“You are free; you are 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. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” I read the passage out loud from the book and internally felt proud on listening to such words. Before I could continue reading the next passage a girl in the back raised her hand and the teacher stopped me from reading.
“Why would Quaid-e-Azam say such a thing when Pakistan was made for Muslims?” She questioned and my heart sank somewhere in the abyss of rejection and isolation. For the first time in my life I was standing in a place thinking what am I doing here? I felt like I don’t belong there. And beyond everything I stood there with hope in my eyes expecting the teacher to tell her that minorities are part of this nation. My ears were waiting to hear those words so that I could justify my stance of being in that classroom. Praying internally that the teachers answer would teach the girl a lesson.
Much to my expectations my prayers were left unanswered that day and I was abandoned in an abyss which had no way out. The teacher answered with great grief in his tone “my dear child many of these statements we read today are exploited, our Quaid would have never said that”. His words pierced my heart inside out. Our teacher was proclaiming out loud that there aren’t any statements of Quaid about the rights of minorities. This wasn’t the last time I felt I don’t belong among the people of my nation. I believe a person belonging to the minority community have to feel that way throughout his/her life.
Unfortunately our teachers play an important role in broadcasting religious discrimination in class rooms. Rather than proclaiming religious harmony they bury the seeds of hatred for other religions in the minds of students. These seeds grow and bear fruit as well. If our teachers teach us to don’t drink and eat with the minorities then how do we expect to see religious harmony among the people of our nation? Last year on Christmas I asked one of my subject teachers to mark my attendance for I had to attend a church service. The teacher validated her stance of not granting me a holiday by announcing it out loud that she’s being fair. All I could do was wonder that she gave one of the students 2 week holiday for Umrah and couldn’t give me a one day holiday. How is this fair?
The problem today is that we manipulate the minds of our youth. We sow the seeds of hatred in them but when we get the fruit of this hatred in the form chaos we turn our eyes blind to the source of the hatred. We minorities are the part of Pakistan. We are the white essence in the Pakistani flag. People who discriminate don’t know that they are not only harming the child emotionally and mentally but also dismantling the nation. I’ve faced religious discrimination for last 7 years in my life. With this religious discrimination you murder the patriotic being left within a person. There is still more that I want to say but I’ll just end it that I hope one day this will end. One day we will be one nation.