The active contribution of intellectuals in a society, nation and country is as important as oxygen for our body. Without oxygen, our body desperately fails to function; similarly, without intellectuals, a nation, society and country cannot run along the path of progress, development and modernization.
No doubt, the participation of progressive, rational and inclusive intellectuals brought colours to the bleak pages of history. Glancing at the modern history of humans, especially the period of Renaissance and modernization in Europe, we come to know how important their skills and presence were in forging a better order in Europe and beyond.
In this era, it is of utmost necessity for a country or state to pay homage and free space to such people who intend to work for the eradication of social evils from societies.
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Challenges faced by intellectuals in Pakistan
Unfortunately, Pakistan-a democratic country in South Asia-paints a traumatic picture regarding the promotion of intellectual culture.
Since the partition, progressive and modern intellectuals have either been trapped in the net of censorship, ban and financial hit, or compelled to live in foreign countries like America and Britain.
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However, those who didn’t go for the option of leaving the country, are still languishing under the thumb of feudal politicians. They are being forced to mute their traits of wisdom and reason.
Thus, their partaking in the welfare of the society remains non-existent on practical grounds. Therefore our society is adopting various shades of conservatism, radicalism and ignorance.
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Culture of ban and its damaging effects
With each passing day, the culture of ban and censorship is making the pitch tough for such entities to demonstrate their wisdom across the country.
The murky picture is clearly well delineated by Dr Mubarak Ali, one of the greatest historians ever lived in Pakistan. In his startling book “History and Intellectual” he briefly argues that intellectuals, whether they were professors and scientists, have got the least possible recognition from the state apparatus ever since the independence.
Above all, most of the times the researches of scientists were censored. Those researches are supposed to bring new ideas, reforms and inclusiveness to the country.
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The prevalent censorship, ban and suspension of intellectual ingredients in the country affected the social fabric of the country badly. Although the civilian government too enacted a number of barriers for such works, they mainly remain tall during military regimes throughout Pakistan’s history.
Those Pakistani professors, scientists and educators who tried to bring forward their wisdom for the sake of the betterment of society, have either been isolated financially or suffered the wrath of feudal lords.
In fact, even at some points, they are being considered anti-state because they challenge the feudal and religious monopoly with their novel ideas. Due to the monopoly of conservative mindsets over the country, there is little hope for a better tomorrow.
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A bitter reality
If today a score of ills and disease exist in the country, it is all because of the mounting restrictions and burgeoning contribution of intellectual people.
The suffocating, painful and shrinking space for progressive-cum-modern professors and scientists is dragging our society towards a historical collapse, and it may result in the complete downfall of the nation. Until and unless intellectuals of the country remain sidelined, the dream of progress is rather a far cry.
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Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a staunch supporter of intellectuality and modernism. In fact, he himself was one of the greatest intellectuals in the sub-continent. Destruction of his visions of a bright Pakistan is one of the biggest tragedies in the history of the country.
As long as intellectuals remain handicapped in the vicious cycles of repression, ban and censorship, Pakistan will never move along the line of inclusiveness and progress.