By Mohammad Ali Sattar
March 26, 2014
Our liberation war was fought on high spirits. It was not just the language that mattered, it was more than that. People dreamed of a country and a society that was absent in their lives during the days of colonialism.
The dreams were of a self-regulating culture, freedom of speech and thought, economic emancipation, and wide-scale social development leading to an altruistic uplift of all classes – a thriving nation with the bounties that God had bestowed on this green land of ours.
It was not only about freeing the land from the grips of occupiers, or drawing up borders with neighbours. It was a wish for a tranquil and flourishing social system, where people of all caste and creed would live in peace and harmony, sharing the wealth of the nation, to each according to his need.
We have a constitution, the parliament, the local government bodies, and other semi or autonomous institutes of the country.
We should take solace in the fact that we were able to build these to make good governance an established practice of the state. We made this machinery available to set up a pattern for an idyllic realm. It took us time to construct these schools for a democracy, but we did manage to have the structures built.
We have a legislature in a lavish edifice, we have a constitution that guides us on the path to democracy, and we hold regular polls. We boast of the local government system, the judiciary, the executive branch, and state organs to have a modern system running.
We also developed strong law enforcement agencies, our armed forces, brave border guards, and a conscious civil society.
In no time, we witnessed a magnificent growth in art and culture, our literature has blossomed like the buds in the spring, our young minds have impressed the world with their innovative brilliance.
Our religious minds also flourished. We have seen amazing growth of mosques and other places of veneration – people turning to God for peace and progress of the country.
Commerce grew against all odds. Although we lack in industrialisation, we still compete with global players in many sectors and manage to survive. Our economy has received a great boost through their contribution.
The agriculture scene paints a tranquil picture as well. We have been witnessing bumper crops almost every year. Although farmers, in all cases, do not get the right share of their return, we do have surplus produce coming in because of the hard work of our toiling masses in the fields.
We have reached good heights in sport. Our cricketers carry our flags all over the world. Our boys win accolades. Although we need further shots in other sporting arenas, we still have the capability, but fall back only due to other bottlenecks, which can be overcome.
Therefore we do not stand on a barren land. We stand straight among the fertile land of hope and achievement.
Having said all that, we do have times of despair, pain, and frustration. In spite of our progress, made through rough waters, we have at times been either pulled back to square one, or our journey forward is made troublesome by our own people.
Only one area that did not expand or mature is the politics of the country. We are, painfully, watching our political leaders deliberately hanging on to the principles of hatred and envy.
Political parties, instead of sponsoring peaceful means and upholding democratic practices, keep resorting to intolerance and vengeance. The growth of extremism in national and front organisations has made the political scene one of horror and awe. Both pro and anti-religion schools have emerged as strong factors, inviting more precariousness.
For reasons unknown, leaders put up prejudices to such an extent that the atmosphere gets vitiated, which then gradually spreads throughout the vicinity.
In course of time, we have become victims of senseless violence and mindless bloodletting. With the slow growth of the economy and the hard work of common people, there grew the dangerous culture of intolerance and retribution.
We have gone through many phases of our constitutional and political history. We have had a testing time for democracy. We have witnessed how culprits can be brought to book, and again how the culture of impunity has flourished.
Corruption has reached such heights that it has pushed us to our lowest. It has crept inside our marrows.
Only the politicians are the ones who will have to bear the responsibility of the current situation. Either they will have to come clean and offer something that we can trust, or they will have to exit and make room for the next generation of politicians.
Our independence can be meaningful if, for once, we shun the politics of conspiracies, revenge, oppression, and greed.
We were able to bear the brunt for the last 40 years, we are ready to wait for another decade, but that has to change. And change it will. For we have no choice.