The failure of the people of Pakistan to develop themselves into a nation can be linked to their fettered imagination, and we must learn to imagine if we want to make progress.
Senior journalist Ghazi Salahuddin made this observation while sharing his views as a guest speaker at an interactive session, titled “Why imagination is more important than Knowledge”, on Wednesday. The thought-provoking session was organised by the Teaching and Learning Center of Barrett Hodgson University.
He started off by quoting theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, who said that “imagination is more important than knowledge”. But why? “Because imagination comes first and then it leads to knowledge, so it is more important. Imagination is wealth that comes from reading.”
Salahuddin said: “The reason why we are not developing as a nation is because we are people with bounded imagination. You are limited only by your own imagination, let it fly.” He called upon the youth to take to reading books to broaden their imagination. “It opens our minds to new possibilities and new ideas, helping us experience and analyse the world through others’ lives. Reading a good book can take a person to a fantasy world that becomes reality in their mind’s eye.”
Salahuddin said: “Knowledge and reality have boundaries but the world of imagination is boundless. To grow, imagination has to be boundless. We have to work on individual level to widen our imagination, to help our nation grow and to make our people creative and successful in all walks of life.”
The senior journalist said: “Our future depends on libraries, daydreaming, reading, reading and reading.” He went on to say, “Every invention that happened in this world was a result of someone’s imagination. Imagination has brought mankind through the Dark Ages to its present state of civilisation. Imagination led Columbus to discover America. Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity. Imagination has given us the steam engine, the telephone, the talking-machine and the automobile. Someone imagined these things before they became realities.
“So I believe that daydreams, you know, with your eyes wide open and your brain-machinery whizzing, are likely to lead to the betterment of the world. The imaginative child will become the imaginative man or woman most apt to create, to invent, and therefore to foster civilisation.”
Speaking on the occasion, Ahmed Khan, a faculty member of the university, said it was true that imagination was more important than knowledge. He said imagination was also critical to successful cognitive skills. “We can acquire the ability of imagination from reading, and by watching cartoons. Cartoons actually help people in widening their imagination, as it is said imaginative people stand on the shoulders of those who came before.”
Salahuddin said: “Stop worrying, start living and start imagining to the better life.” He said he had always been inspired by one of the poems of Munir Niazi, ‘Sapna agay jata kaisay?’, which perfectly explains how important imagination is.
He concluded his speech by quoting Niazi:
Chhota sa ik gaun tha jis mein
Diye thay kam aur bohat andhera
Bohat shajar thay
Thoray ghar thay
Jin ko tha duri ne ghaira
Itni bari tanhai thi jis mein
Jaagta rehta tha dil mera
Bohat qadeem firaaq tha jis mein
Aik muqarrar hadd se agay
Soch na sakta tha dil mera
Aisi surat mein phir dil ko
Dhiyaan ata kis khuwab mein tera?
Raaz jo hadd se bahir mein tha
Apna aap dikhata kaisay?
Sapnay ki bhi hadd thi aakhir
Sapna agay jata kaisay?