Recently The OEC blog met an inspirational Boy Scout belonging to Gilgit Baltistan, who had been keen in scouting since his childhood, now after graduation he still has the same enthusiasm towards scouting, for him scouting is the fuel that runs his life and scouting is the way he learns living the real life. We prefer you all to read these worthless words with him and we are very much assured that this interview will enlighten you and increase your knowledge about scouting and its importance for the youth.
OEC Blog team: Tell us about yourself.
Scout Zahir Shah
Zahir: I am Zahir Shah, I belong to Gulmit Gojal. I did my graduation from School of Management, Forman Christian College Lahore. Formally I got affiliated with scouting in 2003 at Shah Karim Hostel Gilgit and scouting is my passion now. Recently I took part in Wood Badge Training Course with Punjab Boy Scouts Association to complete the first phase of wood badge. My hobbies are reading, cooking and hiking.
OEC Blog team: Tell us about the basics of scouting, its aims and objectives.
Zahir: Scouting is an international movement that provides a platform for constructive activities for the youth. Its founder Lord Baden Powel was a Lieutenant in British Army and during a war in Africa he realised the strengths of the youth and organised them on the platform later on.
Its aims and objectives are so special as it strives for the Spiritual, Social, Intellectual and Physical development of scouts through a systematised mechanism. Keeping in view the spiritual development Lord BP made it mandatory to have faith in God (religion) for individuals to become a scout.
OEC Blog team: How did you start your involvement in scouting and what inspired you about scouting?
Zahir: Since my childhood I have been engaged in community works and volunteer activities therefore, indirectly I was part of the local scouts group. But it was the year 2003 when our seniors at Shah Karim Hostel decided to revive the history of the scouts group because, the group was almost non functional by that time. Fortunately, I was part of the team that organised the Ismaili Boy Scouts Group Shah Karim Hostel Gilgit. Thus formally I got registered there.
Almost every aspect of scouting inspired me. The notion that scout is resourceful and manages to live in what so ever condition and contribute in every aspect possible to one’s surrounding served the basis for constant motivation. Besides, it is a channel that make practical every thing taught to me by my religion.
OEC Blog team: What are your major achievements in scouting?
Zahir: I won the Chief Commissioner’s Award Gilgit-Baltistan in 2004. So far I consider my greatest achievement to be my attachment to the thread itself even after challenging scenarios.
OEC Blog team: How does scouting help in personality grooming and how did it affect your personality in particular?
Zahir: Scouting helps a person in becoming self reliant, it builds leadership qualities, and it helps in building bridge between personal values and societal values. It does so by flourishing a sound ethical and moral base for an individual. As a child I was too much shy and aloof from every kind of sports or creative activities. But, scouting opened new horizons to me and that enabled me to be what I am today; much more expressive, confidence in my abilities and a hope for playing a constructive role in my society.
Zahir recieving flag of honour during wood badge camping
OEC Blog team: How does scouting affect education of an individual? Share with us your experiences.
Zahir: For me education is the holistic grooming of individual, and scouting promises to deliver the maximum holistic development. It aids the formal education process with co-curricular activities, athletics and sports. Interestingly, during the years of my constant involvement with youth programs, social events and camping via this platform my academic performance was excellent compared to the phases I was aloof from it. Similar was the case with a scout Amir from Agriculture University Faisalabad whose academic performance has improved ever since he joined scouting. That is because of the challenges we get exposed to. There is no option but to live life each moment, complete every duty assigned by life and move forward.
OEC Blog team: Please shortly share with us a memorable incident that ever took place during your scouting?
Zahir: It was December 2004, and we were in Singul Punyal for the Gold Medal and Chief Commissioner Award Camping. I became the Senior Patrol Leader SPL willingly and my responsibilities included everything; announcements, camp cleanliness, class arrangements, serving meal and lot more. I never knew it was going to be hectic role and I was already disappointing the course leader Sir Muhammad Wali.
He summoned me and expressed his dissatisfaction regarding my duty, which disheartened me and I could hardly stop my tears. I got determined to leave scouting and I developed a phobia from his presence. Nevertheless, I carried on with whatever I could do to complete my duty. And when we were saying the formal goodbye the last day he gently shock hands with me and advised me to be careful about my duty. His tone and reaction was very friendly that to this day I have never experienced phobia from any of my teachers or elders.
From that day I understood that whatever your elders do for you is done with a purpose and our success is behind carrying out their instructions whole heatedly.
OEC Blog team: What is the scope of scouting in GB? How can scouting contribute to the youth affairs in GB?
Zahir: GIlgit-Baltistan has great potential for scouting and there is so much scouting can contribute back to the region. Firstly, the changing dynamics of the region in terms of politics and structure needs well prepared young generation to be active participant in constructive development of the region. Scouting with its motto “Be Prepared” is the platform for the youth to pursue their service for GB. Secondly, the diverse cultural and ethnic population require mutual understanding on one platform and again there can be no other platform well suited than scouting to integrate youth from every corner of GB. Furthermore, GB is an area most vulnerable to natural disasters, and our responsibility is to become self reliant during such phases. Therefore, it is the responsibility of youth to be well equipped mentally, socially and physically to confront those challenges and render services. Scouting can prove helpful for the youth of GB in this regards too.
OEC Blog team: What are the challenges that scouting is facing in GB?
Zahir: My little understanding highlights few challenges, the first category relates to the masses that include parents unwillingness to send their child to scouting and lack of realizing the importance of the movement for development of the youth. Secondly, there is lack of trainers who could constantly give coverage to the districts.
OEC Blog team: How do you think can these problems be solved?
Zahir: For the first set of problems motivational schemes need to run. For example, we have boy scouts and Shaheens who have won Presidential Gold Medals or other accolades and the fact that these lifetime achievements at a very young age could be gained through scouting could persuade the parents and youth to get into scouting. Moreover, there are international programs for the best performers where the scouts are taken on official visit to another country and given chance to have educational and cultural interaction, and Hajj service. If people get to know about these beneficial and value added aspects then the first set of challenges could be over come.
For the second set of issues our scouts who have gone through the process for sometime and have taken the responsibilities of guiding the youth need to constantly get engaged in development of scouting. Because there are several leaders who after getting training get busy with their own professional lives. Thus not sharing the sheer experience to the later generation. In this regards our Provincial Headquarter could also do better through utilizing the current leaders based on the trainers availability in their region.
OEC Blog team: What are your plans to pursue your career in scouting ahead in your life?
Zahir: Since scouting is a volunteer movement thus majority of the members serving in various capacity give their service voluntarily, except few professionals who control the offices and the network. Inshallah I will remain affiliated with scouting as a volunteer through out my life. My plan is to contribute in my little capacity to our youth and I will pursue it with scouting.
OEC Blog team: What is your message for the students of Gilgit Baltistan?
Zahir: My teacher used to tell me, “Be honest, Work Hard and Avail Opportunities” and if you do so along with respecting your parents, teachers and your time. No power of the world will hinder your path to success.
Zahir The OEC Blog team is very much thankful to you for the time and efforts that you provided in make this interview successful, we wish you best of luck in your career and we wish every youth of GB gets the inspiration from you and adopts scouting the way you have adopted and we wish our readers would have got enlightened after reading the thoughts Zahir has shared with us.