Our aims and ambitions, our response to mass killing, our attitude towards erupting social, political and economic crises and our general outlook of self-actualization simply make us believe that our self-interest weighs more than the collective good of the society. We see poor people but a five rupees charity (or more) makes us complacent of fulfilling our responsibility as an individual. While those who overthink on the idea of making lives of poor people better settle their restless nerves stating that the system has equal opportunities for all, but only the entrepreneurs, creative minds and those who work hard can get success. Having said this they also ignore the class differences and all those privileges; like good education, health and security it gives to the elites. Such people often quote the famous quotation of Bill Gates, “If you born poor it’s not your fault but if you die poor it’s your fault.” And there are those who are least concerned about somebody being poor, maltreated or oppressed in any form.
This attitude has been inculcated by continuous indoctrination of merit and competition in the minds of people, through sponsored academicians, organizations and state and non-state institutions. Hence, in any venture of life when we face failure we just simply blame ourselves for not being able to meet the set standards; this does not leave any room to question the system itself. It cannot be denied that people who do not possess their own philosophy of life are predominated by the philosophy of state; which is to accept the system the way it is. This philosophy convinces them to find the most appropriate place in the system, wrestling against all odds. Adjusting themselves in the system and NOT vice versa, and it ultimately moves them towards corruption, unfair compromises and to bear unbearable losses, but, unfortunately, not resistance.
This system works in disguised form and in anonymity. Therefore, we most of the times fail to understand its intricacies. Not only are we being taught about this highly individualized system, it has just penetrated our souls with the passage of time. Nevertheless, it is not a consequence of some natural occurrence. The fact is this system was intentionally created for the unchecked benefits of the few, to make their life more luxurious and comfortable. These “few” are appeared both in the form of state capitalism and private capitalism. If any name describes this system, ideology or philosophy, it is none other than Neo-liberalism.
Contrary to the ideology of neoliberalism, when we go through the history of sub-continent, it becomes evident that we used to live in the form of a community. It was a deliberate attempt of Britishers to unleash people from the bonds that made them united, in order to shape a society purely based on individual grounds. They tried every strategy to create divisions. Later on, they capitalized their vested interests on these divisions to materialize their political motives.
Life of the community, then, was based on the principle of collectivism. People had shared interests and they used to fight collectively on every front when needed. Family, friends, relatives and neighbors were not seen as just prerequisites of becoming a social animal as it they have turned to be in the age of neoliberalism.
The contributor is a student of political sciences at GC University, Lahore.