… Love is not love,
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken …
This very famous and much quoted Shakespearean sonnet (Sonnet # 116) may speak of the relationship between two individuals in love, but I view it quite differently. For some reason it speaks to me of a different sort of love – in my view, a much higher, much nobler form of love – the love I hold for my beloved, beloved country, Pakistan.
And I know that I am not alone in this. There are people whose love for Pakistan could never be altered, knew no impediments, even in the face of the greatest adversities, especially in the past almost two decades since we entered this cursed war on terror.
There have been people who chose to hold the fort, who refused to leave Pakistan despite opportunities. Who did not opt to replace the green passport with a “green card.” Who refused to apply for or spend their energies in trying to get a Canadian or Australian immigration, who refused to believe that any sort of “back up” was necessary in case – just in case – Pakistan, their motherland, ceased to exist!! It takes an utter lack of faith in one’s own identity to harbour such negativity and doubts about the future of your homeland, where you were born and bred – but I guess there are those who manage to overcome such “irrational” and trivial emotions as patriotism – and are smart enough to think “rationally.”
However, alongside the faithless, there have always been those who believe wholeheartedly in the ideology of Pakistan, and perceive it as a living, breathing reality, not merely as a piece of land, and therefore do not despair, and do not lose hope. The history of my nation is thus replete with stories of those who deliberately chose not to devise such a “back up” or “escape plan” – These were the brave ones who had the courage to look on tempests and were never shaken.
Following the APS tragedy – the biggest tempest to hit our nation – we saw many instances of this unaltered love. There were parents who sent their kids back to the same school after its reopening. There were mothers – including the current principal – who voluntarily took up jobs as teachers in the same school! Then there was Professor Hamid of Charsadda University, the Chemistry professor who – during a recent attack on the institute – took out his own gun to shoot at the terrorists in order to protect his students and to give them a chance to escape. Being hailed as a Martyr of education, Professor Hamid got his Ph.D degree from Canada, yet chose to return to his country and teach at Charsadda University – surely his love knew no impediments!
The courage and sacrifices of these heroes are a living proof that despite the large number of people leaving Pakistan to get foreign immigrations, there will always be those who choose not to leave, who will face tempests willingly, because their love for their beloved homeland is an ever-fixed mark and can never be altered or removed. Pakistan was founded by such people and will ultimately defeat all tempests due to the fact that such brave ones exist and will never cease to exist. As the Quaid said, and these words of the Quaid are part of my faith:
“There is no power on earth that can undo Pakistan …”