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BKTEF organises 16th Study Circle for Baacha Khan Fellows

Wednesday, 06 December 2017 14:19
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BKTEF organises 16th Study Circle for Baacha Khan Fellows

The Baacha Khan Trust Educational Foundation (BKTEF) held 16th monthly study circle at the BKTEF head office on December 2, 2017. The study circle was attended by almost 50 participants belonging to different districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA including Peshawar, Mardan, Swat, Charsaada, Swabi, Shangla, Hangu, Dir, Waziristan, Khyber Agency, Mohmand agency and Tank. The book selected for the study circle was “Da Pir Rokhan na tar Baacha Khan” by Ali Khan Mehsud.

Different aspects relating to the book were discussed in detail by the participants. Imad Khalil shed light on the international, regional and state level present day political scenarios. Global political trends were discussed by Gulalai Ismail. Tariq Pukhtunyar talked about the evolution of democratic politics in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. Pir Roshan’s movement was discussed by Shokat Swati. Isma, Nadia and Afsar Afghan talked about impressions of common people regarding political events taking place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan and beyond.

The participants then held in-depth and comprehensive debate on the history, lives and movements initiated by Pashtun figures such as Bayazid Ansari (Pir Roshan), Khushal Khan Khattak and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. The participants also debated causes and implications of terror attacks in Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Shokat Swati while elaborating on the Roshanite movement said that Pashto poetry and composition took large strides with the efforts of Pir Roshan. He pointed out that the Roshanite movement was the first systematic political and social movement in the Pashtun belt. While traces of debate on the gender roles first surfaced with the arrival of French revolution in the 18th century, gender roles were actually challenged by Pir Roshan in the 17th century. The clear evidence for this claim was the fact that the entire movement was led by Pir Roshan's grand-daughter in law, Bibi Allai, at one point of history.

Tariq Pukhtunyar pointed out that the Roshanite movement mainly consisted of the poor class of the Pakhtuns and hence posed a threat to the Mughal empire. For this reason, the Mughals coopted clerics to counter his rising popularity. Akhund Darweza was one of his rivals supported by the Mughals to defame Pir Roshan.

Khushal Khan Khattak in the 17th century, the creation of modern Afghanistan by Ahmad Shah Abdali in 1747, Durand and Gandhamak agreements in the late 1800’s, Amanullah Khan's rise in the early 20th century and the birth of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in the Pukhtun region were the changing events in Pashtun history. The participants expressed that Baacha Khan’s Khudai Khidmatgar movement was the third systematic and scientific movement in which education was used as a major tool to enlighten the society. The role of women was also evident in Baacha Khan’s movement.

While discussing the Political scenario of Pakistan, Imad Khalil pointed to a number of events having taken place in the past few years, which had directly or indirectly affected the political conditions in Pakistan. He talked in detail about the effects of a report leaked by International consortium of investigative journalists (ICIJ) owing to which hundreds of influential figures were exposed but the trial was initiated against only one family. Trump’s South Asian Policy, CPEC, Chabahar port and Panama leaks were also discussed elaborately. He maintained that the civil military relationship had remained bone of contention in Pakistan's political history.

Ms Gulalai Ismail discussed global political trends elaborately. She maintained that open trade among countries besides connecting people also brought about inequality which led to economic anxiety. This inequality sometimes created circumstances which some political figures with populist narrative used for their vested interest. The populist figures usually created enemy out of a race, class, or nation to fill the vacuum created during the economic anxiety. She expressed that the by-products of globalization were used by populists to promote their personal agendas.

Taking the discussion forward, the participants, including Isma, Nadia, Afsar Afghan, Johar Ali, Muhammad Zadran, Azmat Khan, Shokat Swati, Shafiq Gigyani, Amin Ullah Kakar, Gohar Afridi, Farid Kakar, Amir Hamza, Daud Afridi, Salma, Anwar Aurakzai, Noor Ullah and Faheem collectively maintained that general educational, social and cultural conditions were degenerating each day in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They said that events like 9/11 had further deteriorated these conditions. Azmat Khan expressed that a major criticism on globalisation was that flow of the capital was not equitable. He said that unless the Pashtuns made use of their own resources, the movement and the cause could not go forward.

The participants took strong exception to the tactics of state apparatuses to gag alternative voices. They also pointed out that civil societies were facing extreme pressures by the governments all over the world because civil societies were providing a platform to people from the grass roots level to be able to raise their voices against tyranny and injustices.

The discussion was concluded by Dr.Khadim Hussain who expressed that an ideal State was the one where people had equitable share in resources and decision making, where diverse nations could build harmonious societies on the basis of their indigenous wisdom connected with modern human civilisations and where all laws ensured human dignity and human security. A state where individuals, classes and nations enjoyed all fundamental human and democratic rights. For this purpose, a number of people in history had led movements on intellectual, political, social and cultural levels.

Dr Khadim Hussain pointed out that there were two motives which defined human actions, i.e.; Destructive component and constructive component. The destructive component worked on three levels: to take control over an individual, a class, or a nation. In this process, the resources of a nation were controlled, their decision making process was seized and their strategies to survive were taken away.

He also shed light on protectionism and globalization in detail. He explained the populist narrative of France, Germany, India and America owing to which Eurasia and China invested billions of dollars to fill the vacuum after the proclivity of the US and Europe towards protectionism. He also talked about the Saudi-Iran rivalry based on sectarian differences.

Dr.Khadim Hussain expressed that war economy was legitimised and was religiously interpreted in such a way that war was glorified and Jihad was privatised. He expressed that the narrative of war economy was mostly promoted through educational curricula , media and populists. The narrative was used as a tool to break indigenous culture, history, indigenous wisdom and indigenous aesthetics besides negating modern human civilisation.

Dr.Khadim Hussain further pointed out that war economy replaced peace economy of discovery and invention and gave way to kidnapping, drug trafficking, threatening and blowing of schools, cutting of forests and endangering coal and mineral mines. There were two strategies to steer our way out of this quagmire. The first was short term and the second was long term.

The short term was formation of networks of civil society to raise alternative voices on the issues in the form of protests, conferences, workshops and gatherings. Academia, labor unions and political parties might play their role substantially in building pressure on the governments and states to revise and steer their policies towards human security and economy and culture of peace.

The long term strategy was to create alternative models of education for constructing narratives of peace economy, indigenous wisdom, human security and connectivity with modern human civilisation. The alternative model must develop curricula and pedagogy that developed critical consciousness, multiple skills, civic and aesthetic consciousness and environmental consciousnesses. One such model had been developed by Baacha Khan Education Foundation in the form of Baacha Khan Schools. Dr. Khadim Hussain appealed to the good sense of the people in general to support the model and to support Baacha Khan Schools because indigenous model could be sustained through indigenous resources.

The next study circle was decided to be held on January 6, 2018. Text selected for the study circle was 'a Vazir's Daughter: a Tale of Hazara' written by Hillias Hamilton.

Report by Natasha.


 
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