Nationalist politics

Nationalist politics in Pakistan is getting nastier with time. While many lives have already been lost over the NWFP renaming dispute, many nationalists in Balochistan and Sindh are calling for secession too. These are ominous developments. In his “Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”, Allama Iqbal said: “No wonder then that the modern Muslim in Turkey, Egypt and Persia is led to seek fresh sources of energy in the creation of new loyalties, such as patriotism and nationalism which Nietzsche described as ‘sickness and unreason’, and ‘the strongest force against culture’.” He also observed that nationalism drew upon the psychological forces of hate, suspicion and resentment, which tended to impoverish the soul of man and closed up his hidden sources of spiritual energy.

The renowned British historian, Arnold Toynbee, also had something very pertinent to say in “Civilisation on Trial” while discussing the possible future role of Islam in providing an alternative leadership for the world civilisation. He said, “There are, of course, other western ideas and institutions which are doubtful blessings, and one of these is our western nationalism. The Turks and many other Islamic peoples with them have become strongly infected with nationalism as with other western notions, salutary or pernicious. And we have to ask ourselves what is going to be the consequence of the intrusion of this narrow-hearted western political idea into an Islamic world whose own ancestral tradition is that all Muslims are brothers by virtue of their common religion, in spite of difference of race, language and habitat… The Islamic tradition of the brotherhood of man would seem to be a better ideal for meeting the social needs of the times than the western tradition of sovereign independence for dozens of separate nationalities… And yet the prestige of the west in the world is high enough to make the western virus of nationalism still infectious. It is to be hoped that in the Islamic world at any rate, the spread of this western political malady may be arrested by the strength of a traditional Islamic feeling.” These are very sad times for the country. We should ponder over these observations seriously and try to strengthen Pakistan — as we are fighting for its very survival — instead of weakening it by divisive politics.

Courtesy: The News

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