A leftist-turned-rightist Syed Munawar Hasan, Secretary General Jama’at-i-Islami, says the demise of the leftists’ ideology was imminent considering its peculiar placement in estranged societies
During the 50s and early 60s, the whole world was in the midst of continuous changes. One could also see awakening of the Leftists in this part of the world in particular, when a few from the rest of the world were seeing things through ‘red spectacles’. The propaganda literature on communism was available in abundance. Elections and referendums were coloured with the slogans and passions of the leftists’ agenda.
After the ban on the political parties, imposed by General Ayub, Syed Munawar Hasan, who was an important person in the NSF set-up, became Junior President of the then newly formed Student Circle, and did some serious service for the Circle-distributed literature among students, wrote speeches for leaders and made efforts for the holding of various activities. Those were the days when the pro-Russia and pro-Mao sentiments were running high. Syed Munawar Hasan later turned towards the Right.
Following are excerpts:-
On whether the Leftists era is over
As far as the ideology or commitment is concerned, it is over without any doubt. As the sponsoring or supporting state is no more-debacle of the USSR-the ideology too is no more visible because the sponsorship (read money) has disappeared. The kind of state, the leftists wanted to create, seems to be a defunct idea now.
Was the Movement indigenous?
When the demise of the sponsoring state brought this Movement to an end, then this ideology cannot be termed as an indigenous one. There was a constant flowing of funds into the country, which was dished out to the concerned. For instance, from one library in Karachi, salaries were given to a number of people apart from distribution of literature among the interested.
What were the reasons of its failure?
People have learnt that any movement divorced from its ambience cannot work. Probably, it might not be true for all times to come, but it has definitely happened in the last century. Interestingly, the states, which used to raise tall claims for the rights of the haves and the have-nots, have become capitalists.
Despite the fact that the Leftist agenda was anti-human in nature, with the essential paraphernalia and ‘armaments’ to combat any external threat, they could not survive for long. They remained in power for over 70 years with a peak of few decades. The lobby was there, but it couldn’t cater to the humanistic requirements. Remember! A mere lobbying for an ideology cannot bring revolution when the ground reality is altogether different from the agenda. As Communism did not have its own culture, its fall became easy and natural one.
Was Pakistan a barren land for them?
In Pakistan, only cosmetic leftist parties existed, which had attitude and behaviour contradictory to the customs, creed and religion of the land. There were certain contradictions even within the socialist system. How could they survive at a place where they could not have a breathing space?
Now they are looking towards the West and America, in particular, because they all have the same agenda–anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan–under the changed circumstances. Speaking against Mullah is one of the latest fads, and this is part of their psyche. Due to their poor knowledge of Islam, they became an easy prey to such popular ideologies. Now they seem to be opportunists.
What was their contribution?
Nothing! If they contributed any thing to Pakistan, that was just a big chunk of negatives. Even the pioneers, when they saw their parties’ practice being contradictory to the manifesto, had to quit them. The Leftists wanted to have a free sex society and ‘legal’ availability of alcohol, which were never popular among the masses. As they were anti-religion, so whenever they heard the word ‘Islam’, they immediately closed their minds. They were never confident enough to face a pro-religion society. They wanted to use 'being anti-religion' as a ladder for gaining success.
Interestingly, they were anti-Islam, but they married according to the Islamic injunctions. In certain cases, despite their will, their kith and kin offered their Nama-e-Janaza. What was this? To me it was all cosmetic! Remember! In our society, even a non-practising Muslim will not hear any thing against Islam.
I loved music and had won a few awards in singing competitions. I left them after I read Islam thoroughly, and found the Leftists' agenda as shallow. To me, Islam has the power. I believe Muslim’s poor knowledge of Islam has a lot to do with the success of such ideologies.
- As told to Aamer Waqas Chaudhary