Tag Archives: Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Who calls the shots here? – II

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The British had fully mastered and perfected the art of subjugating and colonizing people with the active help and connivance of some people from among those they intended to subjugate. The British were also ingenious at inflicting indignities; they employed it in all forms and on all people. In the process of colonization this was perhaps the most important and effective weapon. They consecrated the disgraceful and abject surrender to authority while they demonized and ruthlessly penalized all those who offered any resistance to their malicious political, cultural, social and economic assault on established societies. They subdued this vast region with the help of mercenaries and collaborators who opted to sell the destinies of their nations and people for their narrow and contemptible personal gains.

The British were farsighted in their policies and understood the need of controlling the populace through the services of local collaborators who would serve their purposes in future as well. They nurtured, nourished and groomed those who were willing to serve and obey unconditionally. They created an affluent class of their liking, a class of brown sahibs; to help keep people in check .These people were more loyal to the king than the king himself. They served loyally then and continue to serve with even more vigour today. These brown sahibs have been a scourge for the colonized, our region suffering the most at their hands. They certainly surpassed their teachers in the skills of suppressing and oppressing the people and continue to practice those skills to retain their newly acquired ‘empires’.

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Who calls the shots here? – I

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

No entity, group, nation or state, whatever the basis for its creation or existence, can have a priority over the intrinsic rights of the people it integrates to itself for supposedly higher and noble aims. Imposition of languages, culture, ethics and values, however lofty in the eyes of the imposer, cannot be justified on any grounds be they religious, social, economic or political. Such unjust impositions will always be the cause of the myriad problems that will confront them at every turn and will keep cropping up with increased vigour and frequency with the passage of time because of the incompatible nature of their association.

Authoritarianism and disregard for rights is a malady that has afflicted all the powerful individuals, groups, and nations throughout history. It doesn’t seem anomalous to them and they consider it as an inherent right for themselves, regardless of what the oppressed and browbeaten people think of the injustices labelled as national interest being forced down their unwilling throats.

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Tribal system to be strengthened

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

A headline in a national daily with the byline of Ghalani (Mohmand Agency) April 23, left me wondering what had prompted such a radical shift in the government’s avowed policy of ‘no compromise’. The headline said: “Tribal system in Fata to be strengthened.” Interestingly the headline itself was within quotation marks. The news item below said, “The traditional tribal system in Federally Administered Tribal Areas is being strengthened and the status of Maliks is being restored.”

The NWFP governor, Khalilur Rahman, who was on a visit to Mohmand Agency, had said these words. The news item further read: “The governor said development was linked to peace and maintenance of peace (and was) dependent on strengthening the tribal system.” This statement is certainly a very interesting development because they seem to be making different ‘social’ experiments in different regions in hope of solving the numerous problems they themselves have created by their shortsightedness and arrogance.

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The lukewarm charter

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Balanced civil-military relations are essential for the success of not only a state, but also of any society or civilization. Whenever and wherever the military has gained predominance and influence disproportionate to its real value and usefulness; there the inexorable and inevitable rot has set in, leading to eventual degeneration, downfall and disintegration of that entity. This is exactly what we see unfolding here. The predominance of the military here has been the core problem but it has never ever even been examined, let alone challenged.

The military here has not only acquired enormous economic, political and social supremacy but has also institutionalized it, and therein lies the problem. It no longer considers the power, pelf and privileges it enjoys as a favour from the nation, but considers it an inheritance which is non-negotiable. It has gradually increased its influence and involvement in affairs of state and become the sole repository of political, social and economic power.

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David and Goliath

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The title of this piece risks inviting the ire of our overly sensitive ruling elite, who hate being compared with anything that is not heroic and glorious. I find myself hard-pressed to find a more suitable title when an overwhelmingly superior force is pitted against a small but resolute group of people demanding rights over their resources and a life with dignity.

Quite recently, General Musharraf had said that these weren’t the seventies and the Baloch nationalists wouldn’t even know what hit them. Though in bad taste, it was true; military technology has progressed by leaps and bounds because the world can only be dominated through the barrel of the gun. Weapons development has always been the basic tenet of faith for the oppressors.

