Editorial: February 2014
Culture in the time of Political and Economic Chaos
Dr.Rasheed Hasan Khan
On the first of February 2014 Bilawal Zardari launched “Sind Cultural Festival” from the historic site of Mohenjodaro near Larkana. According to the Daily Dawn –
” The festival aims to publicize the cultural heritage of the country’s south. But it drew controversy when some archaeologists said the event posed a threat to the site’s unbaked brick ruins dating to the third millennium BC.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the Peoples Party, organised the event at Moenjodaro, associated with one of the world’s first urban societies, the Indus Valley civilisation.
Saturday night’s event was inaugurated by the 25-year-old Bilawal, who has become the public face of his party.
The festival has been seen as part of efforts to raise the younger Zardari’s profile on the national political stage. He selected Moenjodaro “to promote local culture, peace and tolerance”, government official Saqib Ahmed Soomro said.
About 500 guests were in attendance — many flown in from Karachi. Roughly 2,000 police officers provided security, although militant attacks are relatively rare in that part of Sindh. “
The common perception that the event is a “soft launch” for the political career of Bilawal Zardari may be correct, but the issue of culture and the masses merits deeper analysis, study and practical measures, especially in the context of some left over cultural baggage of the feudal system— such as honor killing, social prejudices and religious intolerance prevalent in Sindh and the rest of Pakistan.
Culture, as it is universally agreed is a concentrated expression of the politics and economics of any society at any given time. It is not limited to the wearing a particular type of dress or speaking a particular language only. It covers a whole gamut of social and economic features in a given social formation. At any given period in its history, the culture of any society is a composite of vibrant positive features and decadent negative features. During the process of social development and change the negative features are eliminated and the positive features are developed and nurtured. This is the Dialectic of History.
Culture constitutes the superstructure of any social formation i.e. it is based on the economic base of the society. Change in the social base leads inevitably to change in the superstructure which in turn affects the base .This process goes on in a continuous cycle. The change in the base however, is of primary importance since without a change in the base, significant change in the superstructure cannot be brought about.
The relevance of the brief analysis above, to the imperative for social change in Pakistan can be clearly seen in the current multi faceted crises in the Pakistani society. Hardcore resistance to social progress has always been rooted in the most culturally backward sections of Pakistani society and the road to progress lies in placing a comprehensive antithesis of this backward philosophy and culture before the people of Pakistan and making the necessary economic, political and social changes in the social structure of Pakistan.