Pirification of Religion + NGOisation of Politics = ZERO

Well, I'm coming to figure something out that's rather annoying. There are two streams to the annoyance. The first in the field of religious practise, the other is in 'development'.

Its probably the same annoyance, which is why I'm putting them in the same post. The first was from something I read in Fazlur Rahman's Modernist tome 'Islam' (1965). He is not particularly impressed by Sufism. Appreciating some of the great personalities produced by it from time to time he sees problems in;
  • the spiritual delinquency it has caused, often exploited by clever Sufi leaders for their own ends.
  • the various deep and paralysing effects that it has on society
  • the army's and masses resistance to reform of it
  • its Messianism
I can see where he is coming from if i empathise with his predicament (pakistan nation building 1960s, fundos to the left alcopaks to the right, military on top, poverty beneath). Rather than reform orthodoxy and make it more flexible and able to surmount the challenges of modernity, people cop out and satisfy themselves with little vested interest cults.  Why not? they are spiritually satisfying, draped in history, identity, comfort and old wisdom. They are a whole lot deeper than Revivalist movements.

Now NGOisation. Rather than social reform through innovative means, folks set up organisations that, as James Ferguson points out in 'The Anti-Politics Machine' (1994), switch of the politics and turn everything into little problems to be solved technocratic. They often take money from (home or foreign) governments and service their interests rather than anything interesting. In the UK we see government turning the third sector into limp service providers. In places like Bangladesh, we see a lucrative disgusting  and hopeless development industry. 

But why not NGOise? It is satisfying, target can be set and reached, it seems a whole lot more virtuous that selling out completely to soulless individualistic, liberolic capitalism.

That's my annoyance. The abdication and misleadingness of copping out. Copping out doesn't answer the question or the challenge. It's like Muslims being secularist, personally it might satisfy, but in reality it is a failure of faith and imagination

Once one has copped out there are so many more problems. You observe cool and once funky people behaving oddly: ingratiating themselves with government; monopolising access to their scholastic leaders; doing crap development work; ungling themselves in narrow alleyway and sometimes even using the 'S' word.

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