Gautam Buddha identified three stages to attain the ultimate salvation: Dukkha, Dharma and Nirvana. Dukkha means living in tribulations and sufferings. Dharma involves recognition of these prevalent miseries of life. This stage at least requires a relaisation that something is indeed not okay. The next phase culminates in Nirvana, means freedom from pain, the Ultimate Salvation. This stage is marked by being kind, generous, and caring towards others.
Pakistan is in pain. Since long, it has been going through the stage of Dukkha. Today, the ‘concerned circles’ certainly do recognise the pathological state in which the state of Pakistan is immersed, meaning thereby we are living in the epoch of Dharma. It is only a matter of time before Pakistan is ascended to the tranquil state that is Nirvana.
Thus, the question is not whether Pakistan would be blessed with Nirvana – because it will be – but when and how. The answer to these “when” and “how” predicaments could be satisfactorily given only after we know how Nirvana is defined in Pakistani polity, for peoples and societies have had their own way of interpreting religious and philosophical injunctions.
To the majority, Islam is surely a religion which aims to establish peace. But some elements within the same Muslim community are adamant to apply extreme corollaries to the Quranic commandments. To be sure, Karl Marx could have never wished for establishing a USSR-like totalitarian regime when he was penning down thirteen stages of class struggle. Similarly, Siddhartha, while contemplating the benign and auspicious outcomes of Nirvana, could have never imagined that some centuries later, some of the followers of his own creed would be slaughtering the Muslims of Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
From this historical trend, we can safely infer that while sages carve out the so called universal principles, it is their followers who test those principles on the treacherous touchstones of experience and reality. It leads us to another question: how Pakistan is going to look like after reaching the empyreal realm of Nirvana? Would it be a manifestation of same kindness and humility that Gautama envisioned or would the outcomes be dictated by those who are to be credited with steering Pakistan through the crucible of Dukkha and Dharma?
Let us find the answer to our first question: when. Well, it is on the horizon. The venal elements that have been responsible for Pakistan’s grotesque state of affairs are already being put to a severe trial. Some have been disqualified; others are set to be disappeared. The urge to usher in Nirvana is so intense that it has even prompted the concerned circles to comment on the ‘dismal’ state of Pakistan’s economy. Being flag-bearers of a prosperous Pakistan, they do not even consider the opinions of veteran economists, who have categorically rubbished the notions of potential economic meltdown.
How the attainment of Nirvana will be carried out is a rather irrelevant question. Those who want it will get it, no matter how. History, however, can help us discern a more vivid picture vis-à-vis modus operandi of earning the Ultimate Salvation. Since its inception, Pakistan arrived directly at Nirvana stage at four different times: in 1958, 1969, 1977 and 1999, but it was repeatedly pushed back to the ugly epoch of Dharma. Therefore, this time the chieftains of the concerned circle are likely to handover the noble task of proclaiming Nirvana to their equally noble acolytes. This method would extenuate fears of legitimacy crisis and enable the chieftains to ensure the perpetuity of Nirvana from behind the scenes.
Finally, the question as to how Pakistan would look like after being liberated from endless pain becomes all the more easy to answer after resolving a couple of myths earlier. We all remember the name they gave to the first Nirvana of 1958: the Bloodless Revolution. Revolution indeed, it was anything but bloodless, as the then one unit policy precipitated a second Baloch uprising which was brutally crushed and suppressed. Unprecedented blood was spilled again after the attainment of second Nirvana, when Bengalis were punished for electing a leader of their liking. Third Nirvana was named Islamization. Everybody knows how painful that liberation from pain turned out to be. The flag-bearer of the most recent Nirvana made peace deals with sneaky outfits who would later tear apart the socio-economic fabric of the later ‘Dharmanised’ Pakistan.
In all fairness, Pakistanis do need to be unyoked from the unbearable yoke of corruption and poor governance. But it also doesn’t mean Nirvana is a must to obtain, for the pains of Nirvana almost always surpass the torments of Dukkha and Dharma, both in terms of extent and duration.