Pakistanis pushing boundaries – An ode to my people!
I was invited to speak at the opening ceremony of Khayaal Arts Festival 2014 as one of four keynote speakers. The theme of the festival was ‘Pushing Boundaries’ and I was asked to discuss how I attempt to push boundaries in my life.
However, I’m of the view that enough has been written and said about my work. It is unfair that we develop a habit of only recognising a select few as people doing good work in the country. I, myself, have benefited from the contributions of countless Pakistanis who have made this country prosper and become better for me to live, grow, get an education and have the freedom to express myself in.
There are millions of Pakistanis whose work we take for granted, whom we refuse to acknowledge till they go out there and win laurels on their own. Samina Baig, Atif Anwar and the Street Football Worldcup team are all examples of that.
Whatever happened to grooming talent? Whatever happened to raising stars as opposed to only celebrating them? Whatever happened to realising the responsibilities that come with our privileges? Whatever happened to being thankful and grateful about the contributions of so many Pakistanis and patriots who serve us without any expectations and we instead focus on everything negative in this country?
Yes, there is darkness in my land but there are those who are pushing forward, spreading light and breaking barriers. I am because of them and I am indebted to all of them in gratitude. This speech is my humble ode my people. Some here we know and some remain unsung.
Let us acknowledge their contributions against odds like gender inequality, misogyny, patriarchy, child abuse, slavery, terrorism, extremism, scarce resources and in some instances lack of even basic amenities.
I have only been able to mention a few in my speech. This is because this list will remain inexhaustible because there will remain Pakistanis who will continue to work silently without any glory for a better Pakistan. To them I can only say, thank you.
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