Sliping times, Shifting sand…

As Kamel Daoud said in Ney York Times, ‘The country produces, sponsors, shelters and feeds the Islamism that threatens its foundations and its future’. That shift away from radical religious ideology towards a more moderate Islam will have deep influence and impact on the current times of religious acrimony and bitterness unleashed by radical Islam.

While the Prince is doing the right thing, we want him to succeed. After all, the region has significant history of revolting and falling back to radical conservatism. That change is not just required for Saudi Arabia, that change is required for changing the mindset within the hotbed of radicalism. That change is the need of time and a change that will influence the harmonious existence between Islam and other faith.

… and the sand should not shift underneath our foot.

I woke up to the news on BBC that Black panther can be watched across select theatres in Saudi Arabia. That’s not an isolated reform; it is part of plethora of reforms, the scale of which is unprecedented as compared to the regions similar changes during the Shah of Iran.

This scale and its pace of reforms concern me. Not that those are not required. However, the concern is on an emerging pattern just like Iran, when the Shah was overthrown by the radicals in 1979. That’s where my fear and apprehension lies.

The conservatives or hardliners are so deeply anchored in old obsolete idea of Wahhabism that these changes are too radical for them to absorb. Saudi Arabia is radically drifting away from the alliance between clerics, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, and his rigid conservative doctrines.

The gender equality unleashed by Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Prince MBS), an example of which is the city of Madinah, which will be run by women. Women have got the right to drive, vote, institutional protection by the state and corruption amongst the ruling royal elite has been stemmed, removing guardianship laws that empowers women and makes them less dependent on the men, establishing an Islamic center that validates the sayings of the prophet Muhammed, Israel is no longer considered a pariah state, Saudi is building its own arms and relying less on conventional friend US. Reducing budget deficit, isolating Qatar and stemming support for radicals, openly defying Iran, and harboring an ambition to make a nuclear arsenal to counter Shia Iran, are just few revolutionary theme. The list goes long and I am concerned, the reverberations of these run even deeper.

All these reforms were long awaited for a Kingdom to rise to the aspirations of the next generation and waning oil dependency by the world and consequent reduction of oil revenues. As Kamel Daoud said in New York Times, ‘The country produces, sponsors, shelters and feeds the Islamism that threatens its foundations and its future’.

I wonder if the masses are prepared to take this even if we presume the country is getting ready for Vision 2030. I always think, and it applies to Saudi too, that we need to work with people and then plan to deploy and implement a change. A shift in ideology is always radical change to adopt. If that chasm widen, it generates revolt. That’s the concern with Saudi. We don’t want such nice and welcome changes to turn sour. We don’t want Saudi Arabia to be another Iran. The region has enough history towards backward conservatism.

We forget, social engineering comes before economic and technology transformation. We mostly see the reverse. Our collective conscious and framework of living in consonance and within the realms of nature and our own evolution, creates a milieu composed of culture and artifacts that are deeply embedded within our ethos. Technology, as an isolated phenomenon, is too narrow in its ambit to influence these deep seated influences. However, when a swath of such technology (and related) changes engulf humanity, we are challenged and, collectively as a civilization, we fall back or default to old value system. That’s why, social engineering becomes paramount with such speed of change coming-not alone from technology but from all sides.

Saudi cinema screens reopen on 18 April ‘with Black Panther’

Jewish people have a right to their ‘own land,’ Saudi crown prince says as he seeks ally against Iran

‘This is a revolution’: Saudis absorb crown prince’s rush to reform

I will return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam, says crown prince

Shifting sands: What is changing in Saudi Arabia?

Transforming Saudi Arabia: Gender equality, economic reforms consolidate Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s authority

If Saudi Arabia Reforms, What Happens to Islamists Elsewhere? (New York Times, Kamel Daoud, Nov 16, 2017)

The Perils of Reform in Saudi Arabia

Anti-Muslim Tweets

These days, it is fashion to pass on slur or incendiary remarks against common innocent Muslims. Despite his/her participation or contribution, the common man is always at the mercy of such malafide treatment. Spare some time to listen to what Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London received as tweets. However, my response should help you understand how best to addresses the core of such aggression against the Muslims.

