Should creation be taught in public schools?

13 Feb

Humans, by their very nature, are curious beings. Owing to this curiosity that countless inventions and discoveries continue to make the life of human beings easier to live. Hence man cannot resist the call to investigate that where did he come from and why is he really in this planet anyway? How come all the necessities were placed for him here in one pebble-like planet, whereas none of the other planets come even close to supporting life? Did God create all of this and if there is no God then what combinations took place, spread over billions of years that finally accrued to give life to the first human? These questions have been asked by philosophers, scientists, cosmologists and religious scholars all alike. These questions have been answered by every one of them and the answer bears the stamp of their respective fields.

Therefore it can be safely assumed that no one answer can encapsulate the essence of the creation of human beings. Each discourse offers its own explanation while either negating that of other’s or asserting its own in a way that would tread the boundaries of self-righteousness.

This never-ending debate between the creationists and the evolutionist does not seem to be meeting a constructive end any time soon. Should the children be exposed to such vastness of the topic and diversity of opinion? Would it help them in their thoughts about themselves as human beings? It is reasonable enough to believe that children need to be taught about creation. They must know how they came into existence. Helping them in finding their origin, we have generations that are less confused about who they are and to what they want to devote their life to.

Children need to be taught a single school of thought pertaining to the concept of creation. Variety adds to different shades in the personality of an individual. Danger of extreme thinking can arise if children would be taught a single line to follow. It would shut them off their ability to widen their minds in order to accept new ideas. It would stop them from evolving.

The concept of creation holds in itself a certain philosophical tinge. This philosophy can help individuals to unearth the essence of their lives according to them. Knowing about the origin allows one to mold its life in order to fit with the demands of the source. A person who believes that God created this world would shape his life according to the principles laid down by the God. An evolutionist would abhor the idea of God and try to model his life in pursuit of science in order to deepen his understanding of scheme of things.

Schools constitute the basic educational institution of a society. If the concept of creation is taught at public schools then it would play its vital role in giving birth to a generation that is more brooding. The plague of Materialism can also be countered once the real purpose of life is made clear to the people at a younger age.

Different interpretations must not vie for their place in a child’s brain. These explanations are all accurate within their domain. Hence, these must not transgress into the limits of another. It is upon the reader to follow what he things the best. Teaching creation at public schools is a thought that must be given a serious thought. Precious time has already been lost.

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Beneath every dark cloud, there is a silver lining

19 Jan

No one can be said of not experiencing troubled times. It is God’s law that he besets his creations with trials to test their resolve. Amidst these dark times, one should not adopt for an escapist strategy, rather they should brave through unfavorable conditions with a positive outlook. This optimistic demeanor must always be kept close, for that every time that threatens to bring disorder, it also promises the growth of new hopes. In real life, it is observable that with hopes of better times, man has successfully faced testing times. Failure is not final; it is only man’s iron will that is permanent.

History has taught us that every disapproving incident becomes a source of learning for individuals. It has only been through repetitive mistakes that man has learned to avoid them. Through the dint of hard work, even ordinary man can turn the tide of troubled times and become a hero in his own way. Abraham Lincoln lost the presidential elections numerous times, but failure could never stop him. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, yet his hopes for a harmonious South Africa could not be trampled, and it culminated in his final release from the jail.

Sometimes, nations are encountered by such times that put to test the unity of their people, their ability to stay firm, and their capacity to rise again. Japanese and Germans proved to be one of such nations. Bombs and bullets could not halt their progress. Every developing country must believe that good times are a must only if its people are prepared to stay true to their cause.

Psychologically, if one always looks for the brighter aspect of things, only then can one work with a mind that is less afraid of fear. Being occupied with the fear of failure and hard times, no real development can accrue. It needs to be remembered that only those turn out to be successful who aspire to come out of testing times, into the harmony of peaceful moments.

