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Hinduism is the Only Dharma in this multiverse comprising of Science & Quantum Physics.

Josh Schrei helped me understand G-O-D (Generator-Operator-Destroyer) concept of the divine that is so pervasive in the Vedic tradition/experience. Quantum Theology by Diarmuid O'Murchu and Josh Schrei article compliments the spiritual implications of the new physics. Thanks so much Josh Schrei.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Stephen Hawking says there is no afterlife

Stephen Hawking says there is no afterlife


A news splashed across the headlines a few days ago: Stephen Hawking: ‘There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story’.

To most people this may appear as a final statement from ‘Science’ refuting the ‘Religion’. After all Stephen Hawking is supposed to be the most scientific person living on earth today. The hype around him is as if he is the Einstein or Newton of today! (Ironically Einstein and Newton were anything but atheists.)

But what was more baffling to my humble mind than the question of afterlife was what made this news so prominently covered! I came with several hypotheses and am not sure which one is true: That people in media have valid subliminal reasons to find every reason to refute any entity that accounts for their deeds! Or perhaps any masala news that can be hyped up to bring readership is all they stand for! Or perhaps an eternally confused population serves their business interests best! I leave it upon readers to research on this puzzle while I pen my thoughts on the said news on afterlife.

1. The news is no different than another news that came around same time – “Shahrukh Khan has started loving puppies”. Every person in a civilized world is entitled to have his or her free opinions and voice them. So there is nothing objectionable about Shahrukh loving puppies or Hawking asserting that he does not believe in afterlife or Hawking suddenly leaving his wife who cared for him for decades and children at age of 53 to marry his nurse simply because he felt an emotional pull. The only problem is that there is nothing scientific or conclusively justifiable about these. They remain personal preferences, and they should be allowed to remain so.

It is just that a group of non-technical journalists – who rule the media business – tend to be the final filter for the world to tell them what science is or what religion is or what business is. And layman is covertly duped to follow what they say…very subtly. Welcome to the era of surrogate and not-so-surrogate mass-brainwashing!
Coming straight to point – Shahrukh Khan made no breakthrough research on why puppies should be loved henceforth. Nor did Stephen Hawking formulate any plausible theory that conclusively refutes the existence of God or afterlife. All he has done is to post his personal views based upon his experiences and experiments that failed to discover such a theory, combined with perhaps a natural repulsion to the concept of accountability of all actions, thoughts and words derived from the very same experiences and experiments in life.
2. Stephen Hawking is undoubtedly a very sharp mind and a marvelous physicist cum mathematician. His struggle against motor neuron disease is a source of inspiration for all of us. It demonstrates clearly the triumph of will as mentioned in Vedas.

Nonetheless Stephen Hawking remains the most over-hyped scientist of our era. Who shot to fame because in his struggle with disabilities coupled with brilliance lay a fantastic story that could be sold in public. Bantam Books marketed his ‘Brief History of Time’ as creation of an Einstein incarnate. The book was a bestseller though hardly anyone could understand it. And many a claims made in book had to be debunked in the next decade by many including Hawking himself. But the hype continued. This is the nature of hype – it needs a perceivable basis to begin with and then it continues on its own even when the basis no more exists- like a rocket.

Among layman Hawking continues to be the most sale-able story on science being equated with Einstein legends. However among physicists its a different story. In a survey conducted few years ago in Physics World, the reputed journal on physics, top physicists of the world were asked to vote for the greatest practitioner of their profession. Einstein topped with 119 votes followed by Newton with 46 votes. Stephen Hawking shared the last position with many others with 1 vote each.

This is not to belittle the brilliance of Hawking. He is among the best in the profession. He is a wonderful personality. But the point is that this does not make him the final word in matters of life, afterlife, or even physics for that matter.

3. The greatest irony in the superfluous denial of afterlife by Stephen Hawking based on his personal preferences (and no science or maths whatsoever!) is that his very existence today is based on the fact that majority of the world believes – actively or passively – in afterlife and even the legal systems, social structures, education system, governments are all derived from the belief that death is not end of the life. Because most people are hooked naturally to believe that future is never eternal darkness and there is more to look up to, and that all actions are accounted for, we don’t have a majority of rapists, cannibals on our planet.

Just assume for a while that the entire world indeed starts believing that there is no afterlife and maximization of fun in the next few seconds, minutes, hours, months, years is all that life is all about. Now what is the incentive for me to not kill a person if I can have his wealth or taste his salty flesh? Why should I not indulge in loot, plunder, rape, incest, murder, cheating, fraud if these titillate my sensory organs and I can ensure that I am smart and strong enough to evade being caught. Why should I not take and give bribes and do big scams? Why should I not commit fraud and suppress the suppressed? And why should not I eat up Stephen Hawking raw instead of countering his flawed logic? After all even Stephen Hawking asserted in same news story that “We need to use the effective theory of Darwinian natural selection of those societies most likely to survive. We assign them higher value.”
So Mr Hawking is countering the very foundation that has ensured that he lives in the world safely and securely despite his profound physical disabilities and irritation he is bringing to many through his views! The snake is eating its own tail!

4. So we see that concept of an after-life is essential to maintain order, ethics, values and morals in the world. It ensures that bulk of the people naturally incline towards helping the old and caring for the babies instead of conspiring to eat them up. They would not steal from a shop even when no one is watching! They would not see every woman in the family through eyes of lust and value the relationships of sister, mother and daughter. And when they default on any of these ideals due to habits or instincts, they would find ways to compensate for these through other benevolent deeds.

The world is worth-living because thankfully the majority does not emulate Stephen Hawking. (Even USA – supposed to be hub of all scientific research – proudly asserts in its currency notes – “In God We Trust”). And the world is disgusting to live to the extent each of us has a doubt or misconception about after-life.

But this is not the only reason to believe in God and after-life. These concepts are not mere convenience mechanisms to ensure that humans do not turn cannibals. There is more to it.

5. The popular theory of Stephen Hawkings and Richard Dawkings of the world is that the earth, the life, the intelligence and the progress of civilization are all mere random events with extremely low probability. It all started with a big-bang sometime billion years ago. Then matter-energy transformations led to creation of a wide variety of things in the universe, then somewhere a sun got formed and a burning hot earth started revolving around it. As it cooled, some more chemical reactions happened. Then some complex proteins got formed. Then reactions took to such stable state that they could replicate themselves and join together absorbing wide varieties of forms. Thus multi-cellular organisms got formed. Now somehow the reactions created what is called DNA. And now things became even easier. Gradually a wide variety of species (aka chemical reactions) happened to exist. Many of them started having a brain. And one species which could use its thumb started having better development of brain. Over years, this became a modern human. Then his brain started having some chemical reactions that would force him to seek meaning and purpose of life. They would force him to be social, creative, spiritual, academic etc. So human civilization started. Other animals could not have such brain reactions because their thumb was not good. Now few centuries ago one deviant individual from this human chemical reaction put other chemicals together and made a printing press. Now suddenly information era began. Any human could become knowledgeable without necessarily having intelligence! This led to rapid transformations and then one more deviant used this printed knowledge and his intelligence to make the computer. Now chemicals..sorry humans…could do simulations to predict whatever they wanted. Few years later, one more deviant made internet. In between someone started companies that work only for profits, some else started advertisement to brainwash and help companies, news channels were opened, fashion started and what not. This all led to current complexities of life. This, in short is story of human life today that exists nowhere except on earth in whatever universe we have explored so far!

But to simplify even further, we are what we are and where we are through an extremely rare chance of probability that makes us so very very special and unique in middle of billions of km of playground (universe) that we can observe all around us. From a mathematical point of view, the probability of having organic life is next to zero. To have anything more than unicellular simple amoebas is billions time lesser. To have complex organisms like insects, reptiles, birds, mammals is still lesser by more than billion billion times. To have bisexual organisms that mature separately and yet are designed to be complementary and are necessary to come together to breed next generation is even rare. And then to have something like a human who could think and also have a special thumb is still rarer. But even rarer is the fact that only humans are the species to have developed such faculties that even force him to think of who he is, where he came from, where will he go. No elephant, tiger, lion, owl etc could obtain such faculties. Unlike Lord of the Rings where we have elves, hobbits and dwarfs, we have only humans possessing intelligence! The probability of all this happening is just a notch more than zero. A notch because we know it happened! And yet it is a random chance of luck!
Now let us consider another case. Suppose I gave you a coin to toss that I claim to be totally unbiased. You toss it hundred times and each time it comes as head. What would be your conclusion?

