By Erum Qalbani
14 August, 2014
Patriotism is a feeling of love for one’s own country. This love is so deep-rooted that a man can easily sacrifice his life and all for the land of his birth. It is a quality of great virtue. A man without patriotism is a man without a soul. It was for this patriotic feeling that Alexander, Napoleon and Hitler failed to conquer the world and make all people their slaves.
Everybody loves his country because patriotism is a natural passion. We like the earth where we are born. We like it because it feeds our bodies, illuminates our minds and saves our souls. Here we live among our near-and-dear ones who share our pains and pleasures. We feel a sense of security, closeness and companionship.
Everything that it possesses belongs to us. Its beautiful valleys, high mountains, surging rivers and its values, customs and traditions all are dear to us. But my love for my country is not only because of these earthly and material things. I do love the scenic beauty of my country. But outer beauty is just superficial and temporary. It can attract permanently only when it has also some great ideal hidden in it. My country has this ideal which we call the ideology of Pakistan. And my love for my country is due to my love for its ideology.
Ideology is a set of ideas, beliefs and doctrines that the people of country want to follow in every field of life. As we belong to a Muslim country, our ideology can be nothing but Islam. Pakistan movement was started in the name of Islam and needless to say Islam is the ultimate code of Life.
I simply love my fellow Pakistani people — they are resilient, diverse and most entrepreneurial. They have survived calamities, famines, upheavals, injustices and exploitation and yet, by and large, retain a sense of humor.
Ordinary Pakistanis, such as I, value their Islamic beliefs, are God fearing and follow what is essentially a continuation of the centuries old traditions of spirituality that survives in the folk idiom, in the Kaafis of Bulleh Shah, and in the verses of Bhitai and Rahman Baba. Our proverbs, day-to-day beliefs are all mixed and laced with history, oral tradition, Sufi lore and of course Islamic simplicity.
It is another matter that there are individuals who want to hijack this thread and impose their nonsense on us – but we as a people have resisted that and shall continue to do so. After all we inherited the confluence of ancient religions and practices.
The spirituality of my homeland is not just restricted to the intangible belief systems. It also reflects in the splendors of Mother Nature. From the pristine peaks in the north to the mangroves of the Indus delta, Pakistan blends climates, geographies, terrains in its melting pot.
Within hours of leaving an arid zone, one enters into a fertile delta. And again a few more hours put you right in front of otherworldly mountains. The deserts of Cholistan radiate the moonlight and the surreal wildernesses of Balochistan are nothing but metaphors of spiritual beauty.
Where else can I experience the aroma of wet earth when the baked earth cracks up to embrace every droplet and where else can one find a Jamun tree with a Koel calling out?
An everlasting impression on my being shall remain the majestic sunrise at the Fairy Meadows amid the Karakorams and the melting gold of Nanga Parbat peak.
I love this country’s rivers, streams and the fields where farmers testify their existence with each stroke, each touch of earth.
I am proud of my people who have proved themselves in all spheres and countries – whether it is Professor Abdus Salam, the Nobel Laureate or Shazia Sikander, the miniaturist of international fame or Mukhtaran Mai who has proved her mettle in giving a tough time to forces of oppression.
Pakistan is country that possesses a store of talent; however the problem arises when it comes to using that talent, as for many years now, Pakistan has been facing serious issues that include terrorism. Terrorism has led to a rising death toll and destruction of homes, markets, businesses and more. The constant blast of guns and bombs has instilled a fear in the hearts of the people.
But we must always remember what Leonard Cohen said “There is a crack in everything but, that is how the light gets in”
We must always remind ourselves that the greatest glory is not in never falling but rising up every time we fall.
Pakistan can be saved, not only if the Government takes the responsibility to do it, but also if the common people feel the rays of hope, join hands and work together to play their own roles. The country that is today failing to make its mark can once again rise to soaring heights with our hard work, prayers and wishes. We need to stop thinking negatively about it and work towards the betterment of this nation.
I love Pakistan as this is my identity – immutable and irreversible. Simple