Signs of decline – 1

Reflections on various things: Signs of decline

I am an integral part of this society; but I am an observer of it also. I feel, i.e. smell, taste, touch, hear, and see the all-encompassing decline of the Pakistani society. 

As I notice, a clear sign of decline is this: Any entity set up for a specific purpose starts working against the same purpose. 

This idea has been reverberating in my mind since long. If A is created to fulfill purpose B, and if it defies that very purpose, and works to achieve purpose C, what will happen. No doubt, by losing B, A will lose its reason to exist, since C is not its purpose. That will set in motion its downfall.

Pakistani society is a case in point, and I would exempt only the present Supreme Court from this list. There are no entities where the signs of decline can’t be seen writ large. Other than the state institutions, and other such entities, this includes gardens, parks, zoos, etc, etc.

The decline has taken hold of every entity, institution, and of course the value system, religion, and politics also.

Another sign which the Pakistani decline manifests is deteriorating language. The language / languages of a society is / are distorted. I mean the written languages. Or say the main language of communication and  knowledge is distorted.

Here in Pakistan, the language used in communication, newspapers, magazines, journals, text books, semi-text books, and general books also is far below the standard language.

Years back, when I used to go to the Pak Tea House, where litterateurs and intellectuals gathered, Muzaffar Ali Syed, a learned critic, was kind enough to spend some time with me every time we met there. Once when the issue under discussion was the same deterioration of language, he said: you take a Ph.D. and see what he writes, it’s no different from what a grade ten student writes.

Another sign, and it has more to do with intellectual realm, but it is not confined to this realm . . . I mean what causes intellectual decline . . . i.e. why intellectual spirit dies. That like Pakistan, in such a society, Reason and Argument are deprived of their due status. What is valued is Authority! Here Who says is important, and What he says is considered just unimportant. 

That attitude sanctifies personalities, and put a stop to intellectual progress or limit it to a considerable extent. Since personalities considered as Authority do not attain that status usually due to their hard work based on Reason and Argument, rather because of other channels or connections, that gambles with intellectual progress or whatever domain it relates with. 

If good personalities move to that position of Authority, that’s well and good, if not, that is not just bad, but extremely bad, because once they are there not only will they try to remain in that position, they will never let those to come forward whom they do not allow or approve as worthy of that position. 

Once in an interview, which was conducted on behalf of the college where I taught, Bakhtiar Hussain Siddiqui, a renowned educationist, talking about the decline of Education in Pakistan, remarked: if an incompetent person gets appointed as a principal of a college, he would not let any competent person to be part of that college.

That may also be termed as the Killing of Merit. 

Intezar Husain, novelist, short-story writer, critic, and a literary thinker, wrote a column in the Roznama Express January 1st, last year. It was titled as “The Death of Reason, and the Victory of the Battle Cry.”

These were some of the signs of decline which on the basis of my observation I have singled out; of course, these are not all those responsible for the Pakistani decline. 

I will remain focused on this, thinking and writing more about this decline of Pakistani society . . .   

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