A. The coin is biased

B. The method of tossing is erroneous

I would refute. I would say, don’t be stupid. There is a probability of (0.5)^100 that it can come head in all tosses.I would say that you are so special and lucky to have been a witness to such rare probability. Perhaps if you are a simpleton, I would be able to convince you with flowery examples, great dialogues, sophism, display of mastery of probability and science and showing my credentials of being an eminent researcher as per some agency that is very popular in media.

So you perform another try. You toss the coin again 900 times. And after 1000 trials in total, you still get all heads. I would say – You are still luckier to have witnessed this phenomenon for first time in history of human civilization that has a probability of (0.5)^1000. In all probability, by now you would termed me a fraud and if the experiment had some pecuniary implications, you would be contemplating putting me in jail!

But since most people are very simple, I take this even further. I announce this as a great rare scientific phenomenon. I write some books wherein I explain what probability is, and then give examples of rare events happening, all to justify why there is no bias in coin and coming of heads even after 100,000 trials is still a random phenomenon. A publisher would hail me as greatest brain on earth ever, several others would justify that on basis of track record of good cricket matches that I played in my career and hence the hype is built. Then one group starts opposing me and this only increases the hype about me and keenness to await my next scientific miracle – like the octopus who predicted FIFA winners!

To add spice to the fantastic story, I now add a dice which always rolls to a 6 even after 100,000 trials. I then add a pack of cards from which a randomly chosen card is always King of Spade after an equal number of trials.

The conditions are that one can never test the coin, dice or the pack of cards and can never allege bias. Because assumption of bias is beyond the scope of rules of the game. No one ever saw anyone add bias to them and hence this is out of purview.

Now if you are beginning to believe that I have started going out of mind then let me tell you something. The probability of intelligent life thriving on planet earth with all the symbiosis and complexities that exist in every cell of the body, every natural cycle, every physiological function of the body, every social system etc etc etc is still far far lower than a coin giving head in all 100,000 trials AND a dice always rolling 6 after 100,000 rolls AND a King of Spade being chosen in each of 100,000 picks from a pack of cards!

So if I am a jerk because I claim that the coin that always tosses head, and the dice that always rolls 6 and the cards that always select King of Spade are unbiased, then those who claim that the entire process that led to intelligent life thinking about its own origin is a mere random event are even greater jerks!

And since the concept of ‘no after-life’ is merely an extrapolation of this jerky theory, it is equally crazy!

Please note that I am not asserting that evolution never happened or big bang never happened. I am also not asserting that the universe was created in 6 days or merely by some God saying: “Let there be light!”. In fact given available observations of laws of universe, that seems highly unlikely. However whether evolution happened or creation in few hours or a mix of two is all immaterial. What is material, based on available evidence, is that it is significantly more (at least billions of times) more probable that the entire creation process has been a planned process with a purpose rather than a mere random chance event! And that is exactly why barring a few neo-scientists, bulk of geniuses in the scientific fraternity never denied the existence of God or a Supreme Planner.

6. Let us understand what is the difference between a planned event and a random event. In reality, there is no way to assert whether an event is planned or random. When 1000 people suddenly start running on streets wearing same T Shirt and Pant, at 7 am on Sunday, we assume that this is a planned running event. This is because the probability of 1000 people having an inspiration to seek health through morning run after wearing the same T Shirt is highly unlikely. In other words, when an event happens whose probability is very low, we say it is a planned event. Lesser the probability, more the planning behind. This is the only way to deduce whether an event is planned or random, especially when you do not have sufficient options to conduct trials or show sufficiently large sample size of similar events happening.

Take for example, creation of the world. No scientist in the world can show even one single evidence of something automatically being created without someone applying planning skills to create it. Even a wiper of the car has to be manufactured with thorough planning. Under such situations, if intelligent life on earth is not a planned event, then the latest IPL or Cricket World Cup was also a purely random event. People just walked in to stadiums – as spectators, security guards, players, umpires, commentators, administrators, cheer leaders blah blah – randomly. We just chanced to witness the random phenomenon.

The ramblings of Stephen Hawking since ‘Brief History of Time’ to denial of after-life is also a purely random event, pre-decided by the way big-bang happened some billion years ago.
Yes, if intelligent life is random, so is everything else including the assertion that life is random. Even the inspiration behind voicing this assertion is a purely random chemical process!
7. So after discovering that those who deny afterlife are those who would agree that even Olympics was a random event, let us now explore further loopholes of the theory. The assumption that death means destruction of a computer assumes that consciousness is a processor in this computer. Hawking says that there is no use of broken down computers in Heaven and hence afterlife does not exist. Sounds poetic. But that’s all about it.

Scientists have been unable to discover the seat of consciousness in body. Dead has never been revived like in Horror Movies. Nor could anyone pinpoint the location of consciousness. Forget about consciousness, scientists fail to understand how the brain works except that some electric signals travel all around. Even the motor-neuron disease of Hawking is a mystery. Scientists are baffled over how termite colonies work with such great team work when each terimite has minimal intelligence. And how the brain containing innumerable neurons work together to maintain voluntary and involuntary mechanisms of the body including intelligence. The source has been far from located. And hence to deduce that death leads to ‘eternal darkness’ is as ridiculous as asserting that the computer is destroyed when one breaks the monitor.

Hawking says that “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” The point however is that there is no conclusive evidence to believe that brain alone is life and brain failing implies ALL components failing. All we know is that brain is like a hard disk and body is like mouse+keyboard+monitor etc. Without these in place, processor cannot show its power. But only a fool shall throw away the latest Intel processor costing a couple of thousand dollars because his cheap Chinese hard disk crashed or the Made in Taiwan monitor failed!

Seat of consciousness or intelligence is like a processor of computer. Until you plug your Intel i7 in the motherboard and set up the accessories, it looks like a piece of trash. The moment you plugin, you realize that this i7 can accomplish much more than what your hand made abacus can.

Given that there so much of order in otherwise random world, and that events that should have zero probability are happening in ample all around us, the sensible mind deduces that there is a planning and purpose behind it all. Further there is no reason to conclude that seat of consciousness is permanently destroyed with death of the body, when the skeptics don’t even know the seat of consciousness. Hence a wise man concludes that the force of life and hope for future cannot suddenly face a discontinuous abrupt breakdown. And the processor of consciousness would find more opportunities to plugin into a different set of accessories to continue the journey ahead.

8. Scientists cannot also explain what causes origin of consciousness. And further, what makes my consciousness different from your consciousness. How so much close I am to anything physically, my consciousness is unique to myself. Yes, we can admit that some big bang happened, and some atomic reactions happened, and then some chemical reactions happened blah blah and suddenly we have so many humans and animals and birds and insects around us. We also admit that the process led to creation of intelligent machines. But from where did so many observers emerge who are witnessing all these phenomena and thinking about it? In a purely physical model of world, there is every justification of planets being created and even biological systems being created there. But there is no explanation of creation of unique consciousness and observers and action-takers. I understand that my body started as a fertilized egg in womb of my mother and then further reactions led me to having a brain and nervous system and various organs. But from where did this feeling of I came? If I am merely some cell or group of cells, then first provide me my location and then conclude that I can be destroyed.

And also explain me why this group of cells have feeling of I. And how can you conclude that I am as gross as a cell or an atom and not anything subtler? Since I first had sense of consciousness, my body has changed drastically. Established phenomena of observed science assert that virtually each atom of my body may have been exchanged with world or shifted locations. But I remain the same. That means there is something constant beyond all these cells and atoms that does not change. And when it is beyond all these atoms and particles, it is beyond being captured by crude instruments of scientific laboratories, and yet is the most established fact of life, how can someone claim ‘scientifically’ that I shall be destroyed when the body dies? What happens so specially in death that would force this source to die? Thus, to assert that I shall die when this physical body is destroyed is more ridiculous than asserting that Dak Bungalow of Jhumritalaiya in Bihar has ghosts living because some voices are heard from there on New Moon nights!

