Since the last few days, I had been after my parents that this year we are going to put up a flag, since Independence Day is right around the corner. This was something that I had long stopped doing for reasons that I just couldn’t remember at that moment, but some how I really wanted to do it a lot.
Today, the 13th of August 2009, in the university the spirits of patriotism were high and everyone was in full swing. There were flags, and songs and people dancing and parades coming to the main event from every department. It seemed like everyone was immersed in this pride that they had in their country… oh, and it worked wonders on my guilt that I still don’t have a flag!!
But then I started looking around. And I realized that there was a separate celebration being conducted by the Jamiat crowd, the student wing of Jamat-i-Islami, and a separate one by PSF, student wing of People Party. I guess they got the honor this year to conduct the big event since their party is in government.
How was this in anyway true to the spirit of Independence or what our founding fathers said? Every where you would banners marketing the message of “Unity, Faith, and Discipline” but where is it to be found? If it is not even present in our universities, the very place where we are taught this message, before we enter in to the professional world of vultures and cut-throats, then where else will it be displayed?
In our own department of Visual Studies, in the name of Independence Program, we sang the national anthem and then we put up a flag that had been made by our very own department. I appreciate the effort and it was very nice to have a huge flag hanging that had been made by our own students, but after the program all that they had in the name of celebration was dancing, and singing and then finally deciding to head out to Arena.
Is this all that is there to the spirit of a nation? Is this all that we can do in the name of Independence Day? Dance, Sing and then head out for bowling? It was at this point that I finally remembered that why is it that I had stopped. The reason was simple! It didn’t matter to me to be a part of the one day program for Independence Day, instead I thought that I would stay back and work for this country. That is what the spirit of the nation should be and this is how we should emphasis on it as well. It’s not something that should be put on display just because it is the 14th of August..yet again… !
I know I sound like a cynic, and many of you are right in asking me then what else is there that we can do? For starters, ask yourself this question that are you really free? Ask your government, fight for your rights! Independence doesn’t mean that we celebrate the day, instead it should be about the essence of it, which is a country where Muslims, besides all the other religion groups can pray and live peacefully? And are we that? NO! which means that there is a long road ahead before we actually can be free.. not just in theory, but also in reality.
This year too as we celebrate this day we should remember that half of our country is at war. There is unrest in Balochistan, Sindh and NWFP, with the fighting still going on against the Talibans in the Swat regions. Desite the fact that people have gone back we need to remember that they have nothing left there and the entire infrastructure needs to be re-built. They have no schools, or provisions and they are still living under the threat of extremism.. then how is it that we can claim that we are free and deserve to celebrate this day?
Maybe it is about time that we stop being delusional about who we are and whether the very fact that we are free or not is actually valid! We need to be working together as a nation to get to that point where we are free in reality and that would take a lot of effort and time and sweat and blood! But are we really up for it????