Sunday, August 14, 2011
We have adopted two traits that are beginning to haunt us on a national scale; one being that of giving up and entering into a resignation mode, the other being that of embracing disintegration and divide with generosity. And in times like these, it is easy to blame external elements for everything that goes wrong. I asked myself if this was the right approach. I asked myself if chanting empty slogans without belief, repeating saintly teachings without action and envisioning a prosperous Pakistan without any real vision should be the backbone of a new Pakistan.
For a good part of my teenage years, I was all talk and no action myself. I was patriotic, still am. However, I lacked a basic understanding of my role as a Pakistani. I had no clue how to channelize my positive energy. I had built a story, with a perfect ending of a prosperous Pakistan. What my story lacked, unfortunately, was a sense of how the story would progress from the first page to the last.
And then I questioned the way I was brought up; made to believe that nothing can go wrong with our country and, just in case, something did go wrong, it was someone else’s mistake. I was made to believe that Pakistani generals were messiahs; that the political leadership was only worried about Pakistan; that soon enough, streams of milk and honey would start flowing; that the growth of cellular connections meant Pakistan was transitioning from a developing state to a developed state. But then I started realizing, things can go wrong in Pakistan too. So I blamed others.
The politicians are corrupt, I thought. However, I refused to realize that they exercise corruption in their domain. We exercise the same in our domain. It wasn’t just the politicians, I figured soon enough.
People don’t listen to rational views, I kept telling myself. I only realized how wrong I was when I truly understood tolerance; to each his own.
And just like this, as if a chain reaction was initiated inside my head, I tried to make myself understand that things can go wrong in Pakistan because of common people like me. I tried counting the many times I lied. I tried remembering the times I was unfair to others. I tried accepting my mistakes. And I tried to look forward, this time with a purpose and a vision.
One last question popped up in my mind: if all of us want Pakistan to succeed, what is holding us back? And soon enough, I figured we are not doing enough on an individual level. We continue to talk about collective roars without realizing that we need to roar individually first. And so I resolved to make my individual roar count in whatever manner possible.
The vision is simple: play my role for Pakistan. So, I promised myself to do just that; work on my own. What is my role as a Pakistani? My role as a Pakistani is to do my job diligently. It is to be a good, law-abiding citizen. It is to be a focused student. It is to help others, which in turn will help my country. It is to live and let live, to practice and preach tolerance. It is to look beyond religious differences and promote unity. It is to stay positive, without getting blind and losing plot of the situation. It is to end the hypocrisy that I have practiced for more than a decade. For at the end, Allah will not ask me if I criticized the Zardaris and Sharifs of Pakistan. He will question my deeds.
If there is a will, a true one, there has to be a way. There is one thing that Pakistan truly deserves to get from us; honesty. Let us be good Pakistanis first and see if we can reach a point where that one collective roar will see us through.