over a decade was anti muslim bigotry. Can you imagine what these animals were quietly doing to muslim woman and muslim girls? Muslim girls and woman can’t report on them because they are subject to “honor violence”, and because if they report on them they can’t get married or their sisters, daughters, nieces, cousins, aunts can’t get married. Heck even their brothers, nephews, uncles, cousins, sons can’t get married because they belong to a “sinful”, “immoral” family.

            The people most outraged by the scandal were UK muslims. The people who tried hardest to stop it were UK muslims. When they tried to stop it non muslim English people got in their way and even accused them of being “racist” or “bigoted”.

            There are hundreds of millions of good muslims all over the world. They need your help bharat. They are on your side and taking on the extremists. Please help them.

    2. Kabir, what is the edge in calling people bigots? Be glad that they love and respect you enough to share what they really think. Synthesis of thought, word and deed is rare in this world and so badly needed. Bharat has given you an opening to teach.

      Bharat, don’t all human beings share a common heart? Aren’t we all one? Don’t you care for the Jiva Atma’s of people from all faiths equally?

      By Islam do you mean?:
      -The great spiritual masters of the Islamic tradition?
      -The ideologies, philosophies, theologies, texts, interpretations of the major Islamic sects; which are often in contradiction of muslim spiritual masters?
      -muslim people who often are in near complete contradiction of both muslim spiritual masters and muslim theology.

      These three articles were written specifically to have this discussion:

      1. Bigots are those who have a preconceived idea in their mind and will not let it go despite the evidence. White bigots hate all black people. Muslim bigots hate all Hindus. Hindu bigots (yes they exist) hate all Muslims. “Bharat” seems to be Islamophobic. He thinks people who discuss music etc deserve to be disrespected. I have no time to discuss the place of music in Islam with someone who has already decided that Islam has banned all music.

        I already gave a counter-example: that Qawwali is an Indo-Islamic tradition. Don’t try to win points regarding Indian classical music with someone who has spent years training in it. It’s not going to go well for you.

        Bigotry exists on both sides of Wagah. I have heard plenty of people speak of Hindus with the following “bagal main churi, munh main Ram Ram”. That offended me on a personal level. Saying nasty things about Muslims also offends me on a personal level.

        I’m going to let Zach take it from here.

      2. Kabir, I try very hard not to be offended by others because there is no edge in it. If someone is offensive, that is their problem and has nothing to do with me. Not that I succeed every time.

        If we are concerned by anti muslim sectarianism–which I am–then we need to find creative effective ways to address it.

        I have never met a Hindu who disses Gareeb Nawaz or other Sufi masters [Not saying that none exist]. If anything the more anti Islamic a Hindu sounds the more likely they are to pray to Sufi masters. Mentioning the great muslim spiritual masters–including Fatimah, 12 Imams, Muhammed pbuh, sixer masters–is the way into their hearts. Then they will say they mean non Sufi muslims. Then they say non Sufi, non twelver, non sixer, non Ahmedi muslims. Eventually they say Islamist muslims only.

        This works with Christians, Jews, Atheists and all other faiths too. I have seen this work many times with the most rabid sectarian anti muslim people.

        You know the saying about catching more bees with honey.

        Please keep sharing about music in future posts. A good example is worth a thousand words. You are the example. Your music is the example. Your love of Hindustani music is the example. Please keep being an example. 🙂

        1. I’m done arguing with bigots. It does nothing to change their minds and only serves to raise my BP!

          I somehow doubt the Hindu Yuva Vahini prays to Sufi masters. But that’s OK. Hindus don’t have to pray to Muslim saints. I love Hindustani music but I would never do a puja myself. It’s not part of my religion. Participating in someone’s festivity is one thing, actually praying to their idols is a whole other thing entirely.

          I do plan to keep posting about Hindustani music. It is my area of academic expertise after all. But don’t expect me to debate “Islam”. This is the last time. 🙂

          I would be interested in your comments on my post about Nankana Sahab 🙂

          1. Kabir, I had no idea Yogi Adityanath was connected to the Hindu Yuva Vahini, and no idea that the Hindu Yuva Vahini are connected to the Gorakhpur Math:

            “The Hindu Yuva Vahini is a Hindu youth militia, founded by Yogi Adityanath, intended successor of the Gorakhpur Mutt temple in Gorakhpur, India. . . .
            The organisation is headquartered in Gorakhpur.
            Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) describes itself as “A fierce cultural and social organisation dedicated to Hindutva and nationalism.” Its stated objectives are: “the integration of and mutual good faith within the massive Hindu society, through the complete abolishment of the differentiation between touchable-untouchable and high-low, promote the harmonious development of society.” However cow protection, fighting Love Jihad and performing Ghar Wapsi are said, per media reports, to have been top priority on the Hindu Yuva Vahini’s agenda.”


            Yogi Adityanath is the Mahanth (spiritual leader) of Gorakhnath Math. The Gorakhnath Math is deeply respected by Hindus and Buddhists.

            I am reluctant to write too much about the Nath Sampradaya (one of the six major Shaivite sects); but they are extraordinarily great and powerful. Many Naths believe that Kabir, Nanak, Nanak’s son Sri Chand, Gareeb Nawaz and Shirdi Sai Nath are connected to them. I know this might sound sacrilegious to conservative Sunnis or conservative Salafis who follow Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim; and you are free to completely disagree with them on this.