Let the scientists first pinpoint the seat of consciousness, explain its properties and then conclude whether it dies or continues to live. To deny it in this premature state of sketchy knowledge obtained through crude instruments and slightly less crude mathematical formulations would only be superstitions.

9. If it all be a blinded reaction, even we are chemical reactions. So killing, rape, fraud etc are also nothing more than exchange of some acids and alkalis in a chemistry lab. And whatever a Hawking or Dawkins is thinking or representing is nothing but an evolved chemical reaction. I can claim that actually apart from me there is no other observer. A Hawking or a Dawkins is merely a virus infected robot having no consciousness. And thus there is no reason why a mechanical/chemical object should be taken seriously.

The very fact that we debate proves that we value consciousness as something beyond blind reaction. Or else, all arguments, all logic, all counter logic, all facts, all evidences eventually turn meaningless. Because there is no way for me to ascertain whether you are a robot or actually a conscious observer. Then there is no way to ascertain that you indeed can process information in same manner as I can. Further, after some time the robot called you shall cease to exist and I shall cease to exist. And similarly all science, all discovery, all knowledge, all inventions, all ideologies would all come to blankness. So even the notion of right or wrong makes no sense in a world without observers who are separate from rest of the chemicals. In other words, unless there is an experimenter in a chemical lab, mixing of acid, alkali and salts would only be random catastrophe. And to say that Sulphuric Acid mixed Nitric Acid with Sodium Nirate would only be bedtime stories for children. Much more fairy tales than afterlife! But wait… even children and fairy tales are no different from acids and salts in the lab!

In short, the very notion of true, false, logic, flaw etc become totally meaningless if everything is a temporary chemical reaction eventually.

10. In a way Hawking is not wrong. He hails from a Christian society and hence the concept of God as in Semitic cults is deeply entrenched in him. Considering his current age, situation and lack of knowledge of the concept of God in philosophically more refined concept of God and Universe, it is perhaps too late for him to assimilate these concepts.

The Biblical concept of God is not wrong. Its perfect and flawless for a certain level of intellect. For example, if one has to explain to a child who created the world, it is perhaps simpler to simply state that God made it. And then when the child asks where is God, it is more relieving to say that He is on top of sky than explain why he cannot see Him. And when the child asks pointing to sky, where is God in sky, it is simplest to answer that He is above the 4th or 7th sky and hence we cannot see Him. When someone asks what happens after death, easiest answer to incentivize him to good actions is that there is a Paradise in some location and God will send us there if we do good deeds.

This is the concept of God and afterlife as deeply entrenched in the western psyches.

However as one progresses in spiritual intelligence, more explaining models of God and afterlife are needed that explain the realities of this life also better. Vedas – the oldest texts of humankind – contain plethora of explanations on such a model that is much more subtle than the Semitic view and more explaining that the Hawking/Dawkins model of blinded alley. It is also the most motivating and inspiring model. It also embeds the scope for further refinement with evolution of intellect and forms the mother of all other grosser models of world.
Here are the salient points:

- To claim that world got created without a creator is foolish as discussed above. In fact, it seems to be the most improbable theory by admission of their own proponents. If foolishness be a function of belief in most improbable, then Mr Hawking and Mr Dawkins can themselves conclude who are the greatest fools in this specific issue.

However to consider that the creator is a personal God is equally foolish. The creator is sum-total of what atheists would like to call Laws of Nature. In fact He is the source behind all these eternal Laws. As Newton once pointed out, we only measure the accuracy with which the God manages the laws through our mathematical equations and not the cause of law. For example, we can accurately measure how 2 particles, howsomuch far from each other, attract each other. But what makes this force of gravity of electricity work is beyond us. We create models to define terms like waves, energy, fields, radiations only to explain the phenomena using metaphors. But cause is unknown. Vedic God is the cause. He operates as per these eternal laws – a few of which can be modeled as per crude frameworks of mathematics – continuously and without change.

Thus He is completely impersonal, does not grant favors, does not punish, does not forgive and does not meddle with personal lives. Einstein came very close to defining such a God but was plagues by lack of resources beyond maths and physics that are necessary to explain it further.

This God is same always – in past, present and future. And the laws are such that they are intended for benefit of the seats of consciousness – the souls. The laws are such that depending on whether we enhance our wisdom or reduce it through thoughts, words and actions, we face situations that result in our happiness and sorrow. And happiness and sorrow are modeled in such a manner that they take us away from ignorance and towards wisdom.

- The seats of consciousness – the souls – are eternal like God. Since the seat is subtler than all physical entities, there is nothing in world that can destroy it. Because to destroy, you need something that is comparable to the object in subtlety . If something is more subtle than the inter-atomic space, what could cause its destruction? Its effects are manifest but scientists are unable to measure it because crude laboratory tools are too gross to measure it. The only way to gauge it is through mind because mind is subtlest of physical entities under our control. Most scientists are inept in handling such a subtle tool and hence fail to gauge it.

Note that eventually everything is gauged through mind. Whatever instruments we use to see, calculate or observe any physical or not-so-physical entity is filtered through sense-organs and finally processed by mind. We need all this installation of crude gadgets for same reason why very heavy installations are required to immune very sensitive instruments in labs from minutest of fluctuations. To be able to pull a thread through a needle-hole while riding a bus on bumpy roads of village is not everyone’s task. Only an expert can control his muscles to resist all fluctuations and achieve the feat. Similarly, to gauge the self through mind demands complete mastery over muscles of mind that is not for everybody in mundane life where we are addicted to some sensory input or fantasies to titillate us every moment.

However, circumstantial evidences to conclude existence of a Self beyond physical body are sufficiently more plausible than denial of the Self.

- God is not sitting over some 4th or 7th sky. He is everywhere. Another metaphor could be that we are within God. There is no space that is missed by God’s presence. We cannot measure or gauge Him directly because our instruments are crude. Again, mind is the subtlest instrument available to us and we can use it to assess in much better. However circumstantial evidence implicit in the most improbable event of world – creation and maintenance of creation – coming true is sufficient to refute denial of God as more fantastic than the theory of Olympics being a random event!

An approximate metaphor would be that of dark matter. Scientists agree that given all their definitions and models and frameworks they built to explain the world, there has to be dark matter, spread evenly across. This should be much more than the white matter. But the dark matter remains dark till today. It is around us but we cannot see it. I do not mean that God is dark matter. In fact God is the brightest! But all I imply is that God is also similarly present everywhere if we were to be in a position that we can introspect- which we are already doing!
Dark matter fiasco happened because physics started with certain definitions. Then based on these definitions, certain mathematical models were created. They seemed to explain a lot but fail beyond a point. Now for these equations to make sense dark matter has to exist. But the flaw could be right from the very definitions. Another flaw is the assumption that current mathematics..or mathematics in itself can explain everything!

The Vedic definitions of matter, God and soul are different from popular western perceptions, by the way.

- Since God is everywhere, the theory of Paradise being in some specific place in universe is also baseless. In fact after-life has nothing to do with Paradise or Hell. Paradise or Hell are metaphors to explain to babies. The Vedic view is that there is no specific Paradise or Hell. Instead there is an infallible Law of Actions aka Karma. As per this law, whatever actions we conduct lead to happiness or sorrow depending upon whether they were driven towards wisdom or dumbness. The acquisition of happiness as a result is Paradise and acquisition of sorrow is a Hell. So Paradise and Hell exist right with us every moment. So if Hawking is refuting the geographical Paradise and Hell, he is bang right.

- The afterlife of Vedas mean that the Law of Karma do not cease simply because physical body died. Just as a person does not die by changing clothes or a processor does not destroy because the monitor of computer is broken down, similarly soul is unaffected by destruction of body. The soul, governed by eternal laws of nature controlled by omnipresent omniscient God, takes a new birth that best fits his cumulative wisdom-dumbness combination. The fit decides his species, family, health, destiny etc. Then the future destiny continues to be modified as per the willful acts of the soul. So future destiny at every moment is dependent on the sum total of all deeds conducted till that very moment. Deeds don’t mean physical actions but the intent inspiring these actions. And journey continues.

