Putting the Youth on Right Direction
While disagreeing with the past thinkers who say that human nature is aggressive, which radicalizes the youngsters, modern sociologists and psychologists agree that a number of factors such as historical background, cultural setup, education etc. play a key in putting the youth on right direction by deradicalizing them. They opine that these factors including some other ones are essential for nation-building of a country, so that a positive national character could emerge. In these terms, the youth in Pakistan constitutes valuable endowment and valid heritage of the nation. Fortunately, Pakistan is blessed with highly motivated and incredibly talented youth having sense of purpose and firm resolve to realize their potential. They are exceptionally eager to make positive contributions for the well-being of this country. In this context, provision of right opportunities, social justice, balanced guidance and respect for merit are the key features to guide the youth towards right path. As regards Pakistan, besides other factors, family background, peer group interactions and grooming treasures of educational institutions play vital role in character building, attaining professional grace, developing positive attitude and acquiring sense of compassion. Educational institutions like colleges and universities besides providing the young adults to improve their mental faculties and enhance technical prowess also guide them to build moral strength and learn ethical values, essentially required to handle practical spells of life. Every nation desires to maintain its social order, develop orderly socio-political structure to observe its esteemed traditions, customs and perpetuating moral standards. Hence, balanced curriculum and standards of excellence are developed by the educational institutions to encourage the students to learn and demonstrate socially approved conduct, desirable etiquette, sense of tolerance, respect for law and holding teachers and parents to adhere the social values with high esteem. Quality education and exemplary models will enable the youth to internalize values through a socialization process. At this crucial juncture, Pakistan has been facing multi-faceted problems such as acute financial crisis, poverty, unemployment, so¬c¬ial inequities, lack of security, loadshading of electricity and gas in wake of continuous acts of terrorism. But, our young persons have shown a greater enthusiasm and energy in coping with these multiple problems. So, their vitality and power of determination is praiseworthy. On the on side, enemies of the Pakistan are using various schemes to manipulate the youth by provocating them to join the militants in order to conduct subversive activities, on the other side, a majority of the Pakistani youth is well-determined in thwarting the nefarious designs of the terrorists who are involved in brutal acts of terrorism and have brought embarrassment to the entire nation. Regrettably, some political and religious entities including some media analysts are misguiding the youngsters that it is elseone’s war, not Pakistan’s war, but the youth is well-aware that it is our own war against terrorism, as the militants are being supported by external enemies of the country. However, the youth in certain segments of our society has been misled by few selfish and greedy individuals who tend to exploit them through their money, status and knowledge. Prevalent political instability and social disorder caused by growing extremism and radicalism have increased the level of frustration among the youngsters who have now been wavering been fact and scepticism. Therefore, they show signs of deviant behavior by disregarding social norms, cultural values and time-tested traditions. Today, one end of social continuum points at extreme liberals who appear to have lost respect for every norm, custom and value, while extremist elements advocate radical philosophies. Resultantly, obscenity and vulgarity demonstrated by liberals lead to offensive disposition, while radicals mark their signatures through criminal acts of violence. Society as a whole bears the brunt, as repulsive behavior of liberals brings sense of shame and guilt—while painful bloodshed is caused by extremists and radicals. Despite all of this, the Pakistani youth is fully aware of the dangers which lurk ahead and the impediments which lie in the path of realizing their full potential and a brighter future. In this respect, the government of Pakistan needs to take serious measures to positively exploit the enthusiasm and energy of the youth not only in coping with the political instability, social strife and economic problems, but also menace of terrorism in the country. For the purpose, our own media must show courage by denouncing all acts of terrorism, and stop providing space to these terrorists, as media statements by the spokesmen of the militant groups simply glorify the cause of terrorism in one way or the other. Thus, media reports must stop misguiding the youngsters. They must point out that these terrorists have accelerated their anti-social, undemocratic and un-Islamic practices in the country where their merciless activities continue unabated. Hence, they must motivate the youth by emphasizing the necessity of unity to fight the ruthless enemy. It is notable that education and research are very essential for the development of a country, as we can see in the west. So, strenuous efforts for peace and an atmosphere conducive to the pursuit of education, research and vocational interests are of prime importance in relation to the youth. For the purpose, educational institutions must develop balanced curriculum and an appropriate guidance-system to sublimate the talent of the youth towards triumphant and glorious ends. Teachers must act as role models, setting personal examples in every decision making process.
In this regard, a system must be developed to enhance character building capacity, which should entails formulation of behavior and a monitoring mechanism. Students must become active participants of monitoring schemes, encouraging rule of law, learning leadership tasks and offering meaningful and positive criticism.
Merit must be respected and sense of positive competition be enhanced among students. Trends and tendencies having temptations of immorality must be curbed through open debates, while provost system in the educational institutions must operate with assertive vigor to guide the radicals and extreme liberals so as to draw balance in their outlooks optimistically. Particularly, academic institutions must develop the curriculum in order to enhance moral values and quality attributes having lifetime sustainability. Balanced guidance must be provided to the students with the aim to develop professional goals and to build character qualities.
It is the duty of teachers and educational institutions to mould their students into refined individuals—capable of analyzing any issue, construing relevant conclusions and taking correct decisions. Sense of compassion and mental capacity to tolerate dissent must be inculcated amongst the young students. Such grooming would make them responsible and useful citizens of Pakistan.
No doubt, Pakistani youth which is full of enthusiasm and energy has already expressed firm resolve to fight the menace of terrorism, and to play their role for the security of Pakistan, while helping the country in diversified fields for nation-building purposes. Inspite of it, there is a dire need to put the youth on right direction by providing balanced guidance to them, enabling them to follow the correct path, realize their full potential and make positive contributions for the well-being of the society and the country.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations