Let us become — proudly — bayghairat

Published: May 6, 2012
The writer teaches physics and political science at LUMS. He holds a doctorate in physics from MIT

The writer teaches physics and political science at LUMS. He holds a doctorate in physics from MIT

Pakistan’s current and aspiring political leaders can rarely give a public speech these days without invoking ghairat (honour) in some shape or form. Rather than present plans for reducing unemployment or providing electricity, they talk about shame and honour. The ultimate insult ‘bayghairat’ (without honour) is sometimes hurled onto an opponent. Adrenalin levels shoot even higher when they speak of America and “breaking the chains of slavery”. The more morally and intellectually bankrupt a leader, the louder he thunders about qaumi ghairat (national honour).

This time-tested formula has worked wherever a people have been dispirited and dejected. For example, Hitler’s meteoric rise to power, culminating in the most destructive war of history, came from appealing to the collective ghairat of the German nation and to the alleged cowardice and corruption of its rulers.

Hitler’s famous Munich beer hall speeches were followed up in Mein Kampf: “A nation without honour will sooner or later lose its freedom and independence… a generation of poltroons is not entitled to freedom. He who would be a slave cannot have honour.”  Translated into Urdu, these lines are exactly what one hears on TV these days from men like Imran Khan and Hamid Gul.

The real implication of ghairat hit me for the first time some twenty years ago. A group of seven senior military officers, then studying operational matters at the National Defence College, had come to meet me at the physics department of Quaid-i-Azam University. Nuclear weapons were new at that time and, quite sensibly, they were keen to learn technical details from every available source. Although Pakistan did not officially acknowledge possessing such weapons then, the process of inducting them into the forces had already begun.

We had a good discussion on everything from blast radii and firestorms to electronic locks and PALS (Permissive Action Links). The officers took copious notes and appeared satisfied. As they prepared to leave I asked what circumstances, in their opinion,would warrant the use of nuclear weapons by Pakistan.

After some reflection one officer spoke up: “Professor,” he assured me, “they shall be used only defensively if at all, and only if the Pakistan Army faces defeat. We cannot allow ourselves to be dishonoured.” Around the table, heads nodded in agreement. Significantly, the calculus of destruction — that cities would be obliterated on both sides — was not what mattered. Ghairat did.

The same question put to Indian military officers would probably elicit the same answer. Historically, honour has driven armies to fight battles. Even as the officer spoke, my thoughts wandered to The Charge of the Light Brigade. During the Crimean War of 1854, wave after wave of honour-charged British soldiers rode their horses into the mouths of Russian guns which, of course, promptly mowed them down. Tennyson later immortalised the slain men in his famous poem: “All the world wonder’d. Honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade.”

The honour-driven Japanese samurai were even more extreme. As agents for various lords, shoguns, and the Emperor, their duties involved keeping peasants in line as well as fighting wars. Honest and dedicated, they were a model for ordinary Japanese. When a samurai lost honour, he could save his dignity only through hara-kiri (cutting open his belly).The last days of World War II turned samurais into suicide bombers who (unsuccessfully) flew planes into US aircraft carriers. Their actions ultimately brought the atom bomb to Japan.

A curse upon honour! It brings to a nation nought but militarisation, conquest, conflict, and the pain of war. On the other hand, where reason has defeated honour, the results have been spectacular. For example, in the ashes of WW II lay two thoroughly defeated and dishonoured nations: Germany and Japan. Had they remained stubbornly defiant, they would still be squatting there today. But, overcoming pride and honour, the vanquished accepted defeat and made peace with the victors. Today they are among the most advanced of nations, and major aid donors to Pakistan.

Vietnam is another amazing example. After 20 bitter years of war it won but was devastated. American B-52s had flattened its cities, while napalm and Agent Orange had devastated its villages and jungles. Yet, tossing aside honour and vengeance, Vietnam today reaches out to its former tormentors and invites their companies and investment. It is a country with a future.

Compare the bayghairat Vietnamese to Afghanistan’s ghairat-obsessed people. Proud and unconquerable, they had earlier fought off the British and the Soviets; soon the Americans will too be gone. But, post-2014, what awaits them? Only more blood and sorrow, and yet another civil war.

Anthropologists tell us that honour is a concept that originated in herding societies because a tribal man’s animals and women were protected from other tribesmen by a code of honour. But then, as tribes amalgamated and merged into the larger stream of civilisation, differing notions of honour led to strife. Traditional societies of the present era, in which honour plays a larger role, are relatively more violent than modern ones. The ease with which men kill their wives and daughters for sexual misconduct is but one example; there are scores of others.

Still, there are some in the West (see Sacred tribal values by J Gold & C Kammen, 1998), as well as here in Pakistan, who call for a return to tribal values. Perhaps one must hear them sympathetically because not all of what they say is bad. They hark back to the days when life was simple, good could easily be separated from bad, there was a spirit of community, and science had not made us into “One Dimensional Man” (in the words of the German philosopher Herbert Marcuse). They are nostalgic about what the world looked like centuries ago, all without having seen it or being aware of the downsides. Alas, they imagine false utopias.

A culture of honour is fine for the herders of goats and camels, or those who live in unpoliceable mountainous areas. But a culture of honour is disastrous for us, a nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people who want jobs, electricity, and the fruits of modernity.So, to hell with the fakery of meaningless honour! Instead, let us create a culture of law and reason, of compassion and tolerance. Let us become — proudly — bayghairat.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (238)

  • Wasim Irfan
    May 6, 2012 - 10:03PM

    This macho obsession with ‘ghairat’ has destroyed our society.It’s not just the rulers but the public as well,that uses ghairat as an excuse and a motivation for all sorts of horrible crimes.Our men have been obsessed with saving their ghairat and its often the poor women of the family who pay a heavy price for saving ghairat of the men.This ghairat concept is an antiquated thinking that belongs in the times of the cavemen.


  • M I Khan
    May 6, 2012 - 10:05PM

    Brilliant as always Prof Hoodbhoy! Beggars and impotents cannot be ‘baaghairat’!


  • Imran Naseer
    May 6, 2012 - 10:06PM

    Ghairat has destroyed us at the national level as well as in our private lives. The damage caused by the ghairat brigade is obvious for all to see.Men get license to behave as animals under the cover of ghairat.Killing your wife,sister or mother and calling it for the sake of ghairat is considered as socially acceptable behaviour in our society.
    Women in pakistan are the biggest victims of the ghairat of men.


  • Asad Munir
    May 6, 2012 - 10:09PM



  • Azhar Ayaz,
    May 6, 2012 - 10:13PM

    Great peice of writing!


  • soul for peace
    May 6, 2012 - 10:25PM

    Simply superb Sir…brilliant piece…congrats from India.


  • Adnan Khan
    May 6, 2012 - 10:28PM

    Anybody who has lived in the west and seen how much they value national “honor” and personal “dignity”, will find this piece by Pervez, hilarious. The examples he has given, are all societies that have never ceased to worship their race, culture and ethnicity.
    People with lack of faith, are sadly besotted with the curse of ‘beyghairati’ and are destined to live their lives in dishonor.
    Being proud of one’s heritage, people and land is not such a bad thing.Recommend

  • Mansoor
    May 6, 2012 - 10:28PM



  • Ali q
    May 6, 2012 - 10:32PM

    Notwithstanding the problems those who proclaim ghairat have caused, the outcomes of our foreign policy so far are NO less inspiring; surely there is some middle ground to be found. Eg. I particularly liked IK’s proposition recently – he said he’d be willing to co-operate with the US in a peaceful people led process in the region, with military strength to be used as a tool to be used hesitantly – and he’d guarantee Pakistan’s soil will not be used to instigate terror abroad (eg. In that framework, it is reasonable to expect IK would open up the NATO supply line, provided its used to withdraw forces). The decision is not necessarily a ghairatmand position, but it finds that right mix, unlike our current foreign policy which has us stuck between the taliban, drones and increased intolerance. What IK proposes is an example of a practical policy, that paves way for peace & would give the pakistani people the space necessary to address deeper issues like intolerance.


  • Musalman
    May 6, 2012 - 10:37PM

    Well, why is Barack Obama not apologizing to Pakistan? Is that not because his stance will be made weaker in the upcoming elections? Is that not because he will be seen as beyghairat?


  • ishtiaer hussain
    May 6, 2012 - 10:43PM

    When beggars try to be chooser, soon they become losers.


  • Hamza khan
    May 6, 2012 - 10:43PM

    As always , a typical Hoodbhoyian article with a unique dimension of thinking…Striking for a few and unacceptable for the major lot …..:)


  • Umer
    May 6, 2012 - 10:43PM


    Well, why is Barack Obama not
    apologizing to Pakistan?

    Because he doesn’t think he has done anything wrong but if the US had to apologise they did apologise in case of Shah Rukh Khan incident.


  • Hamza Jehangir
    May 6, 2012 - 10:49PM

    He has completely misquoted Marcuse. I mean yes, honor and all that and it’s negative consequences but honor is vital for us. Nuclear pessimism or optimism aside, it would be more appropriate for us to discuss the misuse of the concept of honor rather than treating it as an abnormality in totality, the post-modern liberal sense that Hoodbhoy treats it. I agree with some of his points, yes it is dangerous to take up honor as a subject of a political movement but we need to find another alternative than what Hoodbhoy offers us.

    Yes so lets become the one-dimensional man and be reduced to our animalistic traits rather than being what seperates man from animals, his ability to create “moments of truth” as Badiou calls them. a country which is beset its course on the achievement of liberal democracy with western values, a Fukayamist end which has already been treated with utter contempt by intellectuals in Europe.

    I say let us rather than treating honor as an erroneous political concept in absolute terms, lets employ it in a constructive way and take it forward because we need it more than ever. I’m not IK supporter but Hoodbhoy is wrong here. Marcuse talked about the one-dimensional man in context of the era of enlightenment and the effect of capitalist relations of production that science brought about by its association with the industrialization in Europe. In that sense his work still holds value today and perhaps more so than before. Perhaps the Professor should’ve mentioned the context rather than berating Marcuse with his liberal stick.Recommend

  • Ghairat Brigade
    May 6, 2012 - 10:49PM

    You see, the truth is, the problems of unemployment and electricity shortage cannot be resolved by becoming beyghairat. the parties in power, PPP, MQM, ANP are secular parties. It has been so for the last four years. We have yet to see anything positive coming from the beyghairat brigade.
    Unemployment and load shedding. We will be taking the first step toward solving these problems when we stop the billions-worth-corruption that is committed by the secular beyghairat brigade
    Only beyghairat people can be corrupt. Only beyghairat politicians can live 5 star lives on the expense of the common man.Recommend

  • Sajid
    May 6, 2012 - 10:50PM

    @Adnan Khan:
    I live in the west, and I am sure Pervez Hoodbhoy knows what you are talking about. The contents of our honor and the west’s honor differ vastly. We walk besides poor, helpless, ill and handicapped talking about killing our women if honor is at risk, while they take care of the poor, ill, helpless and handicapped for honor and don’t kill their women. Name or the word used should not be in focus, but he content and substance behind the word/name should matter.


  • Ghairat Brigade
    May 6, 2012 - 10:53PM

    The thing is, they don’t want to be seen as apologizing to Muslims.
    They know that we are beyghairat, and we will open supplies without them having to apologize


  • Rajendra Kalkhande
    May 6, 2012 - 10:54PM

    Most thought provoking article. No doubt, honor is nothing but a state of mind. Preserving this state has always been very costly for human race. Honor of few has been paid by millions by their blood. Strangely people are still ready to pay, no matter what the price is… Nations are still herds when it comes to honor.. Changing herds mentality is no that easy..


  • Nagpuri
    May 6, 2012 - 10:54PM

    I agree with the premise but have to add few more things for ghairatmands.

    There is not honor in copying Jewish (Nuclear, others) and Christians inventions and technologies – right from clothes, medicine, computers, automobiles, architecture, weapons, cell phones, etc. and find your ghairat in protecting women’s private parts and opposing West while begging for “aid”.

    Not a single inventions and ideas occurred in past 1000 years. This intellectual barrenness is astounding. Rather than producer of knowledge, we have been consumer of knowledge. Just look in the mirror, look at our daily lives, we are poor quality clones of westerners aka wannabes.

    Please use only those products, services and technologies which were invented/developed by Muslims.

    Lack of real achievements is greatest beghairatness. Match them in knowledge and creative achievements on this earth and not in heaven. Find ghairantness in creating new institutions for knowledge and learning and not in being pure and faithfulness so as to reserve birth in heaven.