- When ignorance/ dumbness is destroyed beyond a threshold, the soul does not need to take any future births and is united with supreme bliss of God. He does not transport into a different location but enjoys bliss everywhere.

- When wisdom is destroyed beyond a threshold, soul takes birth as non-human species where the free-will is severely restricted and soul spends time to get rid of dumbness like patients spend time in mental hospitals.

- This earth is not unique. Depending upon the best fit for deeds of a soul, it may be teleported to any of the earths in any specific circumstance.

- Creation and Destruction happen in continuous cycles. The process is beginningless and never-ending.

- Thus the three eternal entities are always present – God, Soul and Nature. During creation, they separate out. During destruction, Nature and Soul directly come under God’s supervision and lose their expressed manifestation. But then again in next cycle, separation happens.

These points are not only the most logical ways to explain observed phenomena of the world, but also most inspiring and purposeful. Further, whether one denies them or agrees to them, they cannot help abiding by these principles. The very fact that Hawkings and Dawkins feel an irresistible urge to promote what is truth as per their best intellects implies that they have the natural urge to seek wisdom and eradicate dumbness. In lines of Vedic wisdom, they also feel the urge to propagate to the world, even though they believe that its all short-term chemical reactions eventually!

Hawking admitted that “I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.” Thus the chemical reaction that refutes afterlife itself looks forward to next continuous moment unhindered by prospects of a death in near future! Despite being a rational scientist who knows that he will eventually die and that whatever he does or does not do does not make any difference, he has the urge to do a lot! He subtly admits that the Intel i7 processor is different from the Samsung hard disk and the LG Monitor!

Hawking rejected the notion of life beyond death and emphasised the need to fulfil our potential on Earth by making good use of our lives. In answer to a question on how we should live, he said, simply: “We should seek the greatest value of our action.”

Now is that not grossly unscientific for a person who believes that life beyond death is non-existent to seek greatest ‘value’ of action? Can Hawking reveal which set of equations led him to conclude so. Its only a personal preference inspired by the indomitable urge to do good, do worthwhile even when having the last breath. Because our entire system is programmed to seek bliss through noble actions and resist abrupt ends.

Had death been such an inescapable truth of final ‘THE END’ why does the DNA make us so scared of death. Why we have a natural aversion to death in all intelligent species. Why does the ‘darkness of Stephen Hawking’ scare us when we are so sure that the sleep never scares us? Our entire mechanism, structure, system at individual or societal level is built on denial of death. How can our DNA, as per evolution, be so contrary to the most observed behavior of the world?

They will loosely say that this happens to preserve the species. But why the hell should a chemical preserve any species and what is its incentive for doing so? And are there any valid proofs to justify so or is it yet another blank theory?

Yoga Darshan attributes this repulsion to death to the fact that the soul has faced death so many times leading to detachment from its loved ones and loved entities that this is the strongest Sanskaar (mental tendency) of any intelligent soul.

Now someone may say that even this theory of life after death is fantastic and unbelievable. Why should this be believed and not what Hawking or Dawkins assert? Here are some pointers:
- At least this theory is billion times more probabilistic than random blind alley theory of Hawking/ Dawkins. Rather, the probability of our existing probability not being random is near to 1.
- This explains many more observations than any other theory in more probable manner (Probability nearing 1).

- This is much more intuitive and as per our innate tendencies. If evolution were to be true through natural selection, this is what nature would want us to believe rather than the dead computer hoax. And since nature has no incentive to be false, whatever is true has to be eventually intuitive as per our nature.

- There is no reason to believe that death leads to permanent destruction of seat of consciousness. Till someone can pinpoint what exactly is seat of consciousness and how can it be destroyed, to claim its permanent destruction would be an extremely superstitious story.

- If someone says that even if processor of consciousness survives death, probability of it getting fitted in a computer aka body again to start functioning again is extremely remote, then this is also flawed logic. Because, firstly, even if the seat of consciousness does not get a body, it only means that the consciousness – feeling of I – is not manifest in crude world. It does not necessarily outrightly deny this possibility. Remember that processor/ computer was just a metaphor to explain something and not consciousness itself!

Secondly, we do not consider life to be probabilistic. Probability only refers to our inability to comprehend the complexities of the orderliness. Thus in our model of world, the world itself was planned and hence our next birth will also be equally planned. I never witnessed an unplanned world and hence it is highly improbable to witness something with very rare probability in future as well.

Remember, our coin always throws a head! Its your problem if you still consider that it was a random event to have 100,000,000 straight heads in a row without a tail!

- Needless to say, the theory is most inspiring, hope-giving, motivating, purposeful and ensures a sane civilized society that is neither superstitious nor blinded by fear, lust, greed.
- To believe that mathematical modeling and physical observations can explain things that are subtler than these crude tools is ridiculous. When Hawking cannot explain what physical phenomena led him to divorce his caring wife and children at an old age to marry his nurse, how can we expect him to explain even subtler and intriguing concepts merely by number crunching?

Mathematical models and observations can provide a boundary to what is correct and what is wrong. So current advancements in science may say that the location of Paradise as given in Bible is a hoax. Or that Bible cannot be right if it says that sun moves round the earth or that first light was created and then sun and stars were created. But that does not mean that it can refuse the presence of a Supreme who is ensuring that laws of nature work with perfection. So perfectly that we call them Law without even knowing what causes them!

To summarize, the Hawking denial of afterlife is nothing more authoritative than Shahrukh loving puppies. The observations and limitations of modern science give even more weightage to a Supreme Entity as well as afterlife than ever before in history of humankind. This belief which forms the innate nature of all living beings including Stephen himself is the reason why world is a sane place. This is the ultimate source of motivation. And this is the most reasonable theory to believe in unless we do not object to believing that all Olympics so far had been purely random events!



Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vanishing Hindu, Sikh minorities in Pakistan BY MALOY KRISHNA DHAR




Vanishing Hindu, Sikh minorities in Pakistan  BY MALOY KRISHNA DHAR
BY CT – MARCH 29, 2010
POSTED IN: POLITICS
BY MALOY KRISHNA DHAR
http://canarytrap.in/2010/03/29/vanishing-hindu-sikh-minorities-in-pakistan/


I was inspired to write this essay by a Pakistani journalist friend. Later, during a lecture tour in South East Asian countries, where Indian and Chinese origin minorities are also discriminated, I noticed that the minorities are palpably anguished. The latest incidents of organized attacks by Bengali Muslims on hill dwelling Chakma tribals in Khagrachari areas firmed up my decision to chronicle a preliminary account of the conditions of the non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan. I had earlier written a piece on the plight of the Pakistani Christians. I have not touched upon the plight of the Shia and Ahmadiya (non-Muslim) communities in Pakistan, which require international attention. Not a single Indian Muslim religious seminary has so far condemned Pakistan for inhuman treatment of the Shia and Ahmadiya communities.

I am indebted to a member of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission and several young Pakistani writers who have boldly portrayed the pitiable condition of the minorities in Pakistan. Their voices are drowned in wilderness. The normal civil society members are also ashamed of these developments. However, I do not want to name them fearing visitations by the ISI goons.

Jinnah had said in his speech to the new nation created, called Pakistan, on August 17, 1947 to assure that his fiefdom, for which he fought relentlessly and even organized the Great Direct Action Pogrom of Calcutta in August 1946, to assure the national minorities, after 3 millions were killed in communal riots and several million escaped to the safety of Hindustan: “You are free; free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques, or to any other place of worship in the State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed-that has nothing to do with the business of the State…We are starting with this fundamental principles that we are all citizens and equal citizens of our State.”

