I have never told my kids my full thoughts about this day, August 14th. They were born in England. I have tried to guide them away from nationalistic jingoism. For example, every time they heard the British national anthem, God Save the Queen, I have always pointed out, ‘Just look at her age or that of Queen Victoria – they clearly don’t need god to save them.’ But at least they can understand it, it’s in English, and the tune is Englishy. When it comes to the Pakistani national anthem, I am stumped. Apart from one word in Urdu, it is in Persian, and Urdu itself is a Turkish word,referring to a wave of soldiers, appropriately, in view of the history of the Pakistani military. What’s in a language, any road, you may wonder? School children in Pakistani Punjab today, are forced to learn in Urdu, and like when I was a child, beaten if they should forget and end up speaking in Punjabi.
And kids, you should know, what the flag of Pakistan represents. The green and the crescent is for Islam and Muslims and the white for minorities. Next time you see a flag on a pole, see what is going through the white of the flag, or what colour is tied to the pole.
Well kids, this day in 1947 saw the birth of Pakistan, on the basis of the Two Nation theory. Don’t worry, I know you don’t want yet another lecture. Just briefly. It was (and somehow still is) claimed that Muslims and Hindus were two different nations. Given the fact that you have seen so many Sikhs in your life and you know they are from Punjab, and some of them have visited your village in Pakistan, you are right to wonder, How come this theory doesn’t have Sikhs in it? or Christians for that matter? You ask too difficult a question.
You will no doubt remember my dear friend, your uncle Qabir. He was from Dacca, which today is in Bangladesh, which until 1971 was East Pakistan,and was the majority. So you may wonder, if the majority, which is also Muslim, leaves a country created on the basis of Muslims being one nation, doesn’t that shatter the Two Nation theory? What I never told you were some of the stories uncle Qabir told me. He was an active fighter for Bangladesh. He stood up against the tyranny of the Pakistani Army and its supporters who went on a mass rape of women and murder campaign. You may wonder, was anyone in the Pakistani military ever tried for any of these crimes?
And kids, you know how I go on about the importance of mother tongue and language. The International Mother Tongue Day, Feb 21st, may not have come into existence, had Pakistan in 1952 not tried to impose Urdu on Bengal and killed the students who protested against this.
So how did Pakistan get its name then. ‘P’ from Punjab, ‘A’ from Afghanistan, ‘K’ from Kashmir and ‘Tan’ from Balouchistan. Why is there no reference to Islam in the name of Pakistan, you may wonder? Not only is there no reference to Islam in the name of Pakistan, there is no reference to Pakistan in the the so-called Pakistan Resolution of 1940.
So kids, now you may understand why I wrote the story called PLOTISTAN
Should we celebrate today? Yes, we should celebrate the fact that the British thieves are gone, but we should remember they left a sting in their departing tail.
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