With the spate of scientific discoveries being reported by our politicians of late, ‘political’ science is certainly experiencing acche din. But lest we get too complacent, we must be ready for competition. In these days of globalisation, a discovery made on one part of the earth (whether it is round or flat, it seems the jury is still out on it) will have consequences on another. So we decided to examine the state of scientific developments across the border, for our rivalry is not only limited to cricket. It turns out, they have a lead of a few decades on us in this regard. It was more than half a century ago that they founded the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) to advise and guide their nation on the path to becoming a truly Islamic Republic. That early start has borne fruit and brought them to their present exalted position in the comity of nations. Unfortunately, we are embarking on our path to becoming a Hindu Rashtra only now, but we do have the advantage of knowing where we will reach if we take this path.
While they have taken fifty years to achieve it, we can certainly do it in ten. This is not an empty boast; it is based on past performance. See, while the West managed to carry out nuclear fission only in the twentieth century, we had achieved it ‘lakhs of years ago’. But it is not only in nuclear physics that we had made advances that the world refuses to acknowledge, glaring injustice has been done to our medical science too. Christian Barnard performed the first heart transplant only in 1967, while our surgeons had performed a head transplant, probably, ‘lakhs of years ago’, without any of us realising it until it was pointed out to us recently. But we are loosing our focus, let us get back to our neighbor. When the government of Pakistan recently tried to ban marriage of under-age girls, the CII promptly stepped in and declared the ban un-islamic, thus saving the nation from committing a grievous sin.
Christian Barnard performed the first heart transplant only in 1967, while our surgeons had performed a head transplant, probably, ‘lakhs of years ago’, without any of us realising it until it was pointed out to us recently.
What role models they could be to our khap panchayats! Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani, Chairman of CII, announced last month that women could not object to their husbands taking a second wife (or subsequent wives) because such objection is un-islamic, since what their husbands are embarking on is permitted by the Quran. Not surprisingly, he became an instant hero to a section of Pakistani males. The CII declared the use of DNA testing in rape cases was un-islamic as Sharia required evidence from four male muslim witnesses. No weak apologies here about ‘boys make mistakes – will you hang them?’ The learned maulana declared after a meeting of the Council last month that no woman could be appointed a judge of a hudood court that will try rape cases because – you guessed it – it is un-islamic. Even if grudgingly, we must accept that this guy has what it takes to pull the nation back a thousand years. We too need a messiah to take us back from this Kalyug to the Swarnyug, ‘lakhs of years ago’. Perhaps we may have found one in the person who is currently rewriting school text-books in Gujarat.
Another milestone during Pakistan’s journey was the International Conference on Scientific Miracles in the Quran and Sunnah, held in 1987. It required a stroke of genius to come up with the concept of Scientific Miracles – though some may think it is an oxymoron – and credit must rightly be given to Gen. Zia-ul-haq who also inaugurated it. This conference was organised by the International Islamic University and the Organisation of Scientific Miracles based in Mecca. Some of the objectives of the conference were to (1) Affirm the existence of scientific miracles; (2) Prove that all known scientific facts can be traced to either the Quran or Sunnah; (3) Validate new conjectures related to physical phenomena, ostensibly based on the holy texts; (4) Condemn secular Western science.
A pioneer in the field was Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood. He was one of the stalwarts of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, and was concerned about providing energy security to the world. In 1998, he suggested to the Wall Street Journal that jinns could be tapped to solve the energy crisis. He said, ‘If we develop our souls we can develop communication with them’ – ‘but every new idea has its opponents’, he went on to lament. You can say that he has an en-jinn-eering solution to the energy problem of the world. But unfortunately, he is currently barred from leaving the country, probably at the behest of oil companies who do not wish to see their revenues plummet if his innovative ideas reach the ummah. One can see the impact of these efforts at promoting an Islamic scientific temper on the media as well. Whenever there is a natural calamity in Pakistan, learned maulana’s are invited to TV studios to discuss the possible reasons for this khuda ka kahar. It invariably turns out that the un-islamic behavior of the people is to blame, though often it is the people of Quetta who pay for the sins of the people in Islamabad. A kind of Newton’s Law that we have seen play out in our country too.
The Quran, it seems, is a virtual treasure trove of scientific ideas. No sooner is a discovery made or a theory proposed, than evidence of its being foretold is found in the Quran. In light of this we in India need to study the Gita more carefully, perhaps even declare it to be our National Scripture. And since the Gita came to us ‘lakhs of years ago’, while the Quran was revealed only fourteen hundred and thirty-six years back, we can claim all discoveries that took place before the seventh century, besides those yet to come. As our beloved PM has said, let us make (it up) in India.
Image Courtesy: The first image by Yoko Shimsu is available at https:// www.flickr.com/photos/bibliodyssey/