Friday, July 11, 2008

1: Shah Waliullah, the spiritual reconstruction of society

This is a series of blogs about the creation and philosophy of Pakistan and it's key actors. These accounts are based on historical facts and references are linked at the bottom.
In 1747, Ahmad Shah Abdali ascended the throne of Afghanistan and unified tribes to form the first “nation state” in the East – slightly before such states gained popularity in Europe.

Abdali also demanded that Punjab should secede from the Mughal Empire so that its revenue could go into the maintenance of Kabul. Quite interestingly, the Talpur rulers of Sindh also shifted allegiance from the Mughal Court to the Court of Abdali. Balochistan and Sarhad had already been severed from Mughal suzerainty. Hence the method and logic of Abdali may have been outlandish but he practically marked the boundaries of Pakistan: Sarhad, Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh (and even Kashmir) were no longer connected with the mainland India nor could they be truly absorbed into Afghanistan, since Afghanistan had become a nation state (in an Eastern sense if not the Western) and Abdali was not an "emperor" but a nationalist.

One man who may have seen a deeper meaning in these events was Shah Waliullah of Delhi: the visionary who had dreamed of a spiritual social reconstruction. It is is said that when Abdali rescued the Mughal King of Delhi from the onslaught of the Maratha Confederacy of the South in 1761, Waliullah suggested that instead of restoring the emperor, a council of nominated representatives should be given the charge and this council should rule by consensus. The suggestion could not be implemented – obviously, Waliullah was ahead of his times. He died a year later.

Next: Mir Taqi Mir, the dislocation of values

You can find out more about Shah Waliullah at

1 comment:

  1. Great Men are always ahead of their time.As was the case with Shah Waliullah!