In the midst of all sorts of negative developments in the country over the past few weeks, this weekend a visit to the National Monument gave me reason to rejoice. The Monument constructed at Shakarparian in Islmabad. The Monument was inaugurated by Musharraf on 23 March. The Monument was designed to be:
signifying strength, unity and dedication of the people of Pakistan into an icon representing an independent and free nation. It was envisaged for the National Monument to serve as a beacon representing the past, present and heralding a bright future for all Pakistanis to whom the Monument will stand dedicated.
[Photo credit: Suha!l @ flickr]
More details on the monument:
The monument will comprise of four blossoming flower petals representing the People of Pakistan standing united, shoulder to shoulder, shielding the crescent and star in the space below. The design concept is imbued with simplicity and strength, relaying the vision of standing guard over the Motherland. The inner walls of the petals will be decorated with murals and artwork.
A metallic crescent will be inscribed with sayings of Quaid-i-Azam and poetry of Allama Iqbal ... The theme of the National Monument revolves around creation and development of Pakistan, making it different from other two Museums in the close vicinity i.e. the Heritage and Natural History Museums. It will house exhibits highlighting Iqbal’s Concept of a Muslim State in South Asia, Quaid-i-Azam’s efforts and struggle for the independence of Pakistan and how Pakistan stands today as a forward looking developing state in Asia and the world.
[Photo credit: cnextsteps @ flickr]
So why am I making this post? Yes, it is a beautifully built monument – but struck me and brought a smile to my face was the symbolism and the lack of typical nationalistic rhetoric in the images and various pieces of quotations and descriptions around. My only regret is that I was unable to capture good photos of those that night. But it is worth noting: the description of the monument relied on the identity of the Pakistani people in their own right – without any comparison or reference to partition. It used terms like “progressive” to describe the thought of Iqbal and vision of Quaid. In short, the main plaque was inspiring without being jingoistic. Yes, I think we have turned a leaf.
Lasting thought, consider this photo:
[Photo credit: ZillNiazi @ flickr]
The inscription below it stated “No nation can rise to height of glory unless your women are side by side with you.” This is somewhat big, because you don’t see such juxtaposition on national monuments. A welcome change!
Overall, the ambience and the message of the monument was very positive and I do believe we are making small strides towards change. More power to that!
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