The Reality Check
By Hammad Anwar
Sometimes out of no where you get a reality check which helps you in getting knowing the world in a rather unusual way. Generally most of us are just going with flow where we are busy in our daily routines, stuck in a vicious cycle where we are only concerned about ourselves and hardly look around us and empathize with others.
Currently we (By “we” I mean my generation) are in a transit stage of our professional life. Most of us have passed out of universities and many to follow soon. But as one of my teachers says that we are being brought up in a materialistic society which is dangerously running low on values and morals. Soon we will be lost in our journey towards the so-called dream i.e. dream of having a great individual career. So, before we are lost in that, it is important to take a break and look around yourself.
Precisely this is what happened to me couple of days back when I had to take my car to workshop due to some wiring problem. The initial inconvenience taking my car to those areas eventually turned out a blessing for me, as I got the chance to explore those areas with different demographics and socio-economic issues.
The scene wasn’t much different from what you see in an average lower middle class shopping area of the city. You had couple of general grocery stores along with property dealer offices. There were the couple of automobile workshops and some tea stalls. Standing there and observing for almost an hour was indeed a learning experience. The workshop was just another normal workshop with half a dozen young children from ages 8-18 were working under a strict eye of the master mechanic.
It wouldn’t be any surprise to my countrymen to see a child working in a workshop. This has been cited, written & spoken about like thousand times in all kinds of media. To highlight the reasons of this and stressing the need of them going to school rather than workshop isn’t my topic today. We all know in what depth of poverty they are stuck in. My question is that why there has been no improvement in their conditions, not just restricting it just only to Pakistani children rather globally. There is enough child labor and lack of basic necessities only in subcontinent to make this issue a real deal let aside the ever present problems in Africa.
We have been listening to the opinions from all around; to start with there is the opinion about the lack of some real global effort to actually solve these problems, others will blame the incompetence, corruption and lack of will on the part of the national governments, and some will tell you their conflicts theory about suffering of proletariat through the hands of bourgeoisie. But the question of the basic human rights of an individual remains there.
Everyone in this world has right to put in his efforts and earn as much as they want. But isn’t there some moral responsibility to pay back too? The age’s old concept (and mind you it’s still not completely outdated) have been that once you get rich, you are part of the arrogant wealthy class and now it’s your right to enjoy and see other struggle and suffer.
My simple point is that the class differences have been there and are here to stay but what if the concept of paying back is introduced? Recently we have seen people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet leading from front in efforts to pay back to their communities. Rather than sitting back, enjoying and making more money, they have come up with plans to invest in initiatives like cleaner environment, education and health. But sadly not many of us are ready to do that, we eventually live in a materialistic world and that’s the reality.
I know many of you are wondering that we live in a country where people take out money out of banks before the annual deduction of Zakat, so how one can expect to take part willingly. But I am sure many of you have seen people who are spending on number of significant projects of welfare for these children. Not every one of us is able to generate donations on basis of fame like Imran Khan did but still small efforts can lead to a better future.
People like us would never even think of spending one month in outskirts of the city or even in the middle of city as a teacher in some school but we have people like Mr. Yaqub who has been providing stationary and teaching children from the slum areas of Islamabad in a park for last 24 years. And I believe it’s high time that we should collaborate with each other for a larger and better impact. Rather than everyone making a new non profit, we need collective efforts as its up to us now to come forward and pay back a little bit to society in whatever capacity we can. It’s not just moral responsibly but an obligation now. And remember the problem is much more than for any one individual to handle even if he is the great Abdul Sittar Edhi!