following personalities stand out in modern history as critical
links in the evolution of the idea that is Pakistan. They managed
to reach even those who could not read or write. Since each was
an institution in themselves, scores of other like-minded thinkers,
poets and artists can be identified and appraised through them.
Waliullah gave the dream of reorganizing the society
along spiritual lines. This dream has been lived and enriched by
each successive generation. In the era which seems to have has just
started since 2007, the message of Waliullah is becoming increasingly
more relevant, as
if taking an extended life.
Taqi Mir redefined love as a value that transcends
nationality, race or religion.
Sarmast wrote in seven languages including Persian,
Urdu, Sindhi, Saraiki and Punjabi. He worked with ethnic material
to discover a collective identity for Islam, hence seeking a unity
in cultural diversity.
translated the rich metaphor of Sufi storytelling into modern
Urdu prose by retelling an age-old story about the unification of
love and power in a futuristic society.
Ghalib redefined the meaning of faith in a world which
insisted on becoming more pluralistic than could have been imagined
Shah Zafar helped disseminate poetry through recitals
at Red Fort and presided over the last flowering of the Mughal culture
before it succumbed to the onslaught of the British rule.
Syed Ahmad Khan reworked the dream of Shah Waliullah
and enlisted modern science as an important tool for discovering
"the secrets of religion." In
the later phase, he extended his earlier work by pioneering
a movement for unifying the Muslims of South Asia.
Ali Jauhar extended the work of Zafar through journalism,
gramophone records and political activism. He practically founded
Muslim ideological journalism in a modern sense of the term.
Sir Muhammad Iqbal extended the work of Ghalib by showing
the practial implications of faith in the modern world through such
concepts as spiritual democracy and the state of Pakistan.
Safi extended the work of Mir Amman by demonstrating
the coplex issues of law, sovereignty and international relations
through fiction which was equally popular among the masses and the
Murad extended the work of Sachal Sarmast by giving
us the modern folklore of Pakistan: films and music which translate
love as integration of diverse segments of the Pakistani society.
Husain Tarar extended the work of Mir Taqi Mir by suggesting
that since the unity of Pakistan is rooted in 5000 years of history,
therefore it transcends interpretations and political arrangements.
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