It is not unusual in Pakistan to hear of public schools that receive no books, no supplies and no subsidies from the government. Thousands more are "ghost schools" that exist only on paper, to line the pockets of phantom teachers and administrators.- National Geographic: Struggle for the Soul of Pakistan, Don Belt. After more than sixty years of independence Pakistan stands at a precipice where it is bordering on a faulty jump between moderate and extremist Islam, both terms having been coined post 9/11. This being a fine balancing act in which you fall more than you travel on the line; it is sadder still to find the present government spending less than what is required at this moment, on education. The fact is that it was hoped, almost expected without reservations, that the recently elected government would allocate an amount from the budget of 2008-9 to education, to show its commitment to this struggle, this landslide of illiteracy and ignorance which has warped our personalities and crippled our growth, both as individuals and as a society. With a 4 percent increase in the education slot and about 30 percent of that going to higher education, I wonder for a moment why it never seems to occur to anyone that education is about teaching the young so that they can contribute to the society as and when they grow up. Unless we have scientifically achieved a point where we will be giving birth to graduates only. That would be remarkable and would take a load off mothers like myself to stop looking for education in schools. I would comfortably shop for colleges only. If my statistics are not wrong, India spends 6 percent of its GNP on education and Pakistan until now was spending 1 percent on education and 99 percent on rockets and launchers, bullets and bullet proof shields and all the stuff boys love to play with when they are kids. Men do not grow up, may I add here then, without so much as step on someone's ego.4 percent is heartening to say the least but it is not the kind of revolutionary step we were praying for. It is truth and truth alone when I say this: education of a frighteningly large scale is the only thing that can save us from drowning in this massive intellectual and social meltdown. We have already hit rock bottom and this was a chance for the government to prove its serious concern for the society, if it cared at all. Shaukat Aziz must be snickering in his cozy somewhere at how he fooled all of the people all of the time for a very long time. He must also be guilt free after watching a few of the antics that the new government has shown. Neither better nor worse, he must be thinking, and they do not even dress as well as he does nor have the gift of the gab. At the end of the day it is about who did what. The nation does not matter. People are dying. Some from starvation, others from waiting and still others from hoping. Hope, which is the only solace that is left for a part of the world where the weak are insignificant and the strong are arrogant. Where we do not salute the martyrs who die defending their homeland and Valentines Day with fervour beyond logic. A people that is confused about its identity and wants to wrap itself around the false apparitions that slowly fade in and out of the television screen, we have wasted a lot of time between ourselves and our identities, and the only thing that can save the fading soul is Education. Not just going to school but also the way we conduct ourselves in front of our children. How we drive on the roads. How we throw out our garbage. Education is all this and much more. Last, but never the least, it is about taking on individual responsibility for the rest of the society as well. It is about knowing that the people who run the state are not to be left to do as they please. It is about being aware, active, diligent, and sharp. On November 10, 2007, George W Bush stated the following: "In other words, he was given an option: Are you with us or are you not with us? And he made a clear decision to be with us, and he's acted on that advice." We remained passive, inert and we paid the price with our dignity and we suffered the consequences and do so till today. On June 10/11, 2008, 11 soldiers including an officer were martyred by the coalition forces at a check post in Mohmand Agency. What followed was a denial from the United States, stating that there was no checkpost and this was a justified reaction to hostilities aimed at them. The blatant refusal to warn or take permission from a sovereign country before such aggression is the price Pakistanis will pay for not being aware of their rights and their duties towards each other and those of the state towards the individual. For this the tired, hungry and empty-handed Pakistani suffers. Without education this individual will suffer endlessly and not know that he is subjugated to this suffering. A price to be paid for not being able to read what is right now being written about him. The ordinary citizen.