Imagine what would have happened if George Washington had crossed the Atlantic to live a peaceful life in London instead of fighting the war?
Or, what would be the existing condition of South Africa if Nelson Mandela had preferred his comfort to those of his nation? He did not have to spend 27 years in jail.
Today, the US is the global power, and South Africa is one of the most stable countries in Africa, both economically and politically.
Yet, the walks to freedom are hardly the matters of overnight journeys, and they come at the cost and personal sacrifices.
How nations become greater can be found by tracing the hardships their founders might have to go through. Yet, the founding of a state is one phase, with another more serious to follow.
After the foundation of the state, nation-building required in the same way as after the foundational brick-work. The structure needs the walls to be raised upon it.
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Besides many other significant events, the 20th century witnessed decolonization en masse. Many colonies were liberated in the wake of either the freedom-fighting struggles or due to the weakening of the imperial powers following WWII. After 1945, it had become impossible for them to sustain the colonies economically.
Around three dozen nations across Africa and Asia got rid of foreign rule between 1945 and 1960. India and Pakistan were among those beneficiaries.
However, the dilemma of the third-world nations is that their problems always exceed the solutions. Besides, it is probably easier to liberate a country than to build it.
What is Nation Building?
Few founders of the nations can boast of having played an active role in nation-building. George Washington and Nelson Mandela were among those few who did both.
Their examples suggest that sometimes it is better to leave power with dignity than sticking to it with disgrace. Both the leaders steered their countries through independence; both became the head of states. They completed a term, and despite having the luxury, moral standing, and political support to win the second term chose not to do so.
They were the statesmen, and their examples were followed to iron out the process for their successors.
However, if you look at the third world nations, like India and Pakistan, you will have fewer reasons to be proud of as a citizen of either of the two states.
For instance, in India, the freedom fighter, Jawaharlal Nehru, remained in power for 17 years after the independence, until his death.
Pakistan was not lucky enough to see its founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The politicians who followed Jinnah gave ample reasons to historians to write a history of deceit, plundering, and corruption. These were to be based on the historic days of the country’s political history.
The former citizens of Pakistan grabbed the first opportunity to sail for the other countries to find personal fortunes. He left the newly discovered country to the rapine of the looters.
It is ironic that the same people now compare Pakistan with the US, UK, and other developed nations.
Now, imagine how America would have become great without the struggles of its founding fathers and the nation-builders. How could South African elevate itself from being an Apartheid state to one of the highly democratic state thanks to its proportional system of the election?