On independence



Let’s be real



If public is to be blamed for making fun of the Independence,

their representatives should also be condemned for being no different.



Independence Day, for children, means flags, buntings, badges, caps, hooters and all that is available at the Azadi stall to decorate the person, the bicycle and the rooftop. (For toddlers, it does not go beyond a white-and-green dress picked by the parent.) For a lass, it stands for the right occasion to put on the Azadi dress in order to take the perfect DP (we take DPs, not photographs) that could include her in the e-celebration of Independence, exclusively carried out on FB, Instagram and Twitter. Her celebrations would end with the photo session.

For a lad, it gives at least one day (at most two nights and one day) of complete (out of control) freedom: they sit on the car windows orone-wheel with double-sawari, and dance amidst traffic jam that is created by their over-crowded cars and silencer-less bikes, not to mention the volume of their music systems and the nature of their comments on women. (It is only on Independence Day that they are at their lowest: they are not free but let loose.)

For the housewife, Independence Day promises one day without load-shedding, bringing along those good-for-nothing guests that were waiting for an extra holiday. For a working woman, it is an opportunity to shop with sales starting as low as 14 percent to as high as 70 percent. For men, it is another uninteresting day that gives them little or no margin to escape the household fiasco, and they spend it reading newspaper and finding the best excuse to go out and become a part of the “real” life.

For the elders, it is another nostalgic day, reminding them of good old days. They spend it either sitting silently in front of the TV or complaining openly to whoever comes their way. Their job is to lecture the disinterested youth on the significance of Independence Day and its subsequent patriotism. They have remained in their tightly-knitted shells for so long that they have no clue of the changes that have swayed the world around them.

For most of the Pakistanis, the 70th Independence Day, which is on Monday, stands for a two days long holiday, ensuring maximum fun with/out family (for the rest, it is three days long). As soon as the New Year starts, each out-going person starts counting the public holidays, regretting the loss of those valuable leaves that are overlapping weekends and celebrating those that are coming right before/next to a weekend.

This is what Independence Day means to us, nothing less nothing more.

Metaphorically, it is a historic day the details of which are so repeatedly and tediously telecasted on the TV that they no more ring a bell. Quaid-e-Azam is the man, printed on the Pakistani currency, whose red, green, or blue hues must be checked during transactions. Iqbal is the man whose works, only God knows why, are taught in schools; his meaningless poem is sung in assembly. Fatima Jinnah was Quaid’s sister (whatever she did is pointless). And, Liaquat Ali Khan the first PM. That is all we know of Freedom Movement and its heroes. History has never been our subject.

If public is to be blamed for making fun of the Independence, their representatives should also be condemned for being no different. Politicians are different only because they look different; however, their outlook is the same: become powerful. Nobody knows how to fix this country: absurdly, for some concrete is the way for others cricket. They make fun of the power bestowed on them, by their followers, rejecting those who are elected by those who are not their supporters. Independence Day is the day to arrange a filler, a rally to stay in the news, and to throw a party to tame the party members; not to forget the statement that must be passed on such occasions by ceremonious visit to the tomb of either Jinnah or Iqbal.

We have everything (geographically) but the spirit that unites nations. We have no clue how nations behave and how much independence mean to them, since ours mean nothing to us. Only God knows what can integrate a racially, religiously, technologically divided nation; however, by fulfilling our individual liabilities and realising the roles assigned to us, some difference at personal level can be made.

Independence means not-being-dependent. It certainly does not mean recklessness, carelessness or nuisance. Independence for children is being able to move on their own but certainly not out of their parents’ care. Independence for students is freedom to learn all that is there to learn, to think all that is thinkable. For youngsters, it promises ability to go beyond the trifling, to go ahead of stumbles, to stop faltering, to prove that they could be relied on, looked forward to, to show that their existence is not as meaningless as their style of living.

For women, it advocates independent existence in terms of finances. For men, it is time to share some power with the children, giving them right to make their own choices and supervising if they are going in the right direction.

For a voter, independence is to caste vote to the one who “knows” how to deal with his/her problems, not just blabbing on getting power and then thinking how to deal with it. For a government servant, it means working incessantly, without pressure whether it comes from the higher-ups or the political-ups.

For a nation, it means everything, not just ceremonious firework or gunfire. We exist because we are free. Had we not been free, the world would have trampled us long ago. Being independent gives us the right to extend diplomatic ties with whoever we like; go wherever we deem suitable; do as we please in our own land. It allows us to elect whoever we like. In United India, if nothing else, we would have been a minority, and then we would have realised how minorities suffer at the hands of majority. It gives us a nationality which is so pathetically abused by us that it has become a stigma worldwide. There is little pride and much embarrassment in being a Pakistani. (If you have any doubt check the statistics of the applications that reach and get rejected in different embassies.)

Becoming a nation is a daunting task for which all of us have to work. With each of us contributing a little, we would gather enough to take pride in, for nothing unites better. Hooting on road, wooing a wo/man, posting a picture, taking another day off would take us nowhere. It is only by adding purpose, beyond entertainment, to what we do that we can act civil and have a meaningful existence.



  1. Apt depiction of independence celebrations. Nice bridging of observation and aspiration.

Comments are closed.