By Said A Chaudhry:
The most vexing debates are often those that end with no winners. Whether it’s ideas of revolution in Pakistan or the good old Evolution vs. Creationist debate. One is usually left with a cerebral convulsion begging for clarity. Regardless, I have a simple axiom, Pakistan does not need a peoples revolt and that something as beautiful as a human being could not have been formed by mere chance. Learning the complexities of the human body in medical school and reading a few history books helped me arrive at this logic. It also led me to question; why functioning intricacies of the human body can not be translated into social life and statecraft. There is a shrieking call for change in Pakistan. But who exactly is it that has to change? Perhaps, the answer lies in history books, or in the microscopic confines of our bodies. There is no greater place to dwell for answers pertaining to humanity than our own self.
It is implausible to expect our entire populus to change its often contradictory and primitive customs. It also seems impossible that the growing religious intolerance will give way to humanism. All of that should not disconcert those who revel in meeting challenges waiting to be surmounted. The change we seek has to come only from a very small fraction of the population. The enlightened population. The population that looks at our ailing society and generates ways to meliorate it. The power of individual evolution garnering enough strength to change the state of affairs is conceivable and proven by nature itself.
The comparison to nature is taken from simple physiology. The average healthy adult weighs around 70 kg. The pancreas, a gland in our intestinal tract, weighs only about only 70 grams with only only 1% of it producing the hormone, insulin. That one percent of pancreatic cells producing insulin are more vital to our body’s metabolic needs than any other group of cells. All the vital organs and muscles in our body are intimately dependant on insulin to provide a source for livelihood. Without it, a person would die with in a matter of hours. If we take into context that all humans are made of carbon atoms formed into cells, then it’s agreeable that as a population we are all a large carbon compost. It can be argued then, that it is “human nature” for a tiny percentage of the compost to evolve and become the focal point of change for the entire population, just as the beta-cells in the pancreas evolved to become the focal point of our bodies metabolic demands. A glance at an important historical period of civilization backs this theory.
The Renaissance in Italy serves as an apt example. A minority of enlightened individuals of various disciplines inspired a cultural movement that bloomed into prosperity and transition from the Dark Ages to Modern Era. Atrocities, corruption and bigotry under the banner of religion were common practise in the Dark Ages. Even the great scientist, Galileo Galilei, was placed under house arrest for two years by the Church. Perhaps, we are living in a Dark Age of our own, but to ignore history would be criminal for us. There is a minority in Pakistan who are thinking and evolving at a faster rate than the national average, it is important for those thinking minds to believe in their individual evolution and to express themselves freely and with pride. Such individuals may stand on various platforms on the social and professional landscape, but that diversity should be encouraged despite individual differences so long as everyone is aiming for the same goal.
It’s inconceivable that a thinking mind will fall victim to the idea that Pakistan is destined for doom given the current atmosphere. A time of crisis upon any nation is a test of its identity, and while it is easy to be disheartened, it is more important to be a cog for positive change. Whether that change is seen in our life time or not, is irrelevant. Our individual lives are far too short on the time scale of human civilization to expect grand changes. However, to work on those grand changes in our individual capacity serves an enticing answer to the question of our purpose of existence. It is important now more than ever for the thinking minds to believe that though they maybe a small percentage, they can change the face of reality for the better. “La Rinascita” which means “The Rebirth” in French, was coined by Giorgia Visari to describe The Renaissance in Italy. Perhaps, our rebirth will come soon too, but not before we believe in the power of individual evolution and expression.