Article: Beyond Barbed Wires
by Shruti Sharma
Abducted, Blindfolded, I Resist.
Shoved into a car. No conversation- with me or between the others.
The only sounds- ignition, rushing tyres on the road, and a few sudden breaks.
I think, I think again. Who are they? Where are they taking me? Why aren’t they speaking?
I scream, I demand an answer.
Their arms don’t brush against mine. I don’t hear anyone breathing next to me. They are in the car but they are not doing anything to me. They have abducted me. “What do you want?” I demand again.
No words, no replies, only some discomfort.
The car rushes faster. After a few hours of monotonous silence and emptiness, the car stops, an unexpected stop. As if their task is close to being achieved. They seem to have a purpose, a serious purpose or maybe it is a puzzle without clues.
The door opens. It’s a signal. I have to get down, I assume. I am not forced.They tie my hands, blindfolded I already am. This human touch is not uncomforting.And then, something happens. The car leaves. I don’t know about the people in it.
I am traumatised. I wait. I wait for someone to do something to me. I don’t know if someone is around me. Lone trees get caught in a gush of strong wind, the only sound.
I begin opening the rope that has kept my hands tied. It is loose, unsecured. Why hadn’t I realised it all this while? I set my hands free and in a moment I feel liberated. But am I?
I open my scared eyes slowly, to see a barren land. There is no sign of any human life around. There is a bottle of water kept on the ground and a paper next to it. I drink all of it up in haste and grab the piece of paper. It reads “You’ll be safe if you do not enter foreign territory”.
I look left and then right. Barbed wires. No sign boards. No distinctions. I am standing on ‘human-made no man’s land’- the irony in words.
Which one is India? Which one is Pakistan? There is no grass on either side of the barren land. I always thought the grass was greener on my side. I was told it is easy to distinguish one from the other. Which side is foreign territory? They both looked like one, the same, just set apart by barbed wires.
Birds flew from one territory to the other. A gush of wind picked up sand from both sides of the barren no man’s land, took it up in air and brought them together to become one, to become what they were always meant to be. Nature has created no boundaries. It defies all manmadedistinctions. It is but natural to do so.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in my situation. What would you do? Which side would be foreign territory? The azaan can be heard on both sides and they sound the same, as if coming from the same person. The sky is also the same, so are the rays of the sun.
There was a time, around 200 and more years ago, when again you would have been in the same dilemma had someone put you on a deserted piece of land asking you which side was yours. Then, there were no demarcations, it was one and you could go anywhere and that is why it was difficult to choose. Now, there are clear demarcations, borders have been drawn. Notions of us and them have been created. Why is it difficult today? Why do you still not know which side to choose? Why are you lost?
One is lost, now, because beyond the barbed wires, even today, exists one land and not two. How can you choose between the two that look alike? You need to have an ‘other’ to distinguish. And once you are put between the two parallel running lines of human-created borders, you will realise that the grass is the same shade of green on both sides. How can it be different when it is one land? How can it be different when it is not yours or mine but our land?
Shruti Sharma is currently pursuing bachelors in Political Science from lady Shri Ram College (Delhi University).