Independence day is around the corner. The one day that every Pakistani is well, proudly just that – a Pakistani. From flags to clothes to badges, painting every corner of every province, city and village green and white, EVERYONE celebrates. But as we do so, we forget the significance of the white in our flag.
A few days ago I came across a video – a tribute to Pakistan by the Christian community. Several artists came together and sang a medley of milli naghmay (patriotic songs) that we (unfortunately) only ever get to hear on 14th August. At the same time, during the election campaigns that just passed, the on-going-but-rarely-discussed issue of exclusion of minorities was brought to light. This particular tribute then really got me thinking and so for once, I really concentrated on the lyrics. As I did so I realised that no matter what background we came from, we had all grown up listening to these very anthems. Yet, despite the many years it took for these song to be ingrained in our minds, we haven’t stayed true to any of the lesson they teach nor take the advice they give.
Here are 4 such anthems that really speak volumes about defining Pakistan and Pakistanis, values that we as a nation have sadly forgotten.
- Yeh Watan Tumhara Hai – This Country is Yours
This song highlights the importance of ownership. Ownership not just by Muslims, but every individual that has been born in Pakistan. The land that all of our ancestors regardless of being Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Parsi or Ahmedi, fought for. Iss zameen ka har zarra, aaftab tum se hai – we make Pakistan as much as it makes.
- Hum Zinda Qaum Hain – We are a (excuse my colloquial expression) WOKE nation
As much as people would disagree, in the past few months I really have started to believe that my generation is the generation that is not only advocating for change but we are willing to take action. We aren’t merely aware of the multifaceted problems our country faces, we are ready to take these challenges head on. We’re still complainers sure, but we have amongst us many who have solutions. Hum wakai Zinda Quam Hain.
- Mera Inaam Pakistan – Pakistan is my Prize
I don’t think this one needs an explanation honestly. We were born in a land our forefathers fought for. This land was theirs to claim and passed on to us as a prized possession for safekeeping. Since this post is especially aimed to remind us that Pakistan is (even just in theory for now) a land of tolerance, peace and acceptance, here’s my favourite line: Mohabbat amn hai aur amn ka paigham Pakistan.
- Tera Pakistan Hai Yeh Mera Pakistan Hai
Nothing spells out tolerance more clearly than this phrase. Any time that I am serenaded by this particular song, it is a reminder that this is as much my Pakistan as it is any other Pakistani’s. No one has the right to claim their sacrifice for this country to be greater than anyone else. Being the daughter of an army officer, its easy to say that my dad has more right over this country, after all he did quite literally put his life on the line for it. But at the same time, thousands have made sacrifices in ways most of us wouldn’t dare to. Iss pe dil qurban iss pe jaan bhi qurban hai – no one specified kis ka dil aur kis ki jaan.
In a land with so much freedom, why do we choose to use our independence to be better than one another when we can work to be one with each other? What Pakistan needs most at this time is peace, and to bring that peace each of us must first accept each other, regardless of our differences. I hope that the next time we hear these songs (very often in the upcoming days), we each play our part towards helping Pakistan become the harmonious land it set out to be.