Unity in Diversity

“And hold fast to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided.” (3:103) states the famous verse in the holy Quran. This verse gives the message of convergence of ideas, thoughts, belief, and efforts, etc. regardless of different perspectives and ethnicities to a focal point which Allah has clearly nominated only Himself. This verse is the best and initial concept of “Unity in Diversity” succeeded by a concept called “Whadat-ul-Wujud” by Ibn-e-Arabi, a Sufi philosopher who demonstrated it in the metaphysical concept of “Oneness of God Almighty” reflecting “Unity in Diversity and Diversity in Unity”. Later on, it has been adopted as a motto or slogan by various religious or political groups which although being diverse were working towards a common goal.

Pakistan which came into being in the name of religious identity despite having diverse cultural backgrounds has a more righteous claim on this concept. Based on its geographical position and the historical settlement of people since its formation, it is home to various multi-lingual, multi-racial and multi-ethnic groups. It must be noted that culture, which is simply an expression of one’s belonging, be it intellectual or artistic or any other form can vary from much smaller fragments like a batch of a particular class or an organization to larger like province or country. Every group has its own culture and people associated with these groups tend to have a sense of individualism at smaller but collectivism at a broader level.

Recent research conducted by professors of COMSATS University compared cultural diversity with nationalism. They used different indexes to measure different behaviors and norms that varied across the country. In their study the Power Distance Index (which is the acceptance and expectation of unequal distribution), Individualism Index (the manner in which people of society look after themselves and each other) and Masculinity and Femininity Index (the way in which males and females are treated in society) although varied to greater extent from province to province but were very much similar on national level as compared to each province.

Similarly, Long term Orientation Index (showing nurtured desired towards future outcomes) varied among provinces but resembled the national level to a greater extent. Most interestingly, despite high political instability, increased inflation and various terrorist attacks, the Uncertainty Avoidance Index (which shows the level of how people get threatened by the uncertainty of future event) was very low both on cultural as well as national level probably due to an inner locus of control and greater faith in religion. Most important of all Monumentalism Index (which shows people commitment towards their heroes including religious, national, fighter, political and trend heroes) demonstrated that people not only love and praise the former four but also don’t hesitate to sacrifice their life for them. It was the strongest index of all which was not only similar on National but Provincial level.

The result of these indexes clearly shows that no matter what our cultural differences might be, we accept and celebrate our differences which bring us closer together. This is the reason that even the strongest ethnopolitical movements in history like separatist rebellion in Balochistan, sectarianism, inter-provincial disparity (although valid up-to much extent) couldn’t tear us apart and Pakistan stands stable and firm as always in the name of religion that unites us together and teaches the same lesson.

Author: Hina Khan Palwasha

I define myself as a very creative, persuasive, determined, energetic and outgoing person with excellent interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills and the ability to develop and maintain mutually beneficial internal and external relationships. I enjoy being part of, as well as managing, motivating and training, a successful and productive team, and can thrive in highly pressurized and challenging working environment.

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