Tag Archive for Pakistan idea

The Original Conspiracy and the Two Nation Theory

1) The Original Conspiracy

The legend goes that human history is the record of an eternal battle between the Order of the Selfish Ones, and the Order of the Truth Seekers. Through the ages many Truth Seekers have embarked on the quest to unlock humanity’s true potential. But the Selfish Ones have slandered them, murdered them, and rewritten history, all to make humanity forget and stop believing.

- Systems, p.337

2) The Two Nation Theory

The Quran does not recognise the concept of majorities and minorities. It teaches that all humans are born equal on the basis of their having a common origin (4:1). It teaches that a true democracy rests not on the principle of simple majority rule (6:116) but rather on the principle of consensus (aiming for unanimity) by ‘mutual consultation’ (42:38). It also teaches that humans only differ by the type of deen [total civilisation: religion, politics, culture] that they follow; and that strictly speaking there are only two types of human society: one that lives by the universal spiritual principles of liberty, justice and solidarity, and the other that does not (5:56-7). This is the Quranic basis of the Two-Nation Theory. It has nothing to do with communalism, and everything to do with the active behaviour of a society that claims to be ‘good’. (2:148)

- Secular Jinnah & Pakistan, p.203 (Yes, I did consciously sneak the Cohesive Ethics Theorem into that passage at the time of writing the book.)

A one-time event?

A one-time event?

What we forgot

The above passages from my two books are basically talking about the came thing. I was recently having a conversation with a friend by email and something that came up there compelled me to write this post. These remarks from my email get straight to the point of what I want to share here:

“As an aside, you know the term “Original Conspiracy” of Systems is a corruption of the Christian [term] “Original Sin”, and that in any case the former [term] clears up the truth about the implications of the Adam story, aka the Two Nation Theory? And it also helps explain what Satan is – namely, the so-called dark side of free will, the selfish gene, human pride and arrogance, or intellect minus “love”? He is the original “other”, the bringer of the second choice, separation, and disagreement. … [The consensus/nationality principles] are timeless and have been taken up before … The Quran tells us that we have adopted them and forgotten them many times. “Satan has overcome them and made them forget the remembrance of Allah” (58:19). My “Conspiracy” is inspired from this idea of rewritten and forgotten history.”

Hanif Omar

Hanif Omar. Practical idealist.

The broad “implications of Adam’s story” (the Fall) mentioned in that email is what Systems is all about; and an individual historical case study of the Two Nation Theory is what SJ2 is all about. We are taught to believe that human potential has never been unlocked, that there has never been an ideal society – and that in fact it’s impossible anyway. Is this all really true, or have there just been enough slanders, murders and rewrites of history to make us forget?

“Some would say that what I have suggested is utopian, and moreover impossible. This is not so. As I see it, humanity cannot realise its true potential until we accept that an ideal society is not only possible, but absolutely mandatory.”

So says Prof. Hanif Omar in Systems. But does anyone share his belief in real life?

.

MA Jinnah. Another practical idealist.

MA Jinnah. Another practical idealist.

Words from a Truth Seeker

These are the words of MA Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, in Chittagong in 1948.

“It is natural for some to think only in terms of Government, but the sooner we realise and adjust ourselves to new forces, the sooner our mind’s eye is capable of piercing through the horizons to see the limitless possibilities of our State and our Nation, the better for Pakistan. Then and then alone it would be possible for each one of us to realise the great ideals of human progress, of social justice, of equality and of fraternity, which, on the one hand, constitute the basic causes of the birth of Pakistan and also the limitless possibilities of evolving an ideal social structure of our State. I reiterate most emphatically that Pakistan was made possible because of the danger of complete annihilation of the human soul in a society based on caste. Now that the soul is free to exist and to aspire, it must assert itself, galvanizing not only the State but also the Nation.”

Although this Truth Seeker was not murdered (despite what conspiracy theorists of another kind might think), after his death he has been certainly been slandered, and the history of Pakistan has been rewritten. It sounds far-fetched to some, which is understandable. Admittedly, I too might not have believed it, if I hadn’t discovered it for myself.

Choose Your Destiny

Below is a reproduction – with permission – of the first lesson of the present course (Creating with the Soul) at the Marghdeen Learning Centre. It’s such a brilliant and interesting take on Jinnah’s legacy that I positively had to share it here. [Images are taken from the original article as it appeared.]

On a separate note, both my books Systems and Secular Jinnah & Pakistan are part of the recommended reading for this particular course, which is about the destinies of nations starting with the Pakistan idea.

Enjoy! – SK


1.1 How to choose your destiny

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the new online course, and please allow me to start it without any further preludes :). So, there are three variables involved in each one of us choosing our destiny. They are: (a) the current of history; (b) the destiny of society; and (c) the will of the individual himself or herself.

This is because the current of history, which is always evolutionary, moderates the destiny of each society. The destiny of each society generates a menu of choices from which every individual can pick. Please allow me to explain this with an example.

Case Study

Barrister Muhammad Ali Jinnah had become one of the least influential political figures by 1932. He was a particularly unlucky man. Each time he achieved something big, it would be taken away from him. In 1916, he was hailed as “the Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity”, but three years later he was being hooted down by Hindus and Muslims alike. He married for love in 1918, but it turned sour and ended in the separation and death of his wife in less than ten years.

