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Re: Talibanization - saffronizaton



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But are we questioning enough?.

It looks like "fringe Goondas RSS/BJP/Siva Sena" are dictating us.

Unless good people enter politics and clean it up. We will continue to
be
ruled by ignorant, goonda politicians.




>From: "prakash  chandrashekar" <prakash7uc@rediffmail.com>
>Reply-To: debate@indiapolicy.org
>To: "debate@indiapolicy.org" <debate@indiapolicy.org>
>Subject: Talibanization - saffronizaton
>Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 08:48:29 -0800 (PST)
>
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>
>Hit the nail on the head. Fundamentalism anywhere will lead to an
unhappy
>result for civil society. But hinduism is slightly better in that
sense,
>that we don;t have a universally accepted code of conduct/law. So, we
can
>always counter the fundamentalists with queries -  who says that this
is
>indian culture and not that ? The people of pakistan cannot ask -
where is
>it in the Quran ? Because, most probably it will be there.
>
>eg: The valentine day controversy, we can point out to khajuraho,  geet

>govind as counter examples. What can our neighbours point out to ?
>
>regards
>prakash
>
>------------- Original Message --------------
>prabhu.guptara@ubs.com wrote:
>To:debate@indiapolicy.org
>From:prabhu.guptara@ubs.com
>Date:Mon, 19 Feb 2001 05:31:27 -0800 (PST)
>Subject:Re: Talibanization of Pakistan
>
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>Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
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>I would be interested to explore in what way(s) the Talibanization of
>Pakistan
>is different from the Saffronisation of India.
>
>Does either provide any genuine grounds for hoping that we have the
>right
>policies for the future for our two countries?
>
>prabhu guptara
>
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: skukreti
>Sent: Montag, 19. Februar 2001 08:57
>To: debate
>Cc: skukreti
>Subject: Talibanization of Pakistan
>
>
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>Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
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>What chance Talibanization?
>
>Dawn
>
>By Mohammad Waseem
>
>An interesting debate is going on in millions of households in Pakistan

>today: it is about the prospect of Taliban-like groups taking over the
>country. Some dread the prospect as a doomsday scenario; others pray
for
>
>it
>as a panacea for the ills of society.
>
>Are the Pakistani counterparts of the Taliban coming to power in the
>country? Many western capitals find the prospect horrifying. At home,
>the
>articulate section of the population, including generals, bureaucrats,
>politicians, professionals and businessmen, is apprehensive about the
>political ascendancy of what is understood to be a medieval version of
>Islam. The silent majority - mostly Sunni but also Shia - shudders at
>the
>idea of gun-toting madrassah students becoming their masters.
>
>Others are more circumspect about the role of the Taliban. These
>represent a
>small but influential section of the power elite in this country. They
>believe that there is no imminent danger of a Taliban-like force coming

>up
>and threatening the present state system in Pakistan. As protagonists
of
>
>the
>cause of the Taliban in Afghanistan, they are equally firm in their
>belief
>that the elite in Pakistan should not fear that a group similar to the
>Taliban will rise to power in this country.
>
>What kind of people are we talking about in the context of coming to
>power?
>These people are literally Taliban, the seekers of knowledge in
>madrassahs
>located all over the country. They typically, if not exclusively, have
>belonged to madrassahs at one time or another. There are five major
>chains
>of madrassahs based on Deobandi, Wahabi, Barelvi, Shia and
>Jamaat-i-Islami
>(JI) schools of thought. Two of these - Deobandi and Wahabi madrassahs
-
>
>are
>believed to be churning out a brand of Islamic militants who have
>reportedly
>become a threat to the current social, cultural and political life in
>Pakistan.
>
>Who are these students? Various government reports and journalistic
>investigations point to their origin in a lower middle class and
>small-town
>background. They are puritans in religious matters. They are socially
>embedded in extremely insecure circumstances, caught in the throes of
>rapid
>demographic, sectoral or professional changes, usually at the wrong
end.
>
>In
>many cases, a tense family background, characterized by financial
>straits,
>plays a significant role in shaping the personality of these students
>along
>authoritarian lines. The curriculum removes these students from the
>world of
>reality. Even more than the content of education, which comprises
>religious
>classics, it is the style of education which turns them into
>unquestioning
>pupils of an overbearing teacher. The cult of teacher is legendary in
>madrassahs. There is no room for an open discussion, for a pluralist
>discourse, or for a philosophical argument. Regimentation is the order
>of
>the day.
>
>The gender-based education leads to an all-male perspective on life.
>These
>men are typically remote from the usual family situation. There is no
>daily
>interaction with women in any capacity, as fathers, brothers or sons,
>much
>less as husbands. There is no role for woman in this classical world of

