It is early 1970s. I am in 4th grade and in Islamabad. One day I saw my father with tears in his eyes holding a letter in his hands that he had received from Bangladesh from a Bengali friend who had gone back from Islamabad to what was previously East Pakistan. I do not recall the name of the friend or much of the contents of that short letter with a couple of paragraphs. What I do recall is that he read that short letter to me with so much emotion and sorrow that the thought of it brings tears to my mind even today. I only remember a couple of lines: It started with "My heart bleats and my heart cries when I ......." and it ended with these words "We look before and after and pine for what is not". And I remember and cherish that experience of being with him to this day. Each recollection of the debacle of East Pakistan brings to my mind vividly the scene of my father full of emotions about his memories of the times and company of his friend(s) and the great loss that it represented to the dreams of those who left everything and migrated from India to Pakistan. Pakistan represented so much sacrifice, so much enthusiasm, so much promise and so many great expectations of the happy times that were to be awaiting for us in our own free country!
Friday, March 20, 2015
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Friday, March 6, 2015
How to Create Impact on Society: A Case Study of Experiential Learning Intervention in a Course on Social Advocacy
It was around 2007-08, I was chatting with some top decision making executives of five private universities/institutes in Pakistan. As is customary in Pakistan, the discussion invariably turned towards lamenting the sorry state of affairs in Pakistan, how Pakistan is going down the drain and how its situation is increasingly becoming deplorable. After a while, I could take it no longer and was forced to make an outburst that went something like the following:
Of all the people in Pakistan, we who are sitting around this table have no right to blame others for the sorry and dismal state that we find ourselves in! We, gentlemen, are in command of at least 20,000 students in the three major cities of Pakistan and these students often remain with us for at least two to four years. The students of our institutions hail from resourceful families. Our universities have enough resources. We can influence the type of courses that we offer, the content of these course and even the teachers who are conducting these courses. We can even fire or change the teachers. Collectively we are churning out over 4,000 graduates every year who have gone through the process designed and approved by us. Why can't we produce even 400 change agents who can transform the business and societal environment of Pakistan and who can turn the tide of our social deterioration?