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Mobeen Ansari’s ‘White In The Flag’ Celebrates Diversity in Pakistan

Book Launch: White in the Flag by Mobeen Ansari

Image from Mobeen Ansari’s Facebook

Pakistani photographer Mobeen Ansari launched his photography book, White in the Flag on the 3rd of August, 2017 at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi. Many notable names attended the event including Wasim and Shaniera Akram.

Mobeen posted on Facebook that the book took him 7 years to complete. Published by Markings Publishing, the book was launched to celebrate Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day by highlighting the religious minorities of the country.  After 7 years of traveling around the country to capture images, Mobeen was able to immortalize those images in his book.

After the book was officially launched, Mobeen invited people from different cultures and religions whom he had photographed for the book on stage to honor them. They had flown specially to Karachi for the launch.

White in the Flag was my journey into the various communities residing across Pakistan. I traveled nationwide, observing people in their different habitats and places of worship in every nook and cranny of urban cities. Whether it was witnessing the colours of Holi at the mandirs of Tharparkar, listening to hymns during Sunday mass at Saint Anthony’s church in Lahore, or joining in on the festivities of Chowmos; a Kalash festival – I have been able to see, capture and celebrate diversity. While interacting and living with different communities, I learnt a lot more about my country and the coexistence of different faiths within it. And my learning made me want to share my share with everyone through this book,” said photographer Mobeen Ansari.

The aim of White in the Flag is more than just to act as a coffee table book, to be flipped through without much attention being paid to the pictures. The book explores the different cultures and religion which exist within Pakistan.

The minorities in Pakistan which are represented by the white stripe in our flag have long been ignored. There have been many incidents of hate crimes against minorities of the country. Sadly in the past decade, there has been a spike in the number of hate crimes being committed against minorities.

What White in the Flag wants to do is celebrate the diversity present within Pakistan. The multiple and incredibly rich cultures present in Pakistan have a right to live in this country as much as everybody else. The various religions being practiced in Pakistan are a testament to Jinnah’s dream of making Pakistan a haven for all those who seek peace to practice what they believe in.

However, in recent years instead of celebrating the diversity present in Pakistan, we have started to either ignore or resent it.

Diversity should be celebrated

It is time to remember the reason for the conception of this state; to have the freedom to do as you please. Everyone in Pakistan was promised the freedom to practice whatever religion they choose hence White in the Flag reminds people of the promise that had been made and is not being kept in the way that it should.

The white in our flag should be highlighted for it is as much a part of Pakistan as the green is. With Mobeen Ansari’s book, the message is clear; the White in the Flag is not just to be tolerated it is to be celebrated.

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