Leaders Of East And West
April 6, 2010 Leave a comment
Today, I was seeing a few minutes video of Javed Chaudhry’s program “Kal Tak”. He always begins his program with a moral story with reference to Pakistan’s social and political affairs. In that video, he was narrating an event which goes like that: In London, daily 30 million people travel in the London underground tube service. Among them are the British Members of Parliament (MP’s) as well who travel to Westminster station for the House of Commons. At the Westminster tube station, there sits a shoe polisher. Most of the MP’s travel in the tube for Westminster, and many of them, before going to the House of Commons, pay the shoe polisher 2 Pounds to polish their shoes. Once, few months back, the shoe polisher made a strange complain to one of the MP who stopped by for shoe polishing. The shoe polisher said to the MP: former primeir Tony Blair, before entering the House of Commons, used to stop by at him for the shoe polishing. But since the Gordon Brown has become the premier, he (the shoe polisher) has started missing something in his life. It’s that, Gordon Brown doesn’t stop by at his small shop-place for shoe polishing. Then the shoe polisher asked that MP to extend his message to the premier Gordon Brown that he’s not happy with the premier. Listening to that, the MP who was having his shoes polished just laughed and left. That day when Gordon Brown came to the House of Commons, that MP extended the words of the shoe polisher to Gordon Brown. Gordon Brown, after listening to the MP, laughed very hard. Seeing Gordon Brown laugh, the MP asked Gordon Brown as to why he was laughing. Upon that, Gordon Brown disclosed that he has been polishing his shoes himself for the last 40 years. He further said, before leaving the 10 Downing Street (the official residence of British premier) and coming for the House of Commons, he daily spends three minutes polishing his own shoes.
Javed Chaudhry, while recalling this event, had no aim other than to compare it with our Pakistani leaders. According to Javed Chaudhry, that MP himself had narrated this whole event to him. I cannot independently confirm nor verify the veracity of the event Javed Chaudhry had narrated, but what I’m sure is that this is quite possible. I am going to narrate my own personal experience.
It pulls me back to a time when I was having some personal problems and a friend suggested me to go see the MP of the constituency I was living in. I searched for the MP of my constituency on the website of Newcastle City council to know who he is and how to book an appointment with him. I phoned the City Council and the lady apprized me that there is no appointment procedure, that I could visit without an appointment. This was the first thing interesting yet pleasantly surprising to me. I planned to pay a visit as soon as I could. Went to his office. I opened the main door myself and entered in the hall where I hardly had to wait for 10 minutes on a chair as a visitor was already inside the MP’s meeting room. Ten minutes later someone from inside MP’s room opened the door. The guy, whose face appeared on the door at the first glance looked like to me a kind of person who could be MP’s assistant or someone who works at the office of MP. I said hello to him after which he invited me into the room. I stepped in. After getting inside, he shook hands with me. I asked him that I wanted to see the MP. This was another surprise to me when he broke this secret (it was a secret to me until then) that he himself was the MP. I was awestruck for a jiffy as I wouldn’t believe the guy in simple clothes with simple appearance and great humility, which I had realised myself in first few seconds, could be the British Member of Parliament. He asked me to take a seat. While I sat, he asked me to explain what was it that I wanted to discuss. I explained to him the things I had for him in my mind. He carefully listened to every word I said and sometimes, in between my narration, he would ask me for more details where he felt he needs to add it to his knowledge too. Let’s cut to the chase, I had a great conversation with him. I was feeling so relaxed and confident while I was talking to him, as he never put any negative impression on me of being proudy, flamboyant or any other kind of brag.
While I left his office, few questions kept nipping my mind for sometime. It was that: is he really the MP? Why did he look like he was a kind of office worker or maybe a jack because he didn’t appear to be in suit boot? Why he didn’t brag like the political leaders of my country frequently do? Why was his office not so full of lavishness and why was there no assistant? And why did I not have to wait, to see him, for longer minutes if not hours? These questions still nip my mind while I see the lavishness of our leaders — their protocol, their personal bank accounts, their big and number of houses in many cities in the country, their farm lands, their vast businesses, their nice and expensive more than one personal cars. Besides, the biggest of all things is the honestness missing in our politicians. Sometimes, do we not have to grease the palm of the influential people — the politicians, the MNA’s or MPA’s — to come out of the big problems or to have things done legally (by means of palm greasing) which couldn’t be done illegally or vice versa? Sad that we’re a nation of people who consider these things as a strict personal matter of leader’s life; we consider it secondary things while the unprincipled and amoral politics is people’s primary concern in the country and it’s endorsed substantially. I’ve to admit, and everyone does so as well, that why west has prospered. May Allah help us all, that we’re really not ready to help ourselves.