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Harvard Professor on Cousin Marriages, Kinship and Democracy in Pakistan

Ahmet Pasha

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In his recently published book entitled "The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous", Harvard Professor Joseph Henrich argues that western democracy and prosperity in America and Europe can be traced back to the Catholic Church's ban on cousin marriages and polygamy. These bans promoted individualism and created what is now known as a "nuclear family". Cousin marriages and strong kinship remain prevalent in present-day Pakistan, according to the author. While the extent of kinship (biradri) networks in Pakistan is much higher than in America and Europe, it is not as high as in Africa and the Middle East. Biradris (kinships) play a powerful role in Pakistan's elections and political patronage networks. These run counter to the precepts of western-style democracy and national prosperity.


What's WEIRD About the West?

The WEIRD acronym in the title of the book stands for Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democracies. It represents the the West's cultural evolution (distinct from biological evolution) over the last few centuries that has produced what the author describes as "Self-focused, individualistic, nonconforming, patient, trusting, analytic, and intention-obsessed capture just a small sampling of the ways in which WEIRD people are psychologically unusual when seen in a global and historical perspective".



Kinship Intensity Index:

The extent of kinship in Pakistan is much higher than in America and Europe but not as high as in Africa and the Middle East. Professor Henrich defines what he calls Kinship Intensity Index to capture the strength of kinship in different societies.

The KII combines the data about cousin marriage, nuclear families, bilateral inheritance, neo-local residence, and monogamous marriage (vs. polygyny) with information on clans and customs about marrying within a certain community (endogamy).

Biradri's Role in Pakistani Elections:

Electioneering in Pakistan is rarely about debating issues and offering solutions; it's more about biradris (kinship networks). Political parties and politicians are rarely judged based on their capabilities, ideas and performance. The focus is on recruiting "electable" candidates with a known vote bank of their ethnicity and "biradri" (clan).

Pakistan's mainstream political parties continue to rely on the "electables" to win general elections. "Electables" are powerful, resourceful and wealthy, often land-owning individuals from certain biradris who have a greater chance of winning enough votes to get elected regardless of their party affiliation. Major political parties recruit them to run on their "tickets" as their nominees. Winning more seats in the parliament helps political parties form governments to gain control of the state's resources for the benefit of their leaders and their cronies in their political patronage networks. It is a good investment for the electables to be aligned with the party in power.

The preference for "electables" perpetuates the status quo and preserves the power of the privileged few. It denies the opportunity for new aspiring entrants to bring about any positive change. It depresses new voter turnout and discourages wider participation in the political process.

Kinship (Biradri) in Pakistan:

Professor Joseph Henrich says that kinship system (biradri), cousin marriages and polygamy remain prevalent in Pakistan. He cites a study showing that cousin marriages were 76% of all marriages for second-generation Pakistani Brits, while in Pakistan comparable rates were under 50%.

To make this point about identities, the author cites a 1972 quote from late Pakistani politician Khan Abdul Wali Khan who said, “I have been a Pashtun for six thousand years, a Muslim for thirteen hundred years, and a Pakistani for twenty-five.” Professor Henrich explains that "what Khan was saying is that his lineage comes well before both Islam and Pakistan. In fact, his dates suggest that his lineage was four to five times more important than his universalizing religion, Islam, and 240 times more important than his country, Pakistan".

Strong Society, Weak State:

British Professor Anatol Lieven described Pakistan as "strong society, weak state" in his 2012 book entitled "Pakistan: A Hard Country". Here's an excerpt of his book:

Marriage with members of the same kinship group, and when possible of the same extended family, is explicitly intended to maintain the strength, solidarity and reliability of these groups against dilution by outsiders. (Professor Alison) Shaw writes of the Pakistanis of Oxford that in the year 2000, almost fifty years after they first started arriving in Britain, there had been barely any increase in the proportion of marriages with non-kin, and that over the previous fifteen years 59% of marriages had been with first cousins; and the proportion in strongly Pakistani cities such as Bradford is even higher:

