It was easy to mix with most Africans at Oxford because their minds were tabula rasa, but most of the South Asians carried a lot of baggage.
Ibn Khaldun is considered one of the three greatest philosophers of history, namely, Ibn Khaldun (27 May 1332-17 March 1406), Edward Gibbon (8 May 1737- 16 January 1792) and Arnold Toynbee (14 April 1889- 22 October 1975).
When the great conqueror, Amir Timur (Tamerlane), besieged Damascus he heard that the celebrated historian Ibn Khaldun was in the city. Timur immediately asked to see him. Ibn Khaldun was lowered from the walls in a basket and spent seven weeks in Timur's company before returning to Egypt.
In a speech from his container Imran repeatedly mentioned Abd al-Rahman bin Muhammad Ibn Khaldun as protagonist of Justice that keeps a state intact. In fact, Ibn Khaldun’s main thesis in his Muqaddimah or Prolegomena (Introduction) to his history is that the Muslim polity is based on Aasabiyat (bias, prejudice) or simply speaking, tribalism.
According to Bellew, who wrote a number of books on Afghanistan including a Pashto dictionary, ‘The pride of the Pashtun is a marked feature of their national character. They eternally boast of their descent, their prowess in arms and their independence.’
The Oxford graduate, Imran Khan, is good example of the tribalism which still prevails in most of the Muslim world in various garbs. Imran Khan wrote a book, ‘Indus Journey: A personal view of Pakistan’, in which he writes on page 33 that, ‘Pashtuns had never been subjugated’. But in fact, the Pathans have been throughout history a subject people. Afghanistan has been ruled by the Aryans, Medes, Achaemenids, Greeks, Mauriyas (Indians), Scythians (Shakas), Parthians, White Huns, Sassanians, Hindu Shahiya, Ghaznavid (Turks), Ghorids (Tajiks), Khwarisms, Mughals (Mongols) and the Timurids (Central Asians). Afghanistan became independent only recently under Ahmad Shah Durrani, a pathan born and brought up in Multan. Ahmad Khan Abdali was the commander of the Abdali pathan contingent in the army of the last great Asian conqueror, Nadir Shah Afshar (1736-1747).
On returning from Delhi, Nadir Shah was assassinated on 19 June 1747, and Ahmed Khan rushed to his tent to confirm it. He saw his severed head and body, and removed the royal seal from his finger, and the Kohinoor diamond tied to his arm, and headed for Afghanistan with them. On the way he captured the caravan of Nadir Shah’s army with booty from India. He collected the Afghan chiefs and distributed among them the wealth it was carrying from Delhi to create an independent Afghanistan as king, with the titles of Padishah-i-Ghazi and Durr-i-Durrani (pearl of pearls). He is known as the father of the Afghan nation or Ahmad Shah Baba (1722- 16 October 1772) for creating Afghanistan out of the Timurid Indian empire conquered by Nadir Shah, and the wealth looted by him from Delhi, and lived off raiding Punjab. He loved Afghanistan and expressed in the following verses;
‘I come to you and my heart finds rest
‘Away from you, grief clings to my heart like a snake.
‘I forget the throne of Delhi
‘When I remember the mountain tops of my beautiful Pakhtunkhwa
‘If I must chose between the world and you
‘I shall not hesitate to claim your barren deserts as my own’.
Unlike the Buddhist Mauriyas of Patna and the Muslim Timurid Kings of Delhi, who kept the Afghans as their subjects, the British East India Company of Calcutta was too commercially minded to occupy financially unviable Afghanistan. They only went into Afghanistan with a few thousand Hindustani sepoys of their Bengal and Bombay Army, to install rulers in Afghanistan who would act as a buffer against Russia. When the Hindustani sepoys, who were mostly Muslims, with a few British officers, were treacherously massacred by Afghans, it was hailed as a great victory of Islam over infidels. They failed to mention that the British retaliated by returning to punish the criminal Afghan tribes and installed a friendly government in Afghanistan, pensioned by them.
If a separate Afghanistan still exists, we have to thank the British. Now the British role has been taken over by NATO, otherwise by this time, historically and ethnically, western Afghanistan should have been a part of Iran, with northern Afghanistan in Tajikistan and eastern and southern Afghanistan a part of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Therefore, some of our early leaders promoted a confederation of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. After all, Afghanistan was often part of the subcontinent, ruled by Mauriyas from Patna, Hindu Shahiya from Punjab and Timurids from Delhi.
