Salman Taseer has declared that come hell or high water, Basant will be celebrated on 15th March, 2009. As a vocal supporter of Basant, I find this a very dangerous thing. By using Basant to try and divert attention from the Lawyers’ Movement will not hurt the latter but it will lower the stock of a popular and secular festival which had once brought good name and international fame to Lahore and Pakistan even more in the eyes of the populace.
First it was the Mullahs – who frown on everything that is remotely fun- who destroyed Basant for their own reasons. Instead of fixing the basic issue with it – the metallic string- Mullahs campaigned against it calling it “UnIslamic”. A festival that was celebrated by Ameer Khusro, Lahore’s sufi saints, and Pakistan’s poet philosopher Allama Iqbal was being deemed unIslamic by a bunch of straitjacket theocrats who have made a mockery of this country. Now it is Mr. Salman Taseer- who is using it to dent the Lawyers’ movement. We must reclaim Basant just as we must reclaim our country, our constitution, our Muslim League and our PPP.
I think Basant ought to be celebrated after the Long March , provided we can get the menace of metallic string under control for that is dangerous for the public. I think people need holidays where they can go crazy and this is our great holiday. We must not allow neither religiousity nor secular political motivations destroy it. Time has come to take back what is legitimately ours. Basant Zindabad. Pakistan Paindabad.
Meanwhile I leave you with pictures from previous memorable Basants.