Rashid Minhas is a sort of little Hallaj for the new nation of Pakistan – as if he wrote with his blood, “I am Pakistan.” In him, the personal becomes the political: in the final duel, his self-respect and prestige of Pakistan become one, and he must choose to die in order to save both.
In Javidnama, Iqbal placed Hallaj on the fifth sphere, i.e. the Sphere of Jupiter. That is where I would place Rashid:
“I saw a people who were turning away from life, so I decided to wake them up,” said Hallaj. “They said they believed in God and yet they didn’t believe in themselves. How can you have faith in the Almighty without having faith in yourself?”
Rashid’s story may have a similar message for us. As we realize that this is just the case study we need in the 21st Century, we are forced to ask:
- Who wrote this story?
Having faith in God might not be sufficient for answering this question. We need to have faith in ourselves too.