Thursday, November 22, 2012

Is Kasab in Paradise?




According to the lascivious promises made in the Islamic scriptures to the martyrs, Ajmal Kasab must now be in the blissful paradise reclining on “a raised throne woven with gold and precious stones,” wearing “silken garments,” “bunches of fruits hanging within reach,” jugs of wine at hand, served by “Houris with wide, lovely eyes (as wives for the pious), like preserved pearls, a reward for deeds that they used to do”…

Probably, Kasab was not aware of such heavenly rewards when he agreed to hold up the Kalashnikov against the teeming multitude in an Indian railway station.  Somebody with nothing more than primary education and abject poverty as the only resources, Kasab could not have been aware of even the voluptuous aspects of Islamic jihad.  When he was questioned by the police soon after his arrest, Kasab, lying in a hospital bed, said clearly that he had done it for money and nothing else.  He said his father must have been paid lakhs of rupees.  It is that earthly paradise that Kasab was interested in.  And that too, for his family, rather than for himself.  He knew he would die.

He also knew he would die a “martyr.”  So it is not unlikely that he was unaware of the paradise that awaited him in the life hereafter.  His masters must have conjured up a vivid picture of that paradise in the process of brainwashing him.  (One such picture, provided in wikiislam, is what I have given as a link above.  Such paradise cannot be anything but tempting for a young man deprived of even the money to buy a new pair of dress for Eid.)

It is more likely that Kasab died in despair, without even the kind of wisdom that one acquires in solitude or at least the terrifying realisation of one’s depravity.  According to a front page report in The Hindu [Nov 22] which quoted a police official who was present during the execution, Kasab probably did not even understand exactly what was going on.  “It’s also possible he’d ceased to care,” the report quotes.
 
Perhaps his mind had become numb.  Unable to feel, think or react.  A state that may be called “spiritual aridity,” a state that results from inner emptiness.

Will any god reward such emptiness, aridity, with paradise?  I don’t know.  My knowledge about the supernatural is zilch.

But I know that the kind of thinking that underlies the creation of people like Kasab should change if life on this earth (which can be a paradise too!) is to have some semblance of peace.
 
Tariq Ali, writer and film-maker, suggests the following: “We are in desperate need of an Islamic Reformation that sweeps away the crazed conservatism and backwardness of the fundamentalists but, more than that, opens up the world of Islam to new ideas.... This would necessitate a rigid separation of state and mosque; the dissolution of the clergy; the assertion by Muslim intellectuals of their right to interpret the texts that are the collective property of Islamic culture as a whole; the freedom to think freely and rationally and the freedom of imagination.” [The Clash of Fundamentalism: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity, Rupa & Co, 2003, pp: 338-9. Emphasis added.]

Alas, a similar suggestion can be made with respect to quite many religions today!

22 comments:

  1. निर्दोष लोगों की हत्या जघ्न्य अपराध और महापाप है जिसे हिंदू, इस्लाम या अन्य किसी धर्म में महापाप ही माना जाएगा, हो सकता है कि पाकिस्तान में स्वर्ग की परिभाषा कुछ और हो, पता नहीं ये आतंकवाद कब खत्म होगा, आखिर पाकिस्तान भी तो इसकी चपेट में है ये वो खुद क्यों नहीं समझता। कसाब जैसे किसी को जन्नत तो क्या दोज़ख नसीब नहीं होगा।

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    1. Vinay, unfortunately I haven't understood anything of what you've written. My knowledge of Hindi is unabashedly limited. Could you translate it for me?

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  2. It is perhaps unfair to speculate on what his motivations might have been. What is relevant though is that this form of extreme intolerance has been gradually brought to a level of acceptance by our social systems. It applies to all religions and beliefs. Perhaps it goes beyond religions and beliefs too. The utter indifference of the wealthy to the needs of the society, the indifference of the media to the need for programming that will educate and uplift, the indifference of the education system to the basic principles of education, the pursuit of the tools that will grant us the wisdom to be what we were destined to be - you can see it everywhere. You can see it all over the world in every area of human endeavor.

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    1. You are absolutely right, Subhorup. It is not about religion really. Kasab is actually a martyr of capitalism of a different kind. Call it Islamic anti-Americanism, if you like. If Kasab's family were rich enough to make both ends meet, Kasab would not have become a terrorist. As simple as that.

      But my post was also about the venality of religions, not just of capitalism. You have understood that too. So what more shall I say?

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  3. It is unlikely that Kasab was an entirely foolish man. You have already quoted the abject poverty of his family, the eventual beneficiary of his heinous act. You have rightly invoked the reference of the houris and jannat -it is not uncommon for Taliban to show recorded videos of its suicide bombers in their ultimate act to the freshers, sophomores and even the veterans. It is reported that they start weeping with joy for their sacrifices. But then the kind of prolonged wait for death that Kasab had to undergo is not what these extremists are bargaining for, and are used to, and don't hope for; no wonder the cyanide capsules are so popular with them. I don't believe Kasab didn't understand what was happening as he was about to kiss the gallows. That, he was a numb, appears more like it, a condition captured with graphical grimness by Jean Paul-Sartre in his masterpiece The Wall.

