There is a certain hypocrisy involved in staying true to a certain mandate. The Kaptaan of course is the prime example of that. He is more confused on whether he is a liberal or a conservative or even, dare I say, a fundamentalist, than Trump is with his presidency. He championed the movement on the Panama leaks, something many of us admire him for, and yet when his own henchmen- correction, bag of gold- Tareen was caught in the same loophole, the Kaptaan deviated from his principles. In a clip that is now viral, Kaptaan, conversing with a famous TV anchor, gives his own philosophy of what is right and wrong: so long as the inside trading was not benefitting Tareen, he had done no wrong. Strange. The man many of his followers deem a messiah and an intellectual sounds incredibly ludicrous. Usher in the fact that he continues to gain momentum in his popularity and his following, Pakistan does not have a good future ahead of it.
Now, shamelessly so, the party has given Tareen’s son the ticket. Isn’t this the familial politics Kaptaan had set out to destroy in the first place? I’m more interested on how the PTIans tend to justify this. Strangely enough, they are very comfortable with it. It’s politics, they urge, you have to stay within the system. Funny. When I was insisting the same during the Dharna days when the Kaptaan wanted an out-of-parliament settlement, the same people mocked me for being old-fashioned and a slave to precedents. Strange how people change to serve their own purposes.
This shamelessness that has now become a norm in our country is alarming. Everyone is shameless at doing wrong, exploiting at their own level. Funnily enough though, they are obsessed with showing themselves as clean too. Hypocrisy hence, is the norm of the day. One wouldn’t be surprised to find how, for example, bureaucrats and uniformed officers break lines and protocols as a ‘well-deserved privilege’ while condemning the politicians when they too do the same. Similarly, the same people will condemn the fellow commuters who break traffic signals and yet, when they get an opportunity of out-of-the-usual favour, they themselves will pounce on it. Staff cars given to such servants of the government would be exploited till exhaustion but personal cars would either stay parked at home or sold. And then, so much more.
And, it is this hypocrisy that has been essential to control these simple minded populace of the country. The much repeated ‘god gives leaders reflective of the society’ holds true here not because it is a divine intervention but simply because we don’t want any better. To a certain extent, we want a dirty leader so long as he is dirtier than us. Then, we have the space to be dirty ourselves while maintaining a certain disillusion that we hold a higher moral ground and hence can criticise someone else. In that sense, maybe, a Pakistani way to live has to be an amalgamation of shameless hypocrisy, exaggerated opportunism and the death of conscience.
I have often insisted that the solution to all of this has to be education and I stay adamant on this insistence. Somehow, I believe that an educated person would be more wary of his actions and, in an environment that is thoroughly intellectual, he will have less space to be a hypocrite. However, the question of education, its form and content continues to remain an important one. Our ‘educated’ people with degrees are far from a civilised nation. They believe in conspiracy theories, refuse to read books, unnecessarily paint matters in religious colours and have learnt to be passionate on fictitious accounts of history. Men seem to treat women less as human beings and more as species who ‘tend to’ react a certain way. There is no conversation on harassment and mental abuse still remains a myth as many, many of them go mad and refuse any psychological help.
So, can education really be the solution everyone is looking for? Perhaps. It’s like democracy, it might not be the only solution but it is the best form of governance. Education too might be the best chance we have to grow less hypocrite. A populace that was more educated would have checked Kaptaan and sought a return to the idealism all of us seem to marvel him for. Till then, we all shall remain puppets to our darker, evil selves that are as involved and responsible at the country’s demise as are the corrupt leaders we love to degrade and hate.
The writer is working as a health economist in a think-tank based in Islamabad.