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The 14th August


By Mehwish Mushtaq

Another year has passed by and another 14th of August has arrived. And like every year the buzz and fervor related with the event is here too. Green flags can be spotted everywhere reading jashn-e-azaadi mubarik, as sales of independence day related merchandise skyrocket during this time of the year.

 But while we are in the middle of celebrating, wouldn’t it be good idea to stop and think about why Pakistan came into being? Shouldn’t the 14th of August be a time to reflect upon what Pakistan was meant to be and what it has turned into?

Should it not be the time to resolve that we will contribute our fair share towards the progress of our country, to make it a nation and not just be a mere directionless crowd.

It seems this day is a mere holiday, just a “jashn” as some people like to call it for people to go out with green flags, attending flag hoisting ceremonies, repeating rhetoric yet forgetting the vision, and for the young blokes to dominate the roads on their silencer less bikes (which I find very annoying) shouting azaadi mubarik.

Why can we not make an effort to channel this emotional display into something much more meaningful? We don’t reflect back, we don’t think about the future, we don’t resolve to do something for the country instead of whining about its problems, yet we celebrate.

We celebrate azaadi, while we remain modern day slaves.

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the 18th of August in his speech on the First Eid after Indpendence said:

I wish on this auspicious day a very happy Eid to all Muslims wherever they may be throughout the world –an Eid that will usher in, I hope, a new era of prosperity and will mark the onward march of renaissance of Islamic culture and ideals. I fervently pray that God Almighty make us all worthy of our past and hoary history and give us strength-to make Pakistan truly a great nation amongst all the nations of the world. No doubt we have achieved Pakistan, but that is only yet the beginning of an end. Great responsibilities have come to us, and equally great should be our determination and endeavor to discharge them, and the fulfillment thereof will demand of us efforts and sacrifices in the cause no less for construction and building of our nation than what was required for the achievement of the cherished goal of Pakistan. The time for real solid work has now arrived, and I have no doubt in my mind that the Muslim genius will put its shoulder to the wheel and conquer all obstacles in our way on the road, which may appear uphill.

Do these words not ring true even now? We have not sought to be free of our Brown Sahab mentality. Jinnah spoke about the renaissance of Islamic culture and ideals, yet we have not moved an inch forward to achieve that. Our thinking has become stagnant and I don’t see any movement that addresses our present day issues. The ideas of Islamic renaissance being propagated by some are directly imported from the west, that focus on two issues only, the Burqa and Riba, as if there aren’t any other problems that Pakistani Muslims face.

We as a people are culprits, as we just stood there watching one institution after another being destroyed. We are culprits because we failed to ask for our rights and because we didn’t ask for our own rights we also failed to protect those of others. We have become a nation that enjoys scandalous reports and grapevine but makes no effort to get to the root of the matter. We simply cannot be bothered, it’s always easier to let other people do the dirty work.

We use our votes irresponsibly, with the majority of our votes being cast on the basis of ‘baradri’ or ’clan’ system. That is the beginning of our unjust behavior to our own selves. Will anyone ever make a person in charge of their homes, who will loot and plunder all they have and leave nothing for them or their families to eat? Will one allow a person being in charge of their homes who will not let their children get any education? The answer is no. But we treat our country not as our motherland but a free for all, where nepotism is common, where the elite has hi-jacked the word revolution for fear of being held accountable and where the masses complain about everything but do nothing about it.

We are a people most of who don’t understand that working hard and not accepting failure is the real key to success. A nation cannot be great if a large number of its population just sits at home and whines about the country being this and the country being that. We talk about China’s progress but fail to imitate their dedication and work culture. We talk about high quality products but have failed to raise the quality of our own.

All we do is talk and that is not even a tool for progress.

Meanwhile in the intellectual world  a number of so-called ‘intellectuals’ try to leave no stone unturned in their effort to prove that Jinnah meant Pakistan to be a secular country, and excerpts from a single speech are quoted again and again, very conveniently forgetting that the liberty to let people observe their own religions lest they interfere with the matters of Muslims is a genuinely Islamic concept.

In any case, how does being a rightist or a leftist, being religious or being secular, being liberal or being conservative affect the fact that only those nations progress that work hard. Hard work and sincerity towards achieving collective goals are important nation building factors, not petty debates asking for people to turn secular. I find such arguments mind baffling and also very hypocritical. Muhammad Ali Jinnah asked for the same sacrifices and efforts to be made that were made during the Pakistan movement, but we as a nation have not done that. On the 26th of September, 1947, Muhammad Ali Jinnah said:

If Pakistan is to play its proper role in the world to which its size, manpower and resources entitle it; it must develop industrial potential side by side with its agriculture and give its economy an industrial bias. By industrializing our State, we shall decrease our dependence on the outside world for necessities of life; we will give more employment to our people and will also increase the resources of the State.

Can our country move forward  if its dishonest ‘intellectuals’ instead of starting real movements aimed at bringing about a better change from within its Islamic roots, instead of stressing on hard work, simply propagate imported ideologies and some facts that they have learnt from the  book ‘intellectualism for dummies’. These are the same people who quote the Magna Carta but very conveniently forget what brought it about?

These people will not fight for the rights of the citizens. They rather talk from the comfy sofas of their drawing rooms. Many treat Islam as enemy number one. These people want to take the FAITH out of unity, faith, and Discipline. 

And what real change has that brought? None. But what it has done is that it has left the masses even more confused. These nay saying pseudo-intellectuals accuse the father of the nation of being a hypocrite yet they choose to live in the country because they very well know their so called intellectualism won’t find refuge anywhere else.

At the end of the day without realizing that we need to make a collective effort at changing things for the better we will remain a mere crowd only and not become a great nation amongst the nations of the world.

So please shout slogans by all means but also work hard along with that.

Love the country yes, but practically.

Go out on the independence day yes, but without creating trouble.

Pakistan Zindabad, forever a yes. Jashn-e-Azaadi Mubarik yes, but turn it into a source of real pride and happiness.

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Vision 21 is Pakistan based non-profit, non- party Socio-Political organisation. We work through research and advocacy for developing and improving Human Capital, by focusing on Poverty and Misery Alleviation, Rights Awareness, Human Dignity, Women empowerment and Justice as a right and obligation. We act to promote and actively seek Human well-being and happiness by working side by side with the deprived and have-nots.

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