Origin is always obscure, says Maclaver. I do concede to his skeptic proposition, but the obscurity of things led to the differences of opinions and controversies. The respect and tolerance is the only ground on which the contrasting opinions can stand otherwise it will led to an inflammable crisis, which will turn into ashes the proponents and the opponents alike. Therefore, everybody should be allowed to decide for himself what interpretation of reality they accept and what they renounce.
Throughout the known history, the intellectuals are debating over the origin of three things. Firstly, the origin of man in which there are two main contrasting opinions. One is advocating the creationism, while the other is rebellious to this notion and firmly holding the banner of evolutionism. Both have arguments to support their stance. I’m not here to justify one or the other, but my point is something else which would be clear to our readers at the end.
Secondly, the origin of religion has been quite a hot topic among the thinkers. Here the religion has been somehow considered either social or psychological phenomena viz. fear, coincidences leading to superstition etc) by one class, while the other class believes on the divine origin of religion.
Thirdly, the origin of biases and class identification among the human beings as such ‘we and the rest’. It can be classified a pure psychological phenomena, as some people are suggesting. While the others are pointing toward the group feelings degenerated with the passage of time.
The crux of the whole preamble is nothing more than but to show how events and things are observed and presented from different angles and perspectives. Everyone has argument to support his or her stance. Only the controversy of the creationism and evolutionism cannot be summed up in a book or two; therefore, this article will also not serve the purpose. If one is interested in the contrasting arguments thereof, then he should read out the entire literature to decide for himself.
The people who are casting doubts or having different opinions are not in any way has the slightest intention of hurting the emotions of others. If someone is hurt, the reason is; he/she has the claim of divine righteousness. Moreover, the person might be after ‘who is right’ instead of ‘what is right’. We all have different perspectives to things. Therefore, we should respect the opinion of others and try to present our own in a way that open the new avenues in our endeavors for truth.
The prerequisite for debates and discussions in any society is tolerance. If we look at the Pashtun society, then it was not conservative from the beginning. People were free to go to their churches and Mandirs and even they were treated as their own. The lynching at the name of religion was never the order of our society.
Moreover, even in the recent past, we have the examples that men and women would sit in the cinemas to watch movies. In Waziristan, there was a tradition of Bragai Attan, in which both men and women would participate. There was no Burqa and women were allowed to roam freely wearing their traditional dress. The poetesses were common among the Pashtuns.
There was also firmly established Hujra system. It was a place where people would be allowed to speak their minds, and no one was there to stop them. One of the poets has depicted the freedom in Hujra as such:
Pa Hujra K Farq Da Khan Aw Naukar Neshta
Har Sarhey Da, Sarhee Ror Dey Pa Hujra K
(There is egalitarianism in Hujra; none is above or below. There is brotherhood and respect in our Hujra)
Unfortunately, everything changed. The Hujra has been almost replaced by the mosque, where a person sitting on the pulpit is the ultimate judge of the righteousness and wrongness. He has the authority to silence the dissenting voices. Consequently, burqa is the order of the day; the voices of the poetesses are sent in to oblivion; and Tang Takor (music) is a thing of the past.
Mashal Khan was also one of the Pashtuns, who dared to speak his mind. But he was unaware of the fact that the time has been changed; the decisions are not made in the Hujra through consensus anymore, rather our decisions are announced from the pulpit of the mosques. Therefore, he was put to rest on the call of the pulpit.
But the pulpit is not the sole culprit. The state and government is sponsoring the pulpit for its so called strategic gains. The strategic assets are being utilized for the promotion of its vested interests abroad and within the country. Mashal Khan is a collateral damage. Whatever his reason of lynching is, whether he was heretic or whatsoever, but one thing is for sure that he died at the altar of the state policies.
By Noman Wazir
The writer is a socio-political analyst from FATA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE PASHUTN TIMES