Here’s Why Pakistan Needs A Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
I saw on the internet that in Karachi a demonstration was held against Shias. Ahmadis are regularly attacked in Pakistan. Hindus, Sikhs and Christians are often targeted (by invoking blasphemy laws, forced conversion of minor girls, etc).
All this turmoil in Pakistan can be eradicated if the country gets a Mustafa Kemal.
Turkey was called ’The Sick Man of Europe’ and was often kicked around by European powers like England and France, who even decided to partition Turkey by the Treaty of Sevres, 1920. Mustafa Kemal realised all the problems in Turkey were because of its backwardness. So he determined to modernise Turkey.
Mustafa Kemal was an army general, which means he had the gun. He staged a coup and overthrew the corrupt Sultan and Khalifa. Then at the point of the gun he modernised Turkey, by abolishing sharia, burqa, madarsas etc and suppressing the maulanas.
This could not have been done democratically, by elections. If he had asked the Turkish people whether they would agree to modernisation and suppression of feudal customs and practices they would almost certainly had said no.
Most people in the Indian subcontinent have reactionary, feudal mindsets, full of casteism and communalism.
Both in India and Pakistan the majority, whether Hindu or Muslim, are communal and with feudal, reactionary mindsets. If asked their opinion in an election they will never vote for suppression of feudal practices and ideas but instead will support them. To prove this I may refer to what has happened in India.
In the parliamentary elections of 2014 and 2019 the people (80% of whom are Hindus) voted for the reactionary BJP whose only agenda was building a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, atrocities and oppression of Muslims, and Pakistan bashing. The real issues, on the other hand, are massive poverty, record and rising unemployment, appalling level of child malnourishment, almost total lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses, continuing farmers suicides, corruption, skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs and fuel, etc.
Hence Pakistan requires a powerful leader like Mustafa Kemal who will modernise Pakistan by declaring Pakistan a secular state and putting a leash on extremist elements.
It may be mentioned that dictators are of two kinds, modern minded and reactionary. Mustafa Kemal was modern minded, while Gen Zia ul Haq was reactionary. So someone like Mustafa Kemal, must modernise Pakistan by (1) declaring Pakistan a secular state (2) ending the impunity enjoyed by religious extremists.
Feudal practices must be suppressed by force of law (3) tackling the reactionary clerics who keep Muslims backward (there were no clerics at the time of the great Prophet Muhammad) (4) spreading scientific ideas and knowledge, in accordance with the injunction of the great Prophet that ‘For knowledge go even to China ‘
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the writer’s own and do not reflect Naya Daur Media’s editorial policy.
Markandey Katju is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He was also the Chairman of the Press Council of India.