Past Present: The real revolution

Published Jul 01, 2012 12:15am

When a society becomes politically unstable, economically weak and socially disintegrated, people become concerned about reformation and change. Pessimists regard the situation as bleak and hopeless with revolution seen as the only solution.

History bears examples of the French, Russian, and Chinese Revolutions which changed societies by abolishing outdated systems and traditions. Discussions and debates in socio-political circles often overlook the fact that each revolution in history had its own characteristics particular to that society. In Cuba, where the state was captured through armed struggle may not be a workable option for many countries.

In the 50s and 60s, armies in the Arab World staged coups in Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Syria with the objective of modernising these countries and to rescue them from Western imperialism. However hopes of any reformation were dashed to the ground. In most cases where attempts were being made to change the society, the motive of leaders was to abolish the old order and bring about a change from above. Since they were overly concerned about preserving their own political power, they imposed so many restrictions that the countries were converted into fortresses. Consequently, these oppressive governments became exhausted and collapsed without bringing about any change. Some became despotic while in some cases, power struggle led to bloodshed creating even more turmoil and chaos.

Another way to bring about a change in the country is to form a political party, involve people, contest election and after winning the majority of seats in the parliament, the system is changed through new legislature. This approach requires the participation of people to introduce reforms.

Considering the present political situation of Pakistan, suitable options must be analysed to bring about a change in its political, social and economic structure. A revolution is hardly possible because of the lack of ideas and strategy. Moreover, there is no chance of capturing the state through an armed struggle because in both cases, a well organised, disciplined, trained and radical party is required. Revolution is not only meant to abolish the outdated system but also to construct institutions on a ground-breaking model which would herald a new era. Intelligence, talent, innovation, and ingenuity are needed to construct new institutions and one sees no such attributes in the Pakistani society.

Since Pakistan is a feudal and tribal society where landlords and tribal leaders are the winning candidates, there is little or no chance for a radical or reformist political party to win the elections. Feudals have a strong hold on their permanent constituencies and no one stands a chance against them. Political parties seek feudal support to win elections and therefore join hands with them to maintain status quo. Under these circumstances, it is well-nigh impossible to succeed for any political party whose manifesto is to uproot corrupt institutions and reform the society.

Violence, insecurity, uncertainty and chaos has become a disturbing but regular feature of life as a result of the social, political, and economic breakdown in Pakistan. At this juncture, people are ready to change their traditional mindset.

To bring about change is a gradual process but there is a crucial need to create political awareness among the young generation. Given the immigration scenario, there are little or no opportunities for the young and educated people to pursue careers in developed countries. They must realise that their only chance to have a respectable and good life is in their own country and hence it is their responsibility to bring about the change.

A democratic and secular society is what we need to survive. If our society fails to avail this opportunity for  change, it may take a long time to get rid of the confusion and chaos. It is high time for the Pakistani society to decide whether to continue to observe old traditions or adopt relevant values and an institutional framework which would lead to progress.


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