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Purist Among the Pure: the Forgotten Inventor of Pakistan
The man who coined the country's name was expelled from it, and died in exile
Pakistan was born on the top deck of a London bus. Or on a walk along the Thames – different witnesses, different stories. What's more certain, is the time: the early 1930s; and the place where that place-name was first committed to paper: a modest boarding house at 3 Humberstone Road  in Cambridge.
That was the correspondence address on Chaudhari Rahmat Ali's first and best-known pamphlet. In Now or Never: Are We to Live or Perish Forever?, he first commits that fateful toponym to paper. The neologism, entirely of his own making, becomes a runaway success, and the basis for a 'Pakistan Movement'.
If Rahmat Ali  himself is now largely forgotten, it is perhaps because of the querulant passion of the purist with which he propagated his plan for the post-independence future of Muslims in British India. His vision of a commonwealth of faith-based homelands, which he called Dinia, now has the ring of fantastic fiction to it.
As so often with purists, he ended up the sole defender of his ideas, even as the name 'Pakistan' became the rallying cry for a slightly different cause. Broke and alone, Rahmat Ali died in Cambridge on 3 February 1951, during an influenza epidemic.
His obituary in the Emmanuel College Magazine later that year reads: “[T]his obscure and single-handed undergraduate of Emmanuel College [...] has influenced world events, and may yet influence the future, more than falls to the lot of most men […] By mere accident, we may have made the College a place of pilgrimage to the faithful or the curious, and have added another name to be misunderstood by the guide books. This College was the College of the founder of Pakistan - If a guide were to be overheard in such a story it would be a much truer one than many which are heard today in our Front Court about John Harvard ”.
Rahmat Ali was born in 1895 in the Punjabi town of Balachaur, graduated from Islamia College in Lahore in 1918 before teaching at that city's Aitchison College, moving to Punjab University to study law and then to Cambridge to join Emmanuel College. He came from a devout family: his father only gave him permission to go to England if he promised he would refrain from dancing. Throughout his life, Rahmat Ali performed the five daily prayers required of Muslims.
In 1933, he obtained his BA and in 1940 his MA from Cambridge. Rahmat Ali was called to the bar from Middle Temple in London in 1943. But the passionate young man's ambition lay not with the law, but with nation-building. As the aforementioned obituary would later note, “the subject which he had […] made his life” was “the defence of Islam against Hindu nationalism”.
In his pamphlets, Rahmat Ali waged a “grim and fateful struggle against political crucifixion and national annihilation” on behalf of his co-religionists. He was convinced that “Our brave but voiceless nation [was] being sacrificed on the altar of Hindu Nationalism not only by the non-Muslims, but also, to their lasting shame, by our own so-called leaders with a reckless disregard of our protests and in utter contempt of the warnings of history”.
By which he referred to an agreement at the so-called Round Table Conference, where campaigners against British rule in India had agreed to an All-India Federation. This would have maintained the territorial integrity of the British Raj post independence, but – Rahmat Ali feared – would fatally minoritise Muslims in a Hindu-dominated state.
Being a devout Muslim, he sought inspiration in early Islamic history. Rahmat Ali believed that, after the example of the Prophet Muhammad's success in uniting various Arab tribes under the banner of Islam, Muslim Indians had to reform and regroup to become an independent entity within India – to adopt their religion as their nationality, irrespective of the multitude of their languages and cultures.
In Now or Never, which was published on 28 January 1933, Rahmat Ali proposed a separate territorial entity for the Indian subcontinent's Muslim population. Originally spelled Pakstan, the name for that entity has a double meaning. Literally, it is the 'Land of the Pure' ('pak' in both Persian and Urdu). It is also an acronym for the 5 majority-Muslim areas that it would comprise: P for Punjab, A for the North-West Frontier Province (often called Afghania), K for Kashmir, S for Sindh, and -tan from Baluchistan. The -i- was later interposed to facilitate pronunciation.
In the same year, Rahmat Ali also founded the Pakistan National Movement. But the high point of this revolutionary career was the coining of the future country's name. Pakistan became the rallying cry of other, more successful groups – most notably the Muslim League of Ali Jinnah, who would lead Pakistan to independence and is still revered as the country's Quaid-i-Azam ('Great Leader').
In contrast, the Pakistan National Movement was a one-man operation: Rahmat Ali continued to draft and meticulously redraft his pamphlets, distributing them from a string of Cambridge boarding houses to intellectuals and newspapers in India and England, often quarrelling with correspondents and eventually falling out with his landladies and secretary.
