The rising civil unrest
The basic idea of a society is to form a protective shell in which its citizens can survive in a collective form of life. This urge for shared living has a historical resonance and we can follow its traces in the past of human civilisation.
Humans have always showed an inclination towards collective living. But this collective living has always faced the threat of decline if the bond between the individuals of society showed signs of weakness and indifference. Yet, a society can sustain its decline by following a principle of safeguarding common interests between individuals and by urging citizens and the government to provide safety to shared living and a peaceful environment.
However, the kind of society we are part of reflects an image of a crisis and the violation of these principles. These crises – though significantly social in nature – are nevertheless an outcome of another crisis that is mainly economic and political in nature. Societies must exist as self-sufficient entities. Self-sufficiency is a state where happiness prevails owing to the availability of basic needs for every citizen.
Basic needs can be billed as those necessities that are fundamental for every living organism to survive, such as water, food and shelter. These necessities are known as primitive necessities. We have evolved to a state where electricity, infrastructure and other technological phenomena are also included and can be termed as necessities that an individual of an urban centre demands. These necessities are far from being adequate in our society.
Our society exemplifies a state of crisis rather than a state of civilisation. Every man fights for its survival in a state of crisis without showing any concern for the desirable collective living. This crisis exemplifies the earliest phases of history when humans only strived for their individual survival. In those early phases of history, humans were always at the edge of risk – the risk of extinction – and were open to the dangers of the crude form of life.
Human history has progressed from the state of risk and danger to a state of civilisation where humans have formed bonds to lead a shared life with common interests and have collectively identified their dependency upon other human beings. This interdependence leads societies towards progress. But the individuals of this society are still facing a miserable situation. We have been strayed from living a peaceful life due to the unnecessary burdens that should be taken care of by the government and its institutions.
But these institutions are politically biased in their assessment of human needs. Instead of restoring democratic and liberal ideals and being humanistic in their approach, they have adopted a narrow view of their responsibilities that is informed by their ethnic and racial affinities and self-interests.
Now, individual have been burdened with the thought that they should take care of their basic needs on their own. Their energies have been divested in the fuss over the unavailability of water, an improper infrastructure and its management. Taxes are rising like tsunami tide and individuals find themselves powerless. They feel unsafe and dissatisfied in the life that their society is offering him. Every five years, only promises are made. But they are of no avail and the expenditure of the government is only targeted towards secondary needs. The failure to provide the basic requirements to the people is more political in nature. It can also be termed as an inability on the part of the government even though it forms the periphery.
The entire political move will leave no space for the suppressed – the major class – to understand the hidden mechanisms of persecution that the government is using against its own citizens so that they are unable to retaliate against its atrocities. How can we hope for civilised behaviour from individuals who live at the edge of crises throughout their lives? The most they can care about is finding ways to survive. The inadequate supply of basic needs, which should primarily be the responsibility of the government, is giving rise to an aggression that has hitherto remained dormant.
We live in a world in which countries like Slovenia have recognised the provision of fresh water as a fundamental right while the people of Pakistan are far removed from obtaining their due share of food, water and electricity. Moreover, the government has imposed taxes that have compelled the majority class to live an undesirable life. Our country is embroiled in a crisis that will soon reach a state of civil unrest. The government should address it on a priority basis and pull the country out of this crisis. The discontinuity within our society will prove to be quite dangerous as it can cause civil unrest in the country.
The government should consider these problems on a priority basis and devise various mean to resolve them. It is the responsibility of the government to serve their countrymen without dividing them along political lines.
The writer is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Karachi.