 

By 1932, his public career seemed to have ended. He had left his homeland, and had taken abode in England. He was not even invited to the Third Round Table Conference of the Indian leaders held in London that year.

Fifty-six years old and not growing any younger, Barrister Jinnah was suffering at the hands of destiny. So, he decided to ask God for a new one. But how?

First, he looked up the destiny of his nation. Their “final destiny”, as recently revealed by Iqbal, was a consolidated Muslim state.

With this understanding, Jinnah picked up a new role for himself. It was to be the founder of that state. He got it. 

Hence, understanding the destiny of his nation empowered him to choose his own destiny. From being one of the least significant leaders in 1932, he became “the Great Leader” by 1938 and the founder of the largest Islamic state and the fifth largest of the world in 1947, so that posterity was eventually going to say:

Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Muhammad Ali Jinnah did all three.

The Catch

Jinnah was not the only one in the 1930s to be attempting stuff like altering the course of history, etc. Just as he became the “Quaid-i-Azam” of his people, Mussolini was “Il Duce” in Italy and Hitler was the “Fuehrer” in Germany (all titles approximately meaning the same thing). Yet, Jinnah alone made it to the finish. We need to understand this a bit more.

The hazards of ignoring the
“trends of modern times”:
Mussolini and his beloved
after their execution

By the time Jinnah achieved his goal, Italians had executed Mussolini and hung his corpse upside down. Hitler had shot himself and to follow his ideology is now a  criminal offence in his country. The legacy of Jinnah, on the other hand, is not only cherished by his own people but his name and his worldview is something which they show off to other nations in a bid for gaining more respect.

Apparently, this is because while other “great leaders” focused only on the interests of their own nations, Jinnah aligned his patriotic ambition with the principles commonly respected by humanity in those days. In addition to the spirit and destiny of his own nation, he also kept in mind the trends of modern times.

This is the third variable, i.e. the current of world history, but that is a theme for the next lesson. Before proceeding, let’s conclude what we observed today.

 

Conclusion

We fail to be in control of our destinies because we are taught that societies do not have destinies as such. Due to this presumption, we obviously do not attempt to gain any insight into the destiny of our society, and hence fail to meet the prerequisite for taking control of our own futures as individuals.

Question

  • What is one thing which you would like to gain from this course? Since this is the first lesson, please formulate a personal objective. It is recommended that you keep it to 100 words, but please use your discretion. Keep it specific and to the point. Please do not mind if I remove your comment from the blog this time, in case I feel that you can do better (and in that case I shall personally email you about to re-write it).
  • Please reply to some of the comments posted by others. It is important to interact. Every learner gains more if everybody in the course is engaged. It’s a virtual classroom, so let it be a “commonly adopted goal” that everybody is involved, probed for their input and learning together in a vibrant and lively atmosphere.

This time, I am more excited than usual to see what replies come forth. Please begin!


SK: The Marghdeen Learning Centre is an educational subsidiary body of Iqbal Academy that offers online courses on Iqbal’s philosophy. To learn more, and to sign up, visit www.marghdeen.com

The book that launched my writing career – Foreword

In my last post I announced the release of the book Did Quaid-e-Azam Want to Make Pakistan a Secular State?. I’m reproducing the foreword below, in which I explain how the book prompted me to write Secular Jinnah.

But first, a note for those who are unfamiliar with the debate over Pakistan and are wondering about the title.

On the word ‘secular’

Simply put, the word ‘secular’ in the above title is really a synonym for ‘materialist’. Many Pakistanis don’t differentiate between the two concepts, because they see materialism as the final outcome of separating religion (and its moral values) from state affairs. This is why many Pakistanis will say they have no problem with the concept of equality before the law (usually identified with a secular state) and yet won’t identify themselves as secularists.

So, onto the Pakistan question. Pakistanis have never agreed over whether Pakistan was meant to be a ‘secular’ (materialist) state or an ‘Islamic’ one (that is, a religious state). In my books, I have tried to show that Pakistan (in the eyes of its founders) was not meant to be either a secular or a religious state, nor was it supposed to be a paradoxical mix of religion and secularism. So if it was none of the above, what was it? The answer can be found only when we understand what secularism and religion respectively mean. In short they are  practically two sides of the same coin, in that one focuses on materialism, and the other on spiritualism. That makes both of them not so much wrong as incomplete. And yet we can’t complete them by combining them, because the two are also totally incompatible for reasons I need not go into here. At any rate, a combination or synthesis of religion and secularism is also impossible. In my books I have described a fourth possibility in line with the Quranic view of reality, which encompasses both the material and the spiritual simultaneously – not as two separate things combined, but, to borrow from Iqbal’s description of Islam, “a single unanalysable reality which is one or the other as your point of view varies” - a bit like the uncertainty principle in quantum physics. Parwez operated on the same matter-spirit oneness principle in his book The Qur’anic System of Sustenance.

Purchase details (including discounted rates for both this title and The Qur’anic System of Sustenance) can be found if you scroll to the end of this post.

