How the Idea That Killed Gandhi Has Slowly Taken Over

Source: newspapers.com

India and the world are celebrating the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. I call him the Mahatma because I believe he was a great soul, an extraordinary man. The current Indian government would also refer to him as Mahatma Gandhi or a more affectionate “bapuji” or dear father. But do they really think he was a great soul? Or even a great leader whose ideals should be followed?

The words from the Indian Prime Minister in his New York op-ed are very encouraging. He reminds why the world, and especially India, needs Gandhi more than ever. But the revival of the Hindutva ideology under his leadership since the disastrous leadership crisis in the Congress Party, the soul of the Indian democracy has never been the same.

As somebody who is currently a citizen of Pakistan, who was born in Pakistan, not only do I understand Indian nationalism, even the fears and desires behind the Hindutva ideology, but also the pain of the partition of India. Perhaps the most underrated and ignored political concept in India is the deprivation of Indian nationalism to the millions of people living under what is Pakistan and Bangladesh today. So I write this more as an Indian than as a Pakistani.

The greatest triumph of the Congress Party was to establish India as a Secular Republic, which immediately established its moral superiority over Pakistan, which was precisely established for the purpose of the Muslim majority. This was not something that Gandhi or the Congress did for their health, but it was a hand forced on them by the British colonists leaving in a hurry, who prevented India from recognizing its nationalist potential. These colonists thought that they were treating communities fairly while ignoring what kind of a humanitarian disaster they were creating.

These are the quoted words of Nathuram Godse after he killed Gandhi to quote a piece from the Hindustan Times.

“I do say that my shots were fired at the person whose policy and action had brought rack and ruin and destruction to millions of Hindus,” Godse told the court.

He added: “I bear no ill will towards anyone individually, but I do say that I had no respect for the present government owing to their policy, which was unfairly favourable towards the Muslims. But at the same time I could clearly see that the policy was entirely due to the presence of Gandhi.”.

The RSS that nurtured Godse, which by the way is not the “Nazi Party” the Pakistani leader Imran Khan and his political party PTI assert, has become the dominant force in Indian politics today. Its members in Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have firmly gripped the helm of its leadership and they are mobilizing the Hindu community to vote as one bloc across North and Central India. While this still does not affect the Secular character of India, it has started threatening it.

The same RSS member Narendra Modi has written a piece preaching Gandhi’s values to the world. However, slowly, they are closing the breathing space for the minority populations. The retaliatory politics that gave rise to the Two-Nation theory also gave rise to its Hindutva ideology. And both of them run counter to the kind of pluralist, secular, liberal India that was envisioned by its fathers.

Fortunately, for both these ideologies, which might have always found an opening in the manifesto of the BJP, fed off each other thanks to a belligerent and increasingly Islamist Pakistan. Despite the almost fatal blow to the Two-Nation theory after the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, the animosity of the Two-Nation theory remained as the bone of contention of Kashmir which had triggered wars even before the conflict had ever come to Bengal. Even today, you would find Islamist fanatics in Pakistan quoting obscure traditions about a “Ghazwa-e-Hind.”

Over the years of the Secular Indian government’s regressive concessions to theocrats in India and Pakistan’s constant intrusions in India, somewhere the dent was made in the wall of the classical secular pluralism which had become synonymous with the Indian Republic. Which despite its problems of poverty, inefficiency, and corruption was still one of the most exemplary nations in terms of its harmonious reason-to-be. Slowly, the belief in the principles of Gandhi’s India started to dwindle.

And despite a lack of major communal riots, there is silent persecution underway that is closing the space to the minority communities claim an equal right to India, let alone flourish. There are rampant mob-lynching by almost legally sanctioned gau rakshaks who are getting off the hook after beating people to death.

Perhaps this is why discourse such as controversial BJP MP Pragya Raj calling Godse a patriot became possible in an election season. It is why statements, as quoted in this news report, has become possible in India without consequences.

