Ibn Khaldun was one of the greatest ''governance and management thinkers'' of all time.

Ibn Khaldun - 1332 - 1406 - was a leading Arab historian best known for his book Muqadimmah [Introduction]. He discussed in his  book politics, institutions, economy and society but most importantly theories about two exciting conflicts of the society-

''The first between the desert [in developing world's case rural life] and the urban society, and the second between the rulers and the ruled''.

In the first conflict, Ibn Khaldun suggests that the odds are stacked in favour of the desert because of asabiyyah which means 'social solidarity and group feeling'. To him asabiyyah is a product of the 'cage of norms'. that helps preserve political equality' in nomadic societies.

The moment a transition from from the rural to the urban life takes place the cage of norms that binds and regulates the rural life unwinds and retreats and leaves the migrants to the urban areas free from the bounds of group and societal solidarity.

However, having moved and stepped up closer to the state, being free and on his own, what migrant unfortunately discovers is not the state but a feeling of more and more hopelessness and statelessness, in a place 'everyone is crowded in the center' unlike in his rural community and clan where one is answerable not only to the family but to the entire community, Ibn Khaldun theory showcases an important idea and that is the linkage of the first conflict [rural and urban] with the second conflict [ruler and the ruled].

Any theory is most useful if it offers a new way of thinking. However, even 600 years after the death of Ibn Khaldun the social contract that should that should have bridged the gap between the ruler and the ruled in the Developing World, say, Proud Pakistan, in a more meaningful way still stays lopsided in favor of the ruler.

Dragged forward oligarchially rather than democratically, this lopsided balance of power has progressively drained many a society from the very values, norms and ethics that 'the cage of norms' in rural areas still control and regulate.

The most important functions of a state are to provide services to the people and to build infrastructure.

However, the cosmopolitan and the biggest city Karachi which accommodated over 24 million people is a classic example of how it suffers from the depravity of both - services as well as infrastructure. Who are the state builders? Why has Pakistan failed to build the capacity of the state? [its institutions, its bureaucracy?]

Did Proud Pakistan get this wrong by mistake or by purpose? Why the state fails to punish those 'state builders' who did everything but build the state? Should the Pakistani students not question the very vision and ability of state builders?

The honor and wisdom of this publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks author Professor Muhammad Ali Ehsan.


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