The late great Asma Jahangir once described Pakistan’s generals as ‘duffers’ on national TV. While it would be disingenuous to generalize a whole group as duffers, one can infer that within a strictly hierarchical structure as the army, loyalty to the force and to the commanders is considered a greater asset than intelligence or aptitude. A better experiment would be to take a look at the books written by various retired generals through the decades and reach a conclusion. It can also help us understand what type of characters are highly valued by the institution and thus given promotions. Many of the earliest officers in Pakistan Army wrote their memoirs including (but not limited to) General Ayub, General Sher Ali Khan, Air Marshal Asghar Khan and General Gul Hasan. General Sher Ali Khan was an ‘ideologue’ of the elusive ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ while Ayub Khan and Asghar Khan had slightly more pragmatist views in that regard. Lt Gen Shahid Aziz belonged to the former category. According to his account, he was an honest officer who always put the interest of institution before any other interests.
He described himself in the following words in his book:
“Why am I full of contradiction? Why can’t I be balanced? Then I console myself with the thought that a pendulum has a balance too; what use is a balance that is static and frozen? Real balance is in movement. One should be flying back and forth on a swing.” (Translation: Khaled Ahmad)
Reading the book, one gets the impression that he was slightly more PakNationalist than the average military Joe and his levels of self-righteousness were high enough to prompt him writing that book. He knew exactly what he was doing and was a man of his (however flawed) convictions. He was the kind of guy who refused to vote for Zia in the sham referendum held in 1984, despite being asked by his superiors in the military, the type of officer who wouldn’t display a star and Pakistan’s flag on his staff car. Musharraf obviously was wily enough to see through Shahid Aziz’s simplistic stupidity and didn’t promote him as the Vice-Chief of Army Staff. You can see his cognitive dissonance in the book that he has no shame (or self-awareness) appropriating Faiz’s work (the book is littered with poems by Faiz and Ahmad Faraz, both of whom were harsh critics of despotism and military rule in Pakistan and left the country rather than stay under a military dictatorship).
I think he’s the ultimate Nasim Hijazi character (Man on a white horse), someone who imbibed the whole PakNationalist Muslim narrative and decided to live accordingly. By PakNationalist Muslim narrative, I mean believing wholeheartedly in the ‘Two Nation Theory’, believing in conspiracy theories that the US-Israel-India nexus is constantly working to undermine the sovereignty of Pakistani state, holding the military at a higher pedestal than politicians and believing that Pakistani Islam is supposed to save the rest of Muslim world. Throughout the book, he refers to Taliban (of any variety) as ‘Mujahideen’, without any shame or remorse. His view about Pakistani Taliban (TTP) is the following:
“The bombs that kill innocent Pakistanis in bazaars and mosques are planted by friends of America, and this terrorism is done to persuade Pakistan to embrace America more closely, allow the government to pursue pro-America policies, and to alienate Pakistan from the mujahideen. But this trend of support to the killers of Muslims is an open rebellion against Allah.”
In the book, he mentioned two instances during his training in the US when he was approached by people who wanted him to leave Pakistan army and join the US army in the same position that he held in Pakistan. This sounds preposterous because you need to be a green-card holder or a national to enlist as an officer and you can’t be inducted straight as a commanding officer.
One of the more interesting (but not completely unsurprising) aspects of his book was the discussion of nepotism and corruption within the ranks of the army (especially corruption during weapons procurement and the way DHA scams people). Such things, if ever pointed out by civilians, would constitute heresy and treason. Another aspect that intrigued me was his criticism of war tactics during 1971 (he fought along the Kashmir border) and during Kargil (when he was part of ISI).
The most useful part of the book is when he discusses his role as a first-hand observer of Musharraf’s coup and its aftermath. He was also part of the team that selected people for running different ministries under Musharraf and he spilled the beans on how Ministers of Finance, Commerce, Trade, Industry, and Petroleum were ‘pre-selected’ and Shaukat Aziz never even appeared before the interview panel. He was initially optimistic about the monitoring mechanism put in place to hold the relevant ministers accountable but things didn’t work as smoothly or ideally as he wished. He laid the blame squarely at Bureaucracy’s feet.
His thoughts post-9/11 were:
“After 9/11 the bitter reality of a unipolar world was exposed. This incident happened under suspicious circumstances. A lot of American experts claim that this incident was orchestrated by American Intelligence Agencies and Jewish terrorists”.