  • Ali Tanoli
    May 6, 2012 - 11:01PM

    Why U.S drops atomic on japan just for Honour otherwise they knew they gonna lose other wise. in the case of defeat u know what happend sir nations lose every thing from langusge to personnal honour the biggest example is palestine and kashmir.
    May Allah protect pakistan …


  • American
    May 6, 2012 - 11:05PM

    I live in the West as well, (if it wasn’t already obvious)….. I just wanted to say that you need to have the decency to respect the feelings of others , even if you don’t agree.

    Why must people in Pakistan always target religion when it really has nothing to do with society’s problems. Its a lack of education and a lack of respect for others. Why can’t Hoodhbuoy just promote science and education, without attacking people’s religion, honor, values, etc.

    If the people of your country have certain values, then respect the good values and teach people about what’s bad. Teach them science and humanitarian values (which actually follows Islam better than what is going on in Pakistan). Don’t go out and make fun of people and then expect change…..


  • Ejaaz
    May 6, 2012 - 11:05PM

    @Musalman; “Well, why is Barack Obama not apologizing to Pakistan? Is that not because his stance will be made weaker in the upcoming elections? Is that not because he will be seen as beyghairat? “

    We lie for little and big things. Can you really swear that you believe the version our Government and Military is telling us about how and why those poor soldiers died? Can you really believe anything any Pakistani Official tells you is the unvarnished truth? The reasons for Obama not apologising were probably discussed by the Americans threadbare, and they probably have decided that it will cause more problems in their relation with Pakistan than help. They wanted a joint investigation into the incident and we declined. They came out with a report and we condemned it. They expressed regret and we angrily rejected it. Perhaps they really believe in their reports and their findings. Maybe they are not used to lying by their officials as we seem to be.


  • Glaedr
    May 6, 2012 - 11:05PM

    Great article, but sadly I feel this is like flogging a dead horse. The concept of ‘progress’ is yet to penetrate into the thick skulls of these ghairatmand cavemen.


  • Hunzai
    May 6, 2012 - 11:11PM



  • Hunzai
    May 6, 2012 - 11:13PM



  • Faraz
    May 6, 2012 - 11:16PM

    You are so right sir , I hope our leaders and many more pakistani people will read this and learn something from it , this slogan of gairat becomes so meaningless when our people are severely suffering from unemployment hunger diseases lack of electricity and severe water and sewrage issues theese are the real problems people want to be solved but our leaders are making us fool and keeping us distracted from real issues , great column sir thank you.Recommend

  • May 6, 2012 - 11:17PM

    Well it was a nice piece of mind from you dr. But as i read it. . . I don’t feel satisfied by da end ov da article. . . . As it recommendz somthing un-acceptable norm of our society . . . . Dignity-Ezzat. . .Ghairat. . . It matterz . . . . I am a banker . . . I make few thousands a month . . . Some times itz hard to survive in last days of da month . . Dat dosn’t mean i start beging on streetz or ask help frm my co-workerz. . . . I keep my Ghairat nd . . . Stay happy with what i have. . . . So . . . . . U need to re-think about da GHAIRAT thing . . . Keeping in view pak-is-tan . . . .


  • s shah
    May 6, 2012 - 11:29PM

    Brilliant. Thanks!


  • fahad
    May 6, 2012 - 11:44PM

    The article only makes sense from a very materialistic point of view, where human progress is defined by material wealth. It totally misses out on the spiritual ramifications. I have lived and worked in countries like Japan, Korea and Singapore, and closely observed their empty mundane and workaholic lives. The sheer fact that people jumping out of windows, committing suicides, is considered a norm in these countries is horrifying. I have worked in tribal communities and found them to be free of the diseases of societies (the chief one being unhappiness). The whole debate should be whether being a one-dimensional man is better than being a multi-dimensional man. Is the noble savage actually better. Our those Afghans happier than their counter parts in Germany and Japan.


  • Syed Ali
    May 6, 2012 - 11:55PM

    @Author! I can fully understand your logic of being baigairat. However, let me give you some examples of gairatmand people of the world as well who survived and succeeded.

    1- Prophet Muhammad PBUH was offered kingdom, women and wealth in exchange for stopping his ideas of islam. He chose the hard path and ultimately was successful.

    2- Imam Hussain was offered money and post of governorship under yazid but Imam chose the hard path. No doubt, the Gairatmand Imam lives today not Yazid.

    3- Socrates decided to drink poison and live for ever but how many of us know the name of the person who gave him the vessel to drink from?

    4- History shows that baigarat nations survive and benefit for a short period of time but in the long term Gairatmand people and nations do far better.
    5- Allah likes Gairatmand and Hoslamand people and not the shortsighted lmited vision coward people.

    In the end, per Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal

    Gairat hai bari chees jahane tago do mein
    Pehnati hai darvesh ko taje sare dara


  • Ali Tanoli
    May 6, 2012 - 11:59PM

    @Syed Ali,
    Fully Agreed sir fully zindabad.


  • Salman
    May 7, 2012 - 12:00AM

    Actually no one knows the meaning of “ghairat” here in Pakistan
    not even the people commenting here! Its not something evil in its
    own,it protects the society from evil intentions and has a very beautiful
    But the problem is that we live in a sick society where no one has
    the knowledge of Islam but few.In a meanwhile they try to become
    muslims then they become the worst people ever seen.
    Pakistan has truly lost its spirit just at the moment it was created.
    (Love you hoodbhoy,loved you since you appeared in “PTV 2″ science

  • true muslim
    May 7, 2012 - 12:08AM

    The proud ghairatdars have made their lives more miserable for them and their tribes.


  • American Desi
    May 7, 2012 - 12:17AM

    It is true that fighting men from both sides will be ready to obliterate cities on the other side to defend their honor.
    But unfortunately on one side of the border fighting men make all the crucial decisions and going by their past decisions reasoning has not played a significant role in those decisions! Results of General Zia’s and President Reagan’s unholy alliance continues till date with radicalization of population and Institutions, especially armed forces.
    Moreover, religiously motivated people mutual destruction is not a deterrent spelling great danger for the region, if not for the whole world!. All for the love of God!


  • nouman baloch
    May 7, 2012 - 12:19AM

    Good article but a bit ambigous and making readers a little confusing and detracking them from real issue.. ghairat and hammiat are most important things in an individual and nations life… But what i got to know from this article that now these ghairat etc is just a rehtoric from those people who are most be-ghairat in this nation. they are using this utterance to do emotional attiyachr..


  • Vanjara
    May 7, 2012 - 12:26AM

    Compare the bayghairat Vietnamese to
    Afghanistan’s ghairat-obsessed people

    Who said the Vietnamese were bayghairat? It was their ghairat that led to fight a war against such a powerful enemy that eventually led to victory. It was their ghairat that made them endure intense American carpet bombing of their country that caused millions of deaths. Now that they have emerged victorious from that war there is nothing bayghairat about dealing with a defeated enemy.


  • Mazen
    May 7, 2012 - 12:28AM

    In order to understand honor, Dr sahib should take some courses designed especially to comprehend what Ghairat is. No doubt, Ghairat is nothing but just a state of mind, but the question isn’t to devastate ghairat from the face of this Earth, but how to do this? The U.S is in Afghanistan seeking an honorable exit, moreover, this World is full of filth. After reading this biased but a good article, Dr sahib just let us know what the honor is? Without going into the intricate detail of the nuclear issue, I think we can’t touch this controversial topic. Human can’t get rid of its instincts/ nature; so in this context first we have to analyze actually what honor is? Is it just an indigenous phenomenon or have some kind of universal attraction. Dr sahib just explained honor in its generality, but he needs to be more specific. I, myself, is an ardent proponent of demilitarization but this is not that simple. In short, in this anti-military environment, these kinds of articles can be expected.Recommend

  • Vanjara
    May 7, 2012 - 12:31AM

    The last days of World War II turned
    samurais into suicide bombers who
    (unsuccessfully) flew planes into US
    aircraft carriers. Their actions
    ultimately brought the atom bomb to

    The last samurai, Saigō Takamori, died in 1877 long before the second world war. There are so many mistakes in this article. BTW did the japanese drop the atom bomb on themselves?


  • No one
    May 7, 2012 - 12:47AM

    Oh come on Mr Hoodbhoy. The utter mess where we are today has not been made by these Baa Gherats After all we have been protecting the american interests at the cost of our own national interest for the last 11 years. Salala incident and the Raymond Davis issue has been dealt in the same way as you would have wished them to be. And our policy on Drones also reflects your mindset. But my question is that where do we find ourselves after doing all this slavery of America? A nation at the brink of precipice, a country hated by American and all the western world, a state considered failed even by its own people, a crippled economy standing on the crutches of American aid???
    So please go and blame those westernized policy makers who have been calling the shots since independence and don’t blame these baa gherats. They are a non entity.


  • Maeedah
    May 7, 2012 - 12:51AM

    Honestly sir, with all due respect to your achievements and knowledge and stature.
    Trust me this is not your domain.
    you have got it all wrong. ALL WRONG.
    You have manipulated data and evidence to suit your preconceived notions.
    Your depiction and distortion of ghairat is,i beg your pardon, almost STUPID.
    I hope to God we don’t become more beghairat than we already are.

    PS: Its always good to stick with what you are GOOD at at.
    just saying.Recommend

    May 7, 2012 - 12:54AM

    @Syed Ali:
    A very good reply syed sahib. True


  • Tch tch
    May 7, 2012 - 1:01AM

    What a Joke. The Vietnamese fought against imperialism for their national honor. There were many Pragmatic South Vietnamese who said fighting (The French then the Americans ) was madness. They even fought and beat the Chinese and the combodian Khymer rouge. Thats the power of national honor and sacrifice. But you have the Gall to call the Vietnamese Beghairait. Now What can I say.
    Now it can hold its head high in the commitee of nations. Compare that to the Philipines which had to suffer under colonialism and neocolonialism and puppet governments.
    As @Musalman pointed out in your Universe only the powerful have a monopoly of national honor. Us third world charlies better just get with the program. The Vietnamese and Cubans beg to differ.
    Mosdegh,Alende. Khomeini, Castro, Che, LaMumba,Mandella,Gandhi,Jinnah all the Anticolonialist, Anti Imperialist get recorded on the pages of History only because the stood for honor. All the worlds propaganda and pragmatist cant change the fact.

    In fact even the colonist in USA when they fought the British had the same Dilemma. Strip a nation from honour and they are chattel slaves the lesson of colonialism. In fact most colonial projects tried exceptional hard to chip at any national sense of honor by the usual propagandist in Beauracracy, Education ,co opted Religous leader. A disaster like 1857 had all to do with this. A mutiny for the pragmatic native a War of Independence for the incorrigible ones.

    Honor is without caste creed ideology. Its instantly recognizable.It shines a bright light that strips away the layers of rationalisation,intellectualism to a cold hard truth. Its not empirical or rational but its powerful.

    And wow IK is soo much like Hitler lol Godwin Law Professor look it up. IK is being proven right. Its Musharaf and Pakistan “Liberals” Gharbzadi masked as pragmatism that lost.
    As for nukes we would be an Iraq or a somalia without them. Only reason your beloved America does not decimates our third rate Military for its Geostrategic goals are a few kilotons of fission and an IRBM. I remember BJP rhetoric before we went nuclear, I am surprised you dont.


  • tariq parvez
    May 7, 2012 - 1:04AM

    Honour is essential for every nation to make progress. But let us have our fundamentals right. What do we want? The welfare and comfort of the common man in Pakistan or the honour of the chattering classes sitting in their drawing rooms and talking of honour or the honour of proxies of military? What about our honour when OBL was killed in Abbottabad by American seals? What about our honour when 26 army personnel were killed in Salala by Americans? If this was a violation of your sovereignty and honour why dont you retaliate, you cry babies. Is honour specific only to actions of the Americans? What about your honour when thousands of innocent people are killed by the terrorists? What about your honour when Hazaras of Quetta are killed by the terrorists? What about your honour when, poor women are forced to sell themselves for poverty and unemployment? What about your honour when army and police personnel are slaughtered by the terrorists?What about your honour when thousands of people are illegaly confined by the intelligence agencies for years? Honour brigade gets active only when Americans are involved or the Indians are involved. What about your honour when more and more people are finding it difficult to make both ends meet? Members of ghairat brigade should declare their incomes and taxes they give. They should also let us know how much amount they have paid to the poor, the unemployed, the uneducated, the sick! Talking of ghairat and moving around in Land cruisers or living in big houses or getting money from the agencies is a real shame. It is sickening how the ghairat brigade present themselves as well wishers of Pakistan while pushing Pakistani common man into more poverty and humiliation.


