The impact education can have on people in shaping their opinions, their future prospects and determining the progress of a nation is immeasurable. I would permit myself to go a step further and state that the attainment of education is a leisure, a privilege, and a liability. In developing countries, such as Pakistan, these three words aptly define what the attainment of good and quality education means. Even after knowing well of the alarming illiteracy rates and all the disappointing statistics and figures, we choose to ignore the impacts our decisions can garner.

This piece of writing does not aim to highlight the advantages or disadvantages of education, but to directly address all the ‘literate’ people reading this article, people like you and me. The thing that propelled me to write this article has to do something with a news that I received a few days ago. My brilliant cousin, who after God knows how many nerve wrecking and sleepless nights finally became a doctor, was getting married. However, she had no intention of pursuing her carrier as her soon to be husband and in-laws did not want her to. I felt angry and helpless. She had become a member of all the doctor bahus and the numerous engineer bahus and like those women who get education and a degree, yet do not get a chance to make use of it.

The attainment of education is a lengthy process. It demands attention, time, determination and most importantly, money. You can disagree with me, of course, but it is an investment and the one and only reason behind every investment is: return. Return not only for your sake but the sake of the country. Therefore, People who demand ‘doctor bahus’ are beyond me. I mean what’s the point of a parhi-likhi bahu if that knowledge is not going to be of any use? The degree either hangs on a wall somewhere or lies in a drawer while all the knowledge received and skills honed through rigorous training rust away.

The fact of the matter is that Pakistan is a developing country, with scarce resources and even scarce opportunities for individuals. So a person fortunate enough to receive education and in the process to exploit Pakistan’s already meager resources, I would say, is indebted to this country. That person has the task and the chance to give back what he took from this land, so why shy away?

Every individual should have a say in how they want to live their lives. But plagued with numerous problems, can we as a developing country afford such luxuries or take such risks? Of course not! The seat in the medical university that my cousin gained could have been acquired by someone else who later might have brought about considerable change in his/her field.

I will allow myself to go a step further and state that there should be some legislation regarding the attainment of professional education in Pakistan. People willing to give some sort of guarantee that they will make use of their education, should be the one actually getting it. This seems harsh, yes, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The implementation of China’s one child policy, many debated, was a violation of human rights, but was necessary to prevent China’s economy from collapsing due to over population. Similarly, Pakistan cannot afford the doctor-bahu syndrome, at least not yet.