Finding common fear

Nov 24 - Dec 07, 2003 



How to achieve national greatness? Or better to put it this way, is it human to dream, to create fantasy and to live in utopia with an uncanny desire for more and better? Whether we like it or not, that is the only part which differentiate us from than the rest. As the world has seen the light of modern life, our idealism has encapsulated every aspect of life, ever broadening our perception of achievement. Where achievement is mere comparative, but the quest of greatness is imperative. One will notice, there is a great revolution in the way and manner today we dream and what we dream for. The modern life has changed all that. Our fantasy of fairytales has been replaced by fiction. Today, science has unleashed fantasy into fiction as we enjoy the modern life flying in air, traveling in space, seeing at night, exploring the peaks and depths of earth, conquering disease, being connected at any corner of the world. The modern life has offered us everything what our forefathers have only imagined but only one, that is, the quest of leadership and heroism.

Being a Pakistani, and belonging to the developing country from South Asia, I believe there is nothing more important, and nothing more devastating than the presence or absence of genuine leadership respectively. It is the leadership of a nation which groom and nature the spirit of mind of a nation, and make it significant among the great nations. I started with the concept of beauty and dream, as to explore and unveil the trend of human desire has changed as science provides us the luxury not in our imagination but in reality meaning that a nation aspires for heroism of reality from leadership translated in economic and social life, as the realization of disparity between East and West burns. Comparing, the East with the West, we face a stark reality that being so resourceful yet we are so undermined and ignored. The realization of a western kind of leadership becomes inevitable as the nation replaces dreams of heroism with realization of comparison. In this very spirit of comparison and passion, the developing countries look towards the developed countries, and dream of achieving the reality of development.

I see the problem of leadership is not at the top but at the bottom. It is the masses not the elite as power lies in the hands of revolutionary people within whom the leadership emerges. Even, the very Western concept of leadership based on nationalism. It is because of the personification of a nation West has evolved itself into being the leaders of the world. If we look at the golden history of the West, we find same color and mostly the same religion, but a great division on the basis of geography. The geographic association and position divided the west for centuries and even today. This is a fundamental realization of identifying oneself as a nation on geographical basis carved deeply into the mind and soul of every European. Once the realization of a nation achieved, the second step is the strive for comparative excellence in the region which eventually had evolved a system of producing leaders who associate themselves as representative of the nation, and strive to deliver by elevating the socio-economic growth and living standards of a nation. The bond between the masses and the leadership unglued battle after battle for survival and recognition with in increasing recognition of the fact that in order to achieve regional dominance, every single man and woman should be productive and competitive. Therefore, the quest for leadership is basically a quest to achieve comparative excellence among nations, between France and England, between France and Germany, between Spain and France, between United States and Russia. All great explorations and inventions are one way or the other steered by the desire of regional supremacy and dominance.

Looking deeper, we see more than the passion for dominance it is the sense of common fear of a nation that generates a stream of innovative thinking, endeavor to stay competitive in every mind of that nation where the leadership is cornered to encourage its own people to endeavor and to provide necessary resources to experiment, and to carry out organized efforts in all realms of science, exploration and art. It was a common fear to collective sense of glory which geared up the Germans as a nation to indulge into WI and WII; sense of common danger which pushed Russia to unveil the secrets of space earlier than United States; and the common threat to national survival that geared up Japan to become the greatest economic power facing Europe and US alone, even today.



It is the collective sense of competitiveness which over the ages have evolved in the West due to fierce competition among themselves, identifying them as a nation. If we start browsing through the annals of European history, the inflection of injury, torcher and death is mind bogging and humiliating. Reasons of Europe's competitiveness can be the scarcity of shelter and land with extreme conditions of weather, bring them closer enough to each other, creating clashes of beliefs and ideology of extreme sense. It is the intensity of pain and misery that produced greatest minds and protagonist of human welfare, human dignity and human rights. I believe, the greatest goal which the West has achieved is to mould its belligerent nature and power not to destruct but to construct human dignity translating power of scientific thought to elevate standard of living. The collective sense of common fear today has shifted from conquering a nation to economic dominance. This is exactly what is happening specially in the Europe, when the Europe is united to face the common fear of economic instability and poverty, which the West has for so many years experienced. One must remember here that the dictum stays to remain mutually competitive as the belligerence of dominance in the West shifts from possession of land to possession of intellectual property as innovative ideas and scientific inventions provide a spectacular array of experimentation treating a mouse and man with same inference. This dilemma has not been faced in societies which have lived earlier, in tribes, clans or communities to form a national identity such as Red Indians in America or Aborigines in Australia which faced extension because of Western concept of possession of a country, even giving birth to a country which we today know as United States of America.

If we turn to South Asia with abundance of land and natural resources, we find that the Eastern nature is peaceful as contrary to the belligerence of West, where, at any point in time, there has never existed such an intensity of competitiveness and comparative dominance which has produced like results at the mirco and macro levels of society which can be drawn at par with the dynamics of Europe. May be, this nature of peacefulness has evolved over the history facing thousands of conquers from all parts of the world, as well as among themselves. The tranquility and solace of Eastern mind comes from their belief in nature and religion which takes them away from materialism, comparison, and contrast unlikely the Western philosophy of power, possession and comparison. The greatest leaders of East never had been warlords and knights, but preachers of peace, philosophers, and religious scholars whom the masses followed starting from Buddah to Ghandi. Contrary to Western dictum of common fear and comparative dominance, Eastern beliefs are based on mutual sharing and collective bargaining.