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I still have faith in the modern Republic of India because I know it has fathers in men like Bhimrao Ambedkar. I still have faith in the robust Secular Indian democracy because it got its textbook right with a fair system of justice and politics. I still have faith in the BJP as a secular popular party, despite the growing malignancy of the RSS and Hindutva agenda slowly weakening Indian pluralism.

But let’s just say it’s a faith that would be too precarious for even an idealist and an optimist like Gandhi himself.

I am sorry for choosing to write something that centers more on Gandhi’s death on the occasion of his 150th birthday, but I feel as if his India is being slowly killed at this moment in history too.

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What Has She Done?

Source: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media/nobelprize.org

Source: Niklas Elmehed/Nobel Media/nobelprize.org

So what has she done?

That pesky Malala.

What has she accomplished to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, you are asking? Especially, since she said she didn’t deserve it.

Here is what she has accomplished what I or any of you could not have.

Despite being a little girl, she stood up to a very clear and present threat from the Taliban, which actually jeopardized her very existence.

In case anyone had any doubts, the Taliban actually ended up shooting her in the head and it’s a fucking miracle she’s even breathing.

They still vow to go after her.

She just had to speak out an innocuous little thing to get all this attention that she just wanted to go to school. Yes, that’s all what it has been about.

But it snowballed into something gigantic thanks to the ignorance of her haters.

You think it’s all obvious? No, it’s not.

But she won the prize also because she was important enough for an activist to address the United Nations Youth Assembly. She has also been active for causes such as speaking for the Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haraam and addressing the concerns of Syrian children refugees.

She is not just a local figure anymore, but a global figure.

What really matters is  that the world sees her as a global ambassador for education, for girls especially.

Now why girls? You know, why be a sexist? But you have to be, because in her culture, people do go out of their way to target women like her. To deprive them of education.

Now when does it prick the most that she has won yet another prize valued by the West? Well, when you constantly apologize for the Taliban, Islamism and obscurantist misogynistic forces.

But it probably happened for a plain reason that Malala has become a Gandhi like figure to the West. Right up there with the likes of Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa, and even Gandhi was not awarded this prize, thanks to his shocking Holocaust satyagraha statements.

And this is precisely why Malala is important to the world now, even if she is of no consequence to the social conservatives and Islamist nationalist conspiracy theorists in Pakistan.

So don’t be surprised if you find completely irrelevant babbling complaining why Edhi not receiving the Nobel Peace Prize is such a disaster (as if they cared about that too) and sharing articles making ridiculous comparisons with a random girl testifying against drone strikes backed by an American congressman.

Source: Daily Telegraph

Source: Daily Telegraph

Which reminds me that part of why Malala is condemned is because she is backed by Western powers. Hell, even President Obama met her with his entire family. He never did that for the Pakistani Prime Minister. That’s really fucked up.

She even had the courage to criticize him to his face about the drone strikes of the Nobel Peace Prize recipient President.

But that’s how powerful Malala has become.

Maybe she has sold her soul to the devil.

I never really had tremendous respect for the Nobel Peace Prize anyway, because I had read somewhere that only a devil would put a prize on peace. Maybe George Bernard Shaw’s statement, not too sure.

But  I was greatly impressed when I saw the likes of President Carter, President Sadaat and Prime Minister Begin winning one for the Camp David Accord of 1979, and when I saw Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat receiving it.

You know, bitter adversaries working hard to attain some peace. Back then, I really found this shit inspiring. That part I still admire though.

But overall, the idea has been pretty empty and meaningless. You know what they say, hey, that’s the award that President Obama got for who knows what. And oh, even Henry Kissinger received it.

Must be something evil for sure.

I know this one, like all of them, is highly political. But who gives a fuck. Somebody said something nice about Pakistan.

But if I ever was delighted for a Nobel Peace Prize, for the first and most probably the last time, it is for Malala Yousafzai.

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Donate to the Malala Fund please. 

