The telling blow the society suffers from mud-slinging, changing loyalties and misuse of power through inefficiency, corruption and nepotism needs no introduction. Such adventurism is directly liable for the psychological, social and economic instability of a country despite idealistic masterpieces of its intelligentsia. How can a nation with lofty ideals be on the road to welfare amid a perpetual feeling of rampant insecurity, when personal whims and fancies reign supreme and where opposition is merely for the sake of opposition! It is a question of leadership that initiates freedom from whims and fancies, inability to account, suffering in silence, gender bias, sense of isolation, aid addiction, standard syndrome, generation gap and youths’ choked energies.


 The adverse affect of political uncertainty is indicative of worsening standards of public utilities, education and health. One never knows what will happen to a major development project with the change in government. As development schemes depend on changing governments’ likes and dislikes, public suffers in silence, there is mass-scale unemployment and a depleting affect on the national exchequer. When whims and fancies prevail in our fantastic world of bureaucracy, it adds to the mockery we make of our public institutions. Are not low per capital income, rising prices, growing unemployment and low literacy levels basically attributed to political bickering and unstable governments? Meanwhile, men in power have no alternatives or priorities but face-saving from full-time mud-slinging of their opponents and vice versa.


While inquiry, investigation or accountability have been vowed in national eventualities, calamities or tragedies, pledges of accountability slowly pass into oblivion as time proves to be the greatest heeler for the aggrieved. The reason why the sad part of history repeats itself is that we are not prepared to learn lessons from it because of what are called self-interests or distracting priorities. When self-accountability does not exist, accountability needs to be dealt within a well-defined, clear and strict legal framework or law of the land. For example, is merely disqualifying someone from contesting elections as a penalty for misappropriating public money or on account of false or fake degrees enough an accountability!


Our masses are not “chocolate cream bosses” or a bunch of “burger” aspirants. They suffer in silence in slums, streets and countryside with all their scanty and suffocating socio-economic conditions. How can an expert see education troubles when he himself has studied in a comfortable rather than a congested class? How can a transport Chief imagine public woes when he himself has driven in luxury instead of hanging on footboard of a wagon? How can a health manager think of insanitation and malnutrition when he himself has been nurtured amid nice environ and food galore? How can a spoiled child turned leader be truly sincere to public welfare without experiencing the regular hardships of life?


Sex complex originates at home, the cradle of learning, before it becomes a habit. Barring such champions of women’s emancipation who seem to have “rights without duties” disposition, the majority of women’s rights activists have practically authentic concerns. While they would vow for social respect for the fair sex, they would feel more secure at the birth of a boy and his grooming in a complex social situation.

Life is even tougher for many naturally simple and talented young girls in our villages, at schools, bus stops and bazaars. It leads to immobilization of the creative potential of the majority of our female population resulting into innumerable escapists from social and economic realities and challenges of contemporary times.


Parents and teachers nurture in children either a sense of belonging or isolation. A Creative Writing teacher convinced the Principal to have two prize distribution occasions for participants. First, he attended with his class the formal prize giving ceremony for selective children. Later, he gave beautiful little prizes from his meager income to his entire class of budding writers! At another school function all parents but only participating children were invited. It was a children’s show but many children were resting at home!

 Thanks to such reasons as merit, limited time, money and space and managerial limitations. The neglected children reflected a sense of isolation from their own occasion and from school resulting in a lack of confidence or an escapist tendency as social drop-outs rather than useful citizens.


Think of a pupil seeking a colleague for home work in return for a chocolate. Believe a Principal telling a father to ensure “influence” for his child’s school admission. Imagine a mother trying to get a private tutor to see her child pass the exams. The pupil, Principal and parents may be justified in their own little ways. But when help becomes a child’s habit or when capable youth looks for influential uncles for lucrative jobs, it is gradually aid addiction from man in the street to men of letters to men at the helm of affairs. Government machinery, mass media, education, health services, security system and national economy all become aid oriented. It is crippling dependence be it alms or charity, grants or loans, financial aid or technical assistance. When aid becomes a habit from childhood, minds and bodies are immobilized and paralyzed and all progress, including economic and technological development comes to a standstill.


 An example of standard syndrome is when a “youngster” attempts an intellectual endeavor by writing an article. He spends a sleepless night in excitement and takes his journalistic treasure to a magazine editor for publication. But the little intending journalist forgot all about the standard syndrome only to be told that his article was not up to the mark. As the busy editor could not give the young writer even a minute of hope, the latter’s morale was shattered. Another example of a demoralized youth is when he/she is qualified and capable but does not carry a branded institution’s degree for a job. Standard syndrome is a classic example of linear thinking or functional fixedness taking a heavy toll of society indeed.


The old labels the young of erratic or escapist behavior through such irritants as rough hair, causal wear, nagging videos, deafening stereos, sheer idleness, elderly disregard etc. The young charges the old with not letting them free rein in personal, ideological and political matters and in social, cultural and financial affairs. However, both generations hardly differ in values of life. Barring exceptions they are commonly running the rat race for hard vanity, wild materialistic urges and die-hard mud-slinging. Such values as tolerance, sympathy, understanding and cooperation towards overall social and economic well-being seem to be a far cry. Social ills and evils are more out of false pride and blindly aimed social pursuits and generation gap is just a fraction of the countless curses of deadly ego and mad materialism.


Sportsmen vie from slums, streets and countryside for a chance to play in healthy environs. When energies do not find suitable avenues, the lava begins to erupt negatively as frustration assumes nasty or escapist postures. Mental satisfaction is sought through abuses, sarcasm, hypocrisy and backbiting etc. Physical force may be channelized into breaking street lights for fun, blocking roads and plying around and even thefts and robberies. Passively, it is a subdued and depressed youth failing to respond to family and friends. Psycho-social analysts may suggest countless ways of therapy, discipline, grooming, development and alike. But how quietly do our cute little ones develop habits is simply amazing. By the time a parent or a teacher or an expert discovers a dangerous child habit, it is often too late. Better late than never.


 According to our objective conditions a real leader in the making is expected to pass through the grinding mill of life: toil in blazing sun or biting cold as a monkey-charmer, milkman, cobbler, vendor or laborer, labors from dawn to dusk in hard fields, rough seas and stormy streets, goes to college in the morning, works for a family of six in the afternoon, consoles ailing parents in the evening and studies night-long in candle light, perseveres miles to fetch water, drags for first-aid in medical emergency and participates with friends in community development. It is indispensable that with a pleasant personality, proven character and practical experience a leader is also well-versed in national and international affairs.

What remains of vital is a trend-setting leadership for the public. That does not mean such examples that are often seen in favoritism, black-mailing, corruption, mudslinging, exploitation, inefficiency and negligence. That means a model of simplicity devotion, sacrifice, justice, accountability, and self-help that leaders practice before preaching. Now people will have to think and decide as to who is who in national politics with a common man’s background, character and dignity, education and experience, compatible words and deeds and the magical and motivating spirit of self-help called autarky in socio-economic development.n

The contributor manages

 Public and Student Affairs and is the Faculty Advisor of the Media Management program at the Institute of Business Management, Karachi,