Almost certainly not! Modi would not do us a favour to save his life. The recent happening that I am referring to you is clear from news in the Daily Times of 9 March 2018 page B5, which reads: ‘Modi appoints committee of scholars to prove Hindus are descended from India’s first inhabitants’. What he is trying to achieve is not as innocent and harmless as it may seem to be. It’s a cover to steal the heritage of Indus Valley. For centuries, the Hindutva believers have done so. They succeeded for some millenniums, but ultimately the world historians were forced to re-write the history books when Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were discovered,and the Harappa/Indus Valley Civilisation was recognised. The perspective completely changed. It was the defeat of the Hindutva believing Aryan descendants. They had propagated that before 1500 BC was a dark period of 500 years, and then the Aryan/Hindus brought the ‘light’ for the rest of the world. There is no denying the contribution of the Aryans who had arrived from the caucuses. Aryans preserved some wisdom and culture of the Indus Valley people but denied the ancestry. This is what Modi is now trying once again to consolidate his Hindutva support by denying the ancestors again. Men like Modi, Trump, Netanyahu and Ziaul Haq cannot be written off, or intellectually rejected, by calling them ‘mad’. They may be mad but there is a method in their madness, and they are focused and cause long-term harm. Such people align with extremists of the ‘right’, generate hate and negativity and use these powers to perpetuate their control. They continue their ‘mad’ rule and leave a damaged society, living in fear, for a long time. Close to our experience: Zia transferred power to half-educated mullahs, not real religious scholars who understood the message of tolerance, peace and love. He ‘gifted’ madaris to continue to inject the half-baked mislead young people into the society. These youngsters had little understanding of the message of Almighty but assumed power by memorising without comprehending. Such individuals end up using pseudo-religious power, damaging the society, as well as the individuals, without guilt. The politicians use such groups for their perpetuation indiscriminately. The damage is done. Cultural heritage has little to do with religion. Religions only introduce some rituals and practices for life and the afterlife. No one should try to steal use cultural heritage for political reasons, and that too under the cover of religion It may take about half a century before society wakes up and resists strongly to recover its gentle, tolerant and wise character. ‘Wisdom’ in religion to ensure that it is not misused, and the perpetual message of love and tolerance from Almighty is well understood, and restored as in the character of individuals. Coming back to the intentions of Modi and his fellow Hindutva fanatics, it may be recalled that in their fanaticism they would stop at nothing, they even murdered Gandhi for siding with Muslims and lower classes. The intention to set up the so-called committee of ‘scholars’ is to tell the world once again that they have the roots of ‘Culture’ and ‘Heritage’ of the world. The obvious intention is to claim the high ground in the world cultures. Indian Aryans, particularly Brahmans, tried this before around1500BC. They convinced the world of being the world’s first culture and civilisation and publicised that there was a dark period before Rg Veda was composed. But Harappa was discovered, and the reality was exposed. The antiquity should have been gracefully accepted,and the continuity should have been a matter of pride. Even the Rg Veda recognises the inhabitants before and their conflicts with the Aryan God. Instead, the past was veiled, the wisdom of the past declared to be of the Brahmans and a class system among humans created to perpetuate Brahman hegemony. The original tribes were classified as Desis and downgraded to the lowest level of humanity. Modi may succeed in creating the impression he wants to create, because the original inheritors of the Indus Valley have shown little interest in preserving their heritage. Indus valley area is 95 percent in Pakistan and includes Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, and over 100 other towns. The only town of importance in India is Lothal. Almost all relics, signs of civilisation and culture are in Pakistan, but it still has not successfully presented the claim of Harappa as the oldest city in the world. The world knows it, but the formalities are not completed to give it the UNESCO protection. This symbolises the low level of interest taken by the agencies responsible to ensure the status of our valuable heritage. Heritage to a nation is like a parentage and family tree of an individual. It shows the depth of its culture and civilisation. Some misconceptions and misrepresentations have confused the nation. The so-called preachers of religion feel that the people of Pakistan should connect themselves only with Islam. Islam is the religion which