All that Pakistan has been represented as for quite a few decades by the world media, is as a country of turmoil. The citizens never fail to criticize it, and the best of the minds flee abroad. The media presents the worst side and the world is terrorized. This affects our reputation and tourism industry to say the least, but in spite of all that is happening, and in spite of living in Karachi- the city named as one of most “terrorized” cities of Pakistan, I am a patriot.
I believe in my country, and I Hope.
The reason is that I feel a very deep, very personal connection to my country. My maternal grandparents migrated here in 1947, when this country was founded. They could have lived on there, in India, their village remained completely at peace through it all; but they said that God made this land a “Medinah” for them; a land of their own to practice their religion freely. They came here for Independence. Like countless families, they left all they had behind them. Like countless others again, my grandmother never saw her mother again. She was sixteen when she came, with her eldest son in her arms, and it was just after his wedding that she got to know that her mother was no more. Sometimes still, when she speaks about her, her eyes water, but she does not regret the decision she made.
She came here for freedom, for independence, and it tears me to see that families flee again to live as minorities; flee from freedom, from independence, for which their ancestors gave up everything. They started from naught, for a purpose, and these begin life again in foreign lands, more often than not, without a purpose; a bigger purpose.
Pakistan faced a major trauma in 1971 when it was divided in two. East Pakistan was declared as an independent state of Bangladesh. I will overlook its intricate politics, but those were tough times. My paternal side migrated in hiding. My grandfather said that there was little you could do those days in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. All you did, was sit together in groups and pray. Fear colored every soul. They were sitting like that once, when they heard the call of Athan from a nearby mosque. They had to cross a plain to get their and they started as this huge, big group; unarmed, fearful men. That was when the firing started from up front.
In an open plain, they were an easy target. They fell like bowling pins. The closest people in his life: his family, his friends, all in one day, going down down down…All at once, when they need not even die at all! They could not even bury them. That was war, and that raged there, in other places too, and at all times. At least at all times in the past hundred years.
The thing is that no one deserves this. No one deserves to have the closest people of his life, all going down in one day. No one deserves to be made an instrument in war, and its happening again. Its happening in Balochistan, in Khyber Pakhtun Khwa, in Kashmir, in Afghanistan, in Bosnia, in places of which i don’t even know the names. And i care bacause i have a history, and i am a citizen of the world.
With everything as it has been for so long, I once sat down with my grandmother, depressed and feeling low. I asked her if she believed that Pakistan would live through it all, and she said yes. She said it with belief. And I believed her. She said that divine intervention created Pakistan, and divine intervention will make it last. It was belief like hers that made Pakistan, she conveyed her belief to me, and it will be belief like mine that will bring this country to prosper.
That is why I am a patriot; because I believe, I have faith that great things are going to comes from this country. I inspire that faith and it will spread like the faith of the people in 1947. I insist on doing my part, for maybe the result may come years after my death, but my effort will not be in vain. I am a patriot because I feel very deeply for my past and my people, and their future. I am a patriot because I don’t want the worst of my history to repeat itself.