“Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes”, said the sage Karl Marx . Interpreting in english, it means religion is the opium of the masses. I think Karl Marx very rightly pointed out that religious emotions are the most overwhelming ones. People can commit some of the most abominable acts without understanding the true essence of their respective faith — this insanity touches its pinnacle in societies bereft of literacy and education.
Visiting Joseph colony in Badami Bagh, a naked eye can visualize the arson of Shanti Nagar and Gojra resurfacing itself. Christian minority has once again faced the wrath of intolerance dished out by a handful barbaric minds, that misconstrued the teachings of their faith. Not only christians but the rest of the minorities in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have been victimized from the time, since General Zia Ul Haq passed the blasphemy law in 1987.
Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. The Holy prophet (peace be upon him) is an epitome of that. His life is a parable of tolerance and respect towards other faiths. All muslims should follow the teachings of Holy prophet (peace be upon him) and understand Quran, rather than playing in the hands of inapt mullahs who are expert at distorting islamic views.
Even the founder of this country, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was vociferous in safeguarding the rights of minorities. Here is an excerpt of his speech :
” You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other places of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state. ” ( 11th august 1947)
As far as this incident is concerned my qualm is that the deed of one man is being translated as motives of the rest of the community — Only the alleged culprit should be tried in the court of law. Secondly it is very easy to settle old scores and personal vendettas by wielding faith as tool over the minorities. As in this case, in order to prove a culprit guilty no physical proof or evidence is required — the mere statement that a random person from a minority group has indulged in blasphemy, would suffice in framing charges against him.
The only reprieve given to residents of Joseph colony by local government after this grisly incident was in shape of an expeditious compensation to rebuild their houses but i still cannot digest the failure on part of law enforcement agencies to preempt the arson.
Moreover the ever rambling law minister of punjab, Rana Sanaullah, failed to utter a single word when provincial assembly session was held to debate over this incident — it transpired that he had a sore throat (he could not have come up with a more flimsier excuse). I hope he is not intimidated by the fundamentalist militia, that holds sway in our country. The way such incidents are unfolding, all of us need to seriously reflect upon our deeds in order to build a pluralist society and a tolerant mindset.
Dil ka ujadna sehl sahi, basna sehl nahin zaalim
……………Basti basna khel nahin, baste baste basti hai!