- Thank you all for welcoming me back. On a personal note, the warm welcome-back emails which I received have reminded me of a couplet from my favorite poet and novelist Ibne Safi which used for starting his preface upon resuming after a gap of three years (as compared to my petty three months): "Kiya samajhtay ho jaam khali hai/Phir chalaknay lagay suboo, aao" (What do you think, the cup is empty? Flasks are overflowing again, Come!).
Some have been more curious than others, and have asked many interesting questions:
* "I see the West as a failure in terms of morality and spiritualism but in every other sense they are leaving (or rather than have left) the Muslim world far behind"
* "So we aren't limited! We can see BEYOND dimensions! How is it possible? What do you think about imagination? It is faster than the speed of light?"
Pretty big questions, as you can see! Strictly as a mortal, I cannot help feeling intimated and flattered at the same time for having been asked these. You'd like to join the discussion (I'm sure), but first let's be clear about where we are headed with all this.
We are exploring the possibility of forecasting the future as a means for better understanding of ourselves as a nation and, eventually, of the humankind.
For that purpose, I am trying to introduce a new method which I have discovered through Iqbal (and Toynbee didn't have a clue of it because by his own admission he wasn't familiar with the work of Iqbal at least till as late as 1973).
Let's begin at the end, let me repeat what I foresee in the next 20 years when I apply this method to the history of Pakistan. Some of these might seem obvious today (but they weren't when I posted them on my blog in October last), while some might not be so obvious (especially the last one which sounds a bit too optimistic after some of the critical moments I foresee in the middle period).
I am neither being swayed by pessimism, nor by optimism because I don't believe in either: just like Iqbal I am a diehard meliorist (look up "meliorism" on Wikipedia if you haven't heard about it before):
2007-10: DISENCHANTMENT WITH THE WEST - Disenchantment with the West, having acquired a new hype in July 2008, is likely to escalate relentlessly because there is a regrettable lack of quality communication between West and the people of Pakistan, especially the unschooled masses.
2010-16: ISOLATION - Once the phase of disenchantment reaches its peak, an increasing number of Pakistanis including the educated segment are likely to become culturally and mentally isolated from the West.
POSSIBLE CONFLICT - Conflict of interests easily explodes into its actual equivalent when negotiations fail. The absence of quality dialogue between West and the masses of Pakistan also can lead to an actual conflict if disenchantment and isolation are not addressed in the earlier stages (and in this conflict, India might proxy the West).
2017-26: CRISIS OF FEDERATION - Pakistan was all about discovering new possibilities but the various theories about forms of government tried out here, and the existing perception about federation, have been West-defined to various extents. These may get affected as a consequence. In that case, for a decade beginning around 2017, it may seem as if the idea of Pakistan as conceived in the Lahore Resolution of 1940 has become irrelevant in some ways if not all.
2026-27: EMERGENCE OF INHERENT UNITY - The units which now constitute the federation of Pakistan have been interdependent since the earliest known period of civilization. This inherent unity of the region can easily surprise the onlookers by discovering a new channel for its continuation.
IN OTHER WORDS, no matter what discord and devastation the provinces of Pakistan may witness between 2010 and 2026, they seem destined to discover a profound working unity in 2027. It might turn out to be a unity unlike any other in the world, and a ready source of a formidable moral force.
BUT I am not saying by any means that the road is going to be easy - for all we know, many of us might not survive to see that day if we do not make the right choices NOW. "Where there is no vision, people perish," Iqbal used to quote from the prophet Solomon.
You can post your comments at http://republicofrumi.blogspot.com