Celebrating Gandhi’s Day of Non-Violence

Source: featurepics.com

I am often ridiculed, actively or passively, by sane people from all walks and dimensions of life, the realistic, the materialistic, the god-fearing ones, the godless ones, the believers, the skeptics, the patriots, the traitors, the scientists, the witch-doctors, the zealots, the nihilists, the politicos, the sophisticos, the councils of war and the councils of peace, for admiring Gandhi. Almost all of them either consider Gandhi evil or an idiot. I would still admire him if he were one or both of the two.

These two things have been pretty fashionable ever since the man had lived and died on the planet, that is, admiring Gandhi and hating Gandhi. The greatest thing about this phenomenon is that it is not confined to any particular nation, religion or race. If you think otherwise, you have probably missed a lot of things.

Don’t be impressed by the fact that the Republic of India admires and follows Gandhi just because she has his portrait on her banknotes. They are anything but his followers. I don’t blame them. No one is. At least not a state. Besides, they would not be able to run the kind of state that they want if they ever were to follow him. Maybe there are Gandhi’s followers in India, I cannot say for sure of course, but what I know of is that they do not matter. They surely don’t matter elsewhere.

I do not want to indulge myself into admiring Gandhi blindly. As Gandhi himself despised blind faith in anything. You must question your faith, he said. Doubting him and his apparently insane beliefs, probably he was responsible for many deaths, probably he was not at all. But then again, you can say that about most of the notable personalities in history responsible for creating and starting new religions, new political or apolitical movements, new ideas, philosophies and revolutions. But what I know about it is that I cannot do what he did. I can never do what he did, neither I think anyone else can.  It was superhuman to show what he showed.

It is one thing talking about it and another actually doing it. I am talking about actively practicing non-violence and leading by example. Try doing that, and it is not just that you should claim to be a Satyagraha guru by not killing even a fly, but establishing a coherence of your beliefs and your opinions about the world with the concept. Try doing that. It is not easy, believe me. We all know that Gandhi did not do that overnight. He never could have attained it effortlessly. He was not a Prophet from the Bible. He was a Prophet from the ruthless world that we know of. This is why it is so difficult to follow Gandhi. I have said it before and I will say it again, in some other way.

Now why would someone hate Gandhi, you would ask. People like violence. People actually love violence. Not everyone, but a lot of people. They have to. If they hate violence, they love it being used on those who resort to it. It is not really a pathetic generalization, though it could be taken to be one, but it tells you of an unavoidable fact. Perhaps that is how the fittest survive. This is exactly why people think twice before becoming Gandhi’s followers, which they never become in the end. Of course, Gandhi would have had a lot of temptation on the cross himself. He himself would have wanted to smack the people to death who wanted to smack him to death, but he didn’t. It does not matter if he was planning to do it. He didn’t do it and that is all what history cares about.

So while I cannot possibly be Gandhi’s follower no matter how peaceful and non-violent I may pretend to be, I can always be his admirer. Actually most people are his admirers. However,  even his admirers are horrified by the man. This is why I consider it necessary to at least acknowledge what the man did. This much he deserves. He could not have possibly driven the British out of his native land. But he surely showed the world, what others could not. Practicing non-violence. That is greater than creating any number of countries. There have been many others, but none with an impact as he had on the world.

However, it was a little impact. Nobody, not even history, remembers someone who had nothing to do with wars, who disapproved of them and who would want to keep a good distance from them. Greater impact than him was of the Manhattan Project, his admirer Albert Einstein’s letter about it to President Roosevelt, and of all people, of Fuehrer of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler. The greatest than all of them combined perhaps, the impact of the Bomb. Some admirers would say that if Gandhi were the Christ of the age, Hitler was the Anti-Christ. But that is not really correct.

The Anti-Christ has always been here. It is you and I.

It is violence.

We celebrate the International Day of Non-Violence today, as declared by the United Nations in honor of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on his birthday.

But we really don’t.

Celebrating this day is as hard as following him.

