Fanaticism means wildly excessive or irrational devotion, dedication, or an extreme and uncritical zeal or enthusiasm, as in religion or politics.
Before writing this article I was convinced I was to ‘beat a dead horse’ even then I decided the otherwise. If I were to define the people of my dear homeland, Pakistan, in a single word, I'll surely call it 'fanatic'. Fanaticism is a part of our blood which runs in our veins. Be it in politics or in religion or in other issues the whole nation can turn belligerent, hostile, ferocious, turbulent on minor issues without use of any thoughts and can turn dumb silent on major issues like corruption which has been the chief cause of debacle ever since Pakistan came into being. From journalists to common man, from politicians to religious scholars everyone has contributed in the decline of the nation in way or another due to irrationalism.
The whole nation is excessively intolerant apart from a handful of individuals which unfortunately either don't have any say or not at the helm of affairs. Lack of education or illiteracy entails fanaticism whereas mental maturity and rationalism come with education. Before I go into the checkered political history of Pakistan I would discuss the religious ferociousness of the nation. In so-called Islamic Republic of Pakistan there are basically 2 major Muslim factions: Shia and Sunni, the latter is further dividing into 4 sects each one following the practices of its own Imam. I won’t go into the detail on who is right and who is wrong but the fact of the matter is we are unwilling to give one another even an inch which gives birth to religious violence spreading anarchy and lawlessness. ‘No patience at all’ though not being said from our mouths but has been depicted from acts.
When it comes to the politics be it Yahya Khan or Zia-ul-Haq, rabble-rouser Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, or military marshal Zia-ul-Haq, or , General Rt. Pervez Musharraf or everyone was hailed by the common man of Pakistan as savior for the nation as if an angel were bestowed on him from the Lord of the heavens and the earth, with all their sycophants chanting slogans of ‘awai e awai’ meaning ‘welcome’ and all of a sudden after a few years of mal-governance of their beloved politicians, the same elected individuals were ousted with the chants of ‘jawai e jawai’ meaning ‘get out’ which have echoed my ears ever since I got into senses, the story does not end there the same individuals after been thrown out of the throne are re-elected, thus the act is an iterative one which does not make any sense at all, therefore we are the biggest follies in the world in regard of repeating our colossal blunders with the corrupt politicians being the biggest beneficiaries with the role of parasite on the public. Instead of nipping the evil in the bud we are nurturing it. For all that fiasco, a common man has none to blame but himself for letting ‘kings of corruption’ in the parliament.
Emotions rule our minds. Electing PPP on the basis of sympathies on the assassination of slain Benazir Bhutto is a prime example of this nation’s emotionalism duly exploited by Zardari and co., and as far as I can see the situation would be no good either in the forthcoming election in 2013, the same likes of Sharifs, Zardaris, Chaudharies, Altafs and Galanis would be elected instead of untested just because of the political immaturity of the nation no revolution can be expected. Isn’t this fanaticism!!
Apart from religion and politician situation has been no good either. Every now and then there are strikes, be they against electricity outages or gas load-shedding, against hike in petroleum prices or CNG cut-offs, against un-employment or by the doctors and paramedical staffs demanding those at the helm of affairs to raise their salaries, not a single protest has been one in which public properties have not been destroyed, cars have not been burnt, traffic has not jammed, which reflects the attitude of the frustrated nation which can go to any extreme. There is no use of such violent protests if the sole purpose is destruction instead of registering a message to the ruling peers. It is beyond my comprehension why we can’t we take a leaf out of Anna Hazare’s book who demonstrated his point in such a peaceful manner without turning wild in his anti-corruption movement, consequently not only was he heard by the higher authorities by passing a bill in the Indian Parliament but he also laid an example of how to go on a strike.
Among our traditions and customs also there are a few which show our bigotry. Even in the current era the feudal system is in practice in tribal areas of Pakistan. Some of the laws they practice are completely absurd and have nothing to do with Islam. For thousands of years, honor killing, one of the worst forms of barbarism is being practiced. Islam denounces any such atrocious acts, in fact before our Holy Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH) it was a common practice in Arab to burry newly born girls which was abolished by truly implementing the teachings of Islam.
Finally I would come to the solution, we as individual as well a nation need to change our attitudes, need to curb our aggression smother our emotions and to learn rationalism which will come only with education if we are to carve out a niche for ourselves in the world. We keep on believing in conspiracy theories that behind every evil in Pakistan is American; Israeli; Indian and Russian lobbies involved which may be the case a few times but not always. We first need to put our house in order for that we need to reform our thoughts and develop a sense of rationalism that is only possible if we are willing to do so. As great Allama Iqbal has paraphrased the Quranic verse beautifully:
“Khuda ney aaj tak us qaum ki halat nahin badly / Na ho jis ko khayal khud apni halat key badalney ka"