Taliban destroyed two famous Bamyan Buddhist statues, in Afghanistan in the spring of 2001, and there was an international horror outcry.
Similarly since then, Pakistan Army driven Radical Islamic Cleric culture, permeated social fabric of Afghanistan and Pakistan, to draw support for Taliban’s against the Allied forces. Islamic cherish, of destruction of other religions, as a symbolic bolster to morale to achieve unification was fostered by Pakistan Army for personal political gains. Since then, till 2012 many such desecration of Buddhism was committed by radical Islamists, notably being the 2007 destruction of an important Buddhist sculpture , in the north-western region of the Swat Valley.
To support his radicalization drive, Maulvis were given a free hand in Pakistan too.
In a recent horror story, a Buddha statue that was discovered in tehsil Takhtbai of Mardan district of Khyber Pakhtunwa, was destroyed on the orders of a local Maulvi, local residents revealed. Eminent Pashtuns have been strongly resisting Pakistan Army’s Radicalization drive, since last thirty years.
What is of interest, is the fact that it was destroyed not for religious radical Islamic frenzy, but for “saving a marriage”.
Saving a Marriage: reason for destruction of Buddha Statue
Equally appalling reason, as was Centuries earlier by Ghaznavis and Timurs
1800 old Bhudda remains founded in takht bhai & smashed by religious extremists. The real aim of putting extremism in people’s mind is to washout the identity of those who are living in this region as they done before in Afghanistan.Proper action needed to secure such identities. pic.twitter.com/oEsAexE6E3
— Ihtesham Afghan (@IhteshamAfghan) July 18, 2020
” Your nikah would cease to exist and you will no more be a believer if the statue isn’t disposed of”, the cleric told the owner at the construction site, who then followed his orders to destroy the priceless relic.
Though it may sound ridiculous for a person with a small rural commonsense, however it highlights the fact of hold and power a Cleric enjoys over a common innocent man, and the associated legitimacy granted to the Maulvi, by the Pakistani establishment.
Since last thirty years, similar incidents have been occurring in Pakistan, where radical Islamists concoct false Islamic directives and twisted historical narratives, to gain politico-religious grip on the Pakistani population, at behest of Pakistan Army.
However it is interesting to analyze, were the historical narratives of Ghazwa-e-Hind, temple destructions and attacks were simply to salvage Islam from some threat (from non violent other religions), or there is more that escapes the eye, which is especially true in Indian Sub Continent’s Islamic contexts.
Medieval Arab Islamic World Tolerance
Islam particularly violent in the seventh century?
One could certainly point to three of the first four of Muhammad’s successors (caliphs) having been assassinated.
The eighth century, for example, witnessed the establishment, in Baghdad, of the Bayt al-Hikma (The House of Wisdom), which symbolized the so-called golden age of Islamic civilization.
This period witnessed, among other things, Muslim, Jewish, Pagan(nature gods like ones worshipped by Indo-Aryan tribes) and Christian scholars, studying the philosophical and scientific texts of Levant-Greek antiquity.
These scholars also made many advances in disciplines, such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine, alchemy and chemistry, to name only a few.
Within a century of its founding, Islam represented a cosmopolitan empire
that was nothing like the rigid and dogmatic interpretation of the Islam used by Clerics in Khorasan region, for being of service to plunderers like Ghaznavis and Timurs.
Using Radical Islamic Clerics to recruit Tribes for War
A Curious case of Fake Hadiths
There is no mention of Ghazwa e Hind in Sihah-e-Sittah (compilation of six authenticated Hadith collections in next century, post death of the Prophet) or in Shia Hadith collections.
Sadly, the fact is that Islam’s ability to get interpreted to suit anyone’s needs was abused by conquerors, from 10th century onwards. Subsequently, Hadiths were politically modulated and gathered into large collections, during the 8th and 9th centuries, generations after the death of Prophet Muhammad (after the end of the era of the Rashidun Caliphate) and 200 years after authentic Hadiths-the Sihah-e-Sittah.
Thus in two hundred years,
to suit needs of “Conqueror-Cleric Conspiracy”(Clerics got power and loot in lands after the Conqueror left for homeland), Islam got twisted, repackaged and transformed into a unscrupulous Sword of Islam,
that could differentiate between “believer” and unbeliever”, and between “right” and “wrong”, makes it a powerful ideology. In the hands of demagogues, religious clerics , it was used selectively and manipulated to achieve a set of desired ends, to recruit fighting men for conquests and loot.
Fact is, Mahmud of Ghazni did not touch Bamyan Buddha statues(he pillaged wealth of Pakistan, parts of Punjab and prosperous Gujrat), however he used the Fake Hadiths to muster support in name of attacking temples. All he did was loot and butcher all Pashtuns, Pakistanis , Baluchis and Gujratis including wealth of the temple, on the way. Neither did Genghis Khan in 1221 when he conquered Khorasan.
