Demanding without grace, Dr Saulat Nagi
There goes the big piece of the cake as a mouthwatering feast for those who are perpetually in a habit of demanding the largest share without much grace while receiving it without thanks. ‘Political power’, Mao says, “grows out from the barrel of a gun” and keeping in view the political conditions of the world in general and Pakistan in specific he cannot be more succinct.
Yet pointing a barrel of a gun to the temple of an unarmed person has never been a graceful act but in the last decade or so, this ghastly method is in vogue. Not many hearts flutter by the excesses inflicted by those holding the means of destruction in their hands pulverising and plundering the resources of individuals, masses or nations. So vivid is the lust and so brazen is the style that the perpetrators scarcely care to hide the dagger that cuts the entrails of the masses. Custom has made it in them the property of easiness. The power wears what the pain fashions with its rough rugged hands.
Imperialism, a product of inner tussle between capitalist nations is innately hostile to the cause of humanity; no one has any ambiguity about its nefarious designs. Nevertheless, its success largely depends upon the objective conditions prevalent in a society affecting the consciousness of the people. Where the consciousness is blithe, the state can manipulate the conditions to its advantage by conflagrating the paranoia of security that helps to subvert liberty for security. People permitting this bargain ‘deserve neither liberty nor security’.
There is no denying that Pakistani state is plagued with the lethal phobia of insecurity, the main cause of its grief that has paid dividends to the Pretorian guards. The butcher’s ax that mercilessly amputated a couple of wings from a large Indian sub-continent against the will of majority fulfilled the design of the colonial masters an immediate loss was turned into an advantage by imperialism. At home, the lack of political struggle left a void, filled immediately by the civil-military bureaucracy. Even a myth of nominal political freedom devoid of economic liberation became a mirage.
A terrific appeal to the aura of nationalism — in sanity veiled, as sanity — is a universal characteristic of the middle-class. When the colourful ties such as flags are waved or a national anthem is played to honour the state — an antithesis to human liberation — a shiver of false pride runs through its spine.
What an irony that the fictitious face of society treats the underprivileged living beings as suspects, a waste product, but bestows the honour upon the state, an inanimate object, the reason of exploitation forgetting that it is the people who make the history and state and not vice- versa. It is a classic case of Stockholm syndrome.
The alienated class having a sole objective of self-preservation universally becomes the self-proclaimed conscience of the nation. By supporting an extravagant defence budget, to the perfection of waste, its innate uncertainty wears the cloak of security and liberty, the concepts it can rarely transcend.
Pakistani middle class is no exception, it stands completely alienated from the reality, plagued by puritanism it is a flag bearer of religious fascism. Without its connivance, the law of blasphemy could not have made its hideous and grisly appearance. It spews venom against both religious and ethnic minorities, supports jingoism, prides in its mediocrity, seeks refuge in the ethics of primitive era while loving the western food and norms if not its culture, a perfect tool for the hegemonic classes and its Pretorian guards. With the addition of the lumpen element of society, it turns out to be a lethal force that effectively fights against its own liberation.
As the curse of Taliban was not enough, to enhance the role of religion in the faith-dependent middle-class, a Rizvi edition of a violent brand was introduced and marketed by the invisible force, which paralysed the daily life by blocking the roads and the common sense. After a strange one-sided, rigged encounter with the out of favour rulers, the victory and, the war — exploits were handed over to the Caliban. But here lies the rub, the brands are not produced by the previously collected experience of production, hence after a certain period, they are bound to eclipse. All artificial movements backed and spurred by the anti-people forces have succumbed to the same fate.
In recent days, a new whirlwind of protest has taken over Pakistan. Its epicentre lies in one of the backward areas of the country, which is under the constant blaze of firepower from both the state and the imperialism. Apparently, a spontaneous movement led by the middle-class youngsters has genuine demands.
The rule of a powerful institution does not augur well for the integrity of the state. If history stands witness to one amputation, given the similar situation it may not hesitate to repeat it again. This is the law of physics. One can afford to spurn Dr Abdus Salam, a physicist but can only flout the laws of physics at his own peril
The protracted, senseless, grisly Pretorian rule always leads to unchecked narcissism. In every man of khaki, dwells a Pinochet as his other or Hyde. Gone are the days when the vociferous non-conformist expressions were fettered, the custom has withered, instead in the wee hours of the night rebels are picked up, not only their voices are stifled but their bodies too are mutilated beyond recognition. Pakistan creates its own Victor Jaras.
It is a common occurrence in the least mentioned Balochistan and now the same phenomenon has forced the youngsters of FATA to throw their gauntlets and to take up the cudgels. What a shame that seventy years after winning an independence people living in backward areas is still governed by the colonial laws that explain the contempt Pakistan’s ruling class has for the freedom. It also confirms that Pakistan has its own Guantanamo — bays where domination is maintained through overt coercion. Pity that instead of advancing to the 21st century the rulers refusing the enlightenment have decided to keep the masses limited to its margins.
The area of FATA has dominant tribal relations, lacking the working class hence its culture the petty- bourgeoisie has become the face of this new peaceful Pathan movement carrying a large segment of the lumpen element along. What is the source of its funding is still unclear? However, it is quite evident that in Pakistani scenario, three major interest groups are competing to grab the monopoly over the capital. The foreign interest, largely the Chinese is already leading the race.
Among the local capital, the army remained an unchallenged force calling the shot on its whims, but now the third civilian force has emerged which is competing with the army to secure its share. The youthful secular movement can be one of the vanguards of the civilian capital.
Is Pakhtun movement led by the drug barons or backed by the Pretorian guards to form another axillary group, a political party to control the civilian affairs or a spontaneous rebellion is yet to be comprehended. The second possibility might sound a conspiracy theory but one cannot be dismissive about it.
Despite raising some extremely provocative slogans against the army, the overzealous establishment has curbed the temptation to touch its leaders. Whereas the state refuses to relent against the youngsters of the left- front, who are packed in prisons for merely participating in the peaceful movement, the major actors are left unscathed. It is amazing to note that the defender of the faith, the Rizvi factor, invariably used against the crestfallen enemy is yet to be unleashed on this innately secular movement.
These are interesting yet eventful times. The contest between the weak civilian bourgeoisie and robust military capital is at its zenith. The odds are stacked against the masses, barring the chains they have nothing to lose. Nevertheless, Marx’s proletariat is neither a crowd nor a mass. They are class -conscious workers who according to Lukacs have already reached to the sublime pedestal where ‘the revolutionary theoreticians of revolutionary discourse arrive by using intellectual powers and spiritual labour’.
By losing its opportunities, Pakistani bourgeoisie has failed the nation and perhaps its feeble and compromised existence has spurred the failure of the transformation of a motley mob into a nation. It utilizes the same fascist weapons of blasphemy to denigrate the national heroes such as Abdus Salam to win the sympathy of Jihadis. Due to its objective dumbness, instead of the state, its armed organ is perpetually ruling the country. The rule of a powerful institution does not augur well for the integrity of the state. If history stands witness to one amputation, given the similar situation it may not hesitate to repeat it again. This is the law of physics. One can afford to spurn Dr Abdus Salam, a physicist but can only flout the laws of physics at his own peril.
The writer has authored books on socialism and history. He blogs at saulatnagi.wordpress.com and can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in Daily Times, May 7th 2018.