By Ali Bhurgri
The most mislead, misconceived and tractable word. However, the importance of this tool in general can never be undermined. It is on paper, one of the most important mechanism through which a nation state is held together.
My mind was clustered with several thoughts about what it really is? It had to be more than just waving a flag, standing up to your national anthem, loving your army and supporting your country in a cricket match. In a country of 190 million people, how does this mechanism work, if at all it works.
The most intriguing, definition of patriotism i came across, was by Bertrand Russel, a British philosopher which I thought suits the practical application of the word in this country and I quote, ” Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons”. He isn’t elucidating ISIS here, is he? As abominable as it may sound, Patriotism in Pakistan means intolerance and dishonesty.
You can be ashamed of your country in certain aspects. If you don’t, you don’t have a moral compass. As said by General Asad Durrani, the former ISI chief in an interview to Mehdi Hasan, in the Oxford Union said, when it comes to nationalism, morality takes a back seat. I always compare this to an example, where you give a gun to a blind man and ask him to stand on a busy road and shoot anyone he pleases.
Patriotism has been used to swindle people. It is, what has wavered this country, numerously. It’s stopped us, from educating the nation. We are told to believe, as kids that, Pakistan never started wars with their neighbor. That Pakistan has never sponsored terrorism in the past. When you don’t accept your mistakes, there is no question of changing them. Patriotism in true sense here is Chauvinism.
History has proved how we have misconstructed this word and more so its application. There is a structural paradigm of nationalism created by the rulers in Pakistan which is fundamentally flawed. Any dissenting opinion is dismissed as a conspiracy.
Abdul Salam, the first Pakistani Nobel peace prize winner, a Pakistani Ahmadi was celebrated in the world but Pakistan. Our first law minister , Jogandar Nath mandal, a Pakistani Hindu. These are the kind of people that make my country proud. Any person, from any group and any part of the country, wether he is a Hindu, Ahmadi, Christian or anyone from the minority. If he does not feel an integral part of this country, we should be ashamed.
Patriotism without pure secularism, as said by an Indian actor, Shah Rukh Khan is criminal. The antonym of secularism isn’t atheism, but fascism. We may always like our community more, and it is absolutely fine to do so.
Religion or communities is something as private as our families. So it’s okay to think your family is better than somebody else’s but if you want to eliminate other communities or try to change them, there could be no bigger treason.
Quaid-e-Azam said, “Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it”. When will this nation be told, that Islam was used merely as a political tool to get independence.
Leaving the hoaxes aside, patriotism, to me is love, loyalty towards your country. It is standing against prejudice. It is showing your future generation a mirror image of your country. It is about being honest. Till the time we don’t accept our mistakes. This country will keep suffering.
Thee United States commission on international religious freedom, an independent body, held Pakistan as being one of the worst countries for rights of minorities.
We can all, have different views for our country since it’s a subjective debate. But the only objective of this part, is crookedness and pragmatism. Some of us might believe democracy is the best way of governance, and some might not. We can legitimately disagree with each other, that won’t make us any less of a patriot but for that we need to hear each other out first.
Forget about Kashmir our priority should be Balochistan Insurgency that has been going on there since a very long time. 305 civilians in Balochistan have been killed. (182 in south and 123 in north) in 2015 it self. Missing people in Balochistan is not a new story either. Also the persecution and killing of Hazara tribe in Quetta. If these don’t concern you, what ultra nationalist are you?
The persecution of Ahmedi’s in Jhelum is painstakingly shameful. We raise our voice for Palestine. We raise our voice for Syria and most hypocritically we raise our voice for Amir khan in India. When will we learn to raise our voice for Pakistan?
There has always been some intolerance in India. But the liberals in India stand up for every unjust incident. That is what makes them different from us. It is about time that instead of hating we learn from them and stand up, when this country needs it most.
I am not trying to endorse a western ideology. I am saying the same thing, that Quaid-e-Azam said, after independence , “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state”
Love your nation, but separate it from the state. My voice may not be a part of a majority. But I wish to see an independent, tolerant and secular Pakistan. Let us learn to love our country, wholly and not in parts.