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Counting 14 August 1947 as the First Independence Day, Today is 74th Independence Day. It will correspond to 73rd Anniversary of Independence.

All good things can only be appreciated if these are seen in comparison with their opposites. Similarly, Independence shall only be understood and recognized when seen in relation to living under an alien regime, most likely as a minority. Muslims in India are a case in point. Their number was 182 million in 2017 and may be close to 200 million now; almost same as the Muslim population in Pakistan. However, the life across borders is contrastingly different.

A lot is said about our failures in Pakistan, and all of it is true. However, today I wish to recount what Independence brings with it for any population.

Pride of Identity – Identity comes with citizenship which may be received as birthright or as a consequence of later naturalization. A huge number of people are in migration at any given time, mostly from less developed to more developed countries. The number one reason is economic gain, while the second major is security. There may be a host of other smaller reasons. All immigrants, even illegal ones, may be granted citizenship sooner or later. They would receive a formal citizenship right and a passport so that they could identify themselves as ‘the citizens’ of that country. The question of identity is resolved but Pride of Identity is missing, and it is becoming more so with every passing day. A non-American shall never be treated the same way even when she or he possesses American Passport. Pride comes from the roots, not from passports. And Pride comes from being first class citizens of the country, not as second, third rated countrymen. Independence brings Pride of Identity for the majority for sure, and it should be extended to minorities in the same manner.

Hope for Future – Hope is always related to future. Human beings survive and thrive on HOPE. We build many things around hope. Our future plans are based on the hope that we shall live long enough, that we shall be healthy enough, and that we shall have resources enough to carry out our plans. Hope brings resilience; even when we go seriously down, we gather ourselves up and make effort again because we ‘hope’ to change things sooner than later. Hope for future keeps carrying us to new dimensions and avenues where we explore and experiment and create new joys and achievements. True, that the Hope for Future may be everywhere, even when we live in an alien land; however, being a proud part of a country raises the hope to higher levels of certainty.

Opportunities – Creation of Pakistan created huge opportunities for its inhabitants. Those opportunities were not available prior to independence. Immigrants work harder than the local people because they are immigrants. Being immigrant means leaving one’s own country to find greater opportunities in an alien land. Immigrants, therefore, cannot waste any time and work more and try to earn more than local people. This is a dream which is pursued by all immigrants, but only few are able to make this dream a reality. Talk to one hundred Pakistanis living abroad; probably ninety of them would be having an average or below average living, while only ten would be doing good. It is by convention that all opportunities are first made available to local population. Immigrants may pluck a few out of them through much harder effort.

With Pakistan coming into being, and us receiving our coveted Independence, we became eligible to receive these and many more privileges.

Yes, we have many ugly scars on us, but these are not the fruits of Independence.

We have rampant corruption, injustice, misuse of power, forced abductions, violence against women, children and minorities, sectarianism, intolerance, hoarding, profiteering, dishonesty, and stealing.

These have been created by our own deeds, more of people than the governments, though we tend to put all kinds of blames on the governments. And we are not alone in having these issues, all countries like us suffer from these things.

We have just been barely out of a great calamity, the COVID19. We have seen death at close distance, our own and of our loved ones. We should keep this fear alive in our minds.

Let us resolve that we shall do better in the 74th year of Independence, and when we enter the 75th year, which shall mark the Platinum Jubilee also, we are able to take pride in some of our achievements.


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