Friday, September 11, 2009

The grapes of democracy

September 11 marks two sad anniversaries. One is the death of Quaid-i-Azam who passed away in 1948, just a year after creating Pakistan with the support of the masses of Muslim India. The other is the death of those who died in the terrorist attacks on America in 2001. This post may be connected with something common to both revered memories: the sacredness of democracy.

Four men who could not understand each other’s languages were fighting over the choice of fruit they should buy with the coin they had found together. Rumi says that if there were someone who understood all languages, he or she could have realized that they were pursuing the same choice but naming it in different languages.

That should be the role of a true intellectual. Consensus exists in every society and perhaps in the entire humanity, just as there was complete consensus among those four strangers. Yet, this consensus is seldom visible, just as it wasn’t visible in that story.

A true intellectual is someone who can decipher the desires of everyone in a society and then find something which could satisfy everyone. In the words of Rumi, such a man would say, “I can fulfill the need of all of you, with one and the same piece of money. If you honestly give me your trust, your one coin will become as four; and four at odds will become as one united.”

This is what Jinnah did for us. Thanks to him, “four at odds” became “as one united.”


  1. There is one more response to your last on earlier post...

    Yet this post here needs some reflection and prayer. This my am and throughout this weekend I aim to remember your special words here "The Sacredness of Democracy". Right now I want to seek how I may learn from those you honor here -- to pray - live - breathe - work and write with trust of Rumi's Republic. I hold up one candle to raise the odds that those at odds will one day be united even on a global level!

  2. I really like this post. I wish there were more Jinnahs in Pakistan and more pluralistic people in US.