21st November is the death anniversary of the Dr. Abdus Salam (1926-96) the only Noble Laureate of Pakistan who brought home this prestigious award for his work in theoretical physics in 1979.
Every year this day comes and goes by but no one bothers to remember the man who brought international recognition to Pakistan. If our ruling elites have ostracized him because they didn’t want to offend the fundamentalists in the country by remembering him for he belonged to Ahmadi community. What about our media which also considered it to be of no worth to dedicate some space to the only Noble laureate of Pakistan.
Quoting an editorial of Daily Times on the day “after the great scientist was buried in Chenab Nagar, his tombstone said ‘Abdus Salam the First Muslim Nobel Laureate’. Needless to say, the police arrived with a magistrate and rubbed off the ‘Muslim’ part of the katba. Now the tombstone says: Abdus Salam the First Nobel Laureate.” Bulleh Shah perhaps said for such occasions:
Crows swoop on hawks,
Sparrows do eagles stalk,
Strange are the times!
The founder of the nation Qauid-e-Azam in his inauguration speech to Constituent Assembly on 11th August 1947 said that “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State…. Now, I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State”.
Let us for a moment overcome the wall of bigotry and think what we are doing to our heroes. He is one of least remembered Pakistani because he belonged to a sect which was declared non- Muslim by the Parliament. Why don’t we take humans according to their personal worth and genius instead of weighing their belief and faith? If in this country moral and intellectual dwarfs can be hailed as the saviors, then what is wrong in paying him his overdue homage? Belief in humanity and love for fellow human beings is the sign of enlightenment and rationality, quoting again Bulleh Shah:
I am free, my mind is free,
I am neither a sick person nor a physician
Neither a believer nor an infidel
Nor a mullah or syed
In the fourteen spheres I walk in freedom
I can be imprisoned nowhere.