  • May 7, 2012 - 1:05AM

    So why were the Vietnamese fighting again? Or better still, why are nations fighting for independence? And the blacks in South Africa?

    Its amazing how a man of such intelligence can be so one dimensional.

    And for all his issues with failing systems in the country you never see him criticizing the government, just Imran Khan- the man who has never been in any proximity of power.


  • Parvez
    May 7, 2012 - 1:07AM

    Thoroughly enjoyed the read. Question that begs to be asked is ‘ How does one eliminate or even put aside this honour thing that God has put into mankind ?’ Your example of the Japanese and Germans is a little intimidating.


  • Imran Con
    May 7, 2012 - 1:14AM

    It depends more on the society’s definition of “honor.” In Pakistan, there are honor killings targeted at wives and daughters. In the west, that honor killing is the height of a lack of honor and cowardice. It’s a mental picture of the lowest of the low.


  • ayesha_khan
    May 7, 2012 - 1:16AM

    “The same question put to Indian military officers would probably elicit the same answer.”

    The Indian army’s response is not hypothetical. It is a known policy since 1998 that India has pledged ‘ No first Use’ of nuclear arms. Your army soldiers implied that they WOULD use nuclear arms even if India had not used them if they were losing the war – so the answers are very different.

    In India the decision to use nuclear arms would have to come from civilians not military and therein lies the difference. This difference is also reflected in the fact that Pakistan is always the one that attacks India not the other way around.

    I normally agree with most of your articles but in trying to make some valid points to the Pak audience, you have tried to gain cheap publicity by simply dragging India in and sayoing they would do the same though you clearly cannot have been unaware of the vast difference between the Indian and Pakistani position on war in general and use of nuclear weapons in particular.


  • Ali Tanoli
    May 7, 2012 - 1:21AM

    How many Mir Jaffer and Mir Sadiq are remembered today. none


  • ayesha_khan
    May 7, 2012 - 1:21AM

    @Ghairat Brigade: “The thing is, they don’t want to be seen as apologizing to Muslims.”

    Shah RUkh Khan was a Muslim. Obama also apologized for the Quran burning incident. You are just making stuff up.


  • abs
    May 7, 2012 - 1:22AM


    Please read atleast wikipedia(a less reliable but more authentic source than your article).



  • May 7, 2012 - 1:31AM

    I am your biggest fan.

    Way to go, Baygairat United!


  • May 7, 2012 - 1:33AM

    BTW This liner

    //The more morally and intellectually bankrupt a leader, the louder he thunders about qaumi ghairat (national honour).//

    I am stealing. This could qualify for a phrase. Originated in Pakistan.


  • Havildar Abdul Hamid
    May 7, 2012 - 2:11AM

    Prof. Hoodbhoy speculates that Indian military officers would “probably” want to commit nuclear mass-murder in defense of their “ghairat.” It may serve Hoodbhoy’s agenda to morally equate India and Pakistan, but reality is that Indian military’s “ghairat” is irrelevant in deciding whether or not India would use nukes; it is simply not the military’s decision but those of the elected politicians.

    It is hard to say which is worse–a 100% morally bankrupt entity like your average Pakistani elite leader, or a 90% honest individual like Hoodbhoy. I am tempted to say the latter is worse because readers can get fooled by his seeming sincerity and compassion.


  • jahandad
    May 7, 2012 - 2:14AM

    @author,,,what is the motive of this frustration,,,,i respect your writings and thinking, , BUT ,what you want people to be like,,,,HAMID GUL AND IMRAN KHAN ,speaks for self respect preservation [not illogical ghairat as you mention it ] ,,,,I AM A DOCTOR ABROAD FOR YEARS ,, and i know what self respect means,,,,,,SIR,,,,,IF SOMEONE TREATS YOU WORST THAN ANIMALS,,,,,you will greet them with flowers or resist?,,,you are speaking philosophy and desperate idealistic thinker,,,,,we need food for our bellies, but our soul needs peace of mind ,which you cannot have in an enslaved minded body,,, I HOPE YOU DON’T MIND,,


  • Texas Snuff,
    May 7, 2012 - 2:20AM

    For jains, Khoja, and patel Ghairath is no mean when making money. i have seen that here in texas.Recommend

  • M. Asim
    May 7, 2012 - 2:35AM

    Our army has successfully planted the idea of honor into out minds to legitimize their power, authority and share of financial budget. We take pride in our “strong” army and nuclear arsenal instead of being ashamed of our illiteracy, poverty, declining industry, poor health care and decadent morals. I am living abroad and whenever crisis and doomed state of Pakistan is discussed, whenever illiteracy, underemployment, ethnic violence, pollution, disregard of law and corruption are mentioned, all Pakistanis conveniently say “well we are nuclear power, beat that!”. This is such a pathetic thing to be proud of. I would rather be proud of our universities, high employment rates, scientists, writers, high GDP growth, effective transportation, free and high quality education and health services.

    As a nation, we need to stop being proud of our army who is just making us emotional retards who will remain hungry in order for our army to build weapons that bring destruction and power in their hands, who will remain illiterate so that our generals can build real estates and drink whiskey all day.


  • Alan
    May 7, 2012 - 2:43AM

    Most important and correct analysis I have seen in Pakistani newspapers over the years.


  • mahmoud
    May 7, 2012 - 3:16AM

    The irony is our ghairat obsession make us look buffoons to the rest of the world. We would ridicule a man from Congo with overweening pride. They are so poor and backward to deserve to be proud. Sadly that is also our situation to the rest of the world. We also appear backward and poor.


  • Rashid
    May 7, 2012 - 3:26AM

    People must remember a gesture of kow-towing by Barac Obama to the Chinese president (in 2009 probably). Kow-towing is a Chinese tradition to pay someone respect by kneeling down and touching or even kissing the feet of the next person… Obama was pillorised for that but didn’t give a damn to the critics. This was the most powerful leader of the most powerful nation. Ghairat leads you nowhere but to annihilation. Thank you hodhboy for your wonderful write-up! More respect for you.


  • Rashid
    May 7, 2012 - 3:26AM

    OK, this one is really very twisted! Either the writer doesn’t know the primary meaning of “Ghairat”, or he has tried to produce a piece of extreme sarcasm. People of Germany, Japan, and Vietnam stood on their toes, and worked hard. They utilized their human resource capital, and this is what “Ghairat” is. In this process, if they invited US companies to invest in their country, this is not “Bayghairti”… Sadly, the writer’s views are plagued with some kind of strange phobia pertaining to traditional values, and because of this, he has ended up producing a very strange piece of writing which shows huge lack of understanding of how different people define different terms, and what these terms actually refer to. Dr. Sahab, please tell us something about Physics, but with respect, I think you should refrain from penning words about Pakistan’s societal issues. You have touched extremes here, and that too wrongly. Our society is already very polarized!


  • USPA
    May 7, 2012 - 3:34AM

    @Syed Ali Abbas Kazmi There are so many simple minded people like you in Pakistan. Mr, what you are taking about is being ‘content with your life’ or ‘living within your means’. It has nothing to do with the concept of being ghairat mand. You could earn more money or you could go beg on the streets — It’s a MORAL choice. And I think that’s what education is for, to help you make these decisions. What you said is similar to saying that you can’t do blue color jobs (working as waiter, plumber etc) because you are ghairat mand. This is another false concept, because ghairat demands you to think irrationally from heart and not rationally from brain. People in the west give you respect even if you clean bathrooms as long as you are not hurting anyone. That’s how you should be thinking, and not using false shield of ghairat mandy.


  • peaceful
    May 7, 2012 - 3:37AM

    ver well written Sir!
    Ghairat is good but politicians mis-use it when they are on weak grounds, when they lack vision, when they dont have a plan, when they need to secure their seat instead of people’s life. They know that masses like to stick to values so they misguide them.Recommend

  • musheir
    May 7, 2012 - 3:40AM

    i may go along with some of his points but example of germany and japan is not relevant here because they were the aggressors in the first place whereas the situation is totally different in the muslim world it is the west that is the aggressor.


  • rashid
    May 7, 2012 - 3:41AM

    @Adnan Khan: i didnt know the Germans were proud of the holocaust


  • May 7, 2012 - 3:44AM

    Hoodbhoy just summarized “Road to Serfdom” by F A Hayek!
    Now I see why Hoodbhoy is scared of IK too.


  • Badoo
    May 7, 2012 - 3:48AM

    @ Syed Ali

    you are confusing the concept of ghairat and sacrifice/tolerance. The examples you have quoted are totally different concept than what the brigade brigade is professing in Pakistan today. those are example of absolute tolerance and sacrifice while the basis of ghairat is revenge and intolerance.


  • ihtisham khan
    May 7, 2012 - 4:22AM

    what?…do u think any country will not use its nuclear weapons when its loosing….america use the atom bomb when they are bombarded by the japanese but its japan’s fault…if pakistan do the same thing its pakistan’s fault…?..ur baigharti is at extreme…


  • Arindom
    May 7, 2012 - 4:28AM

    India is another example. India lost the 1962 war with China, but welcomes trade and investment with China and today trade is on track to touch $100 billion by 2015. India backed the Soviets and opposed USA in the Cold War (Yes, non-alignment was just a show). But when the Soviet Union disintegrated, India developed a hugely beneficial relationship with the US. There was no ‘honour’ code that prevented India shaking hands with a former ‘enemy’ the US.Thank God, we Indians are not driven by herder-thinking!!!


  • Rana Amjad
    May 7, 2012 - 4:56AM

    Outstanding Article! But is anybody listening, I seriously doubt.


  • hasan
    May 7, 2012 - 5:24AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Learn about history before writing your usual nonsense! The A bomb was dropped on Japan in order to stop the useless and unnecessary loss of life that would have occurred due to Japan’s unwillingness to surrender.


  • geeko
    May 7, 2012 - 5:46AM

    @Hamza Jehangir:
    That was quite the epic pwnage.

    Which COAS or even high-ranked Army officer from Pakistan said that he’ll launch the nuclear bomb “the first”, without any Indian attack ? Do you know that the nukes are just present here to destroy the force hierarchy and the probability of a traditional, full-fledged war, and that if any of the two countries launch nuclear bombs, the borders being so porous, they’ll suffer too ? No one in his right mind would use them, let’s be serious.

    And if you indeed read “most” of the author’s article, I’m sorry, but the last project in his mind is probably to “please the Pak audience”, believe me.


  • faraz
    May 7, 2012 - 5:56AM

    The ultimate form of baghairti is that people die of poverty, disease and hunger, while the rich elites and laptop using middle class deceive them in the name of national honor


  • Amna
    May 7, 2012 - 6:27AM

    It would have been a far better read if the author had kept the topic of ghairat restricted to wrong treatment of women.
    In today’s Pakistan if one doesn’t show some ghairat when it comes to poor governance and corruption then the whole point is lost. You are comparing apples with oranges. You have wrongly mentioned IK in this write-up because he takes a moderate approach towards dealing with foreign countries including america and welcomes trade with India and other countries.
    One can always speak of real ghairat and false one and while at it, beghairity can also be defined in the same spirit of falsehood and truth. Its important to be beghairat about sending your women to study, don’t interfere in decision making of women and so on. I don’t find the notion of being ghairatmand or beghairat as grey, we can very easily draw the line in black and white.


  • asif
    May 7, 2012 - 6:34AM

    @tch tch
    “…But you have the Gall to call the Vietnamese Beghairait…”. YOU NAILED IT.

    @ayesha_khan – I have observed indian-muslims up close. The majority in your country have done a wonderful job at making sure its muslim population is docile and deeply apologetic about their faith. Of all the people we don’t need indian muslims telling us how to live our lives. To each their own. We feel that you are the lost children of islam.


  • ayesha_khan
    May 7, 2012 - 7:05AM

    @Tch tch: “I remember BJP rhetoric before we went nuclear, I am surprised you dont.”

    Your government lied about the BJP rhetoric. There was none. I was in India and we never heard those bombastic statements which we surely would have because we would have been the target audience for those. You will find it impossible to find any You-tube video or any newspaper url either to substantiate that. We can even today find Yahya Khan’s statement on You-tube in 1970. Find me just one statement from BJP threatening Pak right after India exploded the bombs in May 1998.

