It was September 6 three days ago ─ just another day in London, the country I am currently living in. However, in my home country, this date was marked in red on many calendars. Until around a decade ago, Defence Day used to be a public holiday. However, as the wave of ‘enlightenment’ hit the country and we became workaholics, this date on the calendar was replaced with the usual colour.
The only sign of the importance September 6 had in our history is now the special editions of the newspapers and some TV shows, or to some extent, verbal and written accounts by those who witnessed the war 47 years ago.
When I was a kid, I used to be proud of this day and I was not alone. There were many others like me who shared this pride. We were proud of the fact that we managed to defend our borders and did not allow the enemy to enter and conquer Lahore (which was the biggest target of enemy as per the local folks).
However, as I said, it was before the wave of enlightenment, as soon as this wave reached us, we became members of a confused club. We were, and still are, confused over what the reality is. The stories of those who had experienced the war or all those facts which were fed by the “peace loving” class?
This is a never-ending debate and it will keep creating confusion because we are, by nature, lovers of extremes. We love to dabble in the extreme side of the argument and don’t like to follow the third approach. For us there are only two ways: either a pat on the back saying good job or a slap on the face to show them how wrong they are.
We want our nation to learn history lessons that derive from the saga of “we are the best” and the irony of it is too visible today when we are already sniffing the dust of what’s happening around us.
This is a philosophy that is beyond my understanding, as I can hardly find a nation on this planet earth that says, “We are a ridiculous and disgusted nation” except us. If history needs to be corrected then there could be a better way to it.
Now the question is shall I still call this day “defence day”? Shall I still take pride out of it? Shall I still call myself part of a great nation? My answer to all these questions will be “YES”.
The fact remains that when the war started (let’s forget about how and who started it for now), Pakistan managed to defend its border. This is enough reason to be proud of. No matter what circumstances are, we knew how to defend our self because we had passion back then and that passion is what’s missing today.
We need the same passion in all fields of life to truly be a great nation. I still believe we are a great nation, but having said that, I also think we are not on the right track, a track that suits great nations.
There is another reason to take pride out of this day, and this pride is my way of paying tribute to all those who sacrificed for this country – purely for this country. Who worked hard in their respective fields to add glory to this country? I just cannot abuse their sacrifices in the name of “reality” and “true history”. To me, those who scarified their lives are greater heroes than those who sold the nation in whatever suitable name they found for the task. I wish we could respect their sacrifices and help achieve and maintain what they fought for.