I remember a time when the decisions I made were overshadowed by what other people thought of them, when what I believed in was conveniently put away in order to make way for something else, when the things that were in my priority list took a back seat as they definitely weren’t an urgent concern for the authority.
Pakistan’s Independence Day, as cliche as it sounds, is just another day for the entire human population. But mention it to a Pakistani and he would tell you at great lengths how the importance of the rest of the calendar pales in comparison to the date. For Pakistanis, it is a day when all the divisions and the differences between people are set aside (and that’s saying something!) so that all of them can come together to celebrate – independence. However, that is easier written about than witnessed.
Sure, today is hardly a time when Pakistan can expect to receive a gold star for its performance by the world at large. Everyone continues to regard it as a failing state while magazines upon magazines publish articles talking about how Pakistan is a danger and a parasite. People talk about leaving Pakistan on a daily basis and it is thought that the country has bit on things more than it can chew. It is hurtful to hear such things about your country but that’s not enough to stop the practice.
However, Pakistan has given its people the freedom to be – the way they are. The way they probably won’t be accepted as openly in other parts of the world. Without succumbing to slavery and mockery. The very being of the country has allowed the people to respect and preserve their culture. It has been a motherland to billions of Pakistanis who would be clueless and without identities if it were not for the existence of Pakistan. The people here don’t wake up thinking that they have to be someone they are not in order to progress. They can feel at home while cheering for their cricket team, eat the food they like at a meagre cost, dressing and talking in a way that defines them.
And that feeling is what you get when you know you are independent. For me, it was a matter of giving a few interviews and getting a job. And the days where I had to ask before making decisions about my own life were over. I was free. To do what I wanted and to make the mistakes that I was destined to make. And all that didn’t make me less successful a human being. But it made me who I am today. Very much myself in my own right.
However, for Pakistan getting here took a war and then a lot of other ones. It had to constantly remind the world of what it stood for and the reason for its being. It had to repeatedly prove its mettle only to be recognized as a dot on the world map. People on both sides of the border sacrificed more than just money because they believed in the existence of Pakistan. Because they believed in freedom.
If it was an ideal world I would say that today that’s all Pakistan needs. A strong belief in the country and what it stands for. But by doing that I will be sugar coating things and grossly misrepresenting the picture that Pakistan presents. Today, it takes more courage to take pride in Pakistan than it takes to fight a war. The failings of the country have been magnified and highlighted and magnified and highlighted for the entire world to see. Even a penguin living in a totally different time zone can tell what’s wrong with Pakistan.
But it’s only the Pakistanis that can tell the world what is right. Today, Pakistan needs much more than just mere belief and faith. It needs actions and results. It needs a strategy and effective implementation. It needs, nay it deserves nothing less than anything hardcore. We as a nation need to celebrate the independence of Pakistan and not the fact that it continues to survive despite its failings. What we as the youth of Pakistan need to realize is that the party is over and the work has just begun.
So on this independence day, ask yourself this: Are you game enough to be a Pakistani?