A month ago dawned a glorious rainy day here in Bahawalpur. It was cloudy and cool – a perfect day to go out and walk. I came out of home to breathe in the open air. I was walking alone. Suddenly, I heard someone call me from behind. As I turned back, I found one young man with long beard.
“Sir, how are you?” Shaking hands humbly he said.
“I’m fine but…” I replied in surprise.
“Sir don’t you remember me?”“I’m Omar, your student, longtime ago when I was in grade six.” He said.
“Oh, you…”I replied with a sigh of relief. Because the young man was with long bearded face, I thought he would soon ‘blast’.
“So Omar, what is this untrimmed grass-shaped face for?” I asked.
“Sir, I’ve left this bloody world” he replied
“Bloody world?” I asked in surprise.
“But who taught you this?” I continued. “Who says hating the world will make your after-world life beautiful?”
“Well, Sir! I’m afraid I can’t really share that information with you.”
“But why not?” “I think we are good friends?”
“Sir, Alhamdulilah, I found the right people two years ago who put me on the right track.” He replied buoyantly. It was a brief encounter. He promised we would meet again and left, leaving me amazed. “Woe you are, poor boy!” I whispered.
He is not the only boy whom I met. You can see hundreds of boys like Omar who are taught that this world is disgusting and must be destroyed. The worst cases are those brain washed that it is their religious duty to eliminate other people with different sects.
How I brought Omar back to this Worldly life may not be relevant here. I had to spend a lot of time to purge his brain, which was filled with wrong teachings. I will say it was a strenuous effort to de-educate him. He is not the only boy. Our fatherland is ‘blessed’ with thousands of these mistaught boys.
An average person will have many reasons to do something harmful to an innocent person without having feelings of guilt. Reasons they carry out this act are in diverse ways. An attempt to evaluate these reasons in precise, concise or cheap manner will only cause more confusion, instead of bringing better understanding.
Below are some of the reasons:
- Inadequacy of good and vibrant role models.
- Denial of good and affordable education.
- Non availability of basic resourceful amenities for many people.
- Repression has become the order of the day all over the country.
- Autocrats and dictators at helms of affairs.
- Attitude factors.
- Family and cultural values, and
- Disintegrated self-esteem or pride.
I think this vicious problem is an aftermath of not teaching our children reasoning and logic. They grow to an age and size where they should be responsible; but they just don’t know how. They were never taught morals and ethics but rather wrong history. Warriors who slaughtered millions of innocent souls are presented as heroes. Lion who kills innocent animals is a symbol of bravery in our society. Teaching of the religion, the most sensitive teaching, is in the hands of the semi-literate “Mulas” that are called upon when someone dies. Religion for us has become to bury the dead and to get married. Our holy book is written in Arabic, but how funny is it, that we don’t know this language. Since we don’t know the language of religion, it then goes in the hands of interpreters. These interpreters have no governmental or approved academic degrees. They exploit the imagination of tender and blank minds. The by-product is hundreds of suicides who are taught that this world is a detestable place; finish one’s life and that of others. I’m forced to ask…where is the Pakistani race heading to.
It sometimes pays to take a step backward to de-educate our de-tracked children what they have learned from religious extremists, when almost each day seems to provide a news item about the immoral atrocities of religious fundamentalists and their ill guided students. We need a religious harmony, a modern nation, a nation of tolerance. In achieving these, it is expedient we de-educate our nation.
Ultimately, fighting extremism is just like fighting ideas and not the people behind this act. Extremists must be brought to book so that they too could experience that which they make innocents pass through. There should be great concern about the increase in number of this deadly and heartless extremism in Pakistan. This is our tomorrow, as it determines whether or not humanity will have peace, otherwise, this might result into a monster that will devour all of us and will cost dearly in future time. Should there be any war, it should be a collective and universal effort to discourage extremism through knowledge, information and education.