Ever since Pakistan came into existence as an independent state, our intellectuals have been engaged in evaluating Pakistani civilization and its compositional elements. They want to know whether there is such a thing as Pakistani civilization or if we have only assumed reality of our wish and are now engaged in a futile attempt.
But while considering Pakistani civilization, we should keep certain things in mind. Firstly, a state is only a geographical or political entity. Therefore, it is not necessary that the borders of the state and the nation are same. For example, German nation these days is divided into two independent states. The same is true of Korea and Vietnam. But when we discuss the national culture of Germany and Korea or Vietnam, we have to consider East and West Germany, South and North Korea, and South and North Vietnam as cultural or national unity. The second thing is that the borders of the state continue to decrease and increase. For example, the borders of Pakistan today are not what they were on August 14, 1947. But the borders of nations and national civilizations are very difficult to change.
NATION & STATE
The third thing is that some states are inhabited by a single nation. Like the Japanese nation in Japan, the Italian nation in Italy, and the French nation in France. Such states are called nation-states. But some states are inhabited by more than one nation. Like the British and French nations in Canada. Czechs and Slavs in Czechoslovakia, Arabs, Kurds in Iraq, Russians, Uzbeks, Tajiks, etc. in the Soviet Union. In countries where only one nation is settled, state culture and national culture are two names of the same reality, but in countries where more than one nation is settled, the formation and construction of state culture depend on the behavior of different nations. There is a connection between thought and feeling.
If the forces of agreement and friendship are promoted, an international civilization is gradually formed, and if the forces of hypocrisy and enmity increase, different nations will cooperate with each other in industry and craft, agriculture and trade, in science and art. Instead of cooperation, try to dominate or exploit each other, or hate each other, if instead of mutual trust an atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust is created in the country, and the level of different cultural units is not high. A state civilization may or may not emerge from its union.
DEFINATION OF CIVILIZATION
The purposeful creation and system of social values of a society is called civilization. Civilization is the essence of a society’s way of life and way of thinking and feeling. Thus, language, instruments and tools, methods of production and social relations, lifestyle, arts, knowledge and literature, philosophy and wisdom, beliefs and myths, morals and habits, customs and traditions, love behavior and family relations, etc. has different manifestations.
In the English language, the term “culture” is used for civilization. Culture is a Latin word. It literally means, “cultivation, raising or breeding of bees, silkworms, oysters and bacteria.” Physical or mental improvement and development, cultivation.
In Urdu, Persian and Arabic, the word civilization is used for culture. Civilization is an Arabic word. Its literal meaning is to cut, trim, trim a tree or plant so that new branches and new buds sprout. The meaning of civilization in Persian is “decorating, purifying and correcting and showing originality”. In Urdu, the word civility is generally used in the sense of politeness. For example, when we say that such and such a person is highly civilized or cultured, we mean that the manner of speaking, sitting, eating and drinking of the mentioned person and the way of living are according to our traditional standards. He plays our assembly etiquette very well and has a good taste in poetry or fine arts.
This meaning of civilization is actually the life style of the nobles and elders of Iran and India. These people did not participate in the creative process of civilization and did not realize the importance of the relationship between the creative process and civilization. They knew how to enjoy the blessings of civilization, but only as spectators, not as actors. This is the reason why the creative role of civilization was lost from their eyes and they started to consider the observance of assembly etiquette as civilization. When he used to mention “Tahzeeb-i Nafs” or “Tehzeeb-e-Akhlaq”, he meant the purification or reformation of the self or morals.
The first mention of the term “civilization” in Urdu writings is in Tazkira Gulshan Hind page 129 (1801). “Young people are polite and knowledgeable and full of moral culture.” At the same time Maulvi Inayatullah translated Akhlaq-e-Jalali as Jami-ul-Akhlaq. Maulvi Inayatullah writes in the beginning of the book that “He refined the characteristics of his creatures with the ornament of civility and morality and with their loyalty to the people of existence.” Who is He writes in the preface to the translation of Dr. Johnson’s book Tuwarikh-i Rassalas that “It was translated into the Urdu language so that the people of understanding and wisdom may have good morals” (1839).
MIDDLE OF THE 19th CENTURY & OLD CONCEPTS OF CIVILIZATION
These examples also show that until the middle of the 19th century, the minds of our intellectuals had the same old concept of civilization that was prevalent in the Persian language.
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan is probably the first intellectual who presented the concept of civilization that was prevalent in the West in the 19th century. He gave a comprehensive definition of civilization and also reviewed the elements and factors of civilization. Thus, while describing the aims and objectives of his magazine “Tahzeeb-ul-Akhlaq”, Sir Syed wrote in the first publication of the pamphlet (1870) that, “The purpose of publishing this pamphlet is to bring complete civilization to the Muslims of India.” Civilisation) means to be induced to adopt civilization so that the contempt with which (civilized) civilized nations see them is removed and they are also called respected and civilized nations in the world.
SAVAGERY & HUMANITY
Civilization is the English word which we have translated civilization but its meaning is very wide. It means to bring all the willful actions of man, morals and affairs and society and civilization and the way of civilization and only times and sciences and all kinds of arts and skills to a high level of excellence and to use them in a very good and pleasant manner. From this comes true happiness and physical virtue and respect and dignity and dignity are obtained and a distinction is seen between savagery and humanity.
