It was just past sunset when I decided to see Mazar-e-Quaid before returning to Lahore on July 5. The place looked beautiful in the twilight of Karachi.
The city lights often make your eyes squint. I easily reached the door of Quaid’s resting place. Instead of resting in his shrine, Jinnah was standing at the door, staring at the darkness engulfing the horizon.
Black sherwani, white pajamas, Jinnah cap, and hands behind his back, Jinnah looked rather grim. The writer in me found a chance and came out to ask a few questions. I hurried forward a few steps and paid salam to him.
Quickly, he said Waalaikum Assalam, and kept his stare. I spoke with a smile, “Mr. Jinnah, why are you standing here instead of resting?” He replied, “This is no longer my grave.” What? Startled with the response, I asked, “What do you mean it’s not your grave anymore? Whose grave is it then? And where is your grave?” I asked as many questions as I could in one go. “My thoughts and ideologies are now buried in this grave.
I was thrown out of the grave. Guards have been stationed outside the tomb so that my thoughts and my ideas may stay put, imprisoned in this grave. These guards don’t let my ideas go out anymore.”
Somehow, I began to understand Jinnah’s plight. If man’s ideas are imprisoned, he dies piece by piece, little by little. And a person whose ideology has kept him alive even after his death, this imprisonment for such a person was more than constant oppression.
I stepped a little forward, looked beyond the horizon, with a brief sigh I asked, “Mr. Jinnah, is this making you stay up this late?” He turned his face to me a little, gave me a staunch brief stare, glanced into my soul and dauntingly said, “Young man, bullet can’t kill a dream, and forces cannot burry ideologies.”
Then he stopped and said, “Jinnah’s ideas cannot die. Jinnah’s ideas have been bequeathed for 1400 years, generation after generation. In the name of religion, one may burry Jinnah, but Jinnah’s ideology will always live on in generations to come.”
I inquired, “Mr. Jinnah, what is it then, that’s keeping you up?” Jinnah began like a man who had travelled so many miles on foot, and had finally found a place to take a break from a never-ending struggle, “Yesterday, a Hindu stood where you stand today.
Despite my prohibition, he leaned on the stairs, kissed the grave, touched my feet, and asked with sobs, ‘What does Pakistan mean?’ I said, Ram Chandra, even your children know, what does Pakistan means? It means La Ilaha Illallah. Ramchandra said, ‘Mr. Jinnah, you have taught the children that Pakistan means, La ilaha illa Allah, but why didn’t you teach them the meaning of La ilaha illa Allah?’ Then he burst into tears, kept on trying to wipe away tears, but wiping away tears of 70 long years was laborious.
He had come to share decades of grief with me yesterday. He continued, ‘Why did you not teach your children that there is no god but Allah? You made a whole country for the Muslims, why didn’t you make any Muslims for the country?’
I asked, what had happened? He said, ‘An announcement was made to build a temple in your capital city. It has unsettled us all. If Modi is slaughtering Muslims in India, oppressing them, killing them brutally, how is that our fault? Do we support him? Why are we being punished for this? Please, I beg you, tell your children not to build a temple in Islamabad if they can’t, but at least, stop making fun of our gods?
If we say something on your Qur’an, we will be killed, our settlements will be reduced to ashes, but there is no law on disrespecting our gods? Why? Why isn’t the law of one God the same for everyone, Jinnah?’ He said, ‘We used to read in books that Muslims would always protect non-Muslims. We are taught that Muslims are just. Aren’t these people Muslims? You were right, Mr. Jinnah, Muslims and Hindus are two opposing nations; we cannot be free under each other’s government rule.
Let us admit that your religion does not allow a temple to be built in Islamabad. Does it hinder reinvigoration of Saidpur village Mandir, too? And if there is a problem of population ratio, then where there is a large Hindu population, build a temple and close the mosque. And if it appears to be a burden on the Muslim taxes, use the taxes that Hindus have paid in the last 70 years.
If there really is no god but Allah for Muslims, then tell me, Mr Jinnah, why do people worship their political heads, religious leaders, or regional Chauhdaries? What does Pakistan really mean, Mr. Jinnah? There is no god but Allah? And what does La ilaha illa Allah mean?
We don’t read Qur’an, we don’t know Hadith. For us, Islam is Muslims. And if the Muslims’ God is one, then why there are two different rulings on building a Gurdwara and a Hindu temple?’ These words of this Hindu have forced me to look at my Pakistan carefully.
A closer look has revealed that I am being thoroughly buried alive in the earth of my own country. Sometimes, I am called secular, at others, a vile politician who used to play religious cards. Young man, I am a Muslim. Pakistan means La ilaha illa Allah.
And La ilaha illa Allah means one and only one God – Allah. There is only one law. And that law commands religious freedom and respect for the religion of the others. If people call me a kafir or a secular for promoting this command of God, let them speak.
Jinnah never panics in trouble. Jinnah believes in one God, and follows His commands only. Jinnah has not bowed before the earthly gods before, nor will he bow now. Whether a temple is built in Islamabad or not, whether Modi kills Muslims or not, the Muslims of Pakistan will not break the heart of any Hindu.
Beware, whoever does this, I will grab him by the collar on the Day of Resurrection and drag him before Allah saying, O Allah, for this man his earthly god was more than your religion. He upheld his politics, and reconciliation at the expense of Your bequeathed values. He hurt those who were not Muslims and closed his doors on them. Let him be punished for he worked against Pakistan.