By Sarmad Ali
Islamabad, Aug 10 (www.pakdestiny.com) The News columnist, Kamila Hayat, lashes out indirectly at anchor Hamid Mir and company for being ‘too poor’ in wits for getting carried away by ‘water-driven’ car manufactured by a local of Khanpur.
She wondered as how our ‘illiterate’ media persons are boasting over a thing that actually does not exist. “They have no actual skills, no abilities to solve the immense problems our nation faces. This willingness to believe in fraudulent miracles only detracts us from finding real solutions.”
Hamid Mir and some other did an hour-long programmes pleading the government to support the engineer to promote his invention in Pakistan.
The intellectual level of HM and other fellow media persons of Jang group is now being openly questioned by their group fellows, isn’t it a shame.
KH in her Friday (Aug 9) column in The News International says:
Children believe in fairytale, in the miracles contained in storybooks and in a world of make-belief where anything is possible.
As we grow up, this realm of fantasy is usually left behind – along with the teddy bears, the dolls in frilly frocks or the toy cars of infancy.
However, in our country it seems, some people at least never grow up. Perhaps because the reality around us is so dismal, the future so bleak, that they prefer to latch onto whatever tall tales they hear-abandoning all logic and basic common sense in doing so.
What is terrifying is that ministers, leading scientists, etc., too appear to be willing to shift into such a realm-by doing so, perhaps, acknowledging they have no actual plans, no skills, no abilities to solve the immense problems our nation faces. This willingness to believe in fraudulent miracles only detracts us from finding real solutions.
The latest example we have of this is the extraordinary “water kit” which a middle-aged mechanical engineer from Khairpur in Sindh claims can be used to convert water into fuel which would be able to run cars and motorbikes and other vehicles.
It should be noted that similar claims of “water-driven” cars have been made before – most recently in Japan in 2008. Like others before it, the claim proved fraudulent. The “kit” from Khairpur – if it worked-would revolutionize our energy-starved country.
The engineer, Agha Waqar Ahmed – who is being promoted by a scientifically illiterate media, including top talk-show hosts, still more ignorant ministers and, astonishingly, ill-informed scientists – says he can split the oxygen and hydrogen molecules in water and then use hydrogen to create energy.
An elaborate display was put on of this “invention” at the Sports Complex in Islamabad, where Ahmed connected a water hose to a car and said it was being powered by this medium.
Minister for religious affairs Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, who has been promoting the engineer coming from the same part of Sindh as himself, gleefully drove the vehicle on the occasion.
Meanwhile, a host of other senior officials, including Federal Minister for Science and Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Faisal Karim Kundi and advisor to the prime minister on petroleum Dr Asim Husssain, looked on.
Since then, Engineer Ahmed is being hailed as a national hero: “patriotism,” in the warped sense that we know it, has overtaken all sense.
The “inventor” demanding support for his project, has had long meetings with top officials. The president has hailed his work, experiments are to be conducted at the National University of Science and Technology and the prime minister has set up a committee comprising Khusheed Shah, Mir Changhez Jamali and Dr Asim Hussain to facilitate matters.
What is still more shocking is how, driven on by TV show hosts, scientists seem to have reached a state of ecstasy over the “discovery”: “top patriot” Dr A Q Khan and Dr Samar Mubarakmand have backed the claim.
The situation is reminiscent of the time when scientists during the Zia era suggested harvesting energy from “jinns.” Politics, and now the rapidly swirling media merry-go-round, send rational thinking spinning far away.
This failure by men who should know better and speak the truth can only push us further back towards ignorance and a belief in fantasy.
Certainly, the good engineer from Khairpur-who has most recently delayed his collaboration with NUST, for reasons he declines to explain-deserves credit for exposing how little we know, and how little we are willing to face.
Under Confucius’ model we would fall into the undesirable category of those who “know not,” and “know not that they know not.”
This leaves open no room to learn, to think or to utilize mental capacities granted to most humans.
It is true that some men of greater integrity, more scientific knowledge and true logic have spoken out. Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, the former chairmen of the Higher Education Commission, has stated on television that the whole “water kit” business is a scientific fraud.
He has faced being shouted down by compeers, but bravely refused to give in. Eminent physicist Dr Pervaiz Hoodbhoy has still more strongly stated that the whole thesis around which Engineer Ahmed’s theory is built defies the most basic rules of physics and is scientifically impossible.
He has said that if the possibility of using water to create energy could be proved, it would amount to one of the biggest breakthroughs in science seen during our lifetimes.
So, should Engineer Agha Waqar Ahmed be preparing for a Nobel Prize? Or should we be prepared to be disappointed once more?
This is often what happens when children discover their favourite fantasies, such as those involving tooth fairies or Father Christmas, are simply not true.
So far we have refused to move into the world of reality. The warnings from Dr Atta-ur-Rehman and Dr Hoodbhoy have largely been sidelined. We need to consider why this is so.
Even school-level physics students should be able to question the rationale behind the curious water theory. Yet here we have ministers, top scientists, leading media anchors and others hailing the Khairpur engineer as a hero.
It seems there is so little in our lives that hold out real promise that we cling onto straws. This is a particularly feeble straw.
What we need to focus on is finding genuine solutions to our problems, discouraging fraud and building a media capable of playing a more balanced role in such matters. We have at the moment something of a farce.
The news regarding water and energy has been taken up by the international press and largely ridiculed. This does nothing to bring credit to us as a nation or show us to be intelligent people capable of seeing through publicity stunts, stunts apparently staged to fool people and perhaps gain in monetary terms.
There is much we can work on. This includes the potential of solar energy, and much more. It is in such endeavors that the government should be placing its effort and its money rather than going along with a notion that simply is too good to be true-and therefore almost certain to be entirely false.
Building false hopes and then dashing them is not a wise thing to do. It only creates greater despondency in an already depressed nation. (www.pakdestiny.com)