Before I died – beaten black and blue by a lynch mob with a watchman’s stick, an iron rod, fists, kicks and head-butts – and before I committed blasphemy, I was a moderate believer. Now that I’m dead, I’m a nonbeliever. Not an atheist, but a nonbeliever.

There’s a difference between an atheist and a nonbeliever. The atheist doesn’t subscribe to the idea of God. He defies divinity. He doesn’t think life is controlled by an outside force, an extra-terrestrial entity. He doesn’t buy the notion of the divine, amorphous omnipotence. He says ‘no’ to Yazdan, mocks Zeus and looks at Shiva with a wry smile.

The nonbeliever just doesn’t believe. His grouse is about the truth. Truth – the virgin whore.

Before I died, I was a young man who was into philosophy, literature and music. Or had become one. It is a bit of an anomaly in a country like Pakistan where these subjects aren’t deemed fit to lead either a comfortable life or to do well in the Hereafter.

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