Tag Archive for pakistan

Waheed Murad’s biography released in Pakistan

Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times cover

SK: The much-anticipated Pakistani edition of Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times, which was published in the UK by Libredux Publishing last year, has just been released as of yesterday (16 August 2016). Below is Khurram Shafique’s announcement email:


My dear friends,

Please allow me to write this email on a personal note, and speak straight from the heart.

With my new book, I might be questioning our understanding of almost everything – I have myself experienced this paradigm shift due to the influence of Iqbal’s teachings, and now I’m sharing the crux of it all in my new book, Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times.

Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times cover

The title is deceptive.

The book is the story of Iqbal’s literary movement after his death in 1938. We know that the dreams of this movement came true when Iqbal’s party gained a spectacular victory in the election of 1945-46, paving the way for the birth of Pakistan (including the present-day Bangladesh). We also know that every school of thought except one had rejected this goal within the first seven years of the country’s existence.

In my book, I’m telling the story of the only school of thought that remained committed to the goal the nation had adopted under the Quaid. This school has been banished from our academic and intellectual life, and has been disinherited most treacherously.

Therefore, this is not the story of a filmstar. It is your story. It is our story. It is about how our dreams, our ideals, and perhaps even our souls got stolen and how we still do not know. Where did they go? This is what I’m trying to answer in Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times.

The book is the result of my journey of discovery in the light of whatever I learnt from Iqbal. What I found in this journey, I’m sharing here with you, with a promise that after reading this book, your perception of Pakistan will change forever.

The book is now available in Pakistan through TCS, at their website (credit card is not needed). Special price of the Pakistani edition is Rs.300. It has been published by Libredux, who also published the UK-US edition last year, and is being distributed in Pakistan by Topline Publishers.

I hope that you will enjoy this book.

Regards

Khurram Ali Shafique

Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times – Out Now

Waheed Murad Biography CoverLibredux Publishing is pleased to announce a brand new title: Khurram Ali Shafique’s book, Waheed Murad: His Life and Our Times, which went into print yesterday (16 September 2015) and is already available at Amazon’s US and UK sites. It’s the second title in a series of three titled Visionaries for Our Times. (The first of the series was Libredux’s previous publication: Iqbal: His Life and Our Times.) The third installment in the series, on the life of Cyrus the Great, will be released within the next year.

Following from the themes of the first book, this is not merely a biography of Pakistan’s greatest film star. It’s the story of a visionary whose films aimed to reflect the ideals of Iqbal.

Intro from the back cover follows.


 

The face that changed the way a nation saw itself

Presenting the first complete biography of Waheed Murad, covering the diverse aspects of his enchanting personality – filmmaker, writer, superstar and the man behind the legend. In these pages you will discover his unique vision for an ideal world: One that can be created through love and a strong will, where intellect and reason have failed to do so.

Khurram Ali Shafique is an internationally renowned scholar of Iqbal Studies, and a recipient of the Presidential Iqbal Award. He is also a screenwriter, educationist and historian. He began writing this book soon after the death of Waheed in 1983, but it took more than thirty years to piece together all the parts of this amazing story.

Three Giants and Systems

My brother recently pointed out to me that with the publication of Khurram Ali Shafique’s Iqbal: His Life and Our Times, I can now claim to have covered three great Muslim personalities of the last century: Jinnah, Iqbal and Parwez. This was something that had never crossed my mind before.

Jinnah and Iqbal rank among the most important figures for Muslims in the Indian subcontinent, while Parwez has had an enormous impact that has yet to be appreciated whether among academia or in the public eye. For myself personally however, the fact that I have had the good fortune to cover these particular three is especially significant. Have a look at the three men in turn, and I hope you’ll see what I mean.

First, each respectively represents one of the three Cohesive Ethics principles. Visiting them in chronological order of my publications:

Parwez: Justice

G.A. Parwez

G.A. Parwez (1903-85)

My earliest writing work was the translation of my father’s Quran aur Pakistan, which was a book containing his poetry and a compilation of various writings from G.A. Parwez’s work. One of the chapters from this book was a reproduction of a pamphlet of Parwez on Jinnah that I eventually published many years later. And of course, my work on this pamphlet also led directly to my work on Jinnah.