    Of course your government also lied about 1965 and told you that India attacked you. Initially your government also lied to you and said that Pakistan army was not involved in Kargill. I don’t blame you from believing your government then. You relied on the information you were provided. But now you should check for yourself.


  • kris
    May 7, 2012 - 7:30AM

    Professor said, .”…Indian military officers would probably elicit the same answer (use of nuclear weapons if defeat is imminent.”) I wonder why Pakistanis including honorable, well educated (and even well meaning) misquote, misrepresent anything to do about India. Professor should know India has a “no first use” policy when it comes to nuclear weapons.

    It is not about honour, it is common sense.

    Chage your attitude. No country can survive and prosper if you treat all your neighbours (India and Afghanistan) as enemies and the only super power, the US, as the biggest enemy.


  • unbeliever
    May 7, 2012 - 7:30AM

    @Syed Ali:

    you were spot on in your analysis. but the ghairat which the writer mentions is perhaps collective ghairat, or ghairat in the eyes of others. it is precisely because of which fathers kill daughters.
    all the luminaries you mentioned above did so because they thought they are on right track and their way is better than the one currently followed. they did not die because they were forced by fire of ghairat but they laid their lives so that others can learn from their examples, and make their lives better.

    the author here refers perhaps to men who use this notion of honour to manipulate people or the misplaced sense of honour when you kill your sister or daughter.


  • mani
    May 7, 2012 - 8:18AM

    “The last days of World War II turned samurais into suicide bombers who (unsuccessfully) flew planes into US aircraft carriers. Their actions ultimately brought the atom bomb to Japan.”

    Sir with due respect, this does not justify what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki


  • ayesha_khan
    May 7, 2012 - 8:19AM

    To people who argue that ghairath/honor is important, I agree. I disagree with the definition of ghairath that has become common in Pakistan:
    1) Killing defenseless daughter wife whom you should be protecting if they are even suspected of infidelity or even marrying of their own choice
    2) Attacking others and claiming that they cannot retaliate because Pakistan is an atomy taaqat
    3) Of oppressing the minorities and claiming to be Islam ka markaz

    If ghairath consisted of
    1) Defending one’s country instead of renting one’s army for money
    2) working hard to rise in the comity of nations
    3) protecting and providing for one’s loved ones through legitimate means
    4) considering it as a matter of national shame that millions of kids don’t go to school or hundreds of thousands die before their first birthday due to weakness in healthcare system

    then I would agree that being ghairatmand is desirable


  • mani
    May 7, 2012 - 8:28AM

    disagree on some points of the article, but I do I have high regard of the Professor’s opinion.

    Germany and Japan have become more nationalistic in their approach ever since the world war. They have become self sufficient and realized that economic stability is the key to every obstacle.

    If they were “Beyghairat” like us, they would have accepted english as their ‘preferred’ language. There is a reason why they stick to their own culture and their own principles

    I do agree on the fact that an effort must be made from our government to improve the economy


  • Likhari
    May 7, 2012 - 8:28AM

    I want to draw readers attention to a specific portion of Hoodbhoy’s article in particular where the good Prof draws an analogy between Khan’s idea of nationalism and Hitler’s Mein Kampf. It is deeply saddening to see an otherwise wise prof grossly misreading his ideological/political opponent Mr Khan, and equating his (khan’s) idea of nationalism with that of Hitler.prof fails his own intellectual/analytic skills and becomes a naive observer of khan political stand. I ask prof, where has khan propagated nationalism as an idea where one nation can prosecute or wage war against another nation (except defending ones country in form of bringing down drones as a last resort…not attacking the very nation in retaliation). I would rather appreciate that Hoodbhoy challenge khan on his idea of talks with Taliban or pulling out tropes from the war against terror or better his ideology towards terrorism than equating his nationalism with Hitler. Deeply disappointing to say the least.


  • May 7, 2012 - 8:30AM

    Food for thought.. When I was a student at the GC Lahore in 1969, I still remember the walls of the city littered with posters showing the map of India under a military boot and the words inscribed “CRUSH INDIA” beneath it. Who crushed whom is in the history books!.
    Foolish and unfounded ghairat is of course a primitive legacy and should be shunned.
    I however do not agree with Hoodbhoy’s mention of Imran Khan with respect to his take on ghairat. As much as I know, Imran Khan is advocating against corruption and begging from other countries and instead relying on own resources which God has given us. That should be appreciated by Prof Hoodbhoy at the least.


  • Raw is War
    May 7, 2012 - 8:33AM

    where is the honour when 150 pakistanis are still missing in Siachen and the nation forgets it?


  • Vanjara
    May 7, 2012 - 8:35AM

    The A bomb was dropped on Japan in
    order to stop the useless and
    unnecessary loss of life that would
    have occurred due to Japan’s
    unwillingness to surrender

    So the 200 000 deaths in Hiroshoma and Nagasaki were usefull and necessary? What about the millions of people murdered by the Americans in Vietnam? Were they also usefull and necessary?


  • Taimoor
    May 7, 2012 - 8:37AM

    Brilliant sir, I will try to be proud bayghairat…And you are right it’s the honour which is holding us back.


  • KhuddiGhariat
    May 7, 2012 - 8:49AM

    He is brilliant. I disagree agree with his concept of Ghariat (honour). His attempt to attach
    baghariat only to the Pakistani society is misleading. The sense of Ghariat is in every society like Europeans, Russians, Chinese… etc. Alama Iqbal delivered ultimate teaching about (Ghariat or Khuddi or honour). My advise to Hoodbhoy is to study different cultures in this world. This will enlighten his understandings that every nation takes (Ghariat honour or Khuddi) very seriousely. If a nation or a person does not have (Ghariat honour or Khuddi) it leads to serious consequences. Recommend

  • Lateral Thinking
    May 7, 2012 - 8:57AM

    I just don’t get it… why does India get dragged into this opinion piece again??


  • Rasheed Khalid
    May 7, 2012 - 8:58AM

    I totally agree with Dr Hoodbhoy. Let us peace give a chance.


  • GhostRider
    May 7, 2012 - 9:03AM

    one word for this article… Outstanding


  • Laali
    May 7, 2012 - 9:15AM

    The word ghairat is awful, it gave my father the right to restrict me over my brother, to treat me different because I was of a different gender and ghairat was somehow my responsibility. Its a horrible standard to make your kids uphold based on ghairat when you have no matching values, only contradicting ones.
    We should kick this word out of our dictionaries!


  • Venky
    May 7, 2012 - 9:27AM

    Sitting Pakistan, to write an article like this requires ghairat.


  • observer
    May 7, 2012 - 9:34AM

    @Ali Tanoli

    in the case of defeat u know what happend sir nations lose every thing from langusge to personnal honour

    Germany, Japan and Italy were defeated in the Second WW. Have they lost every thing from langusge to personnal honour?

    I guess not.your thesis needs to be reworked.


  • Muhammad Ishaq
    May 7, 2012 - 10:09AM

    Further, if that means to know our neghbours and their progress and power. And if that means instead of preparing all times for war and wasting away 50% of budget on toys that we purchase for army, we spend scarce resources on education and health of this poor nation.


  • Lala Gee
    May 7, 2012 - 10:17AM

    @Adnan Khan:

    “Anybody who has lived in the west and seen how much they value national “honor” and personal “dignity”, will find this piece by Pervez, hilarious. The examples he has given, are all societies that have never ceased to worship their race, culture and ethnicity.”

    Very well said. As I have myself lived in the west for several years and visited many western countries and North America, I can confirm what you have said about them. I personally visited Germany and I can tell how proud Germans are of their race.


  • Saif M
    May 7, 2012 - 10:26AM

    @Ali Tanoli: To your first comment, read the history of WW-II. It may also improve your English a bit.


  • Sharaf
    May 7, 2012 - 10:31AM

    Good article pointing on important “illness” that needs a cure. Shame that the writer’s point of reference had nothing to do with Islam which is what the majority of Pakistanis look towards as their moral compass.


  • Feroz
    May 7, 2012 - 10:37AM

    Non state actors killing a few humans is fine if done in neighboring countries, so what if these same terrorists have killed over 35000 of their own citizens. Ghairat, Beghairat and Izzat are the parasites that feed on the human mind when power of reason, logic and critical analysis have been consumed by motivated Propaganda.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    May 7, 2012 - 10:46AM

    @Syed Ali:

    Prophet Muhammad PBUH was offered
    kingdom, women and wealth in exchange
    for stopping his ideas of islam.

    Not to go off topic, but what you said never happened!


  • Som
    May 7, 2012 - 10:49AM

    @Syed Ali:
    In all your examples, people stood up for what is logical and right and not because of some misplaced sence of honour. And thats how it works.


  • May 7, 2012 - 11:31AM

    Fabulous peace of writing.

    It really made me think. I too honour honour, but the very idea is different for me. I wouldn’t kill my anyone for any reason, the honour doesn’t come into picture. But, that’s clearly not the case with some in Pakistan.

    The reaction differs. Someone “insults” my honour, I’ll react the way which seems honourable to me,i.e., non-violently, peacefully and in tune with the law of the land. I grew up being taught to respect these qualities. My society is such.Recommend

  • SAM
    May 7, 2012 - 11:45AM

    Dear Dr. Sb.,

    I believe you missed out on the pre-war progress made by the German and the Japanese which then helped them post-war as well. I would like to read more from you on how science and technology including physics can help propel the nation forward rather than your thoughts on social sciences.



  • sars
    May 7, 2012 - 11:46AM

    If only we could change our definiation of “Ghairat”, move it out of its racy context and equate it with an honest, just and merit based society i think our current decline would improve.


  • May 7, 2012 - 12:03PM

    i will suggest Professor sab that he invest his time in his subject and do some research in his subject rather waste time in teaching nation honor and blah blah .. and we live in tribal areas and we are happy with our culture and our honor and life style…. our elders tell us that honor means is doing what is right in all situations and if doing right and i was reading some where .. a line

    “He who will sacrifice liberty to ensure peace will lose both and deserve neither.”


  • Skeptic
    May 7, 2012 - 12:10PM

    On what basis did you conclude that Indian army officers would probably think in the same way as Pakistani officers ? Very unscientific , Professor. I am disappointed.


  • Udaya Bose
    May 7, 2012 - 12:19PM

    As far as nations go, there could be a political decision which looks at the overall gains in the face of some perceived loss of honour.
    You cannot, however, ask Armies or soldiers to do that. After all what are they putting their lives on the line for?


  • Nasir Hussain
    May 7, 2012 - 12:26PM

    Well done Prof. shab as always. Your column is full of knowledge, rationale, logic and aspirations.
    Keep doing good work. God bless you. Recommend

  • Khan
    May 7, 2012 - 12:43PM

    The problem with most of our countrymen is that they do what they are not supposed to do.
    a. Soldiers start politics
    b. Politicians become soldiers and yet, hate-mongers.
    c. PROFESSORS write on social and political stuff, but they are supposed to concentrate on research and development.


  • Khan
    May 7, 2012 - 12:46PM

    I’ve never seen a single article by the professor, where he is not only pointing out but also giving solutions. Mr. Pessimist


  • May 7, 2012 - 12:57PM

    @tariq parvez: You are right Sir it is the cheats, fraudulent and dishonest people who twist the meaning of honour and trap honest and simple people to serve their own cause. You have given ample examples to prove.


  • Zee
    May 7, 2012 - 1:19PM

    Superb work. Hats off to you.


  • Faiz Al-Najdi
    May 7, 2012 - 1:42PM

    Great Article Professor!! We are Proud of You!!!
    The Punch Line is:
    I think all of these so-called “Ghairat Brigade” will ultimately bring
    about similar destructions for us , as well – God forbid!!!


  • Khan
    May 7, 2012 - 1:42PM

    @Tch tch:
    Fabulous job. The professor should correct his facts. Talking about IK and Hamid Gul in the same breathe is utter injustice. IK has a political party with policies on energy, education, governance, and economy; while, Mr. Gul is acting like a non-state actor who is enraging the emotions of masses.
    I have never seen Mr. Professor objecting on the utter mismanagement, corruption, and poor governance by the sitting government. I don’t know why he is afraid of someone like IK who is not even in the parliament.


  • Adeel Wahid
    May 7, 2012 - 1:44PM

    Very selective and uni-dimensional view of history.


  • Abid P Khan
    May 7, 2012 - 1:49PM


    “….India backed the Soviets and opposed USA in the Cold War (Yes, non-alignment was just a show).”