The Difficulty of Gandhi’s Philosophy

Photo: Margaret Bourke-White

Gandhi’s philosophy of Satyagraha or “Firmness in Truth”, which is a fancy name for letting the world know about the atrocities targeted at you by boldly enduring them (although it has a much deeper meaning), has been widely criticized for its insanity. However, as insane and cruel (although this is not the right word to mention here, but this is how its results are perceived) this concept may appear, you cannot claim that it doesn’t work.

Violence and vengeance are so tempting. As a matter of fact, whenever an act of violence is inflicted upon you, vengeance is the first thing on your mind. Societies around the world, East and West alike, take pride in vengeance and it is seen as a symbol of might and strength, while abstinence from it is seen as a sign of weakness. Probably, that is why Satyagraha has been widely rejected as practiced by Gandhi, but not completely.

Now to get to the point why talking about it is even required. Believe it or not, the concept in theory is as relevant today as it has ever been and will always be. In fact, I would go as far as saying that it has been used prominently in history. The concept could play a vital role in forming public opinion, the impact of which is enhanced in the modern times of advanced communication, at least as compared to the period during which Gandhi was alive.

However, whatever plays a great role in forming positive public opinion can equally be vital in the formation of negative public opinion. This is a vital aspect to Satyagraha ignoring which completely destroys its utility. Utility, I say, because the pragmatic world needs a practical use for something. Obviously for Gandhi it was the way of living, more like worship, but not everyone can be expected to be as devoted to this unorthodox concept, which may appear bizarre to many.

In order to practice Satyagraha and in order to use it for what it is meant for, it is indispensable to remain consistent. Once you take this path, you will lose all that you have achieved if you divert from it, or in other words, if you resort to violence. And that is the greatest difficulty of Gandhi’s Philosophy, so much so that even the most ardent of his followers, which are becoming an extinct breed of people, find it a hard pill to swallow. Let us examine the practical Satyagraha just for the sake of understanding this post and having some fun.

But before that, it is important to explain that non-violence or Ahimsa is the fundamental requirement to Satyagraha, which is primarily why it is such a difficult concept.

Person A is Person B’s best friend. Person B happened to rape and kill Person A’s wife. This obviously put an end to their friendship. During the trial of the case, the court finds insufficient evidence that Person B is guilty. However, Person A is convinced that Person B committed the crime. Nevertheless, Person B is acquitted. Person A has a few choices to make now.

a) He could go and kill Person A in the good old fashioned way, especially if the death of Person B is the main aim of the court trial.

b) He could plead to a higher court to review the verdict hoping for the death sentence for Person B.

c) He could plead to a higher court to review the verdict and forgive Person A if the court’s verdict decrees a death sentence for Person’s B.

d) He could simply ignore the courts, no longer pursue criminal prosecution, be at peace with it and forgive Person A.

First of all, it is extremely difficult to think from the perspective of Person A who has suffered a traumatic loss. However, suppose that he is a person practicing Satyagraha, and to make things even more relevant to the point of the post, suppose that he is a person who holds a high public office with both Person A and B recognized widely in public and the case is followed vigorously by the media.

Now a word about the society these persons live in. They do not have to live in a society that believes in Satyagraha, let alone the thought of practicing it. However, let us suppose that it is a liberal society that considers rape and murder a grave crime, yet believes in the sanctity of life and generally disapproves of capital punishment even if it doesn’t mind it being used as punishment for such crimes.

Now such a society, or any society for that matter, will have sympathy for Person A. However, they would expect Person A not to resort to option A, which is taking the initiative of killing Person B, even if some of them may think that Person B deserves that. They would consider option B the right of Person A and if Person A is able to successfully pull off option C, it would do wonders for creating the right image of Person A. Whereas, option D may offer solace on a personal level, but would not have any use whatsoever in the given scenario.

However, there is another point to it. The puritan Gandhi followers, if any around at all, or at least those who are familiar with it in theory and that of Gandhi’s personality, could object that using Satyagraha for gaining public sympathy and popularity is against the very spirit of it and the concept must be practiced in itself without the thought of achieving such vile aims.

