By Umer Raza Bhutta
The third week of July 2012 saw two deaths of high-profile known personalities, or perhaps only one. Rajesh Khan was the one and the other was Dr. Stephen R. Covey (known as Franklin Covey) – who, Franklin Covey the author of “seven habits of highly effective people” and many other books on human greatness, purpose of life and self-enrichment. He was an author, motivator and a positive life influencer. Anyways, he was the other one and that is why I mentioned in the first line above “perhaps only one” as for us in Pakistan Rajesh Khana was more important as he was an actor, a dancer, a romantic hero, a legendary lover, emotional and the one who made lots of Kishor Kumar songs living and left us enjoying, moving, humming and searching for a perfect life.
These two deaths and the way we received both speaks a lot about our interests and about our values. I didn’t see any tiny bit of news of Franklin Covey’s death neither in the electronic nor in print media in Pakistan. I was browsing face book and there wasn’t anything from any one on Franklin Covey by anyone. However, there was a lot of sharing done about Rajesh Khana. I am sure many who are on face book must also be aware of who Franklin Covey was. They must also have gone through his books or other work, and got inspired by his work. But for us Rajesh Khana is more important. (I am sure many might have shed tears while looking at his funeral too)
My point is not about airing Franklin Covey’s news of death or sharing about him on face book, but point is the mindset that our people carry and the media highlights that mind-set and perhaps is a reflection of that mind-set.
Rajes Khana was a famous movie star, i also liked him but airing his death news in a way that our media has done (Talat Hussain (anchor DAWN News) did a program about this strange element of media on thursday evening), shows that our people want to see this. Our people are emotional, sentimental and are prone to such things that have glamour, dancing, songs and sex. Our people are not book lovers, we do not read. We do not care as to what getting a piece of knowledge may mean to us. We care as to how an actor and actress acts and gets dress and romances.
Nobody showed the death news or was concerned about the death of Fanklin Covey. Whereas I believe he has touched, changed and inspired the ways of life of hundreds of thousands of people in Pakistan (and many more in the world). His work of books if read and implemented properly can and has changed the lives of many. But since we go for glamour and not for learning hence we do not know who Franklin Covey was and how his writings and experiences could change our lives. It is sad that we flashed and mourned the death of a hindu actor, (who might have inspired many – for all the wrong reasons though) but we did not even know that an author, a social scientist has also died.
Our media and our face book page is a shop and a shop owner always wants to keep and sell the product that sells to everyone, Rajesh Khana an actor is sold but Franklin Covey an author is flop, when it comes to sharing on media and face book. So we should instead mourn the death of our social values where an actor is a hero for us and writer is just another person. This attitude speaks volumes about why we are what we are today. I do not want to take credit out of Rajesh Khana’s work but I just want to share food for thought for the reason of our unfortunate situation today. As a last note I am afraid all Pakistan and India will observe a week of holiday and all face book will be a black out when amitabh bachan will die.