And I don’t target the youth here – I never can – for the idea of history that has been inculcated in our system over the years is one that hardly does justice to this field; history is supposed to be read, to be read, and to be read. Not the ideas, but the events take precedence, and these are supposed to be rote learned by the unwitting student along with a million other formulas and equations. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with this notion, knowing dates and places is good of course, but the problem that has risen out of this whole phenomenon is that over the years the youth has become more and more distanced with its history. It never imagines the actions of our great leaders of the past, or the courage shown by their counterparts in movements such as the Aligarh Movement, as standards that can be aspired for and be possibly achieved. Instead, this sacred past is put on to a mantle so high, with such reverence, that it seems to be sheer lunacy for them to think that they can emulate such revolutions if and when required. History is stripped off of its sense of continuity and transformed into a static event that happened somewhere in the past – and statics have never attracted me.
The need therefore arises to realize that we are as much capable of bringing about change as any other nation might have been or will be, that the events of past struggles being unfurled in front of us are not merely our ancestors’ stories, they are our stories, and that the youth that inspired even the Quaid need not be transformed into a tomb, it is still very much alive and kicking. The statuette of history that sits on the mantelpiece like a completed piece of art needs to be broken, for we didn’t authorize it and neither is it complete. Who are we? We are the youth, and we are still making history.
By : Imran Sarwar