Sanu Ki

No country can ever unshackle the oppression of its ruling elite if its people choose ‘silence’ over voicing their concerns about the visible oppression. This is how the “culture of silence” is systemically transitioned into a “conspiracy of silence.”

By Muhammad Arslan Qadeer | June 2023

A few years back, one evening, while having a quiet sitting with my elderly German colleague, who happened to be our general manager, on the eve of his departure from Pakistan, we randomly got hooked up in a dabbling discussion. The question he asked me was not a perplexing one, yet his remarks on my response continue to echo in my ears to date—something that would remain etched on the surface of my mind. It makes me question our very existence as a nation and the quagmire that we seem to be sinking into — a seemingly bottomless pit into which we see ourselves being sucked deeper and deeper with each passing day.

He asked me as to what, in my opinion, was the cause of the terrible tribulation befalling our country and nation. I gave him a reply that we all are quite accustomed to, and now can prove our point with great prowess; the entire credit for our deprivations and poverty went to the British Masters. It was them who made us miss the bus to social and human development, economic activity, education; they planned to keep us subservient to them like toothless slaves, and to date, we still don’t find the traction under our very feet. I aided my response with some textbook-validated fuel premised upon how the Industrial Revolution in England’s history was actually a result of the de-industrialization in India, telling him how the “Inglorious Empire” devoured us like a voracious Cyclops.

He then said, whatever excuses this country may have to offer, the fact remains that every second country on the globe, including those in the First World, has been through such challenges at one point or the other. However, in their case, they succeeded in getting out of troubled waters by taking steps in the right direction and moving on. According to him, in our case, the real culprit is the de facto continuation of the regime of the colonial oppressors that had merely swapped faces and the failure of our people to raise a voice against the tyranny and oppression that had continued to rage our country as of yet. No country can ever unshackle the oppression of its people if its masses choose ‘silence’ over voicing their concern about the visible oppression that is rampant, and this continues to hit them in the gut. The problem, according to him, lied not with the colonialists, who have long gone, but with the deafening silence of the masses against the neo-colonialists that continue to reign. This is how the “culture of silence” has systemically transitioned into a “conspiracy of silence.”

It has now struck me with increasing clarity; the real cause of our masses to maintain their silence even in the teeth of grave oppression, seeing wrong being done with impunity. There are multiple causes of this phenomenon.

When people are driven away from education, slowly and methodically ripped off their basic rights, deprived of basic facilities such as education, medical, water, electricity, and employment, and are treated as pests devoid of human sensitivities, they actually become so. This hidden dimension of the nature of the human mind has been described in memoirs by many prisoners of war (including individuals from the West and East) languishing in foreign prison camps with appalling living conditions. The absence of hope makes human nature behave in a mysterious manner transcending and pushing aside all logic of reasoning and fears. They start thinking of themselves to be a non-entity, who, irrespective of what they think or feel is immaterial. Initially, they lose their critical thinking abilities and their right to question. Then the captives (read ruling elite) capitalize on this loss; it transforms them into a pack of hungry creatures, indoctrinated to worship them as godots, for a few scraps of food in order to survive. A herd which, no matter how much their captors pilfer and plunder, could not think beyond Bhutto Zinda hai, justifying them to the extent of Khata hai to lagata bhi hai. The next stage is when the ruling elite would make them blind, dumb, and deaf and would render them genetically incapable of thinking beyond personalities. They lose their very sense of questioning, their rational capacity to differentiate, in empirical terms, between right and wrong. It doesn’t matter to them seeing their masters having palatial lifestyles, while they languish perennially in the squalor of abject misery.

I have seen thorough professionals and well-educated individuals displaying the same behaviour. Aloof, cold, and unempathetic would best describe them. Nothing on earth seems to disturb them. These are the individuals who have sent (settled) their children to greener pastures. Having achieved their lifetime aim, they deem themselves to be sitting in the “departure lounge.”

Then we have the class belonging to lower strata, the proverbial ‘have nots’. These are the people who neither have the money nor hope in the system. They have lost all trust in the system. For them, all that exist are perpetual miseries and sorrows. It is immaterial which government comes and goes. What they know is that their condition can not possibly go further down. Resultantly, there is a visible absence of ownership. Deprivation and destitution coupled with hardship and injustices compound the syndrome, snatching from them the sense of ownership.

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5 thoughts on “Sanu Ki

  • June 2, 2023 at 1:13 pm

    This wonderful and interesting article I must say, depicts our society so well. Arslan wrote about casual behavior in a manner that he put our attention almost
    Treat to read.keep it up

  • June 2, 2023 at 3:17 pm

    Quite an accurate review of the historical factors that define the sorry state of affairs, that are still a reflection of our colonial past. I, however, feel that our leaders, the so called educated elite and the societal / political icons of the country, thrive on these very social disparities, when they finally achieve their coveted status. And strangely , the fortunate few among the oppressed, who manage to break the traditional shackles, also end up aping the norms of the elite, conveniently forgetting their mission and their vociferously proclaimed progressive politico social objectives. So the rot not only continues, but also becomes denser.

  • June 2, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    A very good read. Depicts the miseries of enslaved general populace; and colonial mindset of ruling elites. But this is part of the problem; but where does lie it’s solution? A pessimistic reply may be that our society is fearful of putting up any renaissance efforts being wary of their fate by the ruling elites and mafia who don’t want a change. However I remain optimistic about a great change though at snail pace. Rome wasn’t built in a night and no nation can become great lest lot of sacrifices and time needed for the change.
    Let’s wait till our general populace goes from “sanu ki” mode to ” tuwahnu ki”.
    Pakistan zindabad.

  • June 6, 2023 at 11:44 pm

    The awe-inspiring Muhammad Arslan Qadeer has exhibited exceptional skills in his thought-provoking article titled “Sanu Ki.” With great precision and insight, the author delves into the intricate dynamics of the “conspiracy of silence” and the detrimental impact it has on a nation’s progress. Qadeer’s analysis is both critical and thought-provoking, shedding light on the significance of silence as a tool of oppression and hindrance to a nation’s true potential. Through his eloquent writing style and the creation of meaningful dialogue, the author successfully engages readers and prompts them to reflect on the power dynamics at play. Qadeer’s ability to tackle such a sensitive topic and stimulate discourse demonstrates his mastery in conveying complex ideas and fostering a deeper understanding of societal issues. His contribution to the field of critical analysis is commendable, and his article serves as a catalyst for change and awareness in addressing the culture of silence.

  • June 11, 2023 at 5:35 am

    Very Right the writer has explained the concept of Silence which is very much present in our masses , that is Sanu Ki .

    Sad & unfortunate.

    Thumbs Up for the writer