Many Pakistanis don’t know they are going to Celebrate 14th August today. They are too busy mourning over their endless problems that come along poverty. Middle class and above are celebrating the day with heavy hearts, grieving quietly over the non-access of full time electricity, water and gas. Some are questioning what is there to celebrate for on the Independence Day when we don’t have hopes for a New Pakistan (with political stability and economic prosperity) in the near future? Some poor stall-owners take full benefit of the occasion through selling decorative items, flags, accessories and dresses matching the themes of 14th August.
At this point, youngsters decide to celebrate the day in the typical ‘must and man-mauji’ style. Clad in the Independence Day kits, they don’t hesitate to switch on music on loudest volumes, no matter how disturbing it is for others. Dancing on the market floors and on the crossroads of big roads they look like trouble makers. Their fierce biking and one-wheeling, two-wheeling on rickshaws and sitting youngsters in the open windows of their vehicles terrorize all the traffic on the road. Over speeding and zig zag movements of motor cycles has been another scary show and veryone anticipates an accident any time. Everybody wonders if they care at all for their lives and the lives of their parents who have given themselves away to raise them. Hooting and yelling boys and their shrill voiced mouth organs pollute the entire environment, eliminating all the concepts of ‘Celebrations’. I question again and again if they really don’t know they have converted a pround moment into a chaos that will paint the picture of an ‘uncivilized and illiterate Pakistan’ in the international media, and if they really care how much their talented lives (not deaths) are needed by their families and their country?
I have been watching the same scenes for several decades. I wonder why there is no positive change. Is it just lack of education? Yes, a part of me agrees. But most of the times they are college students or older. Looks like an educated lot from middle class. So, there must be some other reasons, too.
The other reason is our youth has never been educated on how to entertain themsevles peacefully and gracefully. I always feel we don’t offer much positive entertainment opportunities to our youth. All the sports clubs are for the rich. If some amusement parks cater middle and lower class as well, they don’t offer quality services. If there is some technological fun, it is again for the well-to-do folks. Overall, opportunities are either limited or inaccessible. Thus, our youngsters never get groomed in how to entertain them at all and how to behave while having fun. So, they take out their bikes on festivals and lose their minds.
Now, if we want to change the traditions of 14th– August in Pakistan, we will have to open up many entertainment places where our youth can satisfy their fun urges creatively, fully and easily, without the class discrimination. There, they should follow some set rules to play and enjoy in a civilized manner. Once they learn it, they will behave on 14th August as well.
Furthermore, taking Independence Day as a symbol of success, our governments, NGOs and colleges should arrange for special events, where our youngsters organize talent shows and share their success stories. At a time of entrepreneurial boom, Pakistani young folks may take the occasion of 14th August to launch their business projects and announce their personal and professional achievements of a year. We may think of several ideas to engage our youngsters positively so that they don’t come one the roads like an ignorant and wild mob.
In fact, we should plan our Independence Day in two ways simultaneously. On one hand, 14th August should be a source of transferring history of Pakistan from older generation to the other generation, and on the other hand, it should be presenting an ongoing struggle towards individual and national success.