Without further ado, here is the Foreword.

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FOREWORD

This booklet is of special significance to me. It is directly responsible for the publication of my first book, and indirectly for my second as well. Indeed, this short publication can be credited for practically launching my writing career.

Avid readers of Pakistani history will know that Chief Justice Muhammad Munir’s From Jinnah to Zia (1979) is said to be one of Pakistan’s all-time best sellers. This is because Munir was the first to openly declare that M.A. Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, was a ‘secularist’ (i.e. he advocated the separation of religion and state as in modern democratic states). Coming as it did from a former Chief Justice, this declaration carried much weight for Pakistani readership, and indeed, as Munir testified in his book, across the world the as well.

G.A. Parwez, who had known Jinnah personally and had been his counsel on matters relating to Islam, wrote a rebuttal in Urdu in 1980 soon after the second edition of Munir’s book was released. The English translation of that text can be found in the following pages. However, the original rebuttal missed one vital piece of information; and since this missing information was the catalyst for some completely new and important research I conducted some twenty-five years later, I would like to share the details for the benefit of the reader.

I originally came to translate this booklet not for Tolu-e-Islam, but for my father. In 2003 he had published a book titled Quran aur Pakistan (Sheffield: Bazm-e-Ilmofunn), containing his own Urdu poetry alongside a collection of G.A. Parwez’s writings, and the text of this booklet appeared as one of its chapters. My father and I worked together on the English translation, and in the course of crosschecking the references, I obtained a copy of From Jinnah to Zia. This was when I first noticed a quote not accounted for in Parwez’s rebuttal.

Parwez has written that in From Jinnah to Zia Munir relied on two pieces of evidence to support his claim that Jinnah was a secularist. They are:

1)     Jinnah’s statements against theocracy

2)     Jinnah’s inaugural address to the Pakistan Constituent Assembly, on11 August 1947

However I found that Munir had actually relied on not two, but three pieces of evidence. The third and most important piece of evidence that Munir produced (and which he cited several times for emphasis) was Jinnah’s interview to Reuters, dated 21 May 1947 (dated incorrectly in Munir’s book as 1946). In this interview, Jinnah supposedly said that he envisioned Pakistan as a ‘modern democratic state with sovereignty resting in the people’ (Munir 1980, p.29). He stressed that the words were at odds with the Objectives Resolution, which states that ‘sovereignty rests with Allah’. At this point, since Parwez had not addressed the quote, I decided to try and find the original source to look at the context in which it might have been used. When I did obtain it around a month later, it emerged that not only was the date wrong, but the quote was actually a fake. Since that time, I have referred to it as the ‘Munir quote’.

This was just the beginning of my journey in learning about the Pakistan story. At first I intended only to write an article on this quote, but I had underestimated the significance of what I had uncovered. Munir’s quote, along with the two pieces of evidence that Parwez had highlighted, had long become a formulaic argument copied virtually verbatim time and again by every kind of writer, from the journalist to the historian, and accepted blindly as fact, without question. No one had thought to check on the original source and in fact no one even seemed to know or care as to where it originated. My first book, Secular Jinnah: Munir’s Big Hoax Exposed (2005) was the unexpected outcome of my first round of research, and here I wrote that the original source was probably Munir’s From Jinnah to Zia. But I was later to discover that this was not the original source of the quote. At any rate, my book was short and it hardly touched on Pakistan’s founding history. Over the next five years, my research continued and intensified, and I resolved to release a revised edition containing, among other things, updated information on the misconceptions about Jinnah and the Pakistan story. Instead I ended up writing an entirely new book. This was a complete political biography on Jinnah which also covered my updated research on the Munir quote. By the time I released Secular Jinnah & Pakistan: What the Nation Doesn’t Know in 2010, I had learned that the Munir quote had its origins not in Munir’s 1979 book, but in another famous publication authored by Munir: The Report of the Court of Inquiry Constituted under Punjab Act II of 1954. It is better known as the Munir Report, since it made Munir a celebrity and he became Chief Justice of the Federal Court soon after the inquiry ended. Following the Munir Report, the first time that the fake quote was used as supporting evidence for a secular Pakistan was in Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly in August 1954. This quote had never been cited before, simply because it didn’t exist; and so this was the first time that the secularist politicians of Pakistan succeeded in silencing their opponents outright. Thereafter Munir’s quote was accepted as a legitimate piece of evidence for fifty years.

As for Quran aur Pakistan, although we began its translation in 2004, we were unable to publish it due to technical issues, and subsequently this also delayed the publication of this booklet for a long time. I am happy to know that the booklet at least is finally going into print. It may be one of Parwez’s lesser known works, but without it, the Munir quote may not have come to light for another fifty years. For that reason, it certainly has great historical value; but to me personally, for my own reasons, its worth is immeasurable.

Saleena Karim,Nottingham

23 August 2012

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Did Quaid-e-Azam Want to Make Pakistan a Secular State?

Available now at CreateSpace

(Also available now at Amazon)

5.99 USD (CreateSpace & Amazon.com)
4.99 GBP (Amazon UK)

Paperback, 64 pages
Published by Islamic Dawn Society and Tolu-e-Islam Trust in association with Libredux Publishing. Translated and edited by Saleena Karim & Fazal Karim.

