As people, the vast majority, struggle to make ends meet with no time left over to ponder the whys and how-can-this-be-happening-to-us, there are a few who think and analyze, in order to make sense of the all-encompassing confusion.
Take the protests about the drones for starters. It is the party in power in KP that is protesting but not the KP government. I mean the KP government is only protesting in the capital and not participating in the same in the province it is ruling. There is that thin red line between the prerogatives of the federal government and provincial ones. The Minister for Interior and the Captain speaking the same language while other ministers choosing to differ with no clear stance from the prime minister to seal the sides. The protests we are told are also about the rising prices and inflation – so we can take our pick! Or if we feel strongly enough about both issues then our protest can be a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
The people, while liking the ghairat  idea, are not quite able to swallow it totally either, because the prime targets of the drones continue to be the ones who are very much our targets too and who have sworn to wrest power by all means to set us back fourteen hundred years, at the very least. So there is confusion about dealing with the enemy within. If our ghairat does not allow us to accept drone strikes within our boundaries by another country then by the same token it should not allow us to sit with these armed junglees – the disaffected and dropouts of so many different countries – and try to convince them of things which do not interest them and from a seeming position of compromise. We are also so confused about the stand on foreign policy between our various power centres and, therefore, on which is the better option and even about if we should have Indian movies, which we love to watch, or not?
All this confusion has been allowed to fester because the orthodox, with the availability of the loud speaker, have the ability to out shout the rest of us. We have gone too far ahead in the ‘us’ and ‘them’ syndrome, choosing our comfortable lives, quite cut off from the miseries of the common man and not being alive enough to the threat of the divisions that are being deliberately widened as a result of that.
I think all these debates, even so many years on, also stem from the one embodied by Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb of the Mughal dynasty. There have always been two types of people – the strict and puritanical and the inclusive. Going by logic, the Dara Shikoh types are the ones who should be able to prevail, if only they could get their act together, because they are also the ones who are better educated and are, for that reason, at the helm of mostly all affairs. They are just afraid of the unlettered millions even though our history is testimony to the fact that the same unlettered chose so deliberately in favour of Mohammad Ali Jinnah as compared to the orthodox clergy. The Dara Shikohs of our society get so easily over whelmed and scared of consequences that they revert to the comfort of their bubble existence instead of fighting and forging a national narrative that we all know, in the light of history, is the better one.
It is the extremists in all the countries that need to be rein in instead of the other way round. Every time errors in the text books are removed or some improvement sought so that our students are well rounded, the propagandists come down heavily on the government which, instead of putting up a resistance, reverts to the previous course without so much as a whimper. There is no fight for what is the better and right way to educate our children and future generations. Why is not enough attention paid to the way our Prophet (PBUH) preached and practiced tolerance and created a comfortable environment for all believers and non believers to co exist peacefully? Why does nobody teach our children about the way the message of tolerance and understanding was fostered by all the Sufi saints? Why are we not on one page collectively on the way we want to live? We do not want to be known as the most unpredictable and prone to violence country. We want social welfare, we want dignity and we want an inclusive common narrative and plot across the board. We too want to pitch for things like World Expos as Dubai has done and be known for all that our rich heritage has to offer.
Post Script: There are people who restore your faith in humanity and who achieve the stature of sainthood in their life time and for this century it has, undoubtedly, been Nelson Mandella, loved and revered across the globe. His life is unbelievable for what he achieved, despite spending 28 years in prison. He has left such a beautiful legacy of tenacity and graciousness and all that is the true potential of a human being. On his passing away it was wonderful to see the whole world celebrating his life in unison and sharing his legacy together – completely setting aside their differences with one another. To quote Nelson Mandella, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”.

The writer is a public relations and event management professional  based in Islamabad.

EmailI:tallatazim@yahoo.com

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