January 19, 2014

There has been a lot of confusion about heroes in this country; perhaps a little more than at other places. A seemingly homogenous society, or even a particular class within that society has divergent views about its heroes. One man’s hero is another’s villain.

And then objective conditions -- of perfect insecurity -- have left people even more confused. Even when they are right in identifying their heroes -- the fifteen year old Aitezaz Hussain who embraced the suicide bomber and saved hundreds of school children -- they  insist this country needs more such heroes.

Somewhere some sane person thought against this line of reasoning. No we do not need more such heroes, he said. We don’t need fifteen year old kids to die and make life safe for the rest of us. That is the state’s job; there are institutions created for the purpose. Thankfully, this thought caught on.

Somebody insensitive tried to complicate the debate by suggesting in a Tweet that Aitezaz was a bigger hero than Malala Yusufzai (another fifteen year old who too was shot in the head but miraculously survived). Does death alone guarantee you the status of a hero? And in some cases, even death does not.

Then somebody said in a column we need to also take into account the suicide bomber (perhaps also a kid of the same age) whom Aitezaz Hussain embraced. He too is a product of this society.

Should we not then try and talk about the state and society which creates suicide bombers to address whom we need heroes of this kind? What kind of heroes do we actually need and what kind of an impact do they leave on the society?

These are the kind of questions that we want to address in today’s Special Report. Our analysts seem to know and have identified many heroes in the service of ‘patriotism’ and ‘spiritual rewards’ etc. Unfortunately, they are not even suggesting how urgently we need to break free of the status quo and move ahead. There is a sense of resignation; appeasement is the order of the day.

Perhaps it must get pitch dark before light sets in.