This isn’t the first time a Turkish drama is grabbing attention of Pakistanis. Other series such as Ishq e Mamnu (Forbidden Love), Mera Sultan (My Sultan), and Fatmagul have been majorly followed there. However Ertugrul has generated unprecedented interest, especially after Imran Khan’s apparent doe eyed declaration of love for the Turkish drama.
Proclaimed as a Turkish Game of Thrones, has interested many for the entertainment bundle it gets, something of the sorts, Money Heist gets. It is interesting, captivating and very much entertaining and has a wide fan base irrespective of culture and religion.
However, Imran Khan feels “Pakistani youth can learn about Islamic history and ethics by watching Diriliş Ertugrul”.
Grandeur of a Shared Turkish Ancestry?
Three centuries of dominance of Ottomans in Anatolia is the most cherished Golden AgeoF Islam which Pakistan idolises. Forever Pakistan has been confused to claim lineage with Prophet Mohammed’s Arab ancestry or with the Turkish golden age.
Delving back to few thousand years before, Turks as a combined military force emerged in Northern and Eastern Steppes, triggering out of collapse of the Rouran Khaganate (erstwhile Scythian’s eastern remnants) overthrown by the Ashina Tribe. They were famed Skilled Metal workers with migratory history/links with the Ancient Indus Valley Civilization of the Indo-Iranian region of now Pakistan. After collapse of Indus valley civilization due to weather and sustainability factors, migrations happened from Indus Valley to west in Indo-Gangetic forests, east towards Iranian valley and back through Bactria to the northern Steppes, where they were welcomed, as already trade links with them existed since centuries.
Cultural links to Indus Valley Civilization, Yamnaya culture, and the mass movement to Eastern Europe and Indus Valley Plains of erstwhile Gokturks can be estimated from the fact that they had Funeral Rites rather than burial rites, wherein along with horse(on which the deceased used to ride) the things that he used were burnt on a Pyre along with the corpse: the ashes are then collected and buried in a certain season into the grave. This was synchronous with the practice in vogue since a few hundred years back in India, Greece, by the Romans and Athenians (who normally cremated their dead and placed their ashes in an urn), however preserved by the Turks of the region.
This can be referenced from the DNA matching of “Indus Valley Cline”: consisting of a Harappan individual from the site of Rakhigarhi(India), with 11 individuals who were buried at the sites of Gonur in Turkmenistan and Shahr-i-Sokhta in Iran and as likely migrants from the Indus Valley Civilization.
Turkish regions, since last five centuries had trade and cultural links with Saka Kingdoms( referenced during rule of Saka King Rudradaman I ( 130–150) of Indo-Iran region and Kushan Empire based from Bactria(present day Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Tajik-Uzbekistan)- King Kanishka.
Turks, in these ten centuries of interactions, adapted gradually to the traditions, linguistic and culinary outlay of Indo-Bactrian region(encompassing most of Northern India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Balochistan and Iran). This is well reflected in the fact that they were religiously Pagans(Fire gods) for over two thousand years) and later became Buddhists (Bactrian region was Buddhist for 1300 years, from 500 C.E to 800AD).
Rise of Islam, and expansionist radical nature of Hadiths gave an opportunity for Turkic tribes to adopt Islam in 900AD, and hence the conquest for Central Asia begin.
After initial inter feuds they started calling themselves Gokturks (Metal workers) and subsequently led to the rise of the Turks. After skirmishes and pressure from Chinese rulers in east and Uyghur Khaganate near Lake Baikal region, they migrated southwards, coming under employment as fighting force by the Sasanian Empire of Iran and in Central Asia.
Various tribes came at various time, over 500 years starting Seventh Century starting with Khazara, Seljuks and the later ones the Oghuz, whose tribal leader was Osman, as comes across in Ertugrul.
Turkish tribes to the east of the Khazars, settled around the cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, and succumbed to a powerful religious influence. Their own religion was Buddhist-Shamanism(One form being Hinduism) but they converted to Islam as a manner of convenience. This brings them within the Muslim caliphate, which from762AD was based in Baghdad.
The then Baghdad caliphate was then in one sense the Persian empire in a new guise. Within this empire the Turks played increasingly important role, both as tribal allies and as slaves in Persian armies. Gradually the Turks begin to carve out territories for themselves.
Many of those willing to convert and became Muslim Turks, gained offices in the Abbasside government, and consequently, great interest in the Islamic world spread among the Turks beyond the River Ceyhan. This interest became more pronounced when, in 835 AD, Caliph Muatasim established an elite army that consisted only of Turks. Muslim Turkish tribes formed families and many after various infightings, they used to move, to find areas to form their own rule.
Turks settled wherever they went, mingling and assimilating in the local populations, be it Iran, Afghanistan, India, that time Turkmenistan and Anatolia. They were never concerned with exercising Islam, but as a tool of collecting taxes, expansion and raising Armies.
Hence, other than Turks picking cultural similarities from the Indo-Bactrian, for which Pakistan is a part, there is not much that Pakistan finds itself common with them, other than converting to Islam, under sword of repeated looters or for political and monetary gains.
Turkish Woman portrayed in Ertugrul, dressed similar to Baloch Women, signifying how Turkish tribes, picked up Cultural, Linguistic and even Culinary shades from Indo-Bactrian Regions
Turkey represents Islamic Culture?
