Change begins at Home

Originally posted on: 12th May, 2013.

I know, I know. The actual saying goes like “Charity begins at home” but I don’t think anyone would mind if I modify it a tad.

To understand the reason for this modification, let’s begin at the beginning.
Yesterday, May 11th 2013, marked the historic day of the much awaited and much anticipated elections. The day we get to decide our fate, or so we thought.
Yesterday, for the first time I went out to vote, albeit of being eligible a long time ago. In the past, Election Day was just a day reserved for sleeping. But this time round I was willing to vote. I was willing to exercise my right to vote and choose a leader for my country. In fact, I was thoroughly excited. And so, I am sure, were a lot of other people who were voting for the first time, who “wanted” to vote, not because we suddenly understood that it was an obligation but because this time we had a party which comprised of educated people, of people who’ve been working for the betterment of this country way before they started playing in the field of politics. So this time we went out to vote for a party we had had no experience with, but were willing to give them a chance. This time we decided to vote and we decided to vote in favor of PTI.
Maybe this happens every time and I got to see it for the first time because I myself was voting for the first time. Or maybe I was simply hallucinating. But all around me I saw motivated people, who stood for hours in long queues, who were determined to cast their votes in spite of the mismanagement and rigging that is part of every election.
Polling stations were supposed to start working at 8. Voters reached at 8 AM. But guess who decided not to show up? The presiding officers.
The pretentious election commission claimed a system that was computerized and could not be cheated. And honestly the sms containing important information regarding an individual’s polling station and such was quick enough to give the false impression of an effective system. Pity, the sms and voter’s list were not in sync. Resulting in giving people a tour of all polling stations in their vicinity, ending where they started and casting vote in the same polling station as the sms predicted.
And even with all this going on, the same people who were complaining of the not-asked-for-city-tour were standing in “sakhth dhoop” for long hours just to be given a chance to cast their votes.
 
In spite of all this exercise, the enthusiasm soared high and by evening you could hear tvs from neighboring houses with volumes turned up to the highest decibel, like increasing the volumes boosted the chances of your favorite party’s victory. 
Twitter was flooded with Pakistan election’s news and views. Such was the ardor that a guy (on twitter), I am assuming he was not a Pakistani, asked whether this was the first election in Pakistan. People flew in from overseas to cast their votes. And I am not just saying this because I heard it on news but because a friend’s relatives actually flew in from Dubai for the elections.
All we were hoping for was a “change”. All we had been promised was a “change” by every party. And like a thirsty person gets fooled by the sand camouflaging as water, we too got our hopes raised.
However, with election results still pouring in, and with no definitive announcement by the authorities, we can see that we may not win this time again. We can see that things will continue to be the same in the future.

That there may not be a change afterall.

We, the people who stay far away from politics are riddled by the same set of questions:
          1)    Are we a minority in our own country?
          2)    Why with so many promises of uncompromised elections, all we got was the most corrupted       elections in the history of the country?
          3)    Knowing the law and order situation of Karachi, why wasn’t army called from the beginning and posted on all polling stations?
          4)    How come the polling stations were without presiding officers?
          5)    How come the polling stations were not open?
And more importantly;
How come with all of this happening in Hyderabad and Karachi, the rest of the country shamelessly celebrated and danced in the glory that often accompanies victory.
All of this goes to show that it was these tattered-to-pieces localities which actually wanted, no.. needed a change.
All of this anger has accumulated within us for a long time, threatening to kill our humanity with each bomb blast, as the only way to survive these days is the stop thinking.. to stop feeling.
I console myself by telling myself that I asked Allah for a leader who would take the country to betterment, even if that person did not belong to the party I supported. I asked Allah to choose the best for us, as only He knows what the best is for us. And so I must accept what He chose for us. 
But what worries me is the disappointment that might ensue because of the rigging incidences so clearly being shown on TV and yet, nobody taking any action to do anything about it.
For the past few days we all gingerly carried a tiny ray of hope within us, protecting it from the scorching negative thoughts attacking it from all sides; not from outside but from within ourselves. The negativity that should most probably be called analytical thinking.
And today I worry that the hope might break. Or we may settle back and prepare ourselves for another 5 years of the same corruption ruling the city.
But wait….. 
I accept that the degree of development brought on by people in government is magnanimous.
But do we really need the government to do everything for us?
We may not be able to bring a whole lot of change but I believe that Change begins at home. That revolution begins at the bottom, ripples up and eventually brings about a tsunami.
Whatever we were promised, Naya Pakistan could not have been made in a day.
Change comes about slowly. And in this case only slow and steady wins the race.
All quick fixes are just that; quick and fixes aka JUGAARS.
And how, you ask, to bring about a change.
Let’s start with listing down things that are wrong; 

      1) The utter lack of security

     2) Corruption in and out
     3) Education or rather it’s absence
 
And the list goes on…
 
Now, think about what you can do about each of these problems. How can YOU contribute? What can YOU do to fix these problems, any problem?
Think about what bothers YOU the most. Most of the others are victims of the same. And then try to solve that problem.
I know it’s not easy. But nothing good comes easy.
It’s the difficulty of a task that makes achieving it worthwhile.
I have compiled a list of changes we can bring about as individuals. Some of these have been hitting themselves against my thick skull for a long time. Some of these I try to implement every day. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I fail. Yet I trudge forward.
When I started writing this piece I knew it would be lengthy but now it has gotten way too lengthy to be digested in a single sitting and any small effect that it may carry would be waived off by its length. And it’s not even complete yet. And it can never be complete. Because there is always a scope for improvement. As we go forward we’ll think of more “changes” which need to be brought about. And this is what I want. I want everyone to participate. Each of us first needs to bring about a change within ourselves and then help each other to achieve. The journey that we plan to venture on can be started alone but cannot be continued alone for a long time.
In the weeks to come I will post a few articles comprising of the changes which we should work to bring about. Read them. Ponder over them. Correct me where I am wrong. Try to implement them with me. Bring in your ideas to the table. Let’s work together for a change. Let’s work individually and let’s help each other because
Change begins at home
Please pray to Allah for Pakistan. This country was made on the name of Islam, yet we strayed far away from Islam. As for Allah’s forgiveness. Pray for the betterment of this country.
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