With a codicil of over a hundred years of endeavors, Pakistan is not only a country, but quite a story of unpliable spirits and hard work, and 23rd March marks the first chapter of its realization: the first ever Pakistan Day. Nothing less of a miracle, the day engraved in stone the charter for the inviolable rights of a minority that was being treated as inferiors.
Today, if we have the perk of marking the day as a public holiday, it is because of the people who never thought rest was an option. Led by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the women and men were etched wholly into the national memory for their fortitude. Therefore, monumentalizing the accomplishments of March 23, 1940, there presented a display of strength exemplifying the iron core of Pakistan, and celebrating the achievements of the country, thereon.
The 23rd of March 1940 beholds an exceptional place in the hearts of Pakistanis for it was the day when the notion of an unbound Muslim homeland was proposed through a unanimous accord as a resolution. The passing of the Lahore Resolution put down the way forward for the consciousness of an exclusive Muslim homeland. Quaid knew that if the Muslims proceeded to inhabit India, which was under substantial control of the Hindu majority’s influence, they would be racked with suffering due to hefty-handed religious prejudices in all walks of life. Therefore, he demanded an independent state for the Muslims where he knew that they would be free from any sort of discrimination, segregation, and oppression.
This was a decision that altered the map of the subcontinent. The Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s Allahabad Address of 1930 also put forward the idea of a separate Muslim homeland with a such wholesomeness that it persuaded every single Muslim and the cause attained an impulse, so much that now we are fortunate enough to live free of autocracy, despotism and detriment of any kind, of be the caste, creed, heritage or faith.
The history behind
The Muslim League filed the events that etched the Hindu-Muslim conflicts, as well as the historical resolution that resulted in the formation of Pakistan as a South Asian nation-state. The resolution called for the Muslim majority in British India’s northwest and east to become an independent sovereign state. The resolution stated: “No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. That the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign”.
The Resolution stimulated India’s Muslims to throw back on their own fates and map out a plan for an independent Muslim state. The resolution not only re-energized Indian Muslims’ inactive and sluggish political scuffle for self-resoluteness in areas where they possessed a numeric majority, but it has nonetheless spouted new lives into their veins. Pakistan’s radical goal was discerned more than 7 years later with the adaption of the Lahore Resolution. As a result, for Pakistanis, the day stood gigantic and had eternal significance.
Pakistan Day is being commemorated since the time ‘The Lahore Resolution’ was passed by the working committee of All India Muslim League; the endorsement of the same was done by the mammoth congregation of Muslims on March 23rd, 1940 who were gathered there from all across British India.
This long struggle brought a new visible and emerging Muslim State to the world map. This day has a great historical significance and it reminds every one of us that we are a united and patriotic people and we are the same who will make Pakistan a model and an exemplary state in the world.
Selfless unity is the essence
The Pakistani nation remarks national holiday on March 23. Holiday celebrations include a brimming military and civil parade in the capital, Islamabad, to be held early in the morning. Many other governmental and non-governmental organizations and educational institutes assemble activities, seminars and events to shed light on the history of this day. On this day, Pakistan’s national flag wings its way over government and public buildings.
At least 31 gun salutes in the federal capital and 21 gun salutes in provincial capitals are being fired. Another remarkable activity on this day is the changing of the guards at the mausoleums of the Poet of the East Allama Mohammad Iqbal and the Founder of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. An award ceremony is being organized where the president of Pakistan presents the military and civilian awards to recognize recipients’ great achievements and contributions to the homeland.
Though because of the current economic distress, Pakistan Army has decided to limit the Pakistan Day parade this year stating that Pakistan is ongoing a severe economic crisis and has been continuously working for the revival of the IMF-stalled loan program.
The day is not only celebrated in Pakistan but in various other states which hold friendly relations with Pakistan. There are often troops and air force delegations invited over from other countries to participate in this national celebration to strengthen alliances. In the past, participatory contingents have been featured from Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani Paratroopers), Turkey (Janissary Mehter Band), Saudi Arabia (Saudi Special Forces), and Jordan (Jordanian armed forces band). The Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed was the guest of honor in the celebrations of 2019 which goes to show that the parade not only has national support but it is also a representation of our brotherly ties with other countries.
Pakistan is a name that beat all the odds to come into being and therefore, we need to treat it with responsibility. For there is no patriotism, if not in leadership towards the nation. There is no better celebration, if not in truthfulness toward the well-being of each and every clique.
Every year, the scenes of exultation will return, with ardor and enthusiasm. Buildings will awaken with lights, and motor caravans by passionate civilians will carry national flags, again. With all smiles, chants of “Pakistan Zindabad!” will sound in the air, again, and ever always.
Besides being a day for dispensing the Pakistan Resolution, 23rd March also holds significance for other important occasions. On the same day in 1956, Pakistan became the world’s first Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The country is undoubtedly acquainted with its history and origin. However, we can and must amend the glory that supports our spirit. Almost a century ago, an entire generation of people with untold stories, picked out to offer their lives so that future generations could live better and freer lives.
But the question arises, are we truly appreciating the sovereignty that we have attained after decades of brawls, sacrifices and bloodshed?
The end of autocracy, as well as the right to life, freedom, and happiness, is to be enshrined on this day. These words, as well as this pleasure, are more indispensable than ever. Our democracy is on the brink of collapse, as our society has grown increasingly polarized, and too many individuals and politicians seem to be more interested in gaining and maintaining power.
Rather than being infuriated at individuals on the opposite side of the political walkway, there is a need to keep in mind that our democratic system was built on people with distinguishable opinions that worked together. Citizens must continue to question the leaders to make sure that they are working in the best interests of the people, as well as should participate in debates to emerge solutions that will save the people, in order to keep democracy and freedom alive.
The political establishment is currently retarding laws passed by the majority, putting our democracy in jeopardy. So, what are the best possible ways for everyone to put our country’s emerging principles of liberty into action? We should listen openheartedly to other people’s opinions. We should gather together in civil dialogue and continue to question our leaders’ leadership and people’s rights. We want to get rid of the directive regulations and loopholes that hamper democracy, and we want to make sure that policies that are being voted by the vast majority of people are implemented. We shall continue demonstrating and fighting for equality and justice, questioning and challenging our leaders. Those who use hatred to silence criticism are also silencing patriotism and the meaning of patriotism.
This day does not throw a country’s established compliance to a leader, a political party, or a religious judgment. Contrary to it, this day stands for the freedom to disagree, the right to speak, the liberty to vote for change, the freedom of the press, the freedom of assembly, the freedom to practice their religions, and majorly democracy. We should remember what the Pakistani flag represents as we proudly display it today. Remember the ideological struggles and the sacrifices made so that we might live in a country where we could all disagree. It’s important to remember that it was built on the contributions of people from all walks of life and that we all have a place and a sense of belonging.
The Pakistani people are a force to be reckoned with. Their love for the country, which they fought tooth and nail for, is evident in every way that counts. Pakistan is currently facing several difficulties from different avenues; the pandemic has dealt a deadly hand to the economy, India is dead set on promoting instability and conflict within Pakistan using its nexus of terror cells and intelligence agencies from across the Afghanistan border, then there is the matter of the forceful subjugation of Kashmir. Despite all of these rampant issues, neither the state nor its citizens have let up on the hope that they can and will conquer this as well. It is this spark that we celebrate every year on 23rd March.
The Author is in the Department of Mass Communication, University of Karachi.