The fuel as well as lubricant for our political engine is cash and property sharing — unadulterated. Any consistent concern or committed involvement with the fundamentals and mechanics of maximising the growth and welfare of the nation as a whole are positively infra dig for the prevailing Pakistani political process
Over the last two decades I have witnessed the gradual emergence of civil rights organisations and trends. Probably they were our response to the fall of Bolshevism and the rise of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) — our local Stalinism, both being a combination of in-house patriotism and dictatorship. Despite my early doubts bordering on cynicism because of traces of post-colonialist anemia and an order of collaboration, I have observed the continuing growth and momentum, particularly in the last three years when the media took over the leadership of the emerging trend which now appears to have grown into a ‘civil society’ fighting for ‘democracy’ on an ‘as is, where is’ basis. And then I witness its gradual gravitation towards democratic and humanist ideals emotionally and intellectually.
On this note, having offered my humble confession, I would like to put a few points for the consideration of my democratic peers.
I submit that the problem of policies and personnel is secondary for our gestating democracy. The core issue, as I have observed for more than six decades, lies in the peculiar nature of our political process as a whole, leaving aside its frozen fringes. In our political mainstream, historically, we never paused to discover and create a new political process and its fundamentals for fulfilling the promise and responsibilities of a new country’s life in freedom. It was an inherited and non-combative political process, which we have continued to operate with minor variations with the addition of a competitiveness akin to that between shopkeepers in Anarkali.
The general description of the Pakistani political process would be that there are three to four tiers of political cadres. At the top, prominent and whole-time core group, having an abundance of political exposure in the media and public, possessing established resources of property and money set aside as investment in politics. In the second tier there are lesser clones at the district level. And the third tier has even lesser clones at the tehsil level. And, lastly, foot soldiers of our political process from the lumpen section of society who have no regular gainful employment and possess an addiction, an expertise, as the working class of our politics. And then there is a loose network of contacts in the bureaucracy and the media on a part-time basis.
The stock-in-trade is pure, unadulterated rhetoric. The argumentation must be clever but supercilious; the verbiage has to be like a balloon filled to the bursting point. The single-minded objective has to be a periodic achievement of bargaining power (called ministries and memberships of assemblies) within the colonial framework of state power in which the bureaucracy is crowned by the General Headquarters (GHQ) and ISI. The fuel as well as lubricant for our political engine is cash and property sharing — unadulterated. Any consistent concern or committed involvement with the fundamentals and mechanics of maximising the growth and welfare of the nation as a whole are positively infra dig for the prevailing Pakistani political process. In fact, this has been the line of demarcation between ‘serious’ politicians and ‘amateur’ visitors to politics.
I hope that large numbers of men and women of good will in civil society, if they confront with patience this issue, will come to the logical conclusion that out of this political landscape no flowers of democracy can bloom. Democracy, certainly yes! It is a truism that there is no alternative to it, but if the desire of civil society for democracy is to produce a reality, then it has to change the existing landscape of our political culture first and that will require a bigger and more concerted effort by civil society than its present, part-time involvement with democracy. This, I believe, is the crisis of our present civil society. If it persists in side-stepping this fundamental issue, then in future the question will be asked which democracy was it that we were speaking about.
I have mentioned the Bolshevik downfall and ISI dictatorship earlier and now it is necessary to mention the existing western or Bourgeois version of democracy, as it exists today. I submit it has come a long way from its days of glory when it holistically confronted feudalism in science, arts, literature and politics, on the battlefield and in the workshops, and produced a whole Renaissance in their societies.
Today, it is no longer a model for a people like us who need to urgently make a new renaissance for their survival. I do not elaborate upon this issue because there is enough material within the reach of interested readers.
NOTE:This is a cross post.