Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another year goes by & another is on its way

It’s yet again time when people will be making new resolutions so that they can be broken even before January ends. Knowing myself I have stopped following this ritual for a couple of years now. And guess what it helped because the burden of guilt is lighter.

As the year 2009 ends its at least time for reflection. This ritual will help those who are still keen on resolutions & even for the likes of me, because at least it outlines for you to some extent the dos & don’ts for the next year.

My reflection left me quite depressed. Last year goes down in my memory lane as one of the worst years of my life; & my guess is history is not going to categorize it any different. I can’t give an outline of my individual self & the picture around me separately. Both of them I found being integrated to the core. A realization that hit me hard, even though being extensively discussed in my sociology courses. And I felt like joining the camp of those sociologists who give maximum weightage to the society’s role in the life of an individual.

Things happening around us from the recession to the political atmosphere changed the outlook of people’s take on LIFE & what they want out of it. Uncertainty is a term even a kindergartener can spell now. And the thing that is bugging me the most is that none of is planning to ask “What did we do wrong”. This is not just the case of our politicians (for whom hopeless is an understatement now) but even at individual level, our family level etc. we are moving at such a fast pace that we don’t even have time to stop or even slow down & just see what our pace has done, not just for the present but the future as well. Being a business student we are always taught to look at situations from both a short-term & long-term perspective. While in discussions, case studies etc we always mark the long term benefits as the more suitable, but when it comes to real life practice, we leave behind our lessons in the class room, why? I still haven’t found an answer to this.

Another dark spot this year carries is the desensitization of the loss of life. Yes, we still feel low when some maniac decides to take a direct flight to the heaven (which lands on the opposite turf for sure) but compare our present reaction to when all this was not to frequent. One such incident would in the past radiate its impact; you could feel it in the air. My mother, who’s an anatomist for the past 25 years couldn’t sleep for days. Now, the death toll is just becoming a figure for everyone. I feel if we individuals don’t take back the control over the society & instead tell it keep monitoring us, we’ll never get out of this web, which to some extent we too have contributed in.

And yes individuals do have the capability of doing this. I have experienced it. If 2009 will ever make me smile, it will be because of this single contribution that it brought to my life. I landed up in a friendship bond with Karishma from across the border, a country with which my land has never maintained a permanent good relation & currently the situation is nowhere close to getting better. Our bond strengthened under the circumstances when our politicians were having a tough time even shaking hands & smiling for the press; something they are a master of. That’s when the power of individuals struck me. Both of us don’t agree on everything & no one can challenge our love for our respective motherlands, but still we have a blast together & thank our lucky stars for our chance encounter. Infact our encounter too is based on agreeing with the ideas of an individual (Fatima Bhutto). With setting our base on this, we have grown to the point where we plan to make our contribution (even though quite small an effort compared to the vastness of the issue at hand) to show that regaining sanity might not be that difficult.

My personal experience pulled me back to the camp of that ideology of sociologist who are of the view point that individuals form the society, therefore have the power to control it & change it. Basing our quantity on quality is going to be the key for the change we are looking for.

Hoping, that 2010 goes down my memory lane with the tag line, “When it changed for the better”.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Role of Education in the present Times

“Education plays a vital role in every aspect of one’s lives, so we should give our hundred percent to it & not waste our time in useless activities”. Sound familiar? I can’t imagine if anyone comes up & says nope, they weren’t inoculated with this statement. Most of us spend a large portion of our lives acquiring academic excellence so that we end up in jobs which in return provide us with our standard of living which takes a step up the ladder the minute we reach the one below it. There’s a cut throat competition & Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest best suits the explanation of all the fast & furious lives we all are living. And being equipped with the best education is a key tool in one’s survival in this system.

So if we just give a glance to our definition of education, it centers on academics. The grades you score by being drowned in the text books etcetera etcetera. Who’s to be blamed then when education is not producing the results it should? We have our basics set up in the wrong foundation. When we refer to education majority of us don’t even have the mental grooming of an individual at the back of our minds. We are referring to the superficial success of that individual.

Though the literacy rate is on the rise on an average but what good has that done? An educated society should have put an end to the double standards which formulates the roots of most of the issues the world in general & our country specifically suffers from. The irony here is that even the educational system is not cured from the double standards. In every country there exists schools which have a higher standard of education & then there are institutes which are not up to the mark; & mostly people who can’t afford to send their children to good schools end up sending their children to these lower quality schools. So in this way from the start of one’s life foundation of double standards, discrimination etc are laid in individuals who’ll be forming a society & integrate in them these qualities which were grinded in them from the very start.

No doubt the globalized education system is breeding top notch professional but this system is eating up the humans inside these professional. There is absolutely nothing wrong in being ambitions & competitive but when the rule of “everything is fair in love & war” is applied everywhere, the results are the surrounding we are living in. Our current system is promoting individualism to such an extent that people have started hurting the society to fulfill their personal goals. Under such circumstances people are ready to relocate, even denounce their nationality if it is creating even the slightest hindrance in their path, taking refuge in the increasing stance that the world is a global village. If so then why can’t these very same people stop stereotyping people of a specific state or religion if really we are following the path of globalization.

To this date, where we claim that we are the most civilized, highly educated lot we still haven’t agreed to disagree. Followers of each separate ideology consider it to be the best & want to impose it on the rest of the world. And for that all means become fair. Be it manipulating a country’s political system or waging a war based on false accusation. All this being not just conducted by the most educated lot but also supported by the educated class around the globe. To satisfy our conscience we do tend o wage verbal protest by using unpractical means. We have organizations whose mandate is to monitor peace & to keep a check on the ambitions of states. However, they have failed to do so.

We haven’t used our education for radiating a positive impact. The issues which should have our utmost attention are the last on our list. We haven’t shown any progress on the increasing environmental issues at the level which is the need of the hour. Intolerance exists. There are so many imbalances on this planet. At one side we have such rich countries that cannot even imagine any scarcity; they exercise immense power around the globe. And then there is this other extreme where people die of ailments which aren’t even considered issues in the other parts. This imbalance results in the rise up of resistance which takes up the ugly looks of terrorism. Individual we term as terrorist aren’t necessarily following an ideology, their economic conditions play a vital role in their changing camps. We have the history of Afghanistan to prove this point. The core bodies of extremist organizations are present where the state should have been playing a role. Malcolm X is another perfect example. A product of an unequal, unjust & dual faced system, which produced such hatred in him & his initial mentor Eljha Muhammad was able to spun him in his camp by hitting on the right spot.

It might burst our bubble, but the reality is that our current educational system is not at all playing its due role. Revisiting the system is the dire need of the time. Though used inappropriately educational system if used properly, it can play a very positive & healing role to our global village.

First published in: Pro-Pakistan