‘Mark on the Earth’

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How does one pursue the quest for Divine wine?

I noticed something on the September 3 military parade in Beijing that many may not have: President Xi Jinping in Mao suit, the unisex dress that symbolises the Communist Party of China, the symbol of the old communism of the Mao Zedong era that set China on the path of first cleansing and then progress. Everyone wore it then, from Mao down. These are the people who left a mark on the earth as Iqbal taunted exhibitionists of piety to do, instead of leaving a mark on their foreheads.

To do that first one has to have an ‘idea’. The idea leads to an ‘ideal’, not a person but a philosophy. The ideal matures into ‘ideology’. The ideology leads to true conviction and a burning, unstoppable quest and unquenchable thirst for objectives and destination. The quest never stops, not even after that imposter called ‘death’ of the body on earth that is actually the freeing of the soul or consciousness from physical bondage. I’m getting above myself, over my head perhaps. But that comes in the way of all quests.

Kiya hua tairay mathay par hain tau sajdon kay nishan;

Koi aisa sajda kar jo chorh jayai zameen par nishan”

“So what if there are marks of piety on your forehead;

Prostrate yourself such that you leave a mark on the earth”

‘Mark on the Earth’ is figurative so don’t go about breaking your head. It means leaving a lasting good effect on the world and on humanity, an effect that changes the course of history, improves the human condition and all of other God’s creations. It means taking people out of hunger and poverty first, banishing ignorance, which is one of the prime purposes of our existence. Ensure decent clothing and shelter, dignity of the individual and the family including protecting them from unnecessary defamation that doesn’t serve the public good, even if true. By reducing the gap between rich and poor. By creating balance or adl in society. By ensuring egalitarianism and justice, equality in justice, not just words in a constitution and law books. Divine scriptures and constitutions find interpretation in implementation only in action, not words. By giving the people true democracy and not a facade of it, a democracy in which their condition continually and significantly improves. The list goes on.

Should that be difficult? Not if you truly believe in your ideology and Faith. Else you should stop whining and leave us alone. The problem is man’s inherent perfidy. There is good and evil in everyone, but right now evil is winning hands down because we have lost the ability to tell between right and wrong and started worshiping the Golden Calf, chasing money and wealth as if gathering as much as we can is the purpose of our existence. Little do they know, caught up as they are in material pursuits, that the one question that will not be asked of them on the Day is: “How big was your bank account? How much gold and real estate did you own?”

When I lived in London distance forced me to look at Pakistan’s big picture. I could tell the wood from the trees, not knowing what the trees are, which were oak, which were birch, which were pine, and which were man-eating. We plant alien foliage in our soil, like the Chinese Paper Mulberry whose pollen kills, hospitalises and drives many people away every spring. Worse, we plant alien social and political constructs on our land, producing regression and destruction. Native is the safest and best.

But when I got back to my neck of the wood, I discovered that the timber I saw comprised a veritable jungle of man-eating trees and shrubbery. The trees are our leaders – misleaders – from all walks of life while the shrubs are their stooges thriving on their droppings. The trees are state terrorists, semi-literate mullahs and terrorists of all hues, politicians and civil and military bureaucrats who try and play politics before and after retirement but fail in both incarnations because politics is not their forte. Judges, editors, media owners, journalists, lawyers, feudal and tribal lords, doctors, you name it, everyone who belongs to the ruling elite. Only one sportsman has made waves. So rampant and rife are these trees and shrubs that the only solution is to burn every wood and jungle down so that their roots also die and don’t spawn and grow back again.

Judges, editors, media owners, journalists, lawyers, feudal and tribal lords, doctors, you name it, everyone who belongs to the ruling elite. Only one sportsman has made waves. So rampant and rife are these trees and shrubs that the only solution is to burn every wood and jungle down so that their roots also die and don’t spawn and grow back again

If you look at the history of humankind to try and discover what has warped God’s greatest creation so, you will discover that three things have polluted and nearly destroyed it:

  1. Religions as against ‘Deen’ or Faith, which emanates from God’s unmutilated Word in His holy scriptures.
  2. Clerics in de jure and de facto churches run like bureaucracies.
  3. Politics that produces power hungry wealth-chasing politicians, civil or military; politics whose systems are geared to force us to choose from amongst the worst instead of from the best because only the worst are on offer.

As to Pakistan, it is obvious that its problems that have brought it to the brink are the roots of our man-eating trees, namely, our constitution and the systems it spawns – political, economic, legal and educational. So burn down this jungle and plant human-friendly local trees that thrive in their natural soil and will make us thrive as well.

Who can do it? We expect one kind of man-eating tree to kill another kind of man-eating and think we will cleanse our wood? Not till we cleanse our minds first. That’s a tall order, a very tall order indeed. It will take generations to cleanse mental processes. We haven’t even started. We have not even understood where to begin. But that is how you cut the man-eating jungle down, not with bullets but with books.

Sadly, that cannot happen without first anarchy that burns down the jungle of man-eating trees. Then if we are lucky anarchy might morph into an ideological revolution with direction and purpose in which the people are in the vanguard. Then and only then can we leave a ‘Mark on the Earth’.