Greater wealth was perceived not solely in terms of individual social mobility, although it provides opportunities for this, but in terms of raising the status of a group of kin relation in their wider biradiri and neighbours in Pakistan . . . Status derives not only from wealth, mainly in terms of property and business, but also from respectability (primarily) expressed by an ashraf (noble) lifestyle. One element of being considered a man worthy of respect derives from having a reputation as being someone who honours his obligations to kin. Cousin marriage is one of the most important expressions of this obligation. The majority of east Oxford families have not achieved social mobility and status through massive accumulation of property and business. For them the marriage of their children to the children of siblings in Pakistan is an important symbol of honour and respectability, a public statement that even families separated by continents recognize their mutual obligations.

Summary:

Harvard's Professor Joe Henrich has argued in his recent book that the Catholic Church's ban on cousin marriages and polygamy has spurred democracy and prosperity in the West. The ban has promoted individualism and created the modern nuclear family. This cultural evolution of the West has distinguished it from much of Asia and Africa where kinship remains strong. While the extent of kinship (biradri) networks in Pakistan is much higher than in America and Europe, it is not as high as in Africa and the Middle East. Biradris (kinships) play a powerful role in Pakistan's elections and political patronage networks. These run counter to the precepts of western-style democracy and national prosperity.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan's Rough Road to Democracy

Asian Tiger Dictators Brought Prosperity; Democracy Followed

Political Patronage Trumps Public Policy in Pakistan

Why Do Pakistanis Prefer Military Over Political Parties?

US DoD 1999 Forecast: Pakistan Disappears by 2015

Has Pakistan Lost All Wars to India?

Pakistani Politicians' Corruption & Money Laundering

Is India a Paper Elephant?

CPEC & Digital BRI

Pakistan's National Resilience, Success Against COVID19

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We had cousin marriages and "bridari" when gora didn't how to cook food properly and eat it properly at the table. We gave gora spices, lute, new technology, Algebra, Camera, Chemistry, First flying man literally.

Now gora shows off with 7 course meal(which muslims introduced to the world. I believe it was an Ottomon who invented it). Acts all civilized. In name of civilization they have raped, murdered and pillaged their way to prosperity. From Far East to India to Africa to Middle East. These rich white nations have blood on their hands.

Marrying your cousin is not like marrying Satan. But according to hadith it should be minimized.
Cousin marriage is a device to maintain kinship (biradri) networks that have negative political and economic consequences for the nation. Biradris promote nepotism and work against meritocracy.
Problem is lack of shaur(education, knowldege, awareness) a person can be nepotismic. Even without biradri in Pakistan.

Another problem is Feudal wadera.
Wadera sugar/flour mills should have a slogan.
Proudly leeching off of Pakistan since 1947!
So according to him Americans stigmatizing Cousin marriages has made prosperous. Although i do agree on avoiding cousin marriages for medical reasons but saying that it has transformed western society is nothing but load of crap.
Dude medical risk to babies only goes up to 0.0007% last I checked. Negligible. Toooo many healthy, strong and chalak af children from cousin marriages running around in Pakistani streets.

Difference is from the beginning that kid is abused through beatings, yelling, desi emotional manipulation/blackmail, creativity and ingenuity is discouraged in favor of what is safe and secure(all the careers gora gave us during gora raj) no entrepreneurship is garnered in our society, upbringing and education system. All this manipulation and abuse goes far into adulthood.

So are these the problems or marrying a cousin??

Oh wait gora says marrying cousin is like marrying daughter of Iblees so it must be true!
Westerners don't have any concept of family, what would they understand kinship?
Cusine marriages though should be legally banned.
Dude the Western research about cousin marriage producing messed up children is faulty, unreliable.

But Hadis DOES say cousin marriage should be minimized. So new bonds can be formed.

A lot of the cousin marriage research in West surfaced at the same time when they were presenting Eugenics as miracle cure to world's problems.