Parwez was a prolific writer, but arguably his most important contribution as a scholar was his 1955 book Nizam-i-Rabbubiyyat (System of Divine Sustenance), an economic treatise that took a holistic and groundbreaking view of Quranic terms normally identified with capital interest and religious charity. My father and I have translated this book under the title The Qur’anic System of Sustenance. Parwez’s strong emphasis on social justice and criticism of capitalism in that book has led even some of his supporters to wrongly think he was a closet communist – despite the fact that he described communism as “a grave danger to humanity” and went to great lengths to reveal the stark differences between materialist communism and his Quran-inspired work. In any case, Parwez’s work in this field makes him an unequivocal representative of the justice principle.

Jinnah: Unity

M.A. Jinnah

M.A. Jinnah (1876-1948)

My first full book was on M.A. Jinnah, and so was its better known sequel, Secular Jinnah & Pakistan.

Jinnah represents the unity principle. No, he practically personifies it. He was dubbed the “ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity” in his early political career; and later, both as the leader of the Pakistan independence movement and as the founding father of the country, “unity” remained his watchword both for “Muslim unity” and for a Pakistani nationality that encompassed its multicultural population. The Pakistani national motto “Faith, Unity, Discipline” was coined by Jinnah during the Pakistan movement. The word “unity” turns up countless times in his speeches and statements and is probably the word that he used more than any other.

Iqbal: Liberty

M. Iqbal (1877-1938)

M. Iqbal (1877-1938)

I wrote a full chapter on M. Iqbal in Secular Jinnah & Pakistan on the crux of his philosophy. My imprint Libredux Publishing has also published two books on his philosophy: 2017: The Battle for Marghdeen and Iqbal: His Life and Our Times. Iqbal’s references to the three principles of “equality, solidarity and freedom” are of course the “muse” of the Cohesive Ethics Theorem in Systems.

Iqbal undoubtedly represents the liberty principle owing to his emphasis on human will and action, and his calls for a “reconstruction of religious thought in Islam” in the famous lectures of the same name. He wanted Muslims to revive the long-abandoned practice of ijtihad (lit. “strive”), which amounts to freeing the Muslim community from the shackles of tradition so it can learn to actively adapt with the needs of its time. He dedicated his fifth lecture solely to this topic, describing ijtihad as the “principle of movement”.

Second, these men have some striking similarities with the characters from Systems who also represent the same respective principles.

Parwez and the Peace Man

Peter Manner

Peter Manner

Though they are worlds apart, Parwez and Peter Manner (the Peace Man) have some uncanny parallels. Both are lone warriors. Both possess keen insight into the failings of humanity, and its potential. In his writings Parwez calls for a revolution against the three forms of tyranny mentioned in the Quran, while Peter is on a crusade against an unnamed “them” – that is, E3, who represent the same three evils.

Both are totally committed to the idea of total justice, though Peter takes it to the extreme: He kills one “worthless” criminal for every friend he has lost in his previous life, and returns every single penny he has taken from the innocent people he robs. Parwez’s work on economics, despite not being nearly as dramatic in practice, is nevertheless driven by a similar level of conviction in the possibility of absolute justice. (And incidentally, Peter’s past life incarnation was also an economist). Both Parwez and Peter are absolutely determined to see their causes through, irrespective of how others may respond to them. Parwez’s sheer tenacity and courage easily match Peter’s, as he was more forthright in his calls for religious reformation than even Iqbal, literally risking his life in upholding his views in a hostile religious environment.

Iqbal and the Shaman

Hitoshi Katayama

Hitoshi Katayama

The strange similarities between Iqbal and Hitoshi Katayama are too numerous to list in full. Iqbal’s poetical inspirations from Revelation include David (The Persian Psalms) and Adam (in various works including Javid Nama), the namesakes of the twins who are tied to Hitoshi (also known as the Shaman in Systems). Both Iqbal and Hitoshi are poets, and both possess musical talent. Both have complex, larger-than-life personalities. Some of the things they say are incorrectly interpreted as being esoteric. Both are frequently accused of ambivalence and contradiction – though this accusation is more justified in Hitoshi’s case – and both are aware of, and comfortable with, being a mystery to others.

Each of the two also fulfils his “destiny” in an apparently ironic way – Iqbal through his choice of the seemingly “secular” Jinnah to lead the Muslims of India, and Hitoshi through his decision to destroy the only proof that the Systems Experiment was a success. This reveals how they each symbolise the conflicting nature of the liberty principle. Both also acknowledge their dark sides, though in different ways: “I have a certain amount of admiration for the Devil,” says Iqbal, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, in his first English-language lecture in 1908. Hitoshi would definitely return that remark with his characteristically devilish smile. Indeed, an early edit of Hitoshi’s song This is my Fate in the novel contained the lyrics “blessed in the Devil’s light”.

