M Bukhsh Bhatti
Having lived in the UK for around two decades, I have come to realise and conclude that young generation of expatriate Pakistanis is getting spoiled due to negligent and irresponsible behaviour of their parents. Exception are found in every nook and corner of the country, but it is a bitter reality that a big section of the new generation is losing its identity as good Muslims and decent human beings. The Islamic values and traditional Pakistani culture have been fading away from their lives. They are not aware of basic teachings of Islam, particularly with regard to worldly affairs and person to person relationship. They are increasingly falling into the quagmire of vices and immoral activities. They are not praying regularly and performing other Islamic rituals. They are no more respectful and friendly towards their parents, siblings, neighbours and general public. Majority of them don’t exhibit civilised and decent behaviour in public. They are oblivious of our moral values and traditions. Majority of the youngsters is even unable to communicate in their mother tongue.
The gang culture is growing in every area. These gangs create nuisance for the people living around and start enmities unnecessarily. Some youngsters use drugs and even indulge in drugs trafficking. Sometimes their indecent behaviour crosses all limits. The errant lads misbehave with their parents and spouses, consume alcoholic drinks, and develop extra marital relationship. I always feel shocked, and ashamed of this highly offensive behaviour. The appalling conditions and abominable habits of young generation can be traced back to a number of reasons, but in my view the main cause of this moral degradation is parents’ negligent behaviour. The parents have miserably failed to spend enough time with their children and look after them properly. They have been unable to demonstrate themselves as good role models and inculcate high ethical standards in their children, particularly during their formative years of childhood. It is unfortunate that majority of Pakistani parents living in UK has lost control over their children and it has ended up in emergence of irresponsible and debauched generation. Lot of parents have come to realise the gravity of situation when it was too late.
The earlier generation of Pakistanis migrated to UK in a quest for a better life style and bright future of their off springs. The native population accommodated them for their own needs and interests. The migrant Pakistanis worked very hard and amassed riches with the passage of time. But in the race for material gains, they became too busy to spare time to groom their children decently. Some of them depended the part time education in the mosques which is usually imparted by semi educated persons(who often could not portray a true face of Islam to them).
According to a study, more than 90 percent of Asian teenagers living in the UK at the moment were born and brought up here. It is unfortunate that majority of the teenagers from the generation of expatriate Pakistanis is not treading on the path, our religion or even law of the land prescribes. The parents don’t care where their children are spending time and with whom. I can spot groups of teenagers wandering around in the evening without any positive activity. They are frequently swearing and uttering non-sense in their conversation. They wear strange haircuts, get piercing and tattoos on their bodies. Smoking is a favourite pastime for them. They eat inappropriately and throw left over food in the park and other public places. They don’t pay good attention to their studies. Very few of them make it to the higher education. I can see majority of them working in restaurants/take-aways or driving taxis. Their counterparts from other Asian communities are more serious in their studies and making good careers for themselves. Having been unable to achieve a reasonable job and respectable place in the society, they unfairly feel sense of deprivation and discrimination and blame others for their misfortunes. It is also a commonplace malady that these youngsters are not friendly with their neighbours especially the white ones. I have seen them harassing their female neighbours. This widens the gulf and cause further polarization with the native population. It also creates a bad image of Pakistanis. The racial discrimination is an easy scapegoat, if they are dealt with iron hand by law enforcing agencies.
There is no doubt that majority of the Muslims living in western countries is practicing Muslims, but they are not conscious of the fact that praying or performing religious rituals is not enough. They need to realise that becoming a good human being is equally important. Unfortunately majority of the parents don’t present a good role model for their children. They extract undue financial benefits and privileges from the government by making false statements and claims. They don’t realise that the unfair money will cause huge problems for them, as warned in the Islamic teachings. In brief, the parents have failed to perform their basic duty of infusing sublime standards of Islam in their children. They have not taught them what is right and what is wrong. No wonder, respect for other human beings and spirit of patriotism are vanishing among most of expatriate Pakistani youngsters.
It is high time the older generation of expatriate Pakistanis embark upon soul searching. It is never too late to mend. They need to focus on the upbringing of their next generation and make them good citizens and Muslims. They have to spare more time for their children. They should lead by example. They should not ignore any wrong doing, (no matter how small it is) of their children. They have to be polite and persuasive, explaining them the good traditions of Islam and warn them about the pitfalls. The immature minds cannot think of dire consequences, nor do they have deep knowledge of Islamic teachings. The parents don’t need to bother what other communities are doing. Every parent should focus on their own children and environments.
All religious leaders should stress upon the need for proper upbringing of young generation and eliminating anti-social tendencies by following sublime standards of Islam. The intolerance for others should be discouraged at all levels. All parents must teach their children the importance of patience and amiable behaviour in public life. They should try their utmost to develop their next generation and transform them into models for other communities living in the UK. Becoming a good human being is the basic religious duty of every Muslim. All Pakistanis living in western countries are ambassadors of Islam and Pakistan and should behave as such with profound sense of responsibility.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Birmingham, UK.