M.M Alam passed away in March 2013? Hadn’t he passed many years ago? I did know that he was a war hero. Perhaps I would have never known of him hadn’t the famous road of Lahore, on which all the posh and famous eateries are located, been named after him. I don’t even know what M.M Alam’s full name was? Or why is he our hero? Which war? The feeling of remorse kept growing as I pondered upon it.
So, I sat down and looked up his name on the internet. Our media is too busy hosting topics that improve the ratings that they conveniently trimmed the air time and newspaper space this news required. Of the obituaries and other material I found; I was impressed, astonished and most strongly of all, ashamed.
Mr. Muhammad Mahmood Alam, sitara-e-jurat’, was North American Aviation F-86 Sabre flying ace. Mr. Alam, also known as the ‘little dragon’, gunned down five Indian fighter jets in 55 seconds in Indo-Pak war of 1965- world record unbeaten till date. He was a Bengali Pakistani who was loyal to Islamic Republic of Pakistan even after 1971. Eldest of 11 siblings, Mr. Alam never married because his tough life didn’t allow him the luxury of marriage. He worked for the future and stable lives of his brothers and sisters at the stake of his own. He did the same for his country; such valor and passion is evident from his untarnished professional and altruistic retired life. It’s a shame that the ones he made all the sacrifices for abandoned him; far from the iconic treatment he deserved. He took an early retirement because he liked to walk with his head high. Although his income was close to negligible, still he refused to receive his well-earned pension. He joined the Afghan Mujahideen in fighting the Soviet. That’s the last it was heard of Mr. Alam until his death in 2013.
As much as I like to think that the new generation, the youth everyone has high hopes from, will make Pakistan a country I would proudly want to live in, I am taken aback when I see youngsters following Ashton Kutcher and Angelina Jolie rather than Abdul Sattar Edhi. Or when I see how they know who won the ‘teens choice for best actor’ rather than finding pride in the Dr. Abdus Salam’s achievement of Nobel Prize and trying to build on it. There are still many living legends who have done applaudable work and are more than willing to guide the youngster. We need to do a self-analysis as a nation and get out of this imaginary status-conscious-mind-set and rearrange our priorities. It is dire need of time that we do so before it is too late.