Syed Qasim Raza
Every new year the world around us starts talking about ‘new year resolution’. This is a very common practice for not only common people around the world but also for businesses, organizations, institutions and even governments. This practice involves recalling the past year; analyzing the intended goals and the degree of achievement; measuring limitations and challenges faced in the past; planning better strategies for future; redefining resources; and finally making a fresh commitment to hit the nail on the head in future. Regardless of age, gender, religious belief, country, creed, language and political affiliation, this practice, in all honesty, appears to be very ‘smart and progressive’.
Regrettably, neither we see this ‘smart’ approach in practice by the government nor any state institution in Pakistan. However, our enemy is not as sluggish as we dream. The ‘new year resolution’ of terrorists is apparent by the recent series of attacks in the country. What are we doing? Are we facing something just new? Are we not fighting this for decades? The answer is not very unlikely to comprehend even for an inept. We are, perhaps purposely, not doing the indispensable to nip this evil in the bud. Terrorism is a parasite, ignorance is the host. The leaders in Pakistan should have brainstormed decades ago and made not just policies but systems to counter this mindset. Conversely, until now no one among our political leadership has done anything to be practically evaluated. Unless we do not understand our society, it is impossible to protect its vulnerability.
Our society, like many others in the world, has two major divisions; the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Many in our society, for a long time, has been disapproving a spontaneous acculturation to unsought ‘westernization’. For instance, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday are being observed by more and more ‘haves’ every year in Pakistan. The dissent from this rampant pleasure of being ‘modern’ can be seen and heard on media even more these days. We see examples on television, news, social media, public gatherings, social events, political rallies, schools, bazaars and streets criticizing this new, in fact very long existent, wave of incompatible culture and life-style in Pakistan.
Ironically, only a very few of these critics are not a vehicle of this change themselves and the rest is doing an absolute lip service. They all belong to the same ‘haves’ part of the society. Majority are inspired by a ‘modern’ way of life and advocates its inevitability in the New Age. On a mission to imitate the ‘first world’ countries, ‘haves’ are adopting alien way of life without a filter. Language, appearance, food, pleasure, birth, death, weddings, festivals, manners and habits are all being downloaded and immediately installed. This is the practice of resourceful part of the society. This is one side of the coin. However, every coin has two sides and opposite to each other.
True education begets knowledge, truth and wisdom. If it does not serve these fundamentals, it is meaningless. Knowledge gives life to the soul. A soulful person always speaks and supports the truth. Truth is wisdom and a wise man always respects life. Unfamiliarity with truth succumbs to foul and false information. Criminal and inhumane forces in the world take advantage of those who are uninformed and uneducated.
The other side of the coin is the ‘have nots’ in our society. Majority of this huge chunk of our society are blinded to the race of ‘westernization’ due to poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy. Although, both portions constitute one physical population yet their lives portray two entirely different worlds within one society. The resourceful ‘haves’ are too motivated by the ‘first world’ life-style to realize their social and moral responsibility toward their neglected fellow citizens. Unlike ‘haves’ the biggest goal of ‘have nots’ in life is to bring as much food home as to keep their family from dying. They don’t aspire to careers of a doctor, engineer, lawyer, civil servant, army officer or a teacher. They wish, at the most, to be taken as a servant by some ‘haves’ in the society regardless of the abuse it may entail. They don’t even think about basic education as a necessity but rather a luxury. Life for them is a nightmare. If someone among them develops a malady, they seek the mercy of death instead of medical assistance. Given the wretched life of millions, it is truly heartrending to see our leaders, both in government and opposition, prostrate to their vested interests and unable to see and hear the hue and cry in the streets of this country. This apathetic attitude of the State, the poverty and ignorance made them easy prey to the hands of terrorists who teach them a ‘holy shortcut’ of ‘suicide entry’ into (fool’s) paradise.
Education is not only an issue of the ‘have nots’. Yes, it is hard to believe but it is true that education in its true meaning is far from the prevalent mindset of attending institutions and pursuing a career. Education is not simply meant to acquire information on a single subject to make a career and remain disinterested, rather ignorant, to all other aspects of life. True education begets knowledge, truth and wisdom. If it does not serve these fundamentals, it is meaningless. Knowledge gives life to the soul. A soulful person always speaks and supports the truth. Truth is wisdom and a wise man always respects life. Unfamiliarity with truth succumbs to foul and false information. Criminal and inhumane forces in the world take advantage of those who are uninformed and uneducated.
We, as a nation, must stop running headlong and give a critical look at our own selves. We have seen enough injustice and contributed to it for many years. Although rightly, we have condemned our political leadership for being sloppy, yet it is undeniable fact that no social responsibility has been volunteered by us as an integral part of this system. Resultantly, the loss keeps on adding with every passing day to our society and an atmosphere of uncertainty has prevailed on our future and generation. We must not wait until the point of no return. If only looking up to our democracy operators could have helped, it would have happened by now. Every citizen of this country must make efforts to help reduce the vacuum existed by deficit of education in our society.
Furthermore, most importantly, this time start educating our young ones, family and friends about truth, tolerance, social responsibility, justice and humanity which truly define our religion. A legendary example is Abdul Sattar Edhi who lived among us and left such a bright and majestic image of Pakistan on the face of world’s history. Education is the most lethal weapon we have against terrorism. We must not only fight them in the battlefield and on the streets but also in the mindset and philosophy. This would be the best security measure we have ever taken without losing our soldiers and our dear ones.
The writer is The Resident Editor The Educationist Boston, USA and a graduate of MA Communication Management and Public Relation from London Metropolitan University, U.K. He can be reached at: email@example.com