|Unhappy is the land that breeds no heroes
Daily: The Nation
“ Society is founded not on the ideals but on the nature of man…we may define human
nature as the fundamental tendencies and feelings of mankind. The most basic tendencies
we shall call instincts….” say famous philosophers Will and Ariel Durant in The Lessons of
History (chapter v).
Out of the given six human instincts, to accomplish ‘nature of man’, ‘Fight’ is a positive while
‘Flight’ is a negative instinct according to the aforementioned authors. With the reference of
instinct of ‘Fight’ (to defend oneself), ‘initiative individual’ is a person who endeavors to
defend the whole society. That is why, he is also called Hero.
In this backdrop, if we affirm “Unhappy is the land that needs heroes”, as per the assertion
of Galileo in a play The Life of Galileo (scene 13) written by a German dramatist, Bertolt
Brecht, it means that we are challenging nature of man. A human society devoid of
production of heroes is like a barren land having no positive instinct to flourish. Fortunately,
this is not the situation with my motherland, Pakistan -- a land of Jawan Sawar M. Hussein,
Major Aziz Bhatti and Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas. They, like several other known and
unknown, remained ‘initiative individuals’ to defend their motherland even at the cost of
their own lives. They did not believe in ‘Flight’— the negative instinct.
To accept the notion of “Unhappy is the land that needs heroes”, will be a great injustice to
those who have been working selflessly to serve Pakistan in this age of ‘Self’. It is not only
the Lahore Resolution of 1940, a great gathering of predecessors of Pakistanis, but every
August 14th reminds us the pledge towards our land i.e. to be ready to sacrifice our lives,
honour and property. It was the same pledge of sacrifice coupled with the basic human
‘positive instinct’ of defence that pushed Pakistanis unanimously to the decision of
acquisition of nuclear capability—at all costs.
In its essence, Pakistan’s nuclear bomb was less an ‘Islamic Bomb’ to defend a ‘Muslim
world’ than a ‘Pakistani bomb’ to defend Pakistan’s borders. To put it in perspective, the
USA remained skeptical of winning the ‘Cold War’ in post-II world war ‘silent crisis’. It could
not find courage to challenge openly even the India-USSR nexus by sending its 7th fleet to
help out Pakistan, despite all the military pacts and agreements. Hence, it was not only the
1971 crisis but also the 1974 nuclear test (Similing Buddah) of India that threw Pakistan into
a helpless position.
Even after the end of the Cold war in 1991 formally which brought Capitalism in the
forefront and with a winning claim, the concept of market economy went in favour of India as
a bigger market, besides its strategic position vis-à-vis China. The consequent USA’s tilt in
India’s favour again disfavored Pakistan and the latter was denied delivery of F-16
airplanes, on one pretext or another, for which the requisite money had been paid.
At that juncture of history, Pakistanis were mindful of a famous dialogue of what Socrates
said to Aristippus (one of his followers) quoted in Memorabilia by Xenophon (Book ii, Ch. 1,
§12) “If, while living among mankind, you shall think it proper ‘neither to rule nor to be
ruled’, I think you will soon see that the stronger know how to treat the weaker as slaves”.
‘To be weaker’ is a forerunner of ‘slave’. To that reference, at least two people deserve
appreciation. One the ‘Jawans’ who stood alert and awoke on the borders and second a
scientist, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who worked day and night in a laboratory to bring out
something positive, as the both categories did not believe in ‘Flight’. They were not ready to
be considered ‘weak’ not to say of ‘slave’.
The development of a nuclear weapon became fruitless without an appropriate delivery
system especially after the denial of the due F-16 airplanes to Pakistan by the USA. Its
substitute was got in shape of missiles. Even if the claim stands true that it was of North-
Korean origin, a Pakistani is least concerned about it. The delivery system was so important
that even a common Pakistani was murmuring to get it from any nook and corner of the
world by hook or by crook. The reason was not the defiance of the world but the same
human positive instinct i.e. to defend with fight. It was the same instinct that justifies the act
of the USA of throwing of nuclear bombs on two cities of Japan—the devastation
unprecedented hitherto in human history of warfare.
While qualifying the stance of ‘Unhappy is the land that needs heroes’, some writers quote
a saying of an English philosopher of 19th century, Herbert Spencer who said “Hero-
worship is strongest where there is least regard for human freedom”. However, we must not,
at the same time, overlook the famous saying of Dr. Walter E. Weyl mentioned in The End
of the War (page 83) that “Democracy is a luxury; it can be maintained only in a moderately
secure and pacific world”. Whether the concept can be applied to the whole world or one
country, it remained more applicable to Pakistan. That is, security on borders and peace in
society are the prerequisites to yield the fruits of democracy. Moreover, peace in a society
is secondary to its security (defence). Hence, one of the reasons of military ventures to run
Pakistan as per its own parameters can be visualized through the same glasses of ‘defence
first and democracy later’. However, now, there seems a merger of the two i.e. ‘defence and
democracy together’ as an evolved formula purely in a Pakistani context.
Services of Dr. Qadeer Khan are multidimensional. He, besides making the defence of
Pakistan invincible, produced a team of scientists who can redevelop the nuclear capability
if it is destroyed by any enemy attack, as happened in case of Iraq—and now its resultant
helplessness and humiliation. Moreover, various educational and research institutes for
future generation of Pakistan are other contributions. Having provided security and pride to
Pakistanis, now he is insecure and pride-less. He is being criticized in the Western media.
However, President General Musharaf has pardoned him after he read out a ‘confessional
statement’ on PTV.
To a Pakistani, pardoning means ‘responsibility of security’. That is to say, it is duty of the
President, now onward, to stand in between the whole world and Dr. Qadeer. This is the
point where from commences a new era of hero-making. The President is rightly poised for
that. Like the President George Bush, I also praise General Musharaf for the way he
applies his common sense. However, unlike George Bush I know his Pakistani mind-set.
While shouldering the ‘responsibility of security’ of Dr. Qadeer, he may give ‘certain
refusals’ to Mr. Collin Powell in the forthcoming visit of the latter to Islamabad. General
Musharaf knows that while doing so he will find Pakistani nation standing-by him shoulder-
to-shoulder. The reason is, Pakistan is not the land that only breeds heroes but it is also
grateful to its heroes. Pakistani believes that the moment breeding of heroes stops,
Pakistan would be an unhappy land to live.
This is how, Andrea (an assistant of an ancient Italian astronomer and physicist) was right
when he said in the scene 13 of the play The Life of Galileo that ‘Unhappy is the land that
breeds no heroes!’ It is basically ‘time and space’ that determines which part of a dialogue
is true when and where.
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