With a population of 180 million people, how many of us can actually immigrate to a developed country in pursuit of better prospects and how many of us can stay detached and only empathize from the comforts of our homes. These are the type of dilemmas that face Pakistani society today. With the passage of time we have even lost the ability of recognizing & comprehending that a country and state is nothing more than an amalgam of individuals. If we all as individuals are not willing to play our respective roles then the state which is dependent upon us collectively for direction & leadership will be equally lost. No country or society in the world can survive if it stops aspiring and dreaming for a better tomorrow and it is very unfortunate that we as a society have stopped doing both. We on the contrary, rather gladly, flee to another country for another passport. The definition of ‘changing for the better’ in Pakistan has now transformed to something that is not possible within the perceptual boundaries of Pakistan. If this is the state of affairs then how can any of us expect improvement?
Annals of history are full of examples of the spirit of sacrifice, hard work, diligence and selfless leadership. Our 63 years of history however points to a different direction which is marred with decadence in every sphere of life may it be academia, government service, private sector, intellectuals or even our very homes. We, as a society, have reached the lowest ebb of the development cycle because we have stopped producing conscientious citizens, academicians, students, leaders, government servants, intellectuals etc.
However, when we carry out a deeper analysis of the issues at hand, we perhaps will be compelled to conclude that the problem lies within our homes as that is where our initial upbringing, rearing and nurturing of minds and hearts takes place. This is where all the pseudo social, intellectual & political leaders of today were born and reared. The change has to be from within us. We all have to dig down deep in our souls and minds and make a concerted and deliberate effort of throwing these shackles of hypocrisy, corruption, untruthfulness, intolerance, bigotry, narrow-mindedness, hatred and illiteracy away from our lives. We can no longer evade our responsibilities and turn a blind eye to all the inconsistencies that surround us.
An average Pakistani needs to self reflect and awaken his conscience and say no and speak up when injustice is being thrusted upon a fellow citizen belonging to a lower strata of our society; must stop trying to influence the traffic police with his connections in the society, when faced with a traffic offence; stop mistreating those who are weaker than him in this patriarchal setup and learn to stop misusing his authority and power in public and private lives. We have to share our wealth and knowledge with the less fortunate ones around us; we have to contribute in impacting the society positively by doing voluntary social work, like teaching children in our immediate vicinity, providing them with stationery and necessary counseling etc. We have to be involved proactively in all that impacts our lives and our fellow citizens’ lives on a day to day basis while getting rid of this rigid in difference.
We have to change our mind set, inculcate values and morals in our homes, schools, work place etc which are based on honesty, hard work, compassion, humility, resolve, fortitude, steadfastness, justice, tolerance, healthy competitiveness and above all a sense of belonging and ownership in changing Pakistan for a better today and tomorrow. As Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then is not an act but a habit.” We have to be the change that we wish to see in our society. Thoughts and words ought to be watched carefully as they become actions, which become habits and character which eventually define and become our destiny. – Amna Iqbal