We are not poor in terms of material wealth. Our poverty is the poverty of ideas (iflaas-e-takhayyul). This we don’t worry about. For instance, we want to educate (only) Muslim children (I don’t know why) so that they could (merely) earn livelihood for their families. It gives an impression as if this is the only thing that they will be capable of. And we don’t want to overburden those poor fellows. We do not educate them so that they enrich the society with the wealth of ideas. This is not surprising. We treat others the same way as we treat ourselves. If we have underestimated ourselves then we will certainly underestimate ALL others. If we do not believe in ourselves we will not believe in anyone else. It always reminds of the following:

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is; treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”

Our iflaas-e-takhayyul is visible in the fact that we pay very little attention to what should we be teaching and with what objectives in view. We do not pause to find out any civilizational goals for us. We believe in DOING – presuming that we have already done enough THINKING. If we already had done enough thinking then there would have been no need to keep stressing on doing. In a gathering of many ‘modern’ educated friends where we were to discuss the ‘software’ side of a small educational project we immediately reached to the stage of donation – though initially we had agreed to spend more time on the software side and less on the ‘hardware’. After a few questions it became clear that we were not at all on the same page. When it was pointed out that we want to actually collect threefold of the amount that anyone had in his mind the people laughed. We want to ‘walk the talk’ before even ‘talking the talk’. This is darkness on the top of darkness.

Whenever we hear “Let us (just) do” we should unmistakably think that this one sentence indicates a huge gap and a very big problem. This single statement bears witness to the fact that our educational set-up has miserably failed. It wasn’t easy to reach to this discovery. It has been a tough journey and we have spent (paid) a lot for the luxury of this one sentence. And we want to pay even more! “Let us (just) do” means “We shouldn’t waste our valuable time in visualizing what we want, in setting some specific goals and in deciding a VISION. We have already whiled away much useful time on these things and they haven’t delivered any worthwhile results. We should not commit the same mistake (folly) again and again. We should act smart, you know.” Please enlighten us that if not this then what else iflaas-e-takhayyul is.

We as a people have less ideas and more emotionalism. We are poor in ideas and affluent in ego and arrogance. When it comes to rigidity we can scale any heights. When it comes to the impact of conditioning effects even on the highly educated we will outsmart any other people. If we still believe that our poverty is the poverty of material wealth and we have enough ideas then the latter assertion itself defies the first assumption. More ideas must have yielded more material prosperity, too. If we agree that we need more wealth of ideas then we need to see how much we are focusing on the ways of getting it. The amount of discussion and concern for critical thinking will bear witness to it. If we have already exhausted the discussion on this subject then we should have seen the results.

We as a people want to move very fast without even knowing the direction. We have found our earlier generations moving (actually groping) in the same unknown direction. We are not ready to slow down a bit. Our current predicament, however, clearly indicates that we are in a state of iflaas – as the ‘rich’ (educated) and ‘poor’ (uneducated) are alike. This is what defies logic. If there could be some quota or reservation for a certain percentage of ideas then I am all for it. If there is a campaign for it I would like to be a sipaahi for that. Just as if there is anyone who is going to sell patience and humbleness I want to buy a big chunk of both. If there is anyone who is willing to stay with the problems longer I will love to join him. If there is anyone who is chanting the mantra of introspection then I am going to be with him.

We need to reduce the amount of writing and speeches. Let us write and say only those things which liberate – which do not enslave and do not further condition. Let us ask ourselves about the relation between one write-up and another and one speech and another. Let us not forget the previous topic when we move to the next. Why do we forget the previous emails – anyways? We do so because we have learnt it from science. Science (a wonderful tool) is atomistic (partial) and not holistic in outlook. We can remove the poverty of ideas (iflaas-e-takhayyul) if we realize it first. Also, there is a link between our iflaas-e-takhayyul and the world (not) becoming a better place.