Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Against odds

Karachi regardless of being the largest metropolitan of Pakistan is in a dilapidated state. It has been built on the foundations of red-tapism, columns of anarchism, beams of bribery, and dynamic walls made up of political instability, sectarianism and ethnic violence. What one must not forget is, the executioner or the brains behind such mayhem, reached that status, not purely on merit, but because they had been the son, daughter, niece or nephew, or grandchild of someone in the mainstream, someone who had it all, from being able to afford a local or foreign elite school, to knowing the right people.

Among all this a newly graduated planner or architect, even if they want to work towards a better Karachi, have to come up against the same old people, who have been there while the city was being made a mess of.

The same people, mostly in their late 50s or 60s are now considered an authority on the downtrodden situation of the city and its poor populace. They are now in the forefront of all the lectures, seminars and moots regarding Karachi’s poor settlements, poor planning, environmental degradation, and heritage. Talking about how to make the situation better, and claiming the new generation should be more responsible, so on and so forth.

However, what one fails to question is, what were these people doing while all this was going on? Were they a part of the mess-creators? Or were they being outcastes while all this was being done? Were the projects they designed or executed better then what had been going on at that time?

If their projects were not any better, then they are the ones responsible as well. If they did not do anything at that time, and were silent spectators while the mess continued, then either they were not any better. And if they were doing what they are doing even now, and have been unable to bring about any change, except heading different meetings and organizations, they are worse.

Therefore, we need dedicated new people from the beginning, who are not just willing to correct what went wrong before, but are also not apologists – people who begin the right way.

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