A SILENT MOVEMENT IN PAKISTAN


Who knows about this?

By Umer Raza Bhutta

We are in the generation of Facebook. Facebook has its users from the age as small as 8 to as high as 80. According to a research Radio took 50 years to reach a market audience of 50Million, Television took 13 years, internet did this in 4 years, Ipod in 3 years and Facebook took just 2 years to reach a market audience of 50 Million. Those who are below 18 and on Facebook actually fiddle with their date of birth and do so with pride, just to be on Facebook. Those who started working on computer when they first entered their job life (including myself) use this as a tool to spread whatever knowledge they have (good or bad, worth sharing or not – is not their headache). There is a strange set of generation coming up through Facebook. These are enthusiasts, energetic, creative, Islamic (religious), fundamentalist, romantic and you name it. However, for last few weeks I am witnessing another kind of generation. This is neither on the facebook nor at any kind of media publicity. But mind you they are doing their work, and I must a great contribution at the grass root level. They are not religious clerics, they are not fundamentalist, nor are they political. More importantly they are also not very popular in big cities. They are also not in very much in sync with technology (though they wish to) but currently they are not.

I am talking about a silent but very effective two practical and grass root level movements in Pakistan. Pakistan Girl Guides and Pakistan Boy Scouts Association. Both movements are 100 years old. They started working in this area in 1912. Both are totally separate associations and run through separate offices, objectives and operational system, though they have a similar theme. These movements are spread all over Pakistan. I went through this in detail over the last couple of weeks and was happily surprised to see the theme, commitment, effectiveness, and results of this highly commendable work. These are the people whom we virtually cast aside because of their being out of the glamorous world of media. Things that do not look attractive at the face value, turn out to have no value at all. But who determines that there is only value in face. I became fortunate to know them and look at their challenging work.

All those who are on facebook today, or are studying in big city schools, if I ask them that they will go to Murree for 6 days camping trip in only 200 rupee, all covered will you believe. In 200 rupee what will you get there, either it is a joke or if true in 200 rupee there will be nothing in it. Yes it is true and yes there is no five star facilities in these 200 rupees. But then do students go there. Yes! Hundreds of school students go there. For what? To get a life time learning and skill building. Each year in a number of batches especially in the summer season these students go to Murree. In murree they usually do the camping in the designated area, they cook themselves, they wash and press their own cloths, they talk to other students, they compete in different games and competitions, they organize learning activities – sessions – talks. They say their prayers five times, they observe all the basic religious duties. Besides this these students also attend and organize different events in their schools regularly. The trainers of girl guiding and boy scouting arrange these sessions with the respective schools heads in their districts and divisions. The work they do corresponds to the religious, social and family values. The theme of both the movements is to make good citizens out of the growing girls and boys. It is said that once a boy scout or a girl guide is always a scout or guide.

The theme and basic ideology of both the associations has been steering forward without taking into account whatever the general deprivation in the society is prevailing. The message of love, respect, harmony, tolerance, hard work, self help and helping others has been delivered seamlessly for years. There might not have been much support to these movements by any of the pseudo intellectuals yet these are moving on by themselves.

Ever wondered how Pakistan still creates great minds and has a power as a nation. This is one of the answer. The bottom line is being nourished and if these trainers with their association are able to change the life of only 1% of their students (and I am sure they achieve more than this 1%) we do not need to worry about what our pseudo intellectuals, pseudo historians, pseudo economists and real cynics think and say about Pakistan’s health.  These 1% of the bottom line in the far off areas of Pakistan and in the underprivileged (or non privileged) schools can come up as a steady stream and keep on glittering our future. I may sound selfish with the last sentence but I feel that because of their hard work we are shinning and we (at least I) being selfish want to let this happen at least till our life time. What best or least we can do is to keep silent and help them do their work. So keep it up girl guides, boy scouts, their trainers and associations.

(This article is produced as a result of meetings and study of this writer that he has done with the association’s management, trainers and staff. The writer is involved in a project whereby it is envisioned to help the management staff of these associations to manage their associations according to the best practices of handling finance, operations and human resources.)  If you want to know more about these organizations you can visit www.pgga.org.pk and www.pakscouts.org

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