The newspaper carried a very shocking news today. Governor of Punjab was assassinated by his guard in Islamabad for his stand against Blasphemy Law. Salman Tasser, the governer, was a liberal advocate of religious freedom and had to sacrifice his life for this ‘crime’.
The genesis of this murder lies in the very formation of modern Quran 20 years after death of Muhammad (many Muslims allege that he was murdered by his wives Aisha and Hafsa). It started with brutal murders and chopping of hands of a large number of people alleged to be promoting different versions of Quran. Muhammad himself never compiled Quran in form of a book. He did not even give it the exclusive name of Quran and referred to it merely as a collection of good thoughts. However, after the new Quran was created mixing original thoughts of Muhammad opulently with the fanatic views of his followers, the Caliph who compiled the new Quran was also murdered while he was reading it, by other Muslims. To further ‘fanatize’ the Quran, additional stories called Hadiths were concocted that alleged to detail sayings and deeds of Muhammad that could not be covered in Quran.
You can read about how Muslim leaders kept murdering each other in http://agniveer.com/3270/foundations-of-islamic-terrorism/. And thus a diabolical Islam was created that had nothing to do with original thoughts of Muhammad. Coming back to our times, few decades ago, Jinnah – an Englishman in practice – used this fanatic Islamic mindset to carve out Pakistan from India. However, since bulk of Muslims in Pakistan belonged to Hindu ancestors (Jinnah himself was a Muslim for 2 generations only!), the concept of blasphemy could not appeal to them. After all, the chords of culture are stronger than threads of religion. Thus, despite its anti-India bias and illiteracy prevalent among masses, Pakistan still remained a relatively liberal country. But then came the era of Zai-Ul-Haq, the dictator who used Islamic fanaticism for his political gains in seventies and early eighties. He encouraged promotion of terrorist ideology and designed to use terrorism as a tool against India and his own rivals. Unfortunately, the Frankenstein that he created killed him like the Bhasmasur. But by then the damage was done. This butcher enacted several fanatic laws like Blasphemy Laws and Hudood Ordinance.
The Hudood Ordinance was a disgrace to women rights and led to justification of rapes and gangrapes in name of Islam! You can search out more details yourself. The Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan’s Criminal Code allowed even death sentence for anyone uttering even a word against Quran or Muhammad. In November 2010, a poor Christian lady Asia Bibi was sentenced to be hanged till death under these laws for insulting Muhammad during a verbal fight with some Muslims when they refused to drink water touched by a Christian. Salman Tasser, the governor of Punjab defended Asia Bibi and called for repeal of Blasphemy Laws. And hence he was sent to Hell yesterday by a Ghazi!
Blasphemy Laws are nothing new. They have existed since dawn of Semitic religion.The concept was first popularized by Christians who found death to be only answer against any rational question put to them. Islam, that rose in protest against brutal Christianity of medieval ages, had to be even more brutal to combat it. Thus Islamic fundamentalists took the concept of blasphemy to another level. Hinduism – with all its offshoots – is the ONLY religion to have no concept of blasphemy.
Even today, many Christian and Islamic countries have Blasphemy Laws. Islamic countries justify death as punishment, and Christian ones are forced to settle with imprisonment due to growing population of liberals. It would be interesting to know that despite their much hyped brand of being liberal and human-rightists, many European countries and even Australia still has the archaic blasphemy laws applicable even today! It existed in Britain till 2008.
India has been the ONLY major country to have no concept of blasphemy in its traditions. The blasphemy laws were introduced by Muslims but were repealed by British in 1860. Though they did it for their own agenda of promoting Christianity, this enabled books like Satyarth Prakash to be popularized that ripped apart illogical beliefs in rational manner.But then the law was reenacted but not in a fanatic form.
