One of the leading journalists in electronic media Mr. Shaukat Paracha in Islamabad, while replying to my question said: “there seem to be no more any standard of debate in Pakistan; even it is far below than that of Greco-Roman Republic since 7th century BC to 27 BC. The prevalent environment of debate is hopelessly depressing”.

Discourse, dialogue and debate are the three fundamental ingredients of democratic culture, which strengthen or weaken democracy, state and society owing to their variant characteristics. Every day comes and goes in our national life bringing nothing new, leaving no impact behind, though the sun rises and sets after seeing happy influx of new life continuously generated in the universe.

Like all Muslim societies and states, both the men of thoughts and men of actions look joyously agreed to live under the powerful influence of the “fixed past”, “chaotic present” and “blind future”, being contended with the ideology: “all is well”. When Mother Nature was kind to us, the epicenter of ruling elite---Lahore-- projected the glamorous theme that the “Ravi always writes calm and quiet” (Ravi sub acha likhta hay). Now, changing trends of time and age has left it a relic of the bygone happy days, as all is perished, the Ravi is dead and the underground water level reaches more than seven hundred feet low, the sky retunes dark fog and lethal smog while we firmly believe still that “all is well” and “the Ravi always writes calm and quiet”. In nutshell, our daily life is arrested in the dark cave of “today”.

In 1955, when the world was mourning 10th the anniversary of atomic attacks by America on Japan, Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russel—the first was a great physicist and second equally great mathematician----issued a joint appeal to the world in a great anguish. Today, the foresaid sage appeal is now named as “Bertrand Russell-Einstein Manifesto”, which ends with the following perspicuous words: “There lies before us, if we choose continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? We appeal, as human beings, to human beings: Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death”.

The year 2019 is upon us; still we are bent upon choosing death as we fail to forget our mutual quarrels the most of which are born in the fertile hatchery of “false ego”.

The author of The Advancement of Learning” Lord Francis Bacon was the contemporary of the Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great, Queen Elizabeth and the great drama writer William Shakespeare in 16th and 17th centuries. Like Akbar the Great’s nine courtiers mainly Abu al Fazl ibn Mubarak and Tansen, Bacon was the Courtier of the Queen Elizabeth. As Shakespeare converted philosophy, History and Scientific Discoveries into his literary works of great tragedies and comedies, the Lord Bacon applied logic, wisdom and foresightedness in the advancement of learning for which philosophy and science got supreme status. To Lord Bacon, general public may usually involve in substandard conversations but it is the job of the individuals of preeminent stature to rise above to set follow-able examples, not touching the personal weaknesses of men and women, as their prime objective is to promote knowledge, ethics and logic among general public.

If a writer speaks, philosophy and science must looks conspicuous in his talks and writings. As such, a man of action deciding the destiny of a few, or many, or nation, state and society should exercise maximum self-control so that his acts rise above his “self”. Above all, the politicians being custodians of collective behaviour essentially look shining bright in the dark sky through their words and actions. After all they belong to high breed which endures a lot to change the mind-set of state and society. And finally, it is the bitter reality of today that the last sun of 2018 on 31st December set in the west smiling on our fallacies and follies looking evident in our idiosyncratic way of debates, discourse and dialogue.

 

The writer is Ex-Director General, Translation, Senate of Pakistan and

an Author of the book: Qurat ka Nizam (Urdu) and Chairman, A Trust for Transmission of Knowledge, TOFK.

 trusthem@gmail.com