10 May, 2021

The Nation Is Made Of These

‘Minorities’ have an inalienable claim on Pakistani nationalism—a spiritual-ethnic identity on a modernising quest

Reuters (From Outlook 08 April 2013)
The Nation Is Made Of These

The further we move on from March 23, 1940—and from December 16, 1971, when the original Pakistan disintegra­ted—the stronger and deeper, and at the same time, more stressful, becomes the search for a cohesive sense of Pakistani nationalism.

Composed of several elements, Muslim identity is the prime driver of Pakistani nationalism, but not exclusively so. Non-Muslim identities are small, yet vital and intrinsic parts of Pakistani nationalism. Foremost among them are Pakistani Hindu and Buddhist citizens. In a foundational sense, Pakistani Hindus and Buddhists are the oldest Pakistanis. Their ancestors have lived upon the lands that constitute our territory for centuries before the first Muslims arrived, or before the first local was converted to Islam.

If roots in territory make people eligible to be regarded as ‘sons of the soil’, then these non-Muslims are the first sons and daughters of Pakistan. It is unfortunate that, in the name of a state entity created less than 70 years ago, peoples whose ancestors have lived on these very...

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