People conversant with Jinnah’s rise as a rabid communal Muslim leader (Jaswant Singh’s white washing aside) know that Jinnah Kathiawadi lived by deceit and died in neglect (recall his Quetta visit, breakdown of his car on way to Karachi and apathetic attitude of the people in power). He was not even a practicing Muslim (a Shia), but pleaded fanatic Muslim causes. He never tried to rescue Muslim politics from the clutches of the maulanas. He was the person who boycotted the 1937 interim governments in the Central Legislative Assembly and Congress led provinces. He fabricated or organized the fabrication of charges against Congress’ ruthless suppression of the Muslims. One after another memorandum was submitted to the Governor General; all bundles of lies. The grand finale of Jinnah’s bunches of lies and prevarication included Calcutta pogrom in collaboration with Suhrawardy government, deceitful refusal to sign the Mountbatten Plan for partition, backing out from original agreement that Mountbatten would be the common Governor General for India and Pakistan and finally throwing a grand inaugural lunch on 16th August, a day of Ramadan (later shifted to dinner).

With such track record of prevarication, fabrication and falsehood, Jinnah’s 17th August 1947 speech, assuring the minority was then and even now treated as crocodile’s tears. If he were a democrat he would have not chosen the machetes to kill. He could not stop killing of the Hindu and other minorities in Pakistan even after he assumed the gaddi of the Governor General in true Hollywood style. Since Jinnah, the Hindu minorities have continued to suffer in Pakistan and now they have become an endangered community. Those interested may read Jinnah of Pakistan by Stanley Wolpert and Mountbatten’s Report on the Last Vice-royalty, edited by Lionel Carter.

For which Pakistan Jinnah had struggled? His idea of Pakistan was limited to the vision of Dr. Iqbal-whole of Punjab, Sind, Balochistan, NWFP, FATA areas and Kashmir. He had no plan for Bengal and Assam and other Muslim majority areas in India. Later the Bangistan theory of Chaudhry Rahmat Ali propelled the Pakistan protagonists to amalgamate Bengal and Assam and create the eastern wing of Pakistan.

However, it must be said to the credit of Jinnah that in the absence of Dr. Iqbal and any other Muslim poet he could trust, he had commissioned a Hindu to write the original national anthem of Pakistan. India and Pakistan have another anomalous situation in common. Iqbal, the progenitor of Pakistan, had composed the national song Sare Jahan se Accha. It is still used as one of the national songs. Jinnah, on the other hand had summoned Jagannath Azad, son of Lahore-based poet Tilok Chand Mahroom, just three days before the creation of Pakistan, to write the country’s first national anthem. It had stirred up a debate in that country. It is claimed that Jinnah sowed the seed of secularism by inviting Jagannath Azad to write the national anthem. However, Pakistan’s first national anthem composed by a Hindu was discarded by Pakistan in 1950. What a great disrespect to the father of the nation! Some leading Pakistani thinkers correctly said that Pakistan exists on the venom of anti-Hindu elixir.


Demographic distribution of Hindus in Pakistan (Source: Wikipedia)
At the time of Partition in 1947, the Hindu population of Pakistan was estimated at approximately a quarter of the total population. For example, the population of Karachi, Pakistan in 1947 was 450,000, of which 51% was Hindu, and 42% was Muslim. By 1951, Karachi’s population had increased to 1.137 million because of the influx of 600,000 Muslim refugees from India. In 1951, the Muslim population of Karachi was 96% and the Hindu population was 2%. In 1998, the Hindu population in all of Pakistan was 1.6%, and the most recent census would certainly be expected to demonstrate consistent dwindling demographic trends and further diminution of Hindu population.

According to certain official estimates NWFP has slightly over 4,924 Hindus, whereas in FATA area total known Hindu population is 1,921. After the rise of the Taliban in Pakistan and military operations hundreds of Hindus had escaped under dual pressure-demand of Jizya, a Sharia tax by the Taliban and army harassment.

Limits on freedom

Pakistan’s Constitution, prima facie, provides for freedom of religion. In practice, however, the government imposes limits on this freedom by using several subterfuges. Since Pakistan proclaimed itself an Islamic republic at the time of independence, Islam has become a core element of the national ideology. Since the struggle for separate homeland for the Muslims was seemingly waged against the Hindus and not the British Pakistan’s political soul is filled with hatred against the Hindus. Thus, religious freedom is subject to law, public order, and morality as decided by the reigning government. Actions or speech deemed derogatory to Islam or to its Prophet are not protected. In addition, the Constitution requires that laws must be consistent with Islam and imposes some elements of Quranic law on both Muslims and religious minorities. This observation has been supported even by the U.S. State Department’s report on International Religious Freedom report of 2004. After spate of riots against the Pakistani Christians the IRF had expressed similar views.

Government regulations and laws shaped by Islamic Sharia injunctions discriminate against the Hindu minority as well as other minorities in Pakistan. Section 295-C of the Pakistan penal code mandates the death sentence for blasphemy against the Prophet or desecration of the Koran. Dozens of blasphemy cases are pending in the courts, and the accused spend long periods in jails under brutal conditions once the accusation has been made, although most such allegations of desecration are the result of personal grudges. On March 24, 2005, Pakistan restored the discriminatory practice of mandating the mention of religious identity of individuals in all new passports. The Pakistan federal cabinet, with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in chair, had directed the Ministry of Interior to reintroduce the rule after its repeal under the Zafaraullah Khan Jamali government. The move was seen as a concession to the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), a coalition of hard-line religious parties that supported Pakistan’s former President General Pervez Musharraf.

The rights of minorities continue to erode at an alarming pace in Pakistan. I.A. Rehman, Director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, associates this erosion with the continued Islamization of Pakistan that President General Zia-ul-Haq initiated in the 1980s. Upon Pakistan’s declaration as an Islamic republic, the rights of religious minorities, particularly Hindus, Christians, and Ahmadiyas, diminished dramatically. These minorities live under the fear of threats to their lives and property, desecration of their places of worship, and the Blasphemy Act that carries a penalty of death. Nuzzhat Shirin of the Aurat Foundation adds, “It’s Muslims winning by intimidation. It’s Muslims overcoming a culture by threatening it, by abducting young girls so that an entire community moves out or succumbs to the Muslim murderers.”

There are several instances of attacks against the Shias by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipha Sahaba, two hardcore Sunni militant outfits. “Justice M. Munir commission investigated the large-scale riots against the Ahmadiya sect in Pakistan in 1953. His report is an eye-opener. It shows that our ulema are not even able to agree on a definition of who a Muslim is. Justice Munir had called heads of all Islamic schools of thought and asked them the definition of a Muslim. No two ulema agreed. It also exposes the pusillanimity of our so-called scholars of Islam and their near-total disregard of the beauty and generosity of Islam.” Sultan Shahin, Editor, New age Islam.

Violence against women

Violence against women in general continues throughout the world, but more so in Pakistan, particularly against Hindu women. Violence against women is rampant in the forms of rape, honor killings, and domestic abuse. In Pakistan, a woman is raped every two hours on average, and at least ten women a day die in honor killings. Moreover, Pakistan’s existing Hudood Ordinance is used to imprison thousands of women who report rapes. The Hudood Ordinances are a set of laws that were introduced by Presidential decree in 1979 under the then President General Zia Ul Haq. These laws were intended “to bring in conformity with the injunctions of Islam” certain aspects of the criminal justice system and make certain offences punishable by hadd, which is defined as “punishment ordained by the Holy Quran or Sunnah.”

The quotations are from the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979, Ordinance No. VII of 1979, 9 February 1979, preamble and sec. 2(b), respectively. Hereinafter: Zina Ordinance. . The laws introduced under the Hudood Ordinances cover the offences of Zina (various forms of unlawful sexual intercourse) Qazf (wrongful accusation of Zina crimes), and offences Against Property and Prohibition. An offence of Zina occurs, under the Ordinance, whenever “a man and a woman… willfully have sexual intercourse without being validly married to each other.” Section 4 of the Zina Ordinance. Offences of rape are called Zina bil Jabr (literally meaning ‘forced adultery’ in the Arabic original) as they have occurred without the consent of the victim. Significantly, however, the Zina Ordinance excludes marital rape from the definition of that offence.

According to the Ordinance, a rape victim must present four male witnesses to the crime in order to prove the rape occurred. If the victim is unable to do so, she is at risk for being whipped for adultery because she has acknowledged illicit sex, which is banned in Islam. Despite repeated calls by women’s rights and human rights groups for the reform and repeal of the Hudood Ordinance, the Pakistan government has yet to take action. Readers may have not forgotten the famous case of Mukhtar Mai that had created international indignation. Women, Muslim or Hindu, can expect very little from the majority sections of people in a country that still lives in the barbaric Middle Ages.

