Friends i read this story by Amir Husain and thought of sharing it with you guys, it is related to our topic Vision 2030. Hope you guys will enjoy it. Though its long but its worth reading it.
“So will you be there at the launching?”, I whispered inquisitively to Rabia, “I heard from Prof. Haider that Dr. Shahryar Imam is one of the guests. Imagine seeing him in the flesh! Raza’s managed to convince his father to lend us the car tonight. It should be great! So have I made your mind up for you yet?”.
Just as she was about to utter the first syllable of her reply, a booming voice interrupted, “Janab Hasan Sahab! Have I or have I not, told you to restrain from whispering while we are in the middle of a lecture?! Do you have something to share with us today that would enlighten us more than Rehman’s Quantum Computing Architecture, which for your information, is what we are discussing at the moment?” This had happened too many times this week, I just managed to squeak a muffled, “Sorry sir”, which too was perhaps drowned out by the `hee hee’s, `oay hoy’s and `ufffff.. Phir baizti!”‘s that were emanating from the back rows. Wait till we leave the class, O’Princes of Sarcasm, I thought to myself. For the moment though, my head dropped as low as it would go, almost instinctively, to avoid the killer gaze Prof. Alvi was notorious for.
In his measured accent with his patented slow speech, peppered with the occasional quick and stressed delivery that seemed to keep everybody but myself intently focussed on the lecture, Prof. Alvi continued, “Now then, as I was saying, Rehman’s brilliant insights into quantum physics and nano-technology, coupled with his practicality have resulted in one of the most amazing developments in Computer Science. In this past year, you may have read repeatedly in newspapers about the rumours floating around in scientific circles regarding Rehman’s selection for the Nobel prize in Physics – unfortunately, there is still no category for Computer Science or Engineering. The basis of the Quantum Computing Architecture is Rehman’s Quantum Instruction Set that can be entirely computed using a network of devices, each of which are no larger than a thousand molecules. Another fundamental advancement is the electron charge detector memory circuit. As you all know, electrons in orbit around an atom have certain charge levels. Rehman’s charge detector is able to differentiate between 256 charge level combinations for the electrons in orbit, each level corresponds to a sequence of high/low orderings for the eight bits in a byte. Thus, with one byte per atom, you can – or more appropriately, you can’t, imagine the densities to which memory technology has been pushed. This is a revolution my friends. With this we end today, tomorrow we will go into the details of Rehman’s Architecture starting from the structure of his processor, which is only a few million molecules in size. If there are any questions, please come up to my office.”
By now I had managed to return to normality recovering from the embarrassing incident in class. Really! I should be used to the embarrassment by now. “So, Rabia”, I turned to her again, “Kitnay bajay tayyar ho gi (what time will you be ready) ? The launch is scheduled at 8, but we need to be there at-least a couple of hours before time. They expect more people there than they did at the Horse show – and you know who made me miss the Horse Show!”.
“Acha bhaee! Acha! Jaldee chalein gey (OK! We’ll leave early) – you and Raza can come to my place at 5:30 and we’ll leave then. Is that early enough for you?”.
“Done!”, said I, with a beaming smile – wider perhaps than the solar panels on Badar IX. Or maybe not exactly that wide!
Everybody at college. No! Everybody in the country was excited about the launch. As the architect of the Pakistani space program, the universally respected academic, Dr. Shahryar Imam had said, “With the launching of Saif I, Pakistan will finally be up there, amongst the stars!”. The launch scheduled at 8pm was to put into orbit, Saif I – the first nuclear powered deep space exploration vehicle. After a week of staying in Earth orbit, during which time system tests were to be completed under the supervision of the Abdul Salam ground control station in east Kashmir, Saif I would fire its primary thrusters and begin its voyage to the far reaches of the galaxy. Once beyond Saturn, the nuclear engine would power up – far away from Earth to prevent disaster should any `problems’ surface – propelling the spacecraft to almost 36,000 km per second. Near a fifth the speed of light.