There are activists negating it but no one listens to them. Because they are not LGBTQ, Gays or Drag queens working for Iblees agenda and pleasure.
 
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Talwar e Pakistan

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We had cousin marriages and "bridari" when gora didn't how to cook food properly and eat it properly at the table. We gave gora spices, lute, new technology, Algebra, Camera, Chemistry, First flying man literally.
Not saying that these factors are correlated, though, interestingly the era you are describing is when cousin marriages were common in Europe and less so in the Muslim world.

Biradaris/Qabailas have been in modern-day Pakistan since 1800-1500 BCE and played a significant factor in preventing large sustainable indigenous polities, however, the endogamous aspect of our tribal social structure is fairly recent.
 
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their values shouldn't be implanted into our societies
You think? All these have Western roots and were planted by British on arid soil of what is now Pakistan -

  • idea of modern nation state
  • idea of judicial system
  • idea of a police system
  • idea of military system
  • idea of government administration
  • idea of English language PDF uses
  • etc
We gave gora spices
Actually they gave it to us. Chillies etc

Ottomon who invented it
Memo. Ottoman were gora. Ever been to Istanbul? See pictures below -

Algebra, Camera, Chemistry
A-rabs


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Itachi

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Forced into it due to tax incentives offered by the governments.
And if the tax incentives weren't there.....there would be lesser marriages along with not more legal marriages, just bf/gf lifestyle...
 

El Sidd

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And if the tax incentives weren't there.....there would be lesser marriages along with not more legal marriages, just bf/gf lifestyle...
There should be less marriages. People are marrying for just the sake of it in Pakistan are ruining fundamental blocks of society just as militias of bastards era we entering.
 

Ahmet Pasha

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Not saying that these factors are correlated, though, interestingly the era you are describing is when cousin marriages were common in Europe and less so in the Muslim world.

Biradaris/Qabailas have been in modern-day Pakistan since 1800-1500 BCE and played a significant factor in preventing large sustainable indigenous polities, however, the endogamous aspect of our tribal social structure is fairly recent.
Dude Muslim countries have the highest rates of cousin marriage historically we've had it since the beginning. Christian Europe both medieval and renaissance era were against cousin marriage.
You think? All these have Western roots and were planted by British on arid soil of what is now Pakistan -

  • idea of modern nation state
  • idea of judicial system
  • idea of a police system
  • idea of military system
  • idea of government administration
  • idea of English language PDF uses
  • etc
Actually they gave it to us. Chillies etc

Memo. Ottoman were gora. Ever been to Istanbul? See pictures below -

A-rabs


View attachment 691475

View attachment 691478
States before also had government administration police, military and judicial branches. Gora anokha paida nai hoa. Ottomans were Muslims whether Turk or Arab. Turks are central asian blood mixed with european that's why they look white.
 
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Pandora

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You think? All these have Western roots and were planted by British on arid soil of what is now Pakistan -

  • idea of modern nation state
  • idea of judicial system
  • idea of a police system
  • idea of military system
  • idea of government administration
  • idea of English language PDF uses
  • etc
Actually they gave it to us. Chillies etc

Memo. Ottoman were gora. Ever been to Istanbul? See pictures below -

A-rabs


View attachment 691475

View attachment 691478
Highly debatable Idea of judiciary, Military, police, Public administration have roots in much previous civilisations. Europe got concept of human rights just in last century otherwise kind of atrocities they committed speak for themselves. Even now their laws serve their own version of humarights not ours. Assuming everything originated from west is ludicrous. Concept of modernism dawned on them after they slaughtered millions across the globe and made them slaves. They robbed locals of wealth and resources and built themselves a civilisation. Take their wealth away even today and you will get to see their concept of modernism in close.
 
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khansaheeb

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Cousin marriage is a device to maintain kinship (biradri) networks that have negative political and economic consequences for the nation. Biradris promote nepotism and work against meritocracy.
what evidence do you have to support your statement?

Europeans became wealthy due to slavery and stolen wealth from countries and then exploitation of poor immigrants.
 
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