ISLAMABAD: A discourse intended to analyse the strengths of various ideological strains among the Pakistani youth ended up becoming a critique against state-sponsored narratives and the dearth of knowledge production in the country.
Participants cited that lack of scientific inquiry and social research has made it difficult to identify emerging ideological trends in the Pakistani society, making it nearly impossible for intellectuals to prescribe a worldview to the country’s youth.
They stated this during an interactive discussion on the “intellectual scenario of the new generation,” which was organised by the Islamabad Cultural Forum at the office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday.
“The reality is that we ourselves do not possess a complete picture of the society that is backed by data,” said Ravish Nadeem, who chaired the discussion. “Perhaps that is why our discussion is a victim of confusion.”
Nadeem, a writer, critic and professor at the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIU) said the social and political groups in the country have never prioritised sociological data collection. He said there is a need for scientific studies to pinpoint and validate social trends.
The one thing that the participants agreed on was that the dearth of intellectualism in the Pakistani youth.
But the discussion was not all cynical. Participants underscored that school- and college-level curricula need to be revised to facilitate the youth’s return to literature, social sciences and knowledge production.
“Our universities are producing degree holders, but we have not been able to develop linkages between studies and intellectual thought or literature for our students,” said one participant.
Other participants said such linkages should be established through social science programmes at colleges and universities.
Earlier, Nadeem gave an overview of the dominant trends in South Asia from the medieval times to the modern-day. He said the dark ages in this region saw strands of religion pitted against spirituality. Some historians believe the defeat of Dara Shikoh also marked the triumph of religion over spirituality in the subcontinent, he said.
The trends of naturalism and dialectics prevalent in India during the British Raj were mostly derived from and influenced by the West, said Nadeem. Similarly, post-partition trends of socialism and existentialism which challenged the old progressive order during the 1960s were also western ideals, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