Without a positive mindset, even an achievement can be marred. One cannot bear harder times without sufficient optimism. It needs to be believed that hard times carry for opportunities to learn, to survive and to comprehend the various shades of life. Without such variety, life itself becomes bland and dull. 

Peace, but only when state would want it

6 Jan

]In the tumultuous times that Pakistan is in now, nothing can be more comforting than the alliance of different sects against the extremism of TTP. Everyone, except the government, seems clearheaded pertaining to what they desire. Even the TTP knows what its aims are and quite clearly follows the measures which it sees fit.

This alliance of different sects is heartening in multiple ways. Firstly, it indicates that none of the sects wants the extremity that TTP postulates. Moreover, the fact that all the sects want action against the TTP declares that they do not subscribe to the version of Islam that TTP interprets it to be. Where it was previously believed that TTP was also involved in the genocide of one sect on the behalf of another, this belief can easily be discarded. No one but TTP wants chaos amidst the two major sects where peace can prevail.

Ulema on either side have agreed on sectarian peace and have chalked out a code for sectarian harmony. It needs to be iterated that real and concrete sectarian harmony can only be ensured by the government itself. Ulema have learned to live by the mutual differences of the sects. The efforts contrived to debilitate such struggles for harmony can only be halted by writ of the state. The Ulema have shown that they are willing to play their part in hatching a plan whereby every sect can leave with complete peace of mind, fostering mutual understanding and strengthening the social bonds. The ball is now in the court of the state of Pakistan. It must do away with its myopic visions of rooting for one major sect while ignoring the other. The Constitution of Pakistan does not allow discrimination over cast, color and creed. The state of Pakistan must be the first one to go by the sacred text if it hopes to implement it. 

Tale of Two Countries

6 Jan

The sudden ascendance of Ukraine on the newspapers bewilders many of us. For one, it hardly matters what goes on in Ukraine for we have our hands full of problems in the land of pure. But if the historical tussle of pro-Russian Ukraine versus pro-West Ukraine is to be traced in the light of current events, then one would find striking similarities between the choices that Ukraine and Pakistan continue to face. The fates of the two countries seem intertwined in a complex manner where they resolve and voice the fulfillment of dreams, but are halted by actualities.

Ukraine, literally meaning “on the edge”, remains on the edge of choosing between two powers i.e. European Union and Russia. Historically, Ukraine has been under the influence of various European Powers and it has been nearly eighteen years that it has been independent, but not without foreign influence.

Since its independence, it has been directly under the Russian influence. After the Orange Revolution of 2004, when the pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich’s ascent to presidency was considered fraudulent, the Ukrainians took to streets to express their disgust. Through country-wide demonstrations, he was forced to resign. After 2010, Yanukovich current election as the president seems to be antithesis of Orange Revolution.

Ukraine, as a state, has little or no concept of sovereignty. Internally, its house stands divided over the question of which foreign power would dominate its foreign policy. Its youth and youthful business community seems to be aiming at fleeing Ukraine in the search of certain future somewhere else but their country. Rather than preparing themselves to be the masters of their fates, Ukrainians seem more content at the thought of being ruled by others. The cumbersome burden that the concept “sovereignty” imposes seems to be too much for the locals to bear.

Ukraine cannot be without, at least, some degree of Russian influence. Its geographical limitations cannot but compound Russian influence. Russian gas pipelines need to be safeguarded. Furthermore, for Russia, Ukraine presents a passage to the Black Sea and eventually to the Mediterranean. Odessa and Sevastopol are celebrated ports that offer Russia military and commercial movement of goods.

Meanwhile the possibility of joining EU seems incoherent and only devised to counter Russian influence in Ukrainian politics. EU union is tottering with one country understandably unwilling to help the other in saving it from drowning in its debt. With Ukraine added to belt, EU countries do not seem excited to have another country that has every chance to end up like Greece. Russia would not want Ukraine to enter EU merely because it will lose a significant partner upon which its influence mattered. Ukraine is dangerously close to Russia. Inclusion of Ukraine to EU would result in considerable closeness to Russia by the West. This is a possibility which Russia would want to avoid at the cost of breaking its bank.

