Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Message for PSNT and PAAT

We have to learn to respect different perspectives.

Pakistani American Association of Texas has cancelled the Independence Day celebrations, as an acknowledgement of the difficult situation back home, and we need to honor their sentiments.

Pakistan Society of North Texas continues with the celebration. That is another view; the life must continue and appreciate the freedom.
I urge Dallas Pakistanis to put politics aside, and not treat PAAT or PSNT over the other, each one has a role to play and each organization’s take on celebration should be respected.

If we can learn to respect the otherness of others, and accept the God given uniqueness of each one, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

A day will come when every Pakistani will live without apprehension or fear of the other within their boundaries and with other nations. That is indeed true independence and freedom. 
It will come, if each one drops the bias towards the other. It begins with each one of you - if you hold grudges against the other, I guarantee the reciprocity. 

Please observe a minute’s silence for every atrocity that is happening in Pakistan – including the attack on Ismaili Jamaat Khana.

A part of the poem I wrote a while back, 

Danishmando Mazhab pay lagatay ho tohmat kyoon?
Burayee my nay ki , ek Insaan tha, a mera mazhab kahan tha

Shiaon, Hinduon, Ahmadiyon or Maseehon ko tukleef di
Ilzam Sunni pay mardood my tha, a mera mazhab kahan tha

Lagana Ilzam to mujh pe lagao, mujh ko do sazaa
A gunah to mera apna tha, a mera mazhab kahan tha

Dekho Ai Samajh walo, gyan walo, ilm walo, fikr walo
Sachcha aur Jhoota my tha, a mera mazhab kahan tha

Mata-pita , na mulla-pandit ko, saza do us ko jis ka jurm
Ai kaisi parampara a Khuda, a mera mazhab kahan tha

Samaj may insaf ho to ummeed bhi aur pragati bhi
A mamla na-insafi ka tha, a mera mazhab kahan tha

Thakna mera kaam nahin, my samjhata hi rahoonga Sahir
Jo bhi huwa o mera kiya tha, a mera mazhab kahan tha


Since the majority of the Pakistanis are Muslims, it puts an additional responsibility on them to treat ever human on equal footing – this idea is embedded and repeated in Islam, day in and day out. Whether you pray, fast, or bury anyone – Mahmood and Ayaz are on par with each other.  Let every Pakistani be Mahmoud and Ayaz, but treated on par.

17 years ago for 7 years, I had a Radio program in Dallas for the Desi (people of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka) people, and from August 1 through 15, every day we talked about each nation; its culture, history, geography and the foods.

On August 14th, on my Radio show, Indians would sing Pakistani National Songs and the Pakistanis would reciprocate by singing Indian National songs on the 15th.

The Partition was difficult and intense - with people moving from one land to the other and vice versa, perhaps it was the greatest human migration in a single week ever. Of course it came with massive suffering - people killing and butchering each other on both sides. Unless we both people learn to acknowledge that the suffering and infliction of misery was mutual, we will continue to harbor ill-will and inject that in our kids. Some people live with hate and ill-will until they die and never receive the true freedom.  I hope we all grow up and not carry this forward and neither runs the sewer of hate in our kid’s veins.

Again, I wish a very happy independence day to my Pakistani and Indian friends. Remember, as a Citizen of America, all citizens are equal to us. President Obama will wish Independence Day whether you are a Pakistani or Indian – and we the Americans ought to carry the same attitude.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer committed to pluralism and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in the links at  

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