Further, Imran Khan wrote on page 100 of his book, ‘For me, one of the most dramatic incidents in our history occurred on the Indus between Kalabagh and Attock. Jalaluddin was a young Pathan prince who had inflicted a good deal of damage in Afghanistan on the invading Mongol army, with the result that a very much larger army was sent against him under Genghis Khan. Jalaluddin was forced to retreat back into India, and found himself surrounded by the Mongol army, with river at his back. Like a cornered tiger, he charged into the middle of the Mongol army with his bodyguards, cut his way back to the river, recaptured his standard, and then – since there was nowhere to go – leapt on his horse over a sixty-foot cliff into the Indus below. His horse’s belly burst open when it hit the water, but Jalaluddin swam across the river to the other side. When Genghis Khan saw this, he was so impressed by the young man’s bravery that he ordered his men not to fire, since so brave a man didn’t deserve to die, and Jalaluddin made his way to India and safety.’
Imran Khan like most English school and college educated sahibs is obviously totally ignorant of the history of Islam and the subcontinent, because Jalal-ad-Duniya wa ad-Din Abu-al-Muzaffer Manguberdi ibn Muhammad was no Pathan, he was a Turk, a prince of Khwarazm whose kingdom was spread from the Caspian Sea to Afghanistan. He is one of the most admired figures of Muslim history on whom a number of histories, stories, plays and novels have been written, because he was the only Muslim prince to defeat a Mongol army, which forced the great Chingiz (Genghis) Khan to come personally with a large army to pursue him to the Indus. Jalal-ad-Din had defeated the Mongol army at the battle of Parwan, north of Kabul, but when he was betrayed by his Afghan contingent which deserted him, he retreated towards India. He was defeated at the Battle of the Indus, crossed over to India by throwing himself along with his horse into the river, as aforesaid to the amazement of Chingiz Khan, and after about three years in Punjab and Sindh, went back through Baluchistan to retrieve his kingdom.
Imran Khan incessantly talks about emulating the Western welfare system and democracy but he kept a Pir (a religious guide) whom he faithfully followed and about whom he wrote on page 120 of his book, ‘But never, in the almost twenty years that I knew Mian Bashir, was one of his prophecies ever wrong.’ It is therefore not surprising that Imran’s second wife, Reham Khan, mentioned taweez (amulets), ganda and kala jadoo (black magic) in his house. After the death of Mian Bashir, he took to receiving guidance from a lady, called in press a Pirni, whom he ultimately married.
When Imran decided to enter politics he wrote a series of syndicated articles, which were published in various newspapers, in which he stated that he would never be a brown Englishman and would marry a Pakistani girl chosen by his family. The result was that a number of educated Pakistani girls sacrificed everything that they had, including their monthly paychecks, which they donated to his Cancer hospital, but Imran married a rich Jewess (Jemima) who according to various version given by him, gifted a house to him near Islamabad or advanced money to buy it. The Supreme Court of Pakistan let Imran Khan off the hook by accepting that it was bought by money advanced by Jemima. The Peoples Party leader, Nisar Khuhro, said that it was the first case in Pakistan of a husband receiving Haq Meher. Allama Iqbal wrote;
‘Firdaus jo tera hay kisi nay nahin dekha
Afrang ka her qaria hay Firdaus kay manind’
There is a Pathan saying that most Pathans are liberal-minded, and will discard an old practice for a new when convinced that they will gain by so doing.
There is a saying by great Persian poet Shaikh Saadi against associating with Pathans because you will get hate and vindictiveness from them. This is also the complaint of opposition against Imran Khan that he is taking revenge in the name of accountability but have themselves failed to get rid of corrupt from their party to make their claim acceptable to people.
However his recent speeches and constant consistent talk of justice and merit shows that his life and education in England and marriage to Jemima has brought about in him some change for better.
But he remains innocent about history, politics and economic factors which has made West what it is now. Therefore, he continues to make mistakes when he refers to history because as Bilawal has said he was admitted to Oxford on his excellence as a sportsman. For example he was not quite correct when he referred to three of the most remarkable prime ministers of Great Britain, namely Wilson, Thatcher and Blair, who were like Imran and myself graduates of Oxford University. James Harold Wilson was a brilliant economist who was prime minister for eight years by winning three elections, but left office because he had planned to resign at the age of sixty in deference to the distaste of his wife for politics. The Iron Lady Thatcher was a science graduate who became the first female prime minister of the UK, but became unpopular because of insistence on a kind of poll tax. This was challenged by her defense minister in the party election, which she won in the first ballot but decided to quit for the sake of party unity. Anthony Charles Lynton Blair’s ten year’s tenure as prime minister was the second longest continuous period (after Margaret Thatcher’s) in recent years. Blair also enjoyed a 179-seat majority in the House of Commons—the biggest parliamentary majority in the history of the Labour Party and the largest majority of any party since 1935. But because of his support for the American invasion of Iraq, his own party members became critical and junior ministers resigned: therefore he decided not to stand for a fourth term for the sake of the party unity. However, he is quite correct that unlike Nawaz Sharif none of British prime minister have tried to stick to office. Although he continues to make mistake whenever he refers to history. He even makes mistakes when he refers to the life of the great Prophet and the state of Medina which every Muslim child should know. And was totally ignorant of roots of Modi in RSS which is based on conversion or eviction of every Muslim from Bharat (India) since its inception and had planned and killed Gandhi for favouring Muslims.
