By Obaid Ullah Khan:
Ours is a diseased society and anyone with sanity would hardly differ with it. Many a times a single disease causes multiple symptoms in a body. A deep study of our diseased society may reveal that there is a virus of Hate in our society causing many deteriorating symptoms. Our society as a whole is suffering from the effects of Hate, whether be it individually, socially, politically and most important of all religiously. Anyone can understand that hate is the opposite feeling of Love which is a positive emotion in the human and essential in nurturing positive and constructive tendencies in human character, in contrast to that we are the followers of hate, causing a downfall in our individual and national character as a whole. The outcomes of this disease are obvious in the form of Apathy, self righteousness, Narcism, Nostalgia and fantasies of conquering the world etc. As we hate others, in return we jump to the conclusion that others hate us as well. This conclusion further brings forth the propensity of mind to be entangled in multiple conspiracy theories, for example most of the world, especially the West and US are against Islam and the very existence of Pakistan and likewise. Conspiracy theories even if, are not perceived by one’s own mind, yet it becomes a fertile ground to be inspired by any kind of conspiracy theory, but at the expense of fertility of one’s brain. Utter confusion is an obvious outcome, making things really worse for further progress.
On religious grounds, hate has come up with many dangerous offspring like sectarianism, oppression and intolerance. Moreover if we study the philosophy of terrorism in Muslims we will find hate as a major cause and a lifeline for the nourishment of terrorist mindset. The poignant question arises here why our society has become a victim of this hate virus. For answer we have to study history of Pakistani society and by that we may assess that our downfall was started in 70s and provided a big boost in 80s. These were the times when Mullaism was imposed on Pakistani society. Islam presented and introduced by Sufi’s and other spiritual personalities was based on love and affection against which Mulla’s version of Islam brought hate and divisions amongst the society. Indeed all the infrastructure of sectarianism is based on hate with each other resulting intolerance and conflicts. Difference of opinion is a healthy and progressive sign in a society, but in our case it is exploited to spread hate by using it as a tool to divide and rule in religion to gain vested interests. Being a religious society as a whole, this moral set back with the seal of religion has evolved a national character ready to accept everything with hate. Consequently love and affection are ebbing out of our society individually and collectively. The atmosphere of love and affection amongst the society plays a pivotal role for peace and harmony in society which results as integration and cohesiveness amongst different sections of society. In contrast to that our society, nurtured with hate, has been disintegrated in the name of religion, ethnicity and language. Other consequences of this fragmentation that have set in our society are in the form of selfishness and apathy. Though corruption is not a direct consequence of hate, yet it has worked as a catalyst in prospering it by decaying the overall moral character of our nation.
Majority of our society has tolerated so called jehadi culture and terrorism, yet there is not enough tolerance towards differences. Many of us would call it lack of education, however education is far less in Africa and most parts of India too but these territories have no symptoms of terrorism presented with religious coatings. Although terrorism is not a new term peculiar to Islam or any religion. But in modern era we are unique in labeling terrorism with religion. Some other forms of religious terrorism can be observed elsewhere in India and recently in Norway, however we are the initiators and they are followers. So one has to admit that there is something else that has been inculcated in our society by which it has become the fertile land for terrorism and intolerant culture. In my opinion, the prime cause is hate and we love to hate. We have been taught to hate infidels; we are taught everyone who differs with your interpretation of Islam is infidel. Then we are taught to hate our neighbours, then US is another victim of our extreme hate. Policies of US and our neighbours are not my immediate subject being right or wrong but I am only discussing prevailing Pakistani mindset. Even two-nation theory itself is presented as if it is based on hate as we could not live with other groups of society and yet we are proud of this version of the theory. In High school course our young and immature minds are instilled with the concepts that the requirement of a separate country was established with stepping the first Muslim in the subcontinent as if Muslims are such a nation who cannot live in harmony with any other. Who cares how this ideology can harm muslims and Pakistanis outside Pakistan.
We are not ready to admit our own misdeeds and internal weaknesses but are going blindly blaming everyone else but ourselves, for failure in every field of development. The overall mindset has become used to rhetoric and entanglement of conspiracy theories like a person, who is suffering with many diseases but is not ready to find the causes and its treatment rather slogans are being raised against the healthy ones as if, they are responsible to take away his part of health for themselves, while the disease in fact lies in him, due to the lack of immunity against such disease. And he, instead of curing and strengthening his immune system, keep blaming the disease and his fellows as if it is injected in him by them.
Now coming towards the burning question how to deal with the problem? The simplest reply would be to preach love and against hate. Unless we are not taking measures to address the issue of hate, treatment and healing is next to impossible. Furthermore media can play a very strong role to promote a culture of love and affection.
We have to reject every form of hate in our society be it social, political or religious. On the other hand we should promote interfaith dialogues emphasizing on common grounds of beliefs rather pointing out differences and promoting hate.
The present day situation cannot be healed up just by taking aforementioned measures and require an immediate ban on spreading hate. This ban must have some sanctioning force of penal law behind it. Our legislature must enact a law to stop the hate preaching especially in religious matters. While preparing the law, following points may be considered,
a) No one is allowed to preach hate in the matters of faith and religion against any denomination.
b) No one is allowed to criticize any other’s faith or religion or call anyone infidel or giving fatwa’s against anyone in order to declare someone out of the pale of Islam or calling anyone heretic.
c) One can, in public, only allowed to preach and highlight the constructive and peaceful teaching or other distinguishing characteristics of one’s own faith rather to call others infidels or misguided.
If we succeed in eradicating only religious hatred from our society rest of the problems are not far from solution.