Of parasites and patriotism

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  • And why scoundrels love their country more than anyone else

Can anyone be more in love with its host than a parasite? The answer, dear reader, is a resounding no. Parasites love, revere, kill invaders, give their lives for the bodies they feed of. No one can ever be more patriotic than a parasite whose life and survival depends on the life and survival of the land it lives on. And in our land of the pure, amidst the recently awakened, and the change-seekers deluge many of the parasites masquerading around as patriots of first order are having their hayday.

Likening the worst scoundrel to most patriotic individual, Samuel Johnson laid bare the rotting corpse of patriotism. The mighty vultures feed on it in name of love and loyalty while seeking sacrifice from the lowly, funding from the high-born as they sell delusions to the middle folks. Just apply all of the above to Pakistan of today and you’ll see for yourself whether our situation is any different or not.

In the month of August, we the good folks of Pakistan reiterate our strong love and show our affection through acts like unfurling flags on our houses and cars, decorating our balconies, wear green and white clothes to celebrate our Independence Day. But all these actions are overt, all that we do to celebrate this ‘great day’ has an air of a carnival attended by fun-loving tourists looking for good time and a break from the daily grind.

I most certainly won’t go down the path where I occupy the pulpit and ‘bless’ the good patriots and ‘condemn’ the bad sheep along them. My contention here is different, dear reader. Those who love their country the most are almost always either those who are deluded into believing some mighty myths or those who have huge stakes involved in the existence and survival of their ‘beloved’ country.

Many among us love our country and do our bit for the greater good in small, really small ways. The causes, motives and ends in the hearts and minds of mighty, chest-thumping patriots having an oversised jumbo ‘love’ for their fatherland are neither altruistic nor unconditional. They play a very narrow game, a very, very narrow game with clear-cut objectives and well-defined goals. They make a thorough estimation of profits, calculate the risks involved, ensure that the investment made materialise into bigger returns and then go in for the kill. Since they yell slogans of loyalty and sacrifice at the peak of their voices, their ‘zeal’ gets more attention, their shenanigans attract more following, their deeds more gravity. And thus, begins the reign of ‘Patriotic Parasites’.

The beloved country of theirs was sold to millions as the Promised Land of abundance and opportunity

These mighty patriotic parasites feed off on a country that came in this world with a heavy baggage, the first smell it smelled was rotten reek of a million dead bodies, the first sight it saw was of homeless folks whose faces told a thousand gory tales of man’s cruelty towards man. The beloved country of theirs was sold to millions as the Promised Land of abundance and opportunity.

This first and foremost thought of this beloved land of ours and theirs was to survive come what may, and the first emotion it had was a mixed one that of fear and hope. It was gush of energy one has after achieving a goal and being frightened at the cost it came at. Unfortunately, once we pull off the veil of our newfound hope and change, what we confront is a regretful septuagenarian whose eyes gleam and glow like one who has lost all good opportunities, regret missing his younger days and sad because nothing different, nothing better lies ahead.

As we approach to conclude our column, this time around it seems befitting to end it with an excerpt from last year’s column on Independence Day.

‘Now, I am 70, finally a septuagenarian. As I sit and take stock of what went awry and what didn’t. All the roads not taken haunt me, all the choices that proved wrong have become nightmares, and I have yet to find out my ‘why’ of living, as only then I could hammer out all the ‘hows’ of it.

‘Your heroes divide you. Your villains define you,’ I often have this internal monologue. ‘What is my big lie? I know what a big lie is, right? Well, a big lie is a lie that is so mighty, so humongous that everything and everyone dwarfs in comparison. My big lie is my inability to question what led to certain happenings, certain phenomena, certain accidents, certain mishaps that shaped me?’ it finishes only to start anew.

Wish you a very happy 71st Independence Day of Old Pakistan and first one of the Naya Pakistan.