Living Amongst Giants

From Flickr - One Seven OneReading Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ welled up my eyes several times. What a team of men! Not only Nelson Mandela, but his comrades who never got all the glory but were still with him in all the hardship they endured. Walter Sisulu…Ahmed Kathrada… people from another planet surely, for they remained in prison for 27 years ‘of their own accord’! They could’ve got out if they had said they are standing by their beliefs no more. But they didn’t, and suffered so much for their people.

And it struck me that these people are still alive, still breathing the same air we are breathing. Books of heros are usually read when they are long gone. But in this case, they are right there, all alive, and I felt a strong desire to meet them as soon as possible. I know I can’t go right away, but meeting these giants is on my agenda from now on.

I call them giants because they looked above and beyond their personal gain, their families and any materialism. They lived for a cause, a just and worthy cause in my view, and defeated oppression by resistance. South Africa got rid of apartheid last of all, but we could well have been experiencing this strange human behaviour even today if these men didn’t do what they did.

Hats off to these people. They changed what nothing else could change. ‘The winds of change’ reached South Africa a little too late, but I am glad these guys did see the end of it with their own eyes, experienced freedom, and went on to run the country. Next stop: the movie ‘Invictus’.

One troubling fact that lingers in my mind:- freedom, hard as it is to get, dissipates into nothing if it is taken as end of story. This is what has happened to most of the third world states: they demanded independence like flaming tigers, and did get it. But what happened shortly afterwards has everywhere been a sorrowful story. People thought of independence as something like a new system, a new heaven where everything would just click into place. No one would have any troubles whatsoever. True, no troubles as far as freedom is concerned, but what of the responsibilities that come attached with it? Most of the states were left naked at the time of their independence, and that demanded immense amounts of work, energy, honesty and responsibility. Most of the time, this did not occur, and independence dissolved into chaos. Recently I was part of a conversation where Quaid-e-Azam was blamed for separating Pakistan from India, and thus causing loads of troubles for already poor people.

I don’t believe that is the case, Pakistan could’ve done much better if we didn’t think of independence as an end, but only means to the end of a great country. Anyway, that’s far from the topic, we are living amongst some of the greatest men of recent times. Can we get some leverage for the privilege of being on their shoulders? Only if we realize this leverage.



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4 responses to “Living Amongst Giants”

  1. Nadir El Edroos Avatar
    Nadir El Edroos

    Great piece! Quite right – achieving independence or emancipation is not an end, its but the start…we seem to still be stuck in 1947, as if the creation of Pakistan is an end in itself

  2. Nazia Avatar

    We are leaderless nation or some hidden powers pick genetically slave people as our leaders.

    This article depicts our true picture
    The people who raised fingers on Jinnah and company are not very wrong as most of them are filthy rich or beneficiaries of British raj .They had no understanding of lifestyles of poor who were major victims in this partition.

    Rich of both side availed this opportunity and got what they could have achieved through this blood soaked partition .

    Jinnah could have been a benevolent ruler of poor and strict administrator for corrupt people but his age and sickness couldnt not be matched with his foresighted vision for Pakistan and his immediate death has given cover to his hidden ambitions.

  3. Adnan Khan Avatar
    Adnan Khan


    True, and we all miss Jinnah. But the past cannot be changed, and the future looks to be exactly like the present or worse, if we don't act, if we don't seize the moment.

    I have seen so many Pakistanis ready to do something ONLY IF the result glorifies them, only if there is a material benefit in the end. Everyone's mind is filled with this beautiful question: "Iss ka kia faida hoga?".

    The point of my post above is to highlight how people worked in unison with Nelson Mandela to achieve their goal, while not fighting over who would rule the country when they win, who would get which ministry and so on. They worked silently, and selflessly. Their actions spoke, not their tongues. (Walter Sisulu became ANC's deputy president after his 26 years in prison, and in spite of his political position, he died in the same house he had before his imprisonment.)

    We all need to ask one question: Are we ready to make an effort for the nation without any expectations?

    1. Nazia none of o Avatar
      Nazia none of o

      Past or history is best lesson to learn for those who really who dot want to repeat mistakes.

      One thing you should make clear that creation of Pakistan was neither for poor as majority nor for making foundation of any ideal Islamic state but in reality that event provided lot of opportunities to opportunists to stable more their ruling and tyrannical way of living.This process has been strengthened in each rule no matter democratic or miltiary forces came to power.

      Nobody can seize the passing moments as good fortune of present but we have to move on with our past mistakes and burdens of present wrong doings.

      Repentance with open heartily confession and then rehabilitation of distorted and ugly system designed by elite ruling class is only way of soft revolution and only pure Pakistanis can do it instead of relying on foreign angels and aides.

      You talk about few people who really want to do something but they are either sitting on this net world or move to foreign destinations leaving behind work force as weak, corrupt and highly influenced by western negative powers.

      For those majority, silence reaction is worthless as it gives them more encouragement and superiority complex among those who are honest and fair in their jobs.

      I didn't study way of actions of nelson Mandela and his group as they belong to different land of norms, culture and religious background but we got Pakistan on such slogans which are hardly found in our system for last 60 years.

      Unity faith , discipline and then religious harmony were basic themes behind creation of Pakistan and it is absent in all departments of Pakistan and in temperament of individuals who are selected for running those departments and institutes.

      So no need to think deeply about this chaos as we all contributing as per our ability.