An Evening in Liberty : Lahore Memoirs
by Ravi Nitesh
‘So you are from Karachi?’ the shopkeeper asked while I with other friends was roaming in Lahore and my friends Owais & Abbas told him that I came from outside Lahore. This one statement itself reveals the fact that yes we are alike.
In fact, the relation of a country with other , though ideally (should be) depends on desire of people, but unfortunately, in India and Pakistan, even though a most required and most felt desire of people to meet each other, governments are the only entities that are deciding the relations regardless of people’s emotions.
India and Pakistan are the countries who are more famous for their mutual hate than any mutual progress and love. In contrast, Indians and Pakistanis are the people of two countries who extend their love and supports towards each other whenever they meet. In spite of all unfortunate incidents such as wars and all imposed misunderstandings , still we , the Indians and Pakistanis, together build a region that shares almost same culture, same people, same thoughts etc. In most of the cases, we are alike. In fact, India is more diverse in terms of its states where we have different languages, different culture and different people, while on other hand, across the border, we share a common culture with our neighbor. These things are not just part of facts, but these are the part of life, part of emotions and above all its about pain. Yes, the pain with that we both are suffering. Why not we are allowed to meet frequently with each other? What restrict us? The simple answer is Government policy. And the joke is that, this policy exists on the name of security. So we can say that it is government policy that will decide and authorize us to meet and to visit a place or person. Is it the real thing that we mean of being civilized? Was the natural flow of people not the desire and need of humanity?
As an Indian in Pakistan, you always feel the special gesture you received by them (the Pakistanis). These special gesture was experienced by two Indian delegates who just as a look of nearby tea stall , went for a tea and interacted with people there. One of them had a car and he offered him to give them a 15 minute free tour in his car just because they were special guest.
This country was not only similar but also friendly. We have not experienced even for a single moment that any of them behaved or looked with hate. In coming time, I hope and pray for more relaxed visa norms, for more chances to meet with each other and for more communication. It is the people to can make the real change, because they live the feelings, the pain and the memories. Government has no right to restrict the movements, and in spite of its various policies and regulations, emotions will travel because it cannot restrict.
Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam and founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti