Thursday, August 6, 2009

Independence Day, Are We Really Independent????

Whenever its 14th of August, I see euphoric Independence Day celebrations I end up questioning myself, are we really independent??

Today, at work I received an Independence Day flag ‘badge’ when I looked at the flag; I again questioned the term independence. Few of my friends believe that US celebrates 4th July, why shouldn’t we????

Since childhood, I had been reading that with the creation of Pakistan, Muslims of India ‘present day Pakistan’ got rid of Colonial British oppression along with the dominance of Hindu culture, religion and society at large. Text book historians believed that Muslims were treated as third class citizens, it was also believed that independence would ensure that peoples rights are protected, freedom would mean respect and people would be the master of their own density.

When I grew up, and started reading history beyond academic text book, Initially I was realized that Pakistan was created on the basis of two nations theory but I witnessed “a country that had been ruled either by military dictators or authoritarian civilians who conflated personal with collective interest, ignoring the rights of common men in colonial fashion. Nothing changed for poor”.

I lament, so called educated lot “including most of my friends” are oblivious to historical facts, they are not aware that “any system based on oppression, coercion and authoritarianism [is] the first problem in the way of writing history”. Pakistan’s history has been dictated by politics and the personal ideologies of autocratic rulers.

Our ‘official’ history is riddled with prejudice, inconsistencies and huge knowledge gaps, so much so that there was a time when school textbooks made no mention of the break-up of Pakistan.

Even today they offer no detailed account of the causes that led to the creation of Bangladesh — the cultural, political and economic marginalization of the Bengali people or the atrocities committed in the eastern wing by the Pakistan Army.

Independent account reveals that Pakistan Army committed atrocities, including the systematic killing of innocent political workers, intellectuals and rape of thousands of innocent women. Famous writer and Oxford Graduate Tariq Ali, writes in his book, Pakistan Army considered Bengalis, partially Hindu, they wanted to implant pure Muslim sperms in Bengali women so that they could become true Muslims.

If we got independence on the basis of a separate Muslim homeland, then why did we commit atrocities in East Pakistan, why did we rape and kill them? Weren’t they Muslims?

I still remember, few years before the creation of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam painstakingly explained the basis of the demand of Pakistan to Gandhi and he wrote "We maintain" "that Muslims and Hindus are two major nations by any definition or test of a nation. We are a nation of a 100 million. We have our distinctive outlook on life and of life”.

I always end up questioning, what was that distinctive outlook, did it reflect in the break up of East Pakistan.

Let us read the International media report, the way we buried the concept of Independence;

  • Time reported a high U.S. official as saying "East Pakistan “It” is the most incredible, calculated thing since the days of the Nazis in Poland.

  • Bangladeshi authorities claim that 3 million people were killed.

  • The international media and reference books in English have also published figures which vary greatly from 200,000 to 3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole.

  • A large section of the intellectual community of Bangladesh was murdered, mostly by the Al-Shams and Al-Badr forces.

  • There are many mass graves in Bangladesh, and more are continually being discovered.

  • Numerous women were tortured, raped and killed during the war. The exact numbers are not known and are a subject of debate. Bangladeshi sources cite a figure of 200,000 women raped, giving birth to thousands of war-babies.

Lets move on to current situation, minorities in Pakistan are falsely brutalized with Blasphemy sword, we have already witnessed mindless killing in past such as in Khanewal city and in two villages around 1,500 houses and shops were torched, 12 Churches, one Hospital and One Dispensary was completely destroyed and 12 women were raped. Recent Gojrah killing is yet another evidence of killing of innocent minorities. Are they independent in Islamic Republic of Pakistan?

Let me remind you folk, I always think about Quaid –e- Azam’s 11th August 1947 speech, just think about it in the context of present day situation. I remember reading, he said, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State... We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State... I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in due course 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 State.”

Just think, are we FREE?????

I guess people are free in following sense, If i rephrase Quaid’s speech it would read following;

“You are free - you are free to loot and plunder, to take that which is not yours, and to build apartment complexes on land meant for parks. You are free to construct shopping malls on the sea-shore. The people of Pakistan don’t need parks and beaches. You are free to take commissions and kickbacks; you are free to siphon away your ill-gotten wealth into foreign bank accounts. You may have mansions and palaces anywhere in the world: that has nothing to do with the business of the state… in due course of time, you will be able to buy any government in power and return to the country as heroes. Remember, the people of Pakistan are morons and deserve to have leaders like you. So go ahead and plunder the country, you will never be punished, no matter how much you have looted Pakistan”.

Just think, are we FREE?????

People are unaware that East Pakistan like situation is being repeated in Balochistan, blame game was similarly used in East Pakistan case, as it is being used in the case of Balochistan.Resource rich province is the poorest, when people ask for due share, sardars are blamed, however, resources are distributed on the basis of population and Balochistan gets less than 10% of total national wealth. When they politically sit and talk with Mushahid Hussain or Waseem Sajjad Committee ‘formed by parliament’ to fight for legal and constitutional rights, a military dictator kills tribal elder and threatens Baloch that they would not know what has hit them. Is it freedom??? What is the difference between Pakistani State attitude towards citizen as compared to a colonial state?????

As per Daily Dawn, in Balochistan, thousands of innocent political workers disappeared, over 80,000 men, women and children internally displaced and women like Zarina Marri 'allegedly' constantly raped and brutalized.

Just think, are we FREE?????

I remember, one of my "the best" female friend, driving on Zamzama Street Karachi, an educated family rash driving in their SUV, when my friend protested they ended up threatening or insulting with abusive words. I am sure rich always walk away, she was right, when she mentioned that we are second class citizens.

Just one question, if a feudal, influential person insult and slap you in front of your family while you are on the road, do you think you are free to bring the influential person to justice??? I am sure not…..

Just think, are we FREE????

I would love Pakistan to be independent as per the wishes or vision of Quaid…..but somehow still I am not convinced about the Independence Day…….and celebration.


Anonymous said...

Your words made me cry.

Imran Baloch said...

Thanks for the feedback.

I am glad you understood the essence of the write up.

Keep visiting.


Favad Soomro said...

Thanks for the link. yea, we haven't exactly been great at living up the dream... Celebrations hardly matter if 3/4th of population lives below $2 a day income level. But, there's no harm in remembering the dream once in a while. This will eventually be the base of we becoming a true nation.. hopefully.

ShafzzZZ said...

IB thats a very thought provoking article, Not just a mere flow of emotions but very well supported with facts of past and present day hardships most citizens face.

To be honest none of the folks in my circle are patriotic, infact given an opportunity they wll all fly out of this so called "sacred land of the pure."

However I would second Favad, rememberance of this day does not mean we accept the situation of Pakistan, its just that our sentiments for our homeland erupt on this particular day with our minds struggling as to why we are what we are today.

I was born in Hyderabad. I left that place 17yrs back, and todate it hasnt improved one but. However having said that i still have sentiments for it. We may end up at some other part of the world someday,but our hearts will go out to the people still living here and the hope for this place to be a better place will never die.

Imran Baloch said...

Shafaq, thanks for the feedback. I agree with your feedback. Convincing.

Place, people, society all remained same, lovely and beautiful even during COLONIAL period...independence was all about getting rid of British Rajs political tutelage.

If i reflect the British Raj has been replaced by local Raj. Plight of innocent is still unheard.

I am waiting for the day when we have true independence.....which truly means freedom.

Tulika Verma said...

We have a common history and a common pain of partition that connects us....and a common set of questions...about the meaning of 'freedom'...
couldn't agree more to your post...moving and brutally true...

Lakshan said...


This is absolutely true

keep up with your good work