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ID-100170953Politico-economic development of nations is ascertained by the actual health of a country’s social fabric. Indeed national financial strength plays a critical role in society’s well-being, but true nation building that boosts an integrated, cohesive society is only possible through a sound (or even relatively sound) political machinery that can introduce good policies, regulations and legislation. A task euphorically utopic in this day and age!

Treading into the realm of history, countries have attained political maturity through experiences of great turmoil, suffering, violence and ostracism of minorities, the weak as well as the unique.

Time bears witness to history-making events where men and women received ‘social death’ due to capitalistic expansionism, slavery, gender exclusion, race and ethnicity biases. And it would be naïve, bordering on to whimsy, not to see that nations were built on human bondage – in any and every form.

Keeping economic factors aside for this particular discourse, governance and political maturity comes in due course of time. Take a leaf out of any ‘first world’ country’s progress – while stemming from imperialistic agenda of expansionism and growing from looted wealth of “primitive countries” – their social development rested on the acts such as the passing of the Magna Carta; limiting the rights of an absolute monarch; Martin Luther’s reformative works, even via Machiavellians designs of governance, and the French or Bolshevik Revolution. Indeed many a revolution saw the eventual sad demise of the basic ideals to which they were born; but such movements – success or failure – were not only agents of change but planted seeds of progressive thought.


In this day and age of digitization – those with access to information, also possessing the power to shape it are the influencers of societal norms; be it the patronizing televangelists we watch so expectantly on the idiot box, the self-righteous advocates of morality or even the left-wing so-called non-conformists.


In his book Political Ideals, philosopher Bertrand Russell had said: “Progress comes through the gradual effect of a minority in converting opinion and altering custom. At one time not so very long ago it was considered monstrous wickedness to maintain that old women ought not to be burnt as witches. If those who held this opinion had been forcibly suppressed, we should still be steeped in medieval superstition. For such reasons, it is of the utmost importance that the majority should refrain from imposing its will as regards matters in which uniformity is not absolutely necessary.”

Majority – it is safe to interpret here in modern context – is not made up of masses, comprising the poverty-stricken, trolled and ostracized, but the influential clique of privileged few who govern a society – through politics, media and even the written word.

In this day and age of digitization – those with access to information, also possessing the power to shape it are the influencers of societal norms; be it the patronizing televangelists we watch so expectantly on the idiot box, the self-righteous advocates of morality or even the left-wing so-called non-conformists.

Pakistan is a young country that reeks of systemic problems. some call us a failed state while others refer to the land of the pure as one with burgeoning terrorism. It is not untrue to claim that there is a multi-dimensional war going on, and everyone from the common beggar on the street to the powers that be are involved – be it for nefarious reasons or otherwise. Indeed, racial, religious and ethnic prejudice have been ingrained and instilled in us right from the childhood, without us even realizing or acknowledging it.

Shouldn’t we choose our battles wisely? Case in point, the recent passing of a law in the US concerning gay marriages. Forget homophobia, bigotry, taboos and what have you. Sad to see reams of paper wasted (specifically in Pakistan) and digital space being used to lament, celebrate and even poke fun at a topic that bears little relevance to Pakistani society – the latter displaying a voracious affinity to intolerance and lack of reasoning among many other social, political and economic ills; even coming from ‘enlightened’ quarters. Bottomline is we as a nation have a very long way to go when it comes to political and social awareness. Why not use our ‘privilege’ of access to information, our freedom to voice an opinion as an opportunity to promote education and take real actions instead of rhetoric verbosity so that we can actually celebrate a fair, just and equitable society.

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