August is a month of increased patriotism for Pakistanis. Ever since the beginning, patriotism and nationalism have gone hand in hand for the freedom struggle. The nationalism was aided by religion, which provided a concrete basis for the demand of a separate homeland.

Pakistan was created on the basis of two nation theory envisioned by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In his views, the Muslims were a separate nation and could not live together with Hindus. There were stark differences in both the religions and their coexistence was not amicable. Hence, Islam provided grounds for Muslims in the subcontinent to demand freedom.

According to the two-nation theory, Muslims are one nation and they are different from others. This theory categorized every Muslim in the Indian subcontinent as one nation. This one nation incorporated every linguistic group, every ethnic group, and every cultural group. All of them had the same feelings of nationalism. The nationalism that was felt and seen in the freedom struggle can be labeled as primordial nationalism. It means that people had feelings of belongingness to the territory because their forefathers had lived there. And because they had the same religion and spoke the same language. Hence, Pakistan was created with the same idea.

71 years after the struggle for freedom, the idea of nationalism has changed. There is a difference between nationalism and patriotism. Nationalism is the feeling of attachment and belongingness to one nation irrespective of little differences. While patriotism is the feeling of attachment to a country and a territory. It does not matter how many different nations are loosely held together in that country. Patriotism is not in need of a nation; anybody could feel patriotic towards his country. The religious minorities in Pakistan could be equally, or even more patriotic than the majority. It is why Pakistan has more of patriotism than nationalism.

While addressing the constituent assembly of Pakistan on 11 August 1947, Jinnah said, “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state”. This was the country he imagined for the Muslims. While it is not the same country that we live in today.

As a nation, Pakistan is divided on so many grounds. The differences have begun to grow. The cultural, linguistic, ethnic and even religious differences among Pakistanis have divided the ‘One Nation’ into so many different nations. The different linguistic groups in Pakistan do not feel attached to one another. The language was supposed to unite us and differentiate us from Hindus. But this linguistic diversity has increased the differences, instead of bringing colours to the country. The four main provincial languages; Punjabi, Pushto, Balochi, and Sindhi, have overpowered Urdu. Urdu served as a basis for the freedom movement. People feel more connected to their provincial and sub-provincial languages than they feel with the national language.

Ethnic groups have changed the idea of one nation. There are so many ethnic groups which are present in Pakistan. Pashtuns, Sindhis, Balochis, Kalash people, and Parsis, are some of the ethnic groups present in Pakistan. But the problem is that each ethnicity has a feeling of superiority over the other. It increases the differences among them, and none of them is respectful towards the other. They are gradually breaking up the ‘one nation’ which was imagined by Jinnah.

Apart from the linguistic and ethnic differences, the religious differences have proved to be the most destructive. When Pakistan came into being, the religious minorities were assured of their status. As Jinnah said on 11 August 1947, “You are free, free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this state of Pakistan”. Different religions are coexisting in Pakistan, but not entirely peacefully. But the main issue is not with the religious minorities, it is with the different sects of Muslims. 

Muslims are supposed to be one nation, they are supposed to be nationalistic about their country and their religion, but they are not. Muslims are divided among themselves on the basis of sects. And it is evident that these sects do not live peacefully with each other. People struggled for independence so that we could have a separate homeland in which we could coexist peacefully. The nation united then and achieved a separate country. It should reunite to make it a glorious country.