Written in 2008
1- A perennial question that has troubled human mind consistently over the past several thousands of years is the very justification of his existence on the face of the planet. Although there has been a broader concurrence of opinions on the objective reality of natural laws that function to sustain the planet and other entities of the universe, humanity has yet to reach consensus regarding the functional reality of collective entities evolved over a period of several hundred years. The question of human will to shape realities and to be shaped by realities is central to the understanding of collective existence. Individual versus collective, dynamic versus static, state versus society, and homogenization versus diversification have, thus, remained concepts for hot debates among the people around the globe for almost over the whole duration of human existence on the face ofthe earth. These debates formed the knowledge structures that are now available to us in different forms.
2- In general, the analogy for collectivity has been taken from the universal laws—no particle in the universe can remain independent, so no single human unit may be able to sustain life with all its manifestations and coherence with nature unless it forms collective units. Survival, response, gratification and prosperity of an individual are inevitably linked to human’s collective survival. Commonalities in genetic existence, ecology, geography, cultural legacy, historical march and economic interests usually make bases for the existence of different collective units. All these units are usually founded on worldviews that define survival, gratification and prosperity of individuals in a collective unit. The concepts for division of authorities and responsibilities within a collective unit evolve on the basisof dynamics within the units. It is thus asserted on the basis of historical experiences by humanity that individuals are ultimately responsible for the shaping and reshaping of collective units where they happen to live. The concepts of natural justice and human compulsion to remain subservient to his/her fate have largely been rejected on the basis of human historical experiences. In simple words, individual, family, society, state and state alliances are shaped and reshaped by individuals in view of external dynamics of the universe and internal dynamics of human relationships. Historically, those who have defied this reality have largely remained marginalized, weak and ungratified.
Another important factor should never be off sight—construction and reconstruction of collective entities need collective struggle. Individual struggle for collective entities has rarely born any fruit.
3- The state and society that we find ourselves living in are presently passing through tremendous and unpredictable transformations which are affecting individuals and collective institutions with an equal intensity. Individuals in such kind of fluctuations in the past could rarely retain his/her separate existence let alone prosperity and gratification. Both emotional and rational response by the individuals to these events of apparently directionless transformations require compatible response from individuals of all professions, ages, classes, religions, cultures and groups. Leaving it to natural justice would mean suicide by the individuals of this state and society. Self-complacent attitude on the part of individuals with even justification of fulfillingindividual and immediate collective (family) responsibilities would ultimately allow all the transformations to become fatal for both individuals and collective units.
4- There seems to be two ways open for all individuals to engage in the collective struggle to give directions to transformations in collective life and external circumstances (both natural and man-made) to the benefit of all individuals living in this state and society while facilitating to increase the possibilities of self-gratification and prosperity for individuals outside this state and society in consonance with nature and its manifestations. Firstly, an individual may choose according to his/her understanding of his/her personal aptitude and collective responsibility from the existing platforms of struggle and associate his/her own struggle and energy to further strengthen the struggle. Secondly, an individual may search for the requirement and may respond to that requirement on the basis of rationaldecision and may make efforts to convince other individuals of the need and means of struggle.
5- As we feel the need of reconstructing the fundamental discourse of our state and society to respond to the transformations on the basis of rational understanding of experiences and observations of all groups and individuals living in this state and society and integrate it to the experiences of individuals who belong to external groups, states and societies while remaining in consonance with cosmological and global dynamics. This participatory creation, institutionalization and implementation of new knowledge may increase the possibility of all individuals with equal opportunities to self-gratification and prosperity within this state and society while facilitating the processes of individuals’ self-gratification and prosperity of individuals living in other states and societies which may lead humanity to civilizational harmony and may ultimately endthe economy of war, death and destruction. This by no way would mean homogenization of all peoples around the globe. Human civilization may cease its chances of prosperity if diversity is manipulated to the advantage of any single state or society.
6- Under the umbrella of Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy (AIRRA--http://airra.info ), we determine to question the established discourses and create alternative discourses which would ultimately bring about the desired systems and procedures that would facilitate the process of socio-cultural and political empowerment, economic equality and peace in the region in consonance with nature. AIRRA may adopt a three-pronged strategy to respond to the present precarious dynamics in the region. Firstly, identifying the incompatible discourse patterns through scientific research, coordinating and communicating the results of that research through print and electronic media including Internet tothe individuals and institutions around the globe that might be interested or have a stake in the region and pose challenges through the research process to the present discourse patterns needs to be the primary objective of AIRRA. Secondly, AIRRA needs to network and coordinate efforts of different individuals and entities through providing platforms for dialogue and exchange of ideas. Thirdly, AIRRA needs to lobby and to pressurize policy makers to include people’s aspirations understood through modern tools of research in diverse policy frameworks.
7- The present situation in the Pashtun belt has posed some serious challenges to be responded to on an urgent basis. Is militancy the part of the Pashtun nature? Is there leadership vacuum or lack of awareness on the part of people to respond to the present crisis collectively? What is the nature of the present violence in the Pashtun belt, what are its roots in the past and how can we be able to bring about peace and prosperity in the region in future? How can we be able to offer alternatives to the present economic crisis and social disintegration in the Pashtun belt? How can we reconstruct the code of Pashtunwli? How can we develop internally stable and externally integrated socio-political structures accommodating voices of the masses that might eliminate poverty and marginalization? Whatalternatives do we offer to end our isolation from external realities and save ourselves from internal disintegration? Is it possible to build on the indigenous knowledge structures and suggest alternative frameworks for problems solution? What kind of systems can we develop to enlarge shrinking spaces for the expression of human aesthetic sense? How can we plan, utilize and conserve the already depleting natural resources? How can we present alternatives for the present corrupt, inefficient and regimented governance structures? What strategies can we propose to provide opportunities for the teeming millions to develop themselves individually and collectively? More importantly, how can we define and negotiate our interests in the existing competing diverse geo-strategic realities?
8- AIRRA may be capable to identify huge gaps of perceptions between the people and state institutions on the one hand and between the peoples of our region and the people living in other communities and states. This may probably be accomplished only if AIRRA is able to argue and emphasize overlapping and shared interests of the actors engaged in the region on the basis of scientific research. Concrete measures and steps are required to be suggested by AIRRA in this regard.