Patriotism that catches the eye, touches the heart

Published August 14, 2022
<p>(Clockwise from top left) On the eve of Independence Day, a Green Line bus is especially decorated with the sunshade sticker bearing the Pakistani flag; students of St Joseph’s College sing the national anthem at a ceremony attended by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah; men sort out green and white T-shirts, a must-have for any kid, at a roadside stall; bakeries prepare special cakes; and Pakistani flag and symbols turn up on Sindhi caps.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star</p>

(Clockwise from top left) On the eve of Independence Day, a Green Line bus is especially decorated with the sunshade sticker bearing the Pakistani flag; students of St Joseph’s College sing the national anthem at a ceremony attended by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah; men sort out green and white T-shirts, a must-have for any kid, at a roadside stall; bakeries prepare special cakes; and Pakistani flag and symbols turn up on Sindhi caps.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: “The greenery, the trees, bushes, shrubbery and grass gain their brilliance after the rains. And it’s so great that our Independence Day also coincides with the monsoon season,” smiled an elderly gentleman, who had only stopped to admire the Independence Day memorabilia on sale at one of the many stalls at a commercial area in Defence Housing Authority.

“I’m not here to buy anything. My grandchildren decorated our balcony with bunting but most of the little flags fell off their strings in the rain. The children said that the rain has dampened their spirits and then I pointed the greenery out to them. The nature is on their side. And the natural green is looking so pretty thanks to the rain, which thanks to nature,” he added.

This year most houses are missing the big flags and the bunting mostly due to the heavy rains and subsequent flooding. There are also not that many cars on the roads sporting the Pakistan flags.

“But you should know that despite the lack of decorations, the real celebration goes on in our hearts,” said Nasreen, a young mother selecting green T-shirts for her children at a stall in the famous Paper Market on Hassan Ali Effendi Road.

Karachiites celebrate country’s 75th Independence Day anniversary today

“I was only three years old when I lost my father. He had bought the Pakistan flag buntings for me a couple of days before he met with his accident in which he lost his life unfortunately.

“The day of his funeral, he was supposed to put up the bunting with me. I was too young to understand what had happened and was crying because he had not kept his promise. That’s when my chacha lifted me in his arms, wiped away my tears and took me to our terrace to decorate the house with me,” said the young mother.

“My uncle also spoke to the frowning relatives. He said that ‘we shouldn’t steal the child’s happiness. She is too little to understand death anyway.’ And then no one argued,” she added. “So whatever the circumstances, we still celebrate Pakistan. Just choose to think positive.”

“The 75th Independence Day of Pakistan is extra special because of the 75 years of freedom and also the success of our sportspersons in the Commonwealth Games,” a sports teacher of a private school told Dawn.

“It means a lot to have won so many medals, gold, silver and bronze at these games because it is a competition of all the countries that were under British rule once,” he added.

And silencing those criticising people to have not decorated their vehicles like they used to before, two Green Line Buses have been especially decorated for Independence Day. These buses were seen spreading cheer all over their route from Abdullah Chowk in Surjani Town to Numaish Chowrangi on Saturday.

All the Green Line stations were also decorated with flag bunting and the public address systems there played national songs. A big electronic screen also celebrated Pakistan by displayed pictures of Pakistan’s freedom fighters, historic monuments and landmarks.

The buses could be spotted from afar as they had been painted the proper shade of dark green with the white stripe and start and crescent.

“We wanted to highlighting the fact that this year is no usual Independence Day, since we are celebrating 75 years of freedom. So we prepared special programmes to be played on our big screens and put together a a selection of national songs to be played on our public address systems along with decorating the buses,” said Abdul Aziz, the senior manager (bus operation and intelligence transport system) of the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Ltd.

Wondering aloud about the lack of decorations on homes and vehicles, one was then asked to look again more carefully. And then one also saw. The cakes and sweetmeats decorated like Pakistan’s flag, the tandoor decorated with green and white balloons even though the heat generated by the oven could burst all those balloons, the traffic police sergeant proudly sporting the flag on his white motorcycle, the decorated roundabouts, the buildings in lights ... one couldn’t miss the patriotism.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2022

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