What has been even more shocking than the assassination incident is that many intellectual Muslims, those who are educated, are also justifying the murder. For example, please review the comment on Agniveer itself: http://agniveer.com/2679/ashfaq/#comment-16152
Also review http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report_salman-taseer-s-killer-an-islamic-warrior-pakistani-clerics_1490661 to see how more than 500 clerics of Pakistan have hailed the murderer as a Ghazi – an Islamic warrior.They have openly threatened others who follow the stand taken by the governor!
The logic is that no Muslim can tolerate insult of Muhammad. Hence all people who demean Muhammad should be killed. A liberal Muslim went a step ahead and stated that all those who insult any revered figures should be killed.
Here are some questions to this fanatic logic.
1. Who will create the list of people and books against whom blasphemy will result in death? What will be the criteria? How will the list be updated?
2. If one says that popularity should be the criteria, then perhaps you justify those people who condemned Muhammad when he had only a few supporters and had to flee Mecca.
3. How do you define religion? What if I say that Agniveer is also a religion.
4. How you define blasphemy? If it means insulting any faith, then Quran itself condemns Jews, Christians, idol worshippers and openly states that these people would go to Hell. Does it mean that all who swear by Quran should also be tried under blasphemy laws?
5. And if Quran is not blasphemous by stating that all Jews, Christians and Idol Worshippers will go to Hell, in that case if someone says that ‘Muhammad will go to Hell’ then he is also not being blasphemous, right?
6. What would constitute an insult? Some Muslims say that Ahmadiyas are also insulting to Muhammad and hence blasphemous. Others say that Shias are insulting because they consider Ali to be at par with Muhammad.
7. Further, would Prophet Muhammad himself would have endorsed killing of those who differ from him? Did he ever do so? If yes, please cite with evidence. If not, why try to surpass the Prophet?
In brief, this entire concept is full of blatant loopholes and does not fit into scheme of any rational mind.
The Vedic or Hindu view:
In Vedic view, source of miseries is ignorance. Any belief without a rational or intuitive backing will result in miseries. In other words, blind belief is recipe for doom. Further, in Vedic view, knowledge does not come in one go. One has to strive, struggle, constantly learn, fail and rise continuously to achieve truth. All living beings represent different stages in this journey and hence have to be treated with tolerance and compassion. Hence blasphemy law is out of question as per Vedic view of things. Even if you condemn Vedas, death is not recommended for you. Because blind belief or forced belief in Vedas itself is against Vedas. The Vedic approach would be to spread the right knowledge and counter the false condemnation instead.
However, any hate speech inciting people to violence against innocents or causing them troubles deserves punishment. This is not restricted to religion specifically but in general regarding anything. There should be no religious colors to it and the punishment should be proportionate to crime committed.
Thus while we condemn MF Hussain paintings or cartoons of Muhammad depicting revered figures in vulgar manner, we do not support ‘killing’ of their creators or their supporters in name of blasphemy.
If indeed the fanatics believe that insult of Muhammad is gravest sin, then they should take up the challenge to convince the culprit for a change of heart through purely intellectual and honest efforts (After all religion stands for honesty) and kill the hatred/ foolishness inside her that made her insult Muhammad. And if that does not work out, leave her to be punished by Allah himself instead of you taking up His responsibility and killing every other person who is against blasphemy.
Salman Tasser may have been a vile man in his personal life as many allege. And Asia Bibi may be a repugnant lady. But does that suffice to kill them?
It is only when intellectual potentials turn feeble that killings and their justifications take the front seat. It causes us great pain to see adherents of various faiths indulging into abuses and hatred to demean each other. And then the more fanatic ones resort to killing taking sanction from their so-called religious books. Vedas suggest that the only way out of this quagmire is knowledge. Agniveer has taken up the challenge of cleaning out this mess to extent possible through spread of knowledge alone. Instead of killing those who hate, we intend to kill the source of hatred aka ignorance. May Ishwar grant us strength for this mission so that we do not hear the news of yet another Salman Tasser being murdered or Asia Bibi hanged.
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih