I want to be a sipahi

Everyone wants to be a general but noone wants to be a sipahi! But it is the soldiers of this world who work, often thanklessly, that make a real difference.

Faheem Khan September 04, 2010
To enjoy power is human. Political leaders enjoy power while fooling the public enough to get them to vote for them; a cleric enjoys this power while issuing fatwas; a jirga-head enjoys this power while awarding punishment to a criminal according to his law; a police inspector enjoys this power as he orders riot police to engage protesters; a teenager enjoys this power while driving his car at 160 kilometres per hour while a poor labourer enjoys this power as he beats his wife.

As a researcher I conduct field surveys across Pakistan and recommend policies to decision makers for better development outcomes. Over the years I have realised the tremendous potential in our nation. Our people are patriotic, informed, tough, and have a good-heart. The only limitation I found is that everybody wants heaven but nobody wants to die, in other words, everybody wants to be a general but nobody wants to be a sipahi.

The reason why I use the term sipahi in place of political worker or karkun and general’ instead of political Leader is because a sipahi has nothing to lose nor does he have anything to gain - yet he is always ready to help. He does not have any personal or political motives.

Sipahi's are ‘silent angels’ who live among us in peace and only appear when there is a need. Whereas, generals enjoy unlimited power and have no accountability. This mind-set prevails not only in our leaders but in our youths as well. I would not blame the youth - they are patriotic and want to bring about change for their people. The only way they think it can be done is if they have the same powers as that of a general - to impose their doctrines.

We are a tough nation. We have seen millions migrating in 1947; have experienced the ‘fall of Dhaka’ in 1971; gave home to 3.0 million Afghans in 1979; have faced hatred since 9/11; have tackled the massive earthquake of 2005; have accompanied 0.25 million IDPs during Swat Operation in 2009 and we will face these unprecedented floods of 2010 with dignity.

I am filled with pride when I realise and see so much good in ourselves; however, the challenge is to bring the potential of Pakistanis out into the open. I don’t have any power to enjoy or any resources to offer but I do have knowledge and spirit to offer to this country.

What I want is to be a sipahi!
Faheem Khan A PhD public policy candidate following Iqbal’s concept of khudi
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Sarfaraz Iqbal Cheema | 13 years ago | Reply @ Muhammad Ilyas Khan its only how one look at things.... its not the people who were effected by floods who seek help form outsiders, they know well enough that the only those who care for them will answer their cries.... its the political leaders who are asking for money which everyone knows will never end up with those displaced by this natural calamity.... we as a nation might have got corrupt but the foundations for this nation were laid on an ideology that has survived the wars, separation, earth quakes and floods... even if the people fail (not saying that we have failed or that we will fail, but to the forces acting on to see us fail) you will still see us growing stronger as we always have.... just one thing, if you want change then be the change you want!!!!
Sajjad Ahmed | 13 years ago | Reply A very well written article that pretty much sums up the way forward. Individuals MUST realize their own responsibilities and there are a billion things that depend on a single basic entity - the individual himself. If that basic entity choses to bring about a change in its environs, InshaAllah good things will soon follow. Excellent work Sir Faheem Khan. I'll surely wait for your future blog posts.
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