These days, I’m voluntarily editing a catalogue on Pakistan’s famed writers, philosophers, poets and thinkers for a special exhibition at the National History Museum in Lahore, which will be run by the Citizens Archive of Pakistan.
I’m learning so much about these great thinkers and intellectuals, men and women, who laid down the basis for our nation’s ideological and philosophical framework. I know that ideology gets a bad rap these days, but a country without a philosophy or a raison d’etre is like a ship without a sail that can only go around in circles before it sinks altogether.
Reading about what these intellectual giants thought and envisioned for our country is a great refresher in what Pakistan’s purpose was, and goes so much further than “Pakistan Ka Matlab Kya” could ever encompass. These are people who were educated to the highest level at home and abroad, who gave up comfortable lives, who sacrificed their lives, who migrated to Pakistan amid the conflagration of Partition. They were fully invested in Pakistan, they dedicated their lives and hearts and souls to the young country, caring for it as if it were an infant with whom they were all charged with educating, nurturing, and teaching right from wrong.
I’m so grateful CAP and Sharmeen Obaid and the entire team at the National History Museum has decided to give us a look at what Pakistan really stood for in the 20th century, and should stand for in the 21st century and beyond.