Booker T Washington and we

Arsalan Khan

Covid-19 is in full boom across the globe which jolted every walk of life. Role of international organizations, state governments, NGOs and media etc are being questioned. These are legitimated bodies and have some technical services to deliver and relations with masses, so these can be asked and stood in accountability.

But above all these is the character of society in crisis. Many developed nations are being surrendered to current crisis because of catastrophic impacts; we are a developing state. We have countless poor and needy people in our surrounding. Compensating or approaching them in the way they deserve with weak machinery and resources are difficult. Government and international community would work according to their channels and resources but important thing here is that how as a society we are filling the space left by crisis: socially, economicaly and politically. This gravity of situation recalls a name Booker T Washington, who is prominent figure in world and American history. For the first time i got his name and a brief tale from a book of Nelson Mandela; Nelson lauded him in tremendous words.

Then i was curious to know about this gentleman as If Nelson Mandela was admiring him with such words then i felt the need to go through his story and infact, everybody should go through his life story and struggle. I got his role as genuine one. He was born in a situation in which slavery was a inherited evil for his race. The journey from that time to the time of his role as a founder of many educational initiatives is readable. He left a lesson behind for whole world that if one decides to play his/her distinct role as an individual or as a society there are allot of means to accomplish and one can grow up from very low to high echelons.

Booker Washington says that when some one asks me about success, he responds success as a person lose himself in big cause and selfless struggle. I got in his autobiography that in normal times, we only advise others and even we are very philosophers in saying one word after other rather than starting from personal efforts and services. He is first sharing his ailing days and miseries; he proved in life by efforts and services he made.

As America started her legitimated history from 1789 but some social issues remained among them: slavery and colour’s racism etc. Parents and race of Bookers T Washington were slaves and blacks. He opened eyes in such situation and they were born for serving dreams of others. He very sharply got the reality of his individual weight against collective goals. He raised and glittered for ending disparity among people.

Like an experienced physician he first diagnosed problems of blacks there. So he started work for that very sincerely. The day he was starting fund raising and the time his efforts were conceded among public with enormous results was a long way, he followed. Blacks were deprived class from education and that reason kept them very backward in all fields of life. After American civil war, Booker T Washington as an individual came up and altered situation very positively by putting his efforts into it.

Blacks were too desperately waiting for such blessings. His work in Hampton and Tuskegee opened gates of social revolution for them. To erect even a single room in that situation was a dream and he expanded giant buildings and boarding houses for students. He was not only reserved to these constructions and fund raising but he engaged black population by changing theirs personality traits as well.

He gave them weapon of education which was instrumental and significant for uplifting them that time. In start whites were not so much helpful but at the end Whites in south too endorsed his services, even helped him in many occasions. He himself commenced his journey of education by travelling very far with empty hands and hunger and in the same way he expanded all these educational shelters and building with a start of no wealth in hand.

That was his commitment and his saying of losing in big cause. The change he brought which elevated his people to unprecendented position was a goal beyond his self and for all. His entire life struggle gives us three indigenous developments.

First how tough and tense was that time when he was leaving his home and family for his personal building. He was not even at zero but in minus that time because neither he has adequate cash for travelling nor for lodging any source. His personal emergence from very down to up is a big story of hope and enduring struggle.

Second message after his own building rather to enjoy a life of luxury, he commenced a relentless endeavour for progress of neglected and deprived people of his society.  His style of convincing people for fund raising and then leading of all these compaigns till fruitful results charmed his cordial services to all people.

People who contributed would often wrote a letter of thanks to him for giving them opportunity of financial help ,because he delivered through his actions. Third lesson from his life for all of us is that he strived for other people instead of his own material gains or interests. His destiny was beyond himself while he got all those things in reward which a man wishes here in world: fame, money and honour etc.

Now our situation and needs are different but motivation and struggle can be same. Means and ways may be changed but core objective is same. People in our surrounding are in dire need of our support. Zeal like Booker T Washington is just needed to fulfill all.

Government and administration have their own duties but real test is at our neighbour and immediate surrounding. If any one calmly analyse situation and seriously look at gravity of it , then role as a social worker, philanthropist and as generous sympathizer are too imperative. Who would reach to people who in true sense are in these times spending days of hunger, thirst and health issues without a single penny?

Here compensations and distributions are too often based on likes and dislikes, political affiliations and blood relations. Same like Washington every person has to rise and to reach all those people who deserve. The way he convinced people for a real change and generous sacrifices ought to follow.

Ailing issues of the time are hunger, health and financial. These all can be addressed not at far distances ; we have people in our immediate neighbour, outside home and within our reach. Lockdown is a single option in hand with government and social distancing with public; pandemic is unbearable load for vulnerable class of our society.

If any body or group wants to engage that economical vulnerable class of our society , an organized awareness and campaign should be made. This is now a moral question for our society that how we deal all these challenges of time. It demands a sense like Booker T Washington to first convince ourselves about current situation, then to materialize our plans. As a French philospher Rousseau says about will of people. He tells that there are three types of will of people: individual, corporate and general.  He terms one as personal ambitions of a man, other is group interest and last one collective goals. So time now expects from us to give up our individual and corporate wills and hold general will.

Twitter: 001Arsalan