I cited an example from Mumbai on how Muslims rejected burial for Ajmal Kasab and expressed solidarity with the masses. Such lone incidences provide a solid strand to weave the fabric for social harmony. Is it not doable for the Muslim population at large?

Visit the link at https://wp.me/p7XEWW-12J. Please share if you find it reasonable.

A Muslim friend forwarded me the below clip. These days, it is fashion to pass on slur or incendiary remarks against common innocent Muslims. Spare some time to listen to those. However, my reaction addresses the core of such aggression against the Muslims.

Racial slur against Muslims in actually painful and intolerable. It is definitely an outcome of deranged minds. Give me an example of one sane person who can agree to any of the tweets which Sadiq Khan has shared.

Let’s visit the other side. Commoners form the base of the pyramid. They exists everywhere, in Islam and other faiths. They subscribe to most common apprehension, anxieties and fear.

Let’s look at the Muslim commoners – the uneducated, irrational and poor ones. They feel the pangs of frustration the most. However, they are the ones who are likely to be reactive to such racial slur. No doubt, if they find their back against the wall, they will react aggressively, with animal instincts overriding their wisdom and cognition. We can presume the outcome very well. A mass terrorist act that  incites a ripple of anguish against the name (of the person) that gets associated with the faith he follows. let us admit, there is more aggression amongst the followers of Islam. However, Islam is not the only faith with aggression. We miss the point that those sane, educated and elite don’t protest vehemently against the act of violence (especially during this juncture when it is required the most).

Let us understand the non-muslims who are commenting to Sadiq Khan on Twitter. As mentioned earlier, they are the irrational uneducated that respond to the global scale of violence that has been unleashed by Muslim radicals and mercenaries.

Islam as a faith and ideology never promotes such aggression, it is much misinterpreted faith (see below a clip to make an impression). However, the elite, educated and the clergy within Islam are muted, San Bernandino shooting is an example (2015 San Bernardino attack). They only respond in defense when Islam is affected (most protested the ban on Muslim nations when President Trump promulgated the ban of nationals of those eight countries).

To emphasize, they respond tepidly when a Muslim mercenary (aka terrorists) savagely kills scores of innocents. If these same elite and educated start responding to Muslim aggressors, it will be a show of solidarity with the general masses. That will automatically stop any slur or violence against the innocents.

A noteworthy incident happened in Mumbai. After the 2008 Mumbai bombing (26/11), Ajmal Kasab was found guilty and hanged. The Muslims in Mumbai did not give their land for burial of his body. The lesson here is the expression of solidarity with the general masses. That one incidence played on the collective subconscious mind of the general population. The non-Muslims realized that the Muslims too share their faith and agony.

This is a case in point towards weaving that social fabric on which we all exists. We have to rise above our ideologies, faith and narrow interest when it comes to wider cause such as society and our country.

As I have mentioned earlier, the onus of protecting our faith lies with the elite, erudite and educated. The responsibility falls on them. They should take the gauntlet and spearhead the cause of general social well being.

Social media is responsible but changing the social media policies will only help little. I see social media as a mirror to this looming malafice accumulated from the national and international acts of terrorism, I see it as an expression of the repressed fear and frustration. Changing social media policies towards responsible behavior is essential. However, changing social media policies will not be the best option to address the root cause.

Let’s address the root cause.

Meanwhile, please listen to this select interpretation of Islam. Muslims have a greater responsibility for sharing this.

 

Terror Financing, FATF and Crumbling Edifices

Pakistan has its own inherent challenges, as a country it has really not provided an institution to address bur rather subverted those democratic processes. Protection of the terrorist is the extremist narcissistic reaction and doesn’t address the root cause of alleviating nation and its miseries. Rather protection of terrorism is more of a reaction than a reflection and will only sideline and ostracize it and fall in the hands of Chinese hegemonist and imperialism.

It’s best they give in to international watchdog, renounce support and help eradicate terrorism from its soil and soul. The hope for capturing Kashmir or saving their land from imperialism or disintegration or disintegration is gradually diminishing.

Often, it is perceived that “Pakistani nationals have a peculiar mentality of establishing its supremacy through religion and religious pathways. It carries hatred for other religion and Nations. It’s hard to teach them anything. Hatred for India and Indians is deeply rooted even in the new generation of Pakistan. It’s being systematically implanted and imbibed in their minds, so difficult to eradicate. It’s best we move on with our goals and neglect them. No point proving or sermonizing anything to those Pakistanis…that Nation is on self-destruction mode so leave them to their fate”.

