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Friday, March 2, 2012

Original Article: Daily Times.
Date Published: March 01, 2012

A couple of years back, I was called to face my archrival, the TV (of course), by the better half. She was impressed by an orator who was leading a spellbound audience of young men and women. I spotted a former rock star on stage with that person as well. His chaste Urdu and English toggle was emphasising a narrative that at least to me was extremely flawed and highly irrational. If my memory serves me right, there were giant-size portraits of Iqbal and Quaid in the background. The caption above the portraits read, 'Wake Up Pakistan'. I honestly wished that Pakistan never did on such idiotic calls.
His message was grudgingly against our neighbour India and he kept on emphasising 'war' as the final answer. I was amazed at the audience, who were glued to his utter nonsense. He kept on bringing Iqbal's vision and made superficial connections of what Iqbal had desired from his people. It turned out that he was a fellow alumnus from the same Adamjee Science College, Karachi, where I had tried my luck in the early 80s. If anything, I came to this conclusion. The institution was unable to produce at least two bright minds. One was trying to peddle the 'Holy War' and the other, trying everything within his power to stop this madness with his ink-less pen.

The royal fluff of the gentleman was laughable and the constant barrage of God's will was nauseating. According to his narrative, Pakistan was created by God Almighty on 27th of Ramadan and that was the testimony that God will protect it. Allama sahib was a great mujahid, who was almost like a supernatural human being. To him Iqbal was a 'Wali', and Iqbal wanted Muslims to reclaim all their lands. The most ludicrous claim was, 'Dilli' (or New Delhi) was ours. The gentleman wanted the youth to march over to New Delhi to reclaim it and announce on the air waves, "This is Radio Pakistan, New Delhi."

There was a vow at the end of the session about 'Takmeel-e-Pakistan'. This was about a rally to be held at the Minar-e-Pakistan, where people from all walks of life were invited. The message was directly aimed at the 'youth'. The idea was that Pakistan is incomplete without Kashmir and Pakistanis will march from the Minar-e-Pakistan to India to reclaim it and India will be defeated. Oh yes, then they were supposed to live happily ever after. Not to mention, this is what Iqbal had desired and this was the command of God Almighty as well.

To those of you who have guessed the name of the great orator, the idea behind the build-up was to illustrate the sheer stupidity behind such claims. What transpired after that is common knowledge. The great orator was unable to muster enough people to carry out his 'jihadi rally' to execute his ultra patriotic plans. Our neighbour is completely intact and the New Delhi's Radio still has an All India Radio service.
To some patriotism is all about war. A 'jihad' if you will. This is the story unfortunately fed to us from the textbooks of our history. The dominant narrative or theme has always been: the world is against us. The entire world, in one shape or form has been conspiring against us. Come to think of it, the conspirators and the perpetrators have only one agenda at hand — eliminate Muslims and Pakistan. Yes we claim that the term Muslims and Pakistan are two sides of the same coin. Somehow the darn conspirators have a thorn in their eye that no ophthalmologist of the world has been able to remove.

We are fed that Pakistan was created for Islam and the evil enemies cannot tolerate this. There lies the major false narrative. Pakistan was created for a sizable Muslim majority, who were otherwise being marginalised in United India. According to Quaid's vision, we were at a 1:4 ratio in United India. He felt that we would get a fair share if we were to build a country with a dominant Muslim majority while respecting and safeguarding the existent minorities within the territories of Pakistan.
Whether Quaid's real vision turned out to be effective or not, it is a totally different subject. But the founding father being a staunch man of principle was creating a Pakistan based on fairness and equality, a Pakistan where peace and prosperity were to prevail. The painful and shameful episodes of partition left immeasurable wounds on both sides. But to spin it all and make it about God's will and command is a shameful stretch.

The root of the animosity, if you will, resides in the uneven partition. The killing, the mayhem, the rape and murders, one of the worst episodes of crimes against humanity on both ends. I repeat, both ends. We tend to bury our own misdeeds and present ourselves only as the victims. With that mindset, we create a nation with a tainted vision. A group of people who are angry, envious and jaded, who are eager to claim their rights by such emotional rhetoric. To them dying for such a divine cause is the ultimate testimony of being patriotic. I humbly disagree.
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