Jinnah and Agent Numbskull

Aaron Lloyd

Aaron Lloyd

Jinnah and Aaron Lloyd (named after the Prophet who also represents unity) both uphold the unity principle in precisely the same way, through a shared sense of inclusiveness. Aaron asks Hitoshi to join forces with him to try and defeat their common enemy, even after learning the truth about Hitoshi’s background. Similarly Jinnah asked Muslim religious and political leaders alike to set aside their differences in order to rally around a common goal, though he was well aware of their shortcomings.

Jinnah also shares what Hitoshi rudely calls the “numbskull” trait with Aaron – that is, both Aaron and Jinnah come across as cold and unreadable, one by virtue of a cranial chip, the other by his behaviour. Yet in fact both are deeply compassionate underneath the surface, and are really using the system to fight the system. Jinnah uses his British training in constitutional law to fight against the British Raj, while Aaron is an agent working for, and secretly fighting against, the very organisation responsible for killing his father and destroying his legacy. And on that note, both Jinnah and Aaron stand against benevolent dictatorships.

Hanif Omar

Hanif Omar

Finally, a disclaimer.

The connections between these three makers of history and the three leading men from Systems are remarkable, but by no means were any of the fictional characters consciously (or unconsciously) inspired by the historical figures. However, one of the three men did directly inspire another character in Systems, namely the eccentric professor Dr. Hanif Omar, the man behind the Cohesive Ethics Theorem and the Systems Experiment.

I’ll leave it to you to decide which one it was.

If you can think of any other links between the three men and the characters that I have failed to mention, please let me know here in the comments.

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

From the blurb

This booklet is Ghulam Ahmad Parwez’s rebuttal to Chief Justice Muhammad Munir’s bestseller, From Jinnah to Zia (1979), containing ample evidence from Jinnah’s written statements and speeches to counter Munir’s claims that Jinnah was a secularist. As one-time counsel to Quaid-i-Azam M.A. Jinnah on matters pertaining to Islam, and as one of the few who could visit him without an appointment, Parwez was in a position to speak with authority on the founder of Pakistan’s political convictions.

Here it is. At last, the book that started my writing career has gone into print. (You have no idea how long I have been waiting to publish this book.) It’s the translation of Kya Quaid-e-Azam Pakistan ko secular state banana chahte tai? (lit. Did the Great Leader want to make Pakistan a secular state? For those of you who don’t know, Quaid-e-Azam was an honorific title used by the Muslims of colonial India to refer to M.A. Jinnah, the constitutional lawyer who eventually became the founder of Pakistan).

I was originally going to explain the full background of how this book links to my work in this post, until I realised that the foreword of the book does exactly that. It’ll be reproduced in my next post.

But in brief: Parwez wrote this booklet in 1980, as a rebuttal to Chief Justice Munir’s From Jinnah to Zia (1979). Munir had argued that Jinnah was a ‘secularist’. Parwez aptly countered the claim, but he overlooked a certain statement attributed to Jinnah – one that would finally be exposed as a fake 25 years later by yours truly.

For a short time, you can get this book – and also the The Qur’anic System of Sustenance – at 25% discount. Details follow.

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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

Booklet on Jinnah – release in next 24 hours

This is a quick note to let you know that another translated title is going into print from tomorrow. It’s the English translation of a short Urdu book on MA Jinnah, written by GA Parwez in 1980. It also has special significance to me. I’ll explain tomorrow.

Watch this space.

The Qur’anic System of Sustenance – editor’s foreword

Excerpted from The Qur’anic System of Sustenance by G.A. Parwez
(trans. Saleena Karim & Fazal Karim)

FOREWORD (editor)

The Qur'anic System of Sustenance coverGhulam Ahmad Parwez was without doubt one of the greatest minds of the last century. In his time he was misunderstood and deemed a heretic in his own country, and his essentially rationalist approach was viewed with much suspicion in the Muslim world. Since his death in 1985 however, his popularity has steadily grown both in Pakistan and across the world. The full impact of his work has yet to be properly assessed and appreciated.

