Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

I've been doing some research on the question of Urdu in Pakistan lately, specifically the role of successive governments in promoting it. In doing so, I came across an interesting survey taken in 1999-2000 of school students, broken down by the medium of instruction of the school. A few quick notes on the survey. One, I have no idea how they differentiated between "Elite" English-medium schools and "Ordinary" English-medium schools. Two, for reasons of space, M is Madrassas, SM is Sindhi-medium, UM is Urdu-medium, EE is Elite English-medium, CC is Cadet Colleges (where the language of instruction is also English), OE is Ordinary English-medium, NR is no result and DC is don't care. Three, the numbers are, of course, percentages. Four, I'm only reproducing what I found to be the most interesting parts; you can access the whole thing in the Appendix section of this paper. Onwards we march.

Are history textbooks true?

Yes 69.5 75.8 93.5 74.2 81.4 87.4
No 17.6 15.2 5.4 19.6 18.6 10.9
NR 12.98 9.1 1.2 6.2 Nil 1.7

Should Pakistan conquer Kashmir?

Yes 99.2 88.6 95.6 62.9 88.4 88.2
No Nil 4.5 2.1 32 7 6.7
0.8 6.8 2.3 5.2 4.7 5.1

Should Pakistan develop nuclear weapons?

Yes 96.2 49.2 79.8 65 79.1 73.1
No 1.5 35.6 13.7 26.8 15.1 18.5
2.3 15.2 6.5 8.3 5.8 8.4

Should Pakistan implement Sharia law?

Yes 97.7 81.8 95.6 52.6 79.1 86.6
No 0.8 7.6 1.7 23.7 5.8 1.7
DC 1.5 10.6 2.7 23.7 15.1 11.8

Should Pakistan make the press free?

Yes 43.5 62.9 58.7 62.9 73.3 53.8
No 34.4 18.2 26.4 19.6 18.6 30.3
DC 22.1 18.9 15 17.5 8.1 16

Should Pakistan establish democracy?

Yes 27.5 69.7 75.8 65 68.6 74.8
No 48.1 6.1 8.5 14.4 14 10.1
DC 24.4 24.2 15.4 20.6 17.4 15.1

Should Pakistan give equal rights to women?

Yes 18.3 84.9 84.8 86.6 88.4 84.9
No 73.3 5.3 9 7.2 5.8 8.4
DC 8.4 9.9 6.2 6.2 5.8 6.7

Should Pakistan give equal rights to Ahmedis?

Yes 6.9 58.3 44 53.6 33.7 47.9
No 81.7 18.2 33.9 22.7 39.5 28.6
DC 11.5 23.5 22.1 23.7 26.7 23.5

Should Pakistan give equal rights to Hindus, etc.?

Yes 11.5 65.2 56.7 57.7 41.9 51.3
No 71.8 18.2 23.7 20.6 36.1 27.7
DC 16.8 16.7 19.6 21.7 22.1 21

I love the fact that the Sindhis are the most pacifist when it comes the question of nukes. Someone has got to find a sociological explanation for that one. I also love the fact that only the madrassa kids outflank the elite kids on not wanting democracy. Other highlights include: only the Army kids seem to be interested in a free press, at least half of the elite kids want to implement Sharia, there were at least 5-10% of non-madrassa kids who said "No, I don't want to give women equal rights", and that Pakistanis are willing to give even Hindus more rights than Ahmedis.


Anonymous said...

even Hindus...wonderful.

Ahsan said...

yes well when you consider the hate the average pakistani has for hindus, it is truly astounding.

Alien Panda said...

"Even the Hindus"... inherent bias I say! Waisay the Ahmedis really are hated in this country.

AHsan, the "sociological reason" for Sindhi pacifism is not all that fascinating; its simply their distrust of teh Punjabis ,and as a result the army, that they are against Nuclear Weapons which in their minds empower the Punjabis even further.

As the Hindus in Pakistan are mostly in Sindh it can be said that theres more tolerance of them, but I personally don't think that this is the reason. There are more Christians and Ahmedis in Punjab but there's more intolerance of them in those regions. The reason being that these areas are also home to organisations like the Tableeghi Jamaat which are markedly absent in Sindh; Islam in Sindh is represented by Abdullah Shah Bhittai and not Maulana Maududi. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that Sindhis have no prejudices (the treatment of women and of peasants remains abysmal) its just that these prejudcies are based much less on religion and are not legitimised by divine mandate.

Kazim Aizaz Alam said...

Ahsan: As opposed to EE, an ordinary English-medium school is one where only TRUE/FALSE & FILL IN THE BLANKS are done in English...the rest is taught in URDU. The teachers address their pupils in Urdu.

You wondered why Sindhis are more leftist than the other groups. I think this results from their political awareness. If you ever talk to a Sindhi, you will find him much more aware about the politics and current affairs as compared to non-Sindhis. Most of the Sindhi newspapers are (Sindhi) Nationalist. This may be a reason.

I guess I feel that because Sindhis are more concious of their roots and identity as distinct from that of 'the Pakistani', they are more politically aware. Moreover, this is reflected in Sindhi language newspapers. I should probably also add, for clarity's sake, that I myself am not a Sindhi.

Anonymous said...

If thats true it might be interesting to see a comparison between sindhis and mohajjirs, as they share the traits you discuss.

Kazim Aizaz Alam said...

