Islands of Hope
In the words of Dr Akther Hameed Khan:
I hope that somehow, idealism is reborn… Idealists don’t live for their own benefit, but want to serve others. Where you have idealism, you have God’s blessings. Where you have good intentions, you have God’s blessings. When you work for others and have good intentions, progress is inevitable. Choose to serve God by doing good, honest work for other people rather than furthering malice by fulfilling your own selfish ambitions and greed.
Sacrifice and hard work
A nation has to be ready to work hard and make sacrifices if it wants to progress. The basic principle of development was summed up by Winston Churchill in his address to the British people, when he said: “I have nothing to promise you except blood, tears and sweat.” This is what our politicians should be telling us because our country is in a very precarious state. Instead they make us false promises…
Role of the government
The role of the people is more important than the role of the government. When Churchill was retired, people told him “you were a lion”. He replied: “No, I was not the lion. It was the nation that had the lion’s heart. My task was only to bring out the roar”. The government can do the big works – treatment plants, nullahs for sewerage, roads etc. – the rest the people will have to do themselves. And they should not take donor money for this work, either.
There is only one way of working amongst the people and that is persistence. It is like a drop of water continuously falling on a stone and making a dent in it. People will cooperate whenever there is a meaningful activity…
NGOs can’t reform the government
NGOs can’t change the government, people can. There is a saying: “Our angels reflect the nature of our spirit”. After all, why is there not as much stealing going on in the government in a country like the USA? It is not that the American government officials are inherently more honest – it is just that the people there won’t let them steal and get away it. They will even kick out their president if he does something wrong. People will fix the government, not the NGOs.
We have the same institutions as other countries – we also have universities, national airlines etc. Lyallpur Agriculture University and Chandigarh University were established at the same time – but look at the difference between them today. We also have the same parliamentary system as England, but their system works. It is not the question of the structure of institutions – it is of the people who run them. It is the people who have ruined the institutions.
If you expect material reward from this kind of work, you will fail. Don’t waste money either on unnecessary expenses. But if your approach is that of building an ashram or khanqua where one has to live simply and bear much suffering, but one is still determined not to lose hope, then you will succeed. You will attain your goals.