Breaking The Wall Through Art
by Ravi Nitesh
We all know that whosoever created the world, created hearts and minds as well, in which feelings, emotions, desires and imagination float. With our journey to development, we started living in societies, in communities and developed a living pattern to share our thoughts, imaginations and desires within and outside the specific groups. These very identities developed culture and became a strong bond among various communities and societies to survive together with happiness and at the same time, to become a medium of sharing the expressions and feelings.
With political developments, desire of power and rule and to arrange systematic or planned administration, political boundaries came in feature that became base of countries and their boundaries. In contrary to freedom of movement, which every human gets as natural right just by being born on earth, these movements were restricted at some extent by these political boundaries due to various reasons. At present, if we talk about South Asia, India and Pakistan have made its political boundaries so stringent that it is not easy for people of these countries to move in each other’s boundary easily. Instead, it gives a very hectic experience to cross this border. However, even in this time, art has not lost its virtue of trascending boundaries and in this way, its relevance is increasing. In its best form, it sends messages across borders and reflects that art cannot be bounded; it belongs to the humanity.
Hardly a fortnight ago, when Tehrik-e-Niswan, an art group of Pakistan came to Hyderabad and Delhi (India) to perform a play and classical dance, people in India welcomed them whole heartedly. I remember when the famous Stainley Auditorium of India Habitat Centre was filled with audience till late night and people gave standing ovation to the troupe from the neighboring country. In her introductory speech, I remember that someone from the group expressed and defined herself that she would like to become a crack in the boundary (sarhad pe banee deewar ki daraar) as this crack gives hope and medium of communication and love. In their very well organized performances, the group members performed classical dances (including Indian classical dances) and performance on play and poetry (of Ameer Khusro, Ismat Chugtai, Sarojini Naidu etc). For many Indians, it was the first time that they came to know that Indian classical dance can be known in Pakistan as well and can be performed so beautifully by any person from Pakistan. For Sheema Kirmani of Tehrik-e-Niswan, the answer was simple, “Art, music do not know boundaries. I see these various forms of arts as belonging to human society and not to Indians, Pakistanis or any other specific group. I see that it belong to everyone.” It was probably one of the best things I heard. It really gives a hope to all of us, the common people of these two countries.
With all such efforts of arts and music, I feel that humanity gets strengthened. It provides a positive help in bringing people closer, in sending the message of peace and friendship and in providing a common platform to meet, to smile and to be proud of our respect for each other. In all such moves, where the initiative is taken by people for the people, political restrictions become useless and at the time when people of these two countries meet together, all the ‘so-called hatred’ gets vanished. I feel that more and more such moves are required from people’s side.
With the shared history and culture, India and Pakistan can make the cultural exchange as one of the main tools to enhance P2P (people to people) bonding. With the time, these bonds will only benefit these countries and its people.
Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and a core member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti