We in Lahore are having what in the US are called ‘triple-digit’ temperatures. The US still uses the Fahrenheit scale and so in Lahore, as I write this, the temperature according to Yahoo! Weather is exactly 100 degrees Fahrenheit. And the maximum temperature over the next few days is expected to be somewhere between 110 F and 115 F. That is hot by any estimation.
To put this in perspective, the normal body temperature is 98.4 F, that being the same as 37.5 degrees on the Celsius scale. Whatever scale you use, it is hot and getting hotter.
That fact, of course, brings me inevitably to the problem of load shedding. Whoever runs Pakistan’s electric supply system keeps evading any semblance of truth about how much load shedding needs to be done. For instance, only a couple of weeks ago, we were informed that in Lahore, load shedding will not be necessary anymore. Ha!
As I think about load shedding and the persistent untruths uttered by people that are responsible for it, I have no choice but to conclude that people running the electric supply system in Pakistan are habitual liars, and not only that, they are supremely indifferent to the fact that the people just might get upset at being lied to with such persistence.
All governments lie. The most charitable thing one can say about this is that they are “economical with the truth”. Lies are however restricted by most intelligent rulers and the governments they run to things that most people cannot figure out.
The obvious interpretation then must be that people that run important parts of out government are either extremely stupid or else so overridden by hubris that they do not really care about their statements to the public.
Pakistan is run mostly by a career civil service populated by reasonably intelligent people. It is however a fact that almost all of them are inflicted by hubris. Being intellectual descendants of the Indian Civil Service under the British Raj, most of them still think of ordinary people as subjects that need to be ruled with an iron fist.
So when we are lied to so openly about load shedding, the obvious explanation has to be a hubristic disregard for what ordinary people think. Interestingly enough, most politicians are equally clueless, but then that is expected. No wonder then, that Pakistanis do not trust their government to tell them the truth about anything.
But after considerable cogitation on the matter of load shedding, I have come to a different conclusion: this is indeed a Taliban conspiracy. By conspiracy I do not necessarily mean something underhanded and evil. The ‘true believers’ have taken over our electric supply system. Their point of view, and that is something I am forced to accept, is definitely correct.
If we look at history, the high points of all Muslim civilisations and all great Muslim empires lasted from the seventh to the end of the seventeenth century. The Muslims during this time ruled much of the ‘known world’ but without any electricity.
More importantly, Muslims that came thereafter during the ‘Righteous Caliphate’ and its successors spread the word of Islam to many countries and conquered most of them without any electrical help either. Historically, it is therefore obvious that the discovery and use of electricity was unnecessary for the spread of Islam as well as Muslim empires.
Here Allama Iqbal is worth paying heed to. Unless we as Muslims emulate the “Hejazis” of fourteen hundred years ago, we are not going to get anywhere important. And in Hejaz fourteen hundred years ago, there was no electricity! It is therefore obvious that the brazen use of electricity has softened Muslims to the point of ineffectuality.
The Ottoman Empire, the Safavids in Iran and, of course, the Mughals in India were all undone after the discovery of electricity. Clearly, electricity is responsible for the end of all great Muslim empires. If we accept that premise then it follows logically that if we as Muslims wish to see great Muslim empires resurfacing once again, we must make electricity obsolete or at least get people used to living without it.
That brings me back to those that run the electric supply systems in Pakistan. They are indeed true believers. It is obvious even to lukewarm believers like me that these people are totally consumed by their faith. As such I am convinced that they want ordinary Pakistanis to get used to life without electricity and by doing so prepare them for the next great Muslim conquest of the world or at least of the infidels in India.
I experienced something that made me understand all this a few years ago while travelling to Pakistan on our flag carrier. We were delayed, abandoned on the tarmac at Manchester airport for hours, and consistently lied to about why we were delayed. After that trip, I realised that our airline was only trying to be superbly helpful to us expat types.
All the crew did was give us a crash course on how it feels to be lied to and ignored by the people in charge. By doing so, they were only trying to get us foreigner types acclimatised to an environment where nobody ever tells the truth and, perhaps more importantly, tried to disabuse us from future air travel since humans flying in the air is contrary to all known Islamic laws.
The Taliban are not coming, they have been here for a while and are running our electrical supply system. We should start getting used to life without electricity; this is just the beginning.
Syed Mansoor Hussain has practised and taught medicine in the US. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org