Conflict of the ages

We need freedom from the conflict between orthodoxy and modernism. We need freedom that resonates vitality in a society and an individual. One of the most visible barrier for this freedom is this conflict.

A slave’s heart is dead, frustrated and never sees the light of hope;
A free man’s heart is alive, full of zest and happiness.

A free man’s wealth, a shining heart and warm breath,
that of slave, only moist eyes.

[Source]

Modernity and orthodoxy have been in conflict over many ages. Still they go hand in hand. Both have many names and many forms. Freedom of choice, freedom of speech, rights of women, logical positivism, are some of the things that constitute modernity. While, tradition, cultural conformity, social conformity, caste conformity, moral code of conduct, are some of the common names that are given to conformism.

It is an observable fact in Pakistan that people who are modern, tend to be free from social conformism and are likely to adopt lifestyle of their own accord. These people however, do not have any regard for religion. To them religion is a chain that restricts their so called ‘freedom’, they will speak with fervor against all the negatives of mullaism (traditional Muslim scholars) and they will go to lengthy debates about how religion has restricted all the development. If they have any religious associations they tend to keep that to themselves. They are supporters of everything new and all the imports from the Western world are their benchmark of quality and culture. They are usually more educated than other classes of Pakistan and their education has been in English medium schools. It is amazing that they condemn the very culture they are a part of. Few of these people hold true to their claims as they themselves become enslaved by the cultural inferiority complex and are constantly looking to evade anything that belongs to their own culture. Morality for them is nothing except freedom from all tradition. They hold sacred every scientific theory and are prone to knowledge of prophets of modernity; Freud, Nietzsche , Marx, Darwin etc.

The orthodox have their own ways of thinking, although, they are in majority, they live in fears, fear of people, fear of society, fear of poverty, fear of non-conformity. They constantly endeavor to make their lives according to their social construct and they are always ahead of defining tradition and convention by which ancestors of their ancestors lived by. They have strong moral standards which they impose on their children forcefully. They will, many a times ignore the moral dis-integrity of the society but still hold on to what people are thinking about them. They are actually living the life of the society and not their own. These people have medium level education. They have utmost regard for molvis and they celebrate all the religious rites. In their regard for everything sacred they usually do not want to hear a word against it. They are strict in their following of their sect. They do not remain neutral in religious debates rather they will detach from those in family who change their religious associations. For them sacredness of tradition and convention is all the morality.

Iqbal says about freedom:

3

The juniper in the garden is free as well as chained to the soil
You should acquire freedom within these constraints!

[Source]

Truth lies somewhere in between, it is in the grey area. Humans are humans because they have control over their material urges. This control enables them to explore new possibilities. This controlled freedom or ‘growth of chained juniper’ is the freedom that can balance things out in this world. We need growth, we need freshness and innovation, but all this has to be achieved within the moral boundaries that ensure social development and growth. Truth cannot be utter freedom from all that is old, and it cannot be complete following of the old. True freedom is holding on to the fervor of growth while remembering moralities of the society. I would love to have your comments on this.

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