A failed generation

A few days ago at the petrol station, I was talking to a friend as the attendant filled my car about my recent visit to China via cell when the attendant timidly approached me. I looked at him quizzically as I had already forked over the cash for the petrol, and shut my phone.

“Sahab have you come from abroad”

” Jee I do visit outside pakistan on occasion”

“sahab bus kisi tarah ham ko bhi yahan se nikalo na”

I looked at him in disbelief, and wondered how I had suddenly risen in status in his eyes just because I had access to foreign shores, he somehow thought of me as a would be savior who would employ him immediately and send him to heaven via the next flight out of here.

Which leads me to think as to whether we are a “failed state” as the international press and the hoity toity world leaders often describe us or a “failed generation”?

This mentality I am afraid is prevalent not only in our masses but in every class of this country where escape abroad seems to be the answer to all the problems faced here. True, life abroad does guarantee a far better economic and social reward for work, however why do we not try to change our lot here rather than abroad is what baffles me about most people.

It seems every person of my age is afraid of asking questions, self censorship is the norm in Pakistan, whether we are forced to or not we just don’t ask anymore, we prefer to run away or at most throw money at the problem till it goes away. If there is no electricity we whine about it on blogs and twitter but we do not go to the nearby KESC center and question.

If the neighborhood is filled with sewage water we do not call up our locally elected representative and ask him why it has not been cleared. We prefer to remain in a vacuum of “not rocking the boat” so as to speak. We do this at work at home and in life and then pretend to act as if the world and our country are against our existence. How many of us have gone up to the boss and asked why “Mr and Mrs” so and so got the increment and we did not? How many of us have actually tried to engage the political parties and leaders we keep insulting and ask them why so and so happened?

How many of us have tried asking for help in any form, a friendly analysis by someone you trust can also provide genuine insight into what a person might be doing wrong.

As for the gas station attendant, I duly explained to him how even if he manages to go to Dubai he will continue to pump gas for someone who might not even pay him every month, will keep his passport in his grasp blackmailing him at every opportunity and might even abuse him if he refuses with coercion ala local law. I suggested he try to educate himself in some way to raise his lot in life in his own country, rather than be a victim somewhere else. What I am trying to say is, for him education was the answer but there are answers for many of our problems also, the only way to get them is to ask questions about them.

While asking for things, please do not forget at every opportunity to ask for your rights as a citizen of this land. You might think your questions fall on deaf ears, but in the recent world of media awareness in Pakistan where a parlimentarian can get dismissed on credit card fraud you might even be pleasantly surprised at what your queries can achieve.

  1. Let’s have a frank and honest response here: How much have you tried to change the system around you? Don’t hide behind the blog or twitter.

    Try to go and ask KESC why there is no electricity and either you get a blunt response or their security guards would beat the crap out of you.

    Joining a political party? Pray tell which party in Pakistan has honest leadership or allows honest people to even rise through the ranks?

    Citizen of the land? hell. With feudals in rural and mafias in urban areas, government in their pockets and media their buddy, where on earth “oridinary citizen” of Pakistan can exercise his rights? Try traveling through a bus/mazda/coach and you will see what a citizen is worth.

    By the way, the hype of get-education-get-job does not work anymore. Decent paying jobs are for those who have conenctions, rest can just drive rickshaws or pump gas or burn their degrees in frustration.

    Pakistan Zindabad.

  2. @ GBadshah Im not hiding behind anything, I am doing what i can to change this system, my tool is with my writing what is yours?

    KESC wrong, i went after i had no lights for 40 hrs in the recent rains and yes there was a mob there but the people inside answered my queries honestly, they told me of their situation, no one beat the crap out of me. i even took part in a protest on M.A jinnah Road the police escorted us to the neabry KESC authorities and then escorted us back… i repeat no one was harmed.

    As far as political parties are concerned that is a matter of opinion, there are parties which allow honest people to come up there are parties which allow nobodies in their ranks do a little research engage in some meetings u will find out for yourself

    Where can a ordinary citizen of Pakistan exert their right? You can protest wrong actions u can use the media to your advantage and i have traveled in buses and i often take a rickshaw from point a to point b so im not one of those drawing room elites u can browbeat with tales of ordinary citizenship you know what i have found on my travels? I have found masses which are full of talent and honest people just dying for a break. I have not found people who have given up on life.

    What do u mean get education get job does not work anymore??? Do you know how far salaries have risen in the last 5 years for skilled employed people, there are people out there who came with nothing to this city and become millionaires through their hard work man.

    Pakistan Zindabad!!! Umeed mat choro!!

  3. Some Great piece of advice if someone in India told me something like that I would have said the same. In school we learnt of brain drain. It happened to India in the late 80s and early 90s and The reasons were mostly political instability and stagnation of society. But as the country started to make progress, the trend reversed and people started to come back to India. I know a lot of people in Bangalore who were in US because they wanted to be on top of the world, learn more. Now they are in their 50s back in India coming up with new ideas to push the country ahead.
    So what I’m trying to is is that, if anyone has plans to come back to Pakistan as things improve nothing wrong in it, but if they plan to go abroad and plan to menial jobs, it’s pointless.
    About Pakistan being a failed state> I hope it doesn’t become one, but it’s in the path of becoming one.It’s a confrontation zone of sorts no matter which part of Pakistan we are talking about. (correct me if you think I’m wrong)

    India or Pakistan it’s the same shit, the only difference is the way things are done. If there is power in my locality we contact the opposition leader of the area, who will then speak to electricity board. If it’s a ridiculous reason the guy in charge gets thrashed, else it’s taken to some level. and media plays a very important role. We inform people way in advance if such a situation is coming up, which in turn puts pressure on Electricity board and politicians.

  4. Faisal it is good to have an optimist amongst us. I was raised in the era where dictatorship was dressed up and sold as democracy. So to answer your question “why don’t we ask questions” is because people were never given the opportunity and did as their leader(s) told them to. Media was government managed and corruption never let anyone be held accountable. I have been away too long and I take your word for it if you say times have changed, but the media is still controlled by the government. Did the current government not shutdown private stations recently when the lawyers and Sharifs were doing the million men march. There is no trust between people and politicians/government and there will be none until the trust has be reinstated.

    Another reason “why don’t we ask questions” is because it is embedded into our culture. As a child you are raised never to question your parents decisions even if it is not in your best interest because they know better, never to question your teachers and elders intentions, and NEVER EVER question the existences of GOD and the holy book because you will burn in hell. No matter how old you get your parents and society still treat you like a child because someone older than you knows what is better…LOL

    I do agree with you that education is an answer to make things better in pakistan

  5. Ah the escape to the “Land of Opportunity”…. the dream of those who have heard of Rags to Riches stories of some gaoon wala or a padosi. But the truth is that if someone asked those people who left what it took to survive and claw their way to the top and once they got “away” from Pakistan just what life was like and what they felt.

    amal se zindagi bantii hai jannat bhii jahannum bhii ye
    khaaki apnii fitrat mein na nuuri hai na naarii hai
    [Allama Muhammad Iqbal]

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