To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi; I will have to become the change I wish to see around me.
The rhetoric of revolution has gained significant momentum in our politics of late. While globally the word may still be reserved to define bloody upheavals and decade long struggles, our political enthusiasts have never shied away from labelling a transition of power with the ‘R’ word – irrespective of its eventual impact on the lives of the people.
Whether it was a consequence of the arrival of a fiery cleric administering a large tea party in Islamabad, the heartthrob Kaptaan reaping rich dividends of his 17-year-long political struggles, or the disillusioning incompetence and corruption of the rulers passed, talk of change and a revolution have certainly warmed the air once again in Pakistan.
In the spirit of the forthcoming political activism, inspired by the excitement evident in society at the thought of a mass movement, and with hope of support from the readers of this piece, I have decided to bring about a revolution of my own.
I must warn you though – contrary to what might get your heart racing, this is not an exercise to bring the corrupt to the awam ki adaalat or hang anyone upside down. Instead, my revolution is an exercise of introspection.
At its inception, my revolution requires a realisation of what it means to be an exemplary human being, a productive citizen, and a righteous Muslim. From then on, much like the revolutions of the past, it’s a struggle – a struggle to reach that Utopian state.
The foundations are laid by bringing back the naïveté of considering a fellow being as inherently good unless blatantly proven otherwise – and even then reserving the right to my judgment but not of imposing it. The struggle then quite naturally transcends in to building tolerance which will help me respond to opposing views with respect, criticism with courteous defence, and insult with prayer.
My revolution is a constant self-examination of my actions and their contribution towards making Pakistan the country I desire it to be.
Accountability, much like charity, will begin at home.
My ignorance towards my social responsibilities, bestowed by virtue of being born in a privileged minority, will no longer be tolerated. My actions will have to be mapped against my ideals of society. If an educated society is stressed as a prerequisite for progress, then I must question how often I, in my own capacity, have served as an educator. If working hard for a living is to be encouraged, then I must question how often I have undervalued the efforts of the road side fruit wala by negotiating over Rs20.
If child labour is abhorred, then I must question how many underage children I have working under my own roof. If obedience of law is a sign of a maturing society, then I must question how often I have disobeyed when there was little fear of repercussions. To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi; I will have to become the change I wish to see around me.
In essence, my revolution starts with removing the ‘R’ from the word itself. It is not an uprising from within the society, but rather an evolution of us as individuals to try and live up to the standards we hope to be upheld by the society in general. It is premised in valuing the power of an individual to infuse positive energy in his surroundings, and in the stark realization that our inability to do so may keep our ideals as a distant dream.
Here is to hoping I can get a cult following.