Rahmat Ali had a great sense of honour and duty, but was also quarrelsome and paranoid – he was always afraid of being robbed or murdered, and was convinced someone had tried to poison him while visiting Pakistan. He also believed he possessed healing powers, and could cure chickenpox by reciting a few lines of the Quran over the patient.
The coiner of Pakistan had few good things to say about its founding, which he called the 'Great Betrayal'. Its founder Jinnah he called Quisling-e-Azam . No doubt Rahmat Ali was traumatised by the violence and bloodshed at Partition. In a darkly ironic twist of fate, he also lost his ancestral lands and the associated income in the chaos that gave birth to Pakistan. And he was bitter that he wasn't acknowledged as the progenitor of the country's name. Quite the contrary: in April 1948, Rahmat Ali returned home to Pakistan, but Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan expelled him from the country that bore his name.
But mainly, Rahmat Ali opposed Pakistan as a twisted, reduced version of his maximalist dream (even though at its inception it also included what is now Bangladesh, then an exclaved East Pakistan). In his book Pakistan: the Fatherland of the Pak Nation, he outlined (and mapped) other Muslim-majority areas in the subcontinent as candidates for self-determination. Not content with fathering Pakistan, he also provided these with names of his own coinage.
These Muslim islands in the Hindu sea included Bangistan (almost contiguous with what was later to become Bangladesh), Osmanistan (in the Deccan) and smaller autonomous Muslim homelands which he named Haideristan, Siddiqistan, Faruqistan, Muinistan, Maplistan, Safiistan and Nasaristan (the latter two on Sri Lanka), among others.
Even the oceans were to be renamed: the Bay of Bengal was to become the Bangian Sea, that part of the Arabian Sea that laps the Pakistani coast was to be called the Pakian Sea and the Laccadive Sea the Safian Sea.
The map also shows how Rahmat Ali envisioned Pakistan's borders: not only including all of Kashmir, but also, as great and ancient centres of Muslim civilisation, Delhi and Agra.
The overarching federation Rahmat Ali called Pakasia, but more often Dinia – again, a name with a double meaning: not just a reconfiguration of the word India, but also a reference to the Arab concept of Deen, 'religion'.
Rahmat Ali conceived of this Muslim/non-Muslim configuration not as a Western-style federation of totally independent states, but saw it through the prism of the Muslim millet system, whereby each confessional community would have legal autonomy for matters pertaining to personal law (i.e. Sharia courts for Muslims, and parallel systems for Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, etc.)
Ironically, the millet system implies a single, overarching political system for the entire subcontinent for all matters transcending the personal and/or spiritual. If Rahmat Ali's entire message had been heard instead of just that single word, he might not have been the obscure inventor of Pakistan, but the celebrated father of an All-India Federation, with religious autonomy for Muslims, Hindus and other faiths.
But no. Rahmat Ali died estranged from all his friends but one, the elusive Dr. Ezzat Abu Hindia of the Royal Geographic Society (India), who reportedly was with him when he passed away.
He was buried at Newmarket Road cemetery in Cambridge, at the expense of Emmanuel College; perhaps as a tribute to its spiritual father, or in recognition of its debt to the man, the government of Pakistan later reimbursed the College for its expenses.
Strange Maps #647
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 The house is the object of a small but steady trickle of Pakistani pilgrims, curious to see the address associated with the pamphlet, which became known as the Pakistan Declaration. Humberstone Road has another claim to fame. Not only is it the birthplace of a nation, it also has the shortest double yellow (no parking) lines in the UK – just over a foot long.
 Chaudhari, also spelled in various other ways, including Chaudri, Chowdhury, and Caudhari, is a hereditary honorific, now also used as a common surname, first conferred by the Delhi Sultanate on local nobility required to collect taxes and allowed to retain a quarter of the revenue instead of the usual 10%. (The name literally means 'holder of [a] four[th]').
 John Harvard (1607-1638) is both one of the most famous and one of the most obscure graduates of Emmanuel College. His stained-glass portrait in Emmanuel's chapel is a longer-haired likeness of Milton. He is famous only for giving his name to the eponymous university in America – and not, as often erroneously reported, by founding it, but by bequeathing it with his library of 400 books, and half of his estate: £1,700, back then a considerable sum, and one that allowed the college to survive.
