The independence fervour
Syeda Mazhar
8/22/2016

 

The inception of Pakistan is said to be a miracle – a miracle for the past 69 years. Demands being such that, every Pakistani is supposed to be patriotic to a certain level. Patriotism, however, is misinterpreted. The word patriotism becomes irrational when it is confused with Nationalism or when both are taken to mean same thing or interchanged without giving any thought.

George Orwell who defined patriotism as ” love or devotion to a particular place or geography and a way of life which he or she feels is the best but has no intention to force it on others ”
For the purpose of clarification, George Orwell quoted again, ” nationalism is inseparable from quest for power and prestige and forcing ones idea on way of life, religion etc. on others”.
When this base difference is interchanged or used and confusion is created between patriotism and nationalism that is where it becomes irrational.
General speculation states that despite being a Proud Pakistani, an average Pakistani is unsatisfied by the ways of the government. For most Pakistanis, patriotism is a meaningless term. Millions are preoccupied on a daily basis with meeting their basic needs for survival, and simply have no time to think about patriotism. For them, such lofty thoughts amount to abstract luxuries. They fixate on more pressing problematic words like patronage and poverty.
So does this mean there is no patriotism in Pakistan.
Certainly not, there is plenty of patriotism in Pakistan.
Think of the acclaim lavished on Pakistani heroes-from philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi and cricket star Shahid Afridi to LUMS innovator Umar Saif and the late child prodigy Arfa Karim. When these figures achieve their greatest feats, they are cheered not only by their ethnic, religious, or provincial kin, but by Pakistanis across the border.
Not to be making blank statements about Pakistani patriotism. To be sure, some Pakistanis do define their patriotism in chauvinistic ways, and look not to heroes like Edhi, but rather to the like of our politicians. Meanwhile, persecuted minorities have every right not to be patriotic in a nation that treats them as third-class citizens.
Hence, unhappiness with today’s political situation should not be mistaken for a lack of patriotism. The Pakistanis abroad are often heard complaining about the spread of militancy, state corruption, and Islamabad’s mishandling of economic policy, it is clear that their criticism doesn’t extend beyond these ugly political realities. They do not lambaste Pakistan as a nation; they lambaste what afflicts the nation. Those sentiments exemplify patriotism in Pakistan: Love for a much-maligned nations, whose political problems increasingly drown out what makes the country a special place.
As Pakistanis celebrated the 69th birthday of Pakistan with zeal and enthusiasm, history was reiterated and those sentiments attempted to be revived. Every patriot highlights the country’s physical beauty and architectural treasures from glaciers in the Northern Areas and the forests of Swat to the ancient Indus city of Mohanjodaro, emphasizes Pakistan’s abundant supplies of salt, copper and gold. Linking this all together is a celebration of the essence of Pakistan- its people, its land, and its resources. What goes unmentioned is the political shore- amplifying how Pakistani patriotism is often apolitical.
There is no denying the fact that Pakistanis are very proud of their country. This is the reason that why there is such concern about Pakistan’s “image problem” abroad. The world’s reductive perceptions of the country filter out heroes like Malala, and ignore the geographical diversity, the arts, cuisine, and other dimensions of the nation cherished by the citizenry.
The Pakistan Jinnah envisioned was to be the State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play. Faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty were to be our motto.
A beautiful scene of dusk depicts a sweet picture of the universe, when the sun sets and calm and stillness engulfs the loud voices of the day. We often see the birds returning back to their nests. These tiny creatures lacking the faculty of reasoning and speech, believe that the best place ever found in the world is home. No matter how far we are from our homes, its necessity never diminishes.
Surely, Pakistan’s creation was the finest hour of our history, of our forefathers who had envisioned the promise of long cherished freedom, democracy and prosperity. The sacrifices made to escape the shackles of slavery snatch all such creative facilities and the beautiful world a heaven to breathe in, turns into hell without freedom. However, “Pakistan not only means freedom and independence but the Muslim Ideology which has to be preserved, which has come to us as a precious gift and treasure and which, we hope other will share with us.”
So ask not what Pakistan has given you, ask what you have done for Pakistan. With that spirit today, the invitation goes out to all the countrymen to love Pakistan and live for Pakistan and to firmly believe in its foundations and live the Shaheens and Ghazis of Iqbal.