Against the Laws of Nature
Taliban’s regime is taken differently by different people. Some people liked it because it was the most peaceful time in three decades of Afghan war when people had nothing to worry about like thieves, robbers, dacoits, warlords and others. All these threatening factors either had been finished or were much afraid of the severe punishment of Taliban to carry out their activities. Their strict rules were also successful in some factors like controlling the rates of commodities in market and bringing down the ratio of other social evils like gambling and minor crimes. Moreover, they finished all those factors that are anti-Islamic or which are not regarded appropriate according to our social and cultural standards like drinking wine, listening to music, wearing western clothes, open interaction of male and female and many more. Some of you would definitely read and laugh at me as how clothes or other things have any link with Islam. You are definitely right but today it is not our subject so we will discuss this issue in better length in another article.
Anyhow, the reign continued for more than a decade and the only evident thing was the change of external appearances of the citizens. No woman could have been noticed without veil and any such evildoer was harshly dealt with. Similarly, all the men had turban and beard and no man was allowed to ignore this. In the same way, people were forced to leave their shops and go to mosque for the prayers. In this regard, many interesting situations came when a person was forced to offer the same prayer for three or more times.
All these were really pleasing to those who believed that Islam’s universal aims can be achieved by changing the external appearances of people. Their hearts jumped with pleasure and satisfaction when they noticed that whole of the society had changed its color according to the Islamic teachings.
The factor responsible for this situation was fear of severe punishment and accountability. No doubt, there were many who themselves wished to adopt the clothing and appearance being prescribed by Islam but mostly, there were those who were afraid that if they did not do so, they will have to face the punishment by the government officials.
This gave birth to another escape channel. People who used to visit the neighboring countries of Iran or Pakistan and if their tour was planned to be of more than a month, they used to shave off their beard as they came out of the afghan borders and when there remained a few days before they had to return to Afghanistan, they started growing up their beard so that they should have acceptable appearance back at home.
Similarly, people used to keep religious audio-cassettes to be played in public and whenever they got alone, they would bring out the audio-cassettes of music and other banned sources and would enjoy it.
Similarly, youth used to keep secret gatherings in which they used to play cards or listened to music which were banned and had severe punishment had it got into the knowledge of the authorities.
This also gave birth to hypocrisy; people used to appear something else and did the exact opposite of it. For example, they used to appear very religious with long beard and white turban in public but inside the house, they used to do whatever they wished to do. This hypocrisy then spread its roots to all the factions of the society and even the government officials were not safe of it. There were government officials who were involved in the breaches of laws that they were vigilant to enforce on others. This gradually decreased the reputation and image of the government in the eyes of the public.
Anyhow, the government ended and in less than a week, the government that expanded from one to the other corner was to be seen nowhere. Then, people came to their original shape. Soon men shove away their beard, youngsters started wearing jeans, T-Shirts and other banned clothing that they longed for, women threw away the traditions shuttlecock veil (chadiri) and the hard work and effort of ten years vanished in less than ten days.
There were many lessons hidden in this example. First, any work or regulation, however good it may be, will not be accepted by heart if forced on them and not presented to attract their free will. This is the human psychology that one feels antagonistic against something that has been forced on him. Then he takes it just like an enemy and shows the hardest of the resistance. No doubt, people liked prayers and other good things but when these were forced on them by the authorities, they even turned against them and soon lost the heat and attachment that was once present in their heart for the said things. There were some tragic examples when people who used to be regular worshippers left worshipping just because they were tortured on the name of Islam and worship and as a result they not only hated the cruel authorities but also each and everything that the authorities asked them to perform.
Secondly, the impressions or effects that are external make appeal to the common minds who become happy when see that the people in their surrounding have changed while this situation develops contempt among those who are termed to be the trend-setters of a society and who act as the brain of the society. Such a condition make the people happy but in long run they turn out to be useless as they are not backed by the brain of the society.
Thirdly, such a forced situation may give an instant result but as far as their long run effects are concerned, they seem to be absolutely useless. It was the reason that the changes brought about by the Taliban regime were not to be seen after their government perished.
As it was noticed that above scenario appeals to the common minds so illiterate, short-sighted and usually people with lack of wisdom get into the action and this thing discourages the brilliant brains of the society and force them to hide in corners. On the other hand, these immature minds do a good job in such an improper way that people not only hate them but also hate whatever they are trying to popularize. Same thing happened in Afghanistan as well when people developed the hate of not only cruel and illiterate enforcers but also of the thoughts and ideas that they were trying to promote.
There are few straightforward rules of nature. Things that are fragile need to be dealt with utmost care. Things that are holy need to be presented in the most gentle way and things that are to change the people’s minds need to be understood well and implemented in the wisest manner. Rules of nature never change and would never change!
Mahmood Hassan Quraishi is a permanent writer of the Afghanistan Express Daily.