August 8, 2010

The Solution

Minar-e-Pakistan. (Source:
A friend recently raised the question of me not addressing the solutions of the problems that I keep mentioning all the time. Although I feel that I do keep mentioning the solutions from time to time, and see them being rejected all the time, I thought I'd write a blog post about the proposed solutions to the problems that I keep raising.

The first solution is simple. Educate. Forget the government will educate you because it is not in its interests to have an educated populace. Why? There are many reasons for that. Principal amongst them is the fact that educated people generally make wise choices, and electing the current group of buffoons to rule over us is not only an unwise decision, it is truly tragic. Educated people make decisions that benefit them over the long run. This means that once you educate the people, the concept of dynastic politics (Zaat and Biradri) dies, and that is unacceptable to the ruling elite. They came into power on the very basis of dynastic politics so they can't just let it die. Educated people start to think and start to question, which leads to awkward moments and - wait. There are so many awkward moments now when our nation is not that educated, you can well imagine what would happen if we were all educated. The fact is that if you're reading this, you're one of the very few who can read and understand. Then, you're one of the few who has any interest in Pakistan and its politics. So you see unless you can increase the percentage of the population who can take interest in the going-ons in this country, you're potentially living in a state of captivity.

But that's not all; I've already said the government will never endeavor to educate its population in this country and I've quoted loads of reasons why they won't. The next step is to obviously educate ourselves, ourselves. The day when this simple notion can penetrate the skulls of my countrymen, this country will be a transformed place. All the mess that we find ourselves in, and not just the deep sycophantic political turmoil, the daily mess that the ordinary citizens have to go through is directly related not to our lack of ethos, but to our lack of education. The civic sense and responsibility that is missing is ample proof of this. Then again our idea of education isn't really quite what it should be like. Let me illustrate.

Ever since we've been growing up, we've been hearing about how Pakistan trumped India in the 1965 war. We've heard how Pakistan has always been an agrarian economy, and how Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto has by far been the greatest Prime Minister this country has ever had. But then we went to university and learnt that contrary to popular belief we did not win anything in the 1965 war. In fact, we only helped India solidify its claim to Kashmir. So much for winning the war. But moving on. Once you start to question history and the things that you've been taking for granted, you're in for a rude shock. We have never really been an agrarian economy, except for the period that Ayub Khan ruled us. Successive governments have followed policies of mass industrialization and the results are for all to see. And you know the sad part? We have accepted what we have been told without really understanding what all of this really implies. We like to live in fantasies, without doing anything about the realities. So, we've raised the slogan of "Agrarian Economy" ever since 1960 without really finding out whether that's even really true.

This is what our education system is like. Instead of teaching the small quantity of people who goto school everyday the virtues of thinking and questioning, they are taught "facts" and are expected to believe them without doubt. Therefore our whole population is roaring mad at India for stopping our share of water without really caring to ask why? Because it hates us? Sounds plausible, but no. Our genius President Ayub Khan gave away the use of 4 Million Acre Feet of water from our rivers to India. Yes, that's right. Live with it now.

Then there is the problem of pride. We are not proud of who we are, where we come from, or the land we belong to. The fact is we have never been taught to love our country like let's suppose, India teaches its citizens to love their country. That is why today there are more Muslims in India who love it so much they ask for Pakistan to become a part of it. Ever wondered why? Because they are proud of their identity. Because they have learned the value of loving their country. You see when people are educated, it automatically generates logic which defeats the purpose of nepotism, jobbery, ineptness and bribery etc. All these things don't allow us to take pride in our heritage, culture, language, region and country. You all watch American, English serials. How many of you have ever stopped to ponder about the disconnect that is in place in your lives? You don't know the cities south of Lahore, but you do know where New York is and where Washington is and where London, Birmingham, Glasgow is. And the reason for this is simple; we're not proud Pakistanis. We're just Pakistanis because our parents and ancestors are from Pakistan.

Then you need to remove the divide between the "burger" and the "bun kebab" children. A concept I learnt while listening to Dr Aasher Hasan at TEDx Lahore. The class divide is impossible to remove, but the collective efforts to try to remove it will bear fruit. A vibrant, strong, educated middle class is the maker of all decisions in a democracy, and unless it is empowered with the knowledge gained from education, it is as good as a hibernating bear. There are so many more solutions to so many more problems, but since this is the most basic one, I thought I'd share it with you all. My solution to religious intolerance, extremism and terrorism requires me to write another post on that so I'll leave it for another day. 

For now, YOU all need to make a difference because the only helping hand, is at the end of your arm. We need to stop depending on the US to give us money, and we need to stop expecting this incompetent government to come to our aid. We need to be dignified and modest and we need to help ourselves. The power of we is immense, and we can make a difference.