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Responding to Pakistan’s Emergency: Aaj bazar mein pa-bajolaaN chalo

Posted on November 6, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Mushaira, About ATP, Poetry, Politics, Society
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Adil Najam

These are distressing times. But this is not a time to be depressed.

This is a time, as Owais reminds us in his last post, to reaffirm our hopes for the future. True defeat would be to give up on those hopes. I have put up the splash image (on the front page) that I have to reassert and to remind ourselves that ultimately Pakistan will be what we make of it. Emergency or no emergency, no one can snatch our Pakistaniat from us. Not until we ourselves surrender it!

Back in May, at a moment of similar desperation, I had written a post where I had sought “solace in the one place where I always find it. In poetry. Especially in Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poetry.” The video clip I had used there is worth repeating here.

I had written then – and it seems even more pertinent today to repeat it:

Here is Faiz – in his own words, in his own voice. The second half has the same poem masterfully sung by Nayarra Noor. Enjoy this rare find of kalam i Faiz, ba zaban i Faiz. But more than that, think about what he is saying and how it relates to what is happening today.

What I had to say (including about US role) I said at length in an NPR Radio show today (or here). But what Faiz has to say is far more profound.

The words of Faiz certainly cut deeper than anything I can say. They are an invitation to action. But they are also an invitation to thought. An invitation to responsibility. An invitation to continuing the struggle no matter what. An invitation to keep moving onwards despite the odds. An invitation to celebrate the spirit of defiance of those who will not give up.

I had ended that post by reaffirming ATP’s committment “to celebrating all the diverse trials and tribulations of being Pakistan … the mundane as well as the profound; the sad as well as the gleeful; the immediate as well as the long-term.” It is time, today, to repeat that commitment.

This is our commitment to Pakistaniat. We love Pakistan not because everything is right in it. But despite that which is clearly not right. And with a commitment to make right that which has gone astray. Ameen.

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