Afghanistan - moral obligations and renewal of ties
The withdrawal of the western and proxy occupying forces from Afghan territory is certainly a reason for celebration. Fifth column and other destabilising activities within Afghanistan will continue to be sponsored long into the future using manipulated international political and financial organisations and monitoring bodies. This modus operandi gives the general context for years to come as in many other parts of the world.
The dawning light in Afghanistan is the fact that the Taliban are overall OF, BY and FOR the PEOPLE for a vast majority of Afghans, and not currently a Western-controlled entity. In addition, thus far the Taliban have always been solely focussed on the internal affairs of their country. In spite of this reality, the fact that Afghanistan has the potential to be part of an external AXIS of Power and Development, independent of Western hegemony, is an anathema to the western world; and is also a potential perceived threat to other known neighbouring actors who have occupied Muslim lands where they continue to perpetrate terrible crimes.
It is well-known that, given the complex web of corruption and crimes prevalent in modern times, the Taliban has sought refuge in simple primitive concepts in pursuit of simplicity and justice and do not have the tools, guidance and wherewithal to establish a modern-day sophisticated and self-sufficient Islamic Emirate.
In this regard, it is imperative that Bangladesh, being among the largest and most successful Muslim nations, give urgent moral, financial and logistical support to help a brother Muslim nascent state, get on its feet and help them establish a vibrant and debt-free economy. The policies should be inclusive of the male and female populace and the Taliban know well that even our Prophet's wife was an active business lady. Islam had been the light of world-learning from 750 AD to 1100 AD - 350 years continuously.
It is the unbroken succession of the Ages of Jabir, Khwarizmi, Razi, Masudi, Wafa, Biruni and Avicenna, and then Omar Khayam - Arabs, Turks, Afghans and Persians - men belonging to the culture of Islam (from Abdus Salam's Nobel Acceptance Speech, 1979).European Renaissance and the foundations of modern science, architecture and lifestyle owe an immense debt of gratitude, largely unacknowledged, to the Islamic science, culture and learning of Moorish Spain.
Let us also incentivise the private businesses and entrepreneurs of Bangladesh to setup trade, business partnerships and personal links with Afghanistan.
Bangladesh state must set an example by affording a wide spectrum of financial, logistic and technical help to the Taliban in Afghanistan as soon as possible and help Afghanistan rise as a proud, independent nation not dependent on the colonising influences of the West and not captive to their machinations that continue to divide and emasculate many of our other Islamic brother states. The divergence and disparity of the OIC members exemplifies the result of divide and rule and dancing to a western tune.
Unbeknownst to some, many Bangladeshis have distant family links to other countries. Personally, I consider myself lucky in that I can proudly affirm that my great-great grandfather came from Afghanistan.
My maternal grandfather was the very eminent businessman and zemindar, Murtaza Mallick who, in pre 1947, had business interests in Calcutta and other places in SE Asia reflecting the admirable Bengali (both Muslim and Hindu) trait of love of independence and pushing the frontiers. The very eminent Bangladeshi philanthropist, R P Shaha, known for this great charitable endowments, had told my mother that, when he was a young lad in Calcutta, he lived under the benevolence of my grandfather, Murtaza Mallick. What goes around comes around.
My mother's cousin, the eminent educationist Dr A R Mallick was a compatriot and friend of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Dr Mallick who helped establish Chittagong University and helped run the Bangladeshi Government in exile in India, had told me thatour family origins can be traced to two Afghan brothers named Malik who had travelled to Bengal and established their lineage here, and that the surname 'Mallick' is a derivation from the Afghan 'Malik'.
Dr Mallick had done considerable research to establish this lineage but, unfortunately, this work was neither completed nor published and I have no access to it. Thus, it is not surprising that many of my mother's relatives displayed typical Afghan traits of being tall, fair-skinned and with blue or green eyes. It has taken a few generations in Bengal for these physical traits to have largely dissipated.
My father was a great scholar from Presidency College, Calcutta, and an Officer of the Indian Police Service which, after 1947, became the Pakistan Police Service. After World War II, the British Indian Army was partially demobilised and many joined the Indian Police. Among the East Pakistan Police Force, there were many tens of thousands of non-Bengalis which included many Pathans from the NWFP who served this country throughout their lives and their descendants are still here. And Afghanistan is largely Pathans� We never think twice when we eat our Chicken Tikka, Tandoori Chicken and Nan bread etc. These have all become staple Bengali food just as the descendants of the Pathans are normal Bengalis.
Civilisation and the fate of countries move in cycles. At this point in time, Bangladesh, though territorially unjustly massively emasculated, is on the ascendance, and it is our moral duty and obligation to assist newly-independent Afghanistan in every way possible and help nurture and solidify our fading historic ties and create new ones.
Let us set an example to those wayward Muslim brothers who have abandoned all principles and kow-tow to the bidding of colonial masters. Let us help remake a more equal and civilised world where science and technology is only used to serve people, and not create weapons of destruction. One can clearly see that in a Covid-19 ridden world, pharmaceutical patents for vaccines hold sway and are given more importance than the lives of tens of millions. This is extreme immorality in anybody's language.
Dr Muhammad Tahseen is a
CENTO scholar in METU, Turkey and graduated in 1973. He is a regular
contributor for The Daily Observer
and writes from London