Get 25% off this book if you purchase from CreateSpace, using the following discount code at checkout (limited offer):

Go to this page
Discount code: GWRCFWQK

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The Qur'anic System of SustenanceGet this book 25% off too

You can also get The Qur’anic System of Sustenance at the same 25% discount if you apply this code at CreateSpace:

Go to this page
Discount code: AN3UM9VX

Can sci-fi redefine our political system?

Ballots for the world - DemocracyCompletely by accident this morning I have seen a post at the Science Fiction & Political Thought blog that briefly reviews my novel. The blog’s name is pretty self-explanatory. Its author, Dadrocant, is interested in exploring the links between sci-fi and political thought. In his latest post, ‘Can Science Fiction help us redefine our political system?‘, he mentions Systems as an example of sci-fi that questions whether or not democracy really is the best possible political system. This passage from that post caught my attention:

The center dilemma of this story lies in a social experiment simulation conducted 20 years before the events of the book, where several political systems are put to the test in a comparison, and even though there is no explanation as to what exactly the ideal system that is the center of the test [Libredux] is exactly like, it does hint at some interesting points, which can be seen today in some of the discourses from those who are discontented about the current state of affairs in western democracies …

That, of course, is the point Systems attempts to make. There is no such thing as a fixed ideal system. The distinguishing characteristic of an ideal system is that it is never fixed. That’s why you won’t find a blueprint for the Libredux model in Systems. And for any Pakistanis reading this post, this should be big clue as to why Iqbal also never offered any sort of blueprint for an ideal political system, and why even that epitome of pragmatism, Mr Jinnah, was supposedly ‘vague’ about what Pakistan’s system would be like. ;)

So, does Systems question democracy? Yes, it questions the modern democratic state – just as it questions all fixed ideologies – but not democracy in principle, which is based on both the ideals of liberty and justice. In fact, I always assumed that the Libredux model would likely be set up as some sort of democracy and evolve from there, in line with what I have said in SJ2 about ideal systems being able to develop by using any contemporary polity as a starting point. To reiterate: A ‘Libredux’ system would be one that theoretically takes the shape of almost any system, as long as it was fit to survive in the conditions of its time, and it retained its ideals (as per the theorem). Like a living organism, its body or structure can take any shape but its ethical DNA remains ultimately the same. I wrote this in an earlier draft of the manuscript for Systems – in its long-winded synopsis, actually – but it never made it into the final version of the novel. I didn’t want too much technical stuff to get in the way of the story.

The whole post on sci-fi as a medium for exploring future political systems can be found here.

2017: The Battle for Marghdeen – paperback out now

2017: The Battle for Marghdeen coverAnd now … it’s out! Libredux Publishing is proud to announce that the paperback edition of Khurram Ali Shafique’s book, 2017: The Battle for Marghdeen, has gone into print today, and is already available for purchase here. It will become available at Amazon soon as well, probably by next week. Ebook is available here.

If you read this short but powerful book, please send me your reviews, or post them at Amazon.

Intro from the back cover follows.

***


Marghdeen is an ideal society conceived by Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), a foremost thinker of modern times. It is a world where life is inside-out, people know their destinies and there is no poverty, neediness, crime or injustice.

In 2017: The Battle for Marghdeen, the author shows how such a society can be achieved in a short space of time, as long as we are prepared to change our perception about the world we live in. The book presents the basic principles for achieving Marghdeen, illustrated with examples from modern history. There is a special emphasis on societies that already acknowledge Iqbal as their thinker, but these principles can be applied anywhere in the world.

***

One of the finest achievements of the human mind is to see, to understand, and to put the things seen and understood into a greater perspective. With Khurram Ali Shafique, some kind of thinking of the heart has returned into the arena: a greater perspective, so to speak. – Dr. Thomas Stemmer

The Battle for Marghdeen – out now

At midnight Karachi time, Khurram Ali Shafique’s 2017: The Battle for Marghdeen went live at Smashwords. You can pick it up by following the link below. And, for a short time only, we’re celebrating the launch by leaving it open for free download to anyone who uses the coupon code available here.

2017: The Battle for Marghdeen cover1) Go to the page for the book

2) Scroll down the page and choose a format – epub, Kindle, PDF etc.

3) Apply this code: UH45Q

Enjoy!

Note: This offer expires at midnight, 18 August (California time).

The Battle for Marghdeen – Introduction

This title has already been released. Further info here

Seven Stages article at Republic of Rumi website

Anyone who has read Systems will know that its publisher, Libredux, is named after the ideal social system based on the Cohesive Ethics Theorem. When I used that name, I had no plans for it other than to publish the novel. But now, and quite unexpectedly, Libredux is taking on its second title, this time penned by the Marghdeen Learning Centre’s Khurram Ali Shafique.

At around the same time as I was formulating the theorem for the novel, Mr Shafique was formulating a theory of his own. His new book is inspired by a pattern he has found in the writings of Iqbal, which reveals a seven stage cycle for the development of a nation, or what Iqbal called the ‘collective ego’.

