Whatever goes up must come down, as they say. The same can be said about anything that goes round. The erstwhile debate about whether or not Pakistan-India dialogue can or cannot be resumed is one case in point. That and the knee-jerk reaction of several of our ‘experts’, running around peddling such a probability is another! The one thing that worries one is the evident element of déjà vu in the whole rigmarole.
Before the perspicacious reader jumps to an unwarranted conclusion, one must hasten to clarify that this feeling is not due to any mental or physical handicap, but merely because one has indeed already been there. This is hardly an abnormal complaint in a state of affairs when our part of the world happens to keep going round and round in circles without actually getting anywhere. Reminds one of the game children used to play: “Round and Round the Mulberry Bush”. Why must our liberals — and especially the Track-II hopefuls — indulge in the unending game of grasping at every drifting straw? Needless to add, it is imperative to keep a denouement in mind, lest one is left groping in the air.
For want of a better example, one could cite the case of scientific studies that appear to be spawning all over like wild mushrooms after the rains. Virtually every other day, one comes across in the vigilant media the results of yet another of these scientific studies, carried out no doubt at a hefty expense. Most of these studies come up with results that contradict the results of earlier such studies undertaken yet again at — you guessed it — not inconsiderable public expenditure. The ultimate loser, naturally, is the gullible public that gleefully laps it up.
An even more surprising scientific study lately gave a clean chit to chocolate, which, as everyone knows, had been on the negative list of all “healthy diets” for as long as one can remember. This new scientific study assured a gullible public that, despite the widely-held belief to the contrary, eating chocolate was actually good for health as it contained a certain chemical, with an unpronounceable name, that, in turn, happened to be very good for a person’s metabolism. The mind boggles!
The above-quoted were just random instances. One can cite myriad others. All one needs to do is keep on switching subjects. The only constant in the ever-changing equation remains the common man, who remains at the receiving end. The tragedy is that when the time comes for some do-gooder groups to get into the act and correct the balance, their effort is either too feeble or comes too late; at a time when the harm has already been done.
The aforesaid notwithstanding, what remains undeniable is the fact that it is nature that pervades all. That brings to mind the basic truism: that cures to all ills and solutions to all problems are readily available in nature’s bounty, just waiting to be discovered; if only humankind could discern where to look. And to that end, the Almighty has provided the human being with the ultimate computer — the human brain! What a pity, then, that man should have opted to become dependent upon one of his own creations — the machine. So much for the march of civilisation!
That brings one to the use of the medium of Twitter by people who ought to know better. The leadership of the world, taking cue from the leader of the sole superpower, has taken to issuing tweets whenever it catches their fancy. Reminds one of Emperor Nero, of wretched memory, who is reputed to have fiddled while Rome burned. Leaders of big powers can be forgiven for such idiosyncrasies, but when one notices our own lot taking to this practice in a big way, eye brows can be expected to be raised, but that, as they say, is another story.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2019.