            But of this I am certain, Yogi Adityanath would publicly honor Kabir, the ten Sikh Gurs, Gareeb Nawaz and Shirdi Sai Baba. The Nath Sampradaya would not permit one of their own publicly disrespecting them.

            The Naths are part of the Akhara. The Buddhists are also part of the Akhara and retain their seat and influence.


            The Mahanth of the Gorakhpur Math might be a spiritually powerful person in his own right similar to the Sufi masters of old. In general Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs are afraid of people who might have spiritual power and mystical ability. This is one reason they respect the Sufi masters and one reason they might avoid public criticism of Yogi Adityanath.

            Some prominent neurologists now believe the brain has 33 senses instead of five and is capable of a lot more modern science believed possible only a generation ago. Some masters in the east learn to control their unconscious nervous system and brain. Yogi Adityanath might be one of them. Who needs that trouble? Kabir, I admit I am afraid to even think a slightly less than positive thought about him.

            I did a single google search:

            Some accuse Yogi Adityanath of forming an alliance with twelvers and Sufis against Sunnis. To the degree with is true, might one way to deal with him be through UP Sufi and twelver organizations? Let them deal with Yogi Adityanath. I want to keep my head down.

            This is a public source blog. Might GHQ deep state monitor? How safe is it for Pakistanis living in Pakistan to correspond to Indian twelvers and Indian Sufis in UP? The world is not safe 🙁

  5. Wanted to make the point that it wasnt just westphalian peace that made the difference to Europe, they had copyright laws, patent laws, new culture of ideas, printing press, the Belief the God was rational due to thomas acquinas and natural theology. counterparts in Islamic world would be the mutazilites perhaps. The violence between christians followed by these new set of ideas made the difference, merely violence alone wouldnt make the difference. Also, the ideas alone wouldnt make the difference either. Loss followed by recognition of alternative path is the way out.

    1. While I admire the Reformation, Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution; I think there is much to said for Western Geography in the success of the West.
      The Muslim world is in the borderlands of the Old World straddling SSA, Europe, China, Southern Asia & Russia. Ideal for trade and war..

      I agree Muslim need to self-reflect but then again who doesn’t? It’s barbaric to build mosques on temples but equally barbaric to tear down those mosques..

      1. as I said before, one shouldnt complain if one dishes out as well. Those who cannot self reflect, they cannot be condoned in perpetuity. Liberals dont seem to recognize that carrots alone dont work. disincentives are important. Every day disrespect is even more important. So, words like bigotry dont matter much. All those things are fine as long as one is trouble only to oneself. The moment one becomes trouble to others. It is entirely ok for others to respond as well. Barbarians need to be dealt with as barbarians first to let them recognize they wont get away with their antics, only then will they have need for change , Why will anyone value self reflection if they think they can get away doing what they have been doing as before?

      2. That is the point, “self reflect” means nothing if the standards by which one reflects itself is all wrong. Christians with thomas acquinas and natural theology believed in a rational God. Hence they evolved down a path of allowing criticism based on reason. Only & only mutazilites in Islam come close to this, not sufi nonsense or anything else. Nothing else will work.

        The chief lie around which all other lies work.

        1. “Sufi Nonsense”–very offensive statement.

          Hindus need to self-reflect too. How about you start with yourself and leave reflection on Islam to the Muslim community?

        2. Bharat, please share your thoughts on Wahdat al-Wujud, Mansur al-Hallaj, Kabir, Nanak, Garib Nawaz, Rumi, Hafez, and Shirdi Sai Baba?

          Would you be interested in reading articles on Sufism?

    2. Siematic monotheism still has to answer for Einstein’s comment on Max Planks introduction of probability to Quantum Physics, which was:

      “God does not play dice”, confusing his belief for truth. If this can happen to Einstein, what about ordinary mortals?

        1. Not a Deist. Uncle Albert’s own words:

          From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist…. I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our being

          This piece disambiguates his views on religion:

          PS: Happy birthday Uncle Albert!

  6. if muslims left others to themselves it wouldnt matter to me. And progress with Hindus and everyone else already has been made. stop with false equivalency.

    “The way we talk about Sufis is odd. For most of Islamic history, Sufis weren’t seen as something apart. Even as recently 1920s, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood Hassan al-Bannah had been a member of a sufi order”

    “Abdessalam Yassine, the late founder and leader of Adl W’al Ihsane, Morocco’s largest Islamist movement, was a member of the Sufi Boutchichiyya order”

    Many Sufis are tolerant, pluralistic, etc. but to define Sufis as representing some sort of “moderate” version of Islam, that’s somehow diverged from Sunnism, is quite problematic

    In 2005, I lived down the street from an area of Amman called Kharabsheh, where the followers of the Sufi Sheikh Nuh Keller (Shadhili order) lived. They were were some of the most strict, orthodox Muslims I’ve ever met”

    If female followers of Sheikh Nuh wanted to live in Kharabsheh and take part in the community, they were required to wear niqab (face veil), which I remember finding quite odd when I heard about it”

    “Also, the idea that Sufis are, or have been, fundamentally “nonviolent” or pacifist is simply bizarre. Some of the most famous Islamic rebellions were led by Sufi orders”

    The good doesnt dam the river of bad, only the standard of reasoning can allow that. Nothing else, everything else is shaky for monotheism. everything else will haver reversion built into it, no matter the progress, it will be swept away by nonsense of emotions.

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