BY RAVI SHANKER KAPOOR
New Delhi, June 28 (IANS) Prime Minister Imran Khan calling Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden a ‘shaheed’ (martyr) may shock many, but anybody familiar with the past and present of Pakistan will not be surprised. It has always glorified terrorists; even before Pakistan was born, when it was just an idea, its spiritual and political fathers (Allama Iqbal and Muhammad Ali Jinnah) sympathized with the murderous zealots. Violence is in Pakistan’s DNA.
About two decades before the birth of Pakistan, a book ‘Rangila Rasul’ (meaning Colourful or Promiscuous Prophet) was published in Punjab. It was an explicit account of the marriages and sex life of Prophet Muhammad.
An Arya Samajist wrote the book under a pseudonym. The publisher, Mahashe Rajpal of Lahore, was also a prominent member of the Arya Samaj. Apparently, the book was a response from the Hindu community against a pamphlet published by a Muslim which showed Sita as a prostitute.
Muslims raised a hue and cry; they pressured Rajpal to reveal the name of the author, but he refused. As a consequence, he was arrested, prosecuted under Section 153A, and convicted by the trial court. The Lahore High Court, however, set aside the conviction.
Justice Dalip Singh’s logic while exonerating Rajpal was impeccable, and in the best traditions of liberalism: “It seems to me that that section [153A] was intended to prevent persons from making attacks on a particular community as it exists at the present time and was not meant to stop polemics against deceased religious leaders, however scurrilous and in bad taste such attacks might be.”
Muslim fanatics were incensed; they vehemently campaigned against Rajpal. They succeeded in instigation to such an extent that an illiterate teenager from Lahore called Ilm-ud-Din ended up murdering Rajpal. Obviously, he had not read the book, or any other book.
It is an interesting story how this boy, son of a carpenter, took the decision to assassinate a man he did not know. He heard a cleric ranting against Rajpal near a mosque; an angry mob was baying for Rajpal’s blood: “Oh Muslims! The devil Rajpal has sought to dishonour our beloved Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W.) by his filthy book!”
Ilm-ud-Din knew nothing about Rajpal and the controversy surrounding the book he had published; and didn’t want to know anything about the issue. He just bought a dagger and stabbed Rajpal to death on September 6, 1929. This is how radical Islam worksewriting the script of terror on brainwashed, impressionable, or empty mental slates.
Ilm-ud-Din was put on trial. The poet Iqbal, the spiritual founder of Pakistan, requested Jinnah, the father of Pakistan, to plead on behalf of Ilm-ud-Din, which he did. The 19-year-old Ilm-ud-Din showed no remorse for his act; he claimed to be proud of his crime instead. He was awarded the death penalty, and executed on October 31, 1929.
Iqbal was one of the carriers of the funeral bier. At that moment, Iqbal said, “Asi wekhde reh gaye, aye Tarkhaana da munda baazi le gaya” (The educated people like us just could do nothing, while this carpenter’s son scored a point). This was Pakistan’s national poet, indeed one of the greatest poets of Urdu.
Unsurprisingly, Ilm-ud-Din has been glorified in Pakistan as a great Islamic hero, a holy warrior, a ghazi, a shaheed, etc. A film was made in 1978 lionizing him.
There is a mosque commemorating his “great deed”, In February 2013, the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court heard arguments on the maintainability of a petition seeking the reopening of an 84-year-old Ilm-ud-Din case.
In October of the same year, at the two-day celebrations for the 84th annual Urs of Ghazi Ilm Din Shaheed in the Miani Sahib graveyard, thousands of devotees paid homage to Ghazi Ilm-ud-Din Shaheed.
“Addressing the participants, the scholars vowed to resist all conspiracies being hatched to amend the blasphemy laws under pressure from Washington. They said that no blasphemer could be tolerated in the country created in the name of Islam. They said countless lovers of the Holy Prophet (SAW) like Ghazi Ilm Din Shaheed would emerge if US-slave rulers tried to protect the blasphemers” (The News, October 13, 2013).
Moral of the story: immorality begets immorality. Founded by the supporters and admirers of Islamic terror, Iqbal and Jinnah, Pakistan’s evolution into a terrorist state is scarcely surprising.
(This content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)
BY RAVI SHANKER KAPOOR