by Sohaib Alvi
You begin to be aware of the world three months before you are born. You can feel pain. It is the first moment of your independent life. By the age of 6 months you can recognise faces, by the 18th month the areas of the brain that control emotions are connecting and by the age of 6 years your brain is 95% of its adult size and is more interconnected than all the stars and planets in the galaxies.
So how much have you used it since you were six years old? More important, how much are you using it now, whatever your age?
Think young people. Think.
Whatever you have I would like you to think more. Knowledge is of 2 kinds. Either you know the subject or you know where you can find information on it.
You therefore have the capacity in your brain to think and analyse anything and everything; if you make the effort.
You are 70% of us, around 20% of whom can vote for what is good for your future children. That’s 37,400,000 of you who have the power to change by casting their vote on the future system of the country. Not a bad number to have on your side; close to 38 million young Pakistanis between the age of 18 and 30 years. All of whom I call youth irrespective of the operational definition of the word.
And you can count on all the 56,100,000 of us above 30 (including the only 3.5 % of Pakistanis over 65 years) who can guide you on what they have realized too late.
You may be frustrated and feel you don’t owe it to us or even to yourselves; and leave the country. But I would like you to think that you owe it to the 77,400,000 Pakistanis below the age of 15 who are looking up to you to lead them. More than 77 million; that’s a lot of people depending on you.
Why am I saying all this? Our generation has failed. We failed you and our predecessors of 2-3 generations back who united and created Pakistan.
You can literally, and I say this truthfully, change this country and pull up the nation with your power of thought. And find the Pakistan that we have lost.
These are not just words to stir you up. It is the truth and I want you all to grasp it as quickly as you can. You owe it to your future children the debt we didn’t pay when we brought you into this world and watched you grow. Individually, many stood up for you or tried to; but we didn’t stand up collectively and that was our undoing. You now have the opportunity to undo what we have done wrong.
We need you because of the ’Y’ in youth. Because you have the opportunity to open the right doors and close the wrong ones. Because when you look around and see all that is wrong in us as a nation you should ask yourself the first important question: “Why”. Only then will you be able to draw upon your powers to make the change possible, because of the ‘O’ in youth; and ask yourself the second most important question: “Why not”.
I have said we need you because you young and optimistic not just in body and face but also in spirit and adventure; because you are the ‘U’ in Youth. And remember courage doesn’t mean that you are not afraid; it just means that nobody should be able to sense that you are.
You have to surpass not just new challenges but clear the old minefield; the lack of governance, the corruption, the masters’ mindset, suppression of ideas, and most importantly the disinformation of our nation’s past and current and the fears of tomorrow.
You will do this because of the “T” in youth. Because you have the fire in your belly that only your achievements can quieten and simultaneously spark several others out of the euphoria of success.
You will therefore go forth and cause the turbulence that shakes up the dormant and the sleepy; to take the steering wheel and ride the storms; because you have the will to go to new frontiers and will not let any hurricanes or imagined dragons keep you from finding your fleece.
You will do this because you epitomize the ‘H’ in youth. All success is 99% percent perspiration and 1% inspiration. Work hard to gain knowledge and master your subjects and professions, work hard to get results and work hard to improve upon them.
Listen to the voice of the old man urging you to help him by buying a plastic toy; look into the eyes of the little girl asking for a little food while you eat; touch the hand of the old woman begging for some loose change; smell the sweat of the little boy trying to clean your car’s windshield in blazing heat; taste the food that the poorest eat once a day to survive.
Then use your sixth sense and know what you can do. You will know what to do if you listen to yourself and not to the survivors of the last two generations who talk of no hope for this nation because it didn’t do what we said they should do.
You must realize what we did not. We didn’t talk to each other about solutions; we only talked of problems. We looked to the privately run government to solve our problems when we knew they were robbers at worst and incompetent at best and not accountable with their life or money.
You will find the way; you just have to disengage from the hopelessness we have brought into you and around you. Just do it with the brain and heart and not the fist, unless and until you need it. And if at all you have to on occasions, then hit hard but with aim.
Let nothing stop you from saving this nation, especially our generation. You are in the overwhelming majority now. Don’t let us spoil a perfect country and a splendid nation for you and your future children. It’s now all about You(th).
YOUTH: Young __Optimistic __Unafraid __Tempestuous __Hardworking
I have always defined my youth as above. Therefore my words here will be for you based on my experiences, learning, actions and results and what I have personally seen or heard that concern YOU(TH). If you have any question about anything that you are not sure about that, if its cleared up, will help Pakistan, post it in comments and I’ll write on it in future.