Friday, August 14, 2015

Happy birthday to Pakistan | Happy Independence day

Happy Independence day to all the Pakistanis |
67 Years ago today, Pakistan was born. Indeed it was created out of the British India on August 14, 1947 and then on the next day, August 15, 1947, India celebrated her independence.  

As a Muslim Pluralist, I have always worked on the concept that we all belong to the same family born from Adam and Eve, and that God has chosen for each one of us to be born in a different communities, nations, religions and races.   

Back in 1993 (to 2000), I started a Newspaper called Asian News, with a page dedicated to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

In 1996, I started Asian News Radio, the first commercial radio in Dallas which continues today as Fun Asia Radio.  After 2000, I did different programs, and one of them was during the month of August, every morning 7-8 AM from the 1st through the 15th of the month.    

Each day my team shared a different aspect of the subcontinent from the cultural, geographic, ethnic, cuisine, clothing, cultural, singing to politics to national heroes of all the three nations, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with identical history. I had a great team to do the full hour of program with Sandhya doing shehar ka chakkar, Tamim doing one thing, Gayathri focusing on literature and Najma playing the songs.

What remains nostalgic to me was August 14th and 15th – on those two days, I took live calls asking Indians to sing the Pakistani national songs on Pakistan Day, and it was amazing so many Indians had learned the songs, and vice versa happened on the 15th, our Pakistani friends sang Indian national songs. What a joy it was to hear the goodwill sprouting from the lips of fellow Subcontinentians. 

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 month ever. Of course it came with massive suffering - people killing and butchering each other on both sides. Unless we both learn to acknowledge that the suffering and infliction of misery was mutual, we will continue to harbor ill-will and die with it.

I urge my fellow Subcontinentians, whether they are Pakistani-Americans, Indian Americans, or Bangladeshi Americans to acknowledge the suffering but never reduce or discount other's suffering, and please do not inject ill-will in the hearts of your children towards the other. Some of our kids may buy our baggage and continue to hold ill-will even here in America, but most kids reject our hatred for the other. I had to work hard with my Son when was mistreated by the Pakistan kids in the mall, I am glad he does not hold any bias towards Pakistani people despite the treatment he got. Some people will live with hate and ill-will until they die and never receive the true freedom.  Its time we do the right thing. 

On my part, I am blessed to have so many friends in all spheres of life including Pakistanis, I am a life member of the Pakistani Society of North Texas, and almost joined the Pakistan American Association of Texas before I moved to Washington. I also run the Dallas Pakistanis yahoogroups for the last 14 years, with nearly 1000 members, it has been the only reliable source of information for the community. Now, there are other groups and glad to see them all thrive.  

Thank God for blessing with a firm belief that we are all from Adam and Eve, and that I have no barrier between me and another human. No barrier at all. Indeed, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) asserted that no human is superior to the other in his last sermon, and I believe in it whole heartedly. 

The most important thing is listening - I have listened to the tragic stories from several of my Pakistani friends the torture and butchery they withstood during the partition, and have heard first hand from many of my Indian friends how their sisters and mothers were raped in front of them... The story is same on both sides, man becomes animal in distress, religions does not matter to the beast in those moments of insecurity. 

On this independence day, may I ask you to acknowledge the atrocities Indians have committed on you, and forgive them. You will find Mukti, Nijaat, Nirvana and salvation in it. When our hearts are filled with goodwill, everything is possible.

May I also ask you to stand up for every Pakistani, no matter what faith, race or class he or she belongs to.  If you have friends from Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Parsee, Jewish, Shia, Ahmadi, Ismaili, Bohra and other communities, call them and wish them Azaadi Mubarak, and let them know that you care about them, as well as willing to defend their God given right to be who they are. Don't worry if others don't do it, its your own conscience you have to honor. Just do it and if you have the time, please write to me the goodness you felt in you.

Please see the movie "Bajrang Bhaijan" -it is a beautiful movie about a Pakistan girl lost in India and how she was brought back to Pakistan by an Indian who had nothing to do with Muslims. Here is my review 

I wish a very happy independence day to both the Pakistani and Indian friends. As an Indian, I will write and if possible speak some where about India. 

Pakistan Paindabad !

Please check about what I am doing in Washington now.  -

Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. All about him is listed in several links and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.comand 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.