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Muharram 3, 1439





Days remaining to
Independence Day -
August 14





Pakistan Standard Time 12:40 pm

   
 

Recalling those old dreams



The News - by Prof Khwaja Masud


Make Strong the old dreams
Lest this our world lose heart

Ezra Pound

Commemorating the death anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, we are reminded of the Wordworthian verse:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

The Quaid's voice became the voice of the people, and the voice of people has been and always will be the voice of God. The long disinherited Muslims of India began to look forward to the future when there would be no hunger, no poverty, no illiteracy and no exploitation, as their Quaid had declared categorically: "There are millions upon millions of our people who hardly get one meal a day. Is this civilisation? Is this the aim of Pakistan? If that is the idea of Pakistan, I would not have it."

On the morrow of freedom, the Quaid said: "We are going through fire, the sunshine has yet to come. Are you prepared to undergo fire? You must make up your mind. We must have unity, faith and discipline."

What has become of that glory and dream? We look around and find:
We are the hollow men,
We are the stuffed men,
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw, Alas!
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion.

The rate of illiteracy is about 70 per cent. Almost 60 per cent of the population is without drinking water. One-third of the population can barely afford two meals a day. The ideal of Pakistan as envisaged by the Quaid and as dreamt by the Allama is now farther than it ever was.

We think we can distract people from the stark reality by engulfing them with sanctimonious cliches and drowning them in a sea of hypocritical religiosity.

No one struggled harder and sacrificed more for freedom than Maulana Obeidullah Sindhi who warned the Muslims: "When religion becomes the backbone of reaction and anti-progressive forces seek refuge under its cloak, when religion becomes only a bundle of particular dogmas and ceremonies and its inborn spirit of revolutionary change is dead, then such a religion becomes only a tool for perpetuating all sins of injustice. When religion has a dominating creed of a particular society loses it fervour and the revolutionary spirit of changing itself and others, then to vest such a religion with power is equivalent to placing a dangerous authority in the hands of reaction to be ultimately used against the people."

The Allama bemoaned: "The Muslim countries mechanically follow old values", and warned us in his famous lectures. "The verdict of history is that worn ideas have never risen to power among a people who have worn them out."

Iqbal urges us to do original and creative thinking According to him: "The door of ijtiad has been due to intellectual laziness which, especially in period of spiritual decay turns great thinkers into idols." In true Islamic spirit, these idols should be broken and Iqbal expects us to march forward, inspired by his dictum: "Each generation, guided but unhampered by its predecessors, should be permitted to solve its own problems."

Without this dauntless, iconoclastic spirit, renaissance, reformations are impossible, and these are the sine qua non for the glory that is the destiny of Pakistan.

We should approach its death-anniversary with a sense of destiny, inspired by the Founding Fathers' Dreams. But unfortunately, we are paralysed by a sense of futility because somehow we have come to believe that there is nothing that one man or one woman can do against the enormous array for the worlds ills, against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence. No doubt, few will have the greatness to bend history itself as the Allama and the Quaid did, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events and in the total of all these acts, will be written the history our generation.

The Quaid had unshakable belief in the working of democracy. He declared: "I have no doubt that a large number of us visualise Pakistan as the people's government. Either you seize it by force or get it by agreement. You do not know your power; you may not know how to use it. This would be your fault. But I am sure democracy is in our blood. It is in our marrow. Only centuries of adverse circumstances have made the circulation of the blood cold. It has got cold and arteries are not functioning, thank God, the blood is circulating again."

The Quaid foresaw the danger of theocracy and warned us against it on several occasions. Addressing the League legislators' convention he said: "What are we fighting for? What are we aiming at? It is not a theocracy, not a theocratic state. Religion is there and religion is dear to us. All the worldly things are nothing to us when we talk of religion; but there are other things which are very vital: our social life, our economic life and without political power how can you defend your faith and economic life?"

In a broadcast to the people of Australia on February 14, 1948, the Quaid reaffirmed: "We are members of the brotherhood of Islam in which all are equal in rights, dignity and self-respect. Consequently, we have a special and a very deep sense of unity. But make no mistake. Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds and we welcome in closest association with us all those, of whatever creed, who are themselves willing and ready to play their part as true and loyal citizens of Pakistan." The dream of the Quaid, the dream of a democratic state of Pakistan in which people of all religions, sects and creeds would live together in peace, amity and harmony has been smothered by the vain efforts to turn it into a theocratic State.

The historic speech of the Quaid on August 11, 1947 in which he laid the foundation of Pakistani nationhood and state has been suppressed now and then because he had the courage, wisdom and vision to declare: "Now I think that we shall keep in mind in front of us as an ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus will cease to 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."

After the Quaid's death, this speech which is rightly call the Magna Carta of Pakistan has been wilfully ignored. The Quaid had profound knowledge of both Islamic history and jurisprudence. While he delivered the August 11 speech, he drew inspiration from Meesaq-i-Madina, drafted by the Holy Prophet (PBUH), especially its first two articles wherein all inhabitants of Madina, whether Muslims or non Muslims formed unmahtun wahidatun (one nation).

Dr I H Qureshi, in his book, "Pakistan, its founding and future" writes: "Though an ardent Muslim, Jinnah did not wear his religion in his button-holes." Nothing was more foreign to the Quaid's temperament than sectarianism, bigotry and intolerance.

Addressing the Karachi Bar Association on January 25, 1948, the Quaid said: "Islam is not a set of rituals, traditions an dogmas. It is based on the highest principle of honour, integrity, fairplay and justice for all."

Is it possible for us, to ponder over what we have done to the dream of our Founding Fathers? Is it too late to redeem it? The Quaid's speech which, as a student, I heard still rings in my ears and serves as a clarion-call to our nation: "Let us march on". The march must continue till the dream of Pakistan as visualised by the Allama and the Quaid is realised -the dream of Pakistan in which democracy, freedom, social justice and Islamic values of tolerance, fairplay and compassion would prevail.

DISCLAIMER: The public material presented here is taken from various sources as it becomes available. It is presented without any bias to, or interpretation of, the contents whatsoever. We would be grateful for any help anyone can provide in obtaining other such public material of national importance to Pakistan in order to aid intellectual discourse and debate.

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QUAID-E-AZAM
MOHAMMAD ALI JINNAH


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