(Translated from Dabestan-e Tarikh-e-Urdu by Hamid Hasan Qadri 1966)
Sir Syed has confused culture and civilization, but this is not his fault, but the concept of culture and civilization was not clear in the minds of most westerners until that time.
Sir Syed’s achievement is no less that he introduced us to the modern meaning of civilization.
Explaining civilization Sir Syed writes:
“When a group of people lives together in a place, often their needs and wants, their food and their clothing, their information and their thoughts, Their pleasures and their dislikes are all the same, and therefore the thoughts of evil and good are also the same, and the desire to replace evil with good is the same in all, and this is the overall desire for exchange or the overall desire. That exchange is the civilization of this nation or group.”
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan had said such reasonable things about human beings and human civilization many years ago which are still true today and the consideration of which helps a lot in understanding the real reality of civilization.
Characteristics of civilization
Civilization and human beings are necessary and connected realities. That is, the existence of civilization is not possible without human beings, nor does human being deserve to be called human without civilization. Civilization is a kind of individuality of man. This uniqueness distinguishes it from other animals. It is as if they have certain characteristics that other animals do not have and cannot have, and because of these characteristics, humans have been able to create civilization.
For example, a human being can stand upright on both legs because of the spine. His hands are completely free. The structure of the joints of his shoulders, elbows and wrists is such that he can move the whole hand as he wants. These fingers can perform a variety of tasks, such as moving heavy objects from one place to another and creating new objects. Thanks to these natural tools, man has been able to make all kinds of tools and equipment. Other animals cannot separate their tools, claws, teeth, beaks, thorns, etc. from their body. Man separates all his creations from his body. Be it physical or mental. Another physical feature that distinguishes man from other animals is his two eyes which have the same focus. Due to this, man gets great help in determining distance, making tools, hunting and jumping.
Man is the only animal that has the ability to speak. It is not a natural or God-given ability but man has devised a vast system of meaningful words with the help of mind, tongue, teeth, palate, throat and breath and harmony of sounds.
Language is the greatest social creation of man. Through it, a person conveys his experiences, thoughts and feelings to others and connects the relationship of things with space and time, that is, he can talk to others about the past, present, future and near and far. And thus leaves a very valuable asset of civilization for future generations.
Apart from man, no other animal is a social animal in the true sense. Flocks of sheep, herds of deer and flocks of chickens appear to be social units, but in reality there is no social contact. They are separate entities while living together. They do not get their food together, nor do their lives revolve around working together. However, these are the physical characteristics of human beings.
Similarly, animals cannot give any specific meaning to an object or event. That is, they are unable to create symbols. On the contrary, man continues to give new meanings to objects and events. For example, for an animal there is no difference between the water of a spring and the water of a well. Although for millions of people Zam Zam water is very holy water. The same is the case with Eid, Bakraid, Shab-i-Barat, Muharram and other historical days that they have a special importance for humans, while all days are the same for animals. Animals cannot even form family relationships. There is no relationship between grandfather, grandmother, maternal grandfather, grandmother, uncle, maternal uncle, brother and sister. Even the relationship between parents and children is completely broken after the children grow up.
The nature of sexual relations between animals is also different from that of humans. It is true that animals also mate, but they have a specific season for mating and giving birth. Like humans, they are unable to have sex or reproduce in all seasons. Apart from this, the sexual act of animals is not bound by any social regulation, nor does the change of time and place make any difference in this act. On the contrary, human sexual norms are constantly changing.
CONSCIOUSNESS OF DEATH
There is no custom of goddesses, gods, ghosts, jinns, devils, heaven, hell, brooms, punk amulets in any animal other than man. Similarly, animals can neither commit suicide nor do they have the consciousness of death.
These are purely natural characteristics of humans which are not present in any other animal and they do not develop these characteristics in themselves through training.
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, while mentioning the characteristics of human beings, writes that “the organs of human beings are the best and noblest of all creatures, and their strength and spirit are the best.” It is not this excellence that he has, but what he can do with the help of his intellect and can take from his hands, who are his great subordinates, he has a great excellence because of them and thanks to these two sources. He and other creatures can keep himself in the most comfortable life and as if he can make himself an artificial being and he can give him much more comfort than what is in his natural life. (Sir Syed Papers, Lahore 1963)
In the early days of civilization, every moment of human life was subject to the physical environment. He neither had the power to control this environment nor did he develop the ability to change his environment, but there came a time when man, forced by his growing needs, began to struggle to change his physical environment. did So, in a sense, the entire history of man is the history of the struggle to conquer the physical environment or nature. So developed nations have changed their physical environment to such an extent that if a resident of two thousand years ago were to come back to life, he would not even be able to recognize his place of birth.
Whether it is stone civilization, or bronze, iron, it is created by the physical and mental efforts of human beings. It comes into existence due to the movement of their mental and physical strength, so the rise and fall of a civilization depends on the extent to which those who use the civilization have used their physical and mental energy.
If a society does not listen to the call of the spirit of the age, but continues to walk on the old path, if the paths of new experiments, research and exploration are blocked, then the plant of civilization also stagnates. Its growth stops and then it dries up. The history of the decline of the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome, Iran and Arabia, India and China is actually the history of the stagnation of their tools and social relations. These great civilizations could not support the growing needs of the society and eventually perished.
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