I created this sketch titled “The Survival of Pakistan” to convey how, despite the divisive nature of Islam, various uniting factors in Pakistan have managed to hold the nation together. Sardar in “That Question Mark” outlines this divided nation with the notion that Islam “functions as a mechanism for oppression” (Sardar, 5). He alludes to the ‘chain of deep state’ philosophy to describe how Islam was used to maintain balance between military, feudal landlords, and politicians. Islam took on a highly toxic connotation. It managed to drive communities apart and clashed aross various dimensions of society. This clash became most evident between the Shi’a and Sunni Muslims. Many of the papers we read that week described the ways in which this sectarian conflict divided the nation, with little mention of the ways the nation was able to thrive. I, therefore, found interest in Sardar’s paper because he stresses why Pakistan did not completely fall apart. In addition to the resourceful abilities of the individual, he highlights the healing source media, music, and literature has provided for Pakistan.
I attempt to demonstrate this conflict and survival in my drawing. The Deodar cedar tree represents Pakistan, as it is the national tree. The Sunnis and Shiites depict the sectarian conflict threatening to tear the nation (tree) down with their violence and political corruption. As we see Pakistan falling, it still remains held up by cultural forces. I represent the music and literature sources of Pakistan holding the tree up against the opposing forces. Music was something that everyone shared in common no matter what their beliefs or interests were. Pakistanis managed to connect over pop culture sources, like the music television series Coke Studio. Sardar mentions how this pop culture was “a clear attempt to bridge the cultural fragmentation of Pakistan’”(Sardar, 13). This outlet of music and deep-rooted literature brought Pakistan together through a single shared aspect of society. With the many Islams creating a pressing need for union, these cultural traditions played a restorative role.