“Marcus Garvey does not give a snap for anything human but justice, and that which is based upon righteousness”―Marcus Garvey
Addiction is not just habitual intake of psychoactive substances like cocaine, alcohol, heroin, cannabis, nicotine but is also related to acquiring wealth and fame. A great many people who are highly skilled and intelligent may never yearn to be known or earn riches but silently go on with their lives. The unsung heroes who sacrifice themselves on the altar of patriotism or the unknown selfless, serving mankind in all possible manners, may never become famous because they never aspire to gain fame, titles or awards yet they continue on the path of righteousness. In any case as Niccolo Machiavelli said: “It is not titles that honour men, but men that honour titles.”
Besides, for the ones yearning for high positions at any cost, whether it means overlooking one’s own incapacities or violating all norms of decency, Friedrich Nietzsche warned: “But it is the same with man as with the tree. The more he seeks to rise into the height and light, the more vigorously do his roots struggle earthward, downward, into the dark, the deep – into evil.”
These days our country and its people are confronted with innumerable problems, both on the domestic and international fronts. We are surrounded with all kinds of challenges, the solutions to which are available but unenforceable for the main reason that those who have the abilities are secluded by a swarm of highly ambitious people who just want a few moments of limelight at the expense of the nation’s security and sovereignty. No wonder Corruption Perception Index has lowered Pakistan in ranking from 31 to 28 (where 0 represents most corrupt and 100, most clean). Not that the country lacks resources, manpower, even money but these are useless if there is a dearth of structural development, good governance, justice and most importantly, rule of law. People desire only fame and riches even if it means at the cost of notoriety. As the Urdu saying goes: Budnam hongay tou kia naam na hoga?(Won’t there be fame, even in disrepute?).
Remaining steadfast, while on the road leading to true leadership where countries and nations are salvaged by righteous people whose competencies and dedication are unquestionable, is without doubts the toughest one can expect from a human being yet many have proved their mettle with their names at the forefront of history. Emphasizing the significance of righteousness in governance APJ Abdul Kalam said: “It means, people who are in high and responsible positions, if they go against righteousness, righteousness itself will get transformed into a destroyer.” Mere verdict of good character from the apex court does not imply that a person has befitting qualities to steer the ship of a nation. Righteous behavior, righteous approach, righteous mind-set, righteous endeavours, righteous objectives are all vital for deliverance from dependency and bondage—both physical and economical.
One of the first steps towards the idea of leading a country is selecting the most appropriate team. Moghul emperor, Akbar the Great (1542-1605) unable to read or write not only had immense respect for literature and arts, his hallmark was his keen perception in identifying talented men whose services he engaged in administering the massive Moghul empire. His coveted courtiers were popularly referred to as Nauratan (nine gems), whose wisdom knew no bounds. They provided Akbar with valuable advice pertaining to all departments of the realm that enabled him to hold sway over his territorial domain and win the confidence of his subjects no matter whatever their faith or ethnicity. Consolidating an empire with so much diversity was certainly not an easy task. Machiavelli ably noted: “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”
A very interesting advice by the author of The Prince goes as: “The main foundations of every state, new states as well as ancient or composite ones, are good laws and good arms you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow.” Many are bound to interpret the word ‘arms’ as weaponry which definitely is correct but if it is taken to be arms of the team around a statesman then too this suggestion seems plausible. Whether a strong military set-up or a powerful civil administration, both are extremely vital elements of a government. Only then can there be proper law and order which are pre-requisites for a viable country and a content nation. If the cogs of administrative machinery are run efficiently by righteous people it would be a win-win situation for a country and its populace.
Time and again questions are raised about the credibility of the Pakistani nation in terms of payment of taxes. Leaders and some elite members of the public believe and propagate to the world their helplessness in coaxing the ordinary people to pay tax on their real income even though in return, they are deprived of their universal entitlements. When they fail to impose taxes in a just manner on those who actually have the ability to pay, they resort to forceful extortion through indirect taxes, advances, excessive withholding and procedural harassment. These gimmicks result in a vicious circle where regulators show their muscles in the crudest fashion possible and the people, out of disgust refuse to abide by the norms of law. This predicament could have been settled if one, the chief’s basic concepts were clear with correct information as to ground realities and two, the people could explicitly see the benefits of their contributions.
Only the righteous can distinguish the righteous paths hidden behind the thick smokescreen of incompetence and illusive environment created by the blind and the unjust who are more concerned with temporary gains rather than seeing the country prosper and the people thriving only because those who can do, do not and those who cannot, do but in the end, make a mess of everything.
The writer, lawyer and author, is an Adjunct Faculty at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), member Advisory Board and Senior Visiting Fellow of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE)