Who is Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy? Part 1

Who is Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy? Part 1

By Haleema Khalid

Who is Dr. Hoodbhoy?

A Reformer or a Scholar?

A Physicist or an Activist?

A Secular Humanist?

A Native Orientalist?

People associated with education sector are expected to own responsibility towards nation building.

However, the past few days have revealed how a certain ‘social status’ is being used to misconstrue and distort the facts by floating disinformation over the matter of Single Nation Curriculum (SNC).

Moreover, Dr. Hoodbhoy’s views on religion, Pakistan’s ideology, Jinnah’s vision, Iqbal’s philosophy, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, Pakistan Army, Fall of Dhaka, PTM in Balochistan, Kashmir’s fight for freedom and Islamophobia, have been found to be concerning considering the ideological underpinnings of Pakistan in addition to the social acceptance of his views by the public at large.

The concerns become grave when such views have been backed up by the statements, such as:

“this was a country not made for the Armed forces of Pakistan, this is a country made for its people” and “Pakistan needs no ideology”. Yet, ironically, his own claims are deeply embedded in a Secular Humanist ideology.

Secular Humanism is an outgrowth of eighteenth-century enlightenment rationalism and nineteenth century free-thought.

Historically, the term Humanism has been in use since pre-Socratic times. However, during Renaissance, Secularism merged with Humanism in response to the exploits of the Roman Catholicism and emerged as an anti-Christian movement. It advocated a comprehensive non-religious life stance incorporating a naturalistic philosophy, a cosmic outlook rooted in science, and a consequentialist ethical system.

Since, Pakistan’s inception is deeply rooted in the ideology based on the religion, it appears, it has been assumed by a certain segment, of which Dr. Hoodbhoy is a part, that Pakistan is being governed by, ‘Government of the Mosque’.

Here, Dr. Hoodbhoy needs to understand that unlike ‘The Church’ in the Middle Ages, the State is not being exploited by ‘The Mosque’ in the era of Post-Postmodernism. Besides, unlike Christianity, Islam came with “legal concepts” with “civic significance”, with its “religious ideals” considered as inseparable from social order. Thus, by advocating that replacing Islam with Secular Humanism, because, Secular Humanism “alone offers the hope of providing everybody on this globe with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, Dr. Hoodbhoy has echoed the Orientalist fallacy.

(E. Said (Orientalism, 1979) defined Orientalism as a system of thought dominating the Western perception of the East.)

Undoubtedly, everybody has to face a different set of circumstances in life that shape our perspectives concerning the global happenings in general and the social setting we are a part of in particular. Since, everybody has a right to have an opinion, it is obligatory to have it supported by the ‘correct’ facts instead of distorted, misinterpreted and incorrect facts. Considering his recent panel discussions and articles published by the leading newspapers of Pakistan, what needs to be realized is the fact that ideas can be good or bad, however, they must not be incorrect.

In order to get to know the underlying ‘why’ and ‘how’, we need to understand the contextual factors that formulate one’s cognition in a social setting. For this purpose, it is essential to acquaint ourselves with the key concept of ‘self’ from the perspective of social psychology to comprehend the circumstances that shaped Dr. Hoodbhoy’s cognition which eventually has resulted into the adoption of ‘socially unaccepted’ notions regarding significant socio-cultural conceptions.

This documentary unveils the contextual factors that have influenced Dr. Hoodbhoy’s cognition in a social setting. Moreover, it also provides a glimpse of how in Pakistan’s democracy, ‘freedom of expression’ is being used by a group of intellectuals and liberals in general and Dr. Pervez Amir Ali Hoodbhoy in particular to produce a narrative targeting the foundational ideology of Pakistan by using the education sector.


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  2. Hardie, G. M. (2004). The Essence of Humanism: Free Thought Versus Religious Belief. Xlibris Corporation.
  3. Naipaul, V. S. (2012). Beyond belief: Islamic excursions among the converted peoples. Pan Macmillan.
  4. https://www.facebook.com/notes/qau-physics-department/life-and-activism-of-dr-pervez-hoodbhoy-an-old-interview/1275387219156038
  5. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2152875/6-need-nation-ideology
  6. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/001872675400700204
  7. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/001872675400700202?icid=int.sj-abstract.similar-articles.2
  8. https://opentextbc.ca/socialpsychology/chapter/the-social-self-the-role-of-the-social-situation/
  9. https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/edwords-what-is-humanism/
  10. https://www.britannica.com/topic/humanism
  11. https://www.britannica.com/topic/secularism

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