Friday, December 16, 2005

A PATRIOT (Fiction)

I was born a Pakistani but happened to live in India since childhood
because of the Great Partition. My family members have never regretted the choice made, as life in India has been quite comfortable for us. Even in those days of tumult that followed the great Partition, neither our existence here in India, nor our faith, nor our loyalty was questioned. Neither was our patriotism. But now, with the passage of time there is a drastic change in people. This I realized when recently, I was asked to define which country I belonged to. I wondered why, but people told me that my very existence here was a threat unless I made it clear as to which country I support. I did not understand why my existence in the locality should trouble them when I am in no way connected to Osama Bin Laden and also very far away from the Kashmir Issue. They would not listen. When I actually understood what they were asking, it came as a shock to me. They were asking me to prove my patriotism. Am I a patriot? I never thought about it. But then, I was forced to think about my relation with the place I have lived so far and the place I was born.

Yes, I have been living in India benefiting from all the facilities, social, political and educational that the government of India has unquestionably provided me. I have enjoyed all the security it has provided me and made use of its resources for my development. I know and understand the need to express my loyalty to this country and I am ready to offer my services to it, whenever required. If one would want to give this the name of patriotism, then so be it.

But I cannot deny the idea that I would have had all these privileges even if I had been in Pakistan. Moreover, I was born in that country and my relatives still live there.

Now, if I am asked to support and render my services to only one of these places, which one should I choose? And, after choosing one of these places, will I still be considered a patriot?

These thoughts I suppose, have occupied the minds of many a Muslim, who are in a situation mentioned above, throughout the country. Will future India relieve them of these thoughts?

Monday, December 05, 2005


“Very Good Student………..She will surely go places”, this was the opinion expressed by my high school teachers on the day of our farewell. Everybody present at the occasion showed his or her approval with a loud clap. As my parents’ hearts swelled with pride, confidence poured into me and my future seemed very certain. A good job and wonderful pay. I deserve it, I thought, for all the days and nights of hard work I put in to reproduce whatever is there in my text books on the exam papers. My teachers always appreciated me for that, while my classmates envied me. During my graduation, we had a few practical sessions. But owing to my strong belief, which I carried from my high school, that learning theory is more important, I did not devote much time for the practical sessions. Still, I graduated with a good percentage and was offered a job by a reputed company. Everything went on as expected till the day I joined the company.

“Think, try out and decide”, this is what people in the industry told me. I was not given any notes and I did not know how to proceed. I thought I had joined a disorganized company and circumstances would be different elsewhere. With this belief, I shifted companies, but it was almost the same everywhere. Exhausted, I settled in a mediocre company.

What went wrong? And where? Were my teachers wrong when they said I was a very good student? Or did the world change so much since my high school days that I was not able to fill the gap? I am not sure. The only thing I am sure is that something was missing in my education process, which was very vital for my progress in my later life.
Perhaps, it’s the process of thinking that I missed during my school days. An exhaustive syllabus, frequent written examinations, relative grading, always put us on our toes leaving no room to think. If equal weightage were given for practicals as for the written exams, and evaluation of students done on the basis of their continuous performance in various activities, situation would have been quite different. Instead, the system in place considers the result in final exams as the ultimate evaluation of the abilities of a student, leaving people like me in the dilemma that I am in today. When will things change? Will they?

I hereby request all the students to concentrate on developing their analytical skills rather than in mere reproduction of details throughout their education process and not to get carried away by the evaluation system in existence. The support of teachers and parents is very important in this process. The Government also has a huge role to play by putting in place an evaluation system, which encourages the over-all development of students. Cost involved in bringing the change is definitely a consideration but not at the cost of future India. Let each one of us keep in mind that the progress of our country depends on progressive thinking minds and not on the work of Xerox machines.