Selling the elixir of hate and hypocrisy

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Candid Corner

 

  • With few in tow, the bandwagon rolls on

 

Ordinary hypocrites pretend to be doves. Political and literary hypocrites pretend to be eagles. But, don’t be disconcerted by their aquiline appearance. They are not eagles, but rats and dogs.”

– Anton Chekhov

 

When the last elections were held and Maulana Fazlur Rehman failed to find a seat in Parliament, something that he thought was his birth right which could not be denied, he immediately dubbed them ‘rigged’ and started urging other political parties not to allow their representatives to take oath. He called upon them to demand re-elections. This bizarre ultimatum came without approaching the relevant institutions with his grievances for remedy. He acted like a one-man court adjudicating that the elections had been stage-managed and decided not to follow the prescribed route to having his electoral concerns addressed. This, inter alia, proved that he knew that he had lost and there was nothing by way of evidence that he could present before the relevant institutions to prove that he had been wrongfully kept out of Parliament.

Ever since then, he has continued to chant his rigging mantra, simultaneously trying to win the support of other political parties to join his band of thugs to lock down Islamabad and render the government dysfunctional. Roasting in their own potions of hate and shame, these other political parties have so far been reluctant to extend unqualified support, yet proclaiming that they agreed with the Maulana in principle.

After much ado, he has now announced that the assault on Islamabad will happen on October 27. He has said so in spite of requests from other political parties to postpone the march so that they could also organise their lances, spears and bayonets. The Maulana’s desperation is such that he would not brook any further delay in realising the dream of his conquest being undertaken with the young students of the seminaries he controls as his charges. Through years, they have been indoctrinated to follow his diktat blindly, unable to read the evil it is soaked in.

This so-called march is nothing but a pernicious plan to thwart the effort which is being made to introduce a system of accountability and stabilisation. This poses a grave challenge to the continuity of his and his cohorts’ politics of crime, corruption and hypocrisy. They have together ruled this country for decades, bringing it to the verge of virtual collapse. Yet they believe that they have a heavenly right to continue doing so in perpetuity without any let or hindrance. This is neither happening, nor is this likely to happen.

For much too long he has exploited the illiterate and the poor in the name of religion, effectively denuding them of their hopes and dreams. Times have changed and it may be impossible to garner the numbers that he claims he would to march on Islamabad in an attempt to overthrow the government and hoist his flag of hypocrisy again

I have written often about the mortal dangers of allowing suchlike people to mix religion with politics. As a matter of fact, I have had serious issues with religion becoming a constituent of state politics. While adopting the Objectives Resolution, we forgot the unambiguous guidelines contained in the Quaid’s address to the constituent assembly on 11 August 1947. He was categorical in delineating that the state had nothing to do with a citizen’s faith, caste, colour or creed. Unfortunately, that was not to be and, very early on in our existence as an independent country, we allowed the tentacles of religion to penetrate the multifaceted layers of state politics. This laid down the foundations of a regressive entity which became a hotbed of a culture of inequity, inequality and violence perpetrated in the name of religion.

The Maulana and his ilk operate as merchants of faith, selling their potions with monotonous frequency in exchange for a place in the echelons of power. The entire political career of this mercenary is replete with instances of multiple debilitating bargains when he sold his soul for bags of silver. He was looking for a similar contract with the incumbent government, but to his utter angst and frustration, the dole-outs were not extended.

He clearly understands that his days of freedom may also be nearing an end as he, too, would be held accountable before law for his indulgences in corruption and grave misdemeanours. He also realises that the person who is at the helm is determined to hold everyone answerable for their stock of misdeeds committed at the cost of the state exchequer. The Maulana’s tenure as the head of the Kashmir Committee is a classic example of political appeasement of criminal proportions. He enjoyed the lucrative benefits of his position without doing even a shred of work for the cause of Kashmir. Forget the rest, just the lassi (drink made from yogurt) that he downed during this 12-year uninterrupted occupation of a place in the Ministers’ Enclave, cost the state over Rs 4 million.

He also understands that his days of trading religion for political benefits may also be over. While enacting laws forbidding this to happen in the future remains a foremost necessity, it is also true that, in this age of enhanced awareness, a bulk of the people are now able to see through the thin veneer of righteousness which he wears. He is no longer able to hide a vast canvas coloured with exploitative machinations that he has painted, aimed at hoodwinking people to advance his personal agenda. While he scornfully basks in the artificial glory of his exploits, the people remain deprived of even the basic necessities which are essential for their survival. This is craftily traded for promises of the hereafter which remain a hallmark tactic of such vile merchants of religion.

The role of the other political parties reads like an unending tale of contradictions. They are neither with him, nor do they have the courage to leave him. This is a reflection of their utter political bankruptcy. While they are secretly engaged in bargaining with the authorities for the release of their incarcerated leaders, they are not willing to confess this in public and feel the need for feigning a stand based on principles. This is so ludicrous, so farcical. The very hands which are joined at the palms in seeking forgiveness behind closed doors are raised in fake defiance in public.

The charade rolls on, pouring venom on the incumbent government for its attempts to lay the foundations of a state that would care for the needy and the impoverished, the weak and the disadvantaged within the domain of a system that would have empathy for its marginalised millions who have lived on the fringes of life, forever struggling for survival, but disdainfully fed on the throw-away morsels of the beneficiary elite.

Let the Maulana and his cohorts play out this last act also. I have a strong feeling that there will be a bare few ensnared by his vile narrative and Machiavellian tactics. For much too long he has exploited the illiterate and the poor in the name of religion, effectively denuding them of their hopes and dreams. Times have changed and it may be impossible to garner the numbers that he claims he would to march on Islamabad in an attempt to overthrow the government and hoist his flag of hypocrisy again.

I don’t see any of this happening. But, even if it did, let him live his vile dream through with a miserly few in toe which would be more a reason to retreat his step-in shame rather than move further.