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A gracious revolution

By Syed Saadat |From the Newspaper Dawn

IF there is to be a revolution in Pakistan, it will be brought about by the generation born in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There were crucial similarities between their parents in each case.
The groom tended to be intelligent, hardworking and progressive. He came from a closely knit-together family, and high moral values were strongly instilled in him. The bride was not too different either being the daughter of a family that laid great emphasis on education for sons as well as daughters. No one would have thought that it would be innocuous couples such as these that would effectively bring about a revolution in this country.
Before me sits an aging, retired civil servant in his rocking chair, reflecting upon the life he has lived. Calm, collected and content, he tells me with a shine in his eyes that a revolution is coming.
“Is it the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf tsunami you’re talking about?” I ask. “No, I’m talking about the professional working class that will set off a whirlpool that will sink all the wizards of exploitation, be they the politicians or the bureaucrats,” he answers.
In this gentleman’s view, it will not be the peasants of the country that will bring about change, for they are too oppressed.
Neither will it be the elites, for they are too self-indulgent. Change, he believes, will be engineered by the professional middle class, doctors, teachers or multinational corporations’ employees, who earn enough money to afford a comfortable lifestyle and can thus afford to take a stand against being exploited.
This class of people is no longer silent. Slowly but surely, it is taking over the country. While it will not happen overnight, the change will come and it will come at the hands of people whose parents worked hard to raise a generation that has faith in the value of hard work against all odds and does not believe in getting ahead at the expense of other people.
Their parents made sure that they did not compromise on their ethics, with the father travelling on public transport and the mother sacrificing trips to the beauty parlour so that they could save enough to have their children educated respectably.
Couples such as these passed up on many a candlelit dinner to make sure that their children went to bed early so that they could be up for school on time.
These children are young men and women now, and between them they are setting off waves of change that is bound to alter the status quo in which Pakistan has been stuck for years.
Consider the medics that have banded together to form the Young Doctors’ Association to protest for better compensation and to raise their voice against exploitation. While there are grounds to be critical of their methods, it is encouraging that these professionals want to work hard yet ensure that they are adequately compensated for that hard work. They do not seem to want to ditch the country by seeking opportunity abroad, but neither will they stand being victimised.
In a similar vein, a group of civil servants have formed an association for the protection of their rights. A petition filed recently in the Supreme Court asked for court intervention to ensure that civil servants are not transferred for denying the bigwigs an undue favour, as is often the case. They, too, do not want to abandon their country or join in the looting and plundering; they want the change that has surfaced to be sustained. There was a time when the bureaucracy was called the steel frame of the administration, and now it is taking that role back.
A good example of the professional class bringing about change would be Asad Umar, formerly the CEO of a business corporation. After having achieved huge success at a young age, he has joined politics. Indeed, the field of politics is slowly but surely slipping out of the hands of business barons and ill-intentioned waderas and being joined by corporate employees, engineers, doctors and newsmen. They are turning on the heat, and politics and this country are coming back to life.
Everyone wants to vote, everyone wants to raise a voice. On Facebook, on various blogspots, on Twitter and on the streets, everywhere in Pakistan we find people raising their voice. They are concerned about the state of the nation, while the escapists of old have died a natural death.
Now, the young men and women of this country want to live here and make a better living for themselves. This is what makes a country prosperous: we don’t really have to work for the betterment of the country, we just have to work for our own betterment and keep our moral compass intact, and the progress of the country becomes inevitable.
The old man sitting in the rocking chair and his wife have done their bit. They have brought up a generation that will bring about a revolution. And the nature of this revolution, like its originators, will be calm and seamless. It will not shed the blood of the oppressors; it will be gracious and forward-looking.

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