There was that time when Hegel pronounced that
Instructively, not until his full-blooded engagement with
Since the emergence of
Especially those who subscribe to a dialectical materialist perspective of time, space, and human agency, it must seem an absurdity, ab initio, to suggest that any human subject, concept, group/community, or nation is ever in a state of coma.
It is ofcourse the case that the pace of historical transformation observes differing momentums from agent to agent, community to community, nation to nation; so that in some instances the “sameness” seems to make invisible the dynamic, and in others the dynamic overwhelmes the “givens” frenetically.
I have taken the liberty to thus preface my point about
Many among those who have over the years hotly, and justly, contested the western metropolitan project of “essentialising”
Such Indian comment from “experts” and upwardly-mobile beneficiaries of
There is indeed truth to the overview that since the murder of the first Pakistani Pime Ministerin 1953, interested forces have sought in every conceivable way to keep in place a stranglehold that has been hard to breach. This ideological and material conglomerate has comprised the AMA—America/Mullah/Army—in a peculiar marriage between the feudal, the theological, and infusions of the technologically comprador.
Yet, it would be a serious misreading of the dynamics of Pakistani history to think that the Benazir murder is a mere repeat of that first murder of Liaqat Ali Khan. Or that the Benazir persona in 2007 embodied merely an unvaryingly familiar personal mind-set and collective history.
It would be readily understood that, for example, Gandhi before and after the event in
Yet it is not, for some reason, equally understood that Jinnah before and after 1937 were also two different agents, and two different kinds of muslim. Or that Jinnah of the moment of the call to direct action and of the first speech to the newly independent Pakistan Assembly were starkly different historical personae.
And from thereon, that Benazir at oxford, and the Benazir of 1988 and then again of 1993 require to be seen as an evolving persona, and a carrier if you like of an accreting history that has now come to roost with her martyrdom.
That accreting history warrants the view that the murder of Benazir should not be looked at merely as a sudden Foucauldian “rupture” but an apotheosis. An apotheosis that connotes the relegation of forms of control even at the very moment that these seem gruesomely ascendant.
The Benazir of 2007 carried with her a sentience born of intervening contestations internally in
Her martyrdom has given expression to critiques and aspirations that have been long in the making, rendering the emperor rather pitifully without clothes. At some earlier marker in
In that context it is crucial to understand that large and largely influential segments of Pakistani society have been freed in a conclusive way from the anxieties of an identity politics whose burden has sat heavy on
I venture to say that this freeing is powered now by a momentum that promises a decisive redefining in
When the Benazir of 2007, risking her life, spoke insistently of democracy as the answer to
Even as she knew she would more likely than not pay for that articulation with her life, it was clear that she also knew that the time for it had come, and that, losing her life, she might succeed in ways that may no more be refused. And is it not obvious that the turn of event since her death points that way?
A three-way catharsis seems underway in Pakistan: reliving the Bangladesh experience, vast numbers across in Pakistan are obliged to recognize that the theocratic basis of nationhood bears within itself the seeds of disintegration, as the hands that feed it inevitably become its food; secondly, the glorified honeymoon with the army as the most secure arbiter of national stature and security seems equally in tatters; and, thirdly, influential elites who may for one reason or the other have remained silent over the years on the value of that special relationship, even if one of abject dependence, with the United States, acknowledge, again however privately, that the Nehruvian decision to keep a safe distance from that post-war imperialist power and to build the infrastructure of the new India by painful but autonomous inches may indeed have demonstrated the truth of the story of the tortoise getting better of the hare.
This is not to say that entrenched interests will not continue to battle hard; and yet, they are now having to fight that battle not only against an intractable multitude of contradictions within internal and external structures of power but, most frustratingly, against a wholly new Pakistani citizenry whose disenchantment with the hitherto seems comprehensive and complete, and whose willingness to give battle in return equally dour. What turns and twists that battle might take in the months to come remains a matter of concern. As also the price that a successful conclusion of that battle may entail.