Pursuing What You Love is Political

We are generally not encouraged to tread forward on a path we love, unless it is paved by STEM –  a curriculum based on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

There is this misconception that STEM students are better than non-STEM students, but this is hardly the case. When they say “better”, they only mean lofty academic achievements, but not intellectual depth, capabilities and basic human qualities. By better, they mean more economic opportunities.

I know both STEM and non-STEM people who are politically aware and are great human beings. I also know of people from these categories for whom the whole point of education seems to have been lost. Hence, the discrimination has to go, but it won’t – not anytime soon.

Pursuing what we love is a political act. It’s political because the structure of our society injects doubt and disbelief into individuals who wish to do something that the society doesn’t approve of.

When the status-quo convinces us that we can’t thrive in this world doing what we love, but we still follow the light ignited by our passion, it becomes a political act because we are then resisting a system that is hell-bent on brainwashing us; a system that wants us to follow a convenient path where we will probably find no sort of spiritual or personal enlightenment.

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When we follow our heart, we retain the faith that we, ourselves, are enough. We restore our conviction and confidence in the face of utmost criticism. Undeterred from the course our hearts are firm on, we resist.

Through the act, we defend our sense of self-reliance, we do not let it get snatched by unsolicited hands. In this wounded world of ours, resistance has become necessary more than ever.

When we do what we love, defying all odds, in order to satiate our souls, we automatically refuse to be tamed by our surrounding machineries. This very refusal, however small it may be, is a key ingredient in this dark age of servitude. The small acts of resistance, once they pile up, can give a person strength to be able to take charge of his or her course, rather than following what the systems say.

I correlate resistance with the pursuit of individual passion because the path is not easy. It throws one into troubled waters. It waits for one to emerge triumphant in the journey, overcoming the hurdles, brushing aside the soul-crushing discouragements. The pursuit consolidates our faith in ourselves. It makes us see that we should never give in. It hands us the steering wheel, puts us in charge of ourselves. It allows us to take the path less taken.

But most importantly, it gives us the confidence to defy and shun the forces that can suck us into the system and turn our spines to dust.

But then again, it is not up to us, really — the matter of choosing. Forces have moulded our world in a way that one has to be privileged enough to have a choice in this matter.

To be able to decide with bold confidence that they will, no matter what, follow the trail of their passion. For those of us who are not privileged enough, the fear of unemployment and bleak futures loom wildly over our conscience.

But there are people, who, despite not being privileged, follow that trail, and defy the objections.

May this political act of theirs cast a piercing gaze at a system that makes one think many times before pursuing their passion.

Shah Tazrian Ashrafi is a writer living in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He writes for The Daily Star, the leading English Newspaper in Bangladesh. His writings have appeared in various supplements of The Daily Star, The Metaworker (US), Penmen Review (US), Kitaab (Singapore), Daily Times (Pakistan), and Six Seasons Review (Bangladesh).

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