    Thanks for operating on another plane. Most of us unfortunately never rise above the simpleton level. We prefer Hollywood/Bollywood’s versions in black and white. Why burden the brain by the unnecessary.
    “@Ali Tanoli:
    Learn about history before writing your usual nonsense! The A bomb was dropped on Japan in order to stop the useless and unnecessary loss of life that would have occurred due to Japan’s unwillingness to surrender.”

    Right about learning history. Besides @Ali Tanoli, others too need a dose of Hist 101.


  • JJ
    May 7, 2012 - 2:21PM


    I don’t know what West you’re living in, but as someone born and raised in the U.S., there are massive inequalities along socio-economic and racial lines that simply keep widening. Corporations and their lobbies and heads have all the power, and there is really no incentive for it to be given up, or for less profit to be made when there can be more. Perhaps no “ghairat,” but plenty of greed. Let’s stop romanticizing and falsely idolizing the “West.”


  • Javaid Ahmed
    May 7, 2012 - 2:56PM

    Unfortunately our military and religious establishments simply do not understand the dynamics of modern civilization and they stubornly continue to live in a world that no longer exists and continue to fool their own people by proping up one stooge after another.


  • Lala Gee
    May 7, 2012 - 3:14PM

    @Imran Naseer:

    “Ghairat has destroyed us at the national level as well as in our private lives.”

    Sir, who stops you becoming what the author has suggested? At least you can put your private life in order, if not the national.


  • Salman
    May 7, 2012 - 3:19PM

    I hope we still have not forgotten the murder of Salman Taseer based on ‘Ghairat’


  • Yasir Hameed
    May 7, 2012 - 3:25PM

    sir, i don’t know what is your definition of beghairat. but, i think we can hardly be anymore beghairat. and i have failed to understand how being beghairat would solve our crises?


  • Yasir Khan
    May 7, 2012 - 3:27PM

    @syed Ali

    very good reply.. live long


  • Yasir Hameed
    May 7, 2012 - 3:36PM

    you are quite right about professor’s criticizing IK. i have seen him in TV shows criticizing IK but never uttering a single word about our beghairat ruling elite. God knows why he is so intimidated by IK?


  • Ahmed Salim
    May 7, 2012 - 3:51PM

    As someone whose home is frequently drowned by domestic family problems on petty issues such as relatives (as in both ways, from both parents), who rather than being reasonable and caring for a positive space where their children can study for their near exams, engage in frivolous fights which causes damage to our educational and psychological needs, I fully agree with Mr. Pervez Hoodbhoy on this issue which plagues our society and I am personally thankful to him for giving a voice to discard this sin.


  • M.Raza
    May 7, 2012 - 3:57PM

    I think Hood bhoy sab should have talked about some positive aspects of “Ghairat”. As the attribute really can play miracles if used as per teachings of islam without taking LAW (decesion about right and wrong) in hands.


  • Tch tch
    May 7, 2012 - 3:58PM

    @hasan: That is a popular myth. The Bomb was dropped on Japan as 1) Means to test Nuclear weapons in war conditions.(100’s of hours of footage was made and other data collected by US mil of blast sites which were cordoned and studied in great detail by scientist at los Alamos)
    2) A Warning to Soviets who were overunnig Manchuria.
    The Truman Administration was well aware of Japanese efforts to sue for peace. Japan was negotiating for surrendor for months before the Bomb was dropped.
    (John Hershey Hiroshima, Gar Alperovitz Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb: And the Architecture of an American Myth ,Ralph Raico’s “Harry S. Truman: Advancing the Revolution”, Gore Vidal , The Last Empire)
    Japan Attack on Pearl Harbor has also many lingering questions.


  • Jaakhuzg
    May 7, 2012 - 4:09PM

    @abs……your link shows your level of intellect….you should know that how wikipedia works….???


  • Lala Gee
    May 7, 2012 - 4:10PM

    @tariq parvez:

    “What about your honour when thousands of innocent people are killed by the terrorists? What about your honour when Hazaras of Quetta are killed by the terrorists? What about your honour when, poor women are forced to sell themselves for poverty and unemployment? ….”

    And you seriously think that by becoming “bayghairat” all these miseries will go away.


  • Faraz
    May 7, 2012 - 4:18PM

    During WWII, when Japan’s civilian leaders, when they still had some power, tried to rein in the army, demonstrators were called onto the street to protest such ‘national shame’ and ‘unpatriotic traitors’. They turned up in their tens of thousands. The end result is for all to see.

    With the presence of Difa-e-Pakistan Council and JI in Pakistan, we are condemned to repeat this history.


  • Lala Gee
    May 7, 2012 - 4:31PM

    @Wasim Irfan:

    “This ghairat concept is an antiquated thinking that belongs in the times of the cavemen.”

    As long as scholars like yourself and Pervez Hoodbhoy are among us to guide the ignorant, no harm can come to our nation. Iqbal was so misguided and mislead the nation by his superfluous theory of “khudi” (self honor, ghairat). His shortsightedness lead his followers to this miserable position. All the applause for presenting such an ingenuous solution to all of our current and future problems.


  • Rao
    May 7, 2012 - 4:34PM

    One cannot do anything without honor and dignity,so just justifying historical wars, nuclear in the name of GHAIRAT honor is not enough, you should also mention the nations,states which have done remarkable progress with honor.
    Did Japan receive aid during tsunami last year?
    Is China begging from anyone, emerged in 1949?
    In fact, it depends upon the rulers, whether they are interested in bringing prosperity.
    Unemployment, it should be overcome by the state.
    Poverty, also must be elevated by the rulers.


  • Omair
    May 7, 2012 - 4:50PM

    While I understand where Mr. Hoodbhoy is coming from, I do not agree with his argument that Honor or ghairat as a concept is the root cause of so many of our problems. To say that one wishes to be an honorable citizen of a an honorable state is nothing but a fairly normal and agreeable notion. Definition of individual and collective honor is what Mr. Hoodbhoy should have actually stressed on.
    Most of the muslim world and in particular Afghanistan and Pakistan have their understanding of the concept completely skewed and messed up. Honor and pride in the post industrial world now comes from economic well being and not military strength. Economic well being cannot be achieved if a nation does not maximize the potential of all its people. That maximization, in turn, cannot come about if various segments of society are persecuted (Women, minorities). Only a pluralistic society can achieve social, economic and individual well being.
    This is a fact that stands lost in the post-Zia Pakistan where empty rhetoric and shameless religiosity have become the only tools to define all aspects of life. Matters that are to be judged by the almighty are routinely being adjudicated by illiterate, and at best, semi educated clerics.
    State has failed to ensure progressive and all-encompassing education for all and this void has been exploited by hate-filled propaganda.


  • G. Din
    May 7, 2012 - 4:54PM

    Do moderators of ET ever experience remorse? My post questioning the author’s sentence about India’s military officers replying to a hypothetical question about a nuclear strike similarly to Pakistan’s military officers was not accepted. I commended the author on a very balanced write-up and its “eminent readability”. Now, I find many, many others making the same point. And, I wonder whether you base your decisions on who advances an opinion and not the opinion itself? I would not be surprised if that were indeed true as there is increasing evidence for such a conclusion!


  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)
    May 7, 2012 - 4:59PM

    Actually we are a Nation of Baighairat’s. Look at the present mess. Any other PM would have resigned much earlier. We have been handing over our sisters & brothers to the Americans for some Dollars.. We continue to let them kill innocent women & children by Drone Attacks. They burn the Holy book & do sacrilegious things in Gutanamo Bay & we still wag our tail in front of the US Ambassador. They join hands with India to issue threats on Hafiz Saeed. They blatantly kill our soldiers at Salala. After all the Western World is doing he still feels that we should invite them with open arms & make merry. We have survived by Allah’s Grace and will come out of the present Morass which is the gift of the PPP . Your Articles sucks. Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli
    May 7, 2012 - 5:14PM

    So in other words Mr Hoodbhoy is saying to becoming a advanced nation in the world one has to become a Beghairath fisrt like all the advanced nations did or the way japan and italy
    and turkey doing after losing in the war becames like we put it(kothi) so be it sir its not too late.


  • yasir hussain
    May 7, 2012 - 5:15PM

    Absolute truth Sir, this is the bitter reality we all should accept it.


  • mr. righty rightist
    May 7, 2012 - 5:55PM

    @Lt. Col. Imtiaz Alam who writes “We have survived by Allah’s Grace and will come out of the present Morass which is the gift of the PPP . Your Articles sucks.”

    Colonel sir, don’t you think the current morass of Pakistan is due to decades of military misrule.

    If 1948, 65, 71, 99 hadn’t happened, your country would be in a better position today. And these adventures which cost Pakistan dearly are the reasons why your country is failing today. Why do you blame it on PPP government?


  • Mr. Honest
    May 7, 2012 - 6:18PM

    Sir as you desire law, compassion, and tolerance are all in one way or the other related to being Ghairat Mand.
    Donot agree with you over here.


  • Wah India
    May 7, 2012 - 6:21PM

    One of the best articles I have ever read Excellent !!!!! You have touched the most sensitive nerve of society


  • ayesha_khan
    May 7, 2012 - 6:27PM

    I had responded to ‘asif’ who attacked me personally rather than my ideas simply because I am an Indian Muslim and my rebuttal is not being printed. I have checked your criteria and I do not believe I have violated any, why was my rebuttal not published? Spmeone can attack me but I cannot respond?


  • Chulbul Pandey
    May 7, 2012 - 6:33PM

    @Author: A very nice article, Professor!. You do have the knack of presenting your views in most creative way. You aptly pointed out that the “Ghairat” that is so cherished by your countrymen might be out of sync with reality, a la false pride of sorts.

    However, as has been pointed out earlier, the mention of India was completely unnecessary. I realize that in order to prove a point in Pakistan, India has to be dragged along, but we expect better from you, sir.
    Another point – Please publish a little synopsis too after your article to clarify the points you are making. It hurts my eyes to read posts that go on and on criticizing your work without realizing that they might have missed the point you were trying to make.


  • sanity
    May 7, 2012 - 6:58PM

    Honor is highest of the virtues that an individual or a nation should have. It is unfortunate that the word of honor or ghairat has been misused by politicians for their vested interests, and when they came to power they did nothing to protect the honor of their nations. As Iqbal says
    ” Ghairat hai bari cheez jahan e tag o do mein’
    Pehnati hai darwesh ko Taaj e sare dara”
    Please look at the example of people of china, who have saved their honor by working day and night towards the development of their country, and today China stands one of the most developed and dignified nation.
    In Islam there is no place for honor killing, it is rather the ignorance of our people regarding Islam that has created the monster of honor killing.
    For Pakistan Ghairat is the need of the day, but that ghairat means that all of us should work hard and honestly in our respective fields to make our nation an Asian Tiger. We have all the ingredients of a successful nation i.e. Large pool of human resource, vast agricultural lands, Natural resources, and a great geographical location, what we lack is the ghairat to turn these resources into a nation of steel.


  • ayesha_khan
    May 7, 2012 - 7:09PM

    1. Indian Muslims are not docile. We have reached the top in every field be it politics, cricket, acting, music, business, poetry. Just because we do not create fasaad in our motherland, it does not mean we are docile.
    2. I respect other people’s faith. That does mean I am apologetic about my own.
    @geeko “Which COAS or even high-ranked Army officer from Pakistan said that he’ll launch the nuclear bomb “the first”, without any Indian attack ?”.

    Please read the attached article on defence Pakistan board. You will get your answer http://www.defence.pk/forums/pakistan-strategic-forces/107215-kayani-not-board-zardaris-no-first-use-n-policy-wikileaks.html


  • Irfan
    May 7, 2012 - 7:35PM

    Well written Sir. After reading your article I kept thinking about the whole honor issue and came to a conclusion that Honor is not all that bad. Law, Reason, Compassion, Tolerance and Honor can and do co-exist in culture, society. Having a guest home is an honor. Being just is an honor a judge a president a prime minister are honorable. Plz do not dilute the concept of Honor with these so called honor killings, they could have called obsessive killings, or these gung ho generals could b called Generals with an Itch. Whatever. These modern mega cities are nothing but graveyards of bricks and concrete. O the Brown Sahibs a tribal siceity is a beautiful society. For the author’s info they do not just live in mountains herding goats and camels. They also live in cities but carry their tribal values and believe me they are more compassionate, more tolerant, and more caring, because they are bonded together by a code. Over and over the author shows his contempt for a group of people by calling them goat herders camel herders. The Generals that the author is talking about must be city folks or tribe less like the author himself. Blaming Honor for the misfortunes of the human race is not fair. Their are other reasons and Greed is one if them.


