Happy Independence Day

This Independence Day, let’s reflect.
It’s been almost seven decades since our country existed. Today, let’s breathe. Let’s reimagine the events that precipitated into creating what we now call the Land of the Pure, Pak-is-tan.

Take a breath. Picture it.

It’s 1947. Your grandfather is fighting for his life on a train that has no food. He is holding your father tight in his arms. You are not yet in the picture. You have not experienced the hard parts. You came when it had already ended.

It’s 2016. It has been 70 years since this nation was created. A nation that so many of us seem to take for granted, but a nation that is beloved and strong, chaotic yet beautiful all at the same time.
That means 70 years of celebration, 70 years of building, and rebuilding, learning and forgetting. 70 years of our own people.

It’s easy to imagine yourself in your grandfather’s place; it’s easy to say you would have been strong and able to do what he did. But at the end of the day, that’s only a figment of your imagination. The reality was his. The pain was his. So this Independence Day, think of him as you sit at another school event watching the vast green and white flag go up; think of him as you sing Dil Dil Pakistan at the top of your lungs, and think of him as you put on your green and white Shalwar Kameez. Don’t forget how you got here, or how important it is that we gained Independence.

I’m not saying that celebrating Independence Day makes you a patriot, or any more loyal to your country if you weren’t celebrating, because Pakistan relies on the small moments, the little things that you sometimes forget are even there at all. So notice the walls ice-cream man clothed head to toe in green as you go home from work. Smile at the old lady selling flags on the street with her son. Wave at the boys clad in green and white bandanas on the bike next to you. This is what Independence Day is about.