Independence Day post: We are the hope!
August 14, 2011 § 10 Comments
It’s 3 p.m. in the noon. 4 siblings are busy, right under the sweltering heat of Multan’s summer afternoons, trying to tie small paper flags to a long, thick thread that has been tied to the boundary-wall east and west. They have small flag-shaped badges pinned to their chests, bearing them as priceless laurels. They are through three rows and are now preparing the fourth one, evenly distributing the flags along the length. Once they are done, they would cut the long threads in half and then hang them on the front-face of the house as the customary decoration for the independence day. The flag, too, needs be hoisted and once they’re done with this arrangement of paper flags, they would attend to that.
That’s how I’ve spent countless of my Aug 14s. The preparation, the décor, the excitement of the day would start bubbling days earlier and I would busy myself with my siblings in taking every possible measure of decorating the house in the most awesome manner. It was about the same time when ready-made, paper-flag-strewn threads became available in the markets. But we refused to use them and would still spend hours preparing our very own threads.
And when finally the day came, it was a most exciting morning. We would wake up early to the tune of national songs played on TV, get through a hurried breakfast and then run off into the street to watch the décor of other houses, flaunt our collection of badges to others kids on the street and sing merrily. This would end as soon as the live transmission flag-hoisting ceremony on PTV would start and we would be stuck to the TV screen, taking in every movement, every minute, every word of the speech which we understood nothing of. Right after the parades and speeches ended, PTV started playing national songs incessantly. And we’d sway and sing with every song, and as soon as a favorite would hit the list, frantically start calling everyone to the TV.
Good, ol’ days, those. Sadly, nothing of that remains anymore. I’m talking about the social change that has occurred. No more paper flags, no more badges pinned to the chests, barely any more celebrations. It’s been replaced with mad biking sprees and similar freak-acts.
Kher, with what we are left with, I must say the day still holds some charm. At least to me. No matter how pessimist things are, whenever the day has come, I have felt myself lifted to a state of renewed, spirited enthusiasm. And here’s a few words to the elating feeling that this day brings me:
I think 64 years are sufficient to attempt a discourse over whether or not a nation should have been founded. It’s about time we moved on, on that debate or disregarded it for now and decided to talk something more constructive.
There is no answer to the now-almost cliché question ‘what are the solutions?’ We have to stop looking everywhere and fervently asking everyone. No one has the answer to that because we, the youth, are the answer. We are the answer to everything that has gone wrong with this nation. We are the answer to the lack of leadership, to corruption and debauchery, to the terrorism and militancy and to all that needs resolving. With an overwhelming populace which comprises a majority of the total population, we are a force to beckon and a power that can truly turn the tide. We are the future of this nation and it’s up to us how we want to shape this future.
I agree we have a nation plagued with extremism, law and order crisis, humanitarian crisis and economic crisis. But there still is hope. And we don’t even need the entire nation to fall behind us in this. Like they say, a few candles can light the way. And history has shown that times and again.
What we need is to clear our heads of religious fanaticism and to have humanity as our sole guiding principle. And to start towards a social order where human rights are of supreme importance and no one is discriminated against; where the women can work and stand side by the side with the men and contribute to the national progress; where education becomes accessible to everyone.
Every one of us can make a difference. It’s up to us then whether we continue to dwell in pessimism, cynicism and critique – or decide to make a difference and prove that when we were handed over the charge of Pakistan’s future, it was worth it. It’s entirely up to us.