can never be endangered by anyone. Islam has the protection of the Almighty. The important fact is that there is no conflict between heritage and religion. Religion is a matter of faith and belief in Allah’s instructions discipline their lives in accordance with the message revealed in Quran through the last prophet (PBUH). Islam does not ask you to deny your heritage. Beliefs can change, genetics cannot. Heritage is like the genetics of people. An Arab remains an Arab before and after accepting Islam. People of the Indus Valley will remain the people of Indus Valley whether they were from pre-religion eras or Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim era. Therefore, the heritage is a different and a very strong factor for pride for people. We, Pakistanis must get rid of the confusion and own our heritage without feeling a conflict with our religion. The Modi intent is to claim ownership to the whole of our heritage and take the cultural leadership of the world. While in fact, we are the owners of the whole and so-called ‘Hinduism’ shares a part. Modi is trying to trap us by claiming ‘Hindu’ ownership. We should not be trapped. The whole of Indus valley heritage is of the people in Pakistan. To win this battle, our scholars and government functionaries have to do much more. Armed forces can defend physical frontiers, and it is not their area to defend intellectual, historical and cultural frontiers. Victory or failure will be of civilians, politicians, government functionaries, researchers and intellectuals. How do we re-assert ourselves and reconfirm our position to the world? First: we need to publicise in every way the symbols of our heritage. The finds from Mehargarh, Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and other places should not remain just museum pieces. Their importance, age and significance in world culture must be fully brought forth. The replicas, not originals must be made under security supervision and scholars should be sent on lecture tours around the world with these exhibits. We must take all such symbols out of the ‘basements’ of the museums and should be brought to the knowledge of the world expert. Second: we must invest in getting the Harappan language interpreted. Prof. Parpola and several other scholars have done a lot,but we need to resolve the matter to reach conclusions. The way to do this needs investment. Probably 10 million dollars will suffice to engage and facilitate the world scholars/researchers in ancient languages to collect enough material from Indus/Mesopotamia trade communications, additional excavations, and the seals, to put together the language alphabets and read it. Partly, the language symbols have been understood,but more evidence is required to interpret confidently. If the Indus language is interpreted, it will be one of greatest contribution to humanity’s pool of knowledge. Pakistan should wear this crown. If the serious intention is shown, then the UNESCO will participate as they have done before. The interpretation of the Indus language will resolve the issue of the first language the humans used for communication. So far, it is estimated that it is proto Brahvi or Proto Saraiki languages. There is a commonality of some words with South Indian languages like Tamil but the link can be more clearly established after the status of Sanskrit in the region is determined clearly. So far, Proto-Sanskrit, arriving with the Aryans in around 2000 BC is considered the only ‘organised’ language. It has little to do with Hinduism; it has a lot to do with the migrating Aryan tribes which came in large waves and established hegemony over the original populace of the Indus Valley. The RG Veda is estimated to have appeared around 1500 BC and contains several verses describing how the Aryan Gods overpowered the ‘ugly’ original inhabitants. RG Veda is also the first book that indicates the emergence of new ‘Gods’ and the religion ‘Hinduism’. It is believed that prior to that era the society was regularised by the belief of ‘Female Goddess’. The Arians introduced the concept of male superiority and the concept of ‘Verna’ the ‘colour’ superiority. The local inhabitants at that time were compelled to be subjugated to the Brahmin class system. The Indian scholars would know the reality. For Modi, it is an effort to tell the world of the cultural superiority of Hindu class. Some Hindus are indeed very highly cultured, but that should not mean that their culture is inherited from the millennia for all ‘Hindus’. Cultural heritage has little to do with religion. Religions only introduce some rituals and practices for life and afterlife. No one should try to steal the historical facts of heritage for political reasons and the under cover of religion. I hope the point is understood, and those in the civil power become aware of the cultural superiority or cultural ownership that Modi is trying to achieve. The writer is Pakistani theatre, film and television actor, scholar, public speaker, columnist, teacher and dramatist Published in Daily Times, April 1st 2018.