He was bitter about the fact that Musharraf allowed US forces to use some of our Airbases (Shamsi, Zhob, Dalbandin, Jacobabad). He also mentioned how Indians sneaked into Afghanistan right after the organisedUS-led operation and took over TV stations in Kabul. According to his account, American forces didn’t keep Pakistan informed regarding their hunt for Al-Qaeda militants and knowingly pushed then towards Pakistan. About the first encounters between SSG unit and Al-Qaeda militants, he was full of praise for the militants and commented: ‘how can you compare a salaried individual with a guy who is looking to be martyred?’
Regarding the Indian Parliament attack in December 2001, he had this to say: “After The Delhi bomb attacks, Pakistan was accused in the world as a terrorist haven. This was a ridiculous claim. By that time, Pakistan had ceased help to Kashmiri Mujahideen. ISI was strictly acting upon the new policy. Obviously, Kashmiri Mujahideen were not an organized group, they were nothing more than a ragtag army who were fighting in the way of Allah, not listening to anyone. However, the government wasn’t involved.”
There were tensions within the top brass in 2002-03, which have been highlighted by the author. There were turf disputes between ISI and Army, involving some captured Al-Qaeda militants, close coordination between Army and CENTCOM, and development of a Quick Response Force and a Special Operation Task Force within SSG. There were two assassination attempts on Musharraf in the period 2003-4 which were orchestrated by people within the military. He, however, voted for Musharraf in the 2001 Referendum. (Just an aside, I was an ‘observer’ for the Referendum near a village in Mansehra and saw how people brought NICs of dead people to the voting station so that those people’s vote could be counted).
His reflections on becoming CGS (Chief of General Staff):
“My tenure as CGS was really hard for me. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. In Afghanistan, we collaborated with the U.S. while waving the flag of non-partisanship and were equally responsible for massacre of fellow muslims, a dictator who came to the fore promising change became President for five years based on a sham election, Incapable and corrupt politicians were promoted by the army to run the country, compromises were made on Kashmir under American pressure, separatism in Balochistan was promoted, commercial TV channels were allowed to manipulate our nation’s narrative, ‘Pakistan First’ was used as a slogan and there were efforts to reform Islam under the auspices of ‘Enlightened Moderation’. He argued with Musharraf in favor of keeping the Kashmiri ‘Mujahideen’ as proxies against India.
He rails against both secular people and religious people because they don’t follow what he thinks is the righteous path. According to his plan, religious education in regular schools should be updated and secular education in religious schools should be updated so that in a decade, students of both systems are on par with each other. He sparred with Musharraf and his friends over this at dinner parties. The more alarming insight from the book is that such view and such officers were popular in the army. He also had a romantic view of the ascetic life, free of the burdens of money, job and retirement.
36 thoughts on “Book Review: Ye Khamoshi Kahan Tak (Silent no more?) by Lt Gen (Rtd) Shahid Aziz”
Not directly related to your review but what do you think of the SC allowing General Musharraf to contest elections? Nawaz Sharif has a point. He was disqualified for his iqama and for taking (or not taking) a salary from his son while being Prime Minister. In comparison to derailing democracy and conducting a military coup, don’t NS’s sins seem to pale in comparison?
Who is trying to rehabilitate Musharraf and why?
The Supreme Court has the power to interpret the constitution and it currently has an activist majority that veers close to the Military establishment. I don’t know the exact forces behind Musharraf’s rehabilitation scheme but i can say that they are ill-advised.
It is also very hypocritical. A guy who declared martial law and was supposed to be facing a trial for treason (and for supposedly having Benazir killed) is being allowed to contest polls, while NS, who arguably stole the country’s money to buy some flats in London (which Pakistani politician has not stolen the country’s money?) has been disqualified for life.
Most Punjabis I talk to are still voting Noon League. They may be thieves but at least they work for Lahore and Punjab as a whole.
There was news that Aziz died recently in Afghanistan while fighting for the Taliban.
Unsubstantiated reports, yes.
AbdulMajeed Abid, I learn a ton from your articles. This was a very good and informative review and treated the LTG Aziz fairly.
“He also had a romantic view of the ascetic life, free of the burdens of money, job and retirement.” I share this with LTG Aziz.