Such an ambitious project had never been undertaken by any nation, and every Pakistani, whether or not he had an interest in Space, was proud of what SUPARCO had accomplished in such a short time. The closest, for lack of a better word, any one had come to developing this kind of technology was the US Voyager IV project, completed 3 decades ago, at the turn of the millennium. In-fact, that was probably the last of the great American space projects; the economic war with China during the 10’s and 20’s all but ended funding for research and development in the US. Slowly but surely, its industrial capacity was crippled. Its hegemonistic foreign policies during the last five decades of the 20th century had not won it many friends. It’s last bit of brutality in the Middle East highlighted America’s underlying desperation and finally resulted in an international backlash leading to UN imposed sanctions on the country. The old newsmagazines in the library paint such a different picture, but we all know how the poor country is faring now. I almost feel sorry… but as Mrs. Qureshi very aptly quoted Wilde in class the other day, “America [was] the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between”. The oft-repeated saga of downfall; an ill-informed people led by tyrants.
“Yaar, Raza, you always do this to me!”, I shrieked into the Satphone.
The `phone showed a seemingly worried Raza, “Yaar, mein teray ghar teen minat mein pohanch raha hoon. (I’ll be there in three minutes) It was the damn traffic! Everybody’s headed out of the city to see the launch.” “Acha, batein na bana, jaldi kar! (Quit talking and hurry up!)”. I had hardly kept the phone down and slung the holocamera bag on my shoulder that I heard the home computer say, “O’Hasan, Prince of Pearls, aapka dost Raza aa gaya hay”. I had programmed the machine to praise me at random intervals, but I could still not help smiling every time I heard it’s exaggerated praise and seemingly immense appreciation of even the smallest things I did. Ami had already warned me not to be, as she called it, `self-indulgent’, so instead I programmed the computer, or Papoo, as I had named it, to be more `casual’ when I was in the company of my parents. It obediently agreed.
Raza and Rabia were in the car already. “Yaar, I figured it would be faster if I picked her up first because her house is on the way to yours. I knew you hadn’t figured that out because you are really, and I mean REALLY, no good at directions!”, Raza said with a wry smile.
“Acha acha, zyada bakwaas na kiya kar. Waisay bhi der ho rahee hay (Shut up and drive, we’re late already)”, was my immediate reaction. Both of us excelled in badgering each other every second of the day. Rabia never understood why this was so necessary to our well being, and we told he she never could. So finally she gave up questioning our motivations and of late, was trying very hard to stay out of our, as she called it, “chikh chikh”. However, she did have her weak moments and apparently this was one of them. Both of us got smacked on the back of our heads, “Ab chalo gey ya aik dafa aur karoon? (Will you move now or should I do that again?)”, she giggled.
The highway was jam packed – all 6 levels of it. There were hardly any cars coming into town, but it seemed as if everyone was leaving for the launch site. Luckily, the traffic kept moving and we were able to get to the Jinnah Space Center well before 8pm. The Center itself was about an hour’s drive from the New City and encompassed a huge area. There were Air Force and Army research offices on the premises, as well as the SUPARCO research center and the Pakistan Space Ltd. manufacturing facility, all surrounded by miles of barbed wire, watch towers and boundary walls. Since the government had officially invited the people to attend the launching of Saif I, a huge area all around the complex had been set aside for parking cars, whereas the pre-launch ceremony was to be conducted in the huge football fields just inside the compound.
Thousands of people were already there. Children on special field trips arranged by their schools. College students such as us, families, and older people – it seemed everybody was brimming with excitement and anticipation. In a little while, Dr. Shahryar Imam would come to the rostrum and deliver his much-awaited speech. In the distance, we could make out the launch tower, with lights flashing and a number of army helicopters buzzing all around it. At the moment, some Balochi folk musicians were singing beautiful songs and dancing in celebration of the greatness their country had achieved.
Suddenly, the music stopped and there was complete silence in the audience. A VTOL transport in SUPARCO colours approached the landing pad just behind the stage and hovered over it for a few seconds, finally beginning it’s gentle descent to the ground. Some SSG personnel rushed toward the pad and surrounded it. Once the engines were switched off, the main doors opened and out walked the Prime Minister, accompanied by a smiling Dr. Shahryar Imam. The army officers saluted the two men who had been so instrumental in transforming Pakistan. The crowd, as soon as it caught the first glimpse of the Prime Minister, erupted in cheers. The ever-popular slogan, “Pakistan ka matlab kya, La-illah-a-illAllah” was repeatedly raised by the young school children, the very picture of innocence, dressed in their white shalwar kameez school uniforms.
