December is an important month for Pakistanis because December 25th marks the birthday of the Quaid-i-Azam. Every year this day is celebrated to pay homage to the founder of the world’s only ideologically Muslim state and the architect of the nation, and to ponder on his legacy — the essence of his legacy being an uncompromising adherence to the rule of law, freedom of speech and conscience, social justice and equality for all citizens irrespective of gender, caste or creed.
Of particular significance is the fact that Jinnah was a great advocate of education of women and their participation in all aspects of national life, a domain where he led by example by supporting his sister, Ms. Fatima Jinnah, in seeking higher education and taking his sister along his many tours across the Subcontinent, even to the areas where women were rarely seen in public sphere. This was done to demonstrate that women have just as much of a stake in national life as in family life and they should play their part to the best of their abilities. He believed that women are as essential a part as men of any progress that a nation is to make. In his address to the students of Islamia College for Women, Lahore, on March 25, 1940, he clearly stated this: “You, young ladies are more fortunate than your mothers. You are being emancipated. I don’t mean that you should copy the West. But I do mean that man must be made to understand and made to feel that woman is his equal and that woman is his friend and comrade and they together can build up homes, families and nations.”
Another important aspect of his legacy is religious tolerance. He repeatedly asseverated that Islam has taught us ‘equality, justice, and fair play’, and so all citizens of the state are equal irrespective of their beliefs. On August 11, 1947, in a historic reiteration of his political creed, he stated, “You are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”
Quaid-i-Azam envisioned an all-inclusive Pakistan and if we are to take our country to the heights of glory, we need to revisit our conduct as a nation and try to mould it according to the Quaid’s vision. The longer we take to do this, the longer will the journey be for Pakistan to achieve its destiny.
December also marks the end of the year. 2020 began with a lot of hopes for the new decade, however, these were overshadowed with the emergence of the grave challenge of COVID-19, a pandemic that has claimed over 1.4 million lives worldwide. The end of this pandemic is still nowhere in sight, with the second wave sweeping across most of the world. Pakistan is also seeing a rise in cases as it is hit by the second wave. The first wave was effectively contained but with the current wave, there is the additional hurdle of winter season in which people are generally prone to viruses that cause seasonal flu, so it is harder to fight this contagious disease. This calls for extra care and vigilance. Everyone has to act responsibly and be more cautious if we are to limit the damage and enter into 2021 with a clean bill of health and wellbeing. HH
Read 334 times