“Kashmiri Mujahideen were not an organized group, they were nothing more than a ragtag army who were fighting in the way of Allah”
This statement is absolute balderdash of course, but it does reflect the fundamental convergence between the Pakistan Army and the Pakistani elite (including ‘liberals’).
While this policy does help the Pakistan Army consolidate its intense stranglehold on all aspects of Pakistani life, the attitude of the Pakistani elite is quite surprising. It is possible that they actually have views different from what they publicly air, but are afraid to express them. It is also possible that they havent thought through the enormous economic and social benefits normalized relations with India will bring. But surely they are aware of the quite substantial differences in living standards between urban areas in the two countries now.
I think the reason Nawaz Sharif is being targeted is because he does recognize the benefits of peace with India, and such a peace being easiest (perhaps only?) way for Pakistanis to enjoy economic growth and social freedom, at least in the short term. This of course, directly hurts the interests of the Pak army, and hence the conflict.
Vikram, Thank you for an insightful comment.
Thanks hoipolloi. I would really like Pakistani commentators to provide their opinion on whether:
1) Pakistani middle classes are simply miniscule in number with no political potency at all.
2) Significant in number but unconvinced about the economic and social benefits of not approving of armed struggle in Kashmir.
3) Aware of the economic and social upshots, but prepared to forego these due to their convictions.
I don’t think the “middle class” in Pakistan is that significant.Army runs the show and Army will continue running the show for the foreseeable future.
In any case, most Pakistanis probably don’t think too much about Kashmir. But the consensus across all political parties is that Indian “J & K” is Occupied and we need to help Kashmiri Muslims to free themselves from Hindu India. If “Occupied” offends you (though since you constantly call our Kashmir “POK” it shouldn’t), certainly we can all recognize the reality that it is a Disputed Territory. Whether helping Kashmiri Muslims means supporting armed struggle or working towards a diplomatic solution is a matter of debate. Though since India isn’t interested in a diplomatic solution but rather in crushing the Kashmiris by force, it seems rather to be a moot point.
Nawaz is being targeted because the Army doesn’t like him. I don’t think India is a big factor in why they don’t like him. There are internal developments in Pakistan that are far more significant.
So I guess its a mixture of 1 and 3.
I guess any follow up question is moot until the middle class actually grows in size.
Hi Vikram, I venture to address your question because the answer is clear cut and not controversial.
From what I have read else ware and what Kabir repeatedly said on this blog, Pakistan has arranged its society as elite and prole (blue-collar working class). Elite by definition are not middle class; they are the top of the heap. So one of your assertions, “Pakistani middle classes are simply miniscule in number with no political potency at all.” is the obvious answer. This is purely an economic assessment with no theological implications.
Well it’s not quite as simple as “elite” and “prole”. We have what you could call professional classes (doctors, lawyers, engineers, civil servants, professors). This is the class to which my family belongs. We are not among the landed elite.
But fundamentally the views of the “middle class” on foreign policy don’t matter. The Army makes all foreign and security-related policy. India policy comes under national security policy. That is not going to change in the foreseeable future.
Also, you seem to not recognize that Pakistan has a principled position on Kashmir (one with which India obviously disagrees). The dispute will not be resolved until India, Pakistan, and Kashmiris come to the table and hammer out a solution that is acceptable to all. The status quo is not that solution. It may work for India and for Pakistan, but it doesn’t work for Kashmiris in the Valley (except for the Abdullahs and the Muftis, who are happy to take turns in power).
How are the uber-rich in Lahore living any differently from the uber-rich in Delhi? This is a serious question. We’ve got all the same gyms, salons, mansions, etc. The Pakistani elite also goes to London and America, just like the Indian elite.
Not that it has anything to do with devotion to the Kashmir cause. Pakistan has a stand on that matter and India disagrees. Apparently today, scroll.in reported that India called in our Deputy High Commissioner to complain about some constitutional order which was passed in Azad Kashmir. Azad Kashmir is to all intents and purposes Pakistani territory, but if India wants to maintain the fiction that it isn’t and ask Pakistan to “vacate” it, it can go ahead.
Nawaz is being targeted because the Army doesn’t like him. I don’t think India is really a big factor in why the Army doesn’t like him.
I would say the difference is more observable in middle class between the two countries. Also the upward social mobility. The rich-elite in the world are all same. A middle class in one country may afford a car but in another not.
The “middle class” in Pakistan can afford a car.