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Fixing up

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Force has been called ‘the midwife of history’ by Marx; this ‘midwife’ however needs to be used judiciously in resolution of conflicts because time and again it has not only proved useless and dangerous for the users but also destructive for them. Yet, they never desist from its use.

Probably an intrinsic flaw in the psyche of the powerful pushes them inexorably towards seeking solutions based on use of force. Resolution of contradictions by force becomes second nature for them, simply because they have very easy access to overwhelming force which they can and do use indiscriminately on the flimsiest of pretexts, the basic principle in their creed being arbitrary ‘fixing up’.

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Of the? By the? For the?

“A people living under the perpetual menace of war and invasion is very easy to govern. It demands no social reforms. It does not haggle over expenditures on armaments and military equipment. It pays without discussion. It ruins itself; and that is an excellent thing for the syndicates of financiers and manufacturers for whom patriotic terrors are an abundant source of gain.”

Jacques Anatole Thibault (1844-1924)

This quote sends shivers down the spine because it is so surrealistically true in our context. It enunciates the sordid tactic which the rulers here employed ruthlessly to make their self-aggrandising agenda pass for an ideology. They then intimidated the people into submission, forcing acceptance of every injustice without a murmur under threat of being labelled traitors. It helped them impose their world view on the majority without a consideration for their history, culture and basic human rights. That the people could have feelings or views independent of the ruling ideology was something absolutely alien to the heartless elite. They were not bothered about civility or moral and legal niceties; they rode roughshod.

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In the line of Fire

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

When an ordinary individual becomes a victim of misconceived notions about his place and position in the Universe, his fallacy can be tolerated because he cannot do much harm. The situation changes radically when the one afflicted is someone who guides the destinies of a country and its people. This spells disaster for all. The consequences are there for us to see and rue.

Coveting the mantle of statesmen and historical legends is the easiest part of the job and donning it too may not prove an insurmountable obstacle given the compliant nature of courtiers, but doing justice to that position and status is not within everybody’s ambit. It is in the crucible of practice that unrealistic dreams evaporate.

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Silence is golden

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Though a lot has been said and written about the General’s book promotion trip to the USA and many have justifiably vented their anger at the gross misuse of taxpayers’ money and of self-delegated authority, not much has been said about the media’s role in such visits. Along with the seventy-plus top heavy official delegation, cavorting and carousing in the US at our expense for three weeks, there was a big contingent of media persons. The official media persons certainly must have been enjoying themselves at our expense. It remains a mystery if non-official media persons representing various media groups too were fulfilling their responsibilities at our cost. It certainly would be interesting to know who footed the bill for whom. The total cost to the national exchequer will be partly known when questions are raised in the Assembly, but the damage done to the country’s already tarnished image will never be assessed because that is not quantifiable.

We usually get a lopsided picture of these visits because the official media obscures the real issues. Credit should be given to those journalists who stay committed to honest reporting in spite of various pressures. It is their unwavering commitment and comments that keep the media free of shackles and lend respect and credibility to it. Their reports present the true picture and we should be grateful to them.

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No regrets

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The subcontinent has a long history and a strong tradition of dynastic rulers. The rulers since independence have always invoked those images, values and times. That we do not have monarchy still has not been for the lack of effort on their part. The Generals, on the other hand, unable to invoke a dynasty, have depended on Nadir Shahism (the word Bonapartism doesn’t quite convey the real subcontinental flavour). These historical hangovers and pantomimes have played an important role in determining the way we have been governed.

A very distressing and anti-people method of governance has been the end result of these attitudes; good governance requires institutional policy making, decision taking, and a policy implementation system. It also demands unimpeachable integrity on the part of those who wield power; a culture of tolerance and open-mindedness is equally indispensable. Without these crucial elements we end up with the chaos, confusion and corruption which have become the hallmarks of governance in this Citadel of Islam.

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