Patriotism in Our Global Village

The title has been modified by the Muslim Times

Source: Daily Times

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Unbridled nationalism, and more specifically, as in our case, neo-nationalism, redefined by the generation of General Zia’s children, clashes with this modern notion of patriotism

In response to my previous article, a few readers have asked me to elaborate on what I mean when I say that Pakistan was an accident of history born out of politics inter se the Congress and the Muslim League. Am I questioning the validity of the nation state itself? No. Far from it, in my opinion, it is this very accidental nature of the formation of Pakistan that lends it its most enduring validity. Accidental occurrences need to pass no tests to justify their existence.

Consider. The creation of Pakistan was admittedly a controversial undertaking. People had and continue to have very strong opinions about it, either for it or against it, but then what idea does not? Jinnah — the man credited or blamed, depending on what point of view you take — said about the partition of India:

“Much has been said against it, but now that it has been accepted, it is the duty of everyone of us to loyally abide by it and honourably act according to the agreement, which is now final and binding on all. But the question is, whether it was possible or practicable to act otherwise than what has been done…On both sides, in Hindustan and Pakistan, there are sections of people who may not agree with it, who may not like it, but in my judgement there was no other solution. Maybe that view is correct; maybe it is not; that remains to be seen.”

The truth is that an academic debate about whether Jinnah’s final acceptance of the partition was the best solution or not will never end, and while historians will write and re-write about the partition, the one thing that we must be certain of is that the partition of 1947 will not be undone and those who wish to undo it are living in a fool’s paradise. So how do you act honourably according to an agreement that is final and binding? Factor in whatever you will of the great secularism versus Islam debate about Jinnah’s vision, but the sum total will always add up to an inclusive, constitutional and democratic state that treats its citizens equally, regardless of what their personal beliefs or choices may be. Aside from being an extraordinary advocate, Jinnah was — in Woodrow Wyatt’s words — someone who having been brought up in the English legal tradition was fighting for equality, justice and fair play. Indeed, this is the one constant in his 40-year long political career.

There are a few other facts that need to be underscored. The age of nationalism has passed. As much as national boundaries have become accepted legal facts, they have also become irrelevant to human interaction.

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Categories: Asia

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