 After the Norwegian Nazi leader Quisling, whose name became a byword for traitor.
Certain water beetles can escape from frogs after being consumed.
- A Japanese scientist shows that some beetles can wiggle out of frog's butts after being eaten whole.
- The research suggests the beetle can get out in as little as 7 minutes.
- Most of the beetles swallowed in the experiment survived with no complications after being excreted.
In what is perhaps one of the weirdest experiments ever that comes from the category of "why did anyone need to know this?" scientists have proven that the Regimbartia attenuata beetle can climb out of a frog's butt after being eaten.
The research was carried out by Kobe University ecologist Shinji Sugiura. His team found that the majority of beetles swallowed by black-spotted pond frogs (Pelophylax nigromaculatus) used in their experiment managed to escape about 6 hours after and were perfectly fine.
"Here, I report active escape of the aquatic beetle R. attenuata from the vents of five frog species via the digestive tract," writes Sugiura in a new paper, adding "although adult beetles were easily eaten by frogs, 90 percent of swallowed beetles were excreted within six hours after being eaten and, surprisingly, were still alive."
One bug even got out in as little as 7 minutes.
Sugiura also tried putting wax on the legs of some of the beetles, preventing them from moving. These ones were not able to make it out alive, taking from 38 to 150 hours to be digested.
Naturally, as anyone would upon encountering such a story, you're wondering where's the video. Thankfully, the scientists recorded the proceedings:
The Regimbartia attenuata beetle can be found in the tropics, especially as pests in fish hatcheries. It's not the only kind of creature that can survive being swallowed. A recent study showed that snake eels are able to burrow out of the stomachs of fish using their sharp tails, only to become stuck, die, and be mummified in the gut cavity. Scientists are calling the beetle's ability the first documented "active prey escape." Usually, such travelers through the digestive tract have particular adaptations that make it possible for them to withstand extreme pH and lack of oxygen. The researchers think the beetle's trick is in inducing the frog to open a so-called "vent" controlled by the sphincter muscle.
"Individuals were always excreted head first from the frog vent, suggesting that R. attenuata stimulates the hind gut, urging the frog to defecate," explains Sugiura.
For more information, check out the study published in Current Biology.
New research from the University of Granada found that stress could help determine sex.
Stress in the modern world is generally viewed as a hindrance to a healthy life.
Indeed, excess stress is associated with numerous problems, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, insomnia, depression, obesity, and other conditions. While the physiological mechanisms associated with stress can be beneficial, as Kelly McGonigal points out in The Upside of Stress, the modern wellness industry is built on the foundation of stress relief.
The effects of stress on pregnant mothers is another longstanding area of research. For example, what potential negative effects do elevated levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine have on fetal development?
A new study, published in the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, investigated a very specific aspect of stress on fetuses: does it affect sex? Their findings reveal that women with elevated stress are twice as likely to give birth to a girl.
For this research, the University of Granada scientists recorded the stress levels of 108 women before, during, and after conception. By testing cortisol concentration in their hair and subjecting the women to a variety of psychological tests, the researchers discovered that stress indeed influences sex. Specifically, stress made women twice as likely to deliver a baby girl.
The team points out that their research is consistent with other research that used saliva to show that stress resulted in a decreased likelihood of delivering a boy.
Maria Isabel Peralta RamírezPhoto courtesy of University of Granada
Lead author María Isabel Peralta Ramírez, a researcher at the UGR's Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment, says that prior research focused on stress levels leading up to and after birth. She was interested in stress's impact leading up to conception. She says:
"Specifically, our research group has shown in numerous publications how psychological stress in the mother generates a greater number of psychopathological symptoms during pregnancy: postpartum depression, a greater likelihood of assisted delivery, an increase in the time taken for lactation to commence (lactogenesis), or inferior neurodevelopment of the baby six months after birth."
While no conclusive evidence has been rendered, the research team believes that activation of the mother's endogenous stress system during conception sets the concentration of sex hormones that will be carried throughout development. As the team writes, "there is evidence that testosterone functions as a mechanism when determining the baby's sex, since the greater the prenatal stress levels, the higher the levels of female testosterone." Levels of paternal stress were not factored into this research.
Previous studies show that sperm carrying an X chromosome are better equipped to reach the egg under adverse conditions than sperm carrying the Y chromosome. Y fetuses also mature slowly and are more likely to produce complications than X fetuses. Peralta also noted that there might be more aborted male fetuses during times of early maternal stress, which would favor more girls being born under such circumstances.
