Tuesday, August 14, 2012

65 years on becoming: Fate of the Unfated

Mr Mohammad Ali Jinnah, playing a game of billiards
(Photo courtesy Quaid-e-Azam History Blog)
Today Pakistanis everywhere celebrate 65 years of independence from British Rule. A long and tumultuous journey it has been. Pot marked by sectarian and ethnic genocides, political upheavals, with corruptions, bribery and plain simple idiocracy plaguing the national landscape.

Pakistan to many outsiders is perceived as a failed state, another banana republic gone bananas!

A country that was founded upon the principle of freedom of religion, equity and equality for citizens regardless of ethnic or religious differences. As the founding father, Mr Mohammad Ali Jinnah eloquently stated in his first Constituent Assembly Address on August 11, 1947 while drawing corollary to England's tumultuous ancient past:
We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one state.
Mr Jinnah further went on to say 
You will find that in the course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus, and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.
Mr Jinnah, contrary to popular lore did not envision the Pakistan of today. He did not envision a country where religious and ethnic minorities are sidelined, where speaking your mind can be hazardous and injurious to health - mind, body, and soul. Mr Jinnah surely did not envision an 'Islamic Republic' molded to a narrow "Islamist"  ideology. An ideology that shuns anyone who doesn't conform to a specific ethno-religious mold, as is evident from his statement:
You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed -- that has nothing to do with the business of the State.
From the present 1973 Constitution that declares the State of Pakistan as 'An Islamic Republic' to the discriminatory treatment of not just non-Muslims but even none conforming Muslims, and ethnic minorities. Pakistan is a State riddled with broken promises, shattered dreams, deaths of innocent souls, hearts, and would be great minds who aspired to building a new life in a new nation.

Mr Jinnah addressing the first constituent assemble
11th of August, 1947 (Photo courtesy Ali Salman's Blog)
In his address Mr Jinnah went on and implored the constituent assembly on tackling bribery and corruption. "That really is a poison. We must put down with an iron hand", he said.

Further he talked about how "Black-Marketing is another curse...which today is a colossal crime against society, in our distressed conditions, when we constantly face shortage of food and other essential commodities of life".

On the surface it's apparent that Pakistan has not lived up and been the homeland it's founders ventured out "to build a separate homeland where the interests of the Muslims of India are safeguarded...not to build an Islamic theocracy", eloquently stated by Pakistan's former Consul General (1997 - 2001) to Los Angeles Sardar Tariq Azizuddin  over a cup of chai in his L.A. office. I highlight, where the interests...are safeguarded, referring not only to religious, but economic interests of Muslims of India. Jinnah's vision for Pakistan as Sardar Azizuddin went on to say was to build a separate and secular homeland for Muslims, and also the ethnic and religious minorities.

Pakistan may have not lived up to it's original ideals, it however has by hook or crook, managed to survive through 4 military dictatorships, 3 wars with it's arch rival India, 2 wars it fought and is still fighting on behalf of International partners and foes alike. Not to mention domestically the country is faced with insurmountable issues - from rising poverty, power and water shortages, with bribery and corruption plaguing at all levels of public and private life.

That is the Pakistan story, a miracle you could call it, against all odds it continues to kick, despite it's rocky past and unfated future. Where is the country of 200 Million  headed to, GOD only KNOWS! Scientifically speaking Pakistan is a failed nation. How it has survived thus far is a miracle in itself.

A miracle that can, and can only be attributed to the efforts of it's people. The people who against all odds, continue to forge forward in all walks of life. Pakistan in a manner of speaking a nation of "real" entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs who not only build businesses, but also build lives, building society(ies) as they understand it to be - carving out their individual Fate, intertwined with that of the national Fate.

Mr Jinnah's vision may not have as yet taken root in society, however in retrospect there are telling glimmers of hope riddled through the nations historical fabric, which sooner than later will merge into a unified national narrative.

God Bless!

Pakistan Paindabad!

1 comment:

Siliconstani said...

Friends - there has been some confusion around whether it's Pakistan's 65th or 66th Independence day. Both are correct. It has been 66 years since independence (a simple calculation is proof enough 2012 - 1947 = 65), whereas this year is Pakistan's 65th Independence Day anniversary.