November 26, 1967, is the foundation day of the Baloch Students’ Organization and it is now 49 years old.
In the intervening years, it has seen a lot of ups and downs but has proved its mettle in the Baloch national struggle and remains as its vanguard, the nursery for the future Baloch leadership. Now it has to shoulder even more responsibilities: to educate, both politically and academically, the Baloch youth because the Pakistani establishment considers the politically-educated youth as the greatest threat to its exploitation and injustices in Balochistan. The BSO-Azad upholds its legacy faithfully.
Baloch students and friends in Canada asked me write something on “Why politics is necessary for students”. What I wrote was read there at a seminar and here I am sharing it with you.
Dear friends, fellow travelers, ladies and gentlemen:
I have been asked by friends to say a few words on “Why politics is necessary for students”. Now writing about it is as difficult or as easy as writing about “Why is food necessary for life” because politics for students is as necessary as food is for life.
It is not only the knowledge that you acquire from the books that determines the sort of person you become; to be what you become is deeply influenced by the ethos that your society, your home, your friends and of course your politics expose you to.
We are the product of our environment and the politics that we choose. But before we go further I would like to give an example as to why politics is necessary for students.
We all know that fires are devastating for forests as they destroy the trees and the wild life but these fires also have another role. Over time, the trees shed seeds in large numbers and these seeds do not germinate because they are in a dormant state, and cannot germinate until they are woken up. The heat of the fire wakes them up and they begin to germinate. Before broadcasting seeds of acacia for man-made forests the seeds are dumped into boiling water which then ensures that they germinate. So politics too is the heat that ensures that the seeds of society (students) germinate and mature up.
A student without politics is like a dormant seed and a dormant seed is not of much use to the forest. A student who has the right political views understands society better and with better understanding we can serve it better. To find the path in the maze that all societies are, one has to have a moral compass and politics is just that moral compass for a student.
I know my use ‘right political views’ may seem odd to some friends and may be construed as biased towards a certain school of thought but I would like to make it clear that, yes, I am biased and as Mark Twain said, “I know that I am prejudiced on this matter, but I would be ashamed of myself if I were not”.
Yes, I am biased and I support the political school of thought that opposes imperialism and neo-colonialism; which opposes the politics that deprives minorities of rights, that is misogynistic, that promotes state-sponsored religion, imposes a certain language and culture on the nations that come under their yoke. Politics has to be good to make students useful for humanity. Otherwise, societies would regress.
What I mean to say is politics though necessary for students has to be the right type of politics. The politics that inculcates human values in the student and provides a moral compass to walk along the path that leads to salvation of the humanity by teaching then that injustice, whosoever it may be from, should be opposed. That tolerance should not only be reserved for them but should extend to others too.
This can be illustrated candidly: There are Baloch Students’ Organizations (BSO) other than the BSO-Azad but they promote submission to and being co-opted by the Pakistani state and its institutions regardless of the fact that this state and its institutions not only deprive the Baloch of all their rights but also share responsibility for the systematic and organized ‘dirty war’ against the Baloch people. How can the politics of supporting the oppressors be the right politics? Those without a moral compass end up supporting the oppressors and tyrants, finding excuses of working with the system handy. No number of excuses can justify submitting to injustices and supporting the oppressors.
Not all food will keep you alive and healthy; certain foods will slowly but surely destroy your health. The politics, like the food, has to be of the right type to be of any value to the students. It is eventually the choice and discretion of the student to choose the politics that they want to follow, but just a cautionary word at the end that if you do not choose the right politics you will end up supporting the wrong politics. So my dear friends, if we err lets err on the correct side.
Those who choose the right politics are often warned about its consequences, futility and price exacted by it; yes, there are consequences and a price to pay for the path that you choose and if you are willing to pay the price, make your choice. In the end, I would like tell my friends, my fellow travelers and all those present here today that:
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
’Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Lord Alfred Tennyson
Balochistan Times does not necessarily endorse the writer’s opinion.
Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur is a regular commenter on Balochistan. He has been associated with Baloch politics since 1970s.