Today is 9/11. Much will be written and much discussed on the 5th anniversary of the cruel attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, on what has happened since, on all the ways in which the world changed, and on all the other ways in which it did not. Today is a sad day, and at ATP our hearts and prayers go out to the dear ones of the victims of this tragedy, and to the loved ones of all who have lost their lives in the events that were unleashed by it.
While 9.11.2001 will be much debated elsewhere, we here at ATP want to recall the events of 9.11.1948.
For Pakistanis, 9/11 has always been a sad date. A date on which – barely a year after the nation’s birth – its founding leader, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, died. Here is a short (50 sec) newsreel video clip with a report by Gaumont British News on Mr. Jinnah’s death (made availabel on the Internet by the GandhiServe Foundation):
Like every year, APP has announced in advance how the “nation” will mark this occasion, and every newspaper (e.g., Dawn) has printed this “news” on its front page:
ISLAMABAD, Sept 10: The nation will observe Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali JinnahÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s 58th death anniversary on Monday with a pledge to transform Pakistan into a vibrant, progressive and enlightened country as envisioned by the great leader.
I am glad that the APP has he psychic power to know exactly how this “nation” will observe the anniversary, even before the occasion. They have been making the same stale prediction every year for as long as I can remember. Maybe, we as a “nation” do actually make that “pledge” every year. Its just that we have not been very good at keeping the pledge.
Some might argue that the “nation” had already begun to let Mr. Jinnah down even in those brief 13 months that he lived in the country he had founded. Others like to believe that Pakistan’s history might have taken a very different path had he lived longer. It may well have. I am just not sure what that path might have been given that tensions between him and those who were running day-to-day Pakistan had begun to appear even while he was alive.
His death, and the circumstances of his death, was itself not without controversy (see, for dramatic effect, the opening scenes of the movie, Jinnah, here). But today, September 11, should not only be a sad reminder of his untimely death. It should also be a moment to reflect on his life. And, maybe, it should be a moment to reflect on what lessons that life might have to offer for the future.
From its very inception, ATP has had an ongoing discussion on the legacy of Mr. Jinnah and the various meanings it has for different people. Today seems to be an appropriate day to continue that discussion; to think, yet again, about the meaning of the life and death of Mr. Jinnah.
Related ATP Posts:
- Read about the Other Side of Mr. Jinnah
- Watch Jinnah: The Movie
- Read about Jinnah’s first message to the nation
- Watch historic footage from August 1947
- Read about the Jinnah-Gandhi relationship
- Listen to and watch Mehdi Hassan’s classic, “yeh watan tumhara hai”, which is in many ways Jinnah speaking to the rest of us.