Today I convinced my University’s higher management to recognise one of the city’s only Nobel Prize recipient as a Patron of all of our social media activities. I am glad they placed some value on my ideas and gave me a go ahead after hardly few minutes of deliberation but the worst part was that I had to discuss later what if this thing fires back?
Problem with the guy is that this son of Lahore happened to be born in a Hindu family and later migrated to USA well before formation of present day India and Pakistan. There was even a concern from my side that this might hit an unpleasant nerve with people who might take it in a negative manner.
You already would have read a lot about a Qadiyani Nobel Prize recipient from Pakistan, who got shunned repeatedly for being a non-Muslim. I have already convinced a multi-million research project and product to be named after him.
Sad reality of us Pakistanis is that we have invented heroes, most of them on basis of Religion not morality or things they stood for. For example we value Mahmood Ghaznavi of Afghanistan as a hero though everyone knows that his only concern was plundering the riches of India (especially the Hindu temples in Somnath). We value every other invader and plunderer as a hero because that makes us feel good. Almost all of our missiles are named after one invader or another. Even the great Mughals were of Persian ancestry but they ruled over us and we even found (and continue to find) pride in that.
People like Raja Dahir, Prithivi Raj Chohan etc are all looked in a negative light - just because of their religion. Where the fact of the matter is that they proved to be sons of the land and stood valiantly (even if they were eventually defeated) against invaders!
Sometimes I agree with the scholars who think that we Pakistanis have been punished by the history because we have been punishing our own history for too long! For a very long time we have been writing an alternate history and even since 70s and until recently we were even trying to align ourselves as Arabs instead of Asians. All thanks to the rise of Pan-Islamism which eventually died a painful and agonising death at the hands of Pan-Arabism. It was only when travelling between Arab countries Pakistanis faced the wrath of Arab-nationalistic-superiority-syndrome they realised that things are not that simple. My prediction however is that in time to come someone else will write a similar article but it will also reflect on a sad romance of Pakistanis with being Persian and the hitting back of Persian-syndrome (please note that I do not blame Arabs and/or Persians for their arrogance).
One thing which I really find ironic is that people of Punjab on the Pakistani side do not even know about Dullah Bhatti, a Punjabi Muslim who has songs in his praise on the Indian side of Punjab for he saved the honour and lives of village girls irrespective of their religion. Love for indigenous sufi poets and scholars across the borders is also well known.
This brings me to other side of the argument which also holds quite some weight. Pakistan in the end is a cultural hotpot. We have people of so many different ethnicities who have criss-crossed this region, intermarried, settled or even left a mark behind. This is after all the land where you find Jewish, Greek, Arab, Central Asian, Far East Asian and even African markers in the population. This all cultural mix and match has never been directed towards a Pakistani Nationalism. Perhaps after the failure of Two Nation Theory with the fall of Dhaka (1971 tragedy), Pakistani establishment decided that only thing which can keep us together is probably Religion. Something which is again under scrutiny these days. We could probably live up with people testing our level of patriotism but I am pretty much sure testing our level of Iman (Religiosity) is bound to end in bloodshed as it does every now and then in Pakistan.
My mental notes for something I have been meaning to write for quite sometime now.