Security of employment and students – M. Abdul Fazl

STUDENTS’ HERALD Fortnightly Journal of the Students

Vol 1 No 9 April  3, 1953

SECURITY OF EMPLOYMENT: A VITAL NECESSITY FOR STUDENTS

By M. Abul Fazl

Many months ago, the students of Karachi signed an appeal for vindicating such demands as the reduction in fees, free medical aid and security of employment. At that time the Islami Jamiat-i-Tulaba seeing itself going in to the background brought out a counter-appeal demanding Islamic education and the basic necessities of life according to Islam. These mullas could have done their work on their own without entering into any controversy with other organizations, but no, they did precisely the wrong thing. Instead of propagating their demands, they unnecessarily launched a campaign against the demand of “security of employment”. When asked as to why in the name of goodness were they opposed to security of employment, their surprising answer was that it was anti-Islamic. This attempt at diverting the attention of students from their basic demands was, however, swept aside by the great January movement of the students of Karachi which awakened from slumber the youth of the entire nation and won the sympathy and support of all the people of Pakistan.

At such a moment, the Islami Jaimat-e-Tulba again made a bid to come to the forefront; and how? They tried to vilify the I.C.B. whom every student knows as the vanguard of students’ struggle. They tried to unite with such opportunitists as Ziaul-Islam, Shahid Hussain and party whose names are an anathema to the entire student community. They tried to make common cause with Dawn and the agents of Haleem and Naqvi whom every student hates from the core of his heart. And they even tried to get the support of gonads for the purposes of attacking and injuring those valiant fighters for students’ cause, the heroes of the students’ movement. All this in the name of Islamic morality!

To supplement those dirty tactics, they tried to revive their opposition to the demand of the “security of employment”, thus attempting to make unpopular the forthcoming National Convention of students, the symbol and embodiment of student unity. And what were their arguments against this demand?

First of all, they said, the demand of “security of employment” was un-Islamic, because according to their strange logic, it will mean nationalization of the means of production, it will mean socialization of national economy and thus bring in communism which will result in the ousting of Islam. Therefore they say that this demand is un-Islamic. Their alternative however is the demand for the “basic necessities of life according to Islam”. Can we ask them as to which necessities of life are according to Islam and which are not according to it? Thank God, they do admit food, clothing and shelter as those necessities of life which could be legitimately demanded. When we ask them as to how are they going to get these necessities without employment, their reply is that the Islamic state will provide every citizen with these necessities from the Bayt-ul-Mal in which contributions are made by Zakat. Well, merely the use of religious Arabic terms cannot hoodwink people. In reality their argument reduces people to the states of beggars living on charity or the unemployed living on doles. According to them the State should instead of providing work to the people­-that is giving them employment, should give food, clothing and shelter as charity from the Bayt-ul-Mal even to meet these necessities of life?

Again, can they tell us as to how are the basic necessities of life in each case, are to be assessed. These great exponents of Islamic economy do believe in the existence of the rich and the poor as distinct classes. Do they mean to say that the state will provide from its Bait-ul-Mal larger shares for the poor, in keeping with their poverty and misery? If such is their logic, then certainly they are the agents of the privileged classes for the exploitation of the rest of the people, trying hard to eke out a living of their own, but disappointed every time by these perpetrators of want and hunger, of unemployment and misery.

You may rightly ask: what has this controversy to do with the students! Well our demand is quite clear. We students study at the schools and colleges and acquire education and diplomas after years of hard work, in order that after we finish our studies we can find some work and earn our own living. We want work, because we want to be independent, to support our families; to give education to our children and relatives. For this we must have a right to work, or a guarantee of employment given by the state. Thus by demanding ‘security of employment’, we have only the future career of a student in mind; not any complications of nationalization or communism. Why should Islami Jamiat-i-Tulaba imagine that behind this common sense demand of “security of employment” there is hidden a desire to smuggle in communism? This is only a fantasy of their perverted minds. Communism stands before them as a ghost, a nightmare; and they see it in everything, in every demand – even in a simple and straight-forward demand such as the “security of employment”.

We want to assure our Jamiat friends that we are not opposed to the basic necessities of life; certainly not opposed to the necessities guaranteed by Islam. What we only do is to show a practical way of achieving these necessities of life; and that way is of employment, of honest work, of an independent career, not the way of charity, of donations or doles from the state treasury.

The question of nationalization is quite secondary. There are some amongst us who support nationalization as a means towards achieving employment, and they point out the heroic struggle of our Iranian brothers in nationalizing oil and thus freeing their country from foreign domination to a considerable extent. They do not think that there is anything in Islam – either in the Quran or the Sunna which is against nationalization. There are, however, others amongst us who do not agree to the nationalization of the means of production. Whatever may be their views, whether in favour or against nationalization, they are all agreed that it is the duty of the state to guarantee the youth of the country employment; for without it their education would have been in vain.

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