Published on Jan 02, 2012
Political parties happen to be the prime drivers and catalysts for any real societal change. No wonder dictators and their likes, loathe the very existence of such potent entities. Actively engaged with their workers on a grass root level, they serve as a conduit, portraying the feelings and the pulse of their workers, and the society in general. The rationale behind their existence, is to improve the socio-economic values that are crucial to any society's progress.
Like every year, this year also, the 4th anniversary of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was celebrated across the country with utmost reverence and respect. Her daughters Bakhtawar and Assefa were on a social media website, receiving all the tributes from BB's die-hard fans. And then there were, of course, the haters and dissenters, puking all the bile and abusing not only the girls' father but aiming puns at BB as well.
This ugly badmouthing is not new for us Pakistanis. It is an all-pervasive and deeply embedded notion in the culture of subcontinent. The idea of having a respectful discourse on issues, whether controversial or as innocent as paying a simple tribute to a dead, becomes invariably difficult. One may attribute this to our overall political immaturity or decades of dictatorial regimes, which has snubbed our sense of civility.
As a Punjabi Sufi poet said, which somehow meant, "Do not rejoice the death of your enemies, as your friends are bound to perish too." We are caught in the old and futile traditions of slurs, character assassinations and hate speeches. If everything else fails, we resort to passing sweeping judgments on others with the pure intention of malice. All of this under the pretext of free speech, in the end manifests into sheer violence against each other. Ironically, this 'lot' includes both uneducated and 'enlightened' families. At the end of the day, it rarely has to do with education, but more with being cultured and civil.
Being passionate on social issues is one thing and being cold, heartless and immoral is surely another. If some one alleges President Zardari to be corrupt, what has that possibly got to do with his children paying and receiving respects on behalf of their deceased mother? Even the non-Muslims I have met do not practice such disdainful demeanor. Like every other religion, our religion also teaches us to remember the departed with respect. But we are miles away from practicing the real essence of our faith. Instead of engaging in vicious verbal arguments, if it hurts you so much, go and gather some facts and figures and take those to the judiciary, and that would still be better.
In the meantime, reserve the slurs and abuse for yourself only. You cannot eliminate the difference of opinion, and that's the beauty of democracy. Express yourself, enhance your knowledge, and most importantly, be respectful towards others; their opinions and stands. Hearts can't be won by force; the only viable way is through rational exchange of views. Education in itself is worthless, if it is not applied properly. No matter how much you and I disagree, at the end of the day, accepting such attitudes is, in essence, marching towards the doom. The end in this case, is the collective loss of civility and tolerance from our nation and nothing else.
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