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    1. There's a kind of worldly wisdom that every businessman possesses, which - I think - Kasab too possessed. But life is so very complex when we discuss individual affairs that we can't be the real judges (as Subhorup above implied). Kasab's monetary ambitions must have been pepped up by his religious masters. And the religious masters must have been real villains with mastery over many things: religion (which is very important in Pakistan), economics and psychology. This is my conjecture. And I may be right too!

      I may be right just as Sartre was right writing The Wall!

      Thanks for adding Sartre to my blog. I haven't read the book you've mentioned. But I've read his Nausea. I ploughed through Being and Nothingness too.

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  4. In the name of Allah he killed innocent people and you read his final words ???
    There was Allah as well, he said like He expect allah to forgive him for his sins.
    Neither gods nor the demons can forgive such a beast...
    Sad thing is only the arrow got crushed between the mills then what about the BOW ?

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    1. Isn't my post about the BOW, Deepak?

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  5. You got it correct, now the promises that you mentioned above are for martyrs ant this at the very first instant has got to have some attributes to fulfil. I mean when is Kasab a Martyr. I find it hard to believe that anybody can be brainwashed to grab that ‘jannat’ nevertheless you see some so called rational people have their prejudices and create wrong conviction about religion of which they know little. So, savageness and barbarism find a way through religious ignorance and illiteracy ending up with such heinous crime.

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  6. Looking at Kasab and his act, from a different angle. A fine post.

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    1. Thanks, Pattu. Kasab is merely a pawn; the real players are elsewhere. To a large extent, religion is the villain!

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    2. Yes, Religion .. is it really good? The wars and destruction are happening in the name of religions. It is used as a means to men's greed.

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  7. Belief does wonders.Sometimes unwanted things too...that's what the problem with human beings.

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  8. Its fascinating to see people deem religion as a villian and not the people who use the situation to manipulate people believing that bad deeds in reality are good actions and one will be rewarded. Besides, who said he will go to heaven, those who trained him and his handler? Only way to keep one motivation without any hesitation, atleast for the time being.

    I don't like playing the numbers game, however reality is that religion is used as a preferable choice of psychological weapon. Its not just during our era, its also back then. Religion was used to divide classes and "untouchables", countless have justified invasion and justifying their actions to assimilate people to their culture, forcing people to believe in their beliefs- who knows? Maybe they did used to throw virgins down the volcano so that "gods can be pleased". If one wants to practice, its all good. But reality is that all religion viz. used as a weapon is covered in blood.

    Then again, do humans throw away weapons just because they kill people- even innocents? We're one crazy species!!

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    1. I'm tempted to ask you how you would differentiate between religion and people who use it for manipulations. Honestly, I see no difference. You have made it clear enough later in your comment that religion has been misused all through history. It is still being misused. Religion is simply a means for exercising power over people. Gods are handy tools. Why not teach people to use their reason rather than blind faith in any imaginary entities?

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  9. Kasab, how can anyone sympathize with him? He was responsible for 200 people's deaths including many policemen. If he is in Paradise, then that God is not my God. That God is not the God of any human.

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    1. Nobody in India is sympathising with Kasab, I believe. In Pakistan, maybe, there are people who argue on his behalf. For example, many Pakistani newspapers argued that Kasab was not given a fair deal! Well, anybody can argue anything. I'm more interested in what Islam as a religion has to say about it all. Unfortunately I have not seen many Islamic teachers coming forward condemning violence in the name of their religion or God. That's why Tariq Ali's quote was given at the end of my blog.

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  10. If the government of Pakistan works towards generating enough employment opportunities instead of looking for ways to avenge East Pakistan episode they wont have more Kasabs which I am sure are in plenty there already. Education and employment is what Pakistan really needs and so does India.

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    1. Can't agree more with you. Development, eradication of poverty, education - these are the appropriate tools against religious fundamentalism. But maybe a country like Pakistan is too bogged down by the problem of fundamentalism even to think of better alternatives.

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  11. What Kasab did has become a terrorist act, because and only because the word "Terrorism" had already been coined. I do not think anyone called other assassins, all through history "terrorists", and there have been too many of them to count. Only the word is new and not the act. This needs to be borne in mind.

    I have much else to say but I will disist.

    RE

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  12. Wow.. looks like Kasab got offers from 5 star Hotel for 4 years. He killed innocent people, his father was paid a handsome amount. He was treated with royalty by the Indian govt officials and police and now is in heaven. No wonder a fresh group of young fools are resorting to terrorism everyday.

    A great post Matheikal...

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