Although the attendance this time was less than the last time, the session was found to be more interesting than usual. I would like to thank everyone who attended, and those who intended to but couldn’t.
This was the first in the series of four workshops planned for April. This series focuses on revisiting Pakistan in the light of Iqbal’s ideas, and this particular session was an introduction to the history of Pakistan from this perspective.
In the first half we looked at brief descriptions of each of the seven valleys which birds pass through in their journey towards Simorgh (their collective ego and their unseen king) in The Conference of the Birds by Attar: Desire, Love, Knowledge of Mysteries, Detachment, Oneness, Wonderment and Poverty-and-Annihilation.
It was observed that each valley is different – in the fifth, the birds attain absolute unity but at the very entrance into the next, “that unity that had got written on their souls was no more…” This would appear to be retrogression but actually it is a necessary bridge between realizing unity within themselves (sixth valley) and externalizing it (the seventh valley).
In a brief interlude, Mr. Abbas M. Husain, director TDC, explained that the seven valleys are roadmap to any journey of self-development and can be applied equally to an individual as well as a nation (“Your creation and resurrection are like the creation and resurrection of a single soul,” says Verse 28 of Chapter 31 in the Quran).
In the second half of the session the participants concluded that when the history of Pakistan is divided into seven stages on the basis of consensus-seeking moments (explained in several previous sessions), then those stages become identical with the seven valleys of Attar. The conclusion was that even our mistakes were exactly those which were listed in the roadmap: we have been on the right track so far.
In 2007, we entered the seventh valley. What we now need to do is to shed the luggage of the sixth valley and live up to the challenge of the seventh by merging our individual selves into the consensus of the nation.
How to do that? The question will be addressed in the next interactive session on Saturday, April 11 (Please bring more friends with you if you can - but let's know in advance).