Monday, March 21, 2011

Reclaiming our Culture

With all that is happening around us it is very difficult to refrain from getting frustrated & maintain our optimism & yet if we wish to get through this & reclaim our sanity & country, the need is to hold on tight to our optimism.

However, just holding on to the optimism without doing anything practically is also going to prove disastrous. Contributing practically while staying positive is going to be the key. From a very long list of things that need to be sorted out I want to discuss our dying culture. When I use the term dying culture I am not just referring to some particular tradition that is going out of practice but an overall change in our society, which is letting go of everything that should under normal circumstances be a source of pride & identity.

We all get nostalgic when the time period of 90s is mentioned & for those who have witnessed the pre & post eras of Zia-ul-Haq have a much better tale to tell. If we go into deeper analysis none of these periods were problem free. They had their own set of political & economic issues. Still people state that they were better times. My opinion about this statement is that those times are considered better because our culture & diversity was fully alive. The society was not in a bi-polar scenario where either you are a right wing supporter or a left wing supporter. Long story cut short diversity was celebrated not condemned.

In the present times one of the biggest threat that we are facing is (& as some would say we already have); the elimination of our cultural diversity. No matter how difficult the situation may be we have to turn this process around. One view point that we come across regarding this topic is that it should not be the utmost priority at the moment as we need to deal with more important issues. I personally don’t think this should even be considered an argument; for the very reason that it implies that first we let the situation get worse & only then we’ll see how to amend it. This group is ignoring a very important fact that we can use our culture to help our people block the level of frustration & divert the energy of the youth which is being wasted or being directed in the wrong direction towards more positive things which will help not just our imagine but also the ground reality of our country. Also not to forget that it will help revive our cultural activities which; can do wonders for our already dead tourism industry. An industry whose reopening will help us convey our side of the story & our heartfelt message of peace to the people around the globe.

The overall environment of the society was really different when the Rafi Peer theater, concerts, fund raising events, new year programs, basant & the all the likes of these were a regular feature of our lives & not some alien concept.

The concern for security does exist & is a valid concern & one of the major reasons that we no more have these events. A responsibility, that lies on the shoulders of the government, which have failed to do so. To top it off, now we have official bans on recreational activities from the government. In doing so, they fail to recognize the fact the extent of damage that they are doing. These restrictions are not only going to prove to be the brutal murder of our culture but also they help the right wing nuts. The government is doing their job for them by suffocating people & crushing all traces of diversity that gives color & richness to our society.

Not everyone has gone nuts in this country, no matter how much this be reinforced by multiple forums. There are people trying their level best to keep these roots alive & a lot is happening which unfortunately does not get the due coverage. However, the lack of responsibility shown by the government is a big question mark that needs answering. Getting this answer is not going to be easy or simple, we know this by experience. This again cannot be taken up as an excuse for not trying. Culture as they say is a construct made by the people. In our situation the people have to make an extra effort to reclaim it.   

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