Friday, October 12, 2012

The Brave Daughter of Swat

October 12, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi

My power of articulation has gone numb and I feel dumbfounded as if I am incapable of adequately venting the deep anguish and unrelenting agony that is nagging me from within. I am irrepressibly grieved about that remarkable, iconic girl Malala Yousafzai from the enchanting valley of Swat over-lorded some few years back by the savage pedigree of Muslims branding themselves as Taliban.  Of late I saw her lying motionless on a stretcher, wrapped in hospital attire and bandaged from top to bottom. Her face is still shining like a freshly blooming rose in the enlivening spring morning.

I had seen her several times before, vehemently pleading for the most coveted cause of literacy and education for the young girls of her mountain-wrapped region.  She was simply advocating the message of the prophet of Islam to seek knowledge even if one has to go as far as China. And those barbarians who claim also to be Muslims, brutally shot her because she was proving to be a strong, outspoken and undaunted advocate of education and learning.

She is silent on stretcher ensconced by the grim faced medicos and para-medic staff who look at her still tiny frame with minds assailed by torturous and horrid fears whether she would survive or not. The whole world is one in offering prayers for that angel that was the lone yet unflinching and intrepid voice for enlightenment and dissemination of knowledge, literacy and education for the girls from the far flung and remote villages of Swat.

She was spirited, articulate, fearless resolute in her noble mission and was vibrantly professing and spreading her message in the face of  those savages that had terrorized the whole valley. In the short takeover of the Taliban under their commanders Mualana Fazlullah and  Sufi Muhammad, this ferocious segment of antiquated humanity unleashed a reign of terror and manslaughter on the local population. They would chop the limbs and heads of the inhabitants and display them on trees or lamp posts to tame others.

They had perpetrated similar inhuman atrocities and harrowing barbarism in Afghanistan. As a result of their extreme savagery the whole nation was transported into dark ages. In the dark ages (500 AD -1500 AD) religious vendettas, persecutions and inquisitions were executed by the catholic papacy against the Protestants and other dissenters. So there is not even a thin line existing between the ignorant and merciless Taliban and their cohorts Muslim extremists on one side and those Christian executioners of yester-years on the other who brooked no compassion or tolerance for the religious dissensions.

These gun totting predators forgot that the first lesson imparted by the lord of this world Allah to his most chosen messenger and Apostle Muhammad was to read.  If there were some sentiments of support and sympathy for this callous and beastly lot of humans among the Muslim religious ranks, then these must be washed off because of their odious and dastardly attempt on the life of an innocent young girl who was not match to the ferocity of the Taliban. She did not fight with weapon or remote bombs but with pen and paper. She wanted schools where the children could receive education.

What kind of religion and Islamic virtues and teachings these moron believers in the distorted version and vision of Islam want to enforce in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world? They are defaming and denigrating the sublimity of Islam that till eternity is the only righteous path for the salvation of humanity and for earning the pleasure of God. If prophet had the infinite capacity and tolerance to forgive his tormentors then these boorish followers of his are doing just the opposite to his divine message, sublime creed, immaculate character and noble conduct.

I would rather keep myself away from the political debate as to whose war Pakistan is fighting and that Taliban are fighting against the enemies of Islam. My question is for which brand of Islam?  My point is with their bloodletting, hair-raising tortures, bomb blasts, killing their fellow Muslim believers, (instead of peaceful preaching) the Taliban are doing most loathsome and disastrous disservice to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Besides they are reinforcing the global perception that Muslims were terrorists and barbarians. If there is not an iota of Islamic mercy, compassion or forbearance among the votaries and practitioners of Islam then their beliefs are not worth a dime.

There is a dire need to inculcate a sentiment of broadmindedness and to raise the level of awareness among the Muslim societies. It is utterly imperative to educate them that their religion exhorts to keep pace with the advancing times through innovation (Ijtehad) and reorienting and reinterpreting the Islamic laws (not fundamental beliefs) to conform with the changing socio-cultural patterns of the modern times.

 The blind piggy-bagging of the narrow minded religious preachers and confiding in the clerics with half-baked knowledge must be discarded. The enlightened, liberal and educated people with no bigotry, bias and outdated strait jackets should come forward and harness the minds and visions of the Muslim populations to take them out of the moulds of obscurantism and conceptual backwardness.

It is a monumental challenge for the religio-political leaders, for the visionaries, scholars, intellectuals, educationists, and media to work together for a civil society in order to bury and eliminate such aberrations and monstrosities that bedevil most of the Muslim societies.

And one would pray and beseech the sustainer of this world who gives life and takes it away to redeem little Malala Yousafzai out of her trauma and awaken her from her deep slumber. If it is a miracle, let it happen.

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