Whatever may turn out for Ukraine, it would hardly affect Pakistan. But the profiled before analysis is a mirror image of Pakistan. Where Ukrainians are searching for a babysitter to take care of their affairs for them, Pakistanis continue to search for a messiah that would wave his, or her, magical staff and things will begin to fall in order. Ukrainians seem to be willing to be at the beck and call of any other country but their own, while most of us love to admonish our own country just because any foreign analyst has said or written so.

Similar to Ukrainians, Pakistanis are confused about what their future would be. The citizens of both states have lost ability to trust themselves. They would rather be someone else’s puppet instead of plough the land themselves where they live. This uncertainty to act hence leads to human inaction. Nation-wide lethargy coupled with stoic tolerance of injustice slowly rots away a nation and strips it off of all its glories. As a result, the nation becomes retrospective. They wish if they would have been born some decades earlier so that someone else will have to deal with tangle that they themselves are in. Ukrainians, now, wish to recreate Orange Revolution. Pakistanis continue to glance back at the Islamic golden era without taking into perspective the vicissitudes of Time.

What the young Ukrainian businessmen wanted is much identical to what many professionals in Pakistan seek. They pursue their career goals abroad without compassion for the country where they were born and raised. The locals of Ukraine and Pakistan preach patriotism while dreaming of absolute independence. Along with this, the locals show a desire to leave for a better country, for a far more secure lifestyle. There seems to be a conflict between personal hopes and national hopes. While it takes generations to build a nation, current generation of Ukraine and Pakistan wants to pass on the toil of becoming a nation, which earlier generations have to do, to later generations.

Situation would only improve if we are willing to put our house in order and are willing to toil and suffer, not for ourselves, but for our respective. The easy option of leaving the country in the hands of worse is always there. What should matter for Pakistanis is Pakistan. They would be known as long as there would be Pakistan. Without it, god forbid, we’d be nothing more than lost souls. The question that remains is between building Pakistan and building our own lives.

 

 

Democracy: a process or a culture?

11 Dec

Democracy demands governance of the people by themselves. It feeds on desire of the people, not dictated by any outside force. Through the process that may be called democratic, the leaders that arise manifest the desire of the people to be ruled by them. They become the repository of people’s faith and promise. They cannot help but expect great things from their leaders for that is their desire as well. Good governance, justice, fair play and the equality of opportunity are the fundamental ideals by which any society would want to live by. In a way, democracy fosters growth and a progressive future that is fueled by the will of the people. The exercise of such democracy takes place only when social culture imbibes democratic culture. It happens only when democracy is allowed to persist without any threat and disruption. Democracy can be, then, understood as the process that transpires and crystalizes the democratic culture amongst the people.

The flower of democracy evolves slowly and tests the patience. While it is easier said than done but the history of this world instructs that no country has had the fruit of democracy until after much sacrifice. It takes a while for democratic practices to seep in. What needs to be understood here is that democracy does not merely mean where people get to vote in and vote out their leaders. Neither is it the rule of the majority. John C. Calhoun, a luminous American political theorist, defined democracy as “diffusion of power, representation of interests, and recognition of minorities.” It is way of the government where power does not reside with the chosen few, but trickles down. No individual is cast out based on their color, creed, religion and language. The state stands for equality of opportunity and not for the preference of majority and, in the process, suppressing the minorities. For a state machinery to be framed in such democratic code requires due time and patience. Many leaders rise to the occasion only to abuse power afterwards. Such occurrences are part of the package where people get to be trained to live in a democratic culture.

Following the definition of democracy given by Calhoun, it can be safely assumed that Pakistan stands in the process of diffusion of power stage. The representation of interests and the recognition of minorities would only take place when proper diffusion would occur.

