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When Will the Real Change Come?

Will Imran be able to transform into reality his agenda of change, with all his personal charisma and enormous support of the country’s youth?

‘Change is not coming! It has already come’ These were the words with which the PTI Chairman Imran Khan concluded his address to the mammoth crowd of his enthusiastic supporters, who had rallied around him under the shadow of Minar-e-Pakistan. Change was the keynote of his whole speech, which was punctuated with music and interrupted by his sore throat. Rocking with delight and throbbing with excitement, his emotionally charged juvenile fans applauded rapturously, as he unveiled his revolutionary plan to introduce drastic changes in every sphere of life. Our people who have been repeatedly hoodwinked by their veteran politicians; and whose lives have been perpetually plagued by rampant corruption, sky rocketing prices, unending load shedding, agonizing cycle of violence and other problems of gigantic magnitude, are fully justified in feeling an irrepressible hunger for change. In this horrid age of disillusionment, despair and despondency, Imran’s call for change has come as a gust of fresh cool breeze in a suffocating and stinking atmosphere. It has created a pleasant stir in the stagnant waters of our life and quite naturally, more and more people are joining the former cricketing hero, hoping that with his fast and furious spell, he will bowl out all the political villains, paving the way for the long-awaited changes in our political and economic system. Suppose for a moment that this zealous advocate of change is genuinely sincere in his aspirations and scores a surprise win in the upcoming elections; but will he be able to transform into reality his agenda of change, with all his personal charisma and enormous support of the country’s youth? Will he be able to defeat those highly influential and all-powerful forces which have been controlling the country and all its resources eversince its creation? Does he have in his team such devoted, dedicated and committed players, who are more interested in collective good rather than individual gains? All such questions need to be honestly analyzed in the light of our particular circumstances and frame of mind have been controlling the country and all its resources eversince its creation? Does he have in his team such devoted, dedicated and committed players, who are more interested in collective good rather than individual gains? All such questions need to be honestly analyzed in the light of our particular circumstances and frame of mind.

As a nation, we have since long, developed a typical mind set, which urges us to lay the blame of all our sufferings, misfortunes and miseries on our rulers, without ever impartially assessing our own share in making our problems worse. Living passively in the world of illusions and phantasies, without ever attempting to reform our own characters, we are desperately longing for some saviour, who would miraculously change our fate, lift us out of the quagmire of sorrow and take us to the mountain of bliss. In such circumstances, whenever some political trickster (with real or fake intentions) chants the slogan of change and reform, we are suddenly enthralled, and make him the object of all our hopes of change, without realizing that the mere change of rulers will never change our destiny and that we ourselves also have to change and make sacrifices for bringing about a real improvement in our lot. During the last days of Musharraf’s rule, the whole country was echoing with the slogan of ‘Go Musharraf Go’ But did his exit from the scene bring about any change?  Of course not, because with regard to our ethical standards and moral values, our personalities as a whole have remained unchanged. During the lawyers’ movement, all of us were vigorously demanding the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, hoping that he would solve all our problems and root out all corruption from the country. But since his restoration, there has been no significant reduction in the corruption level despite his earnest endeavours, because while we wish to stamp out the corruption of our rulers, we never give a thought to the corruption within ourselves. In other words, we detect the straw in the eyes of others, but fail to notice the log in our own eyes. The books of history so often tell the tragic tales of the sincerest reformers and most talented leaders, who most miserably failed in their mission, only because their exceptionally high moral, mental and intellectual standards were not in harmony with those of their people, for whom they worked day and night and whose lives they aspired to change.

While we are keen to see changes in our rulers, we are not ready to believe that the process of change should begin from us. If we are good as a whole, our rulers will also be good. If we wish to have good rulers, we shall have to prove through our refined characters and reformed personalities that we deserve to have good rulers, because good rulers are not given to a nation as a gift, instead, they are given to it as a reward for the noble actions and elevated moral standards of its people. Our worst dilemma is the hardening of our hearts, resulting from our repeated sins, reiterated crimes and accumulated wrong doings. Despite our colossal crimes and horrendous malpractices, we are neither repentant nor regretful. Repeated earthquakes, floods, epidemics and other forms of divine punishments fail to reduce the hardness of our sinful and unheedful hearts. The following Quranic verse that describes the condition of Israelites, is fully applicable to our present day situation.
Whenever some political trickster (with real or fake intentions) chants the slogan of change and reform, we are suddenly enthralled, and make him the object of all our hopes of change, without realizing that the mere change of rulers will never change our destiny and that we ourselves also have to change and make sacrifices for bringing about a real improvement in our lot.
‘Thenceforth were your hearts hardened: They became like a rock and even worse in hardness. For among rocks there are some from which rivers gush forth; others there are which when split asunder send forth water; and others which sink for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unmindful of what ye do.’ (Surah Albaqara verse 74).

We live in a society where women and children are not safe even in their graves. Our media is frequently reporting the stories of fathers having illicit ties with their daughters. If such fathers are present here, there must surely be mothers having incestuous relations with their sons (Though the media is so far reluctant to report such cases). We are loud and outspoken in our condemnation of our rulers, but can we claim that all of us are absolutely sincere to our country and honestly performing our duties in whatever capacity we are? In these circumstances, when Imran promises to change the whole system within no time, one wonders what magic wand or Aladin’s lamp he has, with which he can do so. He talks of sacking the corrupt Patvaris and computerizing all the lands. But will his computer operators be angels? They will be the members of the same society where only those people are honest, who have no chance of being dishonest. In such a dismal scenario, even if God sends angels for taking charge of our government, there is every likelihood that according to our set routine, the opposition and the media will portray them as corrupt, inefficient and incompetent, and incite the ignorant masses to gather around some political adventurer, to get rid of the ‘corrupt’ angels. For a considerably long period of time, Muslims have been anxiously waiting for the coming of Imam Mehdi and Jesus Christ, who will revive the past glory of Islam by defeating all the infidels in the armageddon. But the question is, why haven’t they yet come to our rescue? The only reason is that we have not yet demonstrated through our actions that we really deserve to have such great figures among us. The moment we prove that we are earnestly willing to give them their due honour and obey them in the true spirit, they will surely come to lead us. If in the present circumstances, Imam Mehdi appears among us, there is every possibility that the political parties will form a grand alliance against him and mobilize the immature and illiterate masses, to launch a country wide movement, with the slogan ‘Go Mehdi go!

Now, that our new ambassador of change has opened the doors for all and sundry to join his party, many of his new companions are likely to be those who have an excellent record of flying with the direction of the wind and drifting with the flow of the tide. Expecting such opportunitists to bring any real change in the life of the common man is living in fools’ paradise. Moreover, we must abandon our age-old approach of saluting every new leader, thinking him to be the healer of all our ailments. After decades of suffering, we must at last, realize now, that the change of rulers, leaders, parties, governments and even systems wil not bring any tangible change in our lives. For any lasting, durable and comprehensive change, we will have to change our own views, ideas, attitudes and behaviours. Instead of criticizing our rulers, or expecting too much from them, we must first of all fulfil our responsibilities and obligations with utmost sincerity and honesty. Only then will we be able to set right our rulers permanently and change our lives in the real sense of the word. As Allah says in the Quran:

‘Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls).)’ (Surah Raad verse 10))

By: Professor Abdul Rauf

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