Published on March 14, 2007
The story of my beloved has taken many turns, pleasant and unpleasant, cheery and miserable, heartwarming and upsetting, pleasing and distressing. Some times it seems to be ‘child of lesser god’. And at others, it appears to be the victim of sheer credulity of those who gave birth to it and disregard of its guardians. Who is this ill-fated fellow? It’s none other than my beloved country.
Born out of wedlock, it showed the world one of the chain products of the end of colonial era. Those at the helm of affairs at that point in time, probably knew very well what unfortunate course of actions they’ve allowed to happen for superficial reasons. They wrote the history with a vision to push the posterity in unfathomable oblivion. And sons and daughters of my age and the younger fell prey to immeasurable degrees of historical and geo-political visionless-ness at the hands of raped history that was taught throughout the decades. All the voices of dissent were termed against the spirit of “patriotism” – a dubious airy term that did not have a definite shape, colour and intensity. It acquired whatever shape and colour “they” wanted it to have. And it was “they” who continued to determine the level of ‘Muslamaaniyat’ of fellow citizens thereby nationalizing the religion.
People, who historically had been against the territorial concept of state and restricting Musalmaans to the geographical boundaries as opposed to a more totalitarian concept of Pan-Islamism, suddenly started dictating the terms to govern the new born country. Who let that happen? Probably the ones who had, besides professing the greater ideals of humanism, equality of opportunities and political participation of the socially excluded Musalmaans – the values far greater than blind theocracy, carried on with permitting the pregnant slogans like, Pakistan Ka Matlab Kia: La Ilaha Illallah. As an insightful and astute statesman, Jinnah soon comprehended the gravity of the turn of events and tried to mend the error (deliberate or un-deliberate) in judgment of the popular sentiment on the part of the political coterie of the time that led the euphoria to an unprecedented hike. He delivered a marvelously drafted speech on August 11, 1947, refuting any likelihood of a theocratic state in the making. The speech, understandably, was put under the carpet after his death.
During his very short post-partition life time, he tried his best to mend the ways the politicians had chosen as the mean to perpetuate their consolidation of power. The unbridled political cronies of that period went berserk after the death of their Quaid. The problems of governance resulted in a political penumbra that was unmanageable and irrepressible by them on account of being under trained in the traditions of democracy and business of politics. The country being diversified ethnically, linguistically and culturally, posed various problems of governance. The most intoxicating one being the tribulation of keeping un-natural adherents united. The air of distress and feelings of downright disillusionment of people of these diverse federating units accelerated the centrifugal forces amid oft repeated Indian apprehensions about sustenance of the juvenile country. The situation compelled the leaders to create something that could gel the culturally and ethnically disparate people together.
In the backdrop of a campaign for Pakistan run mainly by the British-leaning Muslim feudal triggering religious sentiments in order to gain maximum popular support for a bizarre political solution, the best solution that appeared to those in control was to continue with religious question as the prime concern of country’s polity. And that’s the point where things started to take a turn for worst. The right refused to budge in for slightest of disagreement. Politicians, out of their vested interests, continued to bow before the Islamists throughout Pakistan’s history checkered with intermittent short periods of democratic respite as well as longer autocratic regimes run largely by the supreme ‘protectionist’ institution of the country.
On the other hand, the ‘Protectionist Inc.’ was allowed to claim its political role in early years of Pakistan. The young country failed to inherit politicians with a farsighted vision, experience of parliamentary democracy and acquaintance with political nuances of the time, necessary to lead the popular prophecy. The lot that was available was content finding easy answers to strategic questions. Appointments of political personages at public offices without elections and a lack of unified inspiration to run the business of country on a dialogue and consensus-based governance structure took it away from democratic norms and traditions. The scripture of country’s security was written overnight to shift the attention from failures to deal with brawling issues of ethnicity and socio-political hegemony of a political powerful group. The notion of security took the rulers on the gates of Protectionist Inc. that ended up in continually empowering this institution with almost no accountability and frequent opportunities for it to exercise power beyond its ambit of security.
On economic front, the early rulers, wrongly or rightly, decided to sell the balance-of-power theory of the world powers in a post World War II scenario. The one with an offer of larger ‘profit base’ as opposed to the one more just but politically closer to India – the enemy, won the game. It’s the same point in time when Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi warned to beware of the capitalist scheme but in vain. Pakistan succumbed to the glittering capitalist west and showed emerging communist neighborhood a thumb down in “larger interest” of the country. The shrewd capitalist used the religious euphoria of newly born nation that was in search of its identity after divorcing five thousand years of glorious history.
How much we gained and lost due to this policy, are questions the answer of which has now come to be known to all and sundry. But the story doesn’t end here. My beloved endured severest of blows in its face. It saw a nerve wrecking war within, it saw its daughters raped by those who were trusted for protecting it, it saw its own sons slaughtered in the name of internal security and saving federation. To the extent that its eastern arm was maimed. And when its shoulder was bleeding after the painful amputation, those who were responsible for the situation, started a high pitched drama to shift the focus from their failure to the alleged failure of the political parties. An excruciating defeat for which the people were not taken into confidence, they were not prepared for the results very well calculated by the army during the whole incidence. The scars were deep. The wounds were hemorrhagic.
The story still goes on. People were deceived, democracy was robbed, elected premier was hanged, a long black night prevailed. When my beloved saw a small ray of hope by comforting light of democracy, it turned out to be mirage. The same religious fanaticism was flourishing, political exclusion was at its peek, and lack of accountability had become a contagious epidemic, which had now infested politicians as well as other vital institutions. It was only then, that a strange thing happened. A good man of military came to the rescue. Beating the drums of equal opportunities, meritocracy, consensus-based governance, accountability for all, promises of probable economic boom, mixed slogans of eradicating poverty and hopes to become home of multinationals and what not? The civil society experienced a much desired political orgasm.
No, not a happy ending folks! It was only after that climax of excitement did the people find out that they were used as medieval concubines. Same era of sham democracy, exclusion, disregard of democratic institutions and now offense to the prime instrument of justice had returned with all its “pomp and glory”. My beloved is blubbering. My question from the most potent man of this country is: Is there any relief fro my beloved? When?