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Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Quaid Incarnations

Original Article: Daily Times
Date: Published Jan 29, 2012

Is it me, or has someone else noticed this as well? There is a sudden rise of patriots, all of them sharing a very serious agenda: 'Save Pakistan'. One has to ask these gifted sons and daughters of the land, what is the issue here? By the grace of the Almighty, the Pakistan we have right now has been standing firm for almost 64 plus years. There are no known threats or warnings from the neighbouring countries. Life may not be a piece of cake for its citizens, but somehow, people are managing. What is so grave, what is so out of hand or control that everyone feels the existence of Pakistan is in utter jeopardy? But growing up, we have been hearing this common theme, 'Pakistan is going through its most difficult period in history.'

Well, again by the mercy of the powers above and beyond this sinful world, we know that Pakistan is moving forward. The naysayers and doomsday prophets have been betting on its implosion and destruction since its inception. Nothing new has emerged from those quarters ever. Despite all the ill-wishers and haters, it has survived and one has the highest hopes that it will survive in the future as well.

One does not have to be a genius to determine what its real problem is. The nation is held together by its commonality, be it the geographic link or the heritage. Faith can never be the sole basis for a nation to bind together. Reason: the variation and diversity in beliefs and the rituals in any particular faith. The most common misconception is that it is a fortress of the Muslim majority of South Asia. It would be rather unfortunate to limit ourselves to this commonly peddled, highly misconstrued and meanly marketed ideology. Perhaps the founding fathers had the benefit of a Muslim majority in mind when seeking independence from the British Raj. But nowhere did they envision that it will be a country for Muslims and Muslims only. Again, plain and simple, because people of all faiths shared this land from the Indus to Khyber. If the Quaid was so shortsighted, he would have not permitted any minority to reside in this 'promised land'.

Looking at him and his immediate companions who came from different sects of Islam, one can safely deduce what kind of Pakistan he had in mind. These were people from all walks of life, both rich and poor, who felt his calling and accomplished something extraordinary, against seemingly insurmountable odds. These were determined and motivated people who were destined to make history. Looking back, one can only feel the pain, anguish and anxiety they must have endured to deliver such a gift to all of us.

Even the Quaid, who was one of the most sophisticated and exemplary leaders, was not spared. He was awarded the 'honour' by a certain group of people, who called him 'Kafir-e-Azam' (The Great Apostate). The same group of people ridiculed him and wrote off this state even prior to its birth. They gave it a few months or a year worth of lifespan. They called him a British stooge, and chastised him for speaking the national language with an anglicised accent. One is just bewildered to grasp the pettiness of our folks. Despite all their accusations and harshest criticism, these people get to enjoy this land because of the iron-willed Quaid.

Today we are at this crossroads, this quagmire and this crisis, if you will, because we have totally lost the real basis for our freedom. The Quaid himself was one of the most liberal persons around who left his own daughter behind, all because she disagreed with him and opted for a life partner in India. Today, being a liberal is almost equated to being a non-Muslim by some faithfuls in this country.

Take inspiration from the 'Madr-e-Millat' (Mother of the Nation), Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah. Being a single lady and Mr Jinnah's sister, she accompanied and assisted him every step of the way. Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan comes to mind as well. How graceful and uplifting these people were, who defined our purpose of existence in this area. These were the people united for a meaningful purpose. Not solely because of their faith. Nor was it only for their faith.

Today we hear people claiming to be the 'incarnation' of such great people. Nothing can be farther from the truth. These people have a fairly limited vision, which mostly gravitates around 'faith'. Regretfully, they use faith to further their nefarious agenda. People in our land can be swayed easily, so long as one gives them the mantra of the 'evil forces endangering their faith'. How absurd is this logic? How can a faith, which has persevered and prospered in 1,400 plus years, ever be in any kind of danger? Above all, how could these misguided individuals ever play the role of the Divine when the Divine Himself has given the glad tidings to His Messenger (PBUH) about the ultimate victory of this faith?

One of these 'incarnations' has made the tallest claim that he will pursue the dream and vision of the Quaid. He will pick up the mantle right from where the Quaid left off. A pretty, hollow and baseless sound bite. Heavily laced with religiosity and misguided philosophy, the said individual is playing with the emotions of this nation. There are others who were vehemently opposed to the Quaid's existence and his aristocratic lifestyle. They, along with their likes, are championing the cause of the Quaid. What a travesty and irony that the Quaid is being peddled by these low level opportunists who are clueless.

Pakistan is here to stay. It will go through its evolutionary process despite all its shortcomings, all its issues and all its problems. All our mistakes of the past, which are haunting us today, may become part of history in the next few years. This country has immense potential because it has a population of extremely gifted and talented individuals. This generation will be replaced soon by a newer lot. Rudderless we may be, hopeless we are not. We will move forward, as the newer lot will rekindle the real cause. It will embrace the same vision that the Quaid and his companions shared. A nation full of hope and promise — inclusive, respectful and strong to its core because they will witness how the rest of the world emerges as cohesive nations based on shared and common traits.
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