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In Quest of Real Heroes

Posted by yourpakistan on September 2, 2012











PKKH Exclusive  | by Shehla Kiyani

At the beginning of this August, I decided to go into the streets of my city and conduct qualitative research on children below the age of fifteen, which according to Pakistan Demographics profile 2012, aged 0-14 years is 35.4% (male 34,093,853/female 32,278,462)] and wanted to see what they think of Independence and what they know about the True Heroes of this country. I was all set and excited as I thought this time the Independence Day is going to be very special as the Ramazan and the 14th of August will go hand in hand.

From the very beginning of this month preparations had come into action for the big day; from colorful flags to reading material regarding the partition; seminars; conferences and above all special shows to be aired on different television channels. Everywhere you went especially in the markets, book stores, road sides you saw vendors with all sizes of national flags and items reflecting colors of freedom and patriotism.

I started my interview session in my own vicinity and asked some of the street children who went to nearby charity schools sponsored by well known religious and social organizations, as to what they know about the Quaid e Azam and Allama Iqbal; to my surprise they did not even know about these two great names, rather they looked at my face with vacant eyes. I thought I had asked some real difficult question, for their ease, I asked them, can you tell me when Pakistan had come into being and the same vacant eyes haunted me again.

Don’t get upset”, that is how I boosted my patriotic instinct and encouraged myself to continue my journey. I told myself that I will get the answers that I am looking for! After all its just a beginning and secondly these children come from a back ground where the literacy rate is at the lowest. Moving on to the next class of children who come from middle class families, I posed the same level of questions to them, and most of them had a fair idea about the history of our country. This really elevated my enthusiasm and I felt relieved that, yes these youngsters and teenagers know the basic history of Pakistan. That day I was quite contented that the present scenario is not that bad, our children are acquainted with the importance of partition. Going out into the streets and markets, I was in search of children like a kidnapper, yes there I found bunch of children hovering around the vendors who were selling flags, badges and stuff related to“Jashan e Azadi”. Some of the children were buying those items without knowing the reason for their celebration.

That very evening I went to an Iftar dinner to one of my very close friend, since it was a birthday party turned into Iftar cum dinner due to Ramazan, I got a chance to meet lot of children between the ages of ten to fifteen, coming from same school. Here I will not mention the name of the school, but those children were from a very renowned private school chain. I was lucky that day as I met so many children in a day and that too from different social set up. The Iftar dinner, was more or less a big social event, where I also felt that the element of religion was somewhat missing. I asked the children to sit in a circle and play a game with me, in which I will ask them about the history of Pakistan. These so called upper class children knew mostly aboutMughal Dynasty, they knew about the partition but only to the extent of important dates and few veterans.The next stage of this interview session was really very interesting and depressing at the same time, I was almost in tears at the end of this expedition, because this was not what I was looking for……………………….. I had asked who their favorite national heroes are as 14th August is approaching, most of the kids at once said Superman, Batman and some said Spiderman! And went i asked, who will sing the national anthem, most of the children only knew half of the anthem and that too with incorrect wordings. They even did not know the full national anthem, oh where we are heading? i said to myself.

I felt like a moron amongst them after hearing about these fictional characters, who I never thought to be heroes in the real sense of the word. I thought I did not clearly communicate my question to them so I once again asked them to tell me some real life heroes who have done something great in the past and the answers were Krishna and Chotta Bheem; the swiftest answer I received from an eight year boy. No, no kids I mean to say our heroes from our very own country Pakistan, Atif Aslam, at that moment I felt like going completely blank and the last name I could hear was Ali Zafar.

After the party I was not the same person and I somewhat cursed myself, clouds of negative thinking was covering my mind on driving back home, I felt it was a never ending journey and ended up cursing myself why I decided to conduct this heart aching research. Krishna…… Choota Bheem…….our children look up to these characters as heroes??? In my heart of hearts I uttered all bad things to the children who did not know the true meaning of a Hero, what qualities a hero must have and who can be called a hero? Why we send our children to schools when this is what they have to answer! I went back to my childhood, when we as children could not sleep a night before 14th, August because of excitement that tomorrow, the next day we were to get up early in the morning to decorate our house with colorful bunties and hoist a big flag on the roof top. The reason could be that being a sibling of a military official, patriotism was injected in our blood at the time of our birth.

Even in our schools instead of celebrating so-called themes, and promoting the love-for-all (secular approach) which the leading private schools have adopted, we were taught about the lives of great people, all those who sacrificed their lives for our better future. We always celebrated all national days with full zeal and enthusiasm, even today when I hear the national anthem I get goose bumps. All those great heroes and their efforts are being slowly pushed into back yard!

As my car stopped on the red signal, the red light smacked my mind, and I realized that it is not the fault of our children, we have provided them with such an environment which is moving them in such direction. From early childhood we make them sit the whole day long in front of television screen watching Kishna, Choota Bheem, and Benten etc, on the cartoon network. Because the modern moms don’t give enough time to their siblings, and television is the best invention which can keep them busy and they will not disturb their mothers. Nowadays, a very common terminology used by most of the parents is “Believe in Quality time”, which is the best definition of avoidance of responsibility. So the first step in moving our children in wrong directions starts at home. The second stage comes at school, where the curriculum has been changed according to new geo political needs. There are certain forces behind the curriculum development who wants that the youth of Pakistan to be completely turned into secular beings. Who should think and believe that the two nation theory was wrong; Quaid e Azam had secular views, and Pakistan not to be called as Islamic Republic of Pakistan. I being a lay person can smell that something is going wrong somewhere, so why can’t eighteen million plus population notice it? Is it not an alarming situation? So what are we all waiting for, some knight to come over-night and clear the evil forces take over?

By the time I reached home I realized I don’t have to be negative. Things are not that grave and yes we can still put our youth, our future on the right track. What is required is motivation, dedication and practical approach, if we really want to fix the issue. We have seen in the past that even if a small segment of the society possesses the above mentioned ingredients, no one can stop “The Revolution”. Partition of 1947 is one big example to open our eyes where devoted, selfless and committed individuals decided to change the fate of a suppressed nation. A change no super power of that time could stop, a tsunami of emotions, fervor and vehemence which led to the Independence of Pakistan. Each and every person who migrated from India and who participated in this great transition is a Hero, ready to sacrifice everything they had. They only had strong faith in Almighty and a conviction which they knew will be the turning point in the history.

Also in today’s time there are examples of some young heroes which are source of inspiration for the old and young generation, like late Aarfa Kareem, the whiz kid who at the tender age of nine became the World’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (Till 2008), Ali Moeen Nawazish a notable student for passing 23 – “A levels” who is another world record holder. And how can we forget our young fearless warriors and martyrs of Pakistan Army, who are sacrificing their lives at the Western borders. The list goes on and on. It is wisely said that every cloud has a silver lining and these young heroes are true example of it, which gives us hope that InshaAllah we as a nation will soon get over with this bad phase, what we need is complete faith in Almighty, devotion to build this nation into a true Fort of Islam and last but not the least honesty to this mission.

Also the Pakistani media has to play a strong and powerful role in this, instead of keeping the public busy inVeena Malik scandals, try to show useful programmes especially designed for motivating youth. Patriotic shows which must be based on the efforts and struggle of all those real heroes who laid their lives for this great nation, not the shows in the name of national hood which only focus on dances and songs. These shows are rather pointless! Lastly, but very important is true inculcation of Islamic Ethical Values in our children, which is the forte of a true Muslim!


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