Aurora Magazine

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The Dawn of Pakistan

Published in Jul-Aug 2017
A special 37-insertion photo-feature by Dawn to mark Pakistan’s 70th birthday.
The feature is supported by detailed captions, providing the context of the events each photograph brings to the fore.
The feature is supported by detailed captions, providing the context of the events each photograph brings to the fore.

On May 28, 2017, Dawn readers woke up to a slightly different looking newspaper. Spread across the front and back pages under the paper’s masthead was an iconic photograph of a man on horseback, surrounded by turbaned men, caravans, horses and cattle. The front led with The Dawn of Pakistan 1906-1948 followed by the caption: Towards Partition: A Caravan to Freedom. On the back page, at the top of the photograph was the line: As We Enter Our 70th Year, Pakistan’s Story Becomes Your Story. At the bottom, providing further elucidation was the line: As We Enter Our 70th Year, Pakistan’s Story Becomes Your Story. A Time To Reflect. A Milestone To Celebrate.

This iconic photograph, showing the early effects of Partition’s mass migrations, was taken by the renowned American photojournalist, Margaret Bourke-White, whose work, including some of the photographs in this special feature, has been featured in Life magazine among other publications.


Kicking off with the iconic photograph of the harrowing days leading up to Partition, the feature goes into flashback mode and begins with the foundation of the All India Muslim League in Dhaka in 1906.


This was the start of a special 37-insertion photo-feature by Dawn to mark Pakistan’s 70th birthday. The photo-feature covers the crucial 42 years (1906 to 1948) that led to the founding of Pakistan. Thirty-five of the insertions appear as full pages within the newspaper and two – the one on May 28th and another on August 13th – as double page covers.

Each episode highlights a milestone within the orbit of the tumultuous events that marked Pakistan’s journey to independence. Kicking off with the iconic photograph of the harrowing days leading up to Partition, the feature goes into flashback mode and begins with the foundation of the All India Muslim League in Dhaka in 1906. From thereon, the story moves on to encompass the contributions of Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar and his brother Maulana Shaukat Ali in giving shape to the Muslim political identity in India; the life and times of Mr Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in London, Allama Iqbal’s Allahabad address, Mr Jinnah’s interaction with Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and the British Government, his ascent as Pakistan’s first Governor General and his monumental role in securing support for Pakistan in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as the Princely States.

In addition to the 20 taken by Margaret Bourke-White (source: Getty Images), the photos, some of them rarely, and sometimes never seen, were sourced and curated from archives, which include institutions such as the Lahore Museum, the National Archives Islamabad, the Iqbal Academy, the Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications and the Dawn/White Star Archives, as well as personal archival collections from the Altaf Husain, Gauhar Ayub, Khan of Kalat, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Princess Yasmien Abbasi and Sherbaz Khan Mazari families.

The feature is supported by detailed captions, providing the context of the events each photograph brings to the fore. A great deal of effort was made by the Dawn team to fact check the precise nature and course of the events projected and this involved tracing and studying multiple historical sources to authenticate the narrative.



The Dawn of Pakistan 1906-1948 will have a presence on DawnNews in the form of a series of videos which will begin airing later in July. The series consists of 37 video clips; each video clip, which will be two to three minutes in length, will be based on a single episode, and consist of animations based on photographs used in the print version and supported by a voice-over in Urdu. An 18-second video is currently on air to promote the forthcoming video series and is also available on YouTube (bit.ly/2sZik3K). Each episode of The Dawn of Pakistan 1906-1948 will also be adapted into 60-second audio promos in English and will be aired on CityFM89.

The Dawn of Pakistan 1906-1948 is published on Dawn.com. The online feature broke on June 11 and will be released in a sequence of nine more episodes.

United Bank Limited (UBL) are the publishing partners for the online version. To this end, the bank released a specially-conceived campaign in the newspaper called Rahbar-e-Taraqqi-o-Kamal. The print campaign appears on the same days as Dawn’s photo-features do, and have for baseline: UBL celebrates Pakistan’s 70th year of Independence with Dawn and showcase individuals, landmarks and icons that are intrinsically Pakistani. They range from personalities such as Madam Noorjehan, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Abdul Sattar Edhi and Dr Adeeb-ul-Hassan Rizvi, to chaunsa mangoes, the K2 mountain range, truck art and the markhor and link their attributes to Pakistan. For example, an advertisement that focuses on K2 states, “You are spectacular... Pakistan is You.”


According to Habib, Rahbar-e-Taraqqi-o-Kamal is taken from a verse from the last stanza of the national anthem and translates to “leader of the way to progress and excellence” which ties in with UBL’s positioning as a progressive and innovative bank.


According to Ali Habib, Head of Corporate Affairs and Marketing, UBL, the objective of the campaign is “to create a positive and long lasting brand association for the bank.” He says that the word ‘you’ is “a take on UBL’s tagline ‘where you come first’ and highlights all that is great about Pakistan and resonates with every citizen.”

According to Habib, Rahbar-e-Taraqqi-o-Kamal is taken from a verse from the last stanza of the national anthem and translates to “leader of the way to progress and excellence” which ties in with UBL’s positioning as a progressive and innovative bank. “With this campaign we celebrate all that makes us proud of our past and positive about our future. The Dawn of Pakistan 1906-1948 serves as a perfect prelude to the icons that UBL is showcasing in Rahbar-e-Taraqqi-o-Kamal.”