The true Individual cannot be lost in the world; it is the world that is lost in him -Al-Ghazali Rumi
“I” could not exist without “We” where though “We” itself is important for various reasons, it is crucial for “I”s sustainability. For you and I to survive, there needs to be a “We”, where “I” belongs. Like oxygen is crucial for our physical self, “We” is necessary for the stability of “I” and ultimately plays a role in its lifeline.
This is not science but essentially universal law for any living “I”. Beyond Earth, in the midst of all that the universe offers, this “I” and “We” relationship is comparable to any living entity that has a start, a middle and an end. They could be entities like stars and black holes, where each is part of a bigger universe. In the same manner, around the earth each specie whether it is a kind of tree, insect or flower, does not exist independently but as part of a greater system. Humanity is another existing and living body which has a profound Why to fill. Indeed, it is the relationship of “I” and “We” filling this precise blank.
“I”s association with “We” is often by choice and more frequently by what the world assigns through time, preventing us with an opportunity to present our if’s or buts. Both types of association demands a similar exhaustive questioning period that in itself is NEVER COMPLETE. Keeping in mind of time, it is important to note where associations may never change, they alter and have an effect on “I”s intimacy in relation to the “We”; therefore the profound why and purpose in domino effect. As past is attached with the present, with previous associations new ones are attached. These new associations redefine our pre-existing associations, altering the dynamics of the “We” and “I” in the way it bears a path. In this sense, previous associations do not change but new association mould a new direction that begins with the existing associations. Thus, in consideration of time my understanding of “We” is never definite. Hence, my identity – my “I” is as mobile as time, while I grasp the “We” that will spell out my why and outline my definite purpose.
Though incomplete and indefinite at the moment I define my “We” in the following ways: I took my first breathe in the metropolitan city of Lahore which is the heart of the province of Punjab in Pakistan – a country that has experienced partition with India (1947), secession with Bangladesh (1971), 33 years of military rule under 3 different military regimes with the first one being in 1958. In March of 2013 it marked the first time a democratically-elected government completed a full five year in 65 years of the country’s history. I was born in a Muslim family and raised to accept Islam as my religion. And for most of my life, all of this held no significance for me. Up until recently, I did not really give too much thought to it either. After all,these were all associations that I was given by the world since I did not ask for any of it. Really, I took it for granted and if anything adolescence makes one not care or desire to understand such things. I was more concerned with what was up with Lizzie Maguire, Usher’s single ‘Yeah’ and basketball. But Today, with my last year of Honours in International Relations, my program has played a primary role to define my “I” in context of my associations of being a Muslim, Pakistani and Canadian.
I crave breathing the Pakistani air despite the stigma the country is attached with by the Western media. I’m curious how women with burqas and abayas live their life differently or similarly to mine. I know that though Pakistan is perceived as this conservative and Islamic country, alcohol, dating, music, and fashion – often cited as Western constructs play as much role in Pakistani society as it does in Canadian society. It’s odd that my Canadian friends have a Pakistani background yet all of them either never lived there, have merely visited or have spent very few years of childhood in Pakistan. And its funny that I used to feel a little offended when I would be questioned due to my darker complexion “are you Indian?” but today I want to smile and just say that “I am” or state “I am Pakistani” and pop a question right back stating “but does it really matter?”! Pakistan and India’s shared history and culture make them like branches from the same tree.
THUS, I DISCOVERED I AM A CANADIAN, PAKISTANI, and MUSLIM. As I slice through the history of Canada, and Pakistan I can understand what is mine. I not only have to catch up to understand what these two countries are today, I need to get a grip on what these two countries have experienced before me. This is my history and all of this are webs of my associations. Where my Pakistani identity tells me what my path is, my Canadian identity guides me on how I’ll to travel that path. My Muslim identity gives me sanctity – the permission of doing it right, a strengthening force to my character. These associations are far from being realized, and I’m merely beginning to wake up to these identities. Nevertheless, I believe they hint at my potential and my power. They are continuously transforming my ordinary being of existence to something more. It’s interesting that what lay before me all of this time meant something but I understood nothing, and it could have meant nothing if I did not attend the IR program. The program confronted me with the question of what Pakistan means to me for 8 months at a time for three years. And as certain as I could be today, I know Pakistan is my future and my tomorrow, while my today in Canada gifts me the resources and means to make it happen.
My engagement with “We” has begun and I ask you to consider yours. I know I am part of a system where I have a purpose that the world needs to be fulfilled and your existence is no different. It’s not science, rather a feeling and a sense that you are led by. Wait for time, it will tell you what the next life stop is and remember nothing is set in stone. I am Pakistani, Indian, Muslim, and Canadian and a student of International Relations program. Is there more to my political identity? I believe so. I am young and I do not yet clearly see the given cues by the great forces of the world, thus I wait for time to show me what’s next. I wait for my next association to mold my political identity forward. Whether by shock or gradually, I welcome myself to the “We”’s that will reshape my “Why” and mobilize my purpose forward. I DEMAND YOU TO SEEK YOUR “WE”…NOW.