A Noble Son of Pakistan

November 24, 2006

21st November is the death anniversary of the Dr. Abdus Salam (1926-96) the only Noble Laureate of Pakistan who brought home this prestigious award for his work in theoretical physics in 1979.

Every year this day comes and goes by but no one bothers to remember the man who brought international recognition to Pakistan. If our ruling elites have ostracized him because they didn’t want to offend the fundamentalists in the country by remembering him for he belonged to Ahmadi community. What about our media which also considered it to be of no worth to dedicate some space to the only Noble laureate of Pakistan.

Quoting an editorial of Daily Times on the day “after the great scientist was buried in Chenab Nagar, his tombstone said ‘Abdus Salam the First Muslim Nobel Laureate’. Needless to say, the police arrived with a magistrate and rubbed off the ‘Muslim’ part of the katba. Now the tombstone says: Abdus Salam the First Nobel Laureate.” Bulleh Shah perhaps said for such occasions:

Crows swoop on hawks,
Sparrows do eagles stalk,
Strange are the times!

The founder of the nation Qauid-e-Azam in his inauguration speech to Constituent Assembly on 11th August 1947 said that “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other place 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…. Now, I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State”.

Let us for a moment overcome the wall of bigotry and think what we are doing to our heroes. He is one of least remembered Pakistani because he belonged to a sect which was declared non- Muslim by the Parliament. Why don’t we take humans according to their personal worth and genius instead of weighing their belief and faith? If in this country moral and intellectual dwarfs can be hailed as the saviors, then what is wrong in paying him his overdue homage? Belief in humanity and love for fellow human beings is the sign of enlightenment and rationality, quoting again Bulleh Shah:

I am free, my mind is free,
I am neither a sick person nor a physician
Neither a believer nor an infidel
Nor a mullah or syed
In the fourteen spheres I walk in freedom
I can be imprisoned nowhere.


In the Memory of Mountains

November 22, 2006

A female snow leopard was captured and fitted with a GPS satellite collar on 17th November in Chitral district of Northern Pakistan. It is a first of its kind attempt to study the snow leopard and the GPS tracking system will provide the researchers valuable information regarding the movement and habitat use of the animal which is said to be notoriously hard to track down in the wild terrain. The GPS contained collar will calculate the animal’s exact position several time a day and then uplink the data to Argos satellite system which then be delivered to the researchers via email.

 

 This is a big achievement after George Schaller took the pictures of animal for the first time in 1970s when the species was believed to be extinct.  Interestingly enough the leopard was captured at the same place named Pordum Mali ridge or (the cave of snow leopard) where Dr. Schaller took his pictures of the animal.

 

This leopard weighed 35 kg and was freed in the Chitral Gol National park which was declared a natural sanctuary in 1971 and declared a National Park in 1985. Snow leopard is listed among the endangered species and is found in limited number in the Himalayas and other parts of the world.

 

The female leopard has been named Bayad-e-Kohsaar or in the Memory of Mountains to honor the death of many conservationists who perished in helicopter crash in Nepal this September while returning from a landmark ceremony to hand over the Kanchenjunga conservation area from the government to the local community.


The Martyr Mystic

November 10, 2006

Hallaj is one of the towering personalities of the Islamic Mysticism. He is widely known across the world as a symbol of devotional love which made him saying “ana’l -Haqq “- I am the Truth, and apparently resulted into his death. Hallaj was born in 858 in Tur Persia to a wool- carder (Al-Hallaj) and his name was Abu Mughith al-Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj al-Baydawi al-Wasiti.

He memorizes the Holy Quran by heart and after marriage makes a pilgrimage to Mecca and stayed there for many years. He also visited India and other countries and at the end of his wanderings settled at Baghdad.

Hallaj is regarded an anomaly by the other Sufis due to his inclination to share Mysticism with the masses even his Sheikh Shaykh al-Junayd, believed that mystic teachings should be kept secret and shared only with the worthy. Hallaj was denied the guidance by Shaykh al-Junayd and Amr Al Makki.

 Once while mediating in trance he utters “ana’l -Haqq “- I am the Truth, which was taken as a claim to be God; as Al Haqq (Truth) is one of the 99 names of Allah. He was jailed by the Abbasid Caliph for 11 years on the charges of heresy and executed on March 26, 922. According to the accounts he went to the execution place dancing in his chains and even forgave his executioners before his death.

Sayings from Medieval Source Book

Ana’l -Haqq – I am the Truth. (This is the saying which apparently earned al-Hallaj his martyrdom – al Haqq also means God)

You know and are not known; you see and are not seen.

(Akhbar al-Hallaj 44, 1.4)

 Your Spirit mixed with my Spirit little by little, by turns, through reunions and abandons. And now I am Yourself, Your existence is my own, and it is also my will.

 (Diwan al-Hallaj)

I find it strange that the divine whole can be borne by my little human part, Yet due to my little part’s burden, the earth cannot sustain me.

(Akhbar al-Hallaj, 11)

I have seen my Lord with the eye of my heart, and I said: “Who are You?” He said: “You.”

(Diwan al-Hallaj, M. 10)

I do not cease swimming in the seas of love, rising with the wave, then descending; now the wave sustains me, and then I sink beneath it; love bears me away where there is no longer any shore. (Diwan al-Hallaj, M. 34)