“Sohni Dharti Allah Rakhey Qadam Qadam Aabad tujhe…Qadam Qadam aabad”

 (Beautiful Land… May Allah Bless you with Prosperity…. A never ending Prosperity)

Even today when I listen to this melody I cannot help but shed a tear or two from my eye. My heart still aches when the poet prays for this land… My Land and I cannot stop but look at the sky and say a silent prayer to my God “Oh Lord please protect my Land; please bring peace and prosperity to this land”.

I look out of the window and see children wearing green shirts and playing cricket in the streets. And why wouldn’t they? It is the match season. I cannot stop but give out a big smile; after all; cricket is the pride of our nation. Yes people try to ruin it; they always have and I frown at the thought of Omer, Amir and Asif but then I ease out at the thought of Wasim, Imzamam, Shoaib Akhter, Afridi, Imran Khan and many others!. Why do we not remember the good done to us and only stick to the bad and outcast?. Has this become a national habit of letting the good things go and stick to the bad ones?.

I am lost in the long controversial discussions coming on every channel each day and switch the TV off in despair believing that there is no hope and that probably I will move out one day too. But then I look back into history; how one of the most successful lawyers in our history sacrificed his whole life for this beloved country. How a Nawab of India chose to come and live in this country and left all the riches and luxuries of his life behind him. (Liaquat Ali Khan).  Life could have been much easier for them but this was the way of life they chose for themselves.

Every other member of the youth today can choose their path for themselves but it is today only when this land needs the youth the most; I wonder when would we ever truly apprehend this?.

I envy the handsome salaries my fellow colleagues earn in foreign lands and I look at my meager income with disgust and believe that it is Pakistan which has given me nothing but this disgrace. I forget the degree; the education I earned from no other place then this land. Money was always secondary to us Asians wasn’t it? It was family values which always came first! When did money suddenly become so important to me?

 I look at the slumber colony of the poor next to this lane. It is 14th August and these poor children have decorated their roofless huts with green flags and are crying out loud “ Jeeway Jeeway..Jeeway  Pakistan”. I bet they don’t even know the meaning of the lyrics but their eyes shine with love and pride whenever they cry out Pakistan as loud as their innocent throats can allow them. When in time did I lose this love; this passion for the green flag? When was the last I tried to celebrate 14th August with true zeal & enthusiasm? I do not seem to remember?

I go and visit a friend of mine who lives in England and boasts how life is so glamorous and comfortable there. I have no doubts either since I know she is right. She cannot stop praising the gora log (white people) of how organized; practical and loving they are and how us Pakis are totally pathetic and disgusting. I stay quiet. A friend of hers calls (A gori friend to be precise) she has just broken up from her second husband and wants to meet my friend since she is depressed. I ask the reason and get to know that her husband was cheating on her with another girl. I wonder where her parents are at this crucial time and I get to know that they have long been shifted to the old homes sanctuary. I walk out silently to a nearby café in search of Halal food and wonder…”this is their choice of life; this is what the gora people chose… but what did we choose?”

I wonder why did we only adopt the negativities of the west instead of adapting the good only (like organization, law and rules) and retain the good in us?. Even today parents are the most respected members of ones family in my part of the world and never can anyone back home even imagine sending them to a sanctuary. Marriage with all its odds is still a strong constitution back home so why should I resent those gora peope who have lost the true essence of life? Of relationships? Why cannot I be happy at the thought that I belong to the land of the Pure?

Back home I see a Pathan man entering the chai wala’s place looking for some job and people begin to look at him with suspicion since he wears a simple shalwar qameez and has a long grown beard?. Some make fun of him and say Taliban is here. I wonder have we forgotten Jansher, Jahangir and Imran Khan who belonged to the same clan and who brought much pride to our nation?  Through my eyes I see a poor man displaced from his home; from his people because of a stupid war. I see a man who has lost everything that he owned in a war which was not even his! I see a man who wants to begin a new life in an alien city but does not know where to start. He does not know Urdu since no government was able to establish a strong education system in his part of the country. I look around and I know no one could see through what I just saw.

When will we try to look beyond all that is dark and dusty and begin to value what is true and needs to be cherished forever on this Land? When will we try to remove the dirt from all that is so precious and beautiful in this land?

There is just one voice in my mind and my eyes are wet… Sohni Dherti Allah Rakhey…….