But there isn’t really a “middle class” as such in Pakistan. In the US everyone claims to be middle class (though some people are clearly rich).
In Pakistan, as I’ve said several times, you are either of the servant class or the servant-owning class. Unless small shopkeepers can be considered “middle class”. At best, I would say they are lower-middle-class.
Kabir, for the sake of brevity I would request you to see the forest for the trees. The absence of middle class is poverty in a society. That is not something to be proud of. If only the emphasis is not on military build up and a normalization of relations with India, the resulting peace dividend would create a middle class from the working class. Hope you reflect on this.
My sense is that much of the Pakistani college educated class and business/entrepreneur class agrees with you hoipolloi. I am hopeful for Pakistani reform.
I would not be surprised if the peasant class doesn’t agree with you too hoipolloi. Although I don’t know if they do.
What did you think of?:
hoipolloi and Kabir,
To be quite honest, I was pissed off with Kabir’s comments in a previous thread. Basically Kabir says, he has no interest in the poor or common people (servants).
Kabir then goes on to remark he is not interested in literature (gave an example; cant recall) that explores the plight of the poor. Says he cant be bothered reading that kind of litreature.
I made a comment about bonking the house niggers. Kabir says it is disgusting. Really Kabir, dont you know of friends and family bonking the house niggers/servants.
I know of quite a few from Ceylon. Family friends, relatives. In one particular case (which I got to know as an adult) both father and son were both bonking the house nigger. She was very pretty, still recall her. I must have been about 8-9 years old.
I had an older relative whose claim to fame was that he had bonked three generations. Grandmother, mother and daughter.
These are stories from 50+ years ago.
Now one has to be super rich (relative to SL) to have a servant. A pay of at least USD 200 and a room for stay at home. Essentially SL rich have to compete with the Gulf countries.
A SL maid to the Gulf gets paid an upfront fee of USD 2000. Then a wage of USD 300-400. For sure the Arabs are bonking the SL house niggers.
In the past (80’s and 90’s), SL maids had to pay fees (in cash and kind) to job agents to get that job in the Gulf. They bonked (physically and monetary) all the way from the application to the airport in SL, and then in the Gulf the Arabs took over the bonking.
Kabir, I know it is all disgusting but then as a theater/arts person shouldnt you be aware and try to institute change even in an minute way.
What really surprises me is the lack of any genuine pro peasantry movement in Pakistan. In India had the pro peasant movement of the 60s not happened, It would not have given rise to entire second generation of leadership and subsequent political rise of OBCs in India. Pakistan seemed to skip that and has directly moved to
founding fathers—->rise of “governance parties”(PML-N/PTI).
Contrasting this to India where you had
founding fathers—->rise of peasant parties (60s/70s)/rise of caste parties (90s)—>rise of “governance parties”(BJP etc).
There have been a few pro-peasant movements, the most prominent being in ‘Hasht-Nagar’ during the 1970s and the Okara Farmers movement since 2001. Hasht-Nagar was a short-lived socialist utopia while the Okara farmers movement is more concerned with land-rights in face of military’s aggressive tactics.
It’s not very useful to compare the lifestyles of the uber-rich since a lot of them might invest them back in business instead of lavishing them on experiences. Even so, the number of dollar millionaires in India are more than double the number for Pakistan (after normalizing for population) and is growing rapidly. I am not even considering the diaspora here.
The useful thing to look at is that the opportunity for growth for an enterprising individual is much more in India than in Pakistan. And it is this minority that creates the condition for the rest of the society to thrive. Some factors:
1. Higher per capita income
2. 6x consumer base
3. Much higher FDI
4. Much larger talent pool
(TBH As an Indian I am not satisfied by any of these metrics in absolute terms).
Now, if one were to start a business in Pakistan, the growth will plateau at some point. However, if you had access to the Indian market, that business can continue to grow for much longer. It’s also important to note that the two markets are very similar so you can’t say that you’ll go and sell in China, since it presents a different set of challenges. Even western behemoths have not been able to crack it.
For talented Pakistanis, better relations with India mean they can find jobs in Google, Facebook, Flipkart or the tons of other companies that are here.
For Indian companies, access to Pakistan is like getting access to 5 more states. The road to Central Asia might still be blocked because Afghanistan remains a no-go territory.
So it’s an asymmetrical win-win hugely in favour of Pak.
