Lost Identity By Ayesha Shahid The roaring and the wailing of the wind awakened me suddenly from my 'sweet dreams'. I looked out of my window and saw the trees in my backyard swinging violently. Almost immediately I saw two trees falling over the backyard. I ran to my bed, covered myself and prayed that the hurricane would stop and won't cause much damage. Next morning, I dared to walk into the yard to see what Nature has done to my nature in the garden. I was grieved to see my plantation crashed to the ground.

But there was something more than the grief: I noticed a tree on the ground with its huge root system exposed in the air. Then I marveled at another tree: Lightning had damaged one of its biggest branches but the tree itself stood intact; its deep root system held it firmly in place. At this juncture I realized a subtle yet profound relation between man and nature. I learnt that people, like trees, need roots and a solid system of connections fastening them firmly to the ground. As I thought about it, I realized just how rootless and disturbed our lives have become in these chaotic and in many ways, dark times. The present time carries, with itself, a sense of rootless ness and disconnection.

In our humdrum lives, time seems to move at a tremendous velocity and people in turn travel great distances to reach out time. The majority of people in this postmodern world seem to have no connection with their past, family, community and nation. They have become a kind of globetrotter concerned with the physical comforts and the present moments only. The life in big cities, despite its industrial progress and physical comforts, is sordid and horrible where the identity of a human being is nothing but a 'heap of broken images' drowned in materialism. People have lost faith in the moral and spiritual values. It has become an exception rather than a rule to consider settling as a nation, to build deep roots and connections that will last a lifetime.

As a result, in the times of crisis, these people come out hurt and wounded, sometimes homeless and alone. In the past 59 years, our culture has undergone a tremendous transformation. Our country is undergoing an identity crisis, a crisis that arises from cultural conflict. One of the causes of this conflict is that the Pakistani society possesses foreign cultures along with its own that vary from region to region. These numerous cultures tend to conflict with one another. This crisis is clearly manifested in the actions of the Pakistani youth who is rebellious and indecisive.

They seem to have forgotten that an individual must have a defined conception of himself in order to survive as a productive human being. Likewise, a nation must also possess a distinct concept of itself in order to exist as a strong, independent land. It is essential that we study other cultures and civilizations to learn how their advancements affect their people. We must understand that an advancement, which is good for one group of people, could be harmful for another. There has to be a sense of rooted ness and continuity. If the roots are weak the nation may eventually destroy itself.

Another very important cause of identity crisis is disconnection from our past. We no longer remember the basis of a separate homeland for us. We seem to have forgotten the efforts invested in making Muslims an independent nation that has a distinct culture, tradition, religion, history and so on. Being a third generation, we are totally mindless of the true insinuations of our ideology and the objectives behind the creation of a separate homeland. We are least concerned of what turmoil and sacrifices our ancestors had to go through all these years back. It is important to realize that in this ever-changing world where connections with the nature, relationships, community, and the past are distant or broken, our very survival becomes threatened.

We need to think that without a strong root system, how can we be nourished and how can we withstand the winds of life. We need to join hands together and address this growing pattern of rootless ness. We need to get back to our past, our own spirits, friends and loved ones and the community at large. We need to sustain these connections over time as our spiritual survival depends on it.