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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The 65 year Old Infant Part 3

Original Article: Daily Times
Date Published: August 30, 2012
Original link: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\08\30\story_30-8-2012_pg3_3

There are accounts of the Quaid being dismayed and moved by the plight of the refugees when they poured into Pakistan, penniless and destitute. His ‘confession’ to one of his physicians regarding the creation of Pakistan being a ‘mistake’ was mentioned by Mr Kuldip Nayyar as well. Nevertheless, it was one of those decisions that was like a uni-directional bullet; once exercised there was no other option but to see it through.

With the Quaid’s early demise died all hopes and dreams of his vision. We often tend to overlook that all political leaders are mere mortal humans with their own strengths and weaknesses. In an effort to bring such a diverse group of people together, the Quaid may have been overly optimistic and perhaps made some very extraordinary assumptions. One of the assumptions being that all Muslims needed was their own land and that they would overcome their differences amicably.

Due to multiple sects, beliefs and practices, there are many dimensions to our faith. Like any other Abrahamic religion, there are differentschools of thought about practices. What this scribe finds quite disheartening is that people too often become hung up about the process or procedure and tend to ignore the real essence. In their effort to prove that their way of practice is more authentic and accurate, they tend to marginalise others. Hence, the differences and the accompanying chaos take root. Another subject for another day.

Our foundation was built on what is often characterised as a ‘half-baked theory or ideology’. I am afraid I agree with that assertion. This topic is so deep and vast that a novice like me does not have the capacity to delve into its intricacies with utmost honesty. A diverse land like India knew that if it defined itself as a ‘Hindu’ state, it was bound to fail. The reason is plain and simple: even Hinduism has divisions and subdivisions based on practices and the caste system. India’s adoption of a secular state was the best move on their part. Is it a perfectly secular state in practice? Perhaps not, but ideologically it is in a much better shape than ours is.

In this third instalment, perhaps the readers can begin to relate with the title of this write up. Ideologically, we are still in the stages of infancy. By the grace of the Almighty, Islam is my faith too, but to argue that my country is a citadel of Islam and God’s gift to mankind on the 27th of Ramzan is perhaps nothing but baseless rhetoric. I do not see the rest of the 40-plus Muslim countries looking up to my country for all the right reasons. My humble request to my fellow countrymen is to travel around a few Muslim countries to get the flavour of what our Muslim brethren really think of us.

Islam does not need any citadel or fortress, as its universal message of equality and justice, while having fear of just accountability by the Creator on the Final Day, holds true anywhere. People come together based on a more personal and common ground of heritage, belonging to the land, language, economic interests, future personal and financial growth, ability to live in relative peace and prosperity and innovative ideas. Try looking at any two Punjabis (I am one myself) meeting in a London or Toronto subway and the first thing they ask each other, of course in Punjabi, “Where are you from?” That is often followed by the exact location of where they are from — Hoshyarpur, Ludhiana, Jallundhar, Lahore, Sialkot or Muridke, etc. One may be wearing a coloured turban, the other may be clean shaven like me, but their common language and heritage binds them together in a faraway land. The same goes for the Gujarati-speaking people from Surat or Karachi; they have a lot to share with one another. Mind you, mostly their discussion is about entrepreneurial ventures and rarely about their respective faiths. There is an unwritten rule that most sensible people follow in this world and the successful countries have adopted for their own strength: keep the divisive issue of religion out.

To say that the adoption of the Objectives Resolution in 1949 was the lethal injection to Pakistan’s cohesive fabric would be an understatement. Subsequently, the cracks within our Pakistan, based on language, sects, region, further augmented the argument that one cannot cobble an alliance solely based on a broad common faith. The separation of East Pakistan has been the nail in the coffin of our somewhat flawed ideology. The Bengalis were perturbed about unequal treatment and their long-standing economic woes. No matter how much we try to blame it on an ‘Indian conspiracy’, we cannot ignore our follies with our own Muslim brethren. We tend to overlook our own blunders and try to obfuscate. Remember, if there is a vacuum somewhere it is going to invite attention, because you have to feed the stomach first and provide hope for the future to elicit a favourable reaction. The faith can fill an empty soul, but an empty stomach is an entirely different story.

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