My father (Fazal Karim) and I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to translate Parwez’s seminal work, Nizam-e-Rabbubiyat, into English. The Urdu title literally translates to System of (Universal) Sustenance, but over the years among those discussing his work in English it has wrongly been referred to as the ‘Qur’anic Economic System’, which is not only a misnomer, but also exposes a gross misinterpretation of Parwez’s thought. Although this book discusses communism and capitalism in light of Qur’anic principles, and, notwithstanding the fact that Parwez describes this book as a ‘monograph on the subject of economics’ [1], it is fair to say that it does not, as such, present a purely economic system with the mere aim of meeting material needs. Whereas the very word ‘economy’ implies an acceptance of the scarcity principle, the Divine principles of sustenance cannot be characterised together as ‘economy’, being based on the Qur’an’s self-attested principle of ‘abundance’. Nor should the Urdu word nizam (system) in the title be taken to mean a closed system. On the subject of the word deen (usually translated as ‘religion’), Parwez has stated elsewhere that whilst ‘way of life’ (or ‘system’) is the closest meaning of the Arabic, even this is insufficient. Deen certainly is a systemic word, but it does not literally translate to ‘system’. Since (to paraphrase Parwez) Islam as a deen equates to the Divine process of sustenance (Rabbubiya) at work throughout the universe, [2] his chosen Urdu word nizam likewise does not point to a fixed system, but to a set of principles taken together as a whole.

Moreover, this book is really an attempt to delineate the Qur’anic method of meeting human needs in their entirety – both material and ‘spiritual’. Parwez himself remarks in Chapter 4: ‘Meeting our physical needs is a means to an end, and not an end in itself’. Again in Chapter 8, he writes: ‘The higher purpose of the Divine system of sustenance is not just to meet the physical needs of people. Indeed, meeting physical needs is only a rudimentary and superficial aim. From the Qur’anic perspective this is only a step in the direction of life’s true purpose, which is to develop and perfect the self, and this can be achieved only by enacting the principle of universal sustenance’.

In short, Parwez has tried to show that the Divine system of sustenance not only serves to rewrite the generally accepted rules of economy, but also those of human society, and by extension, of reality. While there are those who would view Parwez’s views as utopian and unrealistic, he was inspired by the Qur’anic line that it is all ‘easy for God’ (as mentioned in Chapter 8 of this book) – suggesting that what may seem difficult in view of humanity’s present mindset would in fact be very easy for a nation that understands the Divine Message.

The translation

This is a translation of the 1978 edition with minor editorial revisions and additions made by the translators solely for the purpose of clarifying the content of the main text. We have also added footnotes (all marked Translators’ note), again to either expand upon or clarify statements made in the original Urdu text.

The chief difference between the original 1955 and 1978 editions was the addition of some appendices by Parwez, namely: Islami Socialism (Islamic Socialism), 2) Jahaan Marx Na-Kaam Reh Geya (Where Marx Failed), Mao Tse Tung aur Qur’an (Mao Tse Tung and the Qur’an: A Comparison) and Riba ke Behs (The Debate Over Interest). As these titles suggest, Parwez wrote these appendices mainly to address communism, which was still operational in both Russia and China at the time. Since then communism has essentially failed worldwide (even China, while technically remaining a communist state, is behaving increasingly like a modern capitalist state in practice), and so the content of these appendices is no longer relevant to the present economic climate. For this reason we have not reproduced them. However we have translated two important sections on zakaat and riba from the third of Parwez’s appendices, Riba ke Behs, and included it as a short additional chapter, inserted before the Afterword.

When it comes to quotes from the Qur’an, we have taken the liberty of inserting well-known English translations (slightly edited to modernise the English) wherever Parwez has referred to particular verses and reproduced the Arabic. Parwez’s approach (as he explains in his Preface to the 1978 edition, also reproduced in this book) was to translate meaning for meaning (exposition) rather than translate literally word for word. This is because literal translations sometimes fail to convey the full meaning of the Qur’anic text – a fact universally acknowledged by all translators of the Qur’an. Nevertheless, wherever the meaning of Parwez’s expositional translation is close to a traditional version, we have seamlessly combined the two. This has the added benefit of showing the reader how to better understand literal translations. At other times, Parwez’s expositional text is either included in the main text immediately following the traditional quotations, or occasionally part of it appears in footnotes.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Mr Maqbool Mahmood Farhat of Ilford, Essex, who went to a great deal of trouble in locating the vast majority of the references in this book. Some of the works were not fully referenced in the original Urdu text, which made the task of locating them that much more difficult. To Mr Farhat goes the credit of saving us much time in this area.

Finally, it goes without saying that no translation is ever truly perfect, and so we end by saying that any deficiency in this translation is ours and ours alone.

Saleena Karim, Nottingham, UK

15 July 2012

 

Footnotes


[1] See Parwez’s Preface to the 1978 edition. In fact it seems he wrote this line only because he had added three appendices on economic subjects.

