Pakistan Social Justice Group








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Illiterates or Less Educated Should not be Blamed for Slow Growth and Corruption in Pakistan?

(modified version published in the daily Times (Lahore) on 16.07.2003)

Nadeem Yousaf


The thesis of the article is that it is not only “education” but “sincerity” is essential ingredient for state building. Turning a state into a social welfare state is the real test for any independent and developed state. The author’s position is that we have to appreciate the fact that we need sincere people in our public administration and political posts than people who are simply educated in American and European institutions or has worked in large international organization or multinational companies - without sincerity with the work and people of this country, education will lead us nowhere.

 Five decades are sufficient to put a nation on the path of development and change the destiny of people provided people in high positions work with honesty and sincerity. It is disappointing that Pakistan, as a nation, could not move ahead on the road of development even after passing such a long period. If we look at our recent history and current situation, it may not be difficult to argue that the graph of economic, political and social development has never been moving upward as expected.

 Usually, a segment of the society argues that one of the reasons of decline in social political and economic values, which are essential ingredients of state building, is lack of education or excess of those people who are illiterates or less educated. It is high time to ponder whether or not illiterates or less educated people are responsible for the current pathetic condition of Pakistan; or should we put blame to those people who are so called well-educated and holding high political and social positions in the system (in recent years they are often called ‘Brown Shaibs.’ (Brown Bosses).

 When we look at the history of Pakistan, it may not be incorrect to argue that those people who occupied senior most positions, at the time of independence and later, in the public administration and the highest political posts were well-educated and had obtained high degrees either locally or abroad. Most of them were part of the elite group; and, the current situation is no more different than the past.

 The Pakistan’s history is evident that the so-called educated and elite class appears to be more responsible in deteriorating and disintegrating this country in comparison to those who could not get education due to shortage of wealth and resources. These educated ‘Brown Shaibs’ used their degrees to get promotions or to advance their vested interests, instead of developing the country and changing the fate of poor people. They are the ones who have never (and still do not) hesitated breaking all principles, rules and procedures of the society and the state. To elaborate, let us take the example of Pakistan’s constitution, which is hardly implemented or followed by our so-called educated class.



 It is a fact that the constitution of the country, which is the major source of all public laws, was never been broken by the illiterates or less educated ordinary people of Pakistan. On the contrary, our so-called educated upper class has always been mocking with the constitution since 1947 till today. Our educated army whose job is to protect frontiers of the country and constitutionally disallowed to participate in politics has not only been interfering in the government’s affairs but also toppled down civil governments time to time since 1958. Our literate judiciary has always passed ruling according to the wishes of the sitting rulers. For example, all unconstitutional governments were deemed legal by our judiciary under the concept of  ‘necessity of the time’ without taking into account that their decision would tear apart the constitution and spoil political and organizational culture of the country. Our intellectuals (except a few) are habitual to criticize and point out blunders and mistakes of the past rulers but they avoid raising voice against the actions of any sitting rulers. Is it not a joke of our literates with illiterates and less educated of this country that they consider military governments of the past illegitimate and criticizes their actions but keep current government out of it? The history of the world is a witness that those countries would neither develop nor gain respect whose rulers, judiciary and intellectuals had not respected the constitution of their respective country.

 Likewise, it is evident from the history of Pakistan that it is not illiterates and less educated who have introduced corruption in all public bureaucratic departments in this country; rather it is the product of our educated Brown Shaibs. Today, if it seems that illiterates and less educated has become part and parcel of the corruption, we should acknowledge the fact that a big share of corruption still goes in the pockets of so-called highly educated Brown Shaibs.

 The chief reason of under development is not high rate of illiteracy. Whether or not we like it, the truth is that the country remained under developed after such a long period of independence because the educated people deprived of illiterates and less educated from their genuine and legitimate social, political and economical rights. These illiterates and less educated people have always been put in inferiority complex as they lack ‘general intelligence’ by the so-called educated class through implicit and explicit attitude and behavior.

 The author takes the opportunity to remind the readers that intelligence is still a phenomenon in psychology, which is not fully defined, yet. If one desires to check intelligence of illiterates and less educated people, the author invites all educated people that they talk to them on any issue, they will get more than satisfactory replies. These illiterates and less educated people will give you great piece of advices that can be sufficient to develop any country.  Indeed, these less educated and illiterate people are not lacking intelligence.

 It is unfortunate that illiterate and less educated people always look towards the educated class as guardian of their interest but these ‘educated guardians’ are more busy in promoting their own vested interests They have been increasing their wealth, richness, prosperity, authority and power for years whereas illiterates and less educated have been suffering from hunger, grief, unhappiness, sorrow and distress. 

 Today, the country is on the verge of annihilation and devastation due to dishonesty of the so-called educated and upper class. If we want to steer this ship towards development, then this so-called educated and upper class must accept that they have to give look after the interests of majority of people of this country who are, of course, illiterates and less educated.

16 July 2003






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