The Tears Of The Talented

The Tears Of The Talented
The human heart is a vast, intricate place where sentiments and emotions ebb and flow like the tides of the sea. Here, there are places that only a loved one may occupy. When a loved one departs, we experience an awful sensation of loss, as though a piece of ourselves has been ripped away. A few couplets from Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi’s ghazal explain this better than I ever could,

"Dil Ke Ma’mlat Se Anjan To Na Tha,

Is Ghar Ka Fard Tha Koi Mehman Tu Na Tha,

Thi Jin Ke Dam Se Ronaqain Shehron Main Ja Basay,

Warna Hamara Gaon Yun Veran Tu Na Tha,

Banhon Main Jab Lia Usay Nadan Tha Zaroor

Jab Chor Kar Gya Hmain Nadan Tu Na tha"

(He wasn't a stranger to the family's internal affairs,

As he was a member of this household, not a guest.

It was his lively presence that filled the cities with joy,

Otherwise, our village wouldn't have been so desolate.

When he was with me, he was naive and innocent,

But after he left, he was no longer so innocent),

This ghazal captures this feeling of loss and the impact it can have on our surroundings. The couplet speaks of a dear one who was an integral member of the family; who was familiar with the home's internal affairs and gave it life. But now, after the family member has left for the city, the village feels empty and deserted. The departure of a loved one, who was deeply connected to the family, can leave an irreplaceable void.

This couplet is a reflection of the pain of separation and the impact it can have on one's surroundings. It's a theme that resonates with the issue of brain drain, where skilled and educated individuals leave their home country in search of better opportunities. These individuals, who were once a part of the fabric of their society, are now gone, leaving behind a void that may take years to fill, or will never be filled again.

Life is a journey that is filled with choices and decisions. At some point in our lives, we find ourselves at a crossroads, and we are faced with the challenge of deciding which path to take. One of the most important decisions that many people have to make is whether to stay in their home country or venture out to foreign lands in search of better opportunities. Unfortunately, this decision is not an easy one, and it often comes with significant sacrifices and heartaches.

This choice has become a reality for many Pakistani residents, causing the "brain drain" crisis. According to the Bureau of Emigration & Overseas Employment Government of Pakistan, an astounding 832,339 individuals, including highly educated, trained, and untrained laborers departed Pakistan in 2022. The effects of this mass exodus have had a profound impact on Pakistan's economy, society, and future.

The intricate web of reasons behind the brain drain is multifaceted. It is a culmination of a multitude of factors that includes rising unemployment, job insecurity, pervasive corruption, lack of social security, lawlessness, and the elite capture of our society. The Pakistani populace is no longer willing to endure the massive exploitation that is crippling their progress. The harsh reality is that a young graduate working in a bank has to toil from 8 am to 8 or 9 pm, earning a paltry sum of only Rupees 40 to 45 thousand on average. The worst part is that they are denied overtime compensation, proper mental health support, and any kind of regulation by policymakers or executors. It is no wonder then that such individuals are leaving Pakistan in droves, seeking better opportunities elsewhere. The situation is not much different for doctors who work long shifts, sometimes up to 36, 48 or even 72 hours at a stretch, and get paid an average of Rupees 80 thousand per month. These working conditions not only affect their physical and mental health, but also their professional growth and career prospects.

A brilliant doctor I know and who shall remain unnamed, has a heart of gold and serves as a poignant reminder of the harsh reality of brain drain in Pakistan. He had dedicated his life to serving his people and was a shining example of what could be achieved with hard work and dedication. But despite his efforts, the constant struggle against corruption and inefficiency wore him down, leaving him disillusioned and hopeless. It was heartbreaking to see him pack his bags and leave, knowing that his departure was a blow to our country's future. He was not alone in his decision, as many talented and educated individuals have left in search of greener pastures. It's a loss that we feel acutely, leaving us with a sense of grief and despair.

The administrative obstacles that students encounter while creating their own businesses have also fueled the flames. The daunting process of getting official approvals for the establishment of small businesses simply makes the already depressing business climate worse. It is obvious that another significant element contributing to the exodus of people from the country is the absence of support for the entrepreneurial spirit.

The government sector, too, is not immune to the same challenges facing the private sector. Highly educated and skilled individuals are often left with no choice but to pursue competitive exams, where the recruitment process and overall fairness are often in question. A recent example is the announcement of the Punjab Provincial Management Service (PMS) final results, which has left 295 successful candidates in a state of despair and disillusionment. it is disheartening to see that the recruiting process may be obsoleted with retrogressive minds who fail to recognize the potential and merit of the candidates. After all, the candidates have already proven their worth by passing the written part of the exam, only to be failed in the interview stage. This raises questions about the validity and effectiveness of the recruitment process and its ability to attract and retain highly skilled individuals. The emotional toll on these individuals cannot be overstated, as they are left feeling betrayed and undervalued.

A stark illustration of how executives and officials are failing to address the critical concerns facing the nation is the present brain drain situation in Pakistan. The regrettable truth is that many in positions of authority care more about their own narrow interests than the general well-being of society. The country is losing its best and brightest citizens as a result of the lack of leadership and accountability.

As the saying goes, "the grass is always greener on the other side," but for individuals who have personally experienced brain drain, it's not only about finding greener pastures; it's about ensuring their survival. The fact that the decision-makers are blind to this problem demonstrates their short-sightedness and lack of foresight. They are oblivious to the fact that the loss of skilled individuals has a significant impact on the nation's economic, as well as its social and political fabric.