Story of the Border: Lahore Memoirs
by Ravi Nitesh
Which country’s passport do you have?” the officer asked. “India” I replied. “You are our guest, our neighbor” told the officer with smiling face.
When we reached at Atari Border, in Pakistan side, in contrast with our perception, amazingly we didn’t see heavy deployment of armed persons in and around immigration centre. Instead, those polite officers of immigration centre welcomed us and after knowing that we came from India, they offered us cold water too. One of them , also handed over me a bottle filled with cold water and told that I should keep it for the way.
Regardless of our individual identity, we all were only Indian or Pakistanis on the borders of both sides. Our passports have been checked several times during crossing the border, intelligence units tried to ask so many things before crossing the border, however they all were very cooperative. When they knew that the visit is all about strengthening the Indo Pak relation, they became more supportive.
I can say without fear that some of them were not so generous, may be it was because of their tough training, mindsets or some practical experiences or anything else. i experienced some rude behavior of these men with/without uniforms who seems with some negativity and stress. On the other hand, some others were not only polite but also had positive hope for the future and they were willing to have a strong relations of friendship between the countries.
By this experience, it seems that its all depends on a person regardless of his country and job, to make himself aligned towards humanity. In my view, the role and responsibilities of security personals of any country is just to check on crime and thus to help in maintaining peace. If it is, then they must have filled with positive hope and energy to make their job more fruitful.
Role of these security personals are really important. These are the first people who experience the behavior of persons of both sides, and similarly these are the first persons whose behavior was experienced by the persons who crossed the borders. This first experience, in my view , must be such that we both should not be felt like stranger and feared, instead, the gesture must be friendly and polite. In practical, every outsider first meet with a common soldier and immigration officers of the country posted at borders. They are the first persons who represent the country as a whole only with their behavior.
Atari border has been developed in terms of its infrastructure and in India side, lot of renovations has been made to provide easiness to travelers. A comfortable bus service provided from Immigration centre to main gate of border (only about 500 meters). It is good to see that trade is continuing between us.Trucks were lined up on border for transporting goods across borders. I heard that crossing trucks from one country to other is not permitted and then both sides of trucks load and unload the goods to/from each other’s trucks.
It was a visit that kind of pulls me again and again to revisit. I hope and believe that we will get some sort of more relaxation on visa to get it accomplished. It will certainly be a tour to get experience of similar culture, love, emotions and feelings that, probably cannot be expressed in the form of words.
Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam and founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti