Stories about 1947

Allama Muhammad Asad: The first citizen of Pakistan

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This is an oft repeated quote in relation to our current abysmal situation and it reminds us to look back and analyse our mistakes. Rather than a rhetorical piece about politics, I would like to write about an unsung hero, Allama Muhammad Asad and his ideas. He was the man who was awarded the first Pakistani passport on August 14, 1947. The Government of Pakistan appointed Allama Asad to head the Department of Islamic Reconstruction, a body made to align Pakistani laws, educational system and governance practices in ...

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If I could have a chat with Jinnah…

Like many, I often wonder what it would be like to talk to an influential historic figure. One wants to sit with them, ask questions and find out what they think about things around them, but they no longer exist to answer. I personally wish I had a chance to interview Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah – Jinnah now. The apparent dream of Pakistan he saw in 1934, which may have led him to come to India, all the more makes one want some answers. He isn’t here to answer, but one can conjecture, right? I wonder if Jinnah would have given ...

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I was there to witness the miracle of August 14, 1947

It is August 14 – a day that revives the memory of an extraordinary experience of a young girl, Zee Niazi, on the day of the inception of this beautiful country. The way that events moved at that time instills the belief that miracles do, in fact, happen. Zee got married to an officer in the then British Army, just before partition took place. Not being acquainted with an army lifestyle, her husband’s first posting came to her as a surprise. They went to Harbanspura by train. The future had already begun to look bleak for the newly married couple. They was no accomodation ...

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The leader in all of us

June 4, 1947, Lahore The air was filled with joy. As he walked through the crowded streets of the walled city, Ahmed could see the excitement on people’s faces. His heart raced with joy at what had been achieved. The viceroy had just finished his speech on the radio. India was to be divided; Pakistan would no longer be a dream! The moment of triumph was bitter-sweet. Mixed with the joy of Pakistan’s creation was the sad memory of those who had laid their lives to make this moment possible, freedom had not been cheap. Lost in his thoughts, Ahmed was startled by gunshots ...

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Is Allama Iqbal relevant in today’s politics?

In our national conscience, Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal occupies that lofty post of being the first person to have conceived the idea of Pakistan. The second thing that we know about him is that he wanted an Islamic Pakistan. Nobody has ever bothered to go beyond this simple fact to ascertain the reasons for this, and it is noteworthy that mostly we have only read about the part where he supports the idea of a separate homeland for Muslims. The official narrative has erased Iqbal’s advocacy of a unified India and presents only his later ideas. The point of this article is ...

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Dastaan: History on TV

Dastaan, a Hum TV production, is probably the most gripping modern day ode to the beauty and simplicity of  pre-partition life. Written by Razia Butt, Dastaan depicts the love story of Hasan (Fawad Khan) and Bano (Sanam Baloch) – a romance which is shred to pieces by the gruesome and gory separation of 1947. The drama starts off as a tender series of events between the couple, but later morphs into a saga full of blood, greed and lust. This turn of events hurls Bano, the quintessential Pakistani girl,  into the arms of madness, because she is devastated by the ...

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Overcoming our colonial legacy

On August 12, Pakistan finally came to grips with its colonial legacy. The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), a draconian law framed by British to govern the ‘unruly tribal areas’ on the border with Afghanistan has finally been scrapped. The British viewed the frontier regions as a buffer zone for the empire, beyond which lay the territories of Afghanistan. The frontier tribes were never brought under complete suzerainty of Britain, although indirect rule was exercised through tribal chiefs and intermediaries. The Pashtuns, historically allergic to foreign occupation offered strong resistance to the British. Thus naturally, the brutes and savages had to be ...

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Pakistan: ‘We carved a truth out of the game of lies’

Today is August 14, 2011. An overwhelming majority of Pakistan and India whose minds have been indoctrinated by state-sponsored-distorted text books of history are celebrating the day as “the 64th freedom day” but this red letter day stings my heart when I hear the account of history from my elders. These people are not ready to agree with the historical background presented by Chaudhry Mohammad Ali in his book The Emergence of Pakistan. While presenting the logic behind the differences between Hindus and Muslims which led to the severance of India Ch. Mohammad Ali writes: “They have mixed but never fused: they ...

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Iqbal: Beyond poetic catchphrases

Yesterday was the death anniversary of one of Pakistan’s prominent national heroes, philosopher and poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal. Dr Riffat Hassan wrote a wonderful piece on how Iqbal’s ideology and message has been excluded from national discourse. I would like to echo that sentiment; today’s generation feels no connection to Iqbal’s ideas. Every once in a while, I see a couple of his lines on someone’s Facebook status but that’s about it. Pakistanis know nothing of the man beyond a few catchphrases. His ideas are important to understand, question and reflect on, because we have all grown up in an environment ...

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Pakistan ka matlab kya…who cares?

Six odd decades after independence, we are still squabbling over the ideology of Pakistan, what it represents and what it means to be a Pakistani. With the rise of social media and greater access to information, the urban youth are starting to challenge the official narrative of history. And hence, today the battle of the ideology of Pakistan is in full swing. To me, Pakistan is an undeniable truth, much like Israel. Pakistan is a sovereign country – whether one agrees with the original ideology it is based upon is irrelevant. Like Israel, Pakistan is on the map and must ...

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