Cannot be More Away from Truth
Ottoman rule was tolerant of other religions, faiths and way of life. The Ottomans were known for furthering the legacy left behind by the Byzantines empire in art, science and medicine. Istanbul and other major cities throughout the empire were recognized as artistic hubs, especially during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. This was in line with the tolerant way of life learnt from the Sasanian empire while rejecting and in stark contrast to the Abbassid /Arab practised version of obliterating anything non –Islamic.
Some of the most popular forms of art included calligraphy, painting, poetry, textiles and carpet weaving, ceramics and music especially in the Slavic regions. Ottoman architecture came up as a confluence of Central Asian designs and the existing Roman architectural advancements. This helped define the culture of the time. Elaborate mosques and public buildings were constructed during this period.
Science was regarded as an important field of study. The Ottomans encouraged, learned and practiced advanced mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, physics, geography and chemistry.
Additionally, some of the greatest advances in medicine were made by the Ottomans. They invented several surgical instruments that are still used today, such as forceps, catheters, scalpels, pincers and lancets.
Military advancements by other religions and regions were embraced and acquired, as it is worth noting, that Ottoman conquest of Constantinople was only possible due to their joining hands and using the cannon designs of an Hungarian cannon founder Orban used in the Siege of Constantinople in 1453.
None of the lands ruled were converted, nor radical Islam was charted. Christians and Jews were considered dhimmi (meaning protected) under Ottoman law in exchange for loyalty to the state and payment of the Jizya tax. Orthodox Christians were the largest non-Muslim group.
Conversion was voluntary out of Sufi spread, to seek favors from the rule or to escape Jizya. The famed Jaanisarries were Hungarian Christian boys, taken in early age, converted and trusted with their campaigns. Evidently not much of Ottoman rule reflected Islamic values, except in sphere of killings and territorial expansion.
Pakistan peddling Genocidal history of Turkey against Balochs
Armenian Genocide of 1915-1917 viz Plural Turkic society of Middle Ages
While Ottomans and later Turkish rulers in Anatolia were not religious persecutors, they did not flinch in inflicting barbarian style murderous spree. Massacres in Hakkari in the years 1843 and 1846 of over 1,00,000 Assyrians were encouraged at the behest of Ottomans, to generate a pretext to occupy Kurdish territories.
Use of Islam, as a political tool to ensure territorial hegemony, was evident in a Nazi styled massacre of 3,00,000 Armenian Christians, wherein Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who, in his efforts to maintain the imperial dominion of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, reasserted Pan Islamism as a state ideology.
This was continued in the Balkan wars from 1912-1918 wherein approximately 15,00,000 Bulgarians, Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians as well as Kurds from 1930-1938, an account of ethnic cleansing similar to what Nazis committed. This all was under umbrella of furthering Radical Islam.
These Genocides were overlooked by Radical Islamists of Khilafat Movement in Pakistan and in exact same breath, is something which Erdogan has set out to do, in last decade.
Pakistan, in all its reverence to this aspect of Turks, has, since Radical Islamization initiated by successive Military, gone about systematic genocides in Baluchistan. We all know the details, how killings, rapes and enforced disappearance(since advent of digital world) of Balochis, Pashtun Ahmadis, Sunnis and other minority groups in Pakistan, are carried out in Turkish fashion, under garb of Radical Islam.
Indifference is visible in the manner in which Pakistan is treating anyone except Sunni Muslims during these unprecedented critical time of humanity of fight against Coronavirus. (Click for details brought out in a previous article)
Forsaking own Roots: Pakistan an eternal Nomad in need of an Identity
Indo-Iranian-Pakistan region, being epicentre of movement of various cultures since last 5000years, have their own Rightful cultural legacy. A thousand years before, Nomadic Turkic tribes were fascinated and awed by the rich and deeply opulent history, that they acquired those cultural facets. They came in limited numbers, amalgamated with local population and rejoiced and assimilated in the local culture.
Ethnically they never altered demography, implying Pakistanis who are there now, existed at least 5000 years before, while changing appearances, names and bearing confluence of cultural amalgamation. This is true for complete Indo-Bactrian regions.
It is another story, that people of these regions, under sword or under political compulsions or under Sufi influence, turned to Islam. Alteration of religions, since last 10,000 years have been taking place, and is a minor aspect to the accomplished people of Pakistan.
Does Imran Khan implies, Pakistan is deficient in its identity as an Islamic Republic or that Pakistani people, despite being ruled as a religiously fanatic despotic society since last three decades, still need lessons to Purify further. Maybe more genocides and achieving further depths of draconian radical Islam, will ensure Demise of Pakistan as a State, since identity doesn’t exists and borrowing the same from four thousand miles west, is as appalling as Pakistan’s treatment of other fellow humans.
However, given the region’s existing rich identity and glory, what forces Pakistan and it’s PM Imran Khan to ride out 5000 miles west, to pup around to be subservient to a very nascent and insubstantial cultural base? Is it to obliterate the facts and replace with a fake Radical Islamist theory, to ensure Pakistan Army and China slave them, while population is embroiled in fake grandeur.
Or/Additionally in ruse of a thriller Ertugrul, Imran Khan is declaring all the previous murders, occupation of someone else with genocides as legitimate, and prepping its population to cheer him on for more?
Pakistan needs no Identity from Arabs or Turks or any other fancied Islamic regions. Neither Islam defines it in any way. The nation carries enough wherewithal, to step away from clutches of Military-Mullah-Chinese combine, to assert them as a Pakistani Identity of the region. This identity is not propriety of India or Iran or any other in power, in any times of history of the region and its people’s existence.
17 May 20/Sunday Written By: Fayaz