Essay No. 181:
The Golden Age Is Not Behind Us But Before Us: At the very onset it is necessary to talk about the golden age. It is thought to be a period marked by all-round progress and prosperity in the history of a nation. Its characteristics are peace, plenty and stability leading to material and intellectual development. Human activity in diverse fields is at its peak.
The conflict between labour and capital is at its maximum level. Social, economic justice is available to all and sundry without any discrimination. A nation is well set on the path of economic and scientific progress. The growing disparities in income are the minimum, thereby narrowing down the gap between the have’s and have not’s.
One may call it a utopian age, never realizable in its entirety. However, if a nation makes an all-round effort, it may get near the semblance of the golden age. However, wholesale realization of it is not possible as ideals beyond efforts to realize cent percent.
Man being in the thick of present realities gets disillusioned and instinctively looks to the past which appears in its gaudy apparel to him. He hold past times better than the present ones. The present times witness an intensification of economic, social problems of man and drive man away from the utopian dream of materializing the gold age. Past times appear fascinating to man as he is critical of the times he runs through.
Man must have today in his possession rather than looking to the yesterday. The man of yesterday grappled with the problems of his time to ensure his survival. Man of today must look and address himself to the problems of today, instead of looking to the past. Nations which ignore today are deprived of tomorrow. They are assigned to the dustbin of time.
Hence it pays nations to deal with the present-day problems in a manner as to resolve those most effectively to usher in a good era today and tomorrow. Struggle of today may result in the fruition tomorrow for the coming generations to reap the fruit of today’s struggle. Nations do not grow strong overnight. It is a continuous process which spreads over a number of decades.
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What this surmises is that the seeds of the golden age lie in the present and not in the past for the living generations. The latter are supposed to lay a better moral and material infrastructure for the coming generations to strive hard to better the day of their times. The writ of today is in today and not in yesterday. That nation is not fit to deal with the odds of today, in whose fate there is not today. The golden age is before us and not behind us.
What transpires from the foregoing presentation is that a great responsibility lies on the present generation to pull Pakistan out of a number of crises it is locked in today. We must pass on a prosperous progressive Pakistan to the future generations, so that it could further ditch up against odds of its own time to put Pakistan on the road of self-generating material as well as intellectual growth.
The present generation must overcome the crisis of identity. It must show its strength to stand on its own feet independently by breaking the begging bowel. A begging nation does not possess real sovereignty, as it is placed in an unpleasant situation to carry out the conditionalities of the donors. Self-hood if eroded, means the erosion of the very basis of the nation.
Nations that learn to pass through the kiln of adversity, emerge out as the most formidable ones. If we demonstrate the will to throw off the yoke of mental and economic slavery, we will indirectly be inspiring, to move steadily towards the age of great awakening, leading to the emergence of a gold age. It is relevant to quote Iqbal here:
وہ کل کے غم و عیش پہ کچھ نہیں رکھتا
جو آج وجود افروز و جگر سوز نہیں رکھتا
وہ قوم میں لائق ہنگامہِ فراد
جس قوم کی تقدیر میں امروز نہیں ہے
That individual does not have the right of tomorrows’ luxury and comfort who does not possess a heart saturated with feelings of today.