The book, titled: 2017: The Battle for Marghdeen, is due out on 14 August 2012 (coinciding with Pakistan’s 65th independence anniversary). I’m reproducing the Introduction below, to give you an idea of what it’s about. Further details will come later.

NB: Marghdeen is a fictional city on Mars, representing an ideal society as conceived by Iqbal in his epic poem, Javid Nama.

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Introduction

Khurram Ali Shafique has one of those rare gifts of being able to find patterns in the most unexpected of places. His discovery of the ‘seven stages’ in Iqbal’s works, (having first seen the connection between Iqbal’s epic poem Javid Nama and his famous Reconstruction lectures) is most intriguing and has wider implications for the study of history with an essentially inductive method. This is not to suggest it is a tool of prediction, but it does provide a method for analysing the psychological direction in which a given society is moving as a ‘collective ego’. Moreover, it serves to illustrate the universal principles that motivate all nations in pursuit of a Higher goal, and to also show what happens when these same principles are neglected.

2017: The Battle for Marghdeen coverIn this work, Mr. Shafique has looked at Pakistan (and also Bangladesh) as a case in point. The most interesting part of the cycle can be seen at stage four – the ‘freedom’ stage (1947-67). At first glance it seems thatPakistanis not moving as we might predict in light of the cycle of stages. As Mr. Shafique shows, this is because the ‘freedom’ stage marks the point at which individuals and small sections of Pakistani society actively began to focus on individualistic goals instead of collective goals. Some commentators on the history of Pakistan have similarly concluded that there is a point of departure from the ‘Pakistan idea’ in the same period. The main difference between most of these commentators and Mr. Shafique however is that Mr. Shafique has illuminated the fundamental reason for the departure in clear terms. ThePakistanidea was the Muslims’ collective basis of partition in 1947, but the point of departure also becomes manifest soon after 1947. The implications for the later stages, especially the final one we have entered as of 2007 (‘creation’), are very interesting indeed, if not alarming, depending on how one interprets the data.

Yet Mr. Shafique has also shown that surface appearances rarely if ever represent the whole of reality. In fact the decision and actions taken by a collective ego or nation are based, in his words, ‘either on the real goal collectively adopted thirty years earlier, or its misinterpretation’ (emphasis mine). What this means is that the collective ego will always choose between one of two directions, or what the Quran calls the ‘two highways’; and this has obvious implications for that much misunderstood concept called the ‘Two Nation Theory’. Again, as Mr. Shafique puts it, whether or not Pakistan proves true to herself ‘will depend, eventually, on whether or not its people manage to make its history a success story. That in itself seems to a daunting task just now, but this pattern itself might be a key to the solution’.

In other words, if the Pakistani nation can become consciously aware of its choices, it will be in a better position to make the right one and so succeed in the final phase. With this in mind, he has not only outlined the double nature of Pakistan’s path using some compelling evidence, but he has also supplied what he sees as the defining goal for the last phase, and the all-important turning point (2017) which will ultimately determine the outcome. Will Pakistan recognise her true nature? Will she transform into Marghdeen?

Whether or not Pakistan succeeds in the end, her journey through its seven stages nevertheless stands to offer invaluable information on the universal principles that motivate all nations in pursuit of a Higher goal.

And in any case, Mr. Shafique is optimistic, for he believes – based on what his theory truly implies – that there is no such thing as an evil age. Indeed he is, as Iqbal once described himself, ‘almost a fatalist in regard to the various forces that ultimately decide the destinies of nations’. This work thus presents an exciting new development not only for Iqbal and Pakistan studies, but for the field of history as well.

Saleena Karim, Nottingham, 28 July 2012

How Secular Jinnah inspired Systems Part 4: Reversal

Chief Justice AR Cornelius

Chief Justice Cornelius. Public domain image.

[I] am slowly beginning to understand what is built into the Constitution of Pakistan, in the way of political obligation … I have learnt that a non-Muslim can only be a full citizen of Pakistan if, on the secular side, he conforms to the requirements of the Objectives Resolution, read with the first 8 Articles, that is Parts I (the Republic of Pakistan) and II (Fundamental Rights and Principles of Policy). So far as I can see, at present, this is entirely possible, and would be easy, if there were some formulation of the basic principles contained in the Scriptures of Islam, in regard to equality, tolerance, social justice etc.

These are the words of Alvin Robert Cornelius (1903-1991), one-time Chief Justice of Pakistan, in a personal letter dated July 1965. A practising Christian, he was one of the many people who supported the Pakistan idea. He was also amongst the few who understood the content of the Objectives Resolution as a statement of universal human ideals and one that made great promises to all its citizens regardless of caste and creed. But, he said, these ideals hadn’t been spelled out.

AN OVERLOOKED ISSUE

And Cornelius wasn’t the only person to say this. Two other Pakistanis (Mian Iftikharuddin and PD Bhandara, father of MP Bhandara) also made similar remarks in criticism of Pakistan’s constitution-making body during Pakistan’s fledgling years. All three of these individuals stated in no uncertain terms that some fundamental principles had not been accounted for. Iftikharuddin complained in 1949 that the Objectives Resolution didn’t …

incorporate those principles which will make real democracy possible …

– and PD Bhandara said in 1954:

The very essence of an Islamic Constitution which is brevity and simplicity is conspicuous by its absence. … In the process of evolution gained by experience, I trust our Constitution will be remodelled to conform more to the tenets of Islam

But their words went unheeded, and with time the Objectives Resolution became an issue of enormous contention.

