Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Universality of “Conspiracy Theories” in Pakistan

The street intellect as a rule and the scholarly intellect generally live and thrive on the staple food of Conspiracy Theories in Pakistan.

Nothing is so acceptable and universal here as the occurrence of conspiracy theories. Be they daily incidents, or the historical events of national or international significance, they all originate, it is understood, from the womb of certain eternal conspirators, the selection of which depends on the nature of the event to be explained. Descartes ought to be jealous of this Certitude!

Likewise, be it academia or any think tank (an animal so rare in Pakistan!), or an intellectual, literary, economic, historical, religious, political organization, or any such thing, or the all-powerful entity of the state and government of Pakistan (powerful versus the ordinary citizens only!), they all solve and resolve the problem of explaining all the happenings by taking recourse to this or that conspiracy theory or conspirator.

Almost all the intellectual minds in Pakistan, from top to bottom, now and then, use a ready-made list of conspirators to explain away the events, be they as simple as a usual rain or be they as complex as the case of present Bablochistan is.

They start with a conspiratorial premise, and usually go for all that hard labor known as research or data collection and analysis, but then end up with begging the question. In short, they do not seem to mind the evidence or data conflicting with their conclusions, and the irrationality of their inferences also. That is nature of almost all the scholarship in Pakistan!

The list includes a variety of enemies, ranging from concrete and abstract to manufactured and fancied ones; and is used as the situation requires and ‘as the case may be.’

Here are some “enemies” from this handy list:

* West

* Westernism

* Western Civilization

* Western Philosophy

* Western Literature

* Western Sciences

* Western Dress

* Western Technology

* Every New Gadget

* Modernism

* Imperialism

* British Imperialism

* Colonialism

* British Colonialism

* Neo-Colonialism

* American Imperialism

* American Neo-Colonialism

* Expansionism

* American Expansionism

* Russian Expansionism

* Indian Expansionism

* Chinese Expansionism


* Soviet Union

* Communism

* Socialism

* India

* Jews

* Israel

* Europe

* WTO (World Trade Organization)

* UN (United Nations)

* The World Bank

* IMF (International Monetary Fund)

* ADB (Asian Development Bank)

* Big Business

* MNCs (Multi-National Corporations)

* TNCs (Trans-National Corporations)

* Capitalism

* Capitalists

* Consumerism

* Foreign Hand

* Holly wood

* Bollywood

* Feudalism


* NGOs

* Women

The target of these conspiracy theories and conspirators are those helpless beings who think themselves as the Eternal Victim.

Let me define the mentality of victimhood: a victim is one who earnestly considers himself a victim of countless victimizations for this or that or for any reason.

The psyche and psychology of this victimhood is quite complicated; and again all such subjects or disciplines are studied in the West by the Jews or Americans or Europeans. That strengthens the sense of victimhood in the victims, and makes them Charismatic also.

These victims, they consider themselves perfectly innocent and perfectly passive, the like of which can never be found on the face of this earth. This world, because of its so worldliness, has got nothing to do but to be always engaged in hatching conspiracies to deprive these chosen people of their perfect innocence and perfect passivity so that they become like the other ordinary human beings who populate this earth.

This scheme is so perfect a scheme of things that it presents them with no problems, such problems which require hard thinking and hard labor to be solved, since all the problems always stand solved well before they arise. What is to be bothered about is the simplest act of encircling the relevant “enemy” out of the list! Here is happening A, and behind it is the foreign hand, or any other nomenclature which will work.

That works wonder in Pakistan!

Also, I think it is this methodology and this approach generally which never lets us strive to find the Truth.

For the same reason, most of the “commissions of inquiries” never reach any credible conclusions or findings, and never the Truth comes to the fore in Pakistan. The latest example is the Abbottabad Commission, whose findings as reported in the press no one is going to believe.  

Actually, in each case the abundance of conspiracy theories and conspirators distorts the horizon so much s that the Truth is lost.

Also, in Pakistan, the Truth is always concocted or manufactured, or manipulated and injured. It never appears in a crystal clear form!

