Illustration by Ziauddin
Illustration by Ziauddin

Each year, on 14th of August, I step out, look at the festivities and wonder, “Is this the only essence of why Pakistan was created?”

I then move forward and see youngsters speeding on one-wheelers on roads and the seaside packed with public out to enjoy a beautiful holiday with family. I further move ahead and see small groups of people on different roads, dancing to the beat of national songs played on large stereos. I see faces painted in green and white, and I witness that, at the end of the evening of August 14th, when the festivities die down, tired and sleepless people return home.

Strewn paper flags lay everywhere on roads and few commuters adhere to traffic rules.

Let’s travel back to the first quarter of 1900s, when some great minds were at work, planning how Muslims could be freed from the tyranny of the British and Indians, and could attain sovereignty. Nawab Khawaja Salimullah and few others founded the All-India Muslim League, which was the sole representative party of the Muslims of the Subcontinent. This party was formed to safeguard the rights of Muslims and also to be their voice. The great minds which played a pivotal role in the formation of Pakistan were Allama Muhammad Iqbal, with his exemplary idea of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah with his famous 14 points, Rehmat Ali with his historical pamphlet ‘Now or Never’, and many other leaders and activists such as Mohtarma Fatima Ali Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan, Khawaja Nazimuddin. They all possessed a single important goal, that was the creation of a separate homeland for Muslims and Muhammad Jinnah made this dream a possibility with his tireless efforts.

This doesn’t only end here. One can’t turn a blind eye towards the sacrifices of Muslim refugees in 1947, during one of the greatest migrations history has ever witnessed. There was also a lot of bloodshed, with hundreds and thousands killed along with unimaginable destruction.

The point I am trying to make here is that the sacrifices of our forefathers are priceless and it cannot be wasted by taking our independence lightly and celebrating it in a mindless manner. So, on this August 14th, let us reflect on how much we have contributed to the betterment of this country. If we are honest, we will realise that we have not done for our country a fraction of what countless of our forefathers did for its independence. We are forever indebted to those who sacrificed their lives, homes and worldly goods, for its creation.

Let’s just change the trend on this Independence Day. Let us sit and pen down what we can do for the country. Let us look at what our country needs from us and make a timeline and write our mission and vision. Here are a few suggestions, while there can be much more that each of us can do, and which you can decide for yourself.

As a student

Students have to first work on their time management so that they can learn more skills, which may help them in unleashing their talents and ideas. Secondly, they have to also start thinking practically. For instance, if one is becoming a doctor, then make it your mission to be a valuable asset to the nation in the form of your services to the country.

Consider yourself as the future pillar of Pakistan and that soon you will be holding the reigns of this system. You must take it upon yourself to make the system as just and transparent as you can, by eradicating the dirt of corruption, poverty, crime, and other ills prevalent in our country. When this type of mind-set will be instilled in students, they surely will do wonders by studying with determination and grabbing every opportunity to work for the betterment of Pakistan.

As a citizen

Illustration by Ziauddin
Illustration by Ziauddin

One major contribution that we can do for our motherland is by doing our duty and taking care of it. We all can work together to keep it clean. So on an individual level, we can make sure that we don’t litter the streets and collectively try to place large bins at all major intersections.

Moreover, as citizens, we can make sure that we unite ourselves against any evil that is weakening the roots of our nation. Often things happen around us and we can play a role but we become reluctant for a very silly reason, mostly because it doesn’t concern us directly.

If a member of society is facing an unfortunate event, we think it’s their problem. It’s not their problem, it’s ‘our’ problem and we have to think that we are all a large family. We should follow the golden rule ‘United we stand, divided we fall’, and come together and think of ways in which the whole nation can be uplifted.

As a politician

Today, politics is simply about grabbing power and not doing service to the nation. It’s a race which all participants think they have to win by hook or by crook. Leaders like Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan and Khawaja Nazimuddin and many others provided their services for the betterment of the nation rather than working for their own benefit. To all the young aspiring politicians, I would advise them to follow the motto of our great leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah and make it the great nation that our freedom fighters wanted it to be.

As a woman

Quid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said, “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you.”

A mother, for example, can inculcate in her children the love of Pakistan in their hearts and enrich them with good values of honesty, accountability and a noble character. This would eventually lead to Pakistan getting great leaders in the future. The role of a girl or women is very critical in the progress of Pakistan and the role model for this can be none other than Mohtarma Fatimah Ali Jinnah.

I can never deny the fact that on Independence Day, my heart flutters with excitement and happiness at the same time, thinking of the fact that we are no longer living under the rule of British and Indians, nor are we restricted from exercising our rights. But the right way to celebrate this day is by following the legacy of the pioneers of the nation.

Write at least one goal which could be as small as planting a tree or just making a promise to yourself to study hard and make your parents proud. There are several other examples through which you can contribute to the nation, but do take the initiative or first move. Don’t spend the day carelessly, instead make it the most meaningful day of your life. Most of all, try remembering all those sacrifices and bloodshed 75 years ago and automatically your heart would be filled with zeal and gratitude.

Lastly, although we are forever indebted to this land, we can still try to give back to our motherland in every possible way.

“Be aware of your own worth, use all of your power to achieve it. Create an ocean from a dewdrop. Do not beg for light from the moon, obtain it from the spark within you!”

Published in Dawn, Young World, August 13th, 2022

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