August 11: We are Sorry, Mr. Jinnah

Posted on August 11, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, About ATP, History, Society
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Adil Najam

Today is August 11.

Sixty-two years ago, on this day, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Founder of Pakistan, made one of the most important speeches of his – and of Pakistan’s – life. A speech in which he laid out – in the most unambiguous terms – his vision for Pakistan and the rationale for that vision.

In this speech Mr. Jinnah laid out a detailed case for his argument and famously proclaimed:

…in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the [Pakistan].

Read full text and a detailed analysis of the speech here.

Today is August 11.

Barely ten days ago in Gojra, in Mr. Jinnah’s Pakistan, over 50 houses belonging to Pakistani Christians were burnt down by a mob and at least half a dozen Pakistani Christians were murdered for still unproven charges under a draconian law neither whose intent nor whose vigilante implementation Mr. Jinnah could ever have tolerated.

Today is August 11.

Our government has declared today to be ‘Minorities Day,’ but neither our government nor we as a people are willing to repeal the draconian laws that enable the bigots amongst us to persecute the vulnerable and the marginalized amongst us.

Today is August 11.

Today, once again, we will shower platitudes on Mr. Jinnah’s vision of a tolerant Pakistan and then conveniently ignore that vision. A Pakistan for all Pakistanis, irrespective of, as he would say, “caste and creed.” A Pakistan where neither Mr. Jinnah’s vision nor our Pakistaniat would be high-jacked by the sanctimonious custodians of righteousness, the self-styled gate-keepers of morality, and the arrogant arbiters of patriotism.

We are sorry, Mr. Jinnah.

We are sorry that we have not been able to actualize the Pakistan of your vision. At least, not yet. Cursed by the very intolerance that you had warned us of, we have not only failed to bridge the divisions that existed already, we have worked hard to create new divisions. We have not only failed the minorities that were, we have created new ones by legislating exclusion.

We are sorry, Mr. Jinnah.

We are sorry for being so drunk in intolerance that we made ourselves the arbiters of who was Muslim enough to be Muslim, or Pakistani enough to be Pakistani.

We are sorry, Mr. Jinnah.

We are sorry not only for the Gojra that happened ten days ago. We are sorry for the Gojra that happens every day in the Pakistan you created.

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45 responses to “August 11: We are Sorry, Mr. Jinnah”

  1. I.K. Khosla says:

    There are entire populations on both sides that still need to be detoxified of the slogans and hatred fed to them by their leaders for so long.

    But slowly a change is coming in. Like with Jaswant Singh’s book on India’s side.

    Maybe we are both old enough now as people and mature enough to know that our love for our country need not be based on hatred for someone else.

    Thank you for the beautiful thoughts.

  2. Moez says:

    Stanley Wolpert once said – “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.”

    We owe our freedom to call ourselves Pakistani to Quaid-e-Azam and it is a great shame that for 62 years we have ignored his core message of a tolerant, progressive state with equal rights for all Pakistanis.

  3. Ch. Inayat says:

    Excellent article. I think it reflects what many Pakistanis are thinking today. The easy way out is always to find excuse n history on what shoudl or should not have been done. But in reality the responsibiity is all ours and the first step is to accept that responsibility.

    Bravo and thank you for writing this.

    And congratulations Prof. Najam for being awarded the civil award. It is highly deserved.

  4. Tor_Khan says:

    I’m troubled by this apology to Mr Jinnah. A country is NOT a person, and that is precisely the trouble with Pakistan and it’s relationship with Jinnah. Jinnah may have paved the way for Pakistan, and who could be proud of the problem he created. What we have is an isolated country with a nuclear bomb on the brink to of too many possible futures, where seperatism, terrorist violence and insurgency are the voices of protest. His daughter and his descendents chose secular pathways away from Pakistan. They must have seen it coming.

    Pakistan was bound to fail. Jinnah was human, not a deity, so we should not be sending our apologies to him. Rather, the other way – Jinnah should be apologising to the world for setting upon then a schyzoprenic country that is best known for churning out failure, corruption and terrorism.

    We need to set the 14 August euphoria in context. Today is a dark day and we should re-visit misguided sentiments.

  5. Adam Insaan says:

    Midnight`s child@

    May Your parents rest in peace, and get the best of the Hereafter.
    I presume that You are very proud for the effort Your parents contributed with together with Quad-e-Azam, I certainly would have been.

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