Or more truly, no attempt at reaching such a truth finds its way to the realm of seeking and learning.

Let’s come to the point:

Recently I participated in two events and my above-stated apprehensions got a boost.

On October 12, I attended a gathering organized by Pakistan Writers Club in Lahore, where “Pakistan Kaesay Bana” (How Pakistan came into being) in two volumes, written by Zahid Chaoudhry and Hassan Jafar Zaidi, was to be reviewed and discussed.

For details of these books, see the website: 

First Hussain Majrooh read a review of the book. Majrooh is basically a poet, and the language he used to review a book of history was mostly literary. Then he gave a talk detailing the issues dealt with in the books.

One important point he made: These books have been written in a scientific and objective manner; and in the same breath he said: The writers hold a progressive point of view and have analyzed the historical data using the methodology of historical materialism.

How these two views, scientific and objective on the one hand, and progressive and materialist on the other, reconcile is difficult to understand.

This reminds me of Frederick Engels’ book, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific. The reviewer might be using the term, “scientific” in the sense Engels’ uses.

I think the reviewer did not do justice to the book. He should have given due attention to the methodology the authors have used in analyzing the data and formulating their findings.

Later, Rashid Misbah, Khalid Mahboob, and one of the authors, Hassan Jafar Zaidi himself spoke. They all and especially the author explained the same methodology and there was consensus that the sub-continent was partitioned by the British to serve their agenda, and along with them, it were the Hindus, or the Congress, who or which helped the British execute this conspiracy or let the partition take place, --- since the same was in their interest.

On October 16, there was another event organized by the Progressive Writers Association, where tributes were paid to late Hameed Akhtar, a prominent figure of the original Anjuman-e-Taraqqi Pasand Musannifeen (Progressive Writers Association), and colleague of Sajjad Zaheer, one of the founders of the Anjuman.

I reached late, and the proceedings were already in progress. Rashid Misbah, a short-story writer, was expressing his views laden with Socialist jargon and typically against Feudalism, Capitalism, and Multi-National Corporations, and Consumerism, etc. Then other speakers shared their views about the life and work of Hameed Akhtar. Then Professor Saadat Saeed, took the rostrum. He talked about the oppressors and the oppressed; about the victimization and exploitation of the masses at the hands of capitalists, imperialists, etc. His punch line, in my opinion, was like this: The oppressors and exploiters are defrauding the people, and now they have amassed misappropriated wealth in the form of merely a plastic card. By it, he meant, Credit Card.

Unfortunately, I had to leave, and I left.

So this is how history is being written, read, understood and discussed in Pakistan. Even if there is enough historical research accomplished, as is said about the above-mentioned book (and other 10 books in this series), the result is the same.

Let me confess: I have yet to read Hassan Jafar Zaidi’s book; that’s why I abstained from expressing my own views specifically about this book. But what I gleaned from the proceedings of the event I have reported here.

As for my approach to history, see two earlier posts on this blog, Hindand Sindh civilizations, and getting religion politicized, and Enterprise ofhistory – I

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  1. This article shows lots of confusion,you started this with conspiracy theory,and then discuss lots of topic with out going into details of any.
    In any society where there is no transparency about the events,where both Government and people have little or no control over events,Conspiracy theory take a foot hold,Pakistan is more venerable to these theories as we have been devoid of any credible data from the time of Independence,we dont even know how our country is dismember,we have not fixed the responsibility.Its time we should own up our history,with out any change in it.Its time we start facing the facts with out adding any justification in it.

  2. "This brain-eating virus of conspiracy theories in this area began with the conspiratorial entry and exit of Muhammad bin Qasim (MBQ) from Sindh. This prolonged exposure, (13 centuries) to the brain eating virus has reverted the residents of this area into language speaking reptiles. Their staple diet is lies and falsehood. They kill "Truth" where ever they find it, not to eat, but only to bury it. They are fully awake to the fact that eating it shall kill them en-masse. For them, there can be no living except reptilian." Excerpts from the Historical Survey Notebook of an One-Day Alien Visitor to the land of Ind and Sind