Babur was also not interested. However when he was faced with a large enemy, he invoked the Hadith , in name of Islam. But for that he had to grudgingly pay a very heavy price, his beloved wine from Kabul.
Facing a powerful non-Muslim enemy for the first time, Babur settles on a religious gambit. A few camel loads of fine Ghazni wine have just arrived in camp.
He orders the wine turned to vinegar, swears he will never taste liquor again, breaks his gold and silver drinking cups and has the pieces distributed to the poor(fact advertised and exploited by his Cleric Maulvis). He exhorts his weary army, that this is a heaven sent opportunity to die as martyrs or live as holy warriors.
He, who has often fled from battle many times, now asks his generals to swear with him on the Quran that they will all fight to the death. He was gratified with the outcome: “It was a really good plan to use hadiths, and it had a favorable propagandist effect.”
A year later, he tried to destroy Bamyan statues, to please his Cleric modulated tribal fighters, to unite them to attack Samarkand, two years before his death, but never in his forty years in Kabul.
Later, the infamous Radical zealot Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues. The legs of the Buddhas were broken because of Aurangzeb’s action, whose interest in Radical Islam was fuelled by a cleric, who made him murder his father and Brothers and use Islam to exhort money and impose Jazia on Non Muslims.
Afghanistan’s Baba Shah actively preserved religious and historical Symbols
Infamous Ahmed Shah Abdali (fondly called Baba Shah), who united Khorasan to what is present day Afghanistan, never was proponent of Radical Islam, and sought Maratha and Sikh alliance routinely. He is revered in Afghanistan, as he never stayed in Palaces, but met various tribal Pashtuns, Tajiks, and Hazaras (known protectors of Buddhist relics)
In fact, his infamous desecration of Golden Temple was aimed to arm twist the Sikh Dal leader Jassa Singh , to form an alliance, however he never carried out outright destruction. Similarly Baba Shah preserved Pashtun history of Buddhism in Afghanistan.
Pakistan Army’s Agenda of Radicalization
Post 1971 defeat, Pakistan was in turmoil. Rampant corruption by the Pakistan Army and its puppet government was being despised, and peripheral provinces like Pahstuns, Balochis, and Sindhis were demanding independence, due to three decades of neglect.
Zia, being a alcoholic however a similar power hungry zealot, was advised by the Chinese think- tank the Communist Party of China (CPC), to keep together the nation, using Radical Islam card.
Contrary to claims of Pakistan going Radical Islam way due to pressure from CIA (to train Taliban),
Pakistan was radicalized by Zia- China combine, to stop Pakistan being fragmented, and conceal Army corruption.
China fooled the alcoholic Zia, that “Anti-India” sentiments coupled with “Islamic Covalent Bond” is the only way to deter another “Bangladesh” from happening. However that is the time, China started bribing Pakistani Generals extensively, and creating a vassal subjugated state, oriented to China’s interests.
It was not a PM of Pakistan Bhutto who was hanged, it was the citizen’s spirit that was hanged along with it. It was similar in the manner in which Dara Shikoh was murdered in Khizrabad in Delhi, by similar power hungry brother Aurangzeb , the beginning of decline of Mughals.
Radical Islam, is a carefully crafted narrative by the Pakistan Army, to keep public angst diverted from real world and livelihood concerns, to keep them embroiled in authority of Radical Islam and “life in service of god by murdering all else” narrative.
Murdering a culture, religion or person is borne out of insecurity, or feeling threatened. One only become insecure when one is ignorant about himself and lacks confidence in his values, traditions, history and your ideals. Hence, the remedy to insecurity is greater self-knowledge.
Hindus will destroy Islam, the blacks are taking over the world or the Latinos are becoming the new threat in US is what we have been hearing since centuries.
Has anyone paused and asked a logical question, Why?
This blind following of baseless notions is nothing but fear tactics, which is misused all the time. The malady is, these communities who often feel insecure are not educated. Establishment is benefitted to accrue rampant corruption, while citizens are Madarssa brainwashed.
Since 5000BC(7000 years from now), there has been no expulsion of native populations and mass migration of populations from one area to another. 3% of conquerors have amalgamated with 97 % of natives, is the best figure that is available. Hence, being respectful to the history, it is important that we readily celebrate the rich past. Only education can teach people this simple fact.
Madarssas hide self understanding, self pride and self appreciation and thus sloganeering and demonizing others by Maulvis/Clerics are easy.
“Those doing these are not doing the communities any good but destroying the communities in the long term”, in Pakistan, and the ruler Pakistan Army is disconcerted about that, in the least.
Always in history, Islam and its hatred for other religions has been invoked, for political and military benefits, in the Indian Sub Continent and elsewhere too. That is exactly what is happening in Pakistan, where Islam is used to hide its corruption, inefficiency and lack of governance, and kept embroiled in hating own heritage.
24 July 20/Friday Written By: Fayaz