History bears witness that nations have evolved from nadir to zenith by sheer diligence and collective grit of their people. Nations are not born great, collective will of people help them achieve greatness and makes them great. Similarly, the societies are never inherently desolate; ideological voids, vices, preference to individual comfort over collective good and inertia are common attributes that set in the decay. Arab’s were in the abyss of ignorance and locked in petty quibbles and ruthless tribal strife before becoming one nation with the advent of Islam, which turned the desert Bedouin into a great conqueror and Arab street into the cradle of great civilization. There is no doubt that leadership of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ignited the sprit within the Arabs to usher in such a powerful revolution whose effects reverberate even today after more than 14 centuries. This again reaffirms the belief that nature does not change destiny of people if they themselves are not willing to change.
During middle-ages, today’s sole super power, America, was a colony of the British, and Europe itself was in dark ages, riddled with bloodshed owing to intra-religious and intra-Christen discord before the renaissance which preceded the industrial revolution. And in the present-day world, not more than seven decades ago, great Confucian civilization was soaked in opium, deeply impoverished and plagued with internal strife before Mao Ze Dong took China for the ‘long march’ towards great power status. India was under the tutelage of British Empire for centuries before the present-day turn-around of its flexing muscles and seeking a super power status. And not very far ago, the heroic struggle of people of South Africa saw end of the scourge of apartheid.
People in these societies strived to throw the yoke of slavery, poverty and obscurantism and they did so over a period of time. What sustained them during the period of struggle is their belief in their SELF, their hope! In any people’s movement, pursuit for liberty has never been matched by material resource of the dominating power. But the imperialism and colonialism have been defeated, and it has become possible through the virtues of determination, solidarity, hopefulness and trust. The efficiency and deliverability of a resistance is never gauged through material recourses it possess or the number of people it commands. It is seen through the ideological rightness of the movement and truthfulness of its proponents. People’s honest enterprise is, and must never be based upon deceit.
Having said this, it should suffice saying that it is never too late for any nation and its people to go for a deep introspection. Particularly, when a society has witnessed massive churning, compromised the lives and liberties and even the dignity of its people in a hope that the transition would lead to a better world, but ended up arriving at the cross-roads of confusion wherein they start to question their past choices before deciding anything about the future course, it is always prudent to go to some bare basics. Even the decrepit definitions would help for they are the basic bedrocks upon which huge mansions of political thought and action have been laid. For instance, do we need to remind ourselves that a nation consists of [a people] with shared history and culture, and collective political vision and aspirations. When this nation acquires a geographical territory, it becomes the nation-state. A nation without a country but in search of its destiny is an objective reality, which may eventually evolve to become a nation-state also, but a state without the sense of purpose and shared values is an unviable entity which cannot sustain itself in true historical context. It is time to try and find this missing ‘purpose’.