Decadence of the society

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Is there a chance for a tolerant and prosperous Pakistan?

Whereas the world has moved in one direction, where safeguarding human rights, learning modern science and technology, and promoting peace and harmony are pivotal for a prosperous society, Pakistan has gone in a completely opposite direction, where there is no regard for human rights of minorities, no inclination to study and make “legitimate” scientific inventions. Take for example the Maasai tribe in Eastern Africa, which has decided to opt for modern education and abolishment of violent practices – while we run around like barbarians burning people’s houses down.

Within the Massailand, on border of Kenya and Tanzania, lies a thick jungle – a man standing on high rock, holding a radar device to track a pride of lions was not a man of science, but a tribal man – illiterate and uncivilised – helping the naturalists protect the endangered wildlife. Maasai tribe – one of the oldest tribes of the Nile Valley – is known for their warrior skills and ferocity with which they protect their cattle from lions. Now, they are willing to give up this meaningless hatred in order to conserve their environment. Another age old tradition that the women of Maasai tribe have raised their voice against is female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision. In a documentary “Maasai at the crossroads”, filmmaker Teri Geriselen tells us about transition of the tribe from primitive cultural practices to modern development. They achieved this without compromising on their traditions. Keeping their simple life style intact, Maasai people now believe adapting to ways of the new world, particularly educating their children is paramount for their survival.

Humans or homo sapiens are a product of evolution spanning over thousands of years. Likewise, our world is constantly changing and the only attribute that has led to the survival and growth of human species is its ability to adapt to those changes – environmental and societal. Failing to cope with the changing trends of the world would result in gradual decline of society to the point of complete annihilation. History is witness to collapse of great empires that could not – and in most situations denied to stay abreast with changing times. Islamic world is faced with the similar dilemma. While holding on to the fundamentals of the religion, Muslims forget that over 1,400 year old teachings cannot make their society productive and fit enough to compete with the modern world.

There are few lessons that the Islamic society can learn from an age old tribe of the Nile Valley – will to survive and letting go of their inhuman, violent practices to become part of the developed world. We don’t have to go deep into our memory lane to look at the ugly picture of the Pakistani society. On 9th March, a mob of angry, religious zealots burnt down over a hundred houses belonging to the Christian community in Lahore. The reason: alleged blasphemy by a member of the minority community, who was arrested by the police three days prior to the devastation. The behaviour is similar in nature to a charged elephant bull, high on testosterone ravaging the forest and adjoining villages and trampling any unfortunate being that comes in its way. What is the solution to madness of such a magnitude? Either the beast is kept in isolation unless it comes to its senses or in extreme situations, shot down.

The civilised and developed world has already started to isolate us for our blood thirst and primitive views and practices. Pakistan’s human rights record is far from exemplary. Its democratic governments and military regimes have done equal damage to the fabric of this society by introducing “the mad elephant” into the fold. The discrimination that began from constitutionally declaring Ahmadiyya community as non-Muslims translated into violence against Shias and Christians; while our proverbial hatred towards Hindus – cause of the Partition – resulted in dehumanisation of the society at large.

Despite my desperation to believe in a tolerant and prosperous Pakistan, political environment in the country, public sympathy for the “cause” of extremist organisations like Laskar-e-Jhangvi and political protection for such organisations make me think otherwise. Therefore, the only solution to save this sinking ship is to undo past practices and teachings that inculcate hatred and intolerance in society and start afresh on a clean slate; writing with an ink of peace, love and tolerance.

The writer is a journalist and social critic based in Lahore. She can be reached at [email protected], she tweets at: @twistturnlock

10 COMMENTS

  1. Do the muslims believe that their prophet contemplated Allah 0nly 1500 years ago and there was no god or allah before that era. And every no-muslim is a infidel after the Islamic prophacy came to the knowledge…? If, this is the case, you are contradicting the prophacy , 'period'. you are 'THE NUMBER ONE ON-BELEIVER' on this planet.The custodians of Islam damaging the prophacy. Hey, Allah fearing people! wake up to the reality of the prevailing Century and save your prophacy from these barbaric Custodians.

    • "DO the Muslims believe" your whole coment shows your ignorance about what Muslims believe. may be thats what your pandit told you about our belief.

    • You obviously have never studied Islam. Islam says NOTHING along those lines. Islam exited since Adam a.s. and continued through all the prophets to every nation. Jesus, Moses Abraham, etc. peace be upon them all were messengers of Islam. And everyone didn't automatically become an infidel. If you've never heard if Islam and die, you will be informed about it and still given a choice to believe or not.

  2. i like the article coz till last yr i stood firm on the fact that pk's biggest problem is the issue of energy crisis but having said that now it has moved into another evil that remained dormant since decades which is sectarian violence n basics of human rights, if this issue wud not b catered in such harsh circumstances we will end up in a civil war, these issues shud b discussed a lot more without the genuine intention of solving this evil or else we re doomed

  3. Here is the "Conspiracy" theory. Americans have decided to leave Afghanistan. For last 12 years our biggest enemy was Talibans but now US is talking to them "to get the safe passage" now we have to focus on secterian voilence rather then talibans. For last six months or so all of the sudden sectarian voilence errupted was sleeping during this so called war of terror.

  4. GREAT ARTICLE…..HOWEVER WE CANNOT BLAME ALL THE PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN FOR THE TREATMENT BEING METTED OUT TO MINORITIES AND EVEN THE MAJORITY I WOULD SAY ARE AT SIMILAR RISK IN PAKISTAN. THE BASIC PROBLEM FACING PAKSITAN IS EDUCATION. THE RIGHT TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG.

    JUST IMAGINE IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO WRITE OR READ WHAT WOULD YOUR STATE OF MIND BE LIKE? GAURANTEED NOT LIKE THE PEOPLE READING THESE ARTICLES OR COMMENTING.

    ON TOP OF THAT WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY WHERE RELGION IS USED FOR PERSONAL GAINS AND LIKES…….NOT AS IF IT WASNT USED BEFORE…..ITS JUST HTAT IT NOW HAS A MODREN "GEO" TOUCH TO IT……THUS IN THIS SITUATION ONE CANNOT BE SURPRISED BY THE EVENTS TAKING PLACE IN OUR COUNTRY.

    EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN HOLDS THE FUTURE OF PAKISTAN. OTHERWISE THIS DEPRAVED SOCIETY IS ONLY HEADING IN ONE DIRECTION = DEPRAVITY.

  5. In my point of view education is not the only way to bring change. we do not need degrees but to educate ourselves individually. I know/met people who are well educated holding degrees from well known universities but still have opinions upon which one would call them illiterate.

  6. Well written~ Very rarely does one see a brave piece like this by a Pakistani, on Pakistan. It is time Pakistanis realised that their real enemies are the ones who killed Benazir Bhutto, Salman Taseer, Shias, and now Christians. While I am an Indian, the situation in Pakistan does not make me happy at all. We all want a more peaceful neighbourhood. Let me see what comments this post gets.

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