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Selfie, aid and development

The Second World War created a new concept: development. This conceptualisation was a deliberate making of powerful nations, according to Arthur Escobar- an anthropologist – for dividing the world into two categories, the ‘developed’ and the ‘underdeveloped’. The new making helped these stakeholders to justify their power, presence and interventions in the ‘underdeveloped’ societies.
Such countries, thus, moved to the ‘underdeveloped’ ones, after considering the pursuit of material prosperity and economic progress as their responsibility.
This packaging, consequently, led towards new forms of imperialism. Yesterdays, colonisers got a new way to manipulate the respective colonies. Of course, new economic and geopolitical regimes emerged. The regimes caused a wide gap between the ‘developed’ and the ‘underdeveloped’ across the world and within a country. Over time, the development received further political meaning. Good intentions impregnated with the vested interests. The concept got repeatedly abused than used.
The development began reaching in a versatile way for developing the latter one. The aid became its most prominent mode. The aid triggered a change, but not in an intended way. The unintended effects engulfed the targeted societies. It turned nations from self-sufficient to dependent. The syndrome of dependency attacked individuals: corrupted their mindset. It frighteningly hurt individual ego. The persons, societies found the new ways to look the needy.
Our country’s situation makes a perfect example. During my fieldwork in the Tharp Desert, children were always standing at various points of roads with empty pots in their hands. Despite the harsh temperature of summer, when people were dying due to heat waves in the province, they begged for the aid. They came only in front of an air-conditioned vehicle. They expertly identified the cars of aid donors – the (international) non-governmental organizations.
Furthermore, the adoption of such thinking, especially by the local politicians, is the most devastating. The politics are for the noble cause: to serve humanity. However, particularly at the bottom level nobility is replaced with profitability. What is an obligation to provide the public with, has become an indebt.
Recently, a local politician brought sacks of sugar, flour for some economically poor people in a village of Sind. The delivery formed a social gathering. The influential person, along with the other villagers gathered to welcome the local politician, who brought an aid. The whole meeting revolved around paying thanks to the politician. Astoundingly, the local politicians brought this from a higher-level politician. Thus, thanks were not only for him but for his boss, too. The ”aid ceremony’ ended with a sulfide to create evidence that the aid reached the needy. The evidence would certainly be politicized to achieve certain petty interests. Unsurprisingly, no one raised an eyebrow that we do not need such assistance, but our due rights; because the minds have been corrupted to think out of the box. Every participant treated the sacks of food as sacks of debt, which they must return during elections.
Additionally, for being strong contenders of aid, people at the village level have deliberately started wearing poverty: the old and unwashed outfits. They want to create an impression of poverty. Of course, behind showing neediness is not solely to receive some aid, but also ward off some looming threats. Because such local level politicians have created mini-states, in which the self-sufficient, wearing washed clothes, come under their radar. The influential then try to harm them through any means. Pretending the poor, hence, serves two purposes: receiving the aid and avoiding precocity.
Given that, nothing can revive the mind, but education. However, who will give that education? Indeed, the state! The education should commence from top to bottom. The government should educate the politicians – especially the local ones – about the genuine objectives of politics. The state then should literate the public about their rights and the duties of a politician. There is a dearth of such awareness. People consider every provision – from a road to a sack of food – as a political favor. Besides, the state should also provide a sense of security to those who are courageous to raise their voice against such apathy and want to build on self than on aid. The need is to cultivate a culture of independence to live with dignity, not with dependency. For doing so, this is the right time.



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