While that sounds correct, you must not forget that Gandhi advocated Satyagraha as a way of fighting tyranny, oppression and violence. It sounds like an insane and almost a suicidal strategy but it could work if practiced with devotion. Therefore, the idea of using Satyagraha for building a better public image is not wrong at all and as a matter of fact, Gandhi had been doing so himself all along.

However, the major, and perhaps the only difficulty and hurdle to the practice of this philosophy and way of living is the temptation to violence. The concept of Satyagraha seems almost contrary to the human nature, as humans have a violent instinct. The concept offers a peaceful and non-violent alternative to vengeance and further violence to resolve violent disputes, but in the end many would question if it is realistic.

It has its limitations, yes, but you can extract its essence for application if not use it the way Gandhi advocated and practiced it.

That’s how you would find it in history.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Wars

Source: Kubrick Estate

So you think wars are wrong, eh? Had your brain examined lately?

Well, obviously not everyone is unfortunate enough to have the company of people who think that wars are wrong and have their minds contaminated with the dangerous ideas of a hypothetical brand of peace and non-violence promoted by lunatics like Gandhi and ***** (name omitted for security reasons). The reason for that is the simple fact that wars are such an integral part of our lives that the very idea of a war protest seems highly absurd, and almost self-destructive.

Come to think of it for a second. This idea is against the very foundation of Civilization. It is contradictory to our lifestyle, and indeed to our interests. It is contradictory to the official state propaganda of all our lovely countries and the way we teach our children about the world. It is important for them to think that wars are important, unavoidable and urgently and regularly required for the maintenance of the attainable peace, to protect the civilized way of living, to keep people employed and to provide for the bread and butter of millions of families around the globe, not to mention our esteemed mentors.

If you think that wars are something which started in 1914, namely the “First “World War””, then you need to work a bit on your history (of course, you don’t). Wars have been there since time immemorial and according to careful estimations by anthropologists and evolutionary biologists, skirmishes had been taking place ever since the human kind learned to use tools, and of course, we are talking about weapons here.

The reason why you are reading these lines and why we have built this magnificent world of ours is due to wars. If you find that laughable, then you must not be seriously considering the fact that without wars it would not have been possible for the human race to reach this point in civilization and evolution and had it not been for wars, you would not have had the peace and tranquility of using a computer in your home with an internet connection.

You must at least support wars for the sake of your internet, if not anything else.

You must be having some idea about the supposedly barbaric ancient times. Apart from sanitation standards, the greatest horrors of those times were the ever impending attacks on their civilization centers. Human Civilization has reached the proud point when wars have been taken away from the Cities, namely Civilization Centers, as much as possible, other than what is necessary. But people in the ancient times did not have the luxuries that you enjoy living in your comfortable homes and contemplating over the cruelty of wars and violence. They lived it.

All the ancient kings and kingdoms, of all ethnicities, castes, religions, cults and geographic locations have been attacking others in order to supply for their people, and more importantly to the state machinery to ensure the security of the people and not to mention for the nation’s glory and that of the beloved mentor, namely the king or more aptly, the Leader. If you are naïve enough not to consider this true, you can go and try your hand at the strategy games your younger siblings and children have already mastered.

Who attacked who and who plundered what and killed how many is merely detail which you can make up for text books and make your children read to brew hatred against any particular group that you want. The wars always have such tremendous propaganda value. If you find one of your ancient heroes in the historical list provided by this seemingly carried-away and outrageous generalization, then I encourage you to quietly embrace this fact if you have not already rejected it.

And the kings and kingdoms, pardon me, the leaders, the republics and the remnants of kingdoms of our world are no exceptions. They too, have to carry out business, buy and sell weapons, fuel the industry, fuel the fuel, for protecting you and feeding you. They are serving you, so don’t you dare be ungrateful to them and criticize their actions for your lazy intellectualism and for feeding your Utopian ideals which are a product of your redundancy and decadence.

But you can change and again be a part of Civilization.

Don’t cry. Smile, laugh instead. Cheer for the wars.

If you don’t love wars, you are a traitor to humanity.