MA Jinnah on 14 August 1947

MA Jinnah on 14 August 1947, and not 11 August as shown on Wikipedia. Image from my personal collection.

Critics of the Objectives Resolution see it as some sort of backdoor to theocracy, even though a religious state was the last thing on the minds of those who penned it. MP Bhandara’s 11 August 1947 bill (introduced in 2006) was an attempt to insert one of Jinnah’s most famous speeches on civil equality alongside the Objectives Resolution in the constitution. Bhandara said the speech would act as an ‘ideological balance’. Ironically, unlike his father, MP Bhandara had actually misinterpreted the Objectives Resolution and his bill (his version of it, anyway) was only going to make things worse by causing a conflict. I tried to tell him this, but I don’t think he heard me.

THREE WORDS

All this made me think of the theorem. By now I saw the connection to the three words in Iqbal’s Reconstruction – the three basic ideals of equality (justice), solidarity (unity), and freedom (liberty). That passage of Iqbal became my muse. Even Jinnah had been subconsciously drawn to these three ideals, which was why he quoted the French equivalent liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity) several times during those last few months of his life as Pakistan’s first Governor General.

By 2009, a publisher in the UK and another in Pakistan had both already offered me a contract for SJ1’s revised edition. They expected me to get it to them in a few weeks. It took me 14 months, and thankfully both publishers were very patient with me. By the time it was finished, SJ2 was a brand new book containing new and original research, and only parts of it coincided with SJ1.

LEFT UNSAID

Snapshot from trailerIn SJ2, I briefly mentioned this ‘missing’ element of Pakistan’s constitution, and even said that my old appendix (imported from SJ1 and improved in SJ2) contained the very same ‘core principles’ of the Quran that could help complete the constitutional work begun back in 1949. What I didn’t mention – though I discussed it with one or two people including a prominent Pakistani retired senior judge – was that I also had an idea for a bill that could introduce the same ideals as those listed in my old appendix, the source of the theorem. To my mind the introduction of binding, interconnected values would not only strengthen and clarify the promises made in the Objectives Resolution, but would also put an end to the misinterpretation of what it contains.

And what happened after that? Well, the idea remains an idea. In the end, I made it – the theorem, that is – ‘real’ only in my fictional universe. But there it makes for useful commentary on the human condition … and it’s my way of paying homage to the Pakistan idea.

This is the final part. Earlier posts in this mini-series:

Introduction … Pt 1: The first book 

Pt 2: Libredux … Pt 3: The missing principle

(Some images in this post are copyrighted)

How Secular Jinnah inspired Systems Part 3: The missing principle

As SJ1’s readership grew, so did the requests for a sequel. At first I only intended to release a revised edition and call it SJ2. And yet, all sorts of new information kept cropping up on the Pakistan story. My minor list of revisions soon became a monster file of notes which couldn’t be organised except in the form of a new book.

EVOLUTION

Then between late 2006 and mid-2007, two things happened to affect both the as-yet unwritten SJ2 and Systems. First, I came up with the ‘theorem’ for the novel in a kind of eureka moment, though this had been building up for some time. As I mentioned in Part 2, before this point my ‘ideal’ system model for the fictional Systems Experiment had been nothing more than a name. This was because I’d been semi-consciously aware that a fixed system was problematic. If I described the features of this system in the fiction in detail, it might be set in stone and treated as some fixed ideology. Fictional or not, I’d instinctively known I wanted to avoid that.

Single Source PrincipleThe fact that an ideal system is never fixed (because evolution itself is a Natural Law) now registered in my conscious knowledge for the first time. This was thanks largely to my in-depth study of the Pakistan story and in particular the thoughts of Jinnah and Iqbal (in that order. Jinnah’s  intelligence and acute ethical awareness remains greatly under-appreciated even among the experts). And so all the pieces came together. The idea (it had no name at first) was very simple and based on common sense. If you assume that everything in the universe has a common starting point of some sort, and you assume that the laws of nature also have the same starting point, then all ideals have the same starting point too … in principle. And just as the universe – with its zillions of atoms and subatomic particles and other seemingly separated bits and pieces called gravity and black holes and dark matter and space and time – actually remains one in principle, then all universal ideals must really be aspects or derivatives of a single common ideal.

I also remembered my old issue with that SJ1 appendix – the two irreducible ideals of justice and freedom. As it turns out, the two really are irreducible for reasons I won’t explain here, but whilst we often treat them as separate and ultimately incompatible, they really are not. In combination they represent one ultimate principle. I would later call this the Single Source Principle (though this part of the theorem was never explained in detail in the novel). Of course to many people it’s better known as Oneness, or Unity.

DNA cross section

Computer-generated cross section of DNA, from a top-down view.

