Pakistan Needs An Intellectual Revolution – OpEd
By Irfan Mahar
Intellectualism refers to the culture of learning, education, and critical thinking. It is a crucial element for the growth and development of any society. The intellectual revolution is a crucial concept that needs to be understood by less developed countries to help them develop and grow.
Less developed countries (LDCs) continue to lag behind in terms of economic growth and development compared to their more developed counterparts. While some may attribute this to a lack of resources or unfavorable global economic conditions, others argue that the issue lies in the lack of intellectualism within these societies. In this regard, LDCs need an intellectual revolution to drive their development and growth. Similarly, Pakistan is one of the developing countries that has been struggling with political instability, economic challenges, and social issues for several decades. To overcome these obstacles and advance towards progress, Pakistan needs an intellectual revolution.
Pakistan is facing several challenges that have hindered the development of intellectualism in the country. The factors include political instability, low literacy rates, inadequate resources, and social issues such as poverty, ethnic clashes, corruption, greed, among others. Political instability has been a significant issue in Pakistan since its inception, with frequent coups and changes in government. This instability has hindered the growth of intellectualism by disrupting educational institutions and discouraging critical thinking. Low literacy rates are another significant factor that hinders intellectualism in Pakistan. According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, Pakistan’s literacy rate was only 62.3% in 2018, which is significantly lower than other developing countries. This low literacy rate is due to inadequate resources, lack of access to education, and cultural norms that prioritize male education over female education. Education is a fundamental tool for enhancing intellectualism and creativity, which are essential for development. However, Pakistan has limited access to education, with low literacy rates, inadequate resources, and poor infrastructure.
Social issues such as poverty and corruption also hinder intellectualism in Pakistan. Poverty limits access to education and creates a culture of survival rather than learning. Corruption in Pakistan is widespread, and it impedes progress by hindering economic growth, undermining social development, and eroding public trust in government institutions. Corruption is a major impediment to intellectualism because it creates an environment where intellectualism is discouraged, and mediocrity is rewarded. Furthermore, the country’s contemporary social climate has instilled avarice and self-interest in the majority of its citizens. Greed and self-interest have grown ingrained in Pakistani culture. People have narrowed their thinking to individual, family, group, and party interests rather than the communal benefits of the country. Individuals and various groups have fought for personal benefits in social, economic, political, and religious contexts. Most people do not comprehend communal and national interests, which make any nation strong, developed, affluent, and advanced, ultimately benefiting all citizens. To address these difficulties, Pakistan requires an intellectual revolution.
An intellectual revolution in Pakistan would entail a radical shift in the way people think and view the world. It would involve embracing a culture of learning, innovation, and critical thinking. This would require a concerted effort to address the challenges that hinder intellectualism in Pakistan. One way to promote intellectualism in Pakistan is by investing in education. The government needs to allocate more resources to education, create policies that promote intellectualism, and prioritize education over other areas. In this regard, Pakistan’s government requires to bring about a revolution in the aims and methods of academic inquiry, its whole character and structure, so that it takes up its proper task of promoting wisdom rather than just acquiring knowledge. Furthermore, the government needs to ensure that education is accessible to all, regardless of gender, social status, or geographic location. Moreover, another way to promote intellectualism in Pakistan is by encouraging the exchange of ideas and knowledge across borders. Intellectualism thrives in environments where there is an exchange of ideas and knowledge. Pakistan can benefit from the expertise and knowledge of other countries by collaborating on research projects and engaging in academic exchange programs.
Pakistan needs an intellectual revolution to overcome the challenges that have hindered its growth and development. Intellectualism is essential for driving innovation, technological advancements, and critical thinking, which are all necessary for development. The promotion of intellectualism in Pakistan will require a concerted effort by the government, civil society, and individuals to create a culture of learning, innovation, and critical thinking. Government of Pakistan needs to invest in education, research, and development, and create policies that promote intellectualism. Pakistan can move forward and overcome its issues by investing in education, supporting the flow of ideas, and promoting an intellectual culture.
The writer is PhD Scholar at the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad and Research Officer at Think Tank based in Islamabad.