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Foundational ethos and ideological predators

There comes a time when one develops a feeling of rusting: that one’s voice is lost, and energy level depleting; that one’s words are losing their meaning and thinking faculties showing signs of stagnation. This feeling can be encapsulated in a short phrase: sickly inertia or retardation. If I say that most of the people in the country are currently in the grip of a similar state, I believe that I would not be wide off the mark.

We stopped growing a long time ago in a host of ways, but our intellectual degeneration has been immense, and it possibly eclipses every other aspect that plagues us in the current times. Not that we were ever the dreamers of any civilizational yearnings. We have been quite devoid of that faculty since times in the distant past. But, along the trail of movement, we have also lost out on our urge to break free of the gridlock and try to discover some fresh moorings to sail us through turbulent waves.

On the contrary, I believe that we are not only reconciled with horribly putrid conditions which are the product of time and our own lack of ability, we have grown increasingly comfortable with this state and accepting it as a bounty of nature to be endured with fortitude.

While most of it may be the outcome of our own failings, the environment that we have been forced to live in has a lot to do with shaping the state that we have ended up with. Morning, afternoon, evening to morning – it is the same monotonous cycle that we follow like automatons who operate as parts of a machine over which we have little to no control. We keep going around to end up repeatedly at the place we had started off from some time ago, without learning or adding anything to our reservoir of knowledge.

Stagnation, be it of material or intellectual growth, leaves a horrible impact which penetrates every crevice of the human body and mind. It has a cruel numbing effect which may eventually retard human substance and potential. Like I said earlier, most of it may be of our own making, but when the factor of hope deserts our lives, deadly drums of inertia start pounding us with hollow noise. Gradually, this feeling of emptiness engulfs the whole being, reducing it to a mere skeleton which rustles and rumbles along familiar paths, generating a lot of incoherent and senseless clamour.

Going back in time, what are the factors which have contributed to the evolving of this state and what are the steps that may be necessary in freeing us from this tightening stranglehold of moral, material, and intellectual collapse? This is so because what is certain is that the existent circumstances leave little to no room for unfurling a human endeavour that would untangle us from this malaise and put us on course to remedy and ultimate salvation. If at all, that would be a two-step course: first to stall the fall that we are caught up in and then to chisel a path that we would take to change the shape of things around us.

Having forfeited the foundational ethos of the new-born state, reflected in his speech of August 11, 1947, after the death of the Quaid, the country was hijacked by ideological predators who have since voraciously nibbled at its vitals. Instead of making human life and belief free of state duress or interference, we were tied down in chains which represented captivity of a myriad kind impacting both material and intellectual growth. We took almost a quarter of a century to frame a constitution. Another fifty years on, that constitution is rubbished with demeaning regularity, and, with it, the state institutions have virtually collapsed because they have been denuded of relevance to manage the affairs of the country.

Instead, these matters are assigned to individuals brandishing unquestioned power and their touts who have all been gifted a segment of the state operational machinery to be commanded as ordained. Be it the caretaker governments which have now been rendered unconstitutional and illegal for having lived beyond the stipulated period of ninety days, or the executive that is infested with incompetence and corruption, or the legislature that operates on the command emanating from the lurking shadows or the judicial system – they have all become willing instruments in a well-oiled machine whose handlers have no respect or regard for the constitution, or rule of law, or morality. The machine is hurtling down an uneven path with destination unknown and the speed downhill becoming uncontrollable.

As I write this, the numbing feeling continues to intensify. Not only that there is little will to undertake the onerous task, the paths to salvation have also been blocked by operationalising and empowering a collective of soul-sellers who are happy carrying their price tags on their chests. They will do anything in return for their pound of flesh. Stocks of this illicit commodity are readily available to cater to the needs of the ever-hungry operators who are engaged in a ceaseless spree of loot and plunder with their convicted leader about to be anointed the king.

Theoretically speaking, elections could provide an avenue to bring about a change. Though the ECP has designated February 8 as the date for the exercise, a huge task remains to put a stamp of certainty on that possibility: that of completely dismantling the PTI that has survived the most gruesome tyranny upon a political party and its members including women and young girls. Despite having been granted bails on numerous occasions, hundreds of them remain incarcerated because they are re-arrested as soon as they leave the court premises, accused of some other flimsy charge. This has become a criminal routine, thus denying them all the right to a fair trial.

These are all constituents of a monstrous mechanism unhooked to keep the people hostage and block them from raising their voice for their rights and justice. In the process, the country is being turned into a sprawling wasteland where no one knows where they stand, or where they are headed, and how they will ever reach their purported destination.

They are in a state where there is no present and there is no future. Time is all jumbled up in an unwieldy and rickety bundle containing bits and pieces of what, at some stage, could have been referred to as human life. It no more is that, and there is little hope that, given the ensuing circumstances, it may be that in the near future.

Raoof Hasan, "Foundational ethos and ideological predators," The News. 2023-11-17.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Political party , Corruption , Elections , Pakistan , PTI , ECP