It is true that we have historians like Mubarak Ali who (should) make us proud. But it is also true that main arena has been occupied by military establishment’s flunkey fictorians. Fictorians are those who mix facts and fiction and present it as ‘history’, with the main target presenting an engineered version of political history of Pakistan.
When one tries to make a list of fictorians, Safdar Mehmood tops it. With a history of flattery of General Zia-ul-Haq and Jamaat-e-Islami, Safdar Mehmood is notorious for forging and presenting a distorted version of history.
Recently, I started following him more closely. Even though many a times well known writers have openly pointed out his fallacies, but like a compulsive liar, he continues. Many a times, I have written on Facebook page under his name, and run by some Mr. Gillani, an office bearer at an NGO Karwan. I was blocked when I asked about his PhD credentials. He ‘got’ his PhD from Punjab University Lahore, based on a book he wrote. It was awarded as an ’exceptional’ case. He was in civil services (probably secretary education) at that time. I wrote on some other pages about it, later I was unblocked.
I have been reading his columns and writing on web about his inaccuracies. Recently a friend came across those and advised me to polish them for broader audience. This is first effort. Will start with his latest column (17 July 2012) in daily Jang. More critical articles will follow shortly.
The column published in July 17, 2012 issue of Daily Jang is titled “dill phiank”. He starts with Jinnah and Ratti. He states that Ratti converted at Jamia Mosque Bombay before Nazir Ahmad Siddiqui, uncle of Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani and, as per Noorani, Jinnah used to consult Mr. Siddiqui for better understanding of Islam. Also that he gave Ratti one year to ‘think’ before deciding to marry him. Ratti was born on Feb, 20th 1900.They met in summer of 1916. Jinnah could not marry her without her parent’s approval until she was achieved legal majority. In fact Sir Dinshaw got restraining order from court against Jinnah. Ratti converted at Nakhoda Mosque Calcutta three days before the wedding at Bombay. This mosque was constructed by Cutchi Memon Jama’at later expanded in 1926.When Ratti died, she was buried in Khoja cemetery Bombay. It would be highly unlikely that she would have converted before a Sunni scholar.
His other entry is about Iqbal. He states that after the collapse of his first marriage, Iqbal married Javed’s mother (Sardar Begum) but it was his family’s choice and not his own. Why to be apologetic saying that it was his family’s choice, he was not doing anything illegal. More importantly it is factually wrong. It was Iqbal’s choice and his family was rather against it. Iqbal’s sister wrote anonymous letters to Iqbal, apparently falsely accusing her of moral misconduct. Iqbal divorced Sardar Begum. His sister selected his next bride from Amritsar named Mukhtar Begum. Sardar Begum wrote a letter to Iqbal saying that she would ask for judgment on doomsday. It was also revealed that letters were written by his sister, so Iqbal did Nikah again. After the baraat of Mukhtar Begum, he went on Tonga to Sardar Begum’s house and brought her as his wife too. His second and third weddings were on same day.
The purpose of above is not to malign them. We must accept our heroes as humans. In fact one should admire them more. If we present them as divine semi gods, then we are minimizing their personal contributions and denying their rightful place. We should realize that despite their emotional struggles, they still achieved what they did.
In the end Safdar Mehmood does his usual bias by acts of omission, favoring his masters, the Sharif Brothers of the Punjab. He does not mention about Shahbaz Sharif’s recent marriage. Also how ethical is that Shahbaz Sharif starts affairs with wives of his subordinates and then makes them divorce. In USA’s liberal atmosphere, if a military commander is found to have even consensual relationships with subordinates’ wives, he is court martialed. After name calling about his usual targets like ZAB, Khar, Mush etc., he suddenly remembers the morals and says “kuch parda rakhna zaroori hai”.
He obtusely remarks about foreign female journalist’s reminiscences about our politicians. He has no courage to talk about Nawaz Sharif’s unwanted sexual advances towards Kim Barker. He knows what kind of consequences he may face if he dares so.