  • random
    May 7, 2012 - 7:53PM

    every wrongdoing identified in the article is a ‘problem’. in my opinion ‘problems’ are not solved only by bashing problems. one has to go a bit deep to see what actually gives rise to the problem. like is ‘ghairat’ that bad to be the origin of these problems or is it the misuse of ‘ghairat’ that has brought us to the current mess. ghairat in its entirety not only refers to honor, it also refers to respect (something which everyone wants in his own space). so lets not just become ‘bayghairat’ instead keep our heads cool. taking extremes of something never solves a problem, it merely gives rise to another one.


  • Nazir Ahmed
    May 7, 2012 - 7:57PM

    ‘Ghairat’ seems to be misunderstood by the author. To most of us ‘Ghairat’ means protecting our interests without compromising on our values and principles. What is wrong with that? Recommend

  • The con-inspiration-ist
    May 7, 2012 - 8:01PM

    Hodbhoy’s text on ghairat is purposefully perverted by over simplicity – He is be-rating a framework of morality (which in my opinion i don’t buy myself, but one should be able to objectively reason without a reactionary bias towards conventional right-ist norms..i.e. the gherat or honor that he refers to). By criticizing this popular morality of the middle class (i.e. preferring education, feminism, jobs and other virtues of industrialization era driven modernity over ‘meaningless’ honor of Japanese samurai’s and Vietnam’s struggle against external invasion, i.e. because US thought that they should do ‘something’ to stop communists taking over french territory), Hodbhoy is not criticizing middle class, honor-based morality any more – he has stepped over the borderline and questioned the unconscious mind of mankind, the idea of honor roots back to primate’s self-defense, guarding his means and resources for survival and reproduction against nature’s brutal selection, evolving to the modern day man. This is where I’d say that he either purposefully or unconsciously perverted the idea of ‘honor’ and ‘belief’ to anti-feminism by citing men killing their women and bla bla.. Of course, the honor is misinterpreted. He is not questioning that morality any more, the good professor is challenging mankind’s belief system (belief not to be interpreted in religious terms please), the idea of free will and the survival of instinct. On behalf of Mr. Segmund Freud, I’d rather take the offense – for over simplifying the ‘innate instinctive impulses’ and ‘reducing’ the idea of morality, honor and belief system to ‘modernity’. As myself also being somewhat a vagabond, lose Darwinian – his thesis on ‘honor’ must be out rightly rejected in all academic and public circuits on account of disgrace to the idea of natural selection (i.e. ‘honor’ supporting the function of differential reproduction of their bearers).


  • Zalmai
    May 7, 2012 - 8:06PM

    It seems like even the intellectuals of Pakistan are morally and intellectually bankrupt. Why do they always drag Afghans and Indians into every conversation or narrative. Please don’t compare the Afghan Ghairat to the false ghairat propagated in Pakistan.Recommend

  • May 7, 2012 - 8:10PM

    Few good points here and there but I surely disagree with being proudly “baighairat”.

    Ghairat doesn’t directly translate to pride. Yes, pride is the downfall in many cases. Ghairat on the other hand is necessary. Of course diplomatic maneuvering is imperative in advancement of societies and ghairat by itself doesn’t get you too far.

    Today’s Pakistan is proudly bayghairat. Taking American money and giving Pakistani blood.

    Iran on the other hand has stood it’s ground time and time again with GHAIRAT!

    How do you explain IRAN?Recommend

  • Big Rizvi
    May 7, 2012 - 8:17PM

    Very impressive article.


  • Rao
    May 7, 2012 - 8:22PM

    if you want to wake up this natioon, just call it BEGHAIRAT QOM,HUDHARAM,KAMCHOR,all will become honorable and loyal,just talk on media on this issue and then wait their response.
    Its shame on the previous all military rulers and their partners those had crushed this nationa’s sentiments in the name of PAKISTAN,and Islam as well


  • ufaquarian
    May 7, 2012 - 8:24PM

    Reading through this article was a waste of time. ….


  • Ashvinn
    May 7, 2012 - 8:30PM

    Brilliant r ur really very articulate and well informed,you must be well educated.Nice to see a proud Indian articulate her POV.


  • Hajira Amir
    May 7, 2012 - 8:41PM

    Glad you brought up Nam.

    The US fought wars in Germany, Japan, Phillipines, Vietnam, etc. In each case wherever the US went to war, they have risen from the ashes with fervent nationalistic pride and rapid growth in prosperity.

    Who knows? In 20 years time, Afghanistan may emerge as a prosperous nation. And looking at its current trajectory, Pakistan may wish that the Us had invaded them instead.


  • Hoopoe
    May 7, 2012 - 8:54PM

    @ Sajid
    @Adnan Khan

    Yeah the title and the term is a big sarcastic hit on our people who have gone bayghairat in the name of ghairat.


  • ayesha_khan
    May 7, 2012 - 8:59PM

    @Nazir Ahmed: “To most of us ‘Ghairat’ means protecting our interests without compromising on our values and principles. What is wrong with that?”

    Whether something IS or IS not wrong with that depends on the values and principles.

    If the values and principles are tolerance for others, kindness towards weaker sections, hard work, seeking peace unless attacked and in that case defending with full might then no-one would have a problem with ghairat.

    If the values and principles are oppressing minorities, sending jihadis to neighbours to kill innocent citizens there, killing wife and daughter for marrying someone of their choice, starting wars and lying to the country about who started them – then yes protecting these values and principles is a problem and it is better to give up such ghairat.


  • ayesha_khan
    May 7, 2012 - 9:01PM

    @Ashvinn: Thank you.


  • Lannibal Hecter
    May 7, 2012 - 9:13PM

    Wow, my comments will never appear. Thanks freedom of expression!


  • Uneza
    May 7, 2012 - 9:19PM

    Wow! This is really non sense….. The writer is trying to instill fear and to accept imperialism????? Al people hv right to live how they want……how many lives does one live any way? Besides just so called material advancement nd prosperity isnt a thing really….. Sure japan etc r advanced now bt they don’t hv a single thing of the actual japenese value traditions etc to distinguish Japan from the US for instance……. They lost their native everything……..


  • Jehanzeb
    May 7, 2012 - 9:28PM

    This kind of thinking is so sad in some strands of “enlightened liberalism”, because its nature is actually the exact opposite, “blind slavery”. The professor is basically saying that the answer to falling into a gutter because of blindness, is to open our eyes and jump into the gutter in a clever way!

    When he talks about allowing “investment” by “tormentors” (US), he means the free flow of global capital on its own terms because it is powerful, which is another way of saying that you should not resist a rapist, but tell him you will allow regular rape if there are water breaks! Haven’t most leaders enjoyed this bayghairaty in Pakistan?

    It is true that many of those who uphold ghairat are harmful fools, but again the professor is trying to mix fundamentalist fools with a leader like Imran Khan. The truth is that PTI offers the possibility of moving away from both conservative and liberal extremism. It seeks to move from foolish ghairat and clever bayghairaty towards clever ghairat, and even though it is not perfect, it is so much better than suicide or slavery, which are actually the same.

    The problem is not honour, but blindness, and this is what the professor also suffers from. He mistakes cleverness for wisdom. I can only imagine how Socrates would laugh at such naivety. Much of the ‘dialogue’ between these liberals and conservatives is simply a bitter exchange between two forms of sentimentalism.

    Let’s open our eyes, and like the dark night with stars shining light from many years ago, let’s look deeply into that wisdom of the past which is timeless, and use it through this night.


  • Ihtisham khan
    May 7, 2012 - 9:53PM

    @ayesha_khan….why is this a problem if imran khan says he will not bow down to USA???..why is this a problem if he says we pakistanis will make our own decsions??..when did he say kill innocent women??..when did he say kill minorities..??it just suprises me that u guys just come and give a definition of ghairat and imply that to every one…i am ghairat mand …i am not baighairat….but i don’t kill women..i don’t kill minorities…i want to have good peaceful country. i want to have job..whats that got to do with my ghairat..?? my ghairat is i will die defending my country..my ghairat is i will die defending my family..my ghairat is i will fight for the innocent ..my ghairat is i will stand for my beliefs…why should i be baigharat to do alll these things…whats wrong with this if i say i will fight with india if the attack us…whats wrong if i say will stand by my country if america invade us..whats wrong with this if i ask america to apoligize for crossing borders and killing pakistanis…where did any ghairatmand man said i don’t need job and peaceful society i just wanna kill people…why does america have nuclear weapons…why does britain have nuclear weapons…will they not use it when the time comes…do u guys think they are spending billions on these nukes just for show off..don’t tell me that they have better economy so they can do it..no…they have better economy now….did they have better economy in 1944…in 1914…i don’t think so…ofcousre we need jobs..we need peaceful country where everyone gets thier rights but that does not mean that i will not talk about religion, my country and my culture..


  • May 7, 2012 - 10:01PM

    “But a culture of honour is disastrous for us, a nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people who want jobs, electricity, and the fruits of modernity”

    Yes, the nation may want these things. But the political reality is that Pakistan is an army possessing a country, not a country possessing an army. To change that you have to make the army accountable to the nation: to elected civilian officials and courts of law. Then you’ll have an army that works for Pakistan rather than a Pakistan that works for an army.


  • Ali Wali
    May 7, 2012 - 10:03PM

    1% people in India and Pakistan do not want 99% to have a normal life, these corrupt leeches live on war and bloodshed and use vague terms like Ghairat to prosper. They will never let people live in peace.


  • Zaheer
    May 7, 2012 - 10:07PM


    We would not be in this mess if our tribal belt was a safe haven for all the rotten eggs of the world. Have you ever thought of going to N waziristan for a summer holiday with your family? Never I suppose because you know how much of a chance you have of returning. Get rid of all trouble making jihadis from your backyard with whom you sympathise but cannot socialise!!!


  • Honorliving
    May 7, 2012 - 10:13PM

    From what I understand, the doctor is saying that the things Pakistanis consider honorable, other civilized nations regard them as act of cowardice and below human dignity. So, what doctor is questioning here is not IF Pakistanis should have honor, dignity, and self-respect but WHAT actions should constitutes these values. According to him we have an opposite idea of honor from those nations whose technological advancement we want to emulate. Pakistan can not be an advanced country unless Pakistanis have similar values when it comes to legal rights of every human being.


  • Tch tch
    May 7, 2012 - 10:14PM

    @ayesha_khan: “Islamabad should realise the change in the geo-strategic situation in the region and the world. It must roll back its anti-India policy especially with regard to Kashmir. Any other course will be futile and costly for Pakistan.” Deputy PM LK Advani “Advani Tells Pakistan to Roll Back Its Anti-India Policy,”Sabina Inderjit Times of India, May 19, 1998 (quoting Advani).

    Satisfied…Thankyou for your History Lesson, but Pakistanis are better at self criticism then Indian . The amount of self delusion in even educated Indians is astonishing.
    Calling a Nuke Smilin Buddha does not make it any less threatening. There is no such thing as a “Peaceful” Nuclear Bomb. Its an Oxymoron. I am surprised you take your gov Double speak seriously.


  • ayesha_khan
    May 7, 2012 - 10:17PM

    @Ihtisham khan: “hy is this a problem if imran khan says he will not bow down to USA???”

    I have not said anything about Imran. Please re-read what I have said. Most of what you ascribed to me is in your own mind not what I have penned.


  • Wasim
    May 7, 2012 - 10:19PM

    Nation withou ghairat is just a gathering of people. I think killing of women in the name of ghairat is in fact a beghairti…as we hear orto pe hath uthana mardangi ni.

  • ayesha_khan
    May 7, 2012 - 10:27PM

    @Tch tch: “Islamabad should realise the change in the geo-strategic situation in the region and the world. It must roll back its anti-India policy especially with regard to Kashmir. Any other course will be futile and costly for Pakistan.” Deputy PM LK Advani “Advani Tells Pakistan to Roll Back Its Anti-India Policy,”Sabina Inderjit Times of India, May 19, 1998 (quoting Advani).”

    Your source is a statement by Michael Krepon in 2008. Can you please provide a url from Times of India where apparently such a quote appeared in 1998 or for that matter from any Indian source?


