A case for elitism: We make the world a better place

Published: November 14, 2010
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Organisations set up by so-called 'elitists' have helped provide relief to many.

A few days ago I read an opinion piece written by Sadaf Khan about the desi-elite bubble that she so eloquently was trying to burst. Sorry to say, but the effort was in vain because it made my foreign degree holding, excessive partying ‘elite’ bubble harder to burst and left me itching to voice my opinion.

I do respect the fact that her blog had an opinion, which by reading most of the comments I noticed, was appreciated by several like-minded individuals. Since she already knows how we elitists have an opinion on each and every thing, it is only fair then to give us a chance to refute her argument.

The so-called elite

Those who hold the most power in our society define the top most strata of Pakistan, and this mainly consists of the politicians and feudal lords. Very few of them have pursued an education, let alone a foreign degree, and I can safely say most promote the most primitive interpretations of Islam.

The elite is hardly defined by those that were privileged enough to get an education at an English medium school or pursue a degree abroad. Many of the kids come from modest backgrounds with parents that work as hard as they can in a country with a crumbling economy. They do all this so that they can give their children a decent education that would help in securing their future. In a country where one of the biggest problems is the low literacy level, it is perhaps better to appreciate the few that are working hard to afford this luxury rather than criticise them.

This does not go to say that there aren’t those that are blowing their ‘daddy’s’ money away abroad in the name of an education but the truth is we can’t use this fact to make sweeping generalisations.

Armchair activism? Look closer!

Rather than belittling those ‘elitists’ that have done way more than you bothered to notice, appreciate that they made it in time from their hair appointments and coffee dates to help out for the flood relief efforts.

Maybe if you looked past the status updates and photo albums you would have noticed that foundations set up by these very people were the first to visit the flooded areas with supplies and help. Organisations such as the Karachi Relief Trust and V Need U have proved that their efforts were not just an elaborate plan to fill up their photo albums on Facebook.

Surprisingly, even those studying abroad decided to take a few days off from their hectic lives of partying, drinking and smoking to organise fundraisers and raise awareness at their respective universities. They also swear on their weed that they didn’t use the proceeds to purchase a handbag and enjoy a sushi dinner on Oxford Street.

You think we’re blind?

When it comes to the problems plaguing the country we all recognise the issues. You don’t need to travel on a public bus or visit the slums to understand that the majority of the population lives way below the poverty line. It is an inescapable reality that is visible to all of us.

The truth is that in Pakistan nobody is devoid of his or her share of problems. It is obvious that one group suffers more than the other, but to assume that the latter is living free of all problems is not true. We all bear the brunt of inflation and the failing economy, so even though we know that the common man is living paycheck to paycheck, we also have to worry about how we will manage to pay our children’s school fees on time.

I would like to say that this divide between the two classes is a result of the unstable government and its inefficient policies, because as citizens everyone should have a right to free education, public housing, employment and welfare. However, playing the blame game is not the answer to our problems. In times when terror envelops the country, it would be more useful to recognise where the extremist ideology is coming from, rather than wasting time calling people who consume alcohol and hold foreign degrees, atheists.

sherbano.javeri

Sherbano Javeri

A graduate from New York University who completed her degree in Media, Culture and Communications

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.