Weekly Reflections: Intellectual bankruptcy


Dr. Abdul Saboor

A cursory look of the political scenario, economic uncertainty, social deterioration and inefficiency of state organs may convince some one that Pakistan has arrived at the verge of intellectual bankruptcy. To realize this insolvency, again an intellectual mind is required who could advocate the reality through reality tests and that too based on folk knowledge. Almost all the true thinkers and genuine philosophers of this country would fairly be unanimous on the narrative that there is huge chunk of deficiency of cognitive and innovative thinking than any other kind of shortage. Confession of this state of affair is certainly necessary to explore a new refined path towards intellectualism and liberalism.

The traditional quote that nations are built by poets and philosophers but are ruined by the politicians may be true to some scholars but in a country like Pakistan, not all politicians are as controversial as one does believe on them nor all poetic thinkers are as visionary as it is normally realized. In the final analysis, one can conclude that every one of us considers oneself the most genius one. This misconception brings a state of mind across all stakeholders of the social and political systems that always consider themselves right in all matters. Even they have the art of denying others who are actually truly right.

The story of failure of intellectualism starts from the family institute where most of the time, there is hardly any intellectual exercise or incentive mechanism remains functional in which the naturally branded thoughts are appreciated and documented for the rest of countrymen. Whenever a child dares to mobilize his or her cognitive faculty, a discouragement expression ruins the spark of scholastic approach. We, as elders, being victim of the “truth” that we are all-knowing, try to dictate the child what we want from him or her. Attempts are hardly made to mobilize his or her divine uniqueness. Parenting thus mostly goes for anti-intellectualism.

With such a pampered training, by the time the child reaches school, she has lost enough innovative fabric in her cognitive stock. In majority of the schools, class room teaching is cramming based, so is the whole syllabi. The parrot learning ruins the intellectual energy of the child who finally surrenders to the “imported education system” to be a doctor or an engineer rather than a graceful human being with sharp intellectual wisdom. Under such situation, one cannot expect some breakthroughs in the realm of science and technology from a mind who has become slave of foreign ideas and philosophies. In his own country, this slave mind becomes the ambassador of some masters whose mastermind had coined this strategy of subjugating masses.

This is how we are preparing our youth to be government servants, bankers, business people, media anchors, teachers etc. As politicians, they raise slogans of democracy, as business men, they advocate for capitalism, as banker, they vote for interest ridden financial system, as a teacher, they prefer foreign books, as media tycoons, their voice may be controlled by some alien philosophies hardly workable in our own system. This sophisticatedly controlled process continues across generations with more runs of foreign authorities through their well coined knowledge.

There are seven school systems in the country each of which is attempting to level its authority in different ways and means. Majority of these schools have commercial motives which certainly go against the very idea of innovative thinking as they are to show results for attracting more students. Some schools are good as per syllabus and academic vision but they always remain thirsty of finding intelligent teachers as there is no mechanism of teacher training on intellectual grounds. No one wants to become teacher and that too an intellectual one. Teaching as a profession may be the last option in the dossier of job priorities.

Another chunk of population is springing from Madrissa schools of almost all sects. They are healthy and intelligent students. But they have been trained and socialized in a different environment where there is minimum possibility of intellectual growth of mind. Their brainwashing, either intentional or unintentional, is certainly a national loss of human resource who otherwise could have been potentially utilized for the development of the country.

One should not forget the ignorant and uneducated segment of masses who are implicitly or explicitly slaves of “educated slaves”. The hodgepodge of education systems has created a mess in the country. Whatsoever wrong is being committed by the educated slaves, the same might be reflected from the way of life of ordinary slaves. You may find a plumber cheating you uniquely exactly as some of our so called leaders throw dust in our eyes. And nothing good can be expected from the coming generation if the same phenomenon continues.

These are some of the few contexts which can help us in tracing the reasons why intellectualism is not being promoted in a country like Pakistan. We are living an advanced era of liberalism and freedom of speech when fall of nations is not necessarily backed by the collapse of financial and economic system. It is the collapse of human mind which matters a lot. A progress in human mind is associated towards intellectualism through the agency of cognition and intuition is the dire need of the hour. If human mind is tuned to brilliance, any kind of individual and collective problem can be solved.

Intellectualism is freedom from such a slavery of imported philosophies which can only be sought if an “intellectual hub” is established in every district of Pakistan under the state control where brains will have to be trained under multidisciplinary environment.  This hub may be developed to promote folk wisdom. The mushroom growth of untested and impracticable interventions as directed by national and international organizations should be checked through the genius mind trained and groomed in these hubs.

There is dire need of respecting folk wisdom by rigorous scanning of challenges, issues and problems at grass-root level. With the compilation of folk knowledge of each region, it would be easy to formulate workable policies and replicating best practices with modifications. Base line surveys and subsequent situation analysis should be conducted by involving key actors, players and stakeholders of respective communities. The inclusive approach towards intellectualism would never go wasted.