Theatre of the absurd

The phrases, such as ‘empty slogans’, ‘immaturity and hunger for power’, and ‘brainwashed mobs creating frenzy, chaos and anarchy’ reminded me of a course I took at the Government College (GC) University called the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’.

This theatrical movement, which emerged in the mid-20th century, used nonsensical and irrational dialogue to critique the superficial modern life and the absurdity of human actions. The current state of politics in Pakistan is nothing short of a tragicomedy.

With a long history of political instability and corruption, Pakistani politics often resembles the theatre of the absurd, where politicians engage in illogical and self-serving behaviour by feigning as deaf and blind to the latent anger and sufferings of people.

The recent unbridled wave of inflation, stampedes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Punjab and Karachi, and misery in various regions of Gilgit-Baltistan, have made the mere act of living unaffordable. Additionally, the fact that skilled young individuals are leaving the country to pursue better employment opportunities abroad only serves to emphasise the irrationality of Pakistani politics.

The criticism of political rhetoric, irrational behaviour, and chaotic political systems is a larger critique of the political system as a whole. All this is reminiscent of the absurdist tradition, which often reveals a deeper meaning beyond the apparent absurdity.

This is because change is frequently met with opposition from the entrenched feudal lords, who prioritise their personal gain and strive to preserve the status quo.

However, it is important to remember that politics is the cornerstone of democracy, and change can only come through the democratic process. Pakistan has a vibrant and engaged civil society, a robust media, a strong judiciary, and active political parties. These institutions have the potential to bring about meaningful change in the country’s political landscape.

To achieve this change, it is essential to move away from the theatre of the absurd, and to engage in a more coherent and meaningful decision-making process for the greater good. Pakistan needs an overhaul of the whole political system that prioritises the needs of the people way above the self-interest of a limited few.

RAKHSHANDA ABBAS

GILGIT

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