No, no, not all! Who says Mohajirs (or Urdu speaking community) and Sindhis share these traits? I feel, after Partition the ruling elite of Pakistan was comprised of Mohajirs of Uttar Pardesh descent (who flocked the Civil Bureaucracy in large numbers), Mohajirs of Mumbai and the adjacent states (who became business magnates) and Punjabis (who joined the Military Bureacracy). This Mohajir-Punjabi nexus ruled the country during the 50s, 60s and 70s. As for the Mohajirs in the civil bureaucracy, the unkindest cut came from the Military Bureacracy who, without any tests, join the civil bureacracy every year. It was only in the 80s, Mohajirs took the back seat in terms of wielding political power in Pakistan. They, in connivance with Punjabis, exercised their political power and status to Islamize the country through promotion of Urdu and Madressah culture. Keep in mind that while all this taking place, Sindhis had been sidelined, which resulted in a strong sense of deprivation in them. This state repression pulled Sindhis away from the religious orthodoxy. And that is reflected in their generally moderate approach towards religion.

Alien Panda said...

"They, in connivance with Punjabis, exercised their political power and status to Islamize the country through promotion of Urdu and Madressah culture."

I personaly think you're mixing up too many things here. Yes in the early years of Pakistan much of the civil sevice was controlled by Mohajirs and Punjabis but this does not mean that you can mix up Urdu with Madrassah culture. Urdu was/is used for the suppression of other languages but that doesnt mean taht it can be impicated in the islamization of Pakistan.
And as you stated Muhajirs took the back seat only in teh 80s, but it was only in the 80s that the roots of Islamization were planted.

Similarly you can not mix up the military with the civil service; which in the early decades had been religiously liberal (being the product of the British Raj) and of late has became absolutely useless, the result of nepotism and quotas.

The blame for the plight of the Sindhis can not all be diverted to Punjabis and Muhajirs, many Sindhis themselves are to blame. Sindhi leaders, feudal and non-feudal, have been in positions of authority since the inception of Pakistan, surely questions must be asked of them. Sadly, the state of Sindhi (and Baloch) leadership itself has seen a monumental decline in the last few decades; this new generation of Sindhi leadership is a symbol of feudalism, cruelty and illiteracy. A midnight rendezvous to 'Khadda Market' (Defence, Karachi) will reveal all - I'm personally scared to drive there, in the off chance I offend these guys by waljking and tehy end up shooting me.

Ahsan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ahsan said...

alien panda, afraid to say, but you're completely wrong in your first paragraph. urdu can absolutely be "implicated" in the islamization of pakistan. it was used, along with islam, for the twin ideas of integration and nationhood. the motto was "we're pakistan, islam is our religion and urdu is our language". your "proof" that since islamization only took root in the 80s, by which time mohajirs had been by and large removed from the corridors of bureaucratic and civil service power rests on a false premise: that islamization only started under zia. it may well have gotten its most covert support under zia, but believe me, we've had this phenonmenon since the late 50s. ironically it was under drunkard ayub's time that the first overtures were made to the religous parties, something we've seen from ayub to zia to musharraf. the point being, urdu and islam have worked hand in hand, the pro-urdu lobby (and i dont mean mohajirs here, i literally mean the pro-urdu lobby) has always used islam as a rallying cry and a unifying factor. their message over time has been co-opted and integrated with the islamists' message to the point where they reinforce each other. if you go through educational documents on curricula etc you'll notice that if urdu is mentioned, islam is sure to follow in the next paragraph and vice versa.

Alien Panda said...

I doubt if anyone's even going to read this, thanks to Ahsan's prolific posting but I'm at work...

Ahsan - First of all I absolutely concede that Islamisation did not begin in 1980's. In fact it first reared its head much earlier than even you've stated. Islamisation finds its roots in the teachings of Shah Waliullah and Syed Ahmed Shaheed who opposed the Mughals and demanded true Muslims to devote their lives to Jihad against all infidels. Incidentally, the 1980's remark is also wrong for it singularly links the growth of Islamisation in Pakistan with Wahabi-ism who is not accurate. Islamisation in Pakistan has more to do with Barelvi and Deobandi teachings than Wahabi-ism, but its always easier for Pakistanis to blame outside forces; incidentally teh founder of the Deobandi school of thought studied in Meccah with Abdul Wahab (of the ' Wahabi-ism' fame).
The 1980's did however, see the birth of teh modern militant groups at teh hands of the army but that of course does not mean that Islamisation did not exist before.

Fine, but having said that it still does not mean that the forces that propelled the 'Urdu-isation' of Pakistan are identical to those that have fueled Islamisation. Historically, Urdu-isation was a governing tool of the Mughals eager to meld the disparate and ever changing regions of the empire into a singularity. The British also employed Urdu-isation for a similar role. Islamisation on the other hand was used as a uniting tool against the Mughal and then the British Empires. (One of the aims of Aligarh University was to provide a means of challenging Islamism through higher URDU!).

Now in Pakistan these forces have worked together, due to perceived insecurities about the nation and the overbearing need to maintain the sanctity of the union. This however does not mean that the forces and the identities of the players are the same.
While Urudisation has been forwarded largely by the Civil Service, it is the military bureaucracy that has been more involved with the Islamization of the country.

It appears pedantic to make this distinction but I feel its an important. Addressing Urduisation will not solve the problem of Islamisation or vice versa - case in point, the Taleban and Al-Qaeda don't speak the same language yet they have no problem with sharing the same agenda. Similarly a non religious Mohajir has no problems with hating a Punjabi. Spain has used Spanish to suppress the right of the Catalan, Basque and Galician people without bringing up religion.

Urduisation (and the ethnic divide in Pakistan) and Islamisation must me dealt with seperately rather than being lumped together in the manner that Ahsan has mentioned.