21st century is a century of skilled people where survival depends on the quality of personal skills. In the current era, the Darwinian ‘fittest’ needs to be skilled in order to survive and a Shavian ‘Superman’ needs to learn skills in order to be distinguished. Mastering a variety of skills can be a distinguishing mark of an individual in this era of competition, multiculturalism and globalization.
Critical thinking, confidence, effective communication skills, teamwork and creativity are essentially significant in order to rise up the ladder of success. Many other skills such as openness, empathy, linguistic competence, trustworthiness and management skills etc. come under the wider umbrella of the skills formerly mentioned. 21st Century is not a century of “boxes”. (I use the term “boxes” for people packed with information but unable to creatively apply it practically). In a digital era of competition, availing opportunities is really a big deal; (And I am writing about people who avail/have to avail opportunities on their own) therefore, boxes are either thrown in dustbins or queued up. As cabbage cannot befool others by claiming to be a cauliflower, so need of the hour is to develop practically sound and useful skills. Moreover, skills need to be developed setting gender biases and lame excuses aside. It can be anything and there should be no shame in developing a new skill. By the way, Queen Elizabeth II is believed to be the only British monarch who can change a flat tyre.
Obtaining a Masters degree is insufficient if you have not developed 21st century skills coupled with domestic and emotional skills. I personally reject every definition of education that doesn’t make it practically useful in emotional, spiritual and intellectual domains. We as individuals should strive for professional and personal excellence by not only acquiring new skills but also bringing our inner skills out to the universe.
According to my observation, it is currently in vogue among most of the “Pakistanis” and “Non-Pakistanis” living abroad to speak against Muslims and their religious belief system in order to appear as liberal, modern or in other words socially more ‘accepted’. How I interpret this attitude is that it manifests nothing but an acute sense of inferiority complex mingled with ignorance. Anyone on social media or media in general can call Muslims as fundamentalists, terrorists and extremists etc. What is even worse is that these terms are attributed to the religion Islam itself. Closely linked to this trend is another trend of proclaiming anybody as “Kafir” in order to show a sense of being more profoundly knowledgeable about religion. In my view, it can be nothing but a sense of superiority mingled with intolerance. Why can’t people stop making generalizations and distorting the facts? In addition, I sympathize with the intellectual level and analytical skills of people who sympathetically say “Pakistani women are struggling for their rights to study”, “They are maltreated” “They are victims of domestic violence and abuse” Is it essential to generalize everything? What about women in Pakistan who are more educated than men? What about women who spend happy domestic lives? Is it not a disparagement of those parents who put the best of their efforts to educate their daughters and those husbands who fulfill the rights of their wives? A sweeping statement or generalized view not only excludes those who should actually be acknowledged but also creates a negative image of Pakistan. Domestic violence, literacy rate and other social evils are a challenge in every third world country in specific and the whole world in general. They should not be generalized only in case of Pakistan especially by those representing Pakistan and Muslims abroad.