Usually we define our connection with the society by first clarifying what we want or who we are and then relating it to the people around us or the society at large. I propose to inverse this process: let's first fall in love with our collective ego and try to find out what it is and what it wants. Then let's relate it to ourselves and the people around it.
I hope that the following would be helpful in this. It is a general outline of the collective self-development (in which Bangladesh was our partner up to 1971). Whether this division is also relevant to other countries or not is to be decided by them and out of courtesy I refrain myself from attempting to judge on their behalf - except saying it in the passing that in my humble opinion this division of twenty-year periods is universally applicable although some significant modifications would need to be made in each case.
- Inquiry, 1887-1906: On December 27, 1886, Mohammedan Educational Conference was formed in Aligarh by the representatives of the Muslim community of India. Its stated goal was to achieve nationhood for the Indian Muslim community and that was achieved on December 31, 1906 with the formation of the All-India Muslim League at Dacca (now Dhaka).
- Discovery, 1907-1926: The All-India Muslim League demanded separate electorates for the Indian Muslim community and these were achieved when the elections of 1926 were contested on this basis (the turnout in the two previous elections held in 1920 and 1923 was dismal)
- Transcendence, 1927-1946: In the All-Parties Conference held in Delhi in March 1927, the Muslim leaders agreed to consider giving up separate electorates if provinces of Muslim majority were given greater autonomy and possibly consolidated into Muslim states; this was practically achieved in the elections of 1945-46 when an overwhelming majority voted in favor of Pakistan
- Freedom, 1947-1966: The state was conceived as an open-ended idea and its systems were to evolve naturally with time, so the only goal adopted at the moment of its creation was to infuse in its citizens a will and desire for defending the territorial borders against foreign aggression: this target was achieved in 1966: the September War last year had convinced the nation correctly or incorrectly that it can defend its borders even against a superior foreign aggression while disappointment over the Tashkent Agreements in January this year led to the feeling that the decision of making war and peace should be in the hands of the people rather than the military
- Action, 1967-86: This is the age of larger than life figures; there was suddenly a cluster of charismatic figures in every field which had not happened earlier and has not happened since.
- Expansion, 1987-2006: This was the age of our “enlightened moderation” (or may we call it moderate enlightenment?). When these twenty years are taken together, they seem to be so different from the periods before or after – the society welcomed a gradual increase in the role of independent television, liberalism, human rights, feminism, foreign language teaching and pedagogy, and environmental awareness. This was a stage where we learnt new things at the cost of our own ideology which was almost completely put aside during this period.
- Creation, 2007-2026: It cannot be denied that a new page was turned in the history of the nation with the Lawyers’ Movement. If what has been stated above makes sense even partially, we have discovered something here that is new and unique in human history. It can give birth to a new kind of society based on a human potential not known before.
Please note: I have been sharing this seven-stage division of Pakistan's history on my online and printed writings since 2007. I would like this final version to be regarded as definitive and any changes in the previous versions should be readjusted accordingly. An adaptation of this final version has also appeared in Topline Social Studies Programme, a series of secondary school textbooks written by me which was published last year.