Poles apart…!published in Dawn Magazine

“Kya zamana aa gaya hai, aik hamara dor tha…”You might have heard such expressions uttered by your parents and grandparents frequently without realizing the fact that after a decade or two you will be saying the same words to your young ones. Generational difference is often mistaken for generation gap. If the modern young lot is known as the MTV generation and mobile and media maniacs, it’s because of the era in which they live.Whatever we are or whatever we do is actually the reflection of the age in which we are born and brought up. Circumstances give birth to movements, pave the way for changes, advancements and mould human psyche accordingly. The modern generational change is quite universal. One can find stunning similarities between Pakistani and foreign trends and attitudes, thanks to the blurring boundaries, a result of technology and media expansion.

As Dr Salahuddin Kazi, associate professor of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre and a social scientist shared Pakistanis can be categorized into four broad generations.

The oldest one, which he calls the silent generation, comprises people born between 1920 and 1940 with an average age of 75. They are the people who witnessed partition of the subcontinent and the creation of Pakistan, the 1965 war and rebuilding of a newly independent state. They can be called a proud generation known for their hard work and selflessness. Since the group witnessed Ayub Khan’s economic growth era and a triumphant battle of Pakistani army against India on the regional front, they have a lot of respect for authority and leadership. They strongly believe that slow and steady wins the race. So ‘get ready, take aim and fire’ is the motto of their lives. Our grandparents in their seventies are the true representatives of the silent generation who love nostalgia and accentuate the golden era with expressions like Kya zamana tha …

The baby boomers succeeded the silent generation who contributed to a high population growth with plenty of children after the second World War. Born between 1941 and 1960, the generation has an average age of 55 years. According to Dr. Kazi”It’s basically a self-centered group, whose members always thought and talked about themselves. Though hardworking, yet unlike their parents they didn’t experience economic prosperity and progress in the country. On the contrary, they still have the humiliating memories of the 1971 war in Pakistan and the Vietnam war in America that caused a complete distrust of authority and gave birth to the rebellious hippy culture all over the world. The common man of their era was attracted towards flowery, colorful and unconventional lifestyle. The Beatles and rock music garnered mass appeal and pseudo democracy with slogans like Roti, Kapra, Makan reflected the awami mood of the era. Though the baby boomers believed in getting ready before taking aim, they’re more impulsive than their predecessors.

Dr Kazi titles the people group born between 1961 and 1980 as the generation X. He declares them the most interesting but unpredictable lot. Sub kuch chalta hai is their dictum. They are credit card lovers who first spend, and then worry about the payment. The Iranian Revolution, Pan Islamism, the rise of Islamic and family values, MTV culture, multimedia revolution, video games and lust for information and entertainment are the highlights of this class that gave birth to a fun-loving, highly competitive, impulsive and most discontent age group. They believe in fire, fire, fire, fire … as in video games. They have neither the time to think nor the patience to take aim. They love short cuts and instant results. Thus one can witness young executives at high positions.

Then comes the generation Y, consists of the youth born between 1981 and 2000s. They have many features of the silent generation. They get ready and then fire like their wise ancestors. Cell phones, the Internet and advanced communication technology have distinguished them from the previous group and influenced both their personal and social lives. They are the intended team players with group thinking. Thus most of them prefer to play team sports and work in groups — a particularly increasing trend in the US.

Here one can predict Eugenics as the possible future generation. They may have the best of mental and physical qualities. But in this respect the question that raises its head is: can they be better human beings? Can scientists assure a better future for this world through their genetic endeavors?

The categories above rather seem to me broad generalizations made to understand different eras and the people associated with them. Whatever age we talk about we can see that people are more influenced by the social, cultural and political environment than by the make-up of their genes. Generational differences can be witnessed in every age group. However, generation gap can be avoided by different groups if they respect each other’s individuality and freedom. All of us learn with experience. We pass through several stages in life. Every age has its own demands and charms, but one can’t understand it unless one experiences it. So Which generation do you belong or rather relate to and how do you think about changing times and values… Do you wish to travel back or forth in time to experience and explore the golden past or rather the bright future? Share what you bear…!

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2 thoughts on “Poles apart…!published in Dawn Magazine

  1. Noveed Hasan said yes it will all come together if we respect each other’s individuality and freedom, instead of regarding other generations, especially the younger one’s with utter disgust ….. thanx for sharing this excellent explanation of generational facts 🙂
    Saturday at 3:28pm via mobile

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