By Javed Iqbal
One of the greatest technology gurus of the U.S., Steven Paul Jobs once said that one quote had, altogether, changed his life.
The United Kingdom based septuagenarian Hashim ul Haq disclosed it to me while sauntering the Lahore’s Jinnah Garden some days back. There are many identical life changing quotes attributed to Hazrat Ali (AS) who is popularly known as a door to the city of knowledge, and the man who adopted it, was a technology boss in the U.S., Hashim maintained.
Hashim had travelled widely in search of new worlds and wealth. He worked and ultimately settled in UK decades ago. Now, he remarried a 35 years old Pakistani woman to better live the terminal part of his life and, occasionally, visits Pakistan to settle matters here.
I found him lost in his inner world, away from the realities of the outside world. He visits famous sufi shrines in Pakistan. Sometimes, he spends morning time in the Lawrence Gardens where we meet and discuss issues. While talking about the inspirational personalities, Hashim told that what he had learnt from the technology sage in America who was as simple as a holy sufi. What the technology guru had said was a great inspiration for me, he added.
What did he say, I asked?
Things are only important to many people, not to all, Jobs had said.
We say the same, I asserted.
No, we don’t say that. If we say, we don’t believe it though.
Jobs was a living giant who revolutionized the whole world but he was inspired from someone else who had said, ‘I pass every day considering that it is the last day of my life.’
My sufi was Steve Jobs who triggered ‘touch revolution’ in the lives of millions of men, women and children across the globe, he pointed out with a burst of laughter. Why can’t our youth and especially the students do the same by decoding the golden words of our elders?, he questioned. Can’t they eliminate prevalent hunger, poverty, chaos and treachery from the society, he asked but I had no answer.
Talking further about this scientific saint, he said that Jobs preferred people over products. When he hired people in his company, he supervised all the processes so that unqualified people could not have a way in. He recruited people whom he hadn’t to tell what to do; rather, they told the company what to do and how to do. He had taught the employees to decide ‘what not to do’ was as important as ‘what to do was.’
This was the person who never graduated from any university but had the privilege to address the world-famous Stanford University in 2005. Steve Jobs was dropped out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon after one semester and his highest education qualification was high school level.
Hashim went on to say that after co-founding Apple, what shocked the world was his disclosure that the people who changed the course of history were no smarter than us.
Steve Jobs’ short life can be best explained in the light of above mentioned famous quote. This made a miraculous change in his life; Steve Jobs had claimed. This made me focus on the real goals of life which, earlier, I had badly missed.
Before I could speak further, Hashim said, ‘The foremost important thing to do is to develop a ‘Science and Technology city’ in Pakistan where science and technology are the only doors to enter.
Young people, having a passion for research, could exhibit their intellectual essence there. The researchers, who could perform the best research, find solutions to problems and make new inventions and present new theories should be permitted to reside in that city. The government should provide them with the necessary resources to perform research, do experiments in addition to publishing of their creative works. There should be state-of-the-art laboratories equipped with modern apparatus for the researchers. Late Hakim Saeed had also planned Madinat-al-Hikmah- the city of education, science and culture in Karachi.
The proposed city should be connected with the Royal Society of Research UK, the Silicon Valley U.S.A., the I.T. giants like Google, topnotch research universities of Europe, Australia, China and far-eastern countries. Besides, the exchange of scholars and scientists, seminars and expos should be organized there to urge the new generation to opt for the field of technology. The talented pool of people should be tasked to present research-based solutions to all technology-based issues. The I.T. experts should be assigned to develop search engines like Google and file transfer applications like WhatsApp etc. At present, our sensitive record and data are not safe and is subject to continued hacking by India and other countries. There is a popular saying that the real strength of the U.S. is not its military might but world-class universities which conduct research, promote a culture of innovation and prepare best minds like Steve Jobs to lead the world. Similarly, a tiny country Israel has around five percent of the global market share in cybersecurity, second to the United States and 16 percent of worldwide investment in the cyber industry. Pakistan should also regenerate its universities as engines of research and innovations to tackle issues like terrorism, cybersecurity, climate change, water shortage and desertification etc. We produce job-seekers instead of nation’s developers. The government should also redesign civil service training institutions to mold the bureaucrats as the future giants of different fields. The civil service of Pakistan should learn from the golden traditions of its erstwhile ICS who earned a niche in different fields and their mammoth work is remembered even today. Demarcation of 2430-kilometer long Durand Line is one such example. It was demarcated by Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, the British diplomat and civil servant in 1893.
Hashim concluded the morning get-together with the recitation of his favorite poem of Ralph Waldo Emerson about the real strength of nations. The poet believes that brave and hardworking men are true national assets. The foundations of a strong nation can only be built by such technology giants like Steve. They will build pillars deep and take the nation to greater heights, like the advanced nations did.