Therefore, there has never established such strong geographic affiliations in East or South Asia in particular, which would have given birth to the concept of nationalism on the very geographic patterns of Europe or West. Neither there has been ever an evolution of common fear or common enemy which would have resulted in a series of battles and wars over the span of ancient or modern history. This brings into mind another important difference between the West and East, is the categorical separation of Religion, Thorne, and the People, which the Europe struggled for centuries to make a bifurcation. There lived peace among the lives of people, and the people followed the saints not the kings and emperors may be because of the ignorance of ideology of the Western innovation of "Democracy" which has brought the peoples' power at least for theoretical purposes creating political state and separating religion and throne from directly running the affairs of state establishing the rule of consensus rather rule by individual. But remember that it is the nature and state of mind that matters most, keeping in view, than that of a nation as a whole.

So the leaders who where movers and shakers of society in the East where totally different from the West. People obeyed kings but followed preachers of religion in South Asia making religion a collective social norm. Whereas, the European elected representatives, followed the Thorne, and made religion a individual matter. Therefore, the common fear among the West has always been other nations but for the East it has been the other religion. Therefore, it is easy to identify a man from other nation but your brother of a different religion. Therefore, this bifurcation on national basis produced Hitler who was an elected leader if we but our belief that democracy can be panacea for our leadership quagmire.

In South Asia, religion and wealth have always been the apple of discord which produced uneven times in the history which created uprising and revolutions within the state contrary to an external force which can be identified as common enemy or source of common fear, which unfortunately is of very individual matter but it is unable to address issue in the collective sense. Hence, South Asia failed to produce a systematic approach to nourish leadership in the European sense of nationalism, because this concept of nationalism has never been there, even for India and Pakistan, India is a generic name of subcontinent for centuries. India would be called "Hindustan" if we have to create a chronology of events which might support the idea of nationalism which only exist in theory but not in practice. Once the British gave the system of elected representation to subcontinent, it became the playground for individuals and families who are gifted with status and wealth by the imperial forces after their invasion. Therefore, further deepening the dilemma of leadership for South Asia, of which the legacy still lives on.



Today, may be India after partition, could see the common enemy in the face of Pakistan or Muslims at large, and the rest of Muslim world, giving them the realization of Hinduism singling out in the world. After this realization, with all the difficulties and dichotomy India has been able to emerge as a single Hindu country experiencing economic growth and stability of system. Whereas, partition became the greatest ideological challenge for the newly born Pakistan. Here, the migrated Indian Muslims can truly identify a common enemy but the inhabitants of geographic provinces like NWFP, Balochistan and Sind do not have the realization of feeling which the migrated Muslims suffer who had to face the atrocities and brutality.

The common fear or goal is a doctrine which has become sine-qua-non for modern leadership which is based on the system of geographic possession which today we call a country. After the cold war era the American identity was challenged like many other countries because of large immigrants becoming more affluent and wealthy than those of who colonized. US faces the same challenge of multiethnicity and multinationism as its genesis is made up of immigrants. US strengthen its national identity by evolving a World Order interfering in economic and political matters of other countries, creating friends and foes of US. Therefore, US ensure its economic interests which becomes the fundamental principle of national identity in the modern history as economic stability becomes the single most important factor of national sovereignty.

Therefore, in Pakistan, over the years the practice of democratic process was futile as it was unable to unite the nation in a comprehensive manner, creating a split into two countries in 1971, as the common fear was not sufficient to unite the two parts of the country together both morally and passionately. The greatest challenge Pakistan has to face today is the quest for leadership, which can unite our nation on a common front, where Pakistani people can identify themselves as Pakistani, though they prefer to associate themselves with religion first. With the current developments in international affairs and official stance on international issues has added fuel to this dilemma of national identity where one has to make a choice between nationalism vs. religion creating a paradox for the nation. Here, all choices are right and all are wrong at the same time. This is exactly the dilemma of definition of a nation which Pakistan faces both on geographic and religious grounds, creating a vacuum of leadership of comparison and common fear or common goal.

The common fear which can be extended to achieving a collection national goal providing national identity and leadership to a nation is not of life or land, but this fear is of uncertainty and lack of trust. It is imperative for us to identify a common fear for a nation which can unite us all, and obviously that is the fear of comparison with India. It is not to suggest that we should be engaging with India in belligerent pursuit but to suggest a nationwide sense of sharing for achievement in all other aspects of life especially economic. I personally think, with the kind of leadership imbroglio Pakistan faces, men in uniform has a very important job to perform of maintaining an atmosphere of credibility, mutual trust and political stability. With that, it is imperative for our leadership to formulate a global economic, trade and commercial strategy which can ensure higher standard of living for the people of Pakistan, but also unite the nation dreaming for higher comparative economic growth. An ideal for us today must be the economic miracle of South Korea, or Malaysia where the economic fruits can be shared by the whole nation. But it will be only possible when some genuine steps are taken to formulate national economic strategy for the country without any foreign assistance and breaking the status quo. Fresh blood must be trained and groomed to take the leadership positions and our elders must learn to respectfully handing over the leadership position to the younger at least in the economic sector including both private and public. Pakistan must develop a military strategy which supports achievement of economic goals and should make Pakistan the one of the strongest nations of the world. Yes, we have a common enemy that is poverty and it is on the spread in Pakistan!

The author specializes in national strategy