off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid


Why we do not learn any
From our past mistakes?


Is there something wrong with our Psyche or we have some genetic defect as we fail to learn any lesson from our past mistakes and keep on repeating the same mistakes again and again. This should be an interesting topic for research for those interested. The revolutionary poet Habib Jalib became immortal and still lives in the hearts of billions of people in the oppressed world. He enjoys tremendous respect among the people something which most of our rulers and those in authority envy.

He was once invited as a chief guest by the now defunct, inactive, Pakistan Society of Physicians at Karachi at their annual dinner. He recited his Kalam and received tremendous applause from the selected gathering of intellectuals, eminent personalities from the medical profession and those related to health services. On special request he recited his poem which has the above mentioned couplet. His poetry is for all time to come and it has a message for everyone in the power corridors. We all have to leave this world one day hence why do we behave like this as we do? Whosoever gets some position and power, they try their best to misuse it, abuse it, settle scores with their opponents, adopt highly vindictive attitude. If we look at the medical institutions there are numerous instances one can quote whereby those in power have destroyed the professional career of many talented healthcare professionals, medical teachers who eventually either resigned or left the country which is in fact a great National loss.

What is more surprising is the fact that when those who are victimized, harassed, when they get a chance, they adopt the same vindictive attitude and do not hesitate to punish and destroy the professional careers of their opponents. Professional jealousy, intrigues, leg pulling of their colleagues, intellectual corruption is rampant in our institutions and one still does not see any light at the end of the tunnel as we have consistently never learnt any lesson from our past mistakes.

It is not the politicians alone and the bureaucracy which has to be blamed for our failings in the health sector, deteriorating standards of medical education, but the members of the medical profession who got a chance to be the leaders and occupy coveted positions in various institutions have also contributed towards this a lot though there are and have been a few exceptions. However, all those who had a different viewpoint, refused to join the Praise Singers Club, advocated upholding merit, transparency, justice and fair play had to face the music. All this has been going on in this country known as Islamic Republic of Pakistan for the last seventy years and God knows for how long we still have to bear all this?

Democracy has never been allowed to flourish in this country. Engineered and maneuvered elections in Pakistan are all well known, people’s mandate has never been accepted willingly and whole heartedly and we keep on making experiments which we have done all along since independence. During this process we have lost half the country which is extremely painful but alas we still refuse to learn any lesson. The recent sale and purchase of conscience, loyalties during the Senate elections has not helped enhance the image and credibility of the Parliament. Some politicians are happy at their gains but little do they realize that it strengthens the hands of un-democratic forces and disgruntled politicians in the country and these very actions may be quoted as examples for any intervention. The diseased body of Pakistan needs pure, unadulterated democracy and regular doses of democracy at prescribed intervals. People of Pakistan are very intelligent and they will throw out those who fail to come up to their expectations and also fail to deliver, something which the people have proved quite a few times but there should be no disruption in the democratic process under any circumstances.

Conscious people, social scientists, democrats in particular and all others in the society in general need to do some soul searching. Let us promote brotherhood, tolerance, the spirit of forgiveness, being kind, affectionate to our juniors and give due respect to the seniors. All those who wish to be respected must learn to respect others to earn respect for themselves. Time never remains the same and situation changes with the passage of time. Politicians and public representatives, professionals in all fields need to join hands and work hard to defeat religious militancy, eliminate causes of terrorism, ensure social justice and equal opportunities to all for progress and prosperity. Peace in the country is important for economic development. Economic social justice is extremely important. Let us promote the middle class in particular who is always more loyal, patriotic to the country and invest in the country if they have any surplus budget. Middle class is always considered the backbone of any country. Let us give priority to Health and Education and improvement of social services. The fruits of democracy must reach the public at large only then they will stand up and ensure to be counted. There is no dearth of talent and God almighty has given us tremendous human and material resources. However, we do lack proper sense of direction, sincere, devoted honest leadership that is why we have so far failed to reach our destination of making Pakistan a social welfare state as envisaged by the Founders of Pakistan. Let each one of us do our own job rather than interfering in areas which do not directly fall in our domain. Once we start practicing it in letter and spirit, we will succeed in reaching our destination and realize our dream of a Happy, prosperous, democratic Pakistan in which we all live in complete harmony. Being an optimist, I feel the good days may not be far off.

© Professional Medical Publications. All rights reserved.