To understand the diffusion of power, it means that the power itself devolves to smaller administrative units originating from the supreme governing body. In Pakistan, the Parliament should diffuse power to provinces. These provinces in turn to divisions and districts and to tehsils. When power would devolve to lower administrative units, the state would be able to ensure its presence, virtually, in the whole country. The Center cannot control everything from one city. Its job is strictly to administer the functioning of the state and let its constituting units carry out the important tasks. This process relates to democracy in the manner that only when state would be able to make itself appear to common man, only then would it earn the trust of its citizens. The state must never be seen as something abstract. This trust bodes well for democracy to grow for without it, the populace becomes disgruntled with the current system, and consequently impatient. The devolution of power ensures that people have the access to the state whenever and wherever they need it. The proverbial ivory tower of the center have been demolished. In their place, stands erected the monument of the government, built only upon the consent of the people. Once the governing state loses this consent and confidence of the people of the state, the monument would collapse into rubble. The states that choose to ignore or, in a way, suppress their people are doomed to fail. Napoleon, Hitler and Mussolini, all of these rulers lost their powers when they failed to suppress the agitation of the people. Once the people decided to rise against the tyranny, the end to authoritarian regimes becomes predictable.

The Rise of Third Force

10 Dec

What awaits in store for Syria?

1 Sep

The US seems all the more determined to launch an attack on Syrian regime of Bashr al Assad that is reported to have used chemical weapon against the rebel, who happen to be its citizens nevertheless. One cannot simply overlook the vested interests of US and its Allies in the removal of Assad’s regime as its existence entails the possibility of expansion of Iranian influence. In a move to checkmate Iran’s allies, US must have felt flabbergasted when its long term war ally Britain decided to sit this one out.

Nevertheless, US never really had shortage of allies. It had them at its command whenever it required them to be. France has committed to the use of “limited force” against Syrian ruling leadership. US has not made it clear what kind of force would be employed under the banner of “limited force”, yet there would not be a full scale war.

This is not assuring either as the “no boots on the ground” approach does not necessarily prohibit US and its allies from supplying sophisticated weaponry to the rebels. Western news media has been screaming on top of its voice that arming the rebels may well be playing right into the hands of terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda. If any attention is paid to the history, then US must remain wary of any such move. For it will not only tilt the balance of power in the favor of “rebels”. They may project themselves as the freedom fighters, yet these rebels do not represent the wishes of majority. Terrorists can constitute a major part of this rebel force who want to install a puppet government after the ouster of that very regime of Bashr al Assad. Upon these grounds, the rejection of proposal of helping the rebels by Beijing and Moscow becomes understandable.

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The reason foreign powers seem so concerned about Syria because what happens in Syria affects its neighbors. On its southeast border lies war-wrecked Iraq. Iraq already faces severe sectarian violence. The collapse of Syrian law and order would perforate its borders for sectarian war to seep through. On its west lies Lebanon where Hezbollah remains the arch-rival of Israel that forms the southwest of Syria. Finally in the north of Syria is Turkey. Turkey has already battled skirmishes with Syrian rebels who tried to missile the mutual borders of Turkey and Syria. If Assad is replaced by an extremist regime backed by Al-Qaeda, then the ensuing damage cannot be quantified as it directly puts Israel in existential threat. Threat to Israel would naturally involve US. Turkey shares its border with Europe. Turkey can act as a buffer zone. There is no telling the peril the world may be in if extremists taste the power in Syria.

Whatever the solution may be devised for Syria, it must not only go in tune with the wishes of the people, but it should prolong the peace in the region. It has been much too long since Middle East could feel peace within and without. The efforts of the world must not be specious. These must not elongate personal interests. Otherwise history would only bring opprobrium to those who would prefer their peace over other’s war. Can the world afford such criminality in times that seem so desperate? The heart and mind both respond with a definitive no.