Not even the instant fame associated with an entry in the Guinness World Records can guarantee one a job in the country. That much is becoming clear to our youth and all those who have read about the plight of 24-year-old Farhan Ayub, who is the current holder of two Guinness World Records. Ayub broke UK player Brandon’s kip ups record. He had made 22 in one minute, by setting 34 kip ups in the February 2014 Punjab Youth Festival. Then in March 2017, he also made 25 ‘no handed kip ups’ and landed his second record. Fortune unfortunately does not automatically follow fame. Record setters are never paid for their achievements. Nor do they cover expenses, offer sponsorship or provide equipment for anyone attempting a record.
Thus, Ayub is peacefully protesting on the streets of Lahore for the right to be supported by the Pakistan government to further his talent and bring glory to Pakistan, and also simultaneously pursue his dreams of studying. His protest is a glaring reminder of a country brimming with talent, but lacking the proper institutions to recognise or award such capacities. A victim of poverty and deprivation, Ayub’s appeal is not overreaching, rather this is the least that he deserves. It is an absolute disgrace to witness a young man holding two world records and still having to beg the government for support to chase his aspirations.
Structural poverty is symptomatic of a persistent defect in the economic structure. It follows further that the only way to reduce poverty is to alter the economic structure so as to reduce the number of low-income holes in it. Since this structural alteration sounds utopian in our context, the government and authorities, aware of the public’s day to day struggles, owe it to people like Ayub — to recognise both his gift and finance his potential to succeed further.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2017.
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