1929: Ilm Deen, blasphemy avenger

On this date in 1929, the Punjabi Muslim youth Ilm Deen was hanged for murdering a blasphemous publisher.

The Rangila Rasul is a pamphlet-length send-up satirizing the “widely experienced”, chortle chortle, Prophet Muhammad for his many wives; Muslim fury at its publication brought the Raj to legislate against “outraging the religious feelings of any class” — a law that’s still on the books in India.

However, there was no such law at the time of the naughty screed’s publication, and as a result the Hindu publisher, Mahashe Rajpal of Lahore, was acquitted of any charge in 1929.

‘Twas a temporary exoneration, for Ilm Deen (or Ilm-ud-din, or Ilmuddin), a 20-year-old carpenter, delivered his verdict extrajudicially by daggering Rajpal in the chest in a Lahore bazaar on April 6, 1929.

The assassin’s speedy trip to the Raj’s gallows thereafter only cinched his place as a sectarian, and later (for Pakistan) national, martyr; the poet Allama Iqbal exclaimed at the young man’s funeral that “this uneducated young man has surpassed us, the educated ones!” To this day, Ilm Deen’s solemn tomb is a place of pilgrimage and veneration.

The case remains a fraught precedent for latter-day sectarian tension, as well as a ready vein of propaganda as with Ghazi Ilam Din Shaheed, a 1978 film released under the Pakistani military government after overthrowing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

On this day..

Striking Midnight: Executed Today’s 12th Annual Report

Today’s* post makes it an even dozen years since Executed Today was born to werewolves way back on Halloween 2007.

That also makes this very post the 12th installment of the “annual reports” series, one which has trended increasingly pro forma here in the site’s silver age.

I’m afraid our 2019 edition will be no exception.

For an anticipated 3-to-5-year project, every year — hell, every day — is terra incognita. Certainly carrying the blog across the entire 2010s was never an expectation; merely reaching the 2010s would have sufficed to my imagination back when this all started. And while the plan at this point of course includes closing out the decade, the site’s senescence, already well underway, will not likely permit a very deep expedition into the 2020s.

I’m leaving myself some wiggle room since there’s no fixed date but the site has already accomplished what I dreamt for it tenfold and there are days when it feels not merely laborious but self-indulgent.

Executed Today is all about orchestrated partings but it’ll be a hard and reluctant separation for this writer whenever the time comes: still, that time is surely coming.

Call it triskaidekaphobia as we mount the scaffold for an unimaginable 13th year — in what condition to descend, no headsman can foresee.

* Yes, this post was backdated to the anniversary.

On this day..