Maslow’s Theory & Pakistan

For the past 10 years or so, on several occasions during interactions with the educated & enlightened lot, I came across Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a theory that explains stages of growth in humans in terms of their needs.

So what is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

Abraham Maslow proposed his famous psychological theory of human needs (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) in 1954 in his book ‘Motivation and Personality’. The simplest way to describe this is by drawing a pyramid:

So as per the theory every individual moves from bottom of the pyramid to the top, when it come to meeting his/her needs & growing.

Physiological Needs:         Breathing, Food, Water, etc. (the most basic needs)

Safety Needs:     Shelter, Safety of life, Safety of belongings (person starts worrying about his/her belongings)

Social Needs:    Acceptance in society (person starts focusing on how people perceive him/her)

Esteem Needs:     Sense of achievement (person starts liking one’s self because of his/her achievements)

Self Actualization Needs:     Sense of being in a state where one becomes self aware, a state where nothing else matters or we may call a state of completeness.

Our Nation’s Dilemma:

If you ask people to discuss the issues Pakistanis are facing as a nation, some of the concerns would include:

  • Why Pakistan isn’t growing?
  • Why are we Pakistanis in general short tempered?
  • Why we didn’t produce great minds in Pakistan?
  • Why we aren’t a happy nation?
  • People in general LOVE to frown in our society ….

    & the list goes on J

So what’s the root cause?

Well let’s review how we are doing as a Nation in light of Maslow’s theory of needs:


So keeping the current scenario in mind, how can we expect to grow as a nation? Most of our nation is busy in striving to fulfill their physiological / safety needs and hardly 5-10% is in a condition to think about their esteem needs.

For any society to grow:

  • They must focus on growth
  • They can only focus on growth when their basic needs are satisfied (Physiological & Safety)
  • When the basic needs are easily satisfied, nations strive to focus on Social & Esteem needs

I am not an expert but in my opinion we need to start thinking on ways to eradicate the root causes of the problem so that our nation starts focusing on growth; and Education (not literacy) is one of those tools that could help us achieve this objective.


About Sahib Karim Khan

Sahib Karim Khan is an experienced customer services professional, motivational speaker, trainer and a certified Lean Six Sigma professional. He is Founder/OD Consultant at TPE Consultants.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Maslow’s Theory & Pakistan

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Aneel 🙂

  2. Hey,
    whats hopes up?

    My Dearest Sahib Karim Khan Sir !
    WOW ! Thanks for writing Maslow’s Theory & Pakistan to easy to understanding for our needs
    Thank your !
    Blessing of knowledge hits directly to mind of awareness to awaking focus for growth monitor systems !
    My Peaceful Pleasure and Prayer 🙂

