Collapse of a nation


It doesn’t start at the top – it takes root at the bottom



The collapse of a nation doesn’t start when the ruling elite is corrupt. It starts when the corruption penetrates the common man of society.


It was a cold wintry night with fog falling off the streets. The yellow street lights were making a mystical pattern through the mist. I was having conversation with Jalaluddin over a cup of tea.


“Nations are built in centuries but are obliterated in blink of moments. Pakistan was not build overnight. It was a dream not only seen by the Muslims of 19th Century. It was prophesised by the saints such as Shah Abdul Latif Kazmi also known as Bari Imam and Imdad Ullah Muhajir Maki way earlier. It felt apparent to those men that Muslims would need a separate state if not today, tomorrow.” There was a brief respite and then he got up to go to bed.


He left me with astounded in sea of inquiries. The birth of country came up by tireless effort of founders and blood of millions of people.


The newly born country was progressing. People were working towards the betterment of Pakistan but then as the time flew, something happened. As the gap widened between the generations that sacrificed for free air and the generation born in the free air, something went terribly wrong.


In between all this, we started to take the country for granted. Whether we are from lower class, white collar class or high society, majority of us are poisoned by the corruption. The corruption is not just in monetary terms. Perhaps the greatest corruption my country is facing is a moral corruption. We are gradually transforming into extremists who are drained of strength to respect differentiating opinions. It is least of a matter to which class we belong, whether we are right leaning or liberal, we have lost the spirit to acknowledge and live with opposing mindsets with nobility.


We are slowly turning into beasts who would inevitable eat their own house, because it is nature of a monster not to leave anything alone. He is devoid of any emotions of love and belonging.


Whether it is a vegetable seller or a bureaucrat, we are corrupted to our roots. Our hearts are inhabited by the greed of money and power. The virtue of character is lost in murky waters. Nations are not build by overhead bridges, infrastructure development or transport. The fundamental element is the light of character of the people of nation. When Iqbal said Har Fard hai millat ke muqadar ka sitara, he pointed at the character of individuals.


One of my friend who is a high court legal counselor in Sindh told me that it is a myth that Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah won all cases. He continued clarifyin “I read Quaid Law Digest to discover that he could have won large number of cases effectively by twisting the law however he didn’t. May be winning a case was not a win for him but rather winning with truth was. Perhaps it was his character for which God decorated him with the title of Founder of Pakistan.”


Five centuries ago Machiavelli explained that good laws make good citizens however in another section he writes when the corruption is rooted deep into individuals, no law can help. We are standing at the point where no law can help us unless we help ourselves.


A few days ago, I met a fine gentleman of an old age. He was retired government officer. He went on telling a grave story of his life. He narrated that one of his subordinate sold government subsidised malaria tablets which were originally intended to go at a flood effected area. The junior officer shared half of the money earned which happened to be exactly 46 rupees. He spent them and moved on with life not knowing what would happen.


A few moments later, he looked down with a moisture in his eyes and said, I have my son ridden to bed for last 20 years. He is deaf, dumb and blind. I have gone to every corner of this county to find a cure to his disease but in vain. Those tablets were meant to save many children from malaria in a flood effected area but they didn’t reach there. I sometime think I am punished for my that one act.


It makes me shudder to think how karma would strike to hundreds of individuals in government offices who are God knows selling which lifesaving drug for their own little gains, and to the high binders above them who overlook the urgency of healthcare needed in many parts of the country.


I don’t only blame the ruling elite but every individual who has the power to bring the change in his own character but chooses to ignore it. He has authority to not to bribe or be bribed but he neglects. He has control to treat a senior citizen with kindness, but he turns a blind eye. He has ability to wait for green light at a signal but he rushes over. Ashfaq Ahmed once said, “A nation which cannot stop over at a traffic signal for 2 minutes cannot stand over on its own feet”.


The collapse of a nation doesn’t start when the ruling elite is corrupt. It starts when the corruption penetrates the common man of society.