There have been instances before when we as a nation stood at crossroads, and had to choose a path for us and our country. That time is upon us once again, only this time the circumstances are different. Today, unlike in the past we are aware of the gravity of this situation, and we are more than capable of handling it. However whether we are ready to get our wheels rolling in the right direction or not, remains a question unanswered.
So what is it that stops Pakistan from progressing in the right direction? I am sure when we take a good long look at ourselves; we’ll immediately arrive at the answer. Sadly, it is our negative mindset. The torch of education enlightened the dark caves of our minds, but it could not make them less gloomy. Why do we have everything and yet nothing? It is because we cannot appreciate the value of what we have.
A pessimistic frame of mind prevails, we can find fault with everything around us and criticize anything at length. In fact, education, instead of teaching us optimism, has made us better critics. A very popular thought is that of frustration, when one cries out, ‘What has this country done for me?’ I could answer that question with the clichéd reply ‘What have you done for it? But instead I pose ‘Why haven’t you tried to change that? The one thing education did for you was to make you aware of how things should be.
Why did you keep on grumbling about why they couldn’t be and instead, try to make them be? It is very easy to find fault with everything in our country and it’s not so hard to identify the solutions too, but to make an effort to implement it you need all the willpower in the world. Of course it will be very difficult to have that willpower if you keep on concentrating on the problems. What we need to do is to see the world through an eye of optimism. We need to temporarily blind ourselves from the imperfections of our country and appreciate the positives, no matter how minute or obscure they might be. Then, we need to stand up and accept the responsibility of smoothing out the imperfections that do exist.
An important step towards accomplishing this goal is to develop a feeling of possession. Pakistan today maybe in disarray, our image worldwide may be tarnished, but we still have to own what is ours and then take care of its problems. It is people quite similar to us, whose mistakes have led us to this, so why can’t we act to counteract their actions and pull Pakistan out of this turmoil. When it comes to our image, indeed a drop of dye gives the whole solution a colour, but can’t we through collective effort, dilute the solution to an extent that the effect of that dye is not significant anymore.
I was introduced to the concept of ‘A tale of two cities’ by an intellectual, which changed the way I saw life. Our life is a tale of two cities. We have the actual city which spreads all around us, with all of its faults which frustrate us every day. Then we have the image of the ideal city, of how we want the actual city to be, in our hearts. All our lives, instead of grumbling about the faults of the actual city, we must struggle to lessen the contrast between the two cities, because without that life has no purpose.
We must always remember that we have complete control over what becomes of us. We can start owning what is ours and work to reverse the damage we, or people like us have caused, or we can choose to be impervious to it all and still see the wheels turn, but they might not turn in the direction we want them to and our history would be stained with yet another crossroad where we took the wrong turn. I have often heard from others that it is never too late, and I believe that it is not yet too late for us to grab the opportunity of defining our destiny. We are very fortunate that this opportunity comes knocking on our door again and again, but this time instead of tempting it’s patience any further we must be present at the doorstep to greet it with open arms.