Hindus continue to be the target of kidnappings, rape, and intimidation in Pakistan. There are reports of desecration and destruction of Hindu temples and lands, theft and looting of Hindu property, discrimination, abuse, and abduction of Hindu females. Unfortunately, few reports about specific and targeted human rights abuses against Hindus are available, not only due to the continued decreasing population of Hindus in Pakistan, but also because reports of such attacks are either poorly covered in the local media or completely ignored. In most cases police do not register cases reported by Hindu victims.

A worrisome trend in Pakistan, particularly in the Sind province, is that of Muslims kidnapping Hindu girls and forcing them to convert to Islam. One of the most egregious cases of intimidation and kidnapping of young Hindu women occurred in September 2005. On September 14, Hindu parents alleged that four men abducted their daughter in Sind, and forced her to marry one of the accused and convert to Islam. The authorities arrested two of the abductors, but the court dismissed the case when the girl was forced to provide a legal statement that she willfully married and converted. Gayan Chand Singh, than a legislator in Pakistan’s Parliament, said that the kidnapping should be categorized as rape and should be registered as such an offense for the abductors.

In a similar case, Sapna Giyanchand was taken to a shrine in the Shikarpur District by Shamsuddin Dasti, a Muslim married man and father of two children. The custodian of the shrine, Maulvi Abdul Aziz converted Sapna to Islam, changed her name to Mehek, and married her to Dasti. When Sapna’s case was presented in court, Muslim extremists deluged her with rose petals and chanted religious verses. Sapna, terrified by the setting, could not manage to speak to her parents, who were also present in court. Aziz, also in attendance, is claimed to have said, “How can a Muslim girl live and maintain contact with kafirs; non-believers of Islam?”

Kidnapping Hindu girls

In a recent investigative report it is described how young girls, as young as 12 or 13, have been kidnapped in Sind, converted to Islam, and forcibly married to Muslim boys. “Kidnapping Hindu girls like this has become a normal practice. The girls are then forced to sign stamped papers stating that they’ve become Muslims,” said Laljee Menghwar, a member of Karachi’s Hindu Panchayat (council of village leaders). At least twenty nine similar abduction cases have taken place in Karachi alone, and six in the Jacobabad and Larkana districts. Wasim Shahzad, the Minister of State for Interior, had upset legislators in the National Assembly when he was quoted by the state-run APP news agency as saying, “These incidents are taking place to force the Hindus to leave Pakistan where they have been living for the past 5,000 years.”

In a shocking incident, it was reported that three young Hindu girls had suddenly converted to Islam.  The three girls, Reena (21), Usha (19) and Rima (17) – daughters of Sanno Amra and Champa, a Hindu couple living in the Punjab Colony section of Karachi, Pakistan – went missing on October 18, 2005. According to a widely circulated report in the Pakistan newspaper Dawn, entitled “Conversion losses,” the London based Pakistani commentator, Irfan Hussain, described the shock experienced by Sanno Amra and Champa when they returned home after work on October 18, 2005 to discover their three daughters had unexpectedly disappeared.  Only after desperate queries to the police, the parents received affidavits stating the daughters’ conversions to Islam.  Private visits with their daughters, free from chaperones and even police officers that have supervised their only interactions thus far, have been consistently denied.  After their disappearance from home, the girls have been living at a madrassa (Islamic seminary) in the vicinity of their home and may potentially be denied the freedom to return home.

Earlier in 2005, Shazia Khalid, a doctor, reported that she was gang-raped in a government natural gas plant. Instead of providing her with medical treatment, officials drugged her into unconsciousness for three days and then transported her to a psychiatric hospital to prevent her from reporting the rape.  Due to her persistence of reporting the rape, Khalid was placed under house arrest in Karachi.  The police insinuated that the presence of cash in her house meant that she was working as a prostitute.  Although her husband has stood by her, his grandfather was quoted as saying that Dr. Shazi disgraced the family and should be killed.

Although violence against women transcends their religion, it is disproportionately focused on Hindu women in Pakistan.  In May 2005, a group of middle-class Pakistani women held a demonstration for equal rights in Lahore.  In response, the police beat them and took them to police stations.  In particular, they targeted Asma Jahangir, a U.N. special rapporteur, who was also the head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.  Ms. Jahangir said an intelligence official close to General Musharraf told the police to “teach the (expletive) a lesson (and) strip her in public.”  The police tore her shirt off and tried to remove her trouser. That was General Musharraf, the Kargil invader and soldier of fortune in a military dominated country.

Between 2003 and 2009 about 100 cases of kidnapping of Hindu women were reported from Punjab. Besides a temple in Lahore two other temples in Multan and Gujranwala were desecrated. According to estimates over 900 acres of Hindu land were forcibly occupied in Sialkot, Lahore, Multan, Zhang etc places. Hindu students studying in government schools are made to read Quran and offer namaj.

I have personal respect for the liberation struggle of the Baloch people and had written two essays in this portal. However, in Balochistan there are about 36, 686 Hindus. There are several instances of Hindu traders being kidnapped and released after hefty ransom. They are pressed both by the rebellious Baloch elements and the Pakistan army. The police and armed forces suspect that the Hindus are used as conduit by the Indian Intelligence agencies. Only in 2009 five Hindu traders were kidnapped from Quetta for ransom. Only three lucky traders returned; the two others could not pay in cash, but paid with life. Minorities, particularly Hindus and Ahmadiyas, continue to face a wave of violations in Balochistan, the area where Pakistan conducted its nuclear tests on the orders of President Musharraf in October 1999.  The native Balochis experience a severely degraded status since the occupation.  Although the exact number is unknown, more than 5,000 Hindus were forced to escape from the unrest in Balochistan and enter Sind in 2005.  Militant Muslim groups have desecrated Hindu temples, set their homes on fire, and destroyed Hindu shops and property.  Here too, Hindu females, particularly school students, are forcibly converted to Islam.

On March 21, 2005, sixty civilians were killed and one hundred and fifty were injured in Dera Bugti, Balochistan when Pakistan’s Frontier Corps attacked the town with “artillery shelling, rockets, and indiscriminate machine gun fire.”  Among those killed were innocent Hindu women and children as well as dozens of Bugti tribesmen

Minority hatred

The famous Hindu temple town of Hinglaj, in a narrow valley of Hingol river is however, respected by the Baloch political leaders. In 2008 Pakistan government had urged the Baloch provincial agency to confirm a resolution for construction of a damn on Hingol River. Balochistan’s Irrigation and Power Minister Sardar Mohammad Aslam Bizenjo and other provincial ministers moved a resolution on the floor of the assembly over the weekend that categorically objected to the dam being constructed near the historical Hinglaj Mata Temple, where an annual festival is held every April. The Baloch Assembly resolution warned that if the dam was constructed, the temple could go under water sooner than later, and this would hurt the sentiments of all Hindus. It requested the federal government to have the dam constructed elsewhere. Taking into consideration the plight of the Hindus in Sind and Punjab it can be said that Balochi Hindus generally enjoy trust of the original Baloch tribes; but they are under pressure from Punjabi settlers.

Pakistan’s education system is constructed in such ways that Hindu, Sikh and Christian students are automatically discriminated. Extracts, translated from Urdu to English, from the government-sponsored textbooks approved by the National Curriculum Wing of the Federal Ministry of Education demonstrate the derogatory and inflammatory portrayal of Hinduism to the youth of Pakistan:

Grade IV: “The religion of Hindus did not teach them good things, and the Hindus did not respect women.”
Grade V:  “The Hindu has always been an enemy of Islam.”
Grade VI: “The Hindu setup was based on injustice and cruelty.”
Grade VII: “Hindus always desired to crush the Muslims as a nation and several attempts were made by the Hindus to erase Muslim culture and civilization.”
Grade VIII: “Before Islam people lived in untold misery all over the world.”
Grade X: “Islam gives a message of peace and brotherhood…There is no such concept in Hinduism.”
Minority hatred and persecution is built in the Pakistani system. Pakistan’s Constitution at face value guarantees fundamental human rights and equality in front of the law to its citizens. However, Article 19 of the Constitution states, “Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan,” thus securing the supremacy of Islam in the country. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by Article 20 which states, “Every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion; and every religious denomination and every sect thereof shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.” Unfortunately, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and the Ahmadiyas continue to be persecuted in Pakistan today despite the assurance provided by the Constitution. Temples are desecrated, deities are destroyed, and they risk persecution, particularly because of the Blasphemy Act.

