“I find our friendship dangerous…as it is challenging the constructed hatred”: Story of Devika Mittal (India) and Warda Irum (Pakistan)
As part of our call to share about their friend(s) beyond the Indo-pak Border, Devika Mittal from Delhi, India shares about her bond with Warda Irum from Islamabad, Pakistan on the occasion of Warda’s birthday today.
I came across Warda when she sent a greeting to Indians on Independence Day. I was touched by her message which was full of positivity and hope to begin anew. Weaved in through a beautiful poetry, it talked about the thorny border which exists not only physically and pains us but which is also drawn in our minds and hearts. We can only undo the past of hatred by realizing and diminishing the thorny border that exists in our minds. I was touched by her beautifully written and thought-provoking poem and connected with her through facebook.
I continued to learn through her posts that would challenge constructed hatred, misogyny, bigotry and pseudo nationalism that directs us to accept the evils, gloss over them when they actually stand against the spirit of the vision of the national leaders. Her posts were a source of information about a side of Pakistan that we hardly ever come across and recognize. They also taught how we are really the same people as her posts were as relevant to Pakistan as for the situation in India. Besides the posts, whenever I interacted with Warda, I found her as amazing as her thoughts. Whenever I talk to her, I feel as if I am talking to an old friend, to someone I know for long and too much, and with whom I am so comfortable. She is a wonderful person, amazingly friendly and sweet.
Like my other close friends in Pakistan, I hardly remember her identity as a “Pakistani”. Infact, our friendship is quite dangerous as it is challenging the stereotypes, the constructed notions. Warda is one big challenge to the idea of Pakistan as our “enemy country”, to the idea of Pakistan as a country which is completely opposite and opposing. The only time I am reminded of her identity is when I think of the distance between us, of the “thorny border” that physically exists.
On her birthday today, I hope that I am able to meet her in person on this or that side of the mere physical border this year…
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