For the life of me, I can’t understand why you people can’t see it and grab the opportunity by the collar. Perhaps my baniya dimaag (even though I am not a baniya by caste) undervalues the theological battle lines.
Just to make it clear, I am not really interested in internal Pakistani politics. Nor do I agree with the refrain that we are essentially the same people. I am looking at it purely from an economic point of view.
PS – I often use Tinder and change my location to Lahore or Karachi just to check out the scene. There are at least 10-20x more women in Mumbai than in Karachi in my age group. That’s one difference between the urban lifestyle.
The other difference would be between vocations. Indian women have much higher diversity in this regard.
So there’s a huge difference between the lifestyles of the section of people just below the uber-rich category.
PPS – I used to work at an Indian social media company. We had stickers and other content in Urdu and Farsi. We used to get a huge number of mails from both Pakistan and Iran claiming how much the people loved the product. The two regions weren’t a priority for us then but it did give us a sense of how similar the markets were/are.
“For talented Pakistanis, better relations with India mean they can find jobs in Google, Facebook, Flipkart or the tons of other companies that are here.”
Fuck flipkart. Give us Kashmir.
I could go on waxing lyrical about that simple yet earnest refrain but why waste cyberspace. So just go through the keywords (in no particular order of importance):
Plus I fantasize about rosy cheeked Kashmiri muslimahs living inside the same international border as me every night.
Jaggu and Prats, +108
“The road to Central Asia might still be blocked because Afghanistan remains a no-go territory.”
Not so. If Pakistan allowed it, most Afghan trade would be with India, flowing through Pakistan. Overnight Afghan GDP would skyrocket. Trade would absolutely flow through Afghanistan to Turan. Trade doesn’t have to go through the less safe Kunduz route. Instead trade can flow through Balkh and Herat. Plus India would get huge quantities of cheap natural gas through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
If Pakistan allowed trade between Afghanistan and India; it would change everything. GIRoA tax revenues would skyrocket. The ANSF would militarily make significant military gains against the Pakistani Army backed Taliban. Afghanistan would economically flourish. Things would be much, much better.
Pakistan would also benefit enormously. Much more importantly the powerful peace lobby in Pakistan would grow in strength and power.
Delhi über rich go partying to Badshah numbers in gas masks and have a penchant for my uncle Babur’s uzbek daughters. Other than that all same.
(Ya Allah! My blood boils reading this. Give me the strength to avenge the honour of my central asian sisters)
hoipolloi and Vikram + 3
Something to think about or clarify
Did China train and support Assamese and Nagaland separatists.
Would not it be in Chinas interests to cause destabilization in Assam and Nagaland.
Thankfully China didn’t do it in any big way in Assam and Nagaland to my knowledge. Usually the Christian missionaries get the blame for that region. Chinese did help Naxalites at one time or another. They are not called Maoists for nothing.
I agree with hoipolloi. I don’t know of evidence of the Chinese supporting Assam and Nagaland separatism. My understanding is that the ISI Directorate had much to do with that.
hoipolloi, would you say Christian missionaries? Or would you say hard proselytizing evangelical missionaries? Indians (and BJP/RSS/Hindutva) don’t appear to have a problem with Christians who are not hard proselytizing evangelical. Their primary focus is Jihadi Islamism and post modernism.
i was trying to point out the difference in the Chinese and Indian record.
India supported, trained and armed separatists in guerilla warfare.
Maoist, any evidence of training and arming. Or was it just ideology.
Might as well say Capitalists.
sbarrkum, please keep posting about this subject. I thought that India chose to decisively back the Sri Lankan government against the LTTE around 1983 or so. You keep telling me things I don’t know.
The Maoist are an entirely different can of worms. Don’t want to discuss them now. They oppose capitalism but love organized crime (some might call it crony capitalism).
sbarrkum: Since your post is addressed to me also I like to share the following random thoughts on sexual relations you have alluded to. These days one should not be bashful to discuss sex. Talking is not a sin and is less harmful than doing it outside marriage. If you are male and living alone the sexual fantasies take over your thoughts.
Coming to the actual topic, relationship with domestic help is not institutionalized in India (and hopefully Pakistan), the way you have mentioned. There are alternate methods available in India which are equally nefarious.
From my reckoning, in Bombay, when it was called Bombay, only well to do have full time maids. The teenage son is expected score with the maid as part of rites of passage. These days this could be different.
sbarrkum, maybe Kabir was joking and having fun at our expense. How can he really believe those things?