Article 25 of the Constitution maintains, “All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law…There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone.” Rape, honor killings, and domestic abuse are common types of violence that the women of Pakistan face. Despite the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, these women are left to fend for themselves, as the Pakistani laws do not provide adequate protection.  They continue to face a myriad of inequalities in the judicial system, and will continue to do so, as long as the Hudood Ordinance is not repealed.
Article 35 mandates, “The State shall protect the marriage, the family, the mother and the child.”

Article 36 states, “The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provincial services.” In reality, however, neither families nor minorities are being protected by Pakistan today as kidnappings or forced conversions of Hindu girls continue to occur without convictions of the felons.

Insignificant numbers

Curiously, Pakistan has taken no action toward ratifying or signing the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), although it did ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination on September 19, 1966.

However, only in rural and semi-urban Sind, Hindus have some visible presence. As shown on the map the Hindus are more concentrated in Hyderabad and areas bordering India (notice green colour in the map). Besides Soda Rajput, most of the Hindus are classified as “Low Caste”, engaged in scavenging work, night soil carrying job and other menial works. Except for the appointment of Bhagwan Das as the Chief Justice of Pakistan (took oath on Quran) no other Hindu has so far succeeded in climbing up the ladder in the Pakistani armed force, civil services and other spheres of national activities. We propose to discuss several atrocious attacks on the Hindu minority in Pakistan in later chapters of this essay.

Though numerically insignificant the Hindus of Pakistan have organized a few representative bodies to espouse their welfare and other causes with the provincial and federal governments:

Pakistan Balmiki Sabha
Pakistan Hindu Council
Pakistan Hindu Foundation (PHF)
Pakistan Hindu Panchayat
Pakistan Hindu Party (PHP)
Pakistan Hindu Welfare Association
Pakistan Minority Welfare Council (PMWC)
Walmik Gur Mukh Sabha
Pakistan Hindu Panchayat has branches in all the provinces important towns. They hold annual conferences and represent with the provincial Nazims (district collectors), police officials and political leaders. Pakistan Minority Welfare Council is also a broad representative body which works in close liaison with the Human Rights activists in Pakistan.

In a latest development Ramesh Lal, a PPP MNA and other Hindu MNAs walked out of the Pakistan National Assembly in protest against highly derogatory and biased comments by a Pakistani High Court judge. Chafing at a Lahore high court judge’s comment that Hindus were financing terror attacks in that country, nine Hindu members of Pakistan’s national assembly staged a walkout in protest on Wednesday.

“The sentiments of four million Pakistani Hindus are hurt by Justice Khwaja Sharif’s uncalled for remarks,” said Pakistan People’s Party lawmaker Ramesh Lal. He was then joined by other Hindu lawmakers who then walked out. Members of the Awami National Party, too, joined in. Their protest was described as the first in Pakistan’s national assembly against the judiciary. Justice Sharif had made the remark while hearing a petition on barring the deportation of Afghan Taliban leaders on Monday.

The apparent trigger for the comment was a lawyer’s observation that a US security firm was responsible for the blasts in Pakistan, including the recent ones in Lahore. Justice Sharif rebutted him saying, “Muslims, and not Hindus, are involved in terror acts in Pakistan. Hindus might be the financiers of such attacks.”

As a member of ruling PPP, Ramesh Lal called for intervention from President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, saying Justice Sharif’s questioning the patriotism of Pakistani Hindus had left the latter hurt and angry. He also asked Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhary to take suo motu note of the “highly objectionable” remark. The protesters later returned to the assembly after some persuasion, as reported in Times of India on March 18. 2010.

On the other hand, the Sikhs are a microscopic community, slightly more than 20,000. They live mostly in Peshawar, Lahore, Nankana Sahib and a few other places of worship. Pakistan’s population is more than 96% Muslims; Hindus 1.6%, Christians 1.6 % and rest are Sikhs, Zoroastrians, and Buddhists etc. There is one traffic inspector from the Sikh community in Punjab, one army officer, one singer, a poetess and a MLA in the province of Punjab (PPP). After Taliban rampage in Afghanistan a few hundred Sikhs migrated to Pakistan and settled with their relatives in FATA, NWFP and Lahore areas.

They were again uprooted from FATA area when Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan of Baitullah Mehsud demanded rupees 20 crores (200 million) as Jizya. About 5 Sikhs were taken to custody and they were released after paying rupees 20 lakhs (2 million). Most of the uprooted Sikhs are still living in camps and have not gone back to FATA locations.

Like the Hindus, the Sikhs have also been persecuted. The Sikh temple at Naulakha Bazar in Lahore was taken over by the Muslims in August 2007. The Pakistan Evacuee Trust Property Board (PETPB) had recently taken over lands worth millions of rupees which belonged to Samadh Bhai Man Singh and Gurdwara Deh.

Recent kidnapping of the Sikhs in NWPF area, beheading of two and quarantine of the others demanding Jizya has sent shiver of fear amongst the Sikhs of Pakistan and the world community has also been rattled. The Taliban and local Nazims are demanding Jizya from the Hindus and the Sikhs-a detestable religious tax revived in India by the bigoted Mughal Empire Aurangzeb, which was prevalent off and on till the British had put an end to the barbaric system.

Sikh affairs in Pakistan were in disarray. Pakistan constituted a Gurdwara management body in April 1999 with Lt. General Javed Nasir, the hardcore Tablighi and former ISI chief as the chief. He opened his office inside Gurdwara Nanakmatta, Lahore. After one year the body was disbanded and one Shyam Singh (Sindhi) was appointed Chairman. Shyam Singh had earlier acted ac coordinator between the Sikh terrorists and the ISI. However, there has not been any formal election to the committee and the chairman, a front man of the ISI, manages the religious affairs of the Sikh community in Pakistan. The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee of India poses as self appointed caretaker of the Sikhs of Pakistan. They are treated as a pliable tool by Pakistan. It is alleged by certain Pakistani journalists that some figures in the SGPC receive underhand money from Pakistan. It is difficult for the author to probe authenticity of such allegations.

Separate electorates

There are several comments in Pak media that Pakistan gives some preferred treatment to the Sikhs because of its hidden agenda in “Indian Punjab.” Pakistan had earlier encouraged, assisted and armed the Sikh terrorists and even now the ISI has sheltered leaders of the Khalistan Zindabad Force, Babbar Khalsa, Khalistan Commando Force, Khalistan Liberation Force and the International Sikh Youth Federation. Important leaders who live in Pakistan as guests of the ISI are Lakhbir Singh Rode (nephew of Bhindranwale), Wadhwa Singh, Mehal Singh, Vikram Singh Canada, Paramjit Singh Panjwar, Ranjit Singh Nita etc. Pakistan is trying to revive terrorism in Punjab through these desperate tools living at the mercy of the ISI. However, collusion between the Sikh terrorists and the Pakistan establishment does not offer any solace to common Sikhs. They live on the point of threat of the Saif (sword) of Islam.

The Hindus of Pakistan, now reduced in number, have lost all leverages in political, economic and administrative systems of Pakistan. There are only two Captain rank doctors in Pakistan military hospital; Capt. Danish and Capt. Aneel Kumar. There are no Hindu officers in the fighting ranks. In the administrative services no Hindu holds high position and to come by any Hindu in strategic lower position even in the provinces of Punjab and Sind is rather impossible. They are not simply trusted and are not given preference in spite of the fact that some of them are better qualified. We must not forget Dipak Kaneria, the Pakistani leg spinner, who is more shunted out of the team than allowed to display his cricketing skill.

