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Political Toddlers

August 21, 2015

Not long ago, I remember engaging in a severely intense argument with a friend of mine who supported a political party, the one which I despised at the time. As it does, the argument was heading no where. The reason behind the encounter was the conflicting interests of the political parties we supported respectively and during the course of the argument we were trying to prove, by the virtue of swearing amongst other logics, that ‘the party I support is better’. I don’t remember what proved to be the turning point for me or when did it happen but since that argument I’ve developed a completely different view of the matter.

The problem, that I’m trying to highlight here, rests in our mindsets and our thinking. We feel immensely proud today when a 13 year old kid speaks of a political party, the one that we support, with great confidence, sheds light on the history of the political party and engages in a squabble with an elder defending his views regarding the party, assassinating the moral characters of as many figure heads of the opposing party as possible. Whether inn the end, the elder, as is more experienced in the art of character assassination and arguing logically on the most unimportant matters and non issues, wins the argument or not, we consider the kid to be headed towards wisdom. This process does not stop; in fact every single argument sets off a chain reaction in terms of arguments. The result of which is clearly evident in our society where at every corner of every street, the same kind of quarrels are taking place.

The first step towards finding the solution to every problem is always the hardest one, i.e. identifying the problem and killing one’s ego while accepting the fact that the problem rests in one’s own self. The situation has reached to such an extreme that almost in every household, the child of not more than 4 or 5 years of age, when he is not even able to form a view, learns either the phrase “dekho dekho kon aya, sher aya sher aya” or “zinda hai bibi zinda hai” or “jeena ho ga marna ho ga, dharna ho ga dharna ho ga” or solme other phrase of the sort.

Why are we politicizing our children? Hell, why are we even politicizing our youth? Obviously, all of the great scholars and the intellectuals are of the view that the youth of a society should be involved in the process of self governance and should be politically aware. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan himself strived all his life for the purpose of enlightening the Muslim youth of the subcontinent with regard to the politics and governance but we have neglected the fact that prior to all his efforts in politicizing the youth, his movement comprised of achieving a literacy rate amongst the same youth during which the idea of ‘aloofness from politics’ was practically applied. Today we stand at the same ground. We are at the very drawing board stages of literacy. Although some might argue that we are considered by almost all to be literate, one is inclined to argue that the standard of determination of literacy needs to be revisited as it has proved to be quite ineffective many a times. And even after achieving that literacy, the great scholar mentioned above never meant for people to fight amongst themselves over political loyalties and the like matters, what he meant was for the youth to be well acquainted with what their rights and duties were, both as a national and as a Muslim. When they had achieved the said target, only then they were able to discover the modes by which their rights needed to be protected.

One of the most essential elements of literacy is the knowledge of one’s rights and duties. It is encouraged that if the promised rights are not being protected or are being infringed, one demands in any effective manner that they be protected. But contaminating the minds of the youth with the lust for political importance and the loyalty towards some political faction while completely neglecting the particular faction’s policy and practical effectiveness in protecting the rights in accordance with the public policy should be stopped soon, otherwise the kids of tomorrow will idealize the political leaders based on their oratory skills in the political talk shows etc. We all know what most political talk shows yield. Nothing; absolutely nothing. Immensely intense arguments are heard from both the sides which include heavy swearing and the breach of all the codes of conduct for a prudent person in order to prove a point, which in the end even if proved does not matter.

One must consider for a brief moment to be independent of all the political affiliations and directing one’s attention and energies towards the knowledge of one’s rights and duties and the modes by the virtue of which they can be protected and enforced. The term political atheism is heard considerably in a greater magnitude than anytime before. But it is usually comprehended by a shallow approach which deems the term quite frowned upon. Usually, political atheism is used and understood to be synonymous to political impassiveness or apathetic attitude towards politics. In my view, it actually means the independence from all the political pressure groups and other affiliations so that an objective, rational, uninfluenced and independent judgment can be formed regarding the matters concerning governance, protection of rights, enforcement of duties and conflict resolution.

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