The Talent Powerhouse

May 9, 2020

We are the greatest, smartest nation on the planet earth. God has gifted us with immense talents, courage and ability to achieve anything we set our mind to. All that’s left now is to use that treasure of blessings and let the world know that we mean business.

And that only job ‘left’ has been on hold for past 70 years…

Or probably not. What if we have been diligently giving our best this whole time? Its just that we are not that talented after all.

"Oh this is such a negative thought! Can’t you talk about something positive?"

Sure, I can, and I will. Just answer a few questions for me

Fine, I’ll assume (strictly for the sake of argument), that we are (at least one of) the most talented and gifted nations in this world. But what did we exactly do to deserve this favor?

Oh I get it, the God is benevolent. He bestows whatever, whomever He wishes upon (I’ll continue assuming, although I find this more of an allegation than praise, or else, Iqbal would have to say Khuda ne har uss qoum ki haalat badli…). But then the question is, do we have any proof, or is it just a figment of imagination?

Surely we must have some proof. The alternative is too negative and we have sworn to pretend optimism. Sadly, (yup, enough of this bullshit) the biggest proof of this nation’s immense talent happens to be the newscasters, pseudo intellectuals, politicians, text books or anything that invigorates the false ego of its audience in order to sell itself.

"There’s no use in talking to you. You’re such a sadist. Don’t you know…"

…that we are the only “Muslim” atomic power in the world — sure, its just that it took you a half a century gap from its “inventors”. Now come on, argue that Pakistan is a new born state. It didn’t even exist in 1945. Then what about your arch-rival India? 1974 vs. 1998. Do the math. It can’t be that India gave you a birthday surprise in 1974. After all, you also happen to have the best intelligence agencies in the world.

…that we have a number of Nobel laureates — of course, only that 66% of Nobel laureates are Christians, 22% Jews, none of whom surprisingly, happen to share origins with this fertile land. And of your Nobel laureates, majority of the nation never acknowledged or respected the most important one because of his religious beliefs.

…that we won the 1992 Cricket World Cup — which Australia has done 4 times since. Period.

…that we had that one emerging scientist getting featured in 30 under 30 list — apparently, the other 29 are just placeholders with nothing genuine to offer.

…that we have that one female engineer working at NASA. Whole nation is proud of her — if only these arguments could save themselves from being self conflicting. Breaking news: your space agency does not even have the intellectual capacity to hire that “one” female engineer.

and talking of engineering,

…that we produce the best engineers and scientists in the world — if only we were not a victim of this perpetual jewish conspiracy, we would not be stripped of the thousands of patents, inventions and innovations.

Now let’s focus on innovation since that happens to be my subject of interest. Why in the 70 years since its inception, this motherland has not produced a single unicorn?

Why when we talk about success stories, all we find is a bunch of old people who took no less than 20 years to get to where they are today? And even those role models have barely made a dent on the global stage (open up Forbes’ billionaire list for reference). By saying this, I’m not taking away the due credit they deserve. They are already much better than I am right now. But as stated earlier, being better than me is not the criteria here.

Alright, you and I both know that our country did not offer an ecosystem for startups up till now. Which in itself happens to be a question of Why? But let’s move on for a while. Surely there’s a plethora of those “talented engineers” you either forced to move to Silicon Valley or could not create enough opportunities for them here. What about them? Why when we talk about the front-runners of innovation in Valley, we get to hear about Iran’s Arash Firdousi (Co-founder/CTO, Dropbox) or India’s Sundar Pichai (CEO, Google), Satya Nadella (CEO, Microsoft), Indra Nooyi (CEO, PepsiCo); the list goes on and on — but never Pakistan’s XYZ (CEO/Founder/Co-founder, ABC). Apparently, as the evidence suggests, this land is not that gifted as we grew up believing after all.

So am I just going to complain and not propose a solution? Unfortunately yes. These are the questions that even I need answers to. Of course, we are not as gifted as we like to think, but we’re also not as incompetent as we have been trying so hard to prove ourselves. We must identify all the obstacles that have been holding us back. For me, the starting point lies in accepting our failures, our incapacities. Because struggle to change does not begin until there is anything to change.