Shafqat Amanat Ali's Dream World
This is something we've all fantasized about as children. But as a grown-up my dreams aren't what they used to be. Here's what you would see in my world.
Every child would have an opportunity for a decent education. This is the first thing I'd ensure. In my world, there would be no first amongst equals-not in education. No one would be allowed to undermine education or dilute its true value. Tragically, most underprivileged children in our part of the world are kept out of the classroom. In government schools in the rural areas of the sub-continent, teachers are perpetually absent, mid-day meals for children are stolen by middlemen. The result is that our children remain without an education and continue to struggle with poverty all their lives.
In the cities, education is on sale: from manipulation of the examination system to fake degrees, and admissions using influence or bribes, there are unforgivable crimes being perpetrated by people who coldly subvert the system and make a mockery of it, while serving their own ends. I would make education a big priority and make sure it is imparted the right way to every child in the world. It is, after all, the greatest weapon against poverty, superstition, regressive ideas and even terrorism.
There would be music lessons for every child under 10. Taking it up or not would be their choice, of course. But appreciating music would be a must, and as we know, for that some basic knowledge and orientation is necessary. This would ideally start while the child is still in the mother's womb because our musical preferences are influenced by what we hear within it. It is also said that children who are exposed to classical music develop better overall than children who don't. Also, many studies over the years have shown that individuals exposed to the arts have fewer tendencies towards crime. The world will be a far more beautiful place if it is more musical.
Government servants will have to do their jobs, and only their jobs. They will be strictly forbidden from doing their own business or from holding any other office of interest. Their time and energy should be focused entirely on serving the country.They would be accountable and answerable for their performance, not just on paper but in reality.
I would stop every malpractice in the medical profession. This is one thing that makes me angry. The greed and corruption of some people-especially those in white coats-makes the difference between life and death. Many generic drugs, that are more affordable, also do not reach ordinary people as drug companies make sure expensive branded drugs are prescribed.
Poseurs will be punished. Wannabes in any field will be prosecuted because they are the ones who introduce mediocrity into anything.
Lastly, I would launch the United Nations for the Arts. This would be a body to hunt for talent in the arts from across the world. This pool of selected people would be given global citizenship and be allowed to travel to any country without a visa as long as they use their talent and spread peace and harmony.
Shafqat Amanat Ali is a Pakistani singer and composer and has been a part of the old Patiala gharana. He has performed in India often.