Social disintegration in Pakistan
Who would have known that the musical genre coming straight from the African slums, composed in a one-drop beat, a genre made popular by proverbial reggae legends from the 70s and 80s, like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, would one day come to represent present-day Pakistan.
Through their music Marley and Tosh spoke of the unjust and exploitative social conditions prevailing in Jamaica, and Max Romeo – another reggae star who worked his way up from irrigation ditches and sugar plantations – sang, critiquing the politicians and generals of his day and age in his hit single ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Backwards.’ He was blunt and upfront with his assertions, asking pointedly:
“Are you a commercialised
Grabbing at the cash-backs?
This is a time of decision
Tell me what is your plan, yeah.”
Increasingly, a lot of Pakistanis have been at a loss: They wander through the maze of confusion rendered by the local policy matrix, a corrupt and petty political order and bewildering geopolitics, all of which have, over the last several decades, pushed the country to the edges of the clinical condition referred to as schizophrenia.
Note: It may not be entirely out of order to recall that schizophrenia most commonly manifests itself as hallucinations, paranoia, or disorganised speech and thinking, and as Wikipedia explains, “it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction.”
Certainly, the last few months have thrown up enough examples to support the thesis that government policy and the local, political and social narratives are a mess of contradictions, clawing into the very bone marrow of the body politic and the national psyche, driving the nation to the edge of psychological dysfunction.
Specifics render a clear picture. Let’s remind ourselves of what has happened in the last few weeks on the domestic and external fronts. The Defence of Pakistan Council (DFC), a cabal of ultra-right wingers and some banned terror outfits, staged rallies in various cities of Pakistan doing what they do best: Denouncing “US-India hegemonic designs” and warning the government against letting NATO supplies through.
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