One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)
Friday, December 16, 2011
Pakistan; a victim of identity crises
If today modernization means “westernization”, it is because West is the superpower. It is a fact that nobody can deny and people across the globe like to be westernized even if they categorize the west as “others”. In areas that “our” is rising, powerful or distinct, it is beyond doubt that we are quick to take pride and identify ourselves with. Coming from others to ours to “me” is very sensitive. “Me” starts with a search for a “role” as early as one step in adolescence. This is actually an effort to see “me” fitting within “ours” and somewhat within “others”. I think, this is just the beginning and “me” slowly grows to discover and assert more of “me” later in his/her life.
So, overall the ratio between “me”, “ours” and “others” depends on the position of one. There is a constant struggle over the ratio both within and externally. All this is not just fitting to individuals. Nations also pass through this struggle. Nations are different than individuals in the sense that they go through “succession”. Though succession is an ecological process but it is how nations define their birth. With every crisis, nations are reborn and the process of value-ratio restarts. That is a luxury that individuals can’t have though some religions teach reincarnations.
Because I was born and grew up in Pakistan so I tend to give reference to Pakistan and I think as young as the nation is, so is deep the identity crisis. And to me the main reason for identity crisis in Pakistan is “self-deception”. Pakistan has inherited an “enemy” by her birth, India that is bigger than Pakistan in every regard and this has been the source of existential threat. So the case of Pakistan as a nation is much severe than individuals who face identity crisis at adolescent. Pakistan was “preoccupied” with identity crises even before her inception. Pakistan was in need of a strong and coherent “ours” to counter India that is one of the world’s most ancient and rich civilizations. Of course, Islam was alternative civilization that could counter Indian civilization but the problem is that, Islam is a religion, not an indigenous civilization to Muslims of Subcontinent and there are more than 56 countries recognizing themselves as Muslims.
As I pointed in previous paragraph, to make problems even worst, Pakistan inherited identity crises even before her birth. The educated layer of subcontinent Muslims who were mostly from North India were converted Muslims who couldn’t disconnect themselves from their Indian civilization and at same time couldn’t embrace it and still couldn’t come up with an alternative indigenous culture. This had been the source of divisions and identity crises among educated core of Muslims that have not been resolved to this day. The Part of Northwestern India that was mostly rural a tribal was so self-absorbed in their own world that were harshly resisting to changes going on in modern world.
In short, Pakistan since her birth inherited a society that was moving with different speeds. Self-absorbed tribal areas were “too proud” of their own identity that to them outside world were not making sense to them at all. The rural areas and large cities that had to come up with a coherent indigenous Pakistani culture or identity remain busy with same identity crises that they were struggling in sub-continental India (India before partition).
May be, it doesn’t look so serous to you but let me give you just one example so you could feel, how deep it the problem. When Ottoman Empire collapsed, there was a Khilafat movement in British India for restoration of Ottoman Empire. There was no way to restore the Ottoman Empire because Turkish people already had rejected it but in 90s, soon after Soviet Union’s collapse, while US was looking for a new world order, at same time some religious scholars were selling their own world order to restore Khilafat and all know the rest of story. Mullah Omar was declared Caliph (Ameer Al Monin). Here is a video to learn about the root of these identity crises,
I don’t know how much did you get out of it, but in fact this is actually the denial of Pakistan as a nation state because accepting Pakistan as a nation state means rejecting the concept of Khilafat and it is the main cause that these forces try to assert “Islam” as a system beyond the border of country. Here is an interview by Dr. Israr Ahmed where you can clearly see this mindset (Pakistan as a state is an obstacle to Islam as a system),
Now to neutralize this thinking there are scholars like Javed Ahmed Ghamidi who believes that it is the right of people to choose what kind of system they want rather than individuals or organizations to force them for a system.
Though, these thinking is much helpful in dealing with identity crises however it takes much time until Pakistanis realize that identity crises is posing an existential threat to Pakistan. The radicalization of Pakistani society as a result of identity crises has demoralized the nation by terrorist attacks, economic crises and rise of tribal nationalism. Though late but some bitter responses are coming from intellectuals,
I am not sure where all these are going to end? Whether, Pakistan will resolve the identity crises that are the mother of all other problems (Economic crises and tribal nationalism are side effects of identity crises) or not? Let’s time decide.
Intelligence has its costs but it also helps in resolving the crises to come victorious. I think, it is time that Pakistani Society focuses more on developing a coherent identity than struggling with Indian ancient civilization, countering the West or serving for Ottoman or Arabian Empire.