Defence Day: Does it really matter who attacked first?

Published: September 8, 2012
Email

Take pride in Defence Day for the sake of all those who died protecting us. PHOTO: AFP

It was September 6 two days ago ─ just another day in London, the country I am currently living in. However, in my home country, this date was marked in red on many calendars.

Until around a decade ago, Defence Day used to be a public holiday. However, as the wave of ‘enlightenment’ hit the country and we became workaholics, this date on the calendar was replaced with the usual colour. The only sign of the importance September 6 had in our history is now the special editions of the newspapers and some TV shows, or to some extent, verbal and written accounts by those who witnessed the war 47 years ago.

When I was a child, I used to be proud of Defence Day and I was not alone. There were many others like me who shared this sense of honour. We were proud of the fact that we managed to defend our borders in 1965 and did not allow the enemy to enter and conquer Lahore (which was the biggest target of the enemy, as per the local folk).

However, as I said, this was all before the wave of enlightenment. As soon as this wave reached us, we became members of a confused club. We began to ask repeatedly ‘who attacked first?’ We were, and still are, confused over what the reality is. The stories of those who had experienced the war or all those facts which were fed by the “peace loving” class; which one is correct?

Thus, the pride we as a nation once felt for the valour exhibited by our soldiers just vanished and the sacrifices they made for us went up the spout just like that.

Now the question is, should I still call this day “defence day”? Should I still take pride in it? Should I still call myself part of a great nation?

My answer to all these questions will be a booming “Yes!”.

The fact remains that when the war started (let’s forget about how and who started it for now), Pakistan managed to defend its border. There is no dispute here and this alone is enough reason to be proud of. No matter what the circumstances are, we knew how to defend ourselves because we had passion back then and that passion is what’s missing today.

Maybe we don’t consider our country worthy of fighting for anymore, but I don’t see fire in the eyes of our youth when they speak of their country. A couple of decades ago, if you asked a normal lad if he would lay down his life for Pakistan, his answer would most certainly be ‘yes’. Today, unfortunately, I cannot claim the same with certainty.

We have wavered from what we were; we have become slackers; we lack the fire to fight for Pakistan.

I still believe we are a great nation but we need to come together to celebrate our victories rather than putting ourselves down all the time.

How about we forget why, when and how the war started and just take pride in Defence Day for the sake of all those who died protecting us? How about we do it as a means of paying tribute to all those who sacrificed their lives for this country?

To me, those who sacrificed their lives are greater heroes than those who sold the nation in whatever suitable name they found for the task. I wish we could respect their sacrifices and help achieve and maintain what they fought for.

This post originally appeared here.

Read more by Rai here or follow him on Twitter @rai_azlan

Join us on Facebook for blog updates and more!

Rai Muhammad Azlan Shahid

Rai Muhammad Azlan Shahid

The author is an MSc in Marketing from the University of the West of England. Currently he is based in Lahore and associated with the area of education marketing. He blogs at RaiAzlan.com and tweets @Mussanaf (twitter.com/Mussanaf)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.