As the Prime Minister walked up the steps and onto the stage, there was a renewed vigour in the crowd. The Minister of Interior took the microphone and announced, “Meray bhaiyon aur behnon, aap kay wazir-e-azam! (My brothers and sister, your Prime Minister)”. The popular Prime Minister, in his regular dress of white shalwar kameez and blue waistcoat took the rostrum. Suddenly, there was complete silence.
“Bismillah! My friends, today is a very important day for our country. The singular efforts and dedication of the Pakistani nation have pulled us back from the very edge of the abyss. We have claimed our rightful place at the forefront of the world’s nations. But we have done so by our own hard work, and not by exploiting others. We have done so by fighting for our rights, and not trampling the rights of others. We have done so with humility and faith in Allah, not with arrogance and cruelty. My countrymen, I congratulate you on this wonderful occasion, and I remind you never to forget the words of Allah, never to lose sight of your objectives and always to remain humble, no matter what your circumstances. Peace unto you! Please welcome the architect of the Pakistan Space Program, Dr. Shahryar Imam!”
In the midst of deafening applause, Dr. Imam approached the rostrum. The Prime Minister shook his hand and retreated to his reserved chair. Dr. Imam began, “Bismillah- ar-rahman-ar-raheem! My brothers and sisters, I thank you for coming here today to share this wonderful occasion with us. I can do no better than repeat the words of the Prime Minister, that despite our achievements it is important to maintain our resolve and do so with humility. For you have seen what is the fate of nations that fall into the trap of arrogance. I am a man of few words, and I would not like to take away from your celebration by continuing for much longer with my speech. Let me thank Allah for his mercies on our country. Thanks are due to the Pakistani nation who believed in themselves and battled adversity bravely. This country is indebted and grateful to the members of the OIC for helping us all along the way. We share our newfound prosperity because of our co-operation, and inshaAllah, we will continue to co-operate and help each other in all spheres of life. Allah nigaihbaan!”.
There were now only a few minutes left before the launch countdown would begin. Everybody was keeping their cameras and eyes focussed on the tower that now seemed to be pulsating with energy. The countdown began on the public address system.. Dus, nau, aath,… the sky was being slowly illuminated by the rocket’s engines.. Red, Green, White streaks of energy seemed to fly all over the place. In the midst of all this, Raza snatched my camera and jumped onto my shoulders with a quick, “You’re taller than I am and taller still if I sit on your shoulders. We have to get the best possible shots yaar!”, as if that was explanation enough. I couldn’t really argue with him. The countdown continued, and the hum of the engines grew louder and louder – teen, do, aik, sifar! We couldn’t hear what was said after that. The engines were just too loud – the whole sky, seemingly for miles around, was lit up with the glow emanating from the rocket’s booster engines. We had seen launches before, but this was something totally different. The rocket that carried Saif I dwarfed anything else I had seen before. The spacecraft itself was much larger than a satellite carrying module or anything similar we had seen being launched. Within seconds, the spacecraft was nothing more than a very bright speck in the sky.
As we drove back home, we were too awe-struck to talk much. Raza just kept saying, “Zabardast! (Great)”, until Rabia whacked him again for being “so damn irritating”. I suppose what all of us were feeling then was very deep happiness mixed with a strange flavour of pride; I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. It was different to being happy for ourselves. The happiness stemmed from a sense of belonging – an attachment to our country and our people. It was many times the satisfaction of beating `you know who` in a cricket match. I suppose we were happy for being us, for being Pakistanis; for being able to share that sentiment with so many of our countrymen. Life is good in our country, not because we are rich individually, or have more wealth than we did 30 years ago, but because we have found a new respect for ourselves and a confidence which tells us that we can achieve anything we set our minds to.
Just as I was thinking this, Rabia said, “Don’t you wish we could somehow go back in time 30 years and tell people that it’s all going to be alright. That they don’t need to lose hope, but only work harder?”. Opening the window, I looked up to the sky where I could still see the shimmering speck that was probably the Saif I launch vehicle. The cool air hit me in the face; it almost felt as if it was breathing new life into me after a tiring day. Then I turned to her and said, “I wish we could tell them Rabia, I wish”.