Wednesday July 06, 2022

Quaid’s message for directionless youth

December 25, 2020

Youth and Nojawan are the most fascinating words to be heard. That is the reason, in political processions, rallies and protests, the most repeatedly heard slogan of political parties is, ‘Mairy Nojawano’ or ‘’Pakistan kay Jawano’’. These phrases of calling out youth and addressing them has its deep roots in Pakistan movement and its political history. During Pakistan Movement, major contribution of different student federations cannot be overlooked. Young students of different provinces played their vital role in spreading the message of an independent land with their demonstrated faith, unity, discipline, determination, sacrifice and relentless work.

From the struggle of Pakistan Movement to the recent PTI’s government youth had a major contribution. It would not be an overstatement to claim that youth is viewed as the key factor behind majority of the social and political changes and revolutions not only in Pakistan but around the world.

Youth comprises 60% of Pakistan, as 60% of Pakistan’s total population is below 35 years and we are world’s second country with highest number of youth population. Considering them an asset means taking complete benefit of their energies and potentials. When it comes to utilization of youth power, it requires great efforts to plan strategically. If we train and equip them to make place in national and international job markets, they will be able to contribute in development and productivity of the country. However, if we did not set goals and leave them unskilled and economically disengaged, they are likely to prove disastrous for nation’s future. A directionless and disintegrated youth can become an easy prey in the hands of enemies.

Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had high hopes from Pakistani youth and in all his important addresses to students, he stressed upon youth’s vision in life. While addressing students in Lahore on October 31 he said:

‘’Pakistan is proud of her youth, particularly the students who have always been in the forefront in the hour of trial and need. You are the nation’s leaders of tomorrow and you must fully equip yourself by discipline, education and training for the arduous task lying ahead of you. You should realise the magnitude of your responsibility and be ready to bear it’’ (Jinnah, 1947).

The father of the nation seemed thoroughly inspired and hopeful with their role in different fields of life. He did not view them as bookworms but as the leaders and makers of the nations. In short, he regarded them the backbone of the nation having an important role in the development of the society. But at the same time he forbade them from getting involved in politics and becoming puppets in the hands of political parties. If we view Pakistani youth, neither we find visionary leaders nor the committed patriots. They are good to go in political rallies to hoot and burn cars yet do not know the destruction they are causing to their own land and assets.

The worst is viewed during Covid, when they felt honoured and partying at the closure of educational institutes yet seemed fearful to modify themselves as per the challenges of the present times. Keeping in mind all the aspects, Pakistani state must not be ashamed that we did establish schools with books and curriculum yet failed to produce enlightened learners.

The confession doesn’t make the issue complicated yet it provides clues for its resolutions. Our political parties, majority with feudal backgrounds never seemed serious towards educating minds, fearing decline of their political careers. Political parties in power focused more on hoarding and piling wealth in their Swiss accounts or working on noticeable projects such as metro buses or motorway but never tried to work on youth’s education and development. The major issue we need to address is to set directions for the youth. That can only be attained through education and awareness of youth.

Quaid also believed in training the youth through educational reforms. In order to show relevancy of Quaid’s vision to education system we need to view his message to the first Education Conference in November 1947, when he said: “the future of our state will and must accordingly depend upon the type of education we give to our children, and the way in which we bring them up as future citizens of Pakistan”.

It is unfortunate that our education system is nonetheless creating robots and rote learners, incapable of understanding true meaning of Quaid’s vision. Even after seven decades of independence, we have failed to discard Gora’s curriculum primarily designed to produce clerks or baboos in the subcontinents. We did not put in effort to review our curriculum for the betterment of our nation.

However, we cannot wholly depend upon education system to bring betterment in our youth. In order to meet the challenges of the present times, we need other factors such as parental counseling, media’s role and envisioned leadership. Home is the basic institution in laying the foundation of an individual and the home environment leaves deeper impression on building the personality of future’s citizens. Usually parents seem ignorant of their crucial responsibility and hold schools responsible for children’s grooming and skill development. While educational institutions primarily focus on transferring theoretical knowledge rather than grooming the minds or developing the critical thinking of their students. Print, social and electronic media have become the biggest influencer but sadly the relentless race of rating put them in competition of money making and not a tool of learning and teaching for the youth. Our leadership is more into their personal interest rather than focusing on youth’s development and training for better Pakistan. This is how our youth has lost its track and got completely aimless, disillusioned and even destructive in some cases.

To conclude, we need to own this broken, shattered, lost and visionless youth. It’s never too late to amend things and we as a nation, need to realise before it gets completely devastated. If we will not value our youth, they might be used as an explosive against us or become puppets in the hands of anti-state elements. It is the duty of every citizen to realise this mistake and try to correct it before it really gets too late.

—The writer teaches at Iqra University, Islamabad Campus. She is a freelancer, blog and content writer and social activist. She can be reached at: