My darling husband wrote this excellent article not too long ago, and I feel it is relevant enough to share on my blog. Please read it with an open mind and share your comments, if you’d like. His blog can be accessed at this link.
It appears that people are too obsessed with heroes and saviors; though, not just among Pakhtuns but also among many people from different struggling nations and ethnicities. They often wish for a hero or savior like those in the past, who will come and save the day. Those who are not suffering, but are still waiting for a promised Messiah, are the ones who believe their current state is not perfect and that there is something better that awaits them; only if their promised Messiah will come and take them to that Promised Land.
In the case of my Pakhtuns, it’s very common to torture one’s ears, or to put it more specifically, brain, with naïve wishes such as the need for one more Khushaal Khattak, or one more Pir Rokhaan, or one more Abdali, etc.
I guess people have been exposed to too much stories of prophets and leaders, who come and rescue people that are subjugated in one way or another. Exposure to such stories are to such extent that people end up buying this idea that someday some Messiah, some Caliph, some General, some son of a gun will pop up and turn things around and rescue them from the clutches of what they identify as “evil.” My beef with such idea is that it makes people sluggish, especially Pakhtuns!
Heroes are not born, they are made, and they are not who they are because of their personality, mentality, etc. There are many dedicated followers who work smart behind the scenes in order to induce their dreams to fruition. What made Abdali a success story? It was not his personal approach, nor his personality, nor his brain, but pure muscles of those fighters who fought with a strong conviction – a conviction that would lead them to something successful, something better! There was a reward, so to speak, but people often ignore the brain and muscles behind the scene. Rather, they focus on that one individual, that one leader, under whose leadership dreams and hopes became a reality. (I would like to add for the record that I am not among those Pakhtuns who idolize Abdali; to me Abdali is just an example that I chose to use in this post!)
The majority of Pakhtuns I know of can’t read nor write the Pakhtu language. (I must add that it’s not a matter of one’s social circle, but rather of epidemic; and it’s like a virus that affects many Pakhtuns.) However, when you talk to them they will often have this naïve and inept idea that someday someone will come and unite all Pakhtuns and breathe life into our Pakhtu language. Though, the logical approach would be to learn to read and write Pakhtu, and make it our utmost priority, thus ensuring that the language never meets its demise.
Having a great leader does not necessarily secure a victory! A nation can’t simply prevail by having a great leader. What is it that made Nelson Mandela’s struggle a success story but earned Ghaffar Khan (aka Bacha Khan) half of life in prison and a departure to a grave with broken dreams? While Gandhi earned his peoples’ freedom, Ghaffar Khan earned himself a life of exile and prison bars! Were leaders like Mandela and Gandhi necessarily better leaders than Ghaffar Khan? I beg to differ. While Mandela and Gandhi had their people with them, Pakhtuns were divided and left undecided over their ultimate goals.
The point I am trying to make here is that you can have the greatest of all leaders, but it’s not the leader that makes the difference, but you, as an individual person. Also, team work is needed to bring about changes and if you are not doing your part, then no struggle, no faith, and no brain can bring about the changes you wish to see. A leader only becomes “great” because of his/her active followers! And, as we Pakhtuns indeed have a choice to make, either we sit and wait for yet another great leader (that we can blame our luck on once he/she fails), or we can understand what greatness requires of us on an individual basis, and actually do something about it.
We must remember that a leader can only give us a dream; it’s we who can make it a reality. You don’t need one more hero or one more savior. You are the one.