As 14th August approaches today, most of the country is already dancing green and tall building are bedazzling people with decked lights wrapped beautifully around them. It is fortunately this time of the year again when green flags grace rooftops and cars, and stereo systems explode with national songs in fervent exuberance. Patriotism gushes thick like blood through our vessels and burns us with patriotic zeal. What puzzles me though is, why do we we keep the patriot inside us in hibernation all year round only to revive it up on August the 14th? Why is it that are we not ‘Proud Pakistanis’ during January, March or April?
This one-month patriotism is something that I could never manage to comprehend and it still strikes me as nothing short of hypocrisy . An average Pakistani man doing rounds of the visa office all year round, striving hard to get the green signal to land on the USA, turns his “Sab se pehlay Pakistan” mode on, once it is August. A woman proudly seeking to abstain from buying Pakistani products, simply because it would be below her dignity to purchase anything less than Loreal or Armani, is seen changing her facebook display picture to lying green Pakistani flag and dedicating her day’s status in the love of the country.
Putting up display pictures or writing lengthy patriotic statuses showcasing your love for the country on Independence Day, might earn you a hundred ‘likes’ or comments but in no way mean that you are lavishing on Pakistan the love that it deserves.
Any such claim must come with owning the country as yours. It doesn’t only mean that you acknowledge the fact of being a Pakistani with pride, it also demands you to own everything about it- good or bad.
This means even if you remotely claim to be in love with it, own its people, own its products and with it, each and everything with the label ‘Made in Pakistan’ on it. Respect the people who are serving at various capacities, no matter how trivial you take their positions to be. Even a plumber has a role in nation building in how he fixes drainage pipes for the convenience and cleanliness of others . Respect the brave soldiers vigilantly guarding our borders and do not disregard them on every slight slip they might make. If it were not them, we would not be sleeping sound as we do today. Not just this, respect the players who bring laurels for our homeland rather than passing derogatory statements on them when they even slightly turn you down.
Moreover, we are blessed with perhaps one of the richest culture, ever so diverse and dynamic. Celebrate it! It is our culture that tells the world about our identity and who we are. Wear shalwar kameez with pride, and don’t discard it for jeans and t-shirts. Own Urdu as your national language and speak it with pride rather than jabbering a farrago of half-learnt English. In short, take pride in all that’s yours.
To accept all as ours, must come with an acknowledgment that we can’t separate ourselves from that all looks bad around us. If we blame our politicians to be buried under heaps of corruption, it only reflects something about us. It’s not an alien phenomenon, it’s something we all are embroiled in, at different levels as we speak. Therefore,we don’t require a sincere government or a Tsunami for things to change for that matter. We can do away corruption once we root it out from within and things would actualize the same way outside.
And perhaps this is the panacea to all our whining about how our country is going down the precipice and how things just don’t show bright around us. All that is dark outside is because we have disowned the very country that defines us. How would things ever change if we pretend to be outsiders and keep cursing the evils only we have sown.
The day we’d dare to change this, own what’s good and bad, and take responsibility to make things better, that day we’ll entitle ourselves to blow trumpets of patriotism and nationalism on Pakistan day, 14th August.