The Message of Independence Day

The Message of Independence Day

Message of Independence Day

Last week Pakistanis celebrated their 76th Independence Day, and considering the economic and political turmoil that country is going through, the idea of independence was not as relevant as it is now. Fresh graduates trying to flee the country for better jobs and opportunities as well as skilled laborers leaving the country through illegal means. It is as if, the trust of the people in the idea of the nation has gone out of the window and it seems there is no trust between the masses and the ruling elite of the country. Hence, it is essential to reiterate the message of independence and what we celebrate on the 14th of August despite all the challenges we face.

Professor Salman Syed has profoundly delved into the meaning of Pakistan and how the ruling elite initially damaged the cause for what the country was created. He succinctly points out the fact that “The tragedy of Pakistan remains that those who rule, do not believe in it and those who believe in it, so far, have not been able to rule it.”. Though the theorization of Maudodi did help in setting the stage for the country’s ideological outlook but the persistent challenges remained the same as it is, and that was the lack of sincere leadership who could take the country out of the turmoil it was facing. The movement for the independence of Pakistan was the movement of decolonization but as Sayed points out that much of the elite of the country was unable to comprehend the meaning of Pakistan. And till date, we often witness the liberal intelligentsia of our country trying to portray Muhammad Ali Jinnah as a secular figure who was seeking to form a country on secular terms.

Nothing can be farther from the truth in our opinion and when we analyze the political evolution of Jinnah as a leader of Muslims in South Asia, it becomes apparent to us that though he first bought the idea of “Hindu Muslim Unity” and joined congress but only to find out that Gandhi’s politics were not exactly as secular as he tried to portray it to be, rather for him Hindu nationalism was more important than any other identity and that led to Jinnah’s resignation from the Congress and him joining the Muslim League, later the congress Ministries from 1937-39 vindicated Jinnah’s stance and Muslims of India for the first time felt the shocks of being on the mercy of the Hindu Majority and thus Muslim League, whose initial agenda was confined to demanding provincial autonomy for the Muslim provinces left with a little choice and hence the demand for a separate homeland grew stronger.

Our youth needs to realize reconnect with the message of Independence Day and realize that Pakistan is not like any other modern nation-state but quite the opposite, its foundations were anti-secular. After the partition, Jinnah invited Muhammad Asad to Pakistan and handed over to him the charge to develop an Islamic constitution based on the tenets of Islam, this in and of itself was a revolutionary act as the world was still facing the aftershocks of European enlightenment that got exported through colonization in most parts of the middle-east and South Asia.

Though Asad did not get to finish the project and hence the dream of an Islamic Welfare State is yet to be materialized, the picture is not all gloomy, but quite the contrary, there is hope in the message of Independence Day, especially when we look at the Muslims living next door living constantly under the fear of either getting lynched or killed in a cold blood. But to live up to the expectations of those who sacrificed their livelihood for this homeland, we need to assert the true meaning of Pakistan, only then, our country will truly be free.

Related: Education and Political Awareness in Pakistan

The writer, Muhammad Saad, is an M.Phil scholar of Political Science at GCU Lahore.

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