This is a kind of update to Dr. Adil Najam’s post, which has the same title. In his article, he discussed things from a more abstract perspective. In my version, I’d like to highlight the individual people and organizations that are making a change. The various things, big and small, that act as beacons of hope for the country. The little things that make life worth living, and show signs of a better future.
For those who don’t know, Kachee Goliyan, is perhaps Pakistan’s first (more or less) commercial comic book series. Why is it called “Kachee Goliyan”? I have no idea. Anyway, the main characters, JC and Sufi, are perhaps Pakistan’s first superheroes. The guys who created it, Ramish Safa and Nofal Khan, may be the pioneers of something like a Pakistani manga renaissance. Even though their humorous plots and bizarre, but nevertheless relatable, characters like Maula Jatt (perhaps a parody of Sultan Rahi?) are pretty influential and popular. The thing that makes them part of this list is their off hand and humorous way of representing Pakistan and its problems. It takes a huge amount of skill and experience to be able to make people laugh at themselves, and these guys are experts at it. An interesting thing about Kachee Goliyan, is that the two main protagonists are caricatures of the creators. One can see the obvious resemblance between JC and Sufi, with the creators of the series, in this picture:
In my humble opinion, the biggest achievement of the Kachee Goliyan franchise is that it has triggered a phenomenon. After their exponential success, a dozen other Pakistani facebook pages have been created purely for posting comic strips. Perhaps the only thing that stopped the numerous artists in Pakistan (or its diaspora) from publishing their own comic books was the fatal question, “Will people even read them?”. Kachee Goliyan is living proof of the fact that, yes, there is a large and critical comic book and manga audience in Pakistan that is willing to not only read, but actually buy and advertise comic books.
Lahore University of Management Sciences
If there is one good university in Pakistan, it is LUMS. It is my ambition to get admitted in LUMS SSE, and major in something cool like Electrical Engineering. There is a lot of stuff I like about LUMS. There is the Olympiad, the campus, the faculty (Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy has left though. He was a gem.), the alumni and the general outlook on education. LUMS encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. Perhaps this is why many LUMS graduates often end up making large companies like Mushrooms and Nishat Chunin etc. My grandpa is a (retd.) professor of education at the Bahauddin Zakariya University, he once told me his university hires LUMS graduates without even an interview. Seriously, it’s like “Hey, you’re from LUMS?!”… “Er… yeah.”… “Okay, you’re hired!”. Now that is awesomeness. Also, Dr. Adil Najam, the person who wrote the article I mentioned in the first paragraph, is the current vice chancellor of LUMS.
National Engineering Robotics Contest
The NERC, is usually held at National University of Science and Technology (NUST). Mostly in H-12 or EME. It is pretty good. It gives the country’s talented future engineers to try their hand at creating robots. The challenges are pretty interesting too. It is also a nice, albeit somewhat inaccurate, way of comparing the skills and talent of the engineering alumni at different universities around the country.
National Outreach Programme
The LUMS NOP is one of the greatest forces for change in the country. The NOP has fulfilled the dreams of hundreds of underprivileged students across the country. An excellent example of Pakistani philanthropy.
These are just a few of the billions and billions of things that seem to be tiny rays of hope penetrating the clouds of despair, ignorance and intolerance that loom over Pakistan. Clouds are temporary. They clear away after rain. But these rays of hope will keep on shining day after day, until their light reaches every troubled soul in the country.