Bakhtiar Ahmed

The next student I met was Mr. Bakhtiar Ahmed, an intermediate student in GC University Lahore. He is a boarder who originally hails from Sargodha. I saw this young lad in a study circle and found him a bit distant from the activity, always silent in whatever he was doing. I was supposed to interview some women and he was sitting on the stairs 6 yards away from everybody. He had a handsfree in his ears. He was as present as always but not engaging with anyone. I approached him to talk about random things and I found out that he was the youngest activist of the group. We talked a lot about music, art and society. We discussed current situation of student psychology in society and on campus. He talked to me about the art and philosophy being produced these days, the need for resistance and the kind of depression an intermediate student goes through when he imagines the system he must struggle to be a part of.

He was very critical about art and thought that we live in a paradox whereby the art is being originated from within us and still is not able to represent us. This is because of our neo-colonial identity and the fact that a specific type of art is being propagated in order to strengthen the state narrative. “Some people write about feminism, against patriarchy, racism, sexism, etc. but it is still not being accepted since the popular art is being propagated by the state. This popular bourgeois art is racist, sexist, and it objectifies women,” he said. He believed that the fundamental thing is to have the right to resist and it only comes with the conscious realization that we are oppressed and subjugated. Therefore, the study circles are a way for us to realize and consequently evolve, just the way Marxist philosophy has evolved through such constant engagement. Failure, he thought, as Badiou writes, is not a wrong thing, since it only signifies that the work is ongoing.

Bakhtiar also talked about how the depression generated from the need for money and being productive has confined the minds of students of his likes. No one imagines an alternative way for productivity and everyone is, therefore, becoming passive day by day. Being successful is nothing but a coincidence since there are only a handful who, after a lifelong struggle, achieve what they desire. This was the reason why he thinks that resistance is the only way forward. “There is a probability that nothing will happen. So, what does that mean? Should we not fight or resist? Once we realize that there are problems, that we are being oppressed, that as individuals we have lost the humanity within us, don’t we get a right to fight back even if nothing comes out of it? We can at least satisfy our inner selves that we tried,” he thought.

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