Past, Present & Pakistani!

This nation needs to grow up. We have a tendency of equating our favored leaders with saints. All their faults or shortcomings, or any incriminating (to us) habits, are white-washed and/or overlooked. A person is muslim/Pakistani, great, they’re awesome. If that shoe fits, the rest of the outfit is thrust too, whether right or not, and generally erroneously.

This is ingrained into us from early years. It is beyond our mental grasp to envision that great men are human. For instance, hardly ever does a history book by a Pakistani author ever mention the fact that Muhammad Ali Jinnah used to drink.

One understands how it may, in younger children encourage the habit of drinking, but what is surprising is that fully grown men are fed the same. Why is it so inconceivable that the man’s personal life or shortcomings may actually not take away from his “glory”, his achievements and the country he gave us? After the O level/ Matric and A level/Intermediate levels of education in this country, very few institutes actually emphasize study of the subcontinents history. Many of our derivations from our history are thus limited to the view of XYZ author with very little critical analysis on the reader/students part.

I personally remember a History class where I was taught that the day in 1974 when Ahmedis were branded non Muslims by the constitution was a great victory for the Muslims/ Muslim clergy. I remember thinking of it as an awesome occurrence. Much later I realized how misplaced it was for me to feel glee where a constitution or law dictates something as personal as religion and whether someone is a believer or not.

The amazingly slanted version of history fed to us during our school and college years needs to be re-written, Muslim rulers were not saints, there were major imperfections there too. Mughals were not paragons of virtue, Ghazni demolishing Hindu temples not an act of bravery (or even ethical) and Gandhi wasn’t the anti-Christ. Please accept it, or atleast analyze tradition and narration with a modicum of common sense. Yes history is written by the victors, or the natives, but it serves a purpose other than self glorification.

The altered version of history fed only breeds further the self superiority complex, which in turn leads us to cling on to our past achievements more than we should. On a related note, we need to get over our past too. It is not enough that our ancestors did great things; it’s about time we did some ourselves or built upon and furthered those achievements. As for blaming the previous two generations, they did what they did, get over that too.

Nobody is perfect. Get over Taseer’s drinking and Imran Khans “playboy” past. Instead of concentrating on their personal lives, and whether they down their pizzas with beer rather than Pepsi, why can’t you examine their public policy and conduct instead? There was a divide in the nation over the views concerning Salman Taseer’s murder. Interestingly however, more people were of the view that he “deserved to die” because he drank rather than the corruption allegations against him.

The saint and the sinner ?

Another problem with us is our method of forming opinions and then airing them with the enthusiasm of a child on a sugar rush. Everyone has something to say about everything whether they really know enough about the subject or not. A few phrases catch on and everyone suddenly has the urge to air uninformed opinions. “Responsible media” is another favored catchphrase, but really, my dear enthusiastic Facebook-ers and bloggers, how is anyone of us being “responsible” when we air our unresearched and attractively revolutionary and leftist opinions? And no, going through a topics relevant Wikipedia page is not enough information on it.

Grow up, move on. We have a lot to be proud of, in the past and in the present and InshAllah will in the future too. However, it’s about time we face the facts and learn to think for ourselves. History and heritage may be less exciting than fiction, but it is what it is, exaggeration of certain aspects of our past while skimming over the rest robs us of the learning and lessons that may be acquired from it. And yes, sounding knowledgeable is a useful talent, but actually knowing about something is so much better.

Haseeb Uddin

Tech/ food junkie, travel enthusiast, Endless Love for music & poetry.. Online editor for @dentalnewspk @medicalnewspk & @dentaltribunepk & a proud Pakistani!

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