Education plays a key role in the formation and progress of nations. As long as a nation upholds educational standards, it keeps moving up on the path of progress and prosperity. As soon as it undermines its educational institutions and compromises educational standards, it lowers down itself to the position of decadence and the wheel of economic progress ceases to run, ultimately losing weightage in the comity of nations. Education stir-ups gave new impetus to move forward, uphold ethical values and explore the new dimensions of human vitals and progress within, and outside of, the ambit of national infrastructure. It is noteworthy that those nations which understood the importance of education, moved forward on the road to progress and nurtured an innovative mind-set which made them more dynamic than other nations as a result. The media, along with books and educational institutions, is the most potent source of education and information.

Maulana Zafar Ali Khan is known as the founder of journalism in Pakistan. His newspaper, Zamindar, is known for disseminating knowledge and spiritual guidance to the Muslims of India. Zamindar invoked zeal, fervour and a drive amongst the Muslims of India to wage an unprecedented struggle for an independent homeland under the charismatic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Comrade and Hamdard, under the dynamic editorship of Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar, were famous for their ferocious writing style. Both newspapers were dedicated to inculcate amongst the Muslims of India a sense of spirit to struggle for an independent homeland. The Ali brothers rightly felt that the Muslims of India could not live together with the Hindus, as Hindus and Muslims had divergent codes of life, ethics, identities and opposing religious values which could never merge with each other.

Pre-partition newspapers like Comrade, Hamdard, Zamindar and Sir Sayed’s Tehzeeb-ul-Akhlaq played a pivotal role in the creation of sentiments needed for independence. Intellectuals of the post-independence era developed a sense of self-reliance, patriotism and infinite struggle which helped them ignite the ambitions of Muslims.

Media houses are primarily saddled with the responsibility to be knowledge hubs that train the general masses in all walks of life. Experts from varying occupations should express themselves to impart the know-how of their respective fields. Instead, the situation in Pakistan is different since experts are asked to express themselves in the first place. Each and every minute is spent discussing the pros and cons of politics, moulding the political flow of events to the likes of anchors and analysts alike. They consider themselves to be opinion makers, and in a broader perspective, kingmakers.

It is imperative for media houses and news outlets to release information that is more accurate and educates the people of the nation, especially the youth who will hold the reigns of the state in the future.

Rare are the readers who spend their time lost in the world created by marvellous, charismatic and knowledgeable authors. Now people have drifted away from informative books to Google and other screen resources, which are not as accurate as believed. Book-reading now is not a hobby but a malaise, from which early and easy recovery is impossible. The internet is, no doubt, a valuable source of information but, as described earlier, the readers are not ready to revert back to traditional methods of gaining knowledge.

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had laid down the guiding principles for the nascent state of Pakistan and had drawn a roadmap which would help it ascend to the pinnacle of glory. He had envisioned a Pakistan which had a dignified international status that was independent and advanced. Education bestows us the vision of how to lead an honourable and informed life. The state needs to devise efficacious policies to educate the youth of the nation so that our future is dominated by individuals who uphold norms and values, commit to character building, inculcate accountability for corrupt practices and uphold the principles of honesty. Through them, the country will be able to move towards long-lasting peace, prosperity and happiness.

Malik Muhammad Aslam Awan

The writer is a freelance columnist and independent analyst based in Lahore.

E-mail: mlkaslam