The Words of Mahatma Gandhi

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the past century, you can hardly find a person more charismatic and inspiring as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. His message of peace and humanity and his unfaltering devotion to firmness in truth (Satyagraha) and non-violence (Ahimsa) make him the most influential figures on a humanitarian level. Maybe not rated highly by the students of history as a politician, but anyone who reveres the sanctity of the truth and humanity, reveres Mahatma Gandhi as well.

His birthday, October 2, which is also the day of the publishing of this post, is celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence. It was his message and education which inspired figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Many people often wonder why Gandhi was not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe it was George Bernard Shaw who very aptly put that only a devil in the disguise of a man could come up with the idea of putting a prize for peace. How true! For souls like Gandhi, and in our times Abdus Sattar Edhi, no prize for peace is needed. In fact, it would be insulting to the work and mission of their lives. Peace is the prize itself. Let us not dishonor them by feeling sad that they did not receive an award for peace.

A few pearls of Wisdom from Mahatma Gandhi in this montage from the DVD of Gandhi (1982), one of my favorite movies, an epic biopic of Gandhi directed by Oscar winner Richard Attenborough, which could change your life.

For more Gandhi quotes, follow his Wikiquote page.

Albert Einstein offered his tribute to Gandhi in the following words.

“The generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked upon this Earth.”

The Independence Day Post

So, we have completed 63 years, and what have we done?

Was this the dream? What have we become?

Although things may not look good, for we’ve lost a lot on the way.

But we must not give up, to rise and fight another day.

We had gained independence from the Imperial rule in 1947, but the question to ask ourselves is whether we are still independent or not? As in the lives of individuals, the independence of states comes with their financial power and freedom, and unfortunately, this has been an area in which we have been doing poorly. Currently, Pakistan is in a gross external debt of more than $42 billion offered by institutions such as the World Bank & the IMF. No wonder why Pakistan has largely been an instrument in the hands of the world powers.

This means that not only Pakistan needs to follow the instructions of the international financial body, but also is unable to maintain its assertiveness as a state due to its financial weakness. While Pakistan struggles to repay the IMF debt and debt to many other donor countries, we need to ask ourselves what are we doing to improve financially. Unless, Pakistan becomes economically strong, it will not be able to make a meaningful impact diplomatically as well.

The events in the recent years have been nothing short of a disaster. Probably the worst power crisis in the history of the country has paralyzed the remnants of manufacturing industry in Pakistan. One of my friends and ex-colleagues, Umer Farooq, had once pointed out to me how Pakistanis are neglecting the importance of manufacturing industries, and how the recent economic policies have only been focused on developing the service sector, that too, under foreign investment.

It is nothing else but the power of manufacturing industries, which has made China a global economic power, and which is why it is dominating international markets, including the Pakistani consumer market. Unfortunately, Pakistan is even losing grip on its existing strengths in the manufacturing industry, such as textile. Unless we are able to produce things we are able to sell, we will never be able to add to our income as a nation.

At the same time, we also need to check our lifestyle as a country under debt, under a financial crisis and as a nation struggling to maintain its position among the international community. While the war against terrorists  have been a hindrance to progress for Pakistan, our attitude has been an even greater one. We need to check the way we our running statecraft and ask questions of our priorities.

Millions of rupees are spent every month on the expenses incurred for the maintenance of the Prime Minister House and the President House. Similarly, millions have been incurred on the expenses of the serving ministers and parliamentarians, who whine all the time and demand for more raises in benefits. How much of this money could have been spent on other areas, which desperately need the attention of the government.

The ruling elite lives in comfort in Islamabad, while their supposed “employers”, which are the People of Pakistan, are suffering every day of their lives. A person in a rural area may face a power outage of 18 hours straight and may not even have access to clean drinking water, education and medical facilities, while the rulers of the country roam around in the most sophisticated and expensive motorcades.

The purpose of this post is not to bring a bad image to the name of Pakistan, but is just to point out that we need a reality check on the completion of yet another year of the country’s independence. That we need to realize what problems are we encountering and how can we work towards a solution. Even if we are able to change our approach in a matter such as curbing expense, which is totally in our control, we can make significant progress.

