Saturday, November 17, 2007


‘Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, this is my own, my native land! ‘ – This sense of belonging, this sense of relating and this form of patriotic affiliation forms the basic ingredient of a great country with loving countrymen. We are living in fast times, with technological advancements being made every day and breakthroughs in every field of life, and with the same frequency bombs going off almost everywhere and battles for existence fought on multiple grounds, with religion being affiliated to terrorism and discrimination on racial, religious and socio-political basis. No matter how much the humanity has progressed, it still contains the stain of most hideous crimes committed on not-so-hideous names. Call it war on terrorism, enlightened moderation or ‘in the best interest of the nation ‘, giving it a reasonable name doesn’t make the act reasonable.

I am not commenting on whether these certain acts were for personal lust of power or in the best interest of the nation, because no matter how many people agree with me, it wouldn’t matter! Because we, Pakistanis, as a nation have become socially, politically and morally numb. Can someone count for me how many bombs went off in the last 3 months? Can someone calculate the frequency of these attacks? Can someone mention the total number of casualties made? The answer from most us would be ‘NO!’ Even if someone came up with a positive answer, my follow-up question would be, what happened to these suicide bombers now? Where have they disappeared? Have they lost the motivation to embrace shahada’ all of a sudden? Did anything at all happened since the government or Musharraf (these names have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably) proclaimed emergency? Or someone showed them the red light, that no more! We don’t need you no more? Because very humbly and frankly I dare not write against the higher ups, but to me, a suicide bomber is on a suicide mission, no matter how many soldiers or policemen you have on the streets, he will blow himself up or ride his ‘Honda’ direct to the heavens? Their target being the law enforcement agencies (who by the way, enforce law even to the law department!) and the armed forces (who are the most insecure at the moment), it can be easily understood that the greater number of such people on the streets, the more motivation they must have to blow themselves up! Or is their fight for the right or vendetta over?

Again, like I said, I never intended to confuse my readers, I was just asking a few very honest and straight forward questions. I decided to write this article on a very positive thing that I noted about the youth of this nation. Since the emergency proclamation and after a very long time, I am noticing political awareness in the youth. With relatively small on-campus and even peaceful protests on the streets, the youth has finally decided to make its voice heard. What is more worth-noticing is that these youth movements, being originated from some of the most elite educational institutions of the country, is spreading like fire and creating a rebellion in almost every youngster. I came across this youth based online pamphlet ‘The emergency times’ which made me realize that finally, the youth is yearning to be noticed. This was the 10th issue of this online pamphlet which starts with a note ‘READ, PHOTOCOPY AND DISTRIBUTE’ and ends with a very warm message ‘IN COMPLETE UNITY’. It has accounts of various student protests at PU, NCA, FAST, LUMS, Quaid-e-Azam University, Aabpara and Zero point in Islamabad. It also has a message from Asma Jahangir to the youth, and a letter by barrister baachaa’s daughter to the same. This pamphlet circulates through online social-networking sites and is forwarded within 24 hours to millions of readers. These protests were relatively peaceful so far, except the one in Islamabad where our ‘loyal’ policemen arrested 48 students. But they have to be received with a very positive vibe. How can we forget the earthquake? If you had been to relief camps or the disaster-struck areas, you would have noticed a sense of urgency in the youth, and as this natural disaster brought havoc in the country, something very pleasant was to be noticed, the passionate and united youth for a common cause!

Youth is described as a period of ones life in which emotions can easily overtake ones senses and things not so important, to a broader and a more general adult world can become the purpose of living. The feeling of love for ones native land exists in every sane human’s heart and this feeling can so easily originate rebellious sentiments when one sees his or her country in chaos. In a country where 70 % of the population is below 29, I think, any such rebellious movement can mean the end for any regime, be it military or democratic.

I managed to talk to some of the youngsters managing and organizing these protests and they literally left me speechless, ‘Sir, like Gandhi said, ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world’, we are just trying to be change!’, one more seconds his views and dazzles me with ‘Sir, our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter! We are just making them hear us, whether it makes a difference or not, we would sleep peaceful tonight because at least we tried’. Another says’ We are called the black ribbon movement, it’s a matter of time that they start noticing us, we would make our presence felt!’

It is about time we start noticing the exuberant and passionate youth of this country, it was the youth that Iqbal referred to when he said ‘kuch kar lou nu-jawano’n urtee jawaniaan hain!’ and it is this youth that made the Pakistan movement a success. These young protestors, with banners and black ribbons, chanting anti-emergency slogans show their utter disappointment and despair on the happenings in the last few days. They show that now, even the most tolerant part of our society i.e. the youth, who grew up witnessing drama almost every fortnight has decided to play its part in their country’s future. And they deserve to be heard. No army, no political party and no propaganda can demean them if they stand united and fight for a common cause. So, in a very negative atmosphere, that our country is presently in, I find this particular thing very positive and I request the adult population of this great country to absorb some positive vibes from these vibrant youngsters! Every non-political student protest that is held gives our adults something to think about. If you have a kid who wants to join any such protest, like our ‘ beloved’ president reiterates in almost every address, ‘ IN THE BEST INTERTEST OF THE NATION AND ITS FUTURE’, let him join his friends. Let them play a part in the future policy making of the country, because it is their future that is in the making right now. Let them be politically aware of the happenings in the country. Teach them to stand up for the right, and to raise their voice and make themselves heard whenever their rights are snatched. Make them the youth that Iqbal dreamt of, make them the youth that stood united under the leadership of Quaid, they might not have a leader like him but it is a gradual process. Make them the youth that makes this great country proud. Make them the youth that knows its values and traditions. Inculcate in them the sense of belonging and affiliation. Instill in them faith, like Hazrat Muhammad PBHU says, HUB-UL-WATAN-MIN-AL-IMAAN’. If you couldn’t be the change that you wanted to see in this country, at least, let them try and you have my word, THEY WILL NOT FAIL US!

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