Rolling out the Red Carpet

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Flitting away from Freedom

The spirit that culminated the movement for freedom sought a separate homeland for Muslims where its citizens would have freedom to live a way of life according to Islam—i.e., freedom to work, freedom to organize; and freedom of analogous choices. This freedom was eventually accomplished in 1947 though, it was not given but taken and at a considerably high price. The ticket to freedom was purchased with the blood of our brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers. The Hindu and Sikh carnage of our Muslim youth turned out to be a dark part of freedom movement. We witnessed train-loads of dead bodies arriving at Lahore Railway Station as an authorization for the price we paid for freedom. We cannot forget this price.

We should be a proud nation that paid a high price for freedom. Just the same, I feel guilty for failing to remember what was sacrificed and what was conceded. We forgot the sky-scraping price paid for freedom; we forgot for we didn’t bother to recognize the role and responsibilities this freedom brought along. We unremembered that the freedom had to be refreshed by the manure of our blood to keep its flame alive. We successfully but wrongly exercised our right to freedom for freedom from responsibility. We started pillaging our own country. Instead of giving our blood to sustain freedom, we came out to eat the vitals of nationhood. The educated elite left the country to benefit Europe and America and thus the selfish leadership was let out for robbing its own land.

Freedom cannot exist without the concept of order. We lost the order, stability, and harmony and thus transformed into a crowd of individuals engaged in a race for loot and plunder. Serving our personal interests turned out to be our prime mission.

Freedom is not choosing. It is merely the move that we make when all is already lost. Freedom is knowing and understanding and respecting things quite other than us. By attempting to avoid the responsibility for our own behavior, we gave away our power to selfishness, narcissism, and smugness. In this way, we escaped from freedom. And most tyrannically we started believing that the vision enshrined by the Pakistan Movement was accomplished and our mission completed.

We were supposed to integrate the vision of Pakistan into our life, making it hard to put off or drop our highest priorities. Such focusing could provide us a framework for all parts of our life. Unfortunately, it could not happen and thus today we fall short of spirits analogous to an independent nation.

The most important role of vision in our national life was that it could give focus to human energy. To enable everyone concerned with Pakistan to see more clearly what’s ahead of him. For this purpose, our leadership could convey a vision. This was lucklessly not done.

Imagine watching a slide show when the projector is out of focus. How would you feel if you have to watch blurred, vague, and indistinct images for an entire presentation? Today we face a similar situation in Pakistan. We are unaware of our future. People are expressing frustration, impatience, confusion, anger, and even nausea. Undoubtedly, the leaders with the fingers on focus button had the responsibility to focus the projector. They have utterly failed in their responsibilities. Thus without any direction and without a roadmap, Pakistan continues to lurch around, getting off course and ending up in places it never wanted to go. Had Pakistan maintained a vision, its distractions would have been minimal and our national life would have been spent in a meaningful way. Thus it would have regained control over our life and no longer felt like wasting time.

Take a peep into ancient history. Explore why old civilizations went extinct. We will also follow their destiny if we failed to recognize the principles for survival. If we failed to learn from history and recognize the future trends, we will eventually go back into darkness from whence we came, and we the people who got freedom 58 years before will perish from the earth.

After the Independence, we lost our vision and subsequently transformed into one of the corrupt nations worldwide, all the nasty crimes once akin to the West now dominate our national life. Each individual of Pakistan seems to be on the looting binge. Instead of contributing our role in nation building, we pillage our own land. When we nurture the same traits that caused extinction of other civilizations, why then our destiny would be any different?

The societies that sustain physically, mentally, and otherwise are those which undergo a series of divergences in development, much like the branching of a tree. The dynamic people are those who are responsive to issues, essentially open, fast paced, balanced, and tend to survive and prosper on a fairly reliable basis. Problems come to them, but they usually manage to work them out.

Outwardly, we are a developing society. But like a muscular athlete with a terminal cancer, a disease is eating away at us from the inside. A great nation cannot be destroyed from the outside until it falls first from the inside.

A flood of immorality, corruption and violence has entered into our national life, and we have unfortunately been recognized as a culture of death from the womb to the streets. Many of our young people have no concept of the true spirit of Islam; and many are tragically engaged in dying or killing innocents. A sense of hopelessness prevails, a feeling of fear surrounds.

When matter is worshiped as supreme and privileges are sought after, ethical decline is not a surprise. The remedy lies in adding spiritual dimension to existing culture and in course evolving a new moral and ethical code for coming generations. Time is still not gone. We can learn lessons from history or else face extinction. Choice is only ours. Asif J. Mir Organizational Transformation