Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Timeline: 11/9 or 9/11, A date that has changed our past, present and our future! - Aabi Asif

What the world knows now to be 9/11 wasn’t what I knew of it when I was growing up. I never knew the extent of how one incident could entirely over shadow another in a way that not only would it change not only how we see our present, but also how we view our past.

Before the uneventful incident where planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Centre, 11th September had a totally different value in the hearts of Pakistanis. 11th September 1948, was the day when our beloved founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah passed away, leaving the nation without a leader, a void that has perhaps not been filled to date.

As a child I remember that 11/9 was observed as a very somber day with the President and the Prime Minister along with the Governor of Sindh visited mausoleum of the Quaid the armed forces gave a 21 gun salute and they laid wreaths. It used to be a gazetted holiday and all the day through talk shows, interviews, documentaries and dramas based on the life of Quaid-e-Azam were aired. Special supplements of the newspapers were published with similar information.

As a result we learned a great of our history through the media. We had quizzes at school again based on history and on the life of the great leader; we sang national songs and were well aware of what the day was all about. Unfortunately for us, the significance of this day as a day of remembrance for our dear Quaid is no more.

Quaid-e-Azam was a man who had studied in London, and had the opportunity not to come back but he chose to come back to the sub-continent. He managed to create Pakistan for the Muslims because he wanted that we should be able to live in an independent state and lead our lives according to the teachings of Islam.

His speeches were filled with plans on how Pakistan should proceed. What our policies should be and how should we take Pakistan into a bright future? Treatment of minorities, taking the leaves out from the way the Khulfa-e-Rashdeen ruled adopting the Islamic rules to deal issues of all kind.

It is indeed a shame that his death was a big shock for the state but what did we do?
We have just placed his picture in all of the government and non government offices and printed millions of books on his life filled with his speeches but don’t bother to implement what he actually propagated.

After 2001, the incident not only affected USA and its citizens; it has had deep impact on people all over the world and in particular Pakistan.

First and foremost we had to side by USA in the War Against Terrorism. News channels, newspapers and the internet are filled with only the tragedy that struck USA that day and the death anniversary of Quaid has moved backstage.

It no longer is a gazetted holiday and the children of today only know of the twin tower hitting incident.

The other day in the school where I teach we had held a special assembly on the life of Quaid-e-Azam and students of grade 6 and 7 were asking what was the other event that happened besides 9/11.

It’s amazing how we have conveniently prioritized the events and have placed the events that will help our next generations to understand our history in the background and have given importance to dates that are significant for other countries.
Although progression and gaining knowledge of current affairs is good but I feel that we need to be strongly rooted in our history to grow strong in our future. For us to be real patriots and appreciate our country we need to make sure that we know where we hail from and how much was sacrificed to attain what we have in our hands today?

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