Historically speaking, Pathans are recent arrivals in KPK from Koh-e-Sulaiman in Balochistan, pushed by Baloch inroads in Baluchistan from Iran. If Pathans had any inkling of the history of the land they now occupy they would have known that their province is a treasure trove of Buddhist history and requires funds to excavate, conserve and protect, which could give manifold income through international and national tourism. Unfortunately his idea about heritage is to modernise it like most of the foreign educated robots who are influenced by glamour of the west when what is required is to restore them to their origin at very little cost by use of local labour and not destroy their old world charm.
He also remains innocent about economics. For example he has been talking of employment to hundred thousand and fifty thousand houses for the poor because he has been foolishly told that it will have multiplier effect and kick start the economy. In fact all his actions will benefit middlemen and result in rampant inflation. When John Maynard Keynes propounded his general theory to boost effective demand and create full employment, Adolf Hitler built autobahns, and Franklin D Roosevelt proposed New Deal, they did it in a Europe and America, which had idle skilled labour. This was also the reason that after the Second World War American aid to Germany and Japan made them economic giants but did not help African and Asian countries.
Our poor know how to make houses for themselves. They have been doing it for thousands of years. What our poor require is skill and knowledge which they had lost due to use of cement and steel. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote human well-being, by developing low-cost, carbon-free and waste-free methods based on traditional heritage and renewable materials. Our barefoot entrepreneurs have built about fifty thousand houses in about two hundred and fifty villages at almost zero carbon at a cost of thirteen thousand rupees for each safe house which are earthquake proof, rain and flood resistant. And when combined with one eco toilet shared by two families, one hand pump shared by five families, smokeless chullah and communal forests cost about thirty thousand rupees at about zero carbon.
The foreign NGO and local contractors who build the same facility at ten times the cost could not believe it therefore they asked the NED Engineering University to examine the claim. The Vice Chancellor of NED Engineering University personally supervised the test and concluded that even an earthquake of twice the intensity, which hit Kobe in Japan, will not harm it. It was also demonstrated at various universities abroad, including London and Melbourne. And has received innumerable awards. Few examples are;
Islamic Development Bank (Jeddah) Laureate 2013
Japan Asian Fukuoka Laureate 2016
World Habitat Laureate 2018
In the process the illiterate beggars at Makli Shrines, men and women, have acquired skills and bank accounts. Last year after the German ambassador had spoken at Zero Carbon Centre at Makli Goth, a woman climbed over the stage and said that five years ago I was an illiterate beggar woman but as a result of skill given to me I have now forty lac in my bank account.
It is unfortunate that instead of investing into training political workers, university and technical institute students of architecture and engineering, as well as communities to build earthquake and flood resistant structures at zero carbon for mere thousands of rupees, we are prepared to spend lacs on each house – that will denude forest cover, breach the treaty we signed in Paris against carbon emission and global warming, and hurt our people by increase in inflation.
The barefoot brigade works in rural area because it has no fresh water, toilets or air-conditioned accommodation to attract politician or bureaucrat to visit it and create problems for them. It can also be replicated in urban areas if the government is prepared to change colonial period rules and regulations and does not ask for usual bhatta.
A volunteer from Africa had come to be trained and has gone back to put them up in Malawi. It is a pity that while he was being trained at Zero Carbon Centre in Makli Goth, the intelligence bothered him and an European volunteer did not get visa for Pakistan for three months despite government’s claim to make it easy to visit Pakistan.
This reminds us of the time when we asked an all powerful ZAB not to throw away money when Indian army vacates over five hundred fifty villages in Shakargarh and over seventeen hundred thirty habitats in Tharparkar. Instead let them build their houses themselves according to our design and pay them for their input but politician and bureaucrats joined hand against it. ZAB had also agreed to allocate at least five marlas to each kammi (skilled worker) of the village so that they have stake in village but was never put into effect. The result was inflation and increase in dollar price by three times.
We cannot also forget the Harvard group of economists who occupied our Planning Commission under the Field Marshall and sold them Walt Whitman Rostow theory of stages of economic growth and take off. They made our bureaucrats and politician believe that East Pakistan was a burden and that without it Pakistan would soon overtake the stages of growth and take off. The result was the catastrophe of East Pakistan. Rostow was an American who was not aware of the West Pakistani mindset, which was entrenched with reaction and feudalism and ZAB’s nationalization of banks, industry and education.