What is felt above is true about the political and military establishment, we have to first differentiate between Pakistan (Establishment) from Pakistanis. I met several Pakistanis in the last few decades. Citizens are like all of us, ordinary gullible and impressionable. What we are fed is what we harbor. We all, irrespective of border, have same concerns, same aspirations in life. No Pakistani or Indian wants a war. We all harbor the same suspicion and the zest to patch over as human.

In fact, when we step out of our country, we all harbor a bias, this includes we Indians and Pakistanis alike. However, those who have shared roots across the border, have a broader perspective and good will. As you leave out side (the country of your origin) for a longer period, you tend to develop a diminished acuity towards those biases. The Pakistani I mentioned is a very moderate one. If you read his note carefully, he just shared the news but we presumed what we wanted to. My response to him was part of a constant emphasis on the establishments vexed approach towards India as a country.

And I have forgotten to tell you, they feel torn apart, they love their country but can’t be part of the restive land. Their ladies are very less conservative than ours, their mindset and forwardism is like those under the rule of Shah of Iran (now dethroned). Many ladies hate to be under veil and they hate all the more to go back to Pakistan. That’s where they have to significantly compromise their freedom, which they so much enjoy here.

Pakistani establishment is different though, over the years, it has become a rallying point for those within the military, to maintain its control over the state and polity. It is not in their interest to have a restful populace. Just imagine the blissful utopian state wherein India and Pakistan are at peace, we have no border skirmishes and no border at all. Do you truly need that army on either side? Fanning those differences is in the interest of the military establishment.

We should avoid mixing religion and nationhood. Not all Muslims hate us as a nation. Muslims as a group has certain idiosyncrasies and those are across the board with other religions. As nations and as people,  we see a different breadth and depth of relations between individuals and nations. It’s only when we have a conflict that we see those problems and Kashmir is an area of conflict.

Peace is all about shared interest and shared conflict. When we move the fulcrum, we see instability.

Interesting reading…

Pakistan – A Rhetorical Democracy? https://wp.me/p7XEWW-11m

Implosions in Pakistan https://wp.me/p7XEWW-Qn

… a broken promise or a grand deception? https://wp.me/p7XEWW-Oo

 

Coalescence of Chaos or a Catastrophic War?

Coalescence of Chaos or a catastrophic war?

Another catastrophic war (if not a third world war) is more likely to happen if we imagine it to be impossible. Looking at the way major democracies across the globe are subjugated by autocrats, it is very much possible for pan-global war to erupt, and when such a calamity happens, it will pretty much engulf us suddenly, with minimal notice.

Democracies getting gagged in no hidden fact, either in China, Russia, Middle East, Turkey, Iran, North Korea are few major pockets where democracies are marginalized and despots have established their writ. All sane opposition is either marginalized or converted to a rubber stamp. These despots have shown that the experiment with democracy too is gradually coming to an end. Add to that, the weapons of mass destruction, either be nuclear, chemicals and biological. As if that is not sufficient, add that immense fire power.

https://wp.me/p7XEWW-12x

I see regional coalescence and confluence of wars emerging in discrete geographic areas.

1. The Syria, Turkey, Israel Iran Iraq, Russia, US and Saudi instability emerging out of complex threads like ISIS, Assads dictatorship and mass prosecution of his population.
2. The Congo Rwanda quagmire
3. The Southeast Asian cauldron of Koreas, China, Russia, US
4. The South China Sea
5. The everglades of Russia and Eastern Europe with Crimea and Ukrain

Of course, I haven’t added the Venezuela to the mix.

This is only infographic, devoid of intelligence. Now add a weakening US influence world across, the recession in Europe, Brexit and dilution of European Union.

Add to this the emerging threat of Chinese hegemony, Russian urge to be superpower while being deprived of basic economic successes.

Human intelligence is not working, we definitely need Artificial Intelligence to understand and solve this quagmire.

The other day I talked about local IMA elections and how we need Social Engineering.

Not sure if democracy was the right answer to replace feudalism but across the globe, we definitely see failure of democracy.

To summarize, at atomic, local and wider swaths of global areas, we see pandemic of chaos confluencing from all dimensions.

