Why the campaign “Be the One” is needed for Pakistani youth more than ever.

First of all, I’ll start by briefing you a little about the campaign. It’s a campaign run by the students and teachers who aim to bridge the differences, and train the youth their moral responsibility. Now, moral responsibility is a highly debatable, yet the most underestimated issue in a society like mine. It is not just a Pakistani problem, but rather a global. It’s a moral responsibility to talk and discuss politics, socio-economics and religion, but how many parents have a civil and open-ended conversation with their children and let them share their views openly about it? Does our education system allows us to have a freedom of speech in a civil way? And, when we heard the word “freedom of speech” many of us either find it shocking, or relate it to hate speech.

Besides that, whenever I tried to have an open-ended civil conversation over religion with my older male friends, they always criticized me on “why I shouldn’t do it, or why I should avoid talking about religion.” They did not just criticize me, but also ridiculed me that “kids these days have gone so liberal that they tend to question their own religion.” For your record, a strong faith in Islam or even other religion is not weakened by questions. There is always, I repeat, there is always a constructive way to talk about religious discrimination, political differences. It’s called a civil conversation.

That’s what the campaign “Be the One” is aiming to do.

The similar friends tend to also comment on one of my most evolving habits; reading. “Reading turns you into an atheist, and by reading many books young adults become a rebel-turned-into-a-lunatic.” Well, isn’t this is how we are brought up/one should be brought up in Islamic Republic of Pakistan?

Fixed society. Fixed mindset. Never grows up, never evolves. Reason why Pakistan has still a long way to go, and therefore we need this campaign.

It all began when I attended one of their initial events “Be the One: To think.” One of their talks. I was quite glad to find out that finally someone is talking about diversity and the discrimination against ethnic differences. Not just their work, but the marketing is spot on. In the previous weekend, they also launched two new events related to their musical theater performance, namely “Pukaar.” It is a creative way to point out the issues that may sound too bitter to a society. We, youth, are the future of Pakistan. If we are not going to speak up against the issues related to stereotyping of gender roles in our ads, gender discrimination in public spaces, ridiculing ethical differences then who else will? It taught me why I shouldn’t say to my Memon friends anymore, “Memon toh kanjoos hote hain.” (Memon are greedy). It taught me that everybody, from any age group can have a civil conversation over the subject of religion, ethnics and politics. It taught me that we can no more shift our responsibilities on our parents for not teaching us enough, but rather teach ourselves by growing experience.

That’s why, here’s to “Be the One” and a conversation-starter over many issues in our society.