Cultural Woes

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Cultural Woes

Honour, in our culture, lies in women. They are considered – wrongly though – a stock of honour for men, so much so that few men even grow misogynists as they don’t carry their honour with them. Since women are the honour reservoirs for some men, they must be protected and the best place is imprisoning them as prison is the safest place in a patriarchal culture.
As a result of this, almost half the country’s population is forcefully unemployed, and the reason often given is that they can’t work; they, therefore, are better for doing household chores. In this way, many wits are silenced and many creative voices are muted in the name of honour. Along with that, many of the sisters are dishonoured by their brothers and many daughters by their fathers but they have to be tongue-tied if the honour of the family is to be protected. It indicates that honour is not so honourable.
Second tradition includes anti-reason tendencies. When we are turned against reason, we believe what our mind tells us or what we hear from others. Owing to this attitude, people develop superstitions like “if you get inoculated with Covid vaccine, you will turn into a magnet or you will die in two years,” as these are believed to be true without analyzing rationally.
Greatly celebrated of these tendencies is mysticism that has been prevalent in our eastern civilization. It professes that reason makes people materialistic and selfish. Therefore, for peace and prosperity, reason is to be eliminated. In addition, it affirms that unscientific contemplation is the source of knowledge. But that myth has failed miserably; today, the Western civilization, which preferred scientific reasoning, has peace, prosperity, high social indicators and, above all, Western countries occupy the foremost position on the Human Development Index. On the other hand, advocates of mysticism have been mired in violence, sectarianism and tribalism. In any form, these mystics tend to deny rational thinking, and it is the reason one can hardly define what mysticism is.
At the time when Great Britain was undergoing Industrial Revolution, we in South Asia were busy in poetry of love – lacking scientific urge – and dancing. And then the wrath of colonizers followed.
At this point, it is also visible that if creativity is directed by political powers to persecute others, it could be dangerous as well, but creativity or its production should not be blamed for the degeneration of humanity in political leaders.
Today, two people, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, have more wealth than the entire GDP of our country. And it was only possible because they did not prefer liberating their souls in deserted places, and they did not believe in intuitions as a source of knowledge.
Thirdly, inclination of not respecting fundamental rights is another tendency. The reason given for denial is that they are Western in origin. Those who believe in this should also believe that gravity does not exist as it was highlighted by Western physicists. So, simply jump out of the second-floor window to see if it works. The point is, once human beings discover a principle, it is applicable to everywhere and to be upheld by everyone and fundamental rights are the basic principles under which humanity can flourish harmoniously.
But what if we deny these rights? Consider denying the right to education – as it has been denied in Pakistan. People would not have good decision-making capabilities. They fail to sort out problems peacefully, as is evident in ‘Kacha’ areas of Sindh where people kill each other for petty problems. Little girls are given in compensation, followed by inhuman treatment in their new homes, in jirgas throughout this country.
Or, on a large scale, people always fear that their identity would be threatened if they express endearment for their homeland. They ultimately rush to choose leaders with myopic views. It has two worst consequences: one, nation-building remains a distant dream as such leaders always use culture card whenever their position looks shaky; second is the failure in choosing a vigilant leader. People will be satisfied with flimsy promises of politicians and will disregard all the ground realities. As a result of this, democracy, which relies on public consent, cannot thrive in such a country.
Moreover, it is said that leaders reflect people’s will; no matter how strong and suppressive a political leader is, if he has no legitimacy or approval of the people, he won’t be able to sustain his rule. It is not possible to have suppressing leaders like Stalin without a crowd that is victim of low self-esteem, insecurity and injustice that are later exploited by these populist leaders for sustaining their rule. Thus, it is important to educate the masses so that they only legitimize leaders who are worth it.
Bad decision-making is the one facet of the whole catastrophe that is to follow if one basic right is denied.
Hence, it is indispensable to respect fundamental rights of human beings that are the basic building blocks to touch the heights of development.
There are a lot of people who are working to uphold the above-mentioned aspects of life and they are the real heroes of our country, contributing to the building of a modern nation.
The writer is a graduate in English literature. 

Muhammad Ali Asghar

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