  3. Tkhan says:

    Dear SKK, as I said, I like your blogs and enjoy reading about your views on interesting topics. The Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was developed during 1940-70 and provides a psychological framework for analyzing the transformation of different types of needs at different stages of economic achievements by an individual. Increasingly, psychological analysis of social phenomenon is becoming instrumental in designing and implementing public policies to achieve the goals that a society sets for itself.
    The Maslow hierarchy of needs doesn’t explicitly incorporate people’s intense attachment with faith. Interestingly, much more elaborate framework of hierarchy of needs was offered by the Sufi scholars Al-Ghazali (1045-1111) and Al-Shatibi (1400-1465) and others who incorporate faith as a critical component in the hierarchy. These are other works led to the development of Maqasid Al-Shariah (Objectives of Legal Order) – according to Al-Ghazali; religion, honor, posterity, intellect, and wealth are the five components of individuals’ needs that must be the pillars of a society and be protected by the law. Indeed there are contemporary contributions to this hierarchy especially in view of society as opposed to individual, institutionalized decision processes as the democratic setup, human rights issues, and personal liberty and increasingly if ourselves can add to the list the issue of privacy because of social media and photographic imageries of skies and earth. From public policy perspective – the challenge is always to put the goals in proper priority and that is an issue of (in the words of PM Gilani) “good governance” and the lack of it.
    In my view the root cause of the complex problems that our society faces is the conflict between our genetic structure as individual members of the society attached to certain faith and our misguided aspirations of a godless society as a whole. As individual members we have attachments to our faiths, whether Hindu, Muslim, Sik, Ghesayi or in a more decomposed form of Imami, Sunni, Salafi, Baralvi etc; and as society we want to shrug-off the faith component of our lives and are fed-up with these classes of hate, unfortunately in most cases. Those communities who have integrated internally the individual commitment to faith with their own sect’s aspirations for progress, even within the Pakistani society, have done well and have flourished. I am a pluralist as Al-Ghazali and Al-Shatibi were and I believe societies shall not aspire for being godless. If the state can understand faith as the foundation of pluralism rather than the ideal of pluralism being faithless – if people cannot be averse of education for fear of being secularized, if people cannot be averse of population welfare programs for fear of killing future generations, if people cannot be averse of using banks for fear of involving in Riba and war with God and His Messenger – etc., etc., we can have a society free of terror, hopelessness, insecurity and apathy.

  4. Sayeed says:

    I’m not talking about India, but in general. Though, the State has predominant role in creating basic amenities like primary and secondary education, health care facilities, access to food and water. But the agencies (institutional, economical, social and political) should be pluralistic and inclusive. Reflecting on Anna’s case, my observation on Pakistan’s political issues, people of Pakistan come to road quite often(for instance, on blasphemy, for drone attacks, etc. I’m not saying these issues are trivial), sometimes unnecessary, why not come to road again to stop corruption? and demand for good governance and addressing human developmental issues. Ironically, Mahbubal Haq, pakistani economist who crafted human development indicators. So its time for you guys to start social movement to address the fundamental issues and bring social justice. May be, I am digressing from the topic, but as a whole, there is need of revolution in Pakistan to create “possibly” just society.

  5. Sayeed says:

    Hey Sahib,
    I got your blog from Tariquallah Khan fb page. There are social and economic limits of growth. I particularly argue in counter way, there are certain things that we need to highlight. For any country to grow, it needs substantive freedom. When I say freedom here, its economic freedom, political freedom, etc. and to remove other “unfreedoms”. Moreover, leave more options for public to pursue in case of education, career, etc. India, in general, where I come from, has lot of invisible barriers which created by the culture and eventually we fall on conventional traps.

    • Hi Sayeed,

      Thank you for taking out time to read & comment on the blog. I appreciate your input. Just want to know if your views on the subject are related to growth in India in particular or any country in general?

      The reason I am asking this is because I wrote this blog particularly keeping Pakistan in mind. And yes Economic freedom is important, but freedom alone without tools won’t take one to the highest level, a person starts thinking about growth & future ONLY when his basic needs are fulfilled 🙂

      If a poor person has to choose between sending his son to school or having access to food & shelter, trust me he will choose food & shelter before education, that is how we humans work.

      • Aneel Amdani says:

        Hey sahib

        that is a good integrated example of Maslow’s theory. Just for a quick thought on Mr Sayeed’s reply. there is a huge difference between the two countries in general. Moreover economical similarities do persist. Pakistan has long been haunted by the political mess that is inherited i would say, and people are prone to comment here rather than act, considering we don’t have any ANNA 🙂 So this leaves a huge gap of how can an individual excel, and the steps towards esteem being achieved. there are always ways to rise from a third world as termed to a second world, this comes from support and freedom, yes for sure, but it depends now moreover on the global leads. Pakistan will never reach esteem unless, the surroundings clear the air for it, or rather unless Pakistan itself wants to do it. Again, freedom comes at a cost, we all know it, but again economical stance makes sure education, safety, security, it all gets cater. Let politics do its part, and stop manipulate the economy for its own betterment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s