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Pakistan Has More Fools Than India. Here's Why I Think So

10/01/2017 12:24 PM IST | Updated 10/01/2017 1:36 PM IST
Mohsin Raza / Reuters
Representative image.

I spoke to a Pakistani friend on Skype recently. I told him that while 90% Indians are fools, 95% Pakistanis are fools. The 5% extra marks I gave to Pakistanis are because Pakistan declared itself an Islamic state, while India declared itself a secular state. So there are more fools in Pakistan (proportionate to population) than in India because declaring Pakistan an Islamic state has resulted in there being more religious extremism and fanaticism there, and correspondingly less rational thinking.

Declaring Pakistan an Islamic state has resulted in there being more religious extremism and fanaticism there, and correspondingly less rational thinking.

For instance, I said to him, if you say in Pakistan that Sharia or burqa should be abolished, then in all likelihood you will be killed by religious extremists. But I have said this repeatedly in India and yet got no threats (though many people have disagreed with me). I have also said publicly that there is nothing wrong in eating beef (I myself eat it where legally permitted e.g. in Kerala, Goa, etc.), and have also said that it is stupid to say that cow is "gomata", i.e. our mother. Though many people criticized me for these statements, I was never threatened or attacked physically. Can one say publicly in Pakistan that there is nothing wrong for Muslims to eat pork?

Orthodox Islam says that Mohammed was the last Prophet. But the Ahmadis say there was another prophet called Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in the 19th century. Now by saying this, are the Ahmadis cutting off the necks or chopping off the limbs of anyone? Not at all. Yet in Pakistan, Ahmadis have been persecuted, often brutally killed, their children beaten up and humiliated, their houses often vandalised and their places of worship burnt. It is one thing to say that Ahmadis are not Muslims. It is quite another thing to persecute, kill, humiliate and beat them up or burn their houses or mosques.

Similarly, if Shias say that the first three Caliphs were usurpers, and only Ali was the true successor of the Prophet, do they cut off anyone's neck or limbs? When Hindus do idol worship of several gods (which is prohibited by Islam), do they harm anyone? Yet Ahmadis, Shias, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, etc are frequently persecuted and oppressed in Pakistan.

India, too, has religious bigotry and communal incidents, but because of its secular Constitution it has less of these than Pakistan.

India, too, has religious bigotry and communal incidents, but because of its secular Constitution it has less of these than Pakistan. There are no bomb blasts in mosques or dargahs in India. It is true that there is often discrimination against Muslims in India in the matter of getting jobs, houses on rent, etc. and there were attacks on Muslims in Gujarat, Muzaffarnagar, Dadri, etc. Yet this is not as widespread as the terrible atrocities and persecution of minorities in Pakistan, who were, and still are, often murdered. Forcible conversion, abduction of girls of the minority communities, etc is a feature only in Pakistan. Lawyers who defend those accused of blasphemy (a capital crime in Pakistan) are often killed or threatened. Journalists have often been attacked and even killed.

So there is relatively much more freedom in India than in Pakistan.

Recently some human rights activists in Pakistan, who were opposed to religious fundamentalism, have gone missing, and may have been killed. This happens sometimes in India too, such as in the cases of rationalist freethinkers like Prof Kalburgi, Pansare and Dabholkar, but it is rarer than in Pakistan, where perhaps over a hundred journalists, lawyers, etc who were speaking and writing freely have been killed.

So the extra 5% marks to Pakistan are well deserved.

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