The Rise Of Populism

The Rise Of Populism

We are living in the age where our hunger can be satisfied by instant coffee and noodles while our intellectual hunger can easily be satisfied by simply tapping our smartphones. When human maturity and intellect are customized with this mentality, it is very hard to talk about slow institution-building processes because in this age when everything is just a click away why waiting for slow and ancient thinking.

Populism is defined as a means to satisfy masses and popular beliefs and to accept public opinion without really criticizing it. Therefore if the society is angry with any belief, the society has the right to change it.

The alarming thing is that Western societies, which had shown maturity after World Wars and paved way for institutionalism and process-building mechanisms, are now falling apart. Their problems have grown but instead of sticking to their rules and principles they are becoming the victims of populism and anger.

The recent Brexit vote, the EU migrant crisis, xenophobia and the popularity of leaders like Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, and Geert Wilders, are the alarming signs of Western societies. The Western world had witnessed the worst impact of populism and anger that resulted in World Wars.

The recent mess in India in the form of Modi government is also showing symptoms of populism not being the solution for long term problems.

History has also shown that populist leaders do not have concrete solutions, just like instant food and coffee fail to satisfy the nutritional needs.

Pakistan, being an underdeveloped state and not truly democratic, has always been the victim of populism and anger. Policy making and building plans for future sustainable development are extinct in Pakistan.

The recent crisis in Pakistan is the true representation of our historical mistakes of not building institutions and policies. We believe that instant slogans and quick changes will fix the system but it takes time and effort to carry out institution-building.

The recent attempt in Turkey to thwart the coup attempt is the biggest example that proper training of the nation and institution-building is the only long term situation to save this world from chaos and disorder.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of or any organization with which she might be associated.

Sana Khan

Author: Sana Khan

The writer is an Advocate of the High Court and a lecturer at the School of Law, University of Karachi.