THE THEOREM

At any rate, I finally had the essence of a testable ‘theorem’ (for the fiction, at least). As I put it in Systems:

… justice and liberty are the only universal ideals; all other ethical principles are either derivatives or aspects of these ideals. But justice and liberty are themselves interconnected because they come, just like the physical universe and every law of nature, from a single source.

It seemed natural to call this relationship cohesive ethics; like a kind of ‘theory of everything’ for universal ideals. (I later tacked on the word ‘theorem’ in the novel for effect). To my mind, any social system built around the ideals of both justice and liberty together would be acting in harmony with the Natural Order and so was bound to succeed. Its exact structure – the minor details – wouldn’t matter. What would matter was its type … what it aimed for … its spirit … its ethical DNA. And by virtue of a beautiful accident, I already had the perfect name for this type of system: Libredux.

a social system with no fixed rules, except for one binding principle which could not be broken under any circumstances.

Now I had almost everything I needed for the novel. But it still wouldn’t be finished for another five years.

CONSTITUTION

Second, in around May 2007 I had some interesting correspondence with the late Pakistani parliamentarian MP Bhandara, which led to my inadvertently becoming involved with his constitutional bill to make the 11 August 1947 speech of MA Jinnah a ‘substantive’ part of Pakistan’s constitution. Again, details aren’t important (though we’ll touch on it in the next part; the whole story is in SJ2’s appendix in any case). But that experience showed me just how important a strong constitution is. It also alerted me to the fact that something extremely important might be missing in Pakistan’s constitution – something that was leaving its fundamental sections open to misinterpretation.

Next: Pt 4 (final): Reversal

Earlier posts in this mini-series:

Introduction … Pt 1: The first book 

Pt 2: Libredux … Pt 3: The missing principle 

 

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How Secular Jinnah inspired Systems Part 2: Libredux

A couple of years before SJ1, I was in the middle of a personal journey that was transforming my way of thinking. Details are not important, but the result of it was that I’d learned some incredible things about the untapped potential that is present within each and every one of us. And inevitably this found expression in the novel. To an extent I was using the novel as a space to record my developing ideas, albeit in embryonic form.

Snapshot from Systems trailer

Snapshot from Systems trailer

At this time I was thinking about the possibility of an ideal society, an environment that enables us all to unlock that potential. What’s really stopping us from creating a civilization that resembles something out of Star Trek or Iqbal’s fictional world ‘Marghdeen’ in Javid Nama?

Like many Pakistanis, I’d heard about those who genuinely believed that part of the idea behind Pakistan was to create a society that would aim for the highest of ideals. At this point I didn’t know enough about it to say I had any sort of opinion about this. But it was an intriguing concept. In Pakistan of course, it hasn’t been realised to date, even if it continues to capture the imagination of Pakistan’s youth.

THE SYSTEMS EXPERIMENT

The metaphor of an ideal societyMeanwhile my novel was developing slowly. I had an idea for an experiment that would simulate history and test social systems, including an ‘ideal’ one. Computer simulations are commonly used for predicting weather patterns and observing changes in ecosystems. To my mind a social system simulation seemed perfectly feasible – more feasible, than say, trying to set up an experimental ideal society within an existing country where all sorts of practical obstacles would get in the way. A simulation would provide a controlled environment and in fact would be a more reliable test. In the novel, the Systems Experiment would prove that an ideal society was possible, and then the bad guys would go and ruin it all … as they always do. :)

The only problem was I didn’t know how to test an ideal system when I couldn’t even describe it. ‘Never mind,’ I thought. ‘It’s fiction anyway.’ Still, I did come up with a name for it: Libredux. The word means ‘return to liberty and justice’, since lib means both ‘liberty’ and ‘justice’ (the latter by virtue of the Latin libra – literally, ‘balance’). That was as far as I got with the idea at this stage.

THREE MAGIC WORDS

Around this time I also happened to acquire a copy of Iqbal’s Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. I was awed by this book, which was the first truly philosophical piece on Islam that I had ever seen. The passages that interested me most were those on the ‘unity of God’ – called Tauheed in the Quran.  Tauheed is the philosophical basis of the so-called ‘Islamic worldview’ – which treats matter and spirit as one (and not two separate things as we do in the West). One of my favourite passages from the book was:

Dr Muhammad Iqbal

Dr. Iqbal. Courtesy allamaiqbal.com

The essence of ‘Tauhid’ as a working idea is equality, solidarity, and freedom. The State, from the Islamic viewpoint, is an endeavour to transform these ideal principles into space-time forces, an aspiration to realise them in a definite human organisation.

I quoted this and similar passages in SJ1 to try and explain the idealism that motivated many supporters (not all of them Muslim) of the Pakistan idea. But for a very long time, I didn’t see the connection between this passage and my word, libredux. Nor did anything click when I wrote that appendix and only listed freedom and justice as the simplest ideals. I didn’t even connect that appendix to the word libredux. (I’m a bit slow sometimes.) The obvious reason was that since I hadn’t come to the theorem yet – and since I also hadn’t realised the final value of ‘unity’ (solidarity) yet – I couldn’t see what was right in front of me.

