Stories about independence

My reasons to believe in Pakistan

“Main to kehta hun bas karo aur Malaysia challo.” (I think we should drop everything and move to Malaysia.) For what seemed like an eternity, I just stood there with my eyes wide open. Shocked to the very core of my heart, I stared at him. My mind could not decipher where in God’s world my patriotic father had gone. He is the same guy who took bullets in his arm during student movements in his youth, and the man who helped me write my first speech in Montessori that ended with ‘East or West; Pakistan is the best.’ What happened to Pakistan Zindabad? What ...

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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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Demystifying Jinnah’s Pakistan

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, rightly known as the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, spent most of his life advocating for a united India in which rights of all factions would be respected and Muslims given an equal representation in all state affairs. It was not until he realised this was not possible in the prevailing political atmosphere that he took up a different path to protect the rights of the Muslim minority – fighting for a separate homeland. For as long as Pakistan has existed, liberals and conservatives have debated the true nature of the state that Jinnah envisioned and helped ...

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What Pakistan and Southern Sudan have in common

This is written on a billboard on a road in the capital of Southern Sudan: “9th July, 2011. Our long walk to freedom. 2.5 million lives paid for our independence.” Southern Sudan’s proclamation of independence is a result of a peace agreement that was signed between the rebel group, Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) and the government of Sudan after more than three decades of civil war. It gave the SPLA the right to govern Southern Sudan for six years. After six years a referendum was conducted in January 2011 in which people were to decide whether to stay a part of United Sudan or become independent. An ...

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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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Leaving home: Clouded judgement, or a blessing in disguise?

A friend wrote a blog recently about his accidental encounter with journalism where he mentioned he had moved out of his house because he had developed some differences with his mother. The only thing most readers took away from that entire piece was what could have possibly gone so wrong that the ‘poor guy had to turn away from his family’. Drama – it’s what we crave. Without it, life just seems so bland. Several comments on his post said the same thing, “Try making up with your family,” and so on. No one focused on the fact that the move had ...

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A Liberian story of liberation

Martin Luther King Jr was not the only dreamer, there are others too; people who turn their dreams into reality. One such woman is Leymah Gbowee, who led the women of Liberia to end war in a thoroughly non-conventional but highly replicable way. The war in Liberia was vicious, far worse than even we – living in a land of suicide bombers – can imagine. Even the women of Liberia had taken up arms to fight in the civil war, killing sporadically, and it was Leymah who united them against their dictator Charles Taylor. Dressed in white, the women gathered to besiege ...

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The Pakistan Jinnah envisioned

I have been reading the Dawn newspaper  since I was a child and it helped form a clear, balanced image of the founder of Pakistan in my mind. This year as I read an article by Jinnah expert Shariful Mujahid  article, entitled return to Jinnah’s Pakistan’ I saw with dismay and pessimism , a picture so grey and small. Gone were the beautiful bright colours of the people of Sindh, Baluchistan , Frontier and Punjab. Gone were the dreams and promises. The style in which he has addressed the readers shows how hopeless and petty our issues have become. How ...

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