Sometimes I feel the process has begun as witnessed through farmers protesting in front of the Punjab Assembly in Lahore. Punjab farmers matter because they provide the breadbasket of Pakistan as, indeed, the farmers of the whole of Pakistan that has now been deliberately broken by the hegemon into five pieces. This is not to say that there aren’t farmers in the rest of Pakistan: they too are there and they too are getting at least as rough a deal if not rougher at the hands of feudal and tribal robber barons who have captured all state levers of power. If they all come in and are joined by the urban poor, deprived and disenfranchised, there could first be a cleansing anarchy and then a hopefully revolution that upturns the existing inequitable status quo for a pro-people one backed by a better basic law or constitution and its various systems.

Before you say again that I’m a hopeless romantic, remember that exactly such things have happened in those countries that rose from the worst kind of poverty and bondage to prosperity and liberty with egalitarianism. In our times, the famous revolutions that succeeded were the French, the British that ushered in genuine democracy, the American that recognised the human right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the Chinese that has taken 400 million out of hunger and poverty in the shortest time in human history… and continuing. So don’t tell me it cannot be done. It can, but only if we break free of the confusion that clerics, politicians, judges and lawyers have put us in. If we cannot, then remember that this land of the Indus Valley has seen more states come and go than you have eaten chicken tikkas. Now that we are unwittingly eating donkey and pig because butchers are selling it, I would point you towards vegetables and fish cooked in mustard oil or desi ghee, fruit and nuts, most of all nuts of which there is no dearth because most are in government.

The soothing balm of poetry can help reduce emotional pain, just as writing is a great catharsis. Let’s stick with Iqbal:

“La phir ek baar wohi bada-o-jaam ai saqi;

Haath aa jaye mujhe mera maqam ai saqi”

“Bring me that goblet and wine again, O’ Saqi;

“That I can find my lost stature again, O’ Saqi”

‘Saqi’, or wine-bearer, is symbolic of the Beloved, the objective, the destination. We should get the Saqi to give us again that goblet of wine of Divine Love so that we may quaff from it deeply, find our lost pride, self-respect and self-esteem, courage and confidence, reject evil and Satan and bring positive change, opting for hard times for the short-term to reduce the pain of own making in the long-term. After all, we sold our collective national soul to the Devil to create the illusion of a financially going concern. Now we have to launch another freedom struggle to win back our Divine right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, a phrase that Americans should recognise because the great Thomas Jefferson had consulted the Quran deeply before writing the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. Jefferson’s Quran is well known to the educated. The All India Muslim League under Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah succeeded in its mission: ‘Make Pakistan’. Our current political parties – oh, I’ll be kind and qualify it with ‘wittingly or unwittingly’ – are succeeding in the mission: ‘Break Pakistan’. We need now a political party whose mission is: ‘Save Pakistan’.

It’s not easy to get that goblet of wine: one has to work very hard for it and suffer hugely in the process.

“Bauhat kathan hai daggar punghat key;

Kaisay mein bhar laoon madhva say matki,” said Ameer Khusro.

“The quest for the well is most arduous;

How do I fill my jug with the wine of Divine Love?”

So what caused our decline that has nearly reached the point of destruction? Religions, different interpretations of God’s Word, churches, clerics, politics and politicians. They have been and remain the cause of virtually every world crisis

If we make the difficult trudge and drink deeply from that well brimming full of the wine of Divine Love, we will reap the reward of winning back our lost independence and sovereignty. Were that we in Pakistan could do that and break our shackles of slavery from our native slave drivers who are driven by foreign slave drivers. The only way we can do that is to have a vibrant, prospering and growing economy in which there are surpluses, not deficits that force us to borrow and commit Riba which is exploitation and usury that are great sins. That we can only do if we make a collective decision to live within our means, easier said than done for a native class of well-healed haves but no problem for the have-nots who have nothing left to sacrifice anyway except their lives. They have lost their dignity and abdicated their minds to mullahs and political misleaders.

The question then arises: do we have it in us to break the hand of the slavers and wrest back our independence? When I look around and see the achievements of some of our youth, the answer in my mind is a resounding ‘yes’. When we could launch a freedom movement against our British masters to not only win our independence but also to make a new state called Pakistan, why cannot we launch another freedom movement against our native masters and save Pakistan by winning back our independence from our ruling elite who work for the foreign hegemon? What did our forebears have that we don’t? They had better education, greater passion, resolve and great leadership: Jinnah and those around him who were ready to sacrifice everything for their cause. Do we? Jinnah was an incredible man, compared to whom Gandhi the closet Hindu nationalist and Nehru the myopic Hindu nationalist camouflaged in wooly Fabian garb.

So what caused our decline that has nearly reached the point of destruction? Religions, different interpretations of God’s Word, churches, clerics, politics and politicians. They have been and remain the cause of virtually every world crisis. God is right: Satan appears in many forms to mislead: obscurants masquerading as scholars, feudal, tribal, industrial mafias masquerading as politicians, banksters masquerading as bankers, journalists masquerading as information disseminators, those with personal axes to grind masquerading as analysts… They are the prime cause of our deadly decline.

How does one pursue the quest for Divine wine, make the arduous trek up the path that leads to the well to fill our jug with it and drink from it to give us the conviction and moral courage to implement the God-given rights of human beings?

Iqbal answers that question too.

Sabak phir parh sadaqat ka, adalat ka, shujaat ka;

Liya jayay ga tujh say kaam dunya key immamat ka.

“Read again the lesson of Truth, of Justice, of Valour, for one day you will be required to lead the world.”