Next: Pt 3: The missing principle … Pt 4 (final): Reversal

Earlier posts in this mini-series:

IntroductionPt 1: The first book … Pt 2: Libredux 

(Some images in this post are copyrighted)

How Secular Jinnah inspired Systems Part 1: The first book

(If you haven’t seen it already, read the introduction to this mini-series here)

Freedom, represented by feathers, or wingsThe first book I ever started – long before even SJ1 – was fiction. For a long time I had notions about the emotional content, and that it should be an epic. I even developed the characters, and knew that the story would contain a quest for a valuable item, but otherwise there was no solid plot. It refused to come together because it lacked focus. The thing had a beating heart, but no brain. Or maybe it was the other way round.

Justice, represented by scales

Scales, representing justice, were originally going to appear on the cover of 'Systems'

Whilst I said to friends that I was writing a novel, my only published writing was in the form of a few literary columns, and some Urdu-to-English translations of articles. Then suddenly in 2004 through my translation work, I happened to uncover what would later be called the ‘Munir quote’. This was the start of Secular Jinnah (2005), and my journey learning about the Pakistan idea. Funnily enough I didn’t even like politics (and still don’t!), but as I soon discovered, the Pakistan story was more than just political history. It wasn’t just another redrawing of the world map. It had a higher, noble idea at its core that truly resonated with me. I will explain why in the next post.

GERM OF AN IDEA

In mid-2005, I was finishing the final draft of SJ1 and putting in a few appendices. The book was short and didn’t explain anything about Pakistan’s founding history in much detail, but it had discussed the universal principles of the Quran that inspired so many Muslims during the Pakistan movement and which they expected to see become a reality in their new state. For the second appendix item I wanted to create a short list of these principles, about a page long, of the universal human rights that are also mentioned in the Quran. But I wanted to stick to basic principles, i.e. the ideals, in part because this is what the Quran itself does, and also because Jinnah had placed emphasis on the same basic ideals.

So I got thinking about human rights.

  • Freedom of conscience or religion
  • Freedom of speech
  • Equality before the law
  • Right to a fair trial
  • Equality of the sexes

Seed of an idea… And so on. But I soon realised that most of these items could be grouped together by their corresponding ideal. The first two of the above list could be grouped together under the ideal value ‘freedom’, and the latter three under ‘justice’. I also recall thinking that many (if not most) of these and similar principles could be classified both under freedom and justice. In fact these two seemingly separate ideals are ultimately united, but I hadn’t recognised this yet. Nor did I know that this was the germ of the idea for what would later become the Cohesive Ethics Theorem.

And how many ideals were there? Try as I might, I could only think of two: justice and freedom.

Next: Pt 2: Libredux … Pt 3: The missing principle  Pt 4 (final): Reversal

Earlier posts in this mini-series: Introduction

 

How Secular Jinnah inspired Systems: Introduction

Systems coverSince starting this blog, I’ve been posting a little bit about writing Systems, and only a tiny bit (one post thus far) about its core. I’ve been reluctant to write extensively on the core because I didn’t want the formal stuff to clutter this blog and give people the wrong idea about the story – which is a lot more entertaining, I assure you. Yet something hasn’t felt quite right.

Secular Jinnah & Pakistan coverEveryone who knows me as a writer identifies me with Secular Jinnah. My mailing list is made up almost entirely of folk who are interested in Pakistan’s founding history. To them, Systems has no connection to my other titles.

BENEATH THE SURFACE

But there is a connection, even if it’s not immediately obvious to my readers (and wouldn’t be noticed at all by most non-Pakistani readers). And I know I haven’t exactly been helping either. In my original announcement email for Systems to my list in early December 2011, I said that ‘any resemblance to the Pakistan idea’ was ‘entirely coincidental’. Now that was a tongue-in-cheek joke coming from a conversation I was having with a friend at the time, but I think they took it seriously. Even later on, after I clarified that actually there is a connection, they didn’t buy it. Perhaps they thought I was just trying to sell the novel. I wasn’t.

Recently at another writer’s blog I told a fellow writer that my non-fiction and fiction were virtually unconnected. I was telling the truth, insofar as there’s not an obvious connection on a surface level. But it’s not true at the core. Not even remotely. Systems is social commentary in the broadest sense, and its core is very much inspired by the discoveries I made when I was writing about the Pakistan idea. In short, Systems simply wouldn’t exist without Secular Jinnah. Funnily enough, I even mentioned this on the description page for Systems on Amazon.com a few weeks ago but didn’t carry that point over to here. So it’s about time I did. Of course, I do love writing about storytelling and pencraft, and I will continue to do so. But I must follow my own advice and try to reveal the core of this novel.

BACK TO THE BEGINNING

So starting this Sunday I’m starting a mini-series about the story behind Systems. Doing so will help me achieve two things at once. One, I’ll finally help my readers understand what I meant about the connection to the Pakistan idea. Two, it’ll be easier for me to introduce the ‘theorem’ of the novel (among other things) by explaining exactly where it came from.

So you won’t miss it, subscribe (see form on the right side of this page) if you haven’t already done so.

Next: Pt 1: The first book … Pt 2: Libredux 

Pt 3: The missing principle  Pt 4 (final): Reversal