December 25 - just another holiday!

By Zahra Nadeem
Fri, 12, 15

I am sure most of us did not like any of our textbooks; they were drab, dry and out of touch with reality.

I am sure most of us did not like any of our textbooks; they were drab, dry and out of touch with reality. Let’s face it: to most students, learning about people not relevant to our time seems an exercise in futility. For most students, the value of people like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Quaid-e-Azam, Allam Iqbal, Khan Liaqat Ali Khan, etc. lie in numeric denomination in front of the questions set by examiners. Mugging up their life histories are good for grades, and once vomited out on the answer scripts, they can be easily forgotten. We remember them only if we get a holiday on their birth and death anniversaries, right? But, what we fail to realize is that some people will always remain relevant to us as a nation, if we want to progress. We forget them, their lives and legacies at our own peril.

We all know our Quaid-e-Azam - the founder of Pakistan -was born on December 25. It’s a national holiday. We conveniently forget what Quaid-e-Azam stood for - the rights of minorities, equality and social justice.

In present day Pakistan, with Quaid-e-Azam is message totally forgotten, and we do everything our great leader held in abhorrence. There is nepotism, corruption, black marketing and intolerance to minorities’ rights and even their existence! Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in his August 11, 1947 speech before the Constituent Assembly, stated: “You will find that in course of time 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.” But, contrary to his expectations, we are doing exactly the opposite.

I guess what most readers, if they are still reading, are thinking ‘o crap, what can we do! We are not in power’. That’s all right, but how much power do we need to change ourselves? To talk to our siblings, cousins and friends? But to convert someone, one would themselves need to believe in what they wish to advocate. For instance, the Quaid’s famous motto of ‘unity, faith and discipline’ is probably French and Latin to most of us. How can we be united as a nation without having tolerance for the faiths of others, and without giving any importance to discipline? How can unity come to a people who think they are superior and deride the people belonging to other provinces? Heartrending when, according to Stanley Wolpert, “‘Equality, justice and fair play to everybody’ were the ideals on which Quaid-i-Azam M.A. Jinnah expected Pakistani democracy to be built.”

A Zoroastrian educationist once asked a child why he had thrown the sweet wrapper on the road. The response was: it doesn’t matter; the road is already dirty! This is how we treat our country - with contempt. At traffic signals, young and old break ignore traffic lights. People on motorbikes think that rules don’t apply to them. Convert one person at a time and pave way for a brighter tomorrow. To do that, you will have to observe that irritating rule others are flouting right in front of your eyes.

Time for talking is over; we need to act to save our country now! What you can do: as a student, don’t cheat and pay attention to your studies. Try to teach something to your servants, too. As a commuter, obey traffic rules. As an entrepreneur, be honest in your dealing. As a citizen and boss, try to forget the ethnic backgrounds of people you come across, and treat everyone on merit. Conserve resources like electricity and water. And, most important of all, stop hating or disliking people because they are not of your faith. If we all do what is in our power, instead of thinking when others are not doing it why should we, things will change. Slowly, but surely, tabdeeli aai gi. There is a lot more, but this will be a start. Go for it as a tribute to Quaid-e-Azam.