In the future, Peralta and her team say an investigation into aborted fetuses should be undertaken. Right now, the research was limited to a small sample size that did not factor in a number of elements. Still, the team concludes, "the research presented here is pioneering to the extent that it links prenatal stress to the sex of newborns."
Stay in touch with Derek on Twitter and Facebook. His most recent book is "Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."
The world's 10 most affected countries are spending up to 59% of their GDP on the effects of violence.
- Conflict and violence cost the world more than $14 trillion a year.
- That's the equivalent of $5 a day for every person on the planet.
- Research shows that peace brings prosperity, lower inflation and more jobs.
- Just a 2% reduction in conflict would free up as much money as the global aid budget.
- Report urges governments to improve peacefulness, especially amid COVID-19.
What is the price of peace?
Or put another way, how much better off would we all be in a world where armed conflict was avoided?
To give some context, 689 million people - more than 9% of the world's population - live on less than $1.90 a day, according to World Bank figures, underscoring the potential impact peace-building activities could have.
Just over 10% of global GDP is being spent on containing, preventing and dealing with the consequences of violence. As well as the 1.4 million violent deaths each year, conflict holds back economic development, causes instability, widens inequality and erodes human capital.
Putting a price tag on peace and violence helps us see the disproportionately high amounts spent on creating and containing violent acts compared to what is spent on building resilient, productive, and peaceful societies.
—Steve Killelea, founder and executive chairman, Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP)
The cost of violence
In a report titled "The Economic Value of Peace 2021", the IEP says that for every death from violent conflict, 40 times as many people are injured. The world's 10 most affected countries are spending up to 59% of their GDP on the effects of violence.
Grounds for hope
But the picture is not all bleak. The economic impact of violence fell for the second year in a row in 2019, as parts of the world became more peaceful.
The global cost dropped by $64 billion between 2018 and 2019, even though it was still $1.2 trillion higher than in 2012.
In five regions of the world the costs increased in 2019. The biggest jump was in Central America and the Caribbean, where a rising homicide rate pushed the cost up 8.3%.
Syria, with its ongoing civil war, suffered the greatest economic impact with almost 60% of its GDP lost to conflict in 2019. That was followed by Afghanistan (50%) and South Sudan (46%).
The report makes a direct link between peace and prosperity. It says that, since 2000, countries that have become more peaceful have averaged higher GDP growth than those which have become more violent.
"This differential is significant and represents a GDP per capita that is 30% larger when compounded over a 20-year period," the report says adding that peaceful countries also have substantially lower inflation and unemployment.
"Small improvements in peace can have substantial economic benefits," it adds. "For example, a 2% reduction in the global impact of violence is roughly equivalent to all overseas development aid in 2019."
Equally, the total value of foreign direct investment globally only offsets 10% of the economic impact of violence. Authoritarian regimes lost on average 11% of GDP to the costs of violence while in democracies the cost was just 4% of GDP.
And the gap has widened over time, with democracies reducing the cost of violence by almost 16% since 2007 while in authoritarian countries it has risen by 27% over the same period.
The report uses 18 economic indicators to evaluate the cost of violence. The top three are military spending (which was $5.9 trillion globally in 2019), the cost of internal security which makes up over a third of the total at $4.9 trillion and homicide.
Peace brings prosperity
The formula also contains a multiplier effect because as peace increases, money spent containing violence can instead be used on more productive activities which drive growth and generate higher monetary and social returns.
"Substantial economic improvements are linked to improvements in peace," says the report. "Therefore, government policies should be directed to improving peacefulness, especially in a COVID-19 environment where economic activity has been subdued."
The IEP says what it terms "positive peace" is even more beneficial than "negative peace" which is simply the absence of violence or the fear of violence. Positive peace involves fostering the attitudes, institutions & structures that create and sustain peaceful societies.
The foundations of a positively peaceful society, it says, are: a well functioning government, sound business environment, acceptance of the rights of others, good relations with neighbours, free flow of information, high levels of human capital, low levels of corruption and equitable distribution of resources.
The World Economic Forum's report Mobilizing the Private Sector in Peace and Reconciliation urged companies large and small to recognise their potential to work for peace quoting the former Goldman Sachs chair, the late Peter Sutherland, who said: "Business thrives where society thrives."
The lush biodiversity of South America's rainforests is rooted in one of the most cataclysmic events that ever struck Earth.