I often come across so-called "educated" people who talk like those who lived in the Stone Age. Just because they have bachelor's degrees (which in some parts of the country can be obtained by paying a suitable amount to clerks working in universities), they think they're educated. I'm reminded of Murad Saeed, the very vocal minister who was easily able to get a degree from Peshawer University by sitting for examination in just half an hour (https://tribune.com.pk/story/1737209/1-rules-murad-saeed-gets-degree/). 

Many years ago, I read a book "Self-help" by Samuel Smiles, published in the nineteenth century. The writer narrates an incident about a man who got his degree and told the dean, "I've finished my education". The dean snapped, "Indeed. I haven't yet begun mine".

This attitude towards education was common when I was in school and college. We were encouraged to read a lot. My father used to subscribe to several English and Gujrati newspapers, as well as magazines like Time, Life, Readers Digest and the Saturday Evening Post. He would also buy books written by Erle Stanley Gardner, Edgar Wallace, James Hadley Chase and other popular writers. 

So our family was very different from the average Memon/Gujrati families around us. I still read international newspapers like New York Times on my smart phone whenever I'm alone at wedding dinners, so most guests think there's something wrong with me. They use their smart phones for watching video clips sent to them by their friends who think reading should be avoided at all costs.

The difference between a well-read man and an illiterate man is great. Most of those who work in my field have not read a book after graduation. I had a relative who used to say forcefully that those who read newspapers should not be employed. 

So, knowing that most people would rather watch TV than read a book, it's not surprising that our corpulent information minister (Fawad Choudhry) said that a helicopter consumes fuel of only Rs. 55 per kilometer. Or the prime minister Imran Khan saying that in China they have trains which run at the speed of light. Or the Chief Justice saying that sometimes he made "intentional" mistakes.

The man who reads a lot cannot be brainwashed. Not only in Pakistan, in most other countries, people have stopped reading, perhaps because reading requires a lot of effort. That could be the reason for the radicalization of young people, who are easily influenced by what they're told by those with vested interests. In India, for instance, the rampant killing of Muslims would not be taking place if its people were well-read.

It seems that the future of mankind is bleak. People will remain ignorant and enslaved unless they develop the habit of reading. The few parents who still read books should make their children read regularly. In fact, they should sit with their children and read with them books downloaded on their computers or Ipads or Kindles.