Revolutions gone wrong: Lesson for the people of GB

Revolutions gone wrong: Lesson for the people of GB

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Basharat Ali

George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a classic commentary on the outcome of revolutions gone wrong. This book bifurcates what revolutions can bring when they are in hands of wrong people. The story of the book revolves around a small farm owned by Mr. Jones, a character in the book. As time passes, animals realize that they are being exploited and eventually drag Mr. Jones out of his farm and finally the farm is ruled by the animals. It brings great satisfaction to the animals to work for themselves and not feed extras as was the case in previous years under Jones. But things change as Napoleon, one of the pigs, soon uses his powers to exert influence over other animals. The promises made during the start of revolution diminish as time goes by and older animals in the farm realize that things are harder for them compared to previous years but they are now too weak to change anything.  The book is based on a socialist perspective but overall it provides us with a very useful idea about the initial seduction of revolutions which can make things worse if the society is not prepared at all.

A more practical evidence of the above mentioned argument is that of Egypt. Egypt caught the fire of the Arab Spring in 2011 and soon people were on the streets protesting against the unjust rule of Hosni Mubarak. It seemed at the start that the process will eventually bring power back to the people; however, Morsi, backed by Islamic Brotherhood, came in to power. The revolution brought more misery to the population. Morsi was overthrown by Abdel Fataah Al-Sisi, ex-chief of the Army. In short, revolution in Egypt helped transfer of power from one dictator to another. People lost their chance to gain power mainly because of lack of institutions present before the revolution. Absence of political parties or groups having political structure led to the influence of Muslim Brotherhood which was the only party to have a proper structure in the post-revolution Egypt.

The purpose of citing two examples is to better understand the situation that is prevalent in the political landscape of Gilgit-Baltistan.  There are those who support the status quo and others who are against the policies of Pakistani establishment (Read: Military and civilian). Their demand is to ensure transitioning of power from the federal to the elected representatives of the region. I am not someone who is pessimistic about the future but let us consider for a moment what our elected representatives are capable of. Throughout last decade, we have experienced that our representatives are none but busy sycophants pleasing their masters who are mostly party leaders and influential bureaucrats. They are less concerned and mostly unaware about the basic needs of their constituencies. It is difficult to pinpoint a leader who is aware of geopolitical changes around the world. It will be useless to expect a miracle if the federation entrusts power on these individuals.

There is another character in Animal Farm, Squealer. Squealer has an ability to change the perception of animals using his eloquence. Squealer is a staunch supporter of Napoleon who takes control of Animal Farm soon afterwards revolution. If we connect the dots, we will play our part as Squealer if we keep on fighting for our current leaders. This scenario can only be changed if we start questioning them now and create an atmosphere of political discourse. This will help in the long run to create institutions which will be able to produce leaders who will work for the betterment of our people rather than self-interests. If we choose to neglect our duties than it will be no surprise that the fate of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan will not be very different from that of the Animal Farm.

The contributor is a  student of Economics and Politics at LUMS and can be reached at basharataly@gmail.com

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Pamir Times is the pioneering community news and views portal of Gilgit – Baltistan, Kohistan, Chitral and the surrounding mountain areas. It is a voluntary, not-for-profit, non-partisan and independent venture initiated by the youth.