By Rimla Batool

Every year we celebrate freedom from the British colonial rule and the succession of what is known as Pakistan from the Indian Sub-Continent. The right to live and practise religion freely was one of the main reasons for the struggle, known as “Pakistan Movement”, which sought a separate homeland for Muslims where the Muslims could live as per the teachings of Islam while also guaranteeing a safe haven for the non-Muslim minority.

Today, we will learn about freedom from the words of some of the most famous personalities in history; from politics, literature, and arts. What did freedom mean to these history-makers? Let’s have a read.

“We should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play.” – Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Jinnah is known to us all as ‘Father of the Nation’, for his leading role in founding of Pakistan. After independence, he served as the first Governor-General of Pakistan.

At various occasions throughout the Pakistan Movement, Jinnah explained the ideology of Pakistan and the reasons behind Muslims demanding a separate country. Jinnah demanded freedom from foreign rulers and sought a state where all men were free and equal and where the rights of citizens are protected, and defended without any discrimination of caste, colour, race or religion.

 “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.” ― Nelson Mandela

How beautiful are these words by the former South African President Nelson Mandela. Before leading the country from 1994 to 1999, Mandela fought against racial discrimination by the white-dominated state and served 27 years in prison. When he was freed, he led a reconciliation movement and played a vital role in creating a multi-racial democracy in South Africa, where the blacks and whites were treated equally by the state. He received a Nobel Peace Prize for his life-long struggle to end oppression of one race at the hands of another.

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves” ― Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. He was a strong opponent of slavery. From his tenure of 1961 to until his assassination in 1965, he was successful in abolishing slavery from the US.

As a strong opponent of slavery of the Africans bought to the US, Lincoln believed in equal rights for all.

 “Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.” - Bob Marley

Robert "Bob" Nesta Marley OM was a Jamaican singer, songwriter, and activist during the 60’s and 70’s.  He believed in the unity of African people worldwide. Through his music, he made clear that he believed in the independence of African countries from European rulers.

 “I  do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.”-   Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)

The quote is taken from British novelist Charlotte Bronte’s masterpiece ‘Jane Eyre’ which revolves around an orphaned but headstrong female lead character who stays unbroken in the worst of times and emerges as an independent woman.

Freedom has been fought for across the world, by activists, artists, politicians through music, movements, and literature. Men and women have fought for equality and liberty, through activism, literature, politics and music, throughout history to make the world a better place. These are the heroes of freedom who deserve our admiration and respect, no matter who and where we are. 

So celebrate this Independence Day by absorbing these beautiful sayings and try to act on them in your life. Assert your independence as a free citizen of a free country while respecting the freedom of all those around you.

We wish you, our Young Nation, liberty and prosperity for eternity!

Published in Young Nation magazine on August 16, 2016