  • Ashvinn
    May 7, 2012 - 10:39PM

    @Tch tch:
    We like to believe our weapons are for self defence only, and not for conquering some promised land,as such we believe our weapons add to peace and stability of the region,so we name our weapons, smiling Buddha.Anyway it is better then killing innocent civilians of foreign countries in the name religion,strategic balance of power.


  • That Guy
    May 7, 2012 - 10:41PM

    Your articles always give a smile to my face.


  • Nazir Ahmed
    May 7, 2012 - 11:04PM

    I had earlier commented that ‘ghairat’ to most of us means protecting our interests without compromising on our values and principales. So there is nothing wrong with that. That comment has not been printed. Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli,
    May 7, 2012 - 11:09PM

    U think italian and japenes honour is not ruined then u are in insane sir.


  • Ex-Diplomat
    May 7, 2012 - 11:14PM

    After having been in Pakistan for almost 4 years all I can say and as the comments say Pakistan since 64 years and also now is a deeply divided society and country, which needs to take a grip and come to terms with reality. Else alas the current situation will prevail as the Professor points out for another 64 if not 100 years.


  • Nazir Ahmed
    May 7, 2012 - 11:15PM


    You are right is pointing out that some criminal acts are performed in the name of ‘ghairat’ but that we all understand is wrong.


  • Haroon Rashid
    May 7, 2012 - 11:23PM

    Gherat is a feeling basically. And in my humble opinion every human being possesses it. Yes some people associate it with things which relate only to their ego and not to any right moral principle, such egoistic gherat must be given up. Basically gherat was the driving force that pushed you Mr. Hood to right the words mentioned above. When someone says or does something against your thoughts (and everybody sincerely bases his thoughts on the knowledge he possesses) you see that action as inappropriate and your GHERAT pushes you to act to reveal the aspect from which you see the reality of affairs. So, you are also a gheratmand. You see the term is relative and depends upon the circumstances. GHERAT is the ultimate necessity sometimes e.g when people in the past were oppressed their GHERAT demanded action in the direction to acquire freedom. Many heros of history were freedom fighters “GHERATMAND” not begherat and many lost their lives or they could have adapted to the might of their era. Their gherat tells us that might is not right only right is right. And there can be many examples like when 4 men come and try to rape someones wife logic will fail and most of the times GHERAT will come into action.In coclusion, we do not need to be begherat as nobody can be, we only need to see whether our knowledge is correct or incorrect. And to correct our knowledge we need tolerance and humbleness. If we are replacing one extremism with another we are doing no service to humanity.


  • May 7, 2012 - 11:37PM

    @Syed Ali:
    excellent points. Indeed bayghairat is the one who wants to flourish on money got through unfair means. Only ghairtatmand can have courage to face challenges and take out our nation from the mess we are in. Prof Hoodbhoy has defined it differently.


  • Rashid Hasan
    May 7, 2012 - 11:38PM

    Brilliant and very timely piece! Thanks Professor Hoodbhoy.


  • Tch tch
    May 7, 2012 - 11:45PM

    LOL you know well that Times of India Archives are available from 2010 onwards.Thankyou for demonstrating your Google skills.
    But Unfortunately for you LK Advani was also quoted by The Oberver, Observer Political Bearue, (Advani asks Pakistan to roll back anti-India policy – The Observer)
    Not Satisfied How about:Washington Post Key Indian Official Warns Pakistan
    By Kenneth J. Cooper, May 19, 1998.

    Anything Else?


  • Rakesh
    May 7, 2012 - 11:52PM

    Or we could always redefine gairatmandi to be in the prosperity of our people…


  • Syed Ali
    May 7, 2012 - 11:58PM

    You are confused yourself brother. You are mixing issue of ” PSeudo ego” or ” false ego” with honour. What we suffer in Pakistan or rest of the under developed world is pseudo ego not honor. pseudo ego derives its roots from feudal culture and compells us to stay stead fast even if we know, we are wrong. where as Honor teaches us to choose the right pathway no matter it brings shame, life, death , prision whatever. As a matter of fcat, for the last 300 years, muslims have been ruled by people who in any respect can not be labelled to be part of gairat brigade, as we call them today. Majority fo them have been aristocratic, liberal, educated and ruthless who have ruled us with imputiny. Look around and see what have they done with the Ummah as a whole.Recommend

  • ayesha_khan
    May 8, 2012 - 4:58AM

    @Nazir Ahmed: “You are right is pointing out that some criminal acts are performed in the name of ‘ghairat’ but that we all understand is wrong.”

    If our definition of what is criminal is common and it looks like it is based on your statement, then definitely we agree in what we are saying


  • Adnan Khan
    May 8, 2012 - 5:13AM

    Please don’t confuse poverty and lack of education with absence of national honor and pride. Not long ago, when the west hadn’t yet raped the riches and knowledge of the East, and reaped the land and resources of the Americas, they lived like savages in caves and holes in the ground. No money for social security, child services, hospice care, HMOs or CMHCs. In that society, decomposing corpses littered the streets and plagues abounded.
    This article’s focus is about humbling ourselves to the world. To allow them to dictate to Pakistanis, on which terms we will live and die. That might be the utopian dream of Pervez, but a citizen’s nightmare, anywhere around the world.

    If you take away a man’s pride, self-esteem, you take away his raison d’etre. You might as well do him a favor and kill the body, for without a soul, what’s the use ?. That’s what Pervez is trying to do here and the Pakistani individual (forget the characterless, sellout ‘leadership’ we are blessed with), will not give it up.
    Because that’s all they have left.


  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    May 8, 2012 - 7:51AM

    Excellent. Voice of the people with balanced approach and sense of responsibility.


  • observer
    May 8, 2012 - 9:04AM

    @Ali Tanoli

    U think italian and japenes honour is not ruined then u are in insane sir.

    Yes I think italian and japenes honour is not ruined.
    Since what is not, can not be proved, you go ahead and prove that it has been ruined.

    Let me gine you some pointers,

    A. Japan did not beg for international assistance.

    B. Japan and Italy both take pride in being Japanese and Italian. They are not looking for mythical Arab or any other origins.

    C. Both are staunch supporters of their language and culture. They are not making their language an extension of some other language.

    The list goes on. Over to you.


  • Lord
    May 8, 2012 - 9:20AM

    superb a good article to start a day with. Thanks


  • Arif
    May 8, 2012 - 9:32AM

    there is nothing like National Honor (Ghairat), it is always created by the militaries to subjugate its own people. withouth indoctrination of this ghairat, there is no justifications for armies to live a luxurious life. the ghairat of people provides basis to armymen to live a dignified life, they have no concerns how people miserably live…


  • mb
    May 8, 2012 - 10:48AM

    I have a very strong feeling that the author is taking “Honor” for “Ego”.


  • Shafique A. Malik
    May 8, 2012 - 1:03PM

    Ghariat is relative term and possess different meanings for Leaders and Public


  • Abid P Khan
    May 8, 2012 - 1:51PM


    “there is nothing like National Honor (Ghairat), it is always created by the militaries to subjugate its own people. withouth indoctrination of this ghairat, there is no justifications for armies to live a luxurious life. the ghairat of people provides basis to armymen to live a dignified life, they have no concerns how people miserably live…”

    In 1972 after the country was chopped up in two, ZAB (a politician) appealed to ghairat.

    We will fight for 1000 years!
    and later
    We will eat grass!

    Please wake up. It is other than military too, who have done their best to bring the nation to the abyss. Their progeny continue to this day.


  • akash
    May 8, 2012 - 2:01PM

    Take a bow.
    Never enjoyed so much reading the comment section of an article.
    Never before felt so much proud for being an Indian.


  • May 8, 2012 - 3:34PM

    Brilliant piece professor. Its time to reason and I wonder how some people still build a firewall in front of reason. No logic in the world can convince them. This really needs a psychological treatment. Alas! Our education system has not made them students, but robots.


  • M. Adil
    May 8, 2012 - 5:12PM

    Powerful argument by the esteemed Professor and plenty of food for thought. Though I do believe there’s a need and room for honour in human psychology, it’s only when we are all ready to self destruct in the name of ghairat or some other man made constructs. Honour is fine in moderation: when it stops you from selling yourself, your family and your nation because of material gains or fear etc. But nations always seem to get into trouble whenever they overdo nationalism, religion, honour; or fight wars over land and certain vague isms! So let’s do things in moderation, just like a good doctor always suggests. The brilliant example given by the Professor about the Afghans is pertinent: look where fighting for honour over so many centuries has got them. They still live in the stone age; every morning thousand upon upon thousand of their men go out to protect their family or national honour, while millions of their women must stay inside four walls so that they don’t dishonour the family name. That’s taking things way too far, and only brings grief and tragedy in the long term. There are hundreds of other human values to defend and to treasure. We are usually ready to die just for a few of them. The rest never get the respect they deserve. Two sayings come to mind. “Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will lose all that heavenly glory….” and also, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” You don’t put your friends and family six feet under because of a slight dishonour – far better to save their soul and let them lead productive lives, thus enhancing the future of the society, rather than belittling it.


  • Abid P Khan
    May 8, 2012 - 5:27PM

    @Texas Snuff,:
    “For jains, Khoja, and patel Ghairath is no mean when making money. i have seen that here in texas.”

    And you thrive being parochial. Shame on you.


  • Ilyad
    May 8, 2012 - 6:02PM

    …as compared to what? aren’t we already there.


  • Azhar Ayaz,
    May 8, 2012 - 6:05PM

    Great thought-provoking article.


  • jawad
    May 8, 2012 - 10:22PM

    Well…! Honour is everything in lives of naions.Americans had been doing this bayghairti
    since last 12 years by killing muslims in Iraq.Afghanistan and in Pakistan using dron
    es.Honour is the source of dignity for great nations.and we the muslims always live with honour,dignity and pride.


  • Jehangir
    May 8, 2012 - 11:01PM

    a poor person has nothing with him except faith in Allah and ghairat.so plz respect it.Recommend

  • Anon
    May 8, 2012 - 11:20PM

    I dont agree. There has always been need of honor to prevent man from falling to the level of animals. What separates us from a monkey, if we only live for the propagation of our species, and have no code of conduct to live by. Honor is something that is unique to humans, some may call it a frame of mind, I call it a God given gift.
    In the case of the army personnel mentioned, I would just like to say that if you are to go out, take as many of your enemies with you as you can.


  • Rana Amjad
    May 9, 2012 - 12:48AM

    Hats off to PH! Loved his article. One of the very few in Pakistan, who talks sense otherwise just emotional decisions which has destroyed Pakistan.


  • Ali Tanoli
    May 9, 2012 - 5:50PM

    Ok sir u are right i lost.


  • observer
    May 9, 2012 - 6:35PM


    Honor is something that is unique to humans, some may call it a frame of mind, I call it a God given gift.

    Can you cite some reference from any Book of God? Aren’t humans supposed to be the only recipients of the gift of ‘Reason’. And weren’t we told to acquire ‘ilm’ even by going to China?

    I would just like to say that if you are to go out, take as many of your enemies with you as you can.

    Isn’t that what the suicide bombers in Pakistan doing? Are you going to follow your advice anytime soon?


  • SS
    May 9, 2012 - 9:16PM

    I think blind enlightened moderation has led to destruction of moral, social, religious and ethical values in socities infected by so called modern, western, open mindedness, moderates, etc. Honour must be protected within parameters as is defined in our culture, society and religion above all. Blind following of west or for comment’s sake moderates of today will lead to total destruction of our system.


  • Hasan
    May 10, 2012 - 1:53AM

    @fahad….what spirituality are you talking about? Does a person get spiritual satisfaction by burying alive five women (whatever their fault) in the name of ghairat. I don’t think there can be a bigger criminal in the eyes of God.


  • Rehamt khan
    May 10, 2012 - 5:20AM

    this the most stupid article by any sensible and educated person,i mean we can debate so many bad things in our society but the way he has tried is wat i think rubbish to mixup differnt sort of things and he should just concentrate on his field work that is physics


  • Ghassan
    May 10, 2012 - 2:48PM

    Morals or Ghairat keep us in check. A world full of secular people, with no bounds of honor or morals would misuse their authority to achieve their objectives.

    Some form of Honor is necessary for the greater good.


  • osman narejo
    May 10, 2012 - 4:59PM

    …………..true to his reputation, and degree dr hoodbhye has again come up with a brilliant article! instead of the methods we use against west in the name of protecting our honour, let us use the modern currency of exchange (and fight) while fighting against the west – only if we believe that we are not capable of coexistence with them, and war is inevitable! for this instead of suicide bombing, let us write book against (their) book, logic against their logic and reason against their reason! even otherwise, if we believe that our conflict with them could only be resolved through war, then let us first master modern technonlogy and knowledge, before picking war with them in order to avoid a humiliating defeat!


