Every year Independence Day in Pakistan is celebrated with more and more vigour. The advent of social media has further accentuated the celebrations with online messages of prayers, felicitations and profound wishes.
On ground, academic celebrations comprising of declamations and speeches, interviews of intelligentsia/ historians, functions in educational institutions, coupled with on road hooliganism have all risen exponentially. Thus the overall resultant is the loud sense of Independence Day celebrations. The green, and of course a little white, becomes order of the day. Everyone appears happy, jubilant and energetic on account of being citizen of an independent country.
Something missing on Independence Day
I have always been very emotionally attached to these celebrations and have almost participated in all happening forums since my early days. However, over the last few years I started to feel that something was missing in the entire concept of our holistic celebrations. In order to unearth and identify my vague feeling, I reviewed the contours of celebrations and evaluated that our nation commemorate the Independence Day usually in following ways:
National songs, functions/ events/ programmes praising founding fathers and their struggles, functions/ events/ programmes praising Armed forces and contemporary celebrities from various fields, and appreciating natural beauty and inherent natural resources/ potential strengths of Pakistan.
Of course this is the usual way of celebrating and inculcating the realization of being blessed with an independent homeland. But a dispassionate analysis reveals that the overall celebrations are either focused on glory of great individuals from the past, established contemporary greats or the potential strengths of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, we the contemporary, savvy populace, are well aware of the dismal state in almost all societal tiers. And perhaps due to our over intelligence, we have decided to keep the celebrations in memories of the past, while cleverly detaching (meaning ourselves), from any onus, burden or accountability of the present.
So wearing green, humming national songs, praising the greats from past, honouring contemporary legends, declaring Pakistan as Allah’s gift, etc actually sounds good and above all keeps us all free from any latent or direct responsibility/ accountability.
Need to couple celebrations with responsibility
This does not appear enough. We need to couple celebrations with responsibility and accountability. I need to earn celebrations and not just become part of a ritual, without sensing the attached delicacy or responsibility.
We have always witnessed top position holders celebrating on the result day in the schools. Even students just successfully passing also earn the celebrations of moving up the academic ladder.
However, I am sure that we have never witnessed a failure celebrating the result day. To me each 14th August or similar national day is a result day, which makes me accountable to myself, my family, my acquaintances, my job, my country and above all to Almighty for giving me an independent homeland. Thus I need to remain aware of the huge responsibility, which is coupled with the gift of independence.
From hooliganism to well articulated sense of self accountability
So If I am a businessman and successfully evaded due tax from one 14th August to another, then am I actually celebrating my independence from and freedom of tax evasion I enjoy in this country? Or if I am a government servant and have amassed huge sums through kickbacks/ corruption during the last year, then am I celebrating impunity for bribery/ corruption?
The same phenomenon is applicable to everyone: from student to the President. So we need to transform our celebrations from rhetoric and hooliganism to well articulated sense of self accountability. Meanwhile by setting and successfully achieving my goals, in the dimension of national obligation, I deserve all the right to sing dil dil Pakistan on top of my voice on 14th August.
Imagine people from all walks of life coming forward on a 14th August and announcing their pledge, in form of goals, for the year to come. Then on the next 14th August, the person appears again and presents his accomplishment over the last one year, in light of his pledge and goals.
Celebrate such an Independence Day, this and coming years in your homes, workplaces, social circles and above all globally. If you are living abroad, gather the Pakistani Diaspora and set community goals and celebrate next year, with accountability.
So let us all rejuvenate the spirit of independence and set goals for the next 14th August.
While we continue to display our happiness through established framework of Independence Day celebrations, just add accountability in the list. Let us pledge to earn next year‘s celebrations by setting and achieving goals around our personal and professional lives to justify our independence. Let us be the humans which humanity dreams. Let us be the Pakistanis dreamt by our founding fathers. Let us make Pakistan truly Pak and pure. Pakistan Zindabaad
The writer is a freelance columnist. The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.