Monday, June 13, 2011


"Rabbit's clever," said Pooh thoughtfully.
"Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit's clever."
"And he has Brain."
"Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit has Brain."
There was a long silence. 
"I suppose," said Pooh, "that that's why he never understands anything.

I know a lot of Rabbits, a lot of stupid people and a lot of people trying to be Rabbits.  Now, no offense to aspiring scholars anywhere. I personally think Brain is the best thing you can have and I don't at all mind that Rabbit is very clever. The problem begins when you notice that most intelligent people you meet are so enamored by their own intelligence they can barely see through their haze of self-congratulation. This is especially true in Pakistan, where so many people who have everything seem to believe that success needs to come with a great deal of condescension.

Don't get me wrong-I'm all for a healthy dose of being critical of society, especially in a country where being thoughtful is a crime against patriotism. But when we seethe with anger at everyone else's stupidity, complacency or ignorance, when we laugh at the crazy theories spawned by paranoid hyper-nationalists, when we shake our heads at others' misfortune and think they probably deserved it, we are as useless as a Rabbit preaching to a silly old bear.

There is a great deal of intellectual poverty in Pakistan. What is difficult to understand is why so many who pledge to combat it think they can do it top-down, without engaging the very people they are trying so hard to change. Activists have the country's best interests at heart when they speak of economic inequality and will speak about it to one another at one-thousand-rupees-entry-fee events. Self-proclaimed liberals will propagate sexual freedom and liberation, will refer to their servants as "these people" and fire them for having affairs with one another. Society aunties will romanticise the past when people mingled freely in public parks and shudder at the thought of mixing with the awaam. Celebrities will defend their right to choose their genders and be accepted as queer and  forget to mention the eunuchs that still dance on the streets for a living. Students everywhere will talk about undoing the mistakes of the previous generation and run their family factories and farmlands without knowing their workers' rights. The meek shall inherit the earth one day, they say, the meek will inherit the earth. They feel good saying it, thinking it. They oppose the right to vote because "the people" know no better. The people are never the people, the people are always those people.

You Rabbits want a Revolution. A revolution for whom, a revolution for what?

There is a lot of Brain in our upper classes. That is why we don't understand anything.


Opinionated Jaahil said...


working towards becoming a rabbit said...

great piece!
spot ON!!

nuclearbattery said...

Also this post. I often come back to read it.