I didn’t know that sexual harassment was that serious a challenge. Would you say it happens to 10% of servants? Does it happen more to male servants or to female servants?
Kabir correctly decried sexual harassment of slaves in the deep American south before 1861. My suspicious, however, is that family, community, church moral pressure stopped a lot of abuse. Plus a lot of men didn’t want to go to hell when they died or were afraid of feeling guilty. The deep south had a deep powerful “gentlemen” culture in the upper middle class and rich people (only they owned slaves) back in those days. As a result most of the sexual abuse of slaves was not by slave owners. [Often by family, extended family or friends of the owner, in many cases without the knowledge of the slave owner.]
The same was probably true among the cultured spiritual values oriented sophisticated Indian/Sri Lankan upper class. However, when people who didn’t belong to this upper cultured class had servants, in many cases they behaved atrociously with servants. I have seen it and heard about it.
My own feeling is that the abuse of servants is much worse among large swats of Indians and Sri Lankans who have servants than it was with slave owners in the deep Americans south pre 1861. I can’t prove it though.
Some Indians in my extended family and friend circle have multi-generational servants. The children are raised alongside the family children and are treated as part of the family. Usually the family pays for their college education. However they keep visiting. Whenever I visit family and friends in India–I see the later generations of the “servant” families visiting. They often help out my older relatives and friends in India too. However they are dying out since the servant kids usually go to college (which the host family pays for) and then leave the servant profession.
In Indian weddings, often the servant families help out a lot. Including in organization. In many cases they are no longer “servants” but college educated and part of the family so to speak.
When I use to visit India as a kid, I would sometimes tutor the servant children in the school work. In some cases these were no longer servants but the descendants of servants.
Often the “servant” families then bring relatives from home village to replace them. Who in turn go to college. These are in turn replaced by yet more relatives from home village. If any of these new servants misbehave, their college educated or professional (some have businesses and don’t go to college) relative comes and scolds them
But I think what I am describing only applies to some multi-generational servants. I have long feared that Indian servants are horribly treated by uncultured families. My relatives and friends constantly discuss this and are worried by this.
I have no idea why we are discussing sexual harassment of servants.
My comment (which seems like it was deleted) was only to say that there is no real “middle class” in Pakistan. You either have servants or you are a servant. Maybe small shopkeepers can be considered middle class.
In any case, servants are not slaves. They are employees contracted to do a specific job (cook, drive the car, clean the house, whatever it may be). They are paid a monthly salary and given room and board. They eat the food that they make in the house. My family has always treated servants with great decency. So has every other family I have interacted with. It is nothing like plantation slavery and whoever thinks it is has no idea about what Pakistan is like.
I have long feared that Indian servants are horribly treated by uncultured families.
I assume you are accusing me of being from an uncultured Shudra/Dalit heritage because our family friends/relatives fucked the house niggers.
No question, uncultured families horribly treat (i.e. bong) the house niggers.
The cultured just have extra marital relations with the house niggers.
The oldest recorded is Abraham who fucked the Hagar. Hagar was Abrahams wife Sarahs hand maiden. Hand maiden is just another word house Negress. When Haga had a child (Ishmael) , Abraham chased out Hagar into the desert. Ishmael is considered the ancestor of the Arabs.
AnAn you should tell your Jewish pals, they are uncultured because their ancestor fucked the house Negress and then chased her out because she had a child.
“I assume you are accusing me of being from an uncultured Shudra/Dalit heritage”
Precisely the opposite. I think you have a lot of class and character. You have the gritty wisdom of many life times. And learned well from the school of hard knocks.
I recently learned on BP that PM Modi is a Shudra. [Is this true?] Many of the most respected people in Indian religious communities are Shudra/Dalit. Their spiritual achievement makes them either de facto Brahmin or someone who transcends Varna altogether.
“The cultured just have extra marital relations with the house niggers.”
Anyone who practices sexual harassment does not deserve to be called “cultured”.
Hagar was a different situation. About 1/4 of couples naturally have a hard time conceiving. As a result ancient cultures set up coping mechanisms for fertility. Sarah arranged Hagar because Sarah wanted to have a child. However after Ishmael was born Hagar didn’t let Sarah raise Ishmael as her own; which led to the tension.
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