Essay No. 136:
A Country Is Backward Because Its People Are Backward: The statement needs a detailed analysis to reach a correct conclusion. Underdevelopment is a complex phenomenon and cannot be attributed to a single factor. It is an economic phenomenon, whose main characteristics are low per capita income, low living standard, low industrialization, excessive dependence on agriculture, high population growth, top of all poverty etc. backwardness is thus the result as a host of factors and no single factor is answerable to the phenomenon.
Backwardness is a historical phenomenon. Before the outbreak of the Industrial Revolution, there was one world bound by the common bond of poverty. The Industrial Revolution upset the scenario and brought two worlds into being, namely one developed and the other underdeveloped.
The former took leap forward on the basis of technology, while the latter lagged behind. That continued to court backwardness, though, with the passage of time, it started moving forward at a tortoise’s pace. The initial gap between the two widened with the passage of time, though there is a relative diminution of the gap.
Certain regions in underdeveloped countries owing to industrialization relatively advanced than other regions. The former became leading regions in industrialization, while the others became lagging in course of time. Backwardness is thus to be viewed relatively.
The economic condition of the people in the leading regions became relatively good as compared to their counterparts in the lagging ones. It evoked jealousy in the latter against the former. People of NWFP, Baluchistan, Sind suffer from the sense of economic deprivation. It creates regional animosities, which are a threat to national integration.
The phenomenon holds good in Pakistan. In short, backwardness cannot be ascribed to one or two factors. It is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. There is no denying the fact that people are economically, educationally speaking backwards. The literacy rate is very low, which means the majority of people are ignorant of their problems.
Backwardness is a cumulative phenomenon, which gets self-reinforcing in the long run. The only way to overcome educational backwardness is to educate people through education. The government should find out maximum budgetary resources for the development of education.
It should empower people educationally by allocating resources to education, once people become educated, they will be able to overcome ignorance, superstition, the leading social vices. Education brings reason, rationality to people. The real empowerment of people lies in education. One may say that the thrust should be on Human Resource Development in Pakistan.
Many of the prevalent vices would be overcome through education. Backwardness lets people remain backwards. If we wish to overcome the economic backwardness of people, we must raise their income level through economic development and poverty-alleviation programme.
Employment opportunities should be created for the labour force with a view to raising its income level. As for the educated class, employment opportunities need to be generated to absorb the youngmen in different avenues. Unemployed young men should be offered jobs at the public/private sector levels.
It calls for the creation of job opportunities in different fields. If unemployment amongst the educated is not overcome through the pursuit of appropriate different policies, it would grow in magnitude in time to come. Frustrated youngmen though educated, can be taken for being backwards, because they do not have the necessary wherewithal to overcome their ‘backwardness’.
Our system of education promotes rote learning and discourages independent thinking. In a way, it arrests initiative in thought and lays too much emphasis on theoretical aspects. When we compare our students with those of the West at different levels, we find them below the required level. It is tantamount to educational backwardness.
We must initiate changes in the system of education to attune it to the requirement of modern times. Low educationally equipped youngmen are for all, intents and purposes backwards. We must upgrade them to the required level to help them play their role in the economic development of the country.
The call of time is to improve the quality of education to catch with the changing times. The Higher Education Commission is playing its role to achieve the objective over time. Our educational products must compare favourably with those of the Western countries in terms of competence and quality.
Underdeveloped countries have a culture of their own. However, as a result of the diffusion of material-oriented values due to the onslaught of mass media, they are gradually losing their cultural ways. The Western culture has seeped into the crumbling.
The joint family system used to be the hallmark of our culture which institution has declined, particularly in the urban areas due to the impact of Western material values of life. The indigenous cultural values face a threat at the hands of Western cultural values. The people in the Third World countries are thus getting poorer in terms of their own culture.
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The youngmen opt for Western culture. Indigenous culture is thus denigrated. The sum total of the discussion leads one to the conclusion that backwardness holds people in its grip, who begin to show a desire for a change once they are sensitized to economic development.
The shackles of backwardness tend to be disentangled when a traditional society stands on the threshold of change brought about by economic development. Backwardness is the result of many factors. People are backward because the country is backward. I don’t subscribe to the view that a country is backward because people are backward.
People by nature welcome change and once changed initiated in their lives, they absorb change — good or bad. That is why the stress is on rapid economic development in the developing countries to usher in all-pervasive institutional changes. People begin to wear progressive outlook.
Development of mega projects in Baluchistan would expose people to progressive forces. The backwardness of people in ties to the backwardness of the society they belong to.
February 18, 2020