09.10.2004Charlotte Wiedemann - Ghazala IrfanAcross Continents
Ghazala Irfan, 22 June 2004
Dear Charlotte Wiedemann
Ghazala Irfan The greatest malady afflicting Pakistani today is that educated people like me are in some ways alienated from its own society. Contemporary Education which by far is Western, enlightens only a few, these few do not take the teeming millions with them: they are too poor, too ignorant and too remote to interact with. And this accentuates the division among the classes in Pakistan.
The educated elite is divorced from the realities and lives in isolated but protected islands. They do not feel responsible for the so-called 'others' for they cannot relate to them nor communicate with them. Society becomes truncated ever schizophrenic.
The only people who reach out and are available to the masses are the religiously inclined. They file the vacuum of ordinary dull and difficult lives with hope, even if it be in the hereafter. They provide succour and support the daily lives as well.
No wonder ordinary folks turn to them. I claim no religiosity, nor do I advocate it but Religion is the Therapy that never fails (it is not to use Popperian terms Falsifiable) and if so when life offers nothing, the desolation and despair turns to the hope in the after life.
Women are doubly disadvantaged. They do all the work in the home but have no authority. They are not consulted even when decisions are taken that affect them directly.
Those who are educated are dubbed as westernized (read alien). They also insulate themselves from the illiterate, hence the divide.
I shall respond directly to your letter on my return from China where I am attending Philosophy conference by mid-July.
Ghazala Irfan (57) has been teaching philosophie in Pakistan since 1977. She started out at Punjab University, now she is working at University of Managament Sciences in Lahore. One of her major fields of work is gender studies. Irfan is acquainted with Western and Eastern Thought alike. She has the reputation of being an nonconformist thinker.