70 Not Out
By Mowahid Hussain Shah
Pakistan at 70 has a lot to be thankful for. It is not saddled by Modi, who has been implicated in mass murder, or by Trump, who is mired in mendacity.
Despite body blows, particularly in 1971, what was not expected to endure, endures. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad had warned about the durability of the union between East and West Pakistan. Horrid handling, plus deliberate mischief, precipitated the divide.
More of the problems within are caused by educated elites than by so-called “illiterate masses”. More specifically, are the Western-educated millennials up to the task?
Some in the chattering classes – with little comprehension of the magnitude of what Mohammed Ali Jinnah accomplished and bequeathed – are not above questioning the very wisdom behind Pakistan’s creation. Sheer ingratitude given what occurs across the border.
Nayantara Sahgal, 90, niece of Jawaharlal Nehru, wrote in the Guardian on August 5:
The menace of partition is again upon Indians, this time through the intention to impose Hindu nationhood … To foist a Hindu identity … is senseless beyond belief. The mentality that murdered Gandhi now relentlessly pursues this agenda… Lynch mobs kill Muslims, reminiscent of the lynching of blacks in America’s deep south. On this anniversary of the partition of India, another partition stares us in the face.
A cursory glance at global hotspots affecting the Palestinians, Kurds, Bosnians, Chechens, Kosovars, and not least, the beleaguered Kashmiris, finds a single common dominating pattern. It is an absence of leadership with foresight that can and could have predicted, preempted, anticipated, and forestalled the perils that lay around the corner.
150 years ago, America was fortunate to have Abraham Lincoln during its Civil War, just as the Mussulmans of India were in having the Quaid.
Underlying its core, Pakistan faces twin threats: (1) a socio-political class which is easily swayed and suborned by the lure of easy and big money (that explains why change occurs without change, with the same stale-male faces popping up with the same approach); and (2) a mindset which is defeatist, easily overwhelmed, succumbing thereby to daunting challenges instead of showing the toughness and grit to march on.
So, education with all its much-hyped virtues and benefits has not really made a dent on issues surrounding unethical conduct and a brittle mindset. In life, it is not necessarily the talented and the brightest who get the job done, but those who persevere and learn from their mistakes.
The pampered classes who have not struggled to achieve have little idea of what they possess. One way to take effective steps to realize the promise of Pakistan is to develop and forge a socio-political culture and mental attitude that does not automatically reward big money and bow before it.
The saints of the Subcontinent – essentially rebel mystics – had identified this weakness and, hence, vigorously contested it.
The problems of Pakistan are man-made and made in Pakistan. And, for that, there are man-made solutions made, too, in Pakistan. Mohammed Ali Jinnah delivered against all odds and without outside help. It’s up to the youth now to keep Pakistan unbeaten and on track.