Does that mean we are landing in chaos and anarchy?

Human instinct for survival is so strong that despite these challenges, a solution should emerge. Humanity themselves will discover the cause of the problems and produce a solution with inguinity…. or at least we hope so. (Shashank/mymilieu.org).

Fear of war looms over Syria neighbours, Iran says
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-43150440

Padmavat – a reflection from desent

Nov 27, 2017

Freedom doesn’t mean you can run naked on the street. You still have a social responsibility and bhansali doesn’t get the right to do whatever under the pretext of freedom of speech or expression.

Why should a movie, even though labeled fictional, distort history that embodies character. Rani Padmavati is deeply inscribed in our psyche and part of the fundamental character that builds our ethos.

Given the influence of movie in shaping memory and creating a lasting impression, we should not let such esoteric depictions to portray and play with our ethos.

That movie can be named ‘Queen Elizabeth’ or may be some other name, and Bhasali can still earn money without showing Rajput culture.

India Padmavati: Body found near fort linked to film protest
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-42107416

Afghanistan – A Century in turmoil

This is an interesting story of a country that was moving towards enlightenment and true democratic system of governance but slipped on its way into deep chaos and turmoil. Contemporary historians blame US- USSR polarity and rivalry for this but you may find insight and glimpses of a different nature to the build up to such catastrophic fall.

I call it into two phases – first phase being, In my view, the rich-poor divide, democratization of polity by Daoud Khan, the successor to Zahir Khan and aggressive influence of communist all culminated into an era of soviet occupation.

The second phase was the soviet occupation and the disenchantment and fundamental malalignment of human endeavor associated with bolshevik philosophy and the succeeding revolt (supported by US led capitalist) to throw the Russian. This second phase saw the rise of radical muslims (the poor muslims transformed into Taliban). That heralded the third phase, which is currently ongoing.

… I am still reflecting on how unfurling events, if not controlled, can immerse a country and its generation, into deep chism and chaos. Any thought?

 

A short history of Life: Afghanistan’s lost magazine
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-42878241

#Me Too in India – Long Awaited Movement

On religion and worship, a facet of Sanatan Dharma (colloquially Hinduism) characteristically stands out, all mother Goddesses are in the Sanctum Sanctorum, all are depicted at the same level as Men Gods. Give my expression but let us revisit Lord Ram and Sita, Lord Krishn and Radha, Lord Shiv goes a step further, he says he is incomplete without Lord Parvati. Such is the legacy we all inherit, wherein religion has built our ethos to respect ladies with that adoration and equal respect. Just to highlight the contrary, I haven’t seen a single temple wherein the female consort is outside Sanctum Sanctorum.

Not sure at what point in time have we mutated this legacy but irrespective of when it happened, we dealt a severe body blow to our culture and heritage. I am not a well read person like several of you are. However, I can see a transition of another facet, the Ghungat/padar/burqh. If you observe carefully, you will notice it prominently in Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana. As you go south towards Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, you see that size of Ghunghat decreasing. Not sure if you guys concur with me?

Sometimes that makes me wonder, has it changed after the Mughal onslaught? Those barbaric marauders attacked the western border and we see that tradition more on that side. They had least respect for the land, ladies or the people and they pretty much plundered heinously everything. That moght have changed our custom and culture.

But again, second citizen treatment for women has its genesis on the nature (of procreation), their intrinsic physical vulnerability and mens attitude to dominate with coercion. It is an exploitation that we embedded and made it ritualistic.

Just look at our Hindu Temples, men can visit temple anytime but women cannot, while they are menstruating. We consider that less spiritual time. Never understood the logic. Aren’t we all born out of that physiologic process? Why consider it lesser (and probably dirty)?

A lot has to do with women’s own submission. They should support their own equality. They should break those taboos created as aberrations over a period of millennia. Just assert and walk confidently. Men will simply follow.

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What is wrong with us? Despite our value system and religious ethos, we such heinous crimes? Of course, this is an outlier and can be counted as rarest of the rare reporting by the open sensationalizing media. However, even if we bar this incidence, crimes against women are much common place in India, compared to western standards though we are a shade better than Muslim world. How can we as a doctor community help this problem?
India outcry after eight-month-old baby raped
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-42869010