Owais Mughal, Adil Najam,
Bilal Zuberi and Darwaish
We could talk about what was promised of Pakistan. What has become of it. Or what should be done to improve it. But we try to do that at Pakistaniat (ATP) everyday. And we do realize that ..aah ko chahiyay ik umr asar honay tak.
Today we want to talk about Pakistan and Pakistaniat in a much more personal way. We realize that different people’s Pakistaniat can be expressed in very different ways. We share the same flag, but we each wave it in our very different ways. While we may not approve of putting Mickey Mouse or missiles or even Jinnah on the flag, around this time Pakistaniat becomes a very personal expression. One wants to celebrate every expression of Pakistaniat (except, maybe, putting missiles on the flag). It is in this individual ownership of the concept that the concept will derive whatever meaning it is to ultimately have. At the end of the day our Pakistaniat will be defined not by what the government says it should be, nor even by what the founders wanted it to be, but only by what we ourselves make it out to be.
That, at least, has been our motivation here at Pakistaniat.com. This blog is named as it is named for a reason. Pakistaniat, for us, has never been an attempt to discover the one unified definition of Pakistani-ness that everyone must accept and adhere to. It is, instead, the celebration of the many many diverse ways in which different Pakistanis express their Pakistani-ness; their Pakistaniat. There is no single definition of Pakistaniat, nor a single way to express it. This is why this blog seeks to celebrate all the different dimensions of Pakistani-ness.
It is in this spirit that we offer this post. In continuation of our invitation from a year ago, we ask our readers to share the one thing – a song, an image, a verse, a thought, a quote, a person, anything – that represents their Pakistaniat for them. What is it that spells your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations for Pakistan? What is it that evokes and invokes your Pakistaniat?
Let us get the ball rolling by sharing our thoughts on this.
Adil Najam: Writing last year in a similar post, I had offered this verse from a milli naghma sung masterfully by Shahnaz Begum and written by (I think) Asad Muhammad Khan. I have, unfortunately, still not been able to find a recording of the song (but see Shahnaz Begum singing ‘Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan’ on the right hand columns). I think the sentiment is even more true this year – given the events of the last many months – than it was last year:
mauj baRhay kay aanDhi aa-aye, diya jala-aye rakhna hai
ghar ki khatir sau dukh jhailaiN, ghar tou aakir appna hai
Let me add one more thought for today. I heard this sheyr long ago on an August 14 Mushaira on PTV. I forget who the poet was (and realize that the inspiration might have been US President JFK) but the sentiment never fails to evoke my Pakistaniat. I think of this especially as I see this picture on the right; this should not have been.
jissay bhi daikhiaye gilla,
watan say yeh nahiN milla,
watan say woh nahiN milla
koee nahiN jo yeh keha,
‘watan ko tumm nay kiya diya,
watan ko meiN nay kiya diya’
Bilal Zuberi: For me â€“ the one thing that I will always remember on 14th of August is how each year my entire family worked together to raise a large flag on our house in the evening of the 13th.
One 13th of August, many many years ago, our dad brought all of us kids together and told us a story. He told us how he was a young boy at the time of independence and how his mother stitched a Pakistani flag for him so he could go out and demonstrate with the Muslim League. He had proudly raised it at the demonstration despite being in a city that had seen its fair share of Hindu-Muslim riots. Then he continued on to teach us what the different colors and the chaand sitaara on the Pakistani flag represented. Finally my mom followed the tradition and stitched a large flag from green and white cloth for us kids to put up on our house. It was the largest flag at that time in our mohalla! and we proudly raised it on our house every year until I left for the US .
Even now we talk about it and what it meant for the entire family to raise the flag together. When I saw this picture, I felt it could almost be myself and my brother on our roof, trying to tie the flag to our TV antenna. Given what is going on in Pakistan, I almost feel I need to be back there again, to raise a giant green and white flag to show that nothing can bind us together more than our common nationality.
Darwaish: For me, the most exciting part of the 14th August is when I see little kids running around with their faces or head painted with Pakistani flag. All smiles and raising Pakistan Zindabad slogans. Kids running on the streets with flags, putting flags and ‘jhandiyaan‘ on their houses. They are our hope for better future and a prosperous Pakistan. For young and old, I think this 14th August “Great Responsibilities Lie Ahead” speech by Quaid. Listen to the speech, it has the magic formula of success. ‘Kaam Kaam aur sirf Kaam‘ is what we need today.
Owais Mughal: This song by Amanat Ali Khan (1932-1974) remains one of my favorite national songs. All that I want to say today is covered by the poetry of this song. I will let Amanat Ali Khan say it for me; he says it so much better!
Note: There is a wonderful richness of Pakistaniat spread across the Pakistani blogsphere – Blogistan. We feature just a sampling of this in the pictures included here. The picture of the giant flag leads to a post on the same at Metroblog Lahore. The four pictures of people selling flags are from a series of two posts, also at Metroblog Lahore. The picture of the barefoot kid selling flags is from Metroblog Islamabad. That of the two youth waving from a rooftop is of unknown origin. The sunset picture is at Flickr from Ali Khurshid, who we have featured here before. And, of course, the Amanat Ali Khan song is from YouTube.