Master Afzal Hussain: Stitching Together Pakistan’s Identity
The national flag of Pakistan stands tall as a beacon of aspiration, pride, and unity for every Pakistani. It embodies the spirit of freedom and determination that characterized the country’s struggle for independence. Amidst the remarkable history of this flag lies a tale of an unsung hero, Master Afzal Hussain, whose skillful stitches not only crafted the first flag but also etched his name into the very fabric of Pakistan’s identity.
The Emblem of Belief and Determination
As Pakistan embarked on its journey towards independence, the green crescent flag emerged as a powerful emblem of belief and determination. The flag symbolized the collective aspirations and hopes of a nation yearning for self-determination and autonomy. While the design of the flag was attributed to Ameer-ud-Din Qudwai, it was Master Afzal Hussain and his younger brother, Altaf Hussain, who painstakingly stitched the flag in June 1947, a mere two months before the country’s historic independence.
A Hidden Hero’s Obscured Legacy
Master Afzal Hussain’s pivotal role in shaping Pakistan’s identity often goes unnoticed amidst the grandeur of the flag itself. His life’s work was dedicated to tailoring, and he ran a shop in Delhi frequented by influential politicians and leaders of the Pakistan Movement, who sought his expert craftsmanship in creating the traditional sherwanis. However, the partition prompted him to make a significant sacrifice, leaving behind his life’s work to move to Karachi.
In Karachi, Master Afzal Hussain retreated into obscurity, preserving his role as the flag’s creator as a well-guarded secret. His legacy remained hidden until the efforts of renowned scholar Hakim Mohammad Saeed brought his story to light. In 1979, then-President-General Ziaul Haq posthumously recognized his contribution with the Pride of Performance award, though it was a recognition that arrived after his passing.
A Legacy of Controversy and Unity
The legacy of Master Afzal Hussain was not without its controversies. A debate arose within his family, with conflicting claims about whether he or his brother Altaf Hussain was responsible for stitching the first flag. However, their shared dedication to this monumental task serves as a testament to the unity and resolve that characterized the nation’s fight for independence.
Remembering and Recognizing Heroes
The story of Master Afzal Hussain reflects a larger dilemma faced by nations—the forgetting of their unsung heroes. Despite his critical role in stitching the very fabric of Pakistan’s identity, his name remained largely unknown. His family’s call for official recognition resonates with a deeper sentiment: that the sacrifices and contributions of those who shaped the nation should never be forgotten.
As we gaze upon the green flag fluttering in the sky, let us remember that it represents not only a nation’s pride but also the countless individuals who dedicated their lives to its creation. Master Afzal Hussain’s name deserves to be etched in the annals of Pakistan’s history, for his stitches went beyond fabric—they bound together the dreams, aspirations, and unity of a nation.
Master Afzal Hussain’s story serves as a powerful reminder that heroes come in many forms, often hidden behind the scenes of grand events. His stitches may have crafted the flag, but his unwavering dedication and sacrifice were the threads that stitched Pakistan’s identity together. Let us honor his legacy by recognizing the contributions of all those who shaped the destiny of our nation, and let us never forget that behind every emblem lies a story of unity, resolve, and a better future.