A major issue Hindus faced until 2002 was that of the separate electorates for Muslims and non-Muslims. In the system of separate electorates, members of religious minorities could only vote for members of their group, which resulted in their marginalization in the National Assembly. The Pakistan Hindu Welfare Association convened a national conference on the issue in December 2000. In 2001, Hindus, Christians and Ahmadiyas successfully conducted a partial boycott of the elections. In 2002, Musharraf granted religious minorities the right to vote for mainstream general seats of National and Provincial assemblies, which they did in 2002. While this was definitely a positive step for the well being of Hindus and the democratization of Pakistan, it remains to be seen how this will affect their overall status. Politically the Hindus have no voice in any power structure in Pakistan, whereas in India the Muslims are gaining more political stature.

Despite Musharraf’s assurances minorities are still elected to the National Assembly from reserved constituencies. They are mostly elected from Sind, Punjab (Multan), NWFP (Bannu) etc places. Majority of them were elected to the NA from PPP tickets, though PML, PML N and MQM also had fielded minority candidates in their own concentration areas. Shabaz Bhatti, MNA from Lahore, belongs to an influential family and is minister in charge of minority affairs. But his portfolio has very little to do with minority welfare. Bhatti is treated more as a minority face to a system that is squarely poised against the minorities including the Ahmadiyas (treated as non-Muslims).

The Hindus, who had received assurance from Jinnah, despite his not so mute encouragement to communal killings, the community that counted for one fourth of Pakistan’s population after independence is now shrinking by the day; now they count for 1.6% of the population. Not only the Hindus are discriminated in matters of jobs, services and any other means of livelihood that require some sort of state patronage, they are threatened, induced and even forced to convert to Islam. Their landed properties are forcibly grabbed, their temples destroyed and their women kidnapped systematically. Under such pressure thousands of Hindus have escaped to India from Sind, Punjab and Balochistan. In Rajasthan alone over 20,000 refugees from Pakistan are living in temporary encampments or with relatives. Neither the government of India nor the present Rajasthan government has taken up any welfare programme to settle these refugees from Pakistan.

According to Seemant Lok Sangathan (SLS), a group working for refugees in Rajasthan, over 10,000 Hindu migrants from Pakistan is living in Jodhpur alone. Nearly 20,000 others are scattered in Jaisalmer and other areas of Rajasthan areas bordering Pakistan. Efforts of the SLS resulted in granting of long term visa by the government of India, but no relief work was initiated.

Only during the last BJP government in Rajasthan more than 4,50,000 refugees from Pakistan were given voting rights and one refugee was given ticket to contest election. In contrast to this the new Congress government closes eyes when hundreds of Pir Pagaro followers of Sind (Muslims) cross over to India and settle down in the bordering villages with their relatives and clansmen. The illegal Pir Pagaro followers are given voting right, issued ration cards and are pampered by the vote-bank political sharks. Here exist a situation similar to West Bengal and Assam where political patronage by the ruling parties encourage Pakistani Muslims to settle down on the bordering region. Unfortunately for last 20 years the government has not undertaken any survey of these Muslim dominated villages.

Inhuman condition

Interview of several Hindu refugees conducted during November-December 2009 indicate that they were physically assaulted, they were paid paltry remuneration as against the Muslim employees. Parents have to keep Muslim names for their children with a view to get admission in schools. Besides destruction of temples, desecration of deities the Hindus, mostly of lower casts are subjected to extortion and their women are kidnapped, raped and converted to Islam. Hindus in Pakistan are persecuted for their religious belief. Even the Sindhi rural Muslim landlords indulge in forcible grabbing of lands belonging to Hindu farmers. Few summed up points of inhuman condition in which the Hindus have to live in Pakistan are enumerated below:

Hindu Children do not get admission into schools.
Hindus are converted into Islam by force.
Hindu Girls & Women are abducted, molested & raped.
Hindus and Sikhs are forced to pay Jizya Tax by Talibans.
Hindu Employees are beaten to death in the factory complex.
Provocations against Hindus are inserted in the school text books.
Hindu children are forced to pray Namaz & generally called as ‘Kaffir Kutta’ – Infidel Dogs.
Hindu farmers and labours are forced to do their jobs as bonded labours, with very paltry payment.
80% of lands are snatched from the Kaffir Hindus to fortify total Islamisation of Pakistan.
The about 20% population of Hindus in Pak in 1947 came down to 1.6% in 1991.
Hindus in Pakistan are treated as 3rd Class citizens or not the citizen of Pakistan at all.
The migrating Pakistani Hindus in India also face various troubles to get long term visa.
The Government of India takes a very biased stand. They do not push back the Pakistani Muslims to Pakistan from India, though their presence is reported by agencies. The Hindus migrating from Pakistan are treated as unwelcome guests and the vote-bank secularists treat them as possible voters for their political opponents.

Besides these general observations certain specific instances may drive home the message that Indians are not all concerned about the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian minorities in Bangladesh and Hindu-Sikh and Christian minorities in Paksitan. Destruction of one mosque at Ayodhya by Hindu fundamentalists had divided the country communally as well as politically. However, when Hindu, Sikh and Christian temples in Pakistan are destroyed these very “secularists” prefer to look the other way. We have mentioned about the destruction of Rangmahal Hindu Temple in Lahore. In the heart of Liyari area of Karachi a part of the Hindu temple at Baghdadi area was forcibly taken over by a group of butchers and the sacred place is now used for slaughtering animals. A huge portion of the temple land has been taken over by the land mafia by forcing the Hindus to surrender the land at a minimal cost. The Human Rights Commission of Punjab protested against these incidents. But the authorities in Karachi and Islamabad did very little to restore the temple and the land in question to the Hindu trustees.

According to BBC reporter Riaz Sohail (March 2007), Garish Kumar, an engineer from Hyderabad was kidnapped and his mutilated body was later discovered near a madrasa. Though police passed on this as an offence by a militant organisation it was known in the area that Garish was kidnapped for ransom and later killed. His is not the isolated case. Kumar’s father Saspal Das is a trader at Kunri town in Umerkot district. He was of the opinion that though more than 90% Hindus of Pakistan live in PPP president and national president Zardari’s home province he has very little time for minority welfare. However, Kishenchand Parwani, adviser on minority affairs to the provincial government openly refutes any atrocity against the Hindus but admits that Hindus are targeted even in Karachi town by the communal Muslim elements. In recent years kidnapping for ransom has become a routine in Sukkur, Hyderabad, Larkana etc areas. Ramesh Lal, MNA agrees that nearly 20 traders were kidnapped by the communal goons and only 12 could buy their release. Others were not rich enough to pay ransom and lost their lives.

From upper Sukkur, four Hindu women were kidnapped in late October by a known fundamentalist listed as a leader of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. They were taken to a mosque, forcibly converted and married away to middle aged married persons with children.

Surprisingly, the Indian Human Rights activists and secular protagonists, who labour beyond all conceivable elasticity of the Indian system, do not shed even crocodile’s tears for the Hindu-Sikh-Christian minorities in Pakistan. These matters are not even taken up either in first track or second track diplomatic talks with Pakistan. Systematic destruction of Hindu temples and desecration of Sikh temples do not attract attention of the Indian political leaders and so-called secularist compradors. They are busy in distributing largesse among the minorities (Muslim) in India but are averse to even look at the plights of the Hindu minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The minority situation was created by the partition of the country. Plight of the minorities is an unfinished agenda of of the partition. India is attending to that duty rather with pathological urgency in respect of Indian Muslims. On the other hand in Pakistan and Bangladesh the minorities are persecuted with pathological criminal intentions. Can India not use diplomatic pressure, like other unfinished agenda of the partition, to ensure better deals to the minorities in the neighbouring countries? Would our secular, democratic and human rightist political leaders dare to answer the angry questions asked by the beleaguered Pakistani and Bangladeshi minorities? One Kandhamal incident in Orissa had created political storm amongst certain secularists, but systematic attack on Pakistani Christians, Sikhs and Hindus do not ruffle the feathers of so called secular and democratic leaders, NGO professionals and societal organisations. Mera Bharat Mahan?

(Maloy Krishna Dhar retired as a Joint Director of India’s internal intelligence agency, Intelligence Bureau. He is a guest writer with Canary Trap.)

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