Nothing, yet everything personal – by Naveed Ali

A mugging incident at an ATM

“He was retired and came back to Pakistan after long years of service overseas; he had plans and many things to do. On that fateful day he was out shopping with his wife, he was inside the shop while wife came out, an unknown person tried to snatch her hand bag on gun point, seeing this he came out of shop hurriedly and the bandit fearing he is coming out to attack, fired on him and ran away. He was admitted to ICU and the battle starts between life and death which eventually resulted in loss of life.”

After hearing such news definitely one feels pain, fear, hopelessness, anguish and anger, and it is not uncommon that you end up sitting in dark for hours looking at some unknown, unseen object wondering what else is stored in fate for you, why you, why your dear ones,  why us? this darkness has to end somewhere so you remind yourself that you have to carry on, those who have suffered but are still alive they have to carry on; we have to carry on with hope that we will keep on traversing the path of destiny with optimism, with good, with kindness and with a dream that future will be bright not that dark, that we will try to make a difference to honour our loved ones who have been sacrificed because of the evil of greed and selfishness, because of forces which turn us the humans into beasts. We cannot give up, for we are the victims but we are the hope as well.

It is so much common to read and listen to such news in media that most in Pakistan have become aloof and detached from misery, we do not take any notice of this bloodshed, lawlessness and brutality, and we do no longer demand an end to it. We have become so much used to it that we do not see it as failure of state, because it is prime responsibility of state and its institutions to protect its citizen. We are like this herd of hungry, thirsty, tired and lost people in a desert which are going as they do not have any option but to carry on, but they are so much unconscious, numb and soulless because of their suffering that they do no longer have any emotions. They see their own getting sluggish and motionless, dropping, lying and dying in the way, but they can no longer relate to it, they cannot see the death coming their own way, they are no longer related to one another, survival is still forcing them to keep together but same survival instincts are forcing them to be ruthless and mean to the extent that they will eat each other.

This may seem very gloomy but this is part of the reality we are living in, that majority of masses in this country has stopped relating themselves as a society, there basic rights are negated for a long time, they have not been provided opportunities to voice themselves, evils like corruption and lawlessness are so wide spread  and institutions and administration are so helpless in front of these evils that  people no longer have any role models to which they can relate themselves, they no longer have institutions which can provide them a sense of belonging and a platform to struggle for their rights, they have been deprived of their rights for so long that they have lost hope. They have been made fool in the name of so many ideologies that ideals have lost their meaning for them. Despite foolish claims of political leadership of this country, majority do not belong to any movement, they have no sense of belonging at all and no political awareness. While incident of BouAzizi fuelled the movement in Tunisia, similar incidents in Pakistan are received coldly by the public. People receiving such news, do not find any effective social or political platform from which  they can record their protest effectively, so they turn to other means of solace, spiritual abodes or other escape routes like drug abuse, domestic violence and many other social ills.

There is a minority in this country which has access to amenities of life, education, health, careers, business, accommodation, recreation and other good fortunes. This minority belongs from middle to high classes and most of leadership of our administration, political and other civic institutes comes from this class. This is a fact that gap between this minority and majority of people is getting wider day by day, so much so that people in these classes can no longer relate themselves to problem of common people, hence leadership is aloof from its people and there is a collision of interest between masses and their leadership. We can better understand this gap by a statistical study of these classes, but it is not hard to understand if one walks through private educational institutes, hospitals, banks, restaurants and hotels and similar facilities for the poor majority of this country which are mostly provided by the government; we will see stark differences. This minority is living in a vacuum, without a realization that their survival depends on the survival of lower classes of this country, growing corruption and violence has reached a stage where no one is safe.

In this situation it is necessary to create awareness, and to create awareness people are required to relate themselves to each other, so that they can understand pain and suffering bear by their fellow countrymen.  In these circumstances, confusion is not a surprise, and it was not a surprise listening people of our minority privileged class expressing their anguish why people are provoked by asking them to relate themselves to those who lost their lives. Irrespective of the details and how different interest groups react and try to secure public sympathy, we should understand that such events can only occur in the situations where we have brought ourselves, these circumstances are not result of conspiracies but our own wrong doings are the root cause, moreover those who lost lives are citizens as well and so every such event is very unfortunate and it cannot even be perceived in a law abiding society. We should understand that this is yet another indication of failure of our institutes and state.

And it is not strange that people relate to such events in a personal perspective, it is very natural and basic human behaviour, humans tend to perceive situations based on their own experiences, they rejoice and cheer, they fear and loath based on how they relate themselves to situation. And that is how they get motivated. This is why we see leadership by example as an effective mean, this is why leaders like Che Guevera were so respected by people as they can relate to him by witnessing him living and struggling amongst them as one of their own; that is why a foreign educated Gandhi decided to change his life style to be like a common Indian, to experience and understand the suffering of a common man in order to serve and guide them.  An individual is a very important part of society, perhaps the basic unit of society, and that is why protection of individual rights is so important in all mature and progressive societies. Same is the reason why individual behaviour and social interaction of individuals and its effects on society are studied under fields like micro sociology or cognitive anthropology with interest to improve social conditions. So it is normal if we relate ourselves to people, people who are like us but victims of injustice and inequality, or people who lose lives only because they were at the wrong place at wrong time. It is not necessary for us to be such victims, but what is the guarantee? We may not want to struggle for rights and security of other people but what if it is really a matter of our own security, our own survival?



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