RANDOM THOUGHTS - Interesting but Painful Books - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

Interesting but Painful Books
Dr. A.Q. Khan


Election campaigns had hijacked the media. From morning till evening nothing else but elections with party leaders using nasty, dirty language against each other and blaming each other for all imaginable and unimaginable crimes. Any norms of decency and professionalism had long flown out the window. Many predictions have been made, but elections and cricket are much the same – expectations are often not realized. Despite forecasts, past US Presidential elections caused surprises by Truman defeating Dewey; Clinton defeating Bush Sr., Obama’s win and, most recently, the shocking defeat of Hillary Clinton by Trump. Trump’s win did not come as a surprise to me. The American psyche is such that they like a “different” personality. I am convinced that, had Raymond Davis (the killer of two innocent Pakistani boys in broad daylight in Lahore) stood for Governorship of a State, he would have won. All he would have had to do was tell prospective voters how he shot down two Pakistani criminals who were about to attack him. According to current, local predictions, a hung parliament is expected. And the result will be horse trading.

This column is about some interesting books, the first of which (a rather painful one) is entitled Era of Darkness – The British Empire in India. It is written by Shashi Tharoor, a former Indian Union Minister. I heard him speak for the first time at an Oxford Union gathering. It was a treat to listen to his highly articulate, fluent English in a graceful and refined manner. At the Oxford Union gathering, Mr. Tharoor eloquently presented the case for compensation by the UK to India for the horrendous rule, murders, exploitation, looting and plundering of wealth that had been committed. This book gives extensive information on the British manipulations and intrigues used to occupy India and to subvert her. At that time, India was one of the richest countries of the world. All this wealth – gold, ornaments, jewels – was taken from the rulers and transported to the UK. Even the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, which now decorates the Queen’s royal crown, was taken from India. This book is an eye opener. People of my age know most the history, but our young generation tend to see only the positive side of the British. In fact, it may safely be said that the British Empire was built on the bodies, bones and blood, not only of Indians, but also of Africans. The book is a treasure of knowledge on British, Indian and Pakistani history. It is a must read for all history and students of international relations as well as scholars. The book is published by Aleph Book Company (Rupa Publications India). Other than the cover picture, which shows a British soldier on horseback trying to kill a fallen Indian, there are no other pictures of British cruelty, violence or massacre of innocent, unarmed Indians. In the annals of history, probably no other nation has been as cruel, exploitive, intriguing and murderous as the British were for hundreds of years.

Another painful read is a history book in Urdu entitled: Muslim Hukumaten – Kesi Balandi, Kesi Pasti (Muslim Dynasties – What Glory and What Downfall) written by Mr. Raziuddin Syed and published by Jinnah Thinkers Forum Karachi (0331-2303406; 0331-2646109). Mr. Syed is a prolific writer with more than 20 books of diverse, interesting topics to his name. He mentioned many books which he consulted for this work. Some of these are: What Went Wrong by Bernard Lewis; History of the Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon; History of the Arabs by Philip K. HiHi; The Political Rise and Fall of the Muslims by Karen Armstrong; The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy; The Crisis of Islam by Bernard Lewis; The Rise and Fall of the Muslims by Prof. Maulana Saeed Ahmad Akbar Abadi as well as many Urdu books and translations by various authors. This book is a must read for all students of history – especially Muslim history.

I couldn’t help noticing that Mr. Syed had missed a very important book, namely: Why Nations Fail – The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Prof. Acemoglu and Prof. Robinson of Harvard University. The contents of this book apply, without exception, to all nations and all countries that fail. It shows that any nation owes its rise to her leaders (read Hazrat Umar [RA] and Hazrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz [RA]) and its fall to corruption, incompetent rulers and their advisors (read Moghul rulers in India, Muslim rulers in Spain and Muslim rulers in Central Asia). Morally corrupt rulers prefer to get themselves surrounded by similar sycophants and manage to manipulate things in such a way as to get rid of all competent, able and honest bureaucrats. Rather sooner than later the kingdom/dynasty falls and then there is hue and cry from their leaders – as did the last Muslim ruler in Spain when deported to Morocco. People never learn from history and think the same fate won’t overcome them. Muslims seem to top the list in this. In the Muslim World, there is currently a ray of hope in Turkey under President Tayyeb Rajeb Erdogan. May the Almighty guide him to lead his nation to return to their past glory – Ameen.

NOTE: Prof. Albert Einstein had predicted the consequence of technological development (mobile phones) and its effect on social and family life. He forecast that technology would replace human interactions on all levels (whether it be out for a date, at dinner, sightseeing, on holiday, etc., etc.). His words were: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots”. Have we reached that point?

Posted on Jul 31, 18 | 6:28 am