Today I will not talk about innocent people dying in bomb blasts, corrupt politicians prowling state assets, plummeting economy, electricity/gas load-shedding, domestic violence or terrorism. Today I will talk about something else, something we need to be proud of and something we see every day but we fail to recognise its importance as we are so much engrossed with our busy routines that we hardly have time to take a step back and see the beautiful wonders around us!
Pakistan, like many other Asian countries, has a rich heritage. The variety of attractions ranges from the ruins of ancient civilizations such as Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa and Taxila, to the Himalayan hill-stations that serve as a magnet for those interested in countryside and winter sports. It is widely acknowledged that Pakistan has immense natural beauty. No, I’m not going to give a geography lesson here!
When I think of Pakistan; it reminds me of the Mughal architecture, gorgeous ladies, scrumptious food, vibrant customs, extravagant weddings, stunning geographical wonders and Qawwali, Ghazals and folk music.
Every time you cross a busy road, you are bound to see flamboyantly decorated trucks and Rickshaws. To some of us, they are nothing but polluting vehicles which block the traffic, break the rules and have annoying automobile horns! I, on the other hand, see them as artistic master pieces! Due to their exceptional decor style, these vehicles are quite distinct in design from other trucks around the world. Each part of the truck is painted in a different way, with variations depending on the regional manner. Although the enhancing process is usually very expensive, it is still practiced throughout Pakistan with immense zeal and aesthetic zest. In Pakistan, a truck driver/owner usually pays $3,000 to $5,000 for their vehicle’s external embellishment.
This decoration includes structural alteration, paintings, calligraphy, ornamental decor and much more. Along with that some of them have some words of advice inscribed on them for the onlookers. So next time, if you find these moving artefacts bothersome, try to focus on the dazzling colours and patterns and appreciate the exquisiteness!
I regret the fact that the new generation fails to find the folk music motivating and inspiring. We happen to have the most sensational folk artists around the globe, people who actually understood the soul of music and presented in such a mesmerising way that no words can describe them. Pakistani culture is incomplete without Ghazals and Qawwalis. Ghazals are traditionally expressions of love, separation and loneliness. A ghazal can thus be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or parting of the lover and the magnificence of love in spite of that pain. Qawwali is a lively musical custom that stretches back more than 700 years. The moment you start listening to this genuine genre of music, you are carried away in a dreamscape as the music evokes the feelings residing deep inside yourself. Hence it promotes the feelings of pleasure, peace and love. You are not a true Pakistani if you haven’t heard the names of these people: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Nur Jehan, Abida Parveen, Alam Lohar, Shazia Manzoor, Reshma, Khailvi Shaukat Ali, Pathane Khan, Musarrat Nazir and Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi!
Pakistan is full of these vibrant cultures and many more! But we all seem to forget that though we belong to a nation which has 11 spoken languages, a huge cultural and regional diversity but yet we are all the same. Common faith is there and we only need a bit of discipline in order to be considered as one of the great nations in the world! No matter which party we support or which tribe we belong to. Whether we are Sindhi, Baluchi, Pathan or Punjabi; Shia or Sunni; Jutt, Rajpoot, Rai or what-so-ever, no one can change that we are Pakistanis and will remain that till the end and we have to be proud of our nationality, proud of who we truly are we just have to realise this to become a successful state. If we can unite and support our country in cricket matches against India then we can unite on many other matters too. We want America to respect our country’s dignity and yet we fail to respect our country ourselves!
Where do we stand as a nation? and the answer to that question, most sadly, is nowhere! And this is not because of America or India or any other nation. It is because we fail to acknowledge ourselves or present ourselves as a nation. We cannot agree on petty issues and it is no one’s fault but our own. Our biggest enemy is no one but us!
I remember my grandma telling me stories of how it used to be back in 1940’s when everyone was so much determined to bring about a revolution. They were all united towards one goal! All of us are more connected to each other than we know. We are all united by the same environment, customs, traditions, music, art, history, ancestors, religion (in most cases) and we all are facing the same problem. Rather than fighting the problem, we’re all fighting among ourselves for nothing!
The land of five rivers is pleading for help not from the Punjabi’s or Sindhi’s; not from Shia’s or Sunni’s; not from PML-N/Q supporters or PTI supporters. It is pleading from each and every Pakistani to unite again, to live again!