[2] See end of Chapter 1.

A new book with ‘system’ in the title – out now

The Qur'anic System of Sustenance coverRecently I announced that Libredux Publishing was about to release a book in collaboration with another organisation (Tolu-e-Islam, Lahore). The book is out now in paperback, and its title is The Qur’anic System of Sustenance, the long-awaited English translation of G.A. Parwez’s Nizam-e-Rabbubiyat (1955). That makes it the second Libredux book with the word ‘system’ in the title. :)

The book has just become available at CreateSpace, as well as at Amazon US and Amazon UK. I will reproduce the editor’s foreword in my next post. In the meantime, allow me to introduce its author.

Ghulam Ahmad Parwez – not to be mixed up with the founder of Ahmadism, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – was a non-sectarian Muslim thinker with a rationalist approach to Islam. He was born in British India in 1903 and was an activist of the Pakistan movement. He was an associate of Dr. Iqbal; and it was at Iqbal’s suggestion that he set up his monthly journal Tolu-e-Islam in 1938, which is still in print today. He was also an adviser to M.A. Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Parwez received a posthumous Tehrik-e-Pakistan (Pakistan Movement) Gold Medal for his services in 1989. But he is best known for his outspoken views on religion, which he considered to be the antithesis of true Islam – and an obstacle in the way of unlocking humanity’s full potential.

Controversy with a capital ‘S’

G.A. Parwez

G.A. Parwez (1903-85)

Parwez wrote numerous books and articles, including the aptly-titled Islam: A Challenge to Religion (his only title originally written in English), a 4-volume lexicon of the Quran (Lughat ul Quran), and a 3-volume expositional and scientific translation of the Quran (Mufhoom al Quran). But perhaps his most important work was Nizam-e-Rabbubiyat (1955), which translates literally to ‘system of (universal) sustenance’. When my father and I translated this book, we changed the title to include the word ‘Quranic’ because the word Rabbubiyat is derived from one of the names of God (Rabb) in the Quran. At the time of its release, the book generated a lot of controversy. Some suggested that his book was a thinly-disguised communist manifesto, due to his anti-capitalist views and the fact that his proposed ‘system’ had a somewhat socialist bent. But in fact Parwez was opposed to both capitalism and communism on the grounds that they are purely materialistic and reject the spiritual (just as he was opposed to religion on the grounds that it is purely spiritualistic and rejects the material).

A misnomer

Parwez said he was actually offering a Quran-inspired economic system as a third alternative to both. But was he really talking about an economic system? Not at all. It would take me far too long to explain why in this post – and anyway, it’s covered in the foreword that will appear here soon. But suffice it to say that what makes Parwez’s proposed ‘system’ different from capitalism and communism is that it is not confined to the material. In other words, it covers more than just economy. The ‘system of sustenance’ presented by Parwez should be understood in much the same way as I have described ‘Libredux’ in Systems – as an open-ended structure distinguished only by the universal ideals at its core. To borrow Parwez’s words, this type of ‘system’ is a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

And what is that end?

The answer is in this very post. Tell me if you spotted it.

Postscript: To celebrate the launch of this title, it will be made available at a reduced price for a limited time. Details to follow in my next post.

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

An ideal advert … or maybe not

Earlier this week an article of mine appeared in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn’s Special Report on the Lahore Resolution. For those of you who don’t know, the Lahore Resolution might be described as (sort of) the Pakistani equivalent of the American Declaration of Independence, and Pakistanis celebrate this document (and argue about its significance) every year on 23rd March.

While I was browsing the e-paper at Dawn‘s website, this advert caught my eye:

An ideal advert? (Image: dawn.com)

It was a reproduction of the major signatories of the Lahore Resolution, accompanied with the header: ‘Equality, Freedom, Unity’. Of course this was immediately interesting to me because of the three words that also happen to be central to the Cohesive Ethics Theorem in Systems. And, if you can read it from the above scan, there was an inspiring passage about how the Lahore Resolution was passed in the name of said principles, and how they must be protected today.

I saw the url: efulife.com, and went over. I expected to find a human rights organisation or activist group. Instead, I found … a life insurance company! But here’s the real punchline: The company was originally founded in the 1930s under the name ‘Eastern Federal Union’, by none other than Ghulam Mohammad, who would later become the Governor-General of Pakistan. Anyone who has read SJ2 will know exactly why this is all more than a little ironic. For anyone who hasn’t, I have three more words for you:

Pakistan’s first dictator.

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 

 

(Some images in this post are copyrighted)