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26th Monthly Study Circle

Wednesday, 07 November 2018 15:15
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BKTEF organizes 26th Monthly Study Circle for Baacha Khan Fellows


 

The Baacha Khan Trust Educational Foundation (BKTEF) held 26th monthly study circle at the BKTEF head office on October 6, 2018. The study circle was attended by almost 50 participants belonging to different districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA including Peshawar, Mardan, Swat, Charsaada, Swabi, Shangla, Hangu, Dir, Waziristan, Khyber Agency, Mohmand agency and Tank. The subject for discussion in the study circle was Taimur Khan's dissertation "Pakistanizing Pashtuns."

Dr Darwesh Afridi talked in detail about outline of the thesis. He stated that Taimur Khan had historicized State in general and Pakistan in particular in his dissertation. While elaborating on the thesis, Dr.Darwesh discussed the theories of Gramsci and Louisse Pierre Althuczer. Hegemony, he said, was a theory used by Gramci, in which he postulated on the ideological claims, culture and discourse created and spread by the State. He said that State was monopoly over legitimate coercion. Gramci was of the view that monopoly must be consensual for a State to be legitimate.

Dr. Darwesh further explained that Pakistan was a product of history which came into being after the arrival of British in the subcontinent causing fear among the already weakened and shrunken economic and political elite of Indian Muslims. Following the emergence as a separate State in the form of Pakistan, there was nothing common among the masses belonging to four different provinces. The only thing common among them was religion. Hence, the concept of Muslim-ness was propagated by the State in order to give them a sense of commonality. Then came the importance of Urdu language which was substantiated by Maulvi Fazl ul Haq in one of his writings whereby he maintained that Urdu was the only language of Muslims. He said that official morality and demonizing of Pashtuns were also part of the State agenda. Dr Darwesh shared that the last chapter of the dissertation shed light on the counter hegemonic response on part of the Pashtuns.

Mr. Imran Khan shed light on the argument of the thesis. He said that the title of the dissertation itself suggested State’s narrative towards Pashtuns. He regretted that besides the tools of Muslimness and Urdu used by the State, there was a visible divide seen among the rural and Urban Pashtuns whereby the code Pukhtunwali held different meanings. He expressed that the Pre Islamic history and secular social organisation of the Pashtuns was expunged entirely by the State and Pashtuns were left oblivious of their past.

Mr. Shah Nawaz Khan drew conclusion of the thesis. He said that the State had been successful in taking over the resources and power of the people. He pointed out that the take over had been physical as well as deprivation of people of political decision making. Mr Shah Nawaz was of the view that the history, culture and language of Pashtuns had been broken entirely.

The participants including Nadia, Imad Khalil, Tariq Pukhtunyaar, Zadran, Shakoor, and Shah Nawaz had an in depth discussion on the dissertation. They also put forward certain questions to be answered in the conclusion by Dr.Khadim Hussain.

Dr.Khadim Hussain expressed that cultural identity had a deep connection with geography. Cultural Identity, he said, was a natural phenomenon while self rule was the natural right of people with common cultural identity. He regretted that there still existed people who in fact created knowledge production institutes which propagated their interests in a systematic and conscious manner. Such people who openly invaded the rights of others needed to be resisted, the route of which was from abstract to concrete. Dr.Khadim Hussain was of the view that there were certainly problems with the hegemonic discourse of the state. First and foremost, the concept of sovereignty had changed . Secondly, the principle of Federal Parliamentary system enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan would be damaged if the hegemonic discourse of homogenisation continued to be constructed and permeated by the state. Thirdly, war economy played a role in their disintegration to a large extent. He expressed that the Federal Parliamentary system in Pakistan held no meaning as long as plurality in cultural identities was accepted by the State. Dr.Khadim Hussain also talked in depth about other Federations whereby different nations were free and allowed to live their lives as per their choice and still remained a part of the federation.

Lastly, he said, it was needed that Pashtuns stood behind Federal Parliamentary system and find alternatives in formal and informal education in the form of debates and dialogues. The academia must play its role and find ideological alternatives. The Pashtuns must keep their alternative history alive.

 

The next study circle was decided to be held on November 3, 2018. Text selected for the study circle was George Orwell’s novel “1984.”


 
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