A couple of days back I was going through various videos on Youtube featuring the highly opinionated journalist/intellectual Hassan Nisar where he was discussing the reasons why the Muslims, especially from the sub-continent, went backwards. Nisar would attribute this to the fact that the Muslims are unaware of their own real identity. This is because the history that we have been taught has been widely distorted and doesn’t present a real image. Nisar stressed the importance of Science and technology as the means for progression. Needless to say he was highly critical of the hypocrisy within our nation (and in the rest of the Muslim world). The interview certainly got me thinking and the more I thought, the more I realized that I agreed with almost everything that the man was saying. He certainly had my attention and had compelled me to ask myself the question; where did we go wrong?
One particular point that Nisar made and which really did strike a chord with me was about the hero worship that is so prevalent within our society. The lack of real heroes had led to an establishment of cult of personalities where the followers have elevated their leaders to the status of Gods. Just a couple of weeks back a child lost her life because her father was denied entry in to a hospital due to the protocol of a prominent leader. Later it was revealed that the father of the child was a member of the same political party and had completely changed his statement after being offered money and a job by his party leaders. Needless to say this incident infuriated quite a lot of people. It’s truly sad when people are willing to give up everything that is important to them for the sake of a leader whom they haven’t even met in their entire lifetimes. This mindset is prevailing in every province of the country and is not limited to followers of just one political party. In fact what is truly disappointing is the fact that some highly educated people are also engaged in this blatant and pointless hero worship. Is it really what we need? Are we really so helpless and desperate that instead of utilizing our own skills and talents we are forced to rely upon another person’s vision.
It is exactly this mentality which has resulted in people like Zaid Hamid and Mubasher Lucman gaining huge fan followings in spite of the fact that in reality they are perpetrators of absurd conspiracy theories. If you visit Hamid’s twitter you would see that the guy has 115000 followers on Twitter. This number is alarming because it represents the number of people within the society who actually believe what Zaid Hamid has to say. It’s certainly sad to see people shifting the blame towards external factors rather than looking at what they themselves are doing. Maybe it’s because of the fact that at the end of the day it’s easier to blame others rather than see the flaws within you. As the saying goes ‘everybody wants change but nobody wants to change’. The people within Pakistan seem to be going through an identity crisis and are desperately looking for a messiah; someone who would lead them out of the darkness into the light. This completely contradicts the saying ‘even God doesn’t help those who cannot help themselves’. Can we really expect one person to make a change? Is change collective or individualistic?
Dear readers the purpose of this piece is not to preach or give any one a guilty conscience. The purpose is to make you question yourself. A famous Sufi once said ‘Asking good questions is half of learning’. Maybe this is what we all need. Maybe the reason why we never really progressed is essentially because we never really asked the right questions and maybe this is the reason why we are trapped in this abyss.
By Abdul Ghani