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Paras, the rock

Huzaima Bukhari

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you”―John Bunyan

Paras is an Indian mythological golden rock which, on touching any metal turns it into gold but remains just a rock itself. Believing the veracity of this myth, many have wandered far and wide in its search but in vain, yet there seems no end in seeking for something that could overnight transform them from poverty to prosperity. The gold Midas touch is what many aspire without realizing that once infected, even their dearest ones may turn into lifeless stones leaving them all alone with wealth they can never share and enjoy, for what good is being rich if they cannot have the pleasure of their loved ones’ company?

Those who seek paras are perhaps not aware that it lies within every living body. They only need to look inside themselves and discover the golden rock that can change their destiny and that of others’ too. There are millions of people who have benefited from at least one paras in their lives and moved onto dizzying heights leaving behind that onewho enabled their take-off but itself remained in oblivion. In contrast there are others who themselves became paras for those who touched them. Gold is precious but paras is invaluable yet people endeavour to reach out for the attractive and shining piece of metal that appears more precious to them.

For the hidden and unacknowledged parases of this world the message is that your disappointments in life need not discourage you from bringing happiness in other people’s lives. What may appear as a shattered dream for one’s self could emerge as reality in someone else’s world if we only learn to pick up the broken pieces and build afresh, even if it is on another’s base. There are many builders in this world who build for others but never get to own a building, teachers who teach potential leaders but remain subjugated themselves, employees who persevere to facilitate their employers in earning super-duper profits but retire with meager pensions—they all are paras in their own milieu.

When one thinks of a rock, one envisions a sturdy heavy stone that is hard and maybe difficult to pick with bare hands. Moreover, if one does manage to pick it up and hurl at something, it would definitely do nothing but destroy though this is not the case with paras—it constructs and enriches qualities.

We are born not to serve ourselves but to take care of others therefore every human being is a paras that converts other human beings into gold, if only we allow ourselves the privilege to understand this secret because as Michael P. Watson puts it: “Strong people don’t put others down…They lift them up.” A lot has been written and spoken about selflessness, yet these days it has started becoming more about what a particular individual wants around which his/her world revolves regardless of others in the orbit. Perhaps this is the main reason why rate of divorce and enmity between peoples and nations are escalating. This is a truly disturbing state of affairs especially when life today is not as tedious as it used to be without technology and without material progress a few decades back. With the modern day comforts and conveniences humans should be paying more attention towards building up their relationships, touching others to serve their needs instead of own, providing opportunities to those who are lagging behind rather than working in isolation for self-fulfillment only, because as the world is rapidly moving towards materialism this is vital for salvation of the human race.

Progressive and advanced countries also need to review their international policies especially in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic that has caused the whole world to realize the fragility of human life. Had these nations utilized their resources in uniting earthlings instead of manufacturing and promoting weapons of mass destruction, the earth would have been a much better place to live. On the contrary, they looted and plundered other nations, filled up their coiffeurs, established their superiority, laid barren their colonies and worst of all, made sure that when they eventually left them there would be an unstoppable stream of conflicts and misery that would forever keep them entangled in their ruthless clutches. They are proven rocks of devastation!

However, truth is truth. Noted American economist and professor, Jeffrey Sachs’ speech at the UN Food Systems (Pre-Summit) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ1xc491mnU) is an eye-opener and a wake-up call where every word is worth listening. In extremely simple terms, he has presented the idea of the rich countries, wealthy corporations and the handful few billionaires to become paras for all the downtrodden peoples of the world if we are to leave behind us sustainable growth [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of World Bank by 2030], protection and management of the world’s ecosystems and peaceful environment for our future generations. In order to attain the status of paras we need to apply reverse psychology to Greg Bear’s dialogue in his novel Hull Zero Three: “Welcome to the truth of our world—a massive seed shot out to the stars, filled with deadly children. A seed designed to slay everything it touches.”


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).

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