I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, a place I still call home (and used to call my country even, just until a few years back). I wasn’t particularly patriotic, not because I didn’t love my country but simply because I never got a chance to feel it as my own.
We loved visiting Pakistan every summer, me and my family ( all of whom, born and raised in KSA too) but that was just that, a visit every summer. It was exciting but temporary, there was no Pakistan or Pakistan related talks for another whole year.
Time passed by and I felt no sense of belonging to my country whatsoever, it wasn’t until late 2010 when I moved to Pakistan and realized of all that I’ve been deprived of all my life. I started missing those migration stories that I never even heard, suddenly I felt an urge to catch up, to learn more about our history, our heritage, our roots, and so I did.
Not sure if it’s fortunate or unfortunate that none of my immediate family members were part of the great partition, that I never knew of those who lost their families and loved ones in the war, never heard of their cry, the desperation, the insanity, the chaos and the victory. Growing up I heard all sorts of stories, at school, I learned all about history- yet somehow I failed to learn about the tragic victory of 1947.
I feel blessed to have spent past few years in my country, learning of what’s left of our heritage, hearing the stories of our brave lion-hearted men, our fierce ancestors, who put their lives and all of themselves at stake for freedom and for coming generations, they sacrificed all of themselves, bit by bit for a better tomorrow, for a better land, for us… and not just in words, but literally.
Millions of precious souls lost, thousands of lives changed, hundreds of houses destroyed, many friendships ruined, all in hope to build a home, to have a place of our own. As years passed by, people saw and cherished their freedom, the sacrifice never went in vain. All of the loss for a hundred new houses, a thousand new lives, and a million more smiles. Today we have a land of our own, a place to call home, but, we are not worthy of it.
Today, It’s a shame for every Pakistani (by heart or soul, by nationality or clothes) when we feel no shame in disregarding our home, our currency, our tradition, today, when we fail to raise our voices against the invaders, the traitors, the disrespectful, today, when we purposely and desperately leave our identity behind, our people behind.
A day a year brings them close together, one day that reminds of the past horrors that lead to the freedom, freedom of mind, soul, body, and life. One day, every year to thank and pray and apologize to the best amongst us. Celebrate it, embrace it, enjoy and let them enjoy too, for maybe, someday, the spirit shall no longer be contained to one day of summer.