By Umer Raza Bhutta
I feel that anything that has happened in the past days and continued for sometime, has a deep presence of Mediocrity in it. People tend to believe and follow what anyone says and there are a large number of such people. This mediocrity is not only in politics but in all other disciplines. It has left us reeling and forced us to believe that we are very poor country with lots of bad governance with no solution at all other than a revolution. It has also lead us to believe that we need an Iron Man (a dictator perhaps) who comes with a stick and while moving the magic wand eliminates all the stupid around. We are lead to believe this because of the fact that we are living in exponential times. By this i mean, that there are things happening in the world at a very fast pace and many countries around us have already achieved many things. (we feel to have left far behind). But we forget that those countries have gone through the same (or a little different) difficult times. But since those times had been many years ago, we do not care to look at those harsh times.
We are not a unique case. Many latin American countries have also suffered through the same ills, many Arab countries and African ones have also gone through and many are still going through the same problems. Since people need quick fixes they end up having mediocre mullahs and despots around as they are perceived to provide quick, easy and paracetamol type of short term fixes. When a person does the right thing within limits he is labeled as coward and when he crosses his own boundaries because of the power he has, he becomes popular (as many in power do these days CJ in our SC is one such example) and that what politics is i.e. shaping the things in a way that it becomes popular with people regardless of the virtues of that action. By this token I also dare to say that our honorable judges have developed quite an inferno with their indoor (in courtroom) politics. By the way their indoor politics is sparked by an on street movement back in 2008 and 09.
Coming back to the most recent revolution that just happened (or did not happen) in Islamabad Jinnah Avenue, the people who turned up in the long march (though small in number as against the claims), had a right to speak up and share their grievances, since i do not have confirmation of their being forcefully bought to the venue, being kept there by force, or being paid for their stay, i cannot doubt their sincerity. What i am worried about is the sense of mediocrity that had surrounded these people and those who were not there but shared the same feelings. Most of the people i talked to said that he (Qadri) is “after all” saying the right things. They were not concerned that who is saying it, but they were happy that he is SAYING it. By this i am afraid that they might even come for Musharaf too if he says that Army should not come to power and he is the best man to save them from any problems they are facing. (on a lighter note – a TV anchor was interviewing the people in the long march and he asked an old villager in the March “who will you vote in Elections” the old man said “Bhutto”). This mediocrity is primarily because of the skin-deep forgetfulness of our people. And this is true generally for people of subcontinent. Churchill once also said about people of this area “these people are short in memory” and true as it is we do not have good memories. We forget the past of the people and move on with today, because of our lack of urge to find and know the facts and then make an informed decision.
TOQ has done at least one thing he has brought to surface the mediocrity mindset and to share on stage anything that you feel like sharing. He has also inspired us all and moved us to have a nonstop urge to share (his urge might have been because of many external sources, but rest assured ours is entirely internal). That goes to show that we have the capacity and more importantly an unobtrusive willingness to speak and share our feelings. This is the feeling of every Pakistani and that is why they come on TV and keep on sharing and getting their heart out. That is when the mediocrity comes into play, and then it starts shaping the opinion of the people. Many people rather all of us make or break our opinion through the audacity of that mediocrity. Thus we become an example of a Punjabi idiom “Bandar Hath Bandooq” (Monkey holding the gun). When a monkey holds the gun, be careful it might not know where to shoot. Anyhow, this thought of independence to share our thoughts, gather people in large numbers, say what you want to say brings us to a point where revolutions are a non-entity. Revolutions occur where people are snubbed, shoot, discouraged and not let their opinion air. Those who believe that we (Pakistan) needs a revolution must rethink that we are already going through an evolutionary process and this process is based on pure Islamic understandings. Had Allah willed to get everyone Muslim and Follow His prophet Muhammad (PBUH) He might not have given him 23 years to spread Islam and teach them piece by piece through the revelations of Quran. This is the best and only best example of how the revolution is discouraged and evolution of human mind is encouraged. It was Islam as religion that took 23 years to complete through Allah Himself, we might take many more years perhaps generations to complete this process of understanding.
These politicians and stooges (that seem to be the main reason for the commotion in our ranks) are not going to fade away. They will be there and will remain so (and must remain there as well). India is a big example next door, they have politicians and most of them are corrupt but they keep on going and filtering and then again going and filtering and then again the same thing happen, that filtering process too will never end. They have pockets of development in the country and they have big pockets of misery as well in India. That misery will remain at least in our life time both in India and Pakistan, but it may have a lesser or changed dimension/shape in years to come. “Mumtaz Mufti” a famous author/writer, written in one of his books “Pakistan aik aisi deg hai jo aag par chari hoi hay mugar kabhi khatam nahin hoti, chaye log jitana be kha lain”. (Pakistan is such a cooking pot that is on fire for long people eat through it and it keeps cooking without any end). It will go on and on. We have lots of small pockets of good work throughout the country. Our issue is that we like to talk and talk and forget that we also need to act and then we talk again. This lot of talking and less of action syndrome remains the key to any delusion that we may have. When we balance between talk and act we maintain our illusion, when we fail to maintain it we fall into the syndrome called Mediocrity.