Even if we compare ourselves to India, despite the fact that India is a continent of a country, with far greater resources, their leaders have not resorted to the kind of lavishness that has been enjoyed by the rulers of Pakistan in its 63 year history, probably with the exception of  Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan, Khawaja Nazim-ud-din and a few others who were in office in the early days. At least, they are not as ostentatious.

All the three ruling elements, the bureaucracy, the military and the politicians, including the feudals, have been responsible for the development of this culture of extravagance. When an organization is not able to generate additional sources of income, they consider cutting down expenses to maximize their profitability under given resources. This is what Pakistan needs to do.

However, in the case of Pakistan, we are asking for more IMF debt to maintain the lavish expenditure incurred on the ruling class. It is an ironical situation really. The servants of the people of Pakistan are enjoying a lavish lifestyle bought by the tax Rupees of the Pakistani people, who themselves are deprived of even the basic necessities at some places. How can such a nation ever achieve financial independence?

This elitist culture needs to be changed. We need to change the mindset that the bureaucrats, the military and the politicians are superior to the people of Pakistan. They were chosen from the masses themselves. Anyone who thinks in such a manner does not deserve a position in any of the state institutions. The way the civil servants are trained needs to be changed.

Anyone acquiring a position as a civil servant assumes that he or she has transcended the level of being an ordinary Pakistani citizen and  has entered an elite club. Of course, it is true that they work hard for getting their positions, but they must not forget that they are nothing more than paid servants of the Pakistani people.

To me, a tax-paying vendor is the employer of even the highest-level serving bureaucrat or Army officer. Unless this approach is developed, Pakistan may never achieve what its people aspire for. Unless we work to eliminate the moral corruption plaguing us as a nation, we can never attain the discipline necessary to achieve true independence.

Pakistan must work to rely on its own resources to progress. Unless this approach is adopted, it can never escape the vicious cycle of debt servicing. We need to cut down our military expenditure and stop the race of arms with India. We need to concentrate on strengthening the people by offering them easy access to education, so that manpower, which is one of the most important and abundant resource at our disposal, does not go to waste.

On August 14, 2010, Pakistan probably faces the most asking of all the challenges that it has ever encountered. Pakistan is fighting the worst natural disaster in a century, and right now apparently lacks the resources  to build the lost infrastructure as a result of the monstrous flooding that has currently brought a fifth of the country’s area under water.

With about 1,600 deaths and 20 million people left homeless, Pakistan needs to fight this disaster and must work harder than ever before to restore the lost infrastructure and to help out the affected people. While the international community is helping us out to overcome the challenge, for which we should be grateful to them, we need to develop our own resources as a nation as well.

This independence day is not a time for celebration at all, but one of contemplation and self-evaluation.

But the bottom line is clear. The bottom line is that we must work hard, especially even harder on this hour of crisis, to raise to the level of true independence and glory which is worthy of great nations, before thinking about celebrations and making false claims of pride. Pakistan is a nuclear power with one of the strongest military forces in the world, but none of that is helping us right now.

It is true that Pakistan needs to spend on its security to ensure its existence, but we need to shift our focus from military expenditure to improving the living standards of the people and to offer them education and medical facilities in a better way. We should also develop our focus to strengthen the manufacturing sector of the economy, even if we have to resort to drastic measures for doing so.

Why cannot we produce things as trivial as locks and umbrellas in the country, and why each and every single object we use needs to be “Made in China”? Are we so incompetent and resourceless as a nation? Or have we descended to a state of decadence in which we cannot differentiate wrong from right? But I am aware that a lot of other nations are facing this situation as well.

Never expect change unless you act for the change.

I’m concluding the post with the quotes of two of the fathers of the struggle for freedom for the Indian subcontinent from the Raj, and God knows we need to act on this advice more than ever before.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve. Work, work and work harder.” – Muhammad Ali Jinnah

If you want independence, you have to earn it.