>learning, except that she is considered a source of distraction from
>pursuit
>of piety.
>
>A new job-orientation is visible in and around madrassahs. There is a
>persistent demand that their graduates be considered at par with their
>counterparts from colleges and universities for the purpose of
>recruitment
>into services. The present government has shown an inclination to
>provide
>computers and other implements of modernity to bring madrassahs into
the
>
>mainstream educational and employment sectors. Those from the
>established
>centres of higher learning find such policy measures attempts to
>strengthen
>forces of orthodoxy and reaction.
>
>Concern about the Taliban and possible Talibanization of Pakistan is
now
>
>so
>deep among certain elite sections of society that it has led to a new
>genre
>of religious threat perceptions. Taliban-like jihadi groups are now
>feared
>the most, followed by the two factions of Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam (JUI)
>and
>only after that the JI. The JI's Islamic politics is now looked at by
>the
>liberal intelligentsia and western diplomats in more positive terms
than
>
>ever before.
>
>But how to define Talibanization? First and foremost, this process is
>taking
>place away from those circles where the state elite operates. It is in
>the
>narrow lanes and back streets and dark rooms and open spaces where a
new
>
>social and cultural ambience is taking birth. It is characterized by
>various
>types of social pressures which shape the lives of individuals living
in
>
>a
>particular locality. The state elite is not convinced about the
imminent
>
>Talibanization of society, largely because this process is not part of
>its
>every-day life or experience.
>
>Talibanization can be understood in terms of the emergent vigilante
>culture.
>Local vigilantes - guardians of public morality - have become a factor
>in
>determining the patterns of social behaviour, not so much through open
>bullying as by exerting atmospheric pressure through local networks.
>There
>is a whole range of people in this category, from mohalla elders to the

>mosque-based brotherhoods of relatively conservative businessmen,
>retired
>military officers or returnees from the Gulf.
>
>The vigilante culture is spreading its tentacles to various aspects of
>social life in the locality. Social mobility of women is a special
focus
>
>of
>attention. Various degrees of seclusion of women is prescribed and
>enforced,
>especially in and around female educational and professional
>institutions.
>Typically, the Tablighi groups of four or five persons knock at the
door
>
>and
>put moral pressure on residents to accompany them to the mosque. Those
>who
>do not oblige run the risk of social ostracism and a vilification
>campaign
>in the locality of being presented as bad Muslims.
>
>Entertainment through the visual medium, especially TV, has attracted
>the
>opprobrium of the Islamist elements in recent years. There have been
>several
>examples of bitter arguments and clashes at bus stops or on the buses,
>about
>running a film on TV during travel. TV is increasingly looked upon as a

>devil's device - an instrument of corruption. One Islamic group
includes
>
>reports of breaking TV sets and thus tearing satan into pieces in its
>publications. Recently a section of cable TV operators in Peshawar was
>prevented from operating their channels through mob action.
>
>The common perception is that state power has abdicated in favour of
>street
>power. Street action or the threat of its use is the new way of shaping

>events at the local level. This action can be against Christians,
>Hindus,
>Ahmedis, or against newspaper offices for publishing offensive
material.
>
>There is no patience for the slow process of law. In common perception,

>a
>case filed in a court is as good as dead.
>
>The threat of recourse to street action by these militant groups has
>apparently secured effective results. Benazir Bhutto launched the
>initiative
>for streamlining the operational aspects of madrassahs relating to
>allegations of foreign funds, training in the use of arms and sectarian

>syllabi. Under threat of street action, she backtracked. Nawaz Sharif
>tried
>to pick up the thread but buckled under the threat of violent
>opposition.
>General Pervez Musharraf proposed amendments in the procedural aspects
>of
>the provisions of Blasphemy Law but withdrew in the face of threat of
>street
>action by religious parties and groups. Maulana Akram Awan's threat to
>march
>on Islamabad similarly resulted in an official climb-down and attempts
>to
>appease him.
>
>Power was till recently defined and exercised in legal, institutional
>and
>constitutional terms. That is less and less so as time passes. Those
who
>
>wield power in these terms, i.e. those who studied in western-style
>colleges
>and universities and entered into English-based professions and
>services,
>would soon be rendered powerless and ineffective if the present trend
>continues. Replacement of state power-in-reserve by street
>power-in-action
>is in the process in small bits, sometimes imperceptibly but often
>clearly
>enough.
>
>That is hearsay, overreaction, even hallucination, claims the state
>elite.
>Nothing untoward happens in the corridors of power where the
>administration
>is able to follow the established rules of the game. How could the
state
>
>elite believe that it is going to be the captive of those who have been

>its
>clients and proteges. In its view, it is the westernized liberals who
>feel
>unduly alarmed over the prospect of Taliban coming to power in
Pakistan.
>
>Meanwhile, the non-sectarian, non-violent and non-ideologized part of
>the
>population, at about 99 per cent, feels constrained under the new
>culture in
>pursuit of religious ritualism. Generally speaking, it has been
rendered
>
>non-functional and inactive. The absence of elections, party work and
>legal
>and constitutional framework of public activity has left the field open

>to
>religious militants. It is often complained that the state has tied the

>hands of society and made it vulnerable to the muscle power of the
>so-called
>holy warriors.
>
>The issue of arms in the hands of members of jihadi groups has made
>frequent
>headlines. The interior minister, Gen Moinuddin Haider recently
resolved
>
>to
>eradicate the gun-culture from society. The press in turn criticized
him
>
>for
>issuing such a statement for the umpteenth time and yet doing nothing
in
>
>this regard. The violence syndrome which combines three factors of
>possession of arms, training in the use of arms and motivation to use
>arms
>continues to operate.
>
>Has the state devised a strategy about a situation where militants
would
>
>come back from that external engagement to fight on the internal front?

>Or
>is it too early? Is this alarmist scenario a mere brainchild of
>westernized
>liberals who see the ghost of the Taliban behind every flicker of light

>on
>the housetops? These questions need to be addressed seriously.



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