My first go at translating an Urdu article of the brilliant Wasit-Ullah Khan, originally published in the Daily Express News Story
My dear middle class children,
God bless you. It was great to see you vote at the polling stations for the first time and that too in line for hours in this blistering heat. It didn’t stop you from standing up for yourself and claiming what is rightfully yours. I do hope that, this level of passion that you have now, remains till the next election time.
Since you are young and filled with the utmost passion, it understandable if you believe that everything that is wrong can be changed overnight.
As laudable as your nationalistic passion is, along with your sense of idealism, your youth and vigor, you have all these characteristics that make you “The Youth”. In fact who can call a young person “youthful” if they do not behold all these characteristics? When I was your age, I too had the same level of passionate foolishness, possibly even more. However, time taught me that the world is not idealistic; therefore, these changes that you want cannot happen overnight. So instead of wasting away your precious youth in an careless manner, try and understand; the way this world functions, the problems it has, the restrictions that come along with it, the psychology of the masses, what makes it tick and how it’s heart beats and what its capacity is has to survive. The masses of whose lives you want to make better, slowly try to understand them so you can trust them and make them trust you. Come closer to them until; they wear your jeans and your wear their dhoti, they drink your mineral water and you their lassi, you have worn their simple cotton and they your branded t-shirt, you speak and understand the staunchness of their language so they can comprehend yours, smoke their hookah and as they should your cigar. That is when you both might just be able to understand each other’s dreams and aspirations.
Look, you need to understand that, 90% of the voters in this country have never used the internet let alone know and understand the concept of e-mailing, Facebook, Twitter or any other form of social media. For all of this, it is important for them to have access and know how to utilize a computer. These poor people don’t receive electricity for 18 hours at a stretch, just think; how will they be able to charge their mobile phones? Therefore, they will not be able to understand what this monstrosity of “Apps” is. They are still living in the letter writing era. In that time period people “listened” to the letters read out to them rather than reading it themselves, mainly because they didn’t know how to read.
My dear ones, you will have to de-class or de-snob yourselves and go to these people, in order to receive an education of; what nature is, what natural people are and what makes them real. You may have received prime education from private institutions such as colleges and professional universities. However, if you want true wisdom, you will have to meet and communicate with a villager; this is very important, because they may be illiterate but not uneducated. To be able to understand the environment around you, you don’t need an agricultural degree nor able to read a gender chart. The educational degree has been around for about a few hundred years now, but the understanding of “life” has been around for a few thousand years now. The most you can do is learn from these experiences and apply them by creating an understanding of the tonality and try to feel it. This way you can learn nature’s most treasured secrets.
Without a doubt medication is the best way to curing someone. However, out of irrational passionate doctoring you may end up giving a patient 1000 mg instead of the required 250 mg dosage of medication, without thinking about the consequences may end up being. If the patient does not survive the medical treatment, then what is the point of it? Therefore, the only way to find a cure, is taking the right steps gently and slowly through patience.
All this, is without a doubt is “easier said than done”. The most difficult part is that there is no short-cut. Otherwise all those stories of the experiences of deities that we have heard have gone through hardships to come to their nirvana stage and those esteemed people who had to walk on thorns to receive such experiences would have been in vain, had they not learnt from them. Then all you would have to do is shout out for your right; the rest of the world would just listen and apply it without thinking twice.
Therefore, my children if you really want change you must; hold your tongue, think twice before you act and do it with patience and peace. Learn to differentiate and separate your dreams and aspirations from your realistic rights. Step aside from the bookish knowledge of a revolution or change, more importantly move away from the person that you are used to being. Don’t let depression victimize you, but instead you should victimize depression. Reason being, depression destroys a person’s passion and strength, the way termites destroy wood. Therefore, in the next five years you will not being progressing with age and nor will your country to a “Naya Pakistan”.
I forgot to mention one very important lesson! Unfortunately old age gets the best of me at times. Remember, learn to be grateful. Until yesterday you had absolutely no political ambition for your own for this nation. It only took two to three years for you to become this country’s political strength. Look around you, there are people who have spent most of their lives expressing themselves in a laborious manner to hold their political stance. Nonetheless, no matter how old they may have become or how much of their lifetime may have passed, they are still fighting not only for political identity but also for their social one. If all else fails take your leader as an example. Yesterday no one supported him, however, he didn’t decide to quit and sit at home is despair, that being the reason why he is now standing.
I do realize how inspiring Shezhad Roy’s and Rahat Fateh Ali’s songs are and how they get you to march to the tune of revolution. However, when media and social media portray such mediums of “no matter where you look its only you”, therefore a person’s reality instantly changes their stance and it becomes very difficult for them to see the truth. You can, however, still attain something out of nothing. You have received such a plot that, in a couple of years you can build your own platform as you choose too. Who gave you all of this? The people of this country did. These are the people that helped me build this country, otherwise what could I have done on my own? Hence, to swear at someone out of anger is the face of an uneducated person. An uneducated person is such, who only sees what they want to in front of them. Tell me; if I were to stereotype you as such a person, how would you like that?
Once again, do not close the door of your room completely. At least keep a window open, so you can not only see the inspiring moonlight of your dreams, but the brightness of the sun’s reality.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah.