Monday, November 27, 2006

But Also

From this article in wikipedia -

Salam died at 70 in Oxford in 1996, after a long illness. He was buried (without any official protocol) in Rabwah, Pakistan.

Professor Salam was a devout muslim who belonged to the Ahmadiyya Community and therefore Abdus Salam is not sufficiently recognized by the Pakistani government for being country's first and only Nobel Laureate. In 1998, the government issued a stamp with his picture but only as part of the series of stamps "Scientists of Pakistan" and not specially dedicated to him

and more from a column by Ardeshir Cowasjee in Dawn (which prompted me to write this post) -

This community was finally (the exercise began in 1953) shorn of its majority rights and declared a non-Muslim minority after it had existed as part of the majority since the birth of the country in 1947.
Sadly, and most undeservedly, in the early 1990s he suffered a rare nervous disease which affected his speech and his bodily movements, leaving his mind perfectly clear. He died in1996, his body was brought back to Pakistan, and he was buried in Rabhwa, later renamed Chenab Nagar by that great ‘liberal’ Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif. Renowned internationally as the only ‘Muslim Nobel Laureate,’ this fact is denied in Pakistan, where his gravestone has been amended to comically read ‘The First blankety-blank Nobel Laureate,’ the word Muslim having been brutally erased.

Tragic, to say the least.

It may not be entirely evident, but I find this case of banishing the Ahmadiyya community from Islam to be strangely similar to the demand by hard-liner Hindu organizations to consider Jains, Sikhs and even Buddhists to be a part of Hindu religion against their wishes. [See this link for an example. Little more googling would yield many such links.]

I read somewhere, that the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are characterized by 'BUT' whereas Hinduism by 'ALSO' -- meaning they differ in the way people not belonging to that particular religion are viewed (exclusion as opposed to assimilation or it might refer to the fact Hinduism admits that there are other ways ALSO to reach the almighty; whereas Abrahmic religions insist that there is none BUT theirs). Is it not evident in the seemingly opposite ways taken by the extremists of each religion to achieve the same purpose - viz. to force their opinions/ideas of what the religious minority should consider itself to be?