Tuesday, 6 June 2017

How Pakistan lost the names of god....

A poignant article in Kashmir Monitor tells of when the name of God in Pakistan became Allah. And includes this quote from author Mohammed Hanif:
Author Mohamed Hanif, in his celebrated debut novel, A Case of Exploding Mangoes, says it best: “…All God’s names were slowly deleted from the national memory as if a wind had swept the land and blown them away. Innocuous, intimate names: Persian Khuda which had always been handy for ghazal poets as it rhymed with most of the operative verbs; Rab, which poor people invoked in their hour of distress; Maula, which Sufis shouted in their hashish sessions. Allah had given Himself ninety-nine names. His people had improvised many more. But all these names slowly started to disappear: from official stationary, from Friday sermons, from newspaper editorials, from mothers’ prayers, from greeting cards, from official memos, from the lips of television quiz show hosts, from children’s storybooks, from lovers’ songs, from court orders, from habeas corpus applications, from inter-school debating competitions, from road inauguration speeches, from memorial services, from cricket players’ curses; even from beggars’ begging pleas.”
So much is lost when religious orthodoxy - Islam in this case - destroys folklore. The efrits die, rakhshasa stop prowling, the fairies vanish, and the green god disappears back into his mossy home in the heart of the wood. In Pakistan, the diversity of our appeal to the spirit world is no longer. And the world is poorer.


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