Intolerant attitude

Did we teach them right?

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On Tuesday, news came out that two people have been arrested in Lahore as they vandalized the statue of Ranjit Singh. The statue was recently erected in Lahore Fort near the grave of the 19th century ruler of Punjab.

According to the reports, two men, one of whom carried a stick, feigning to have a limp in his leg, approached the statue as the place was opened to visitors over Eid holidays, and damaged it before they were hauled up by the security staff present there.The accused raised slogans claiming to be followers of Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi.

One can clearly see where the hatred is coming from. On the 72 Independence Day we ought to send out a message of tolerance and brotherhood to ourselves as well as the world. Have we ever pondered the words of our national anthem or we just recite it for the sake of reciting it, standing up erect and placing our hands at heart.

The second stanza enunciating the system that will govern this land of the pure, it says that the mutual brotherhood shall be the strength of this nation. It nowhere says it shall only be the Muslims. There is often the talk of the two colours in our flag that represent the various religious identities living in this country.

If we as a nation cannot do the necessary reflection on what ails is as a society and a nation, at least we can learn to live with the diversity of beliefs and thoughts. This in no way contradicts with the two-nation theory.

The said event is reflective of a mindset that we unfortunately nurtured over the seven decades. Our History books do never tell us as to who Ranjit Sindh was and where did he belong to. He was a son of the soil hailing from Gujranwala. As a teenager he initially succeeded in securing some toehold in the vicinity of Punjab as a caretaker of sorts for an Afghan king. And at one point in time managed to extend his borders to as far as Torkhum. He was the only one who could withstand the onslaught of the then mighty East India Company who had swept over the whole of India to keep them east of the Satluj River for as long as he lived. It took the wily company no fewer than 10 years after Ranjit Singh’s death to capture the coveted Punjab.

Does it make any sense to not tolerate even a statue in the honour of brave son who was no ordinary soul, for sure, just because he had a different religion?