“I am not making any particular reference to you but now that I have had the opportunity of talking to you I must warn you not to allow your actions to be guided by ill-digested information or slogans or catchwords. Do not take them to heart or repeat them parrot-like. Take advantage of your period of training that this institution offers you, by equipping yourself to become leaders of the future generation.”
- Mr. Jinnah / Quaid-e-Azam
- Speech: Responsibilities of the youth
- Context: Speech in reply to the address presented by the Students of Islamia College, Peshawar
Pakistan’s social advance requires a vigorous and downright promotion and enablement of free critical thinking. This is because the history of civilization is the history of the displacement of old conceptions by new ones more conformable to the facts. It is the record of the removal of old institutions and ways of living, in favor of others of greater convenience and ampler capacity, at once multiplying and satisfying human requirements.
Pakistanis who take the trouble to form their own opinions and beliefs will feel that they owe no responsibility to the majority for their conclusions. If they are genuine lovers of truth, if they are inspired by the divine passion for seeing things as they are, and a divine abhorrence of holding ideas which do not conform to the facts, they will be wholly independent of the approval or assent of the persons around them.
Pakistan only grows better, even in the moderate degree in which it does grow better, because citizens wish that it should, and take the right steps to make it better.
Evolution is not a force, but a process; not a cause, but a law. Vibrant social energy to make rapid progressive advances will be produced by creating a culture of optimism that we can achieve radical social modifications in our lifetime. Progress is produced by means of citizens who are possessed by special progressive ideas. Such ideas do not spring up uncaused and unconditioned in vacant space. They have had a definite origin and ordered antecedents. They are in direct relation with the past.
We need to create a culture of unhindered critical thinking so that we can produce citizens of rare intelligence, active, alert, inventive, who by constitution or training find their chief happiness in thinking in a disciplined and serious manner how things can be better done.
A review of Pakistan’s social structure points to three major sources of obstructions in the way of free thought:
Dynastic political parties: Nepotism is preventing people from conceiving a freer democracy in their country.
Maulvis and Islamic clergy: These ill-informed religious clerks misguide the nation and prevent scientific thought to develop.
Repressive Martial Law: Naked aggression and use-of-force is applied to suppress free opinion.
Pakistanis resolve to create a fact-based culture of free thinking to build courage for a portion of our society that can have enough nerve to grasp the banner of a new truth, and endurance enough to bear it along rugged and untrodden ways in the face of obstruction. We must build a culture of scientific experimentation and research, we must support the most innovative and potentially transformative research, research that has the capacity to revolutionize existing fields, create new subfields, cause paradigm shifts in our national life. Science must be conceived as a companion to religion and not as an antagonistic force. Sir Isaac Newton writes in "The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy":
“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being . . . This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God.” (please note that the word God can be conceived as Allah or as Yaweh or as any other name attributed to the singular entity that has created this beautiful system)
“When I wrote my treatise about our system, I had an eye upon such principles as might work with considering men for the belief of a Deity, and nothing can rejoice me more than to find it useful for that purpose.”
“The true God is a living, intelligent and powerful Being . . . He governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done.”
“It is the perfection of all God’s works that they are done with the greatest simplicity . . . And therefore, as they that would understand the frame of the world must endeavor to reduce their knowledge [science] to all possible simplicity, so it must be in seeking to understand these [prophetic] visions.”
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64% of the nation is younger than 30. Mr. Jinnah explains how the youth must fully equip themselves with discipline, education and training.