Our Chomsky and their Hoodbhoy

Noam Chomsky is a linguist and a philosopher. He’s a renowned expert in his field and is loved by his students across America. But that’s not all. He is known worldwide because of his whistle-blowing and political activism. A heretic, a rebel; who criticizes American hegemony vehemently. He regularly opinionates against militarism, violence, capitalism and discrimination.

His educational work / career remains unhindered regardless of his critical views against the state. He has a strong influence – deservingly – in both education and politics.

In Pakistan, we love Noam Chomsky. We love to quote him. We use his words as a reference particularly in the Palestine-Israel conflict. He is ‘our’ intellectual hero who has exposed all the devils of the world. We just love him.

But.

Brace for impact. We are landing. In the land of pure… hypocrisy.

We have a similar heretic and rebellious professor here. Pervez Hoodhboy. He is a physicist and has degrees from MIT. And like Chomsky, he keeps on expressing his political views. He never hesitates to expose corruption around him. Just last year, he unveiled corruption of millions of rupees in government universities.

But we hate him. We hate him to the extent that we have thrown him out of the university. We don’t want him to teach rationality and modern sciences to our kids.

Because light makes us blind.

We doubt his credentials. As well as his sanity. We doubt his words. As well as his loyalty.

We have tagged him too. Haroon Rasheed – who loves to vomit live on TV – has recently ‘revealed’ Hoodhboy is an American agent. Alas! Here we are. Since the beginning.

Agents. Traitors. From Fatima Jinnah to Bacha Khan to Walli Khan to Marri to Suhrawardy to G. M. Syed to Mujeeb to Bugti to Faiz Ahmad Faiz to Jalib and hundreds of others to those abducted to those in unidentified graves to you and to me.

We have foreign heroes. Arundhati Roy. Edward Snowden. Jullian Assange. Daniel Ellsberg. Chelsea Manning. And Noam Chomsky. Astoundingly, we hate the same minds at home. Like Asma Jahangir. Eqbal Ahmed. Tariq Ali. Ammar Ali Jan. And Pervez Hoodhboy.

We lost one half in 1971. Because 55% of the population was of traitors. So – fortunately or unfortunately – majority decided to part ways. That is too a comic. Because it was the first time in history when majority decided to find a separate homeland after getting tired of stubborn minority.

Anyway.

We are firing teachers. Not like we are firing bullets. But literally. We are firing all the men we doubt. Because credentials and PhDs are guttered when loyalty is doubted. After all, that’s the whole idea behind a successful marriage.

Our hypocrisy and ‘corrected’ history have brought us here. Here.

Dissent is a beauty of any living society. You may disagree, but you defend the right to express. I disagree with Hoodbhoy on certain points, but I know; he knows how to hit the cord where it hurts the most. And the cord is of truth. Brutal truth.

And other times I just feel sad for him. He is fighting for more than 3 decades for sanity. He could have moved abroad. Very easily. But he stood here. And decided to fight against the holy cows – mullah, judiciary and establishment – along with their herd of 22 crore sheep.

Edwin Markham poem “Outwitted” says:

He drew a circle that shut me out-

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle and took him In!

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