  • Abid P Khan
    May 10, 2012 - 5:42PM

    @osman narejo:

    “…………..before picking war with them in order to avoid a humiliating defeat!”

    Come on. What’s wrong with humiliation? We have plenty of experience in that.


  • Tipukhan
    May 10, 2012 - 5:56PM

    Pakistan itself was made in the name of the honor and survival of Muslims of this land. Hindu extremists were oppressing Muslims all over India, by kidnapping them, burning them, stoning them, butchering them. The point of mentioning this is that without ghairat and honor, you are nothing but a worthless slave who is selling himself to multi-national companies. Who doesn’t care about bribery or corruption as long as his masters are happy and are paying him some paper.
    Yes, prosperity, economy and industry is obviously vital for the state, but don’t expect these politicians to talk about that. They are here to only corrupt the nation. Do you actually think, that these people who sell themselves to the US for some cash, can teach the lesson of dignity and ghairat to us?
    A true Muslim would rather herd sheep with dignity, than work for a trillionare bank without selfrespect and without morals. So if you want to teach Pakistan something, teach it to live with morals and prosperity together insha’Allah. Rather than teaching the nation to just give up on honor and dignity. We don’t want to be slaves.Recommend

  • Ajmal
    May 10, 2012 - 7:20PM

    After reading your article, and the comments from readers, I would say your article was nothing but a piece of crap. I found a better word for it in Urdu which is Bakwas! We are Muslims and we have had better intelligentsia than pseudo-scholars . That we are not following their wisdom is another thing. “It is far better to live like a lion for a day then to live like a jackal for hundred years.” Ever heard this? Recommend

  • May 10, 2012 - 8:19PM

    Generalizing Honor is not possible! We have misused word Ghairat but the logic given by the writer is not correct. Facts and history have been distorted to prove that Baigairitee is successful and is required


  • May 10, 2012 - 11:01PM


    . “It is far better to live like a lion for a day then to live like a jackal for hundred years.” Ever heard this?

    I agree with you. Millions of these lions have been living, for several decades, in cages everywhere in Brother Arab countries.


  • Muneer
    May 11, 2012 - 12:44AM

    Well saud Vanjara


  • Suman Hammad
    May 11, 2012 - 9:38PM

    It will be interesting to note that most comments which hail the idea that there is no concept of Beghairat are from our neighbouring country…the MFN!
    Please note Mr. Hoodbhoy needs to re-evaluate the meaning of Honor in its real sense and not get confused with this concept! things have to be expalined not only in anthropological sense but at a more deeper level………….Please note Mr. Hoodbhoy there is a difference between “honor” and “Ego”…..probably you are mixing up the two ……….there is the ‘Inflated False ego” and then there is the “Ego” and then there is the “Honor” ……………people kill their relatives or dont take up initiatives for their countries not because of “Honor” issues but because their “False Inflated Egos’ are not served well!

    Honor is a matter of pride for the achievements or as a result of the richness of character and culture of a country………………


  • Naeem Lodhi
    May 12, 2012 - 3:52PM

    Whereas ther is no denying the fact that what we actually need is education, tolerance and plural forward looking modern society, but how on earth Ghairat or Beghairaty has any thing to do about it? If respectable and very honourable professor can kindly explain this. It would be much better if he can list down policies and things that we must give up and suggest those that we should adopt. For example ( just trying to read into his mind ) let us give up Kashmir, nuclear weapons, armed forces, Islamic orientation etc etc and embrace Indian regional dominance, American guidance and Western values. He may please list other things also that bug his high intellect that I always respect a lot. But he must give us a guarantee that with the same stock in country and around the world we shall be allowed to rise economically peacefully and the lot of our people will improve. I pray and wish that can happen. I wish Prof Hoodbhoy a long healthy life to enable him to study and research more and more in history and sociology ( besides physics and science) and keep guiding us the lesser intelligent and comparatively illiterate beings on how progressive societies emerge and what is the actual character of relationships among nations and countries. Naeem Lodhi


  • SS
    May 13, 2012 - 2:51PM

    Vietnamese were bayghairat?? How can such an esteemed intellectual offer such an incorrect and twisted interpretation of historic events? The Vietnamese fought to the bitter end but did not accept foreign hegemony. Farmers were farming in the day and fighting in the night… even women and children fought for their land. Calling them bayghiarat is the most ridiculous thing i have heard this year.
    Yes, once they kicked out the foreign occupiers they were rational enough to adopt nation-building policies and engage with the west as well for their economic development. This to me is supreme exhibition of ghairat… when they had to fight for their people they fought; when they had to make peace for their people they made peace. So what you really want to argue in favor of is the attitude of “rational sincerity” in national affairs. There are no permanent friends or enemies in the modern world… only thing permanent is your nation’s interest… if the interest is served by making peace, by all means do so… but that won’t always be the case as Vietnamese have shown us.


  • Hasan
    May 13, 2012 - 9:42PM

    I think some of the comments are ridiculous particularly in relation to scourge of nuclear war/s. Nuclear war has to be avoided at all costs even at the cost of the so called honour in the face of a defeat at traditional war. Whose honor will you protect if everyone is obliterated. As between nations, talking of honor is ridiculous. Nations have to protect the material interests of their people rather than the false honor of its leaders. I believe the author is trying to pass on the concept that you do not start wars in the name of honor, particularly when you are comparatively weak in traditional warfare. You do not destroy the nation itself trying to protect a misguided honor.


  • shoaib baloch
    May 14, 2012 - 1:15AM

    according to me, “Ghairat” is related to “self-defence” and this is built-in feeling of every human being . Every human being can tolerate some action with in a limit after that limit he/she shows its reaction without caring that he/she is alive or dead…….if you are weaker in self defence than every one will attack on you knowing that you have no self-defence..If you are weaker in self – defence then you can not protect your home, your child,…..

    i think, we can’t relate Advancement of this age with “Ghairat”, these are two different streams… its not justice to relate these two things…….

    In west, they have rules. In west, its not possible for some one to cross the limits of someone prrivacy..western governaments assure the self-respect of their people that’s why they are strong.

    That’s all.


  • AHK
    May 14, 2012 - 4:49PM

    Ghairat is not the problem – misplaced notions of ghairat are the real problem in our society. And that should be pointed out rather than what the writer is peddling.


  • Khurasan Ali Shah
    May 14, 2012 - 6:38PM

    Salute to you Mr. Hoodbhoy.


  • Muhammad bilal khan
    May 14, 2012 - 6:52PM

    With all due respect to the author I totally disagree to this column. Beghairti is not an option,, We are not nuked up nation as he quotes japan defeat,, there is no reason for us to live in a disgrace. We have got every thing needed to protect our honor. We can learn that from our ancestors how they fought for their ghairat, tipu sultan, salahuddin. It’s better for us to learn from our own forefathers not Germany and japan. He mentioned afghanistan here, in my opinion they are the most honorable people as they are fighting to protect their freedom and sovereignty… Its all about the choice that nations make at the time… If u stay defiant for the right there is not a single reason to embrace beghairti.. At least we all should learn from Quaid and Iqbal as why they struggled for a seperate nation when we had a choice of not to go for a seperate nation,,, As a Muslim I wud prefer Death before disgrace….Recommend

  • SA
    May 14, 2012 - 9:35PM

    How can you be baighairat and at the same time be proud? Quite an absurd thinking! Ghiarat is something more than the English word ‘honour’ can define. The Germans and Japanese rose to their heights not because they were beyghairat but because they were a ghairatmand nation. Recommend

  • S
    May 14, 2012 - 10:23PM

    Loved it!! Amazing article… So deep!! Never thought of this concept in this light… Thanks fr the read sir… Kudoos to you!!


  • Abdullah Masud
    May 14, 2012 - 10:36PM

    What our major problem is that majority of our “BAZURGS” are either on the extreme right side or on the extreme left side. No one is even trying to find a suitable solution.Your MULLAS will tell you to be on the extreme side , and on the other hand people like this professor sahab are making us to believe on the other extreme side(Like follow the west and their rules etc etc). Hence no one is even trying to show their next generation a middle path where one could find a way both for honor and the way we as Pakistanis want to live in a good and honorable way.

  • Aamir
    May 15, 2012 - 2:15AM

    Would like to see IK and Gul Hameed take out a protest rally against the people who blow up schools, explode bombs in busy markets killing their own and then proudly claim responsibility. I think Pakistan is not cooperating with the US since Salala incident, why are we still having bombs exploding in our cities? IK and the likes only like to throw abuses at rulers who in return provide him security. Lets see him holding a jalsa against the warlords in waziristan and hurl one abuse at them. This is called misuse of freedom and not just misuse, they make that freedom a laughing stock. IK’s very own JI didnt let him hold a rally in Punjab University. No love lost there. So, we abuse the ones who dont bite or hit back but are cosy with the ones who not only torment and kill us but also proudly announce their evil achievements.. funny nation


  • hassan
    May 15, 2012 - 10:00AM

    it is a well written article. however, the historical references are sometimes weak. For instance, samurais turning into suicide bombers in WWII is a wrong interpretation. The samurais had started to lose power in the aftermath of the Meji restoration in 1868. Samurais and the modernised Japan of Meiji era were at two opposite ends. In fact at the dawn of the Pacific war, smaurais only existed in books.


  • Nader Abbas
    May 15, 2012 - 10:30AM

    Dont agree simply!


  • May 18, 2012 - 2:01AM

    I agree that the national or societal honor phenomenon can be counterproductive. This sort of ideology is used to fuel nation states. However, in International Relations, sovereignty of nations matter. If sovereignty, that comes with economic independence, and let’s admit, military might (sadly), is synonymous with ghairat, though not sure what the politicians exactly mean, then it might even be necessary. Sadly again.


  • ali
    May 18, 2012 - 3:48AM

    we are having problems we will survive insha allah and get out of them by ghairat and about ghairat i believe a begharat can not be proud these people are trying to make us but we wont despite we have a few discrepencies we are a great nation we are talented we are young so we have chance


  • ali
    May 18, 2012 - 3:51AM

    true stated … a beyghairat feels strange between ghairatmands he feels why he is geting fired up seemingly for no reason but ghairat is a part of nature of braves…..))))


  • akhtar abbas
    May 19, 2012 - 12:14PM

    simply superb………………


  • Khan Jee
    May 19, 2012 - 5:05PM

    @Wasim Irfan:
    Ghairat can be defined as values of the society, the nations are and were built on their values, values govern the great nations.Those herders ignorent,illiterate and premitive humans had some values (ghairat) by which they governed therir societies. A value deprived (baighairat) is worse than those so called primitive humans.


  • Umer Rasheed
    May 19, 2012 - 7:50PM

    Mr.Hoodbhoy you are one proud ‘beghairat’.


  • Faisal Malik
    May 22, 2012 - 11:15AM

    Mr. Hoodbhoy is quite disappointing in this article. His equating the Politicians call to “Gharait” with that of the misguided misogyny practicing idiots is totally misplaced.


    May 22, 2012 - 12:15PM

    Absolutely right sir. BRAVO…..:)


  • A2Z
    May 22, 2012 - 3:22PM

    “Superb”, “Bravo”, “Brilliant”, “Great”….In our society children are working on the streets instead of education, where is “ghiarat” brigade involved in it but definitely you the “beghairat” brigade. You the “Beghairats”, seculars and liberals are the root cause of majority of the problems. If politicians would have done something for the benefit of common people then we would not need to indulge in this useless discussion of “Ghairat” and “Begiarat” Brigade.


  • Sameer Siddiqui
    May 22, 2012 - 6:34PM

    The notion of honour cannot exist without prejudices. Abolishing prejudice would automatically take care of the honour syndrome.


  • Bhuley Shah
    May 24, 2012 - 2:16PM

    ‘beghairat / ghairat’ is a relative term and the rulers have mastered in using it to gain sympathy.
    Maufi nama is spontanous reaction when other party feels that something has gone wrong,- why one has to ask for it.


  • Riz Khan Mehsud
    Jun 22, 2012 - 5:08AM

    Super pathetic work, such a lame research. By Ghairat we mean values, without the values its hard to distinguish between a human and wild bore.

    Your piece of work reflects slave mindedness at its peak. I have heard about you from friends and colleagues, this is the first piece of your writting that I have gone through and it was epic disappointment.


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