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  • Writer's pictureSaleem Qamar Butt

Dwindling Institutions of Mothers and Teachers

A lot of friends approach and stimulate me to write more about problems and challenges afflicting our beloved country Pakistan. We all know that there is a sea of glitches ranging from the very simple to most complicated ones on multiple fronts, which keeps frustrating the masses with almost all governments’ efforts looking inadequate. I have tried to touch upon some of the most pinching issues in my earlier published columns e.g. “A Challenged State”, “Resetting Pakistan's Strategic Compass”, “Protecting the People and the Constitution”, “Pakistan's Foreign Policy Challenges”, “Why a State Collapses?”, “Jenga Continues in Pakistan”, “National Centre of Gravity”, “Bad Policing is a Grave Pandemic”, “What Plagues Pakistan more than Corona Virus”, “Pakistan’s Economic Woes”, “What Do People Want?”, “Pakistan's Politico-Economic Crises; Perils of Losing Hope”, “Contemporary Great Game: Pakistan’s Challenges and Opportunities”, “Indian Belligerent Nationalism versus Pakistani Patriotism”, “What will make Pakistan Great”, “Leadership: Is Competence or Character More Important?”, “Democracy versus Hypocrisy”, “State versus Bigots”, and “An Ideal Political System for Pakistan”, which avid readers may like to revisit. However, like all well-wishers of Pakistan, I am also equally frustrated and concerned about the quandary vis-à-vis inadequacy of political, technocratic and societal efforts to overcome the ever compounding difficulties.

Without any claim and false pride in high academic degrees or bureaucratic grades, anyone with experience of living in a developed and a civilised country would know and suggest practical ways of dealing with the menaces permanently afflicting our country. However, nothing seems to work for the simple reason that the focus never shifts to the improvement of human capital and institutions. With personal experience and a closer analyses of Japan, Germany, Malaysia, Turkey and Kazakhstan urged me to write this piece, aimed at drawing the government and public attention towards revival of the two most essential institutions needed for production of desired well groomed human resource needed to run the state machinery efficiently and honestly i.e. the institution of Mothers and Teachers.

Traditionally, women in all countries become mothers through proper wedlock. There are three ideas central to the role of women as mothers: "1) the mother is the best caretaker and educator of children, 2) the mother-child bonding is the most natural and fundamental one in human relationships, and 3) no other job is better or more suitable for women than mothering." A good mother is one whose responsibility is to her child and who views her child's success as a reflection of her own identity. This requires a willingness and desire on the part of the mother to sacrifice anything for the sake of the child’s success. There are women, and their numbers are rising, who have both full time jobs and families. They pay a price, though, because society is not yet ready to fully accept women with young children working full time. The contemporary German attitude to family life still sees the mother as its most important component. Women were supposed to be obedient, self-sacrificing mothers who were solely dedicated to the education and rearing of their children. According to a recent study, only 22% of West Germans are in favour of mothers of schoolchildren working full-time, putting them in last place. In comparison, the number in Denmark is 76%, in the USA 58%, and even in East Germany 56%.

Nobody could deny the importance of the role of the mother in building society. Role of a mother greatly influences a child's overall development and well-being. The greatness of mother and her sacrifices cannot be ignored by any one. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Paradise is under the feet of mother”, which clearly gave a role to the mother which could not be forgotten. A mother supports and helps her child in improving throughout her life. The universally accepted important roles and responsibilities of mothers in child development include development of strongest emotional bond with the child, giving proper environment for right growth, child’s behavioural development, instil trust and security, promote family bonding, be kind, loving and caring, be thoughtful and sensitive, infuse positive attitude, permeate role of routine and discipline in life, imbue hard work, teach good manners, groom as useful member of the family and society, development of strong faith in religious and universal high moral values and responsibilities.

After WW-II, Japan and Germany were totally destroyed and annihilated; however, the roles played by the mothers in re-raising their nation and states as the most developed, thriving and civilised countries in less than four decades is worth emulation. It is a treat to watch Japanese and German women raising their children with utmost dedication and care. The part played by Kazakhstan’s mothers in the revival of old traditions and Islamic culture after independence from the former USSR in 1991 is remarkable. In Pakistan, the starring role played by women and especially mothers in putting together shattered families after independence and preservation cum promotion of high moral and religious values by majority of pre 80s mothers is also commendable. However, the cultural invasion of Pakistan by India starting from mid 70s, former Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and consequent pilferage of drugs, weapons and illicit money, rise of militancy in the name of religion, promotion and sponsorship of sectarian outfits, artificial prosperity widening the gulf between haves and have-nots and nationalisation of educational institutions played havoc with Pakistan’s society and the state. The worst hit were the institutions of mothers and teachers who became increasingly extraneous and somewhat castoff. The political elite in Pakistan has throughout kept the masses illiterate, poor, dependent , engrossed in endless Thana–Katchehry vicious circles as a strategy to keep their hold on the reins of power through exploitation of masses. The only hope for grooming the new generations were the mothers and teachers who found themselves in a dilemma due misplaced personal and state priorities. In today’s Pakistan, most of the disillusioned and untrained mothers are seen immersed in an alien modernity resulting in ignoring almost all the mothers’ responsibilities specified above. The teachers have also been kept deprived of the much needed higher socio-economic status in the society by the successive governments; thus teachers are forced to indulge in petty ways of meeting the ends. The uneven and vision-less education system is not only hurting the students, parents and teachers, but in fact harming the future of the country. Consequently, the last four to five generations in the country are far away from the desired level of human index needed to qualify as a civilised youth. Therefore, the lack of discipline, honesty, corruption, missing hard work, violence and extremism emanate from deliberate failure of these two most essential institutions which build a harmonious society.

If Pakistan is to overcome its perennial problems, the immediate revival of mothers and teachers institutions at par with most civilised countries is considered an inescapable imperative. The positive results would show within two decades. The investment in human capital should be the hallmark of long baked but recently announced National Security Policy; otherwise, it would remain a political gimmick on papers and in rhetoric. May Allah bless Pakistan!

3 Jan 2022

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