Terrorist threat to school brought Indian and Pakistani students together: Story of Alishba (Pakistan) and Selena (India)
As part of our call to share about their friend(s) beyond the Indo-pak Border, Alishba from Islamabad (Pakistan) share her story of friendship with Selena from Delhi (India):
“From our childhood we learn that India is our enemy. But Is it really? okay let me tell you my story.
It started when a girl named Selena took admission in our school SLS. We came to know that she is an Indian and she really hate Pakistanis. And a question emerged in our minds that why? Why she hate Pakistanis so much? She was new admission and she didn’t know about our school’s rules and regulations and so we told her that if she needs any help then we are here for her. But she was so rude and arrogant. She said “No! I don’t need help of any of you. I don’t want to take help of you Pakistanis”. And we said that okay if you don’t need our help then we wont. After that day I used to hate her for the way she is and I started to think that she is my enemy because she is an Indian. We both used to hate each other.
But one day our school got threats from terrorists and they said that they are going to shoot every Indian in our school. The principal announced that school will be off for two weeks because of the threats. She got so scared and started crying. Our heart melted when we saw her crying in a corner. Then me and my group helped her and we sympathized with her, told her not to cry and that everything will settle down soon. We assured her that nothing will happen to her. We were the ones who helped her in her bad time and then her thoughts changed towards us. Soon she was so embarrassed about her arrogant behavior. Then she became a member of our group and as time passed our friendship got closer and today its been 3 years and we all are still together. THE BEST FRIENDS!
Just like that, Yes we want war between India and Pakistan but only in cricket grounds! We are the good neighbors .We are the most skillful. We are the best people in the world. Lets shake our hands and be best friends and best neighbours. YES! We both nations want Peace, We want Prosperity.”
If you have a story to share, send it at email@example.com
Indo-Pak Relations: Bright Eyes,With Colors Of Love and Peace
by Ravi Nitesh
She was a very young student who narrated some lines of love and peace and extended her love towards the neighbor country named India. In her lines, she imagined a tour to the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort and also meeting and befriending some Indians. After coming back to India, during my formal and informal experience sharing, I happened to interact with a person who worked for Indo-Pak peace through letter exchange programs among school students. In his experience, he narrated an incident when a son of a police officer from Karachi informed his father that he is writing a letter to an unknown Indian friend. To this, his father remarked, “you must write, the mistake that our generation did, you must not.”
There are a lot of examples when we try to find innocent and pure hearts, still unaffected by the mindless and dirty politics. These young minds are the future of our countries. These young minds must know the importance of humanity, fraternity, love and peace, not only among their society but also during inter-societal communications. As some bad examples of the immature minds, a student of graduation posted his Facebook status that “people should not work towards friendship with Pakistan”. He further added that, “they must work and see towards problems of their own country and not to go and extend support with neighbor”. Statement received some comments including the one that says ‘’all these people who are working towards Indo-Pak peace must be sent to Karachi in trucks.”
These examples show that there are minds that have become corrupt because they are misinformed. Surely, these statements are neither logical, nor acceptable but I am sure that there are the people on both sides of border who think like this. It is surprising, isn’t it? These people who are supposedly passed out from schools and colleges can become a threat to peace.
These examples should not disillusion us but should push us more towards working on these peace processes. We must know that shaping young minds must be a priority as values of love and peace that will be received in younger age, will be in memory and will reflect in thoughts and work of these students even when they will become mature.
We must know that maturity is not an attribute of age. We must know that maturity without feelings, maturity without values of peace and love has no use. We must understand that a society can become harmonious only through peace and by spreading love within and outside of it.
In view of the younger minds and hearts, we must work towards these bright and colorful eyes that can change the whole scenario, whose hearts and minds are full of love and feelings. These students, in their present age, are so fascinated with concept of humanity that their hearts are pure and full of love, their minds act regardless of any favor towards religion, caste, race, gender, region etc that we can say that these children, young minds truly reflect the concepts of equality, freedom, secularism etc as they are unknown to political use of these sociological terminology.
Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam and is a founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti
Relax Visa: Move Towards Friendship
by Ravi Nitesh
….And it was so nice to hear, the dream of this student… “I want to travel to India.” He had expressed it in a general talk during an informal discussion about the neighbor country.
I met him during my recent visit to Lahore to attend a convention held on Relaxing Visa and what other pure, simple and natural desire could highlight the need of relaxing visa? This dream clearly depicts a major crack in the wall of Indo-Pak relations. In fact, it shouldn’t be a dream for anyone, it must be there as an obvious thing, as a right to get.We must appreciate the work of Governments and civil societies of both sides for their meetings and initiatives that have ultimately brought a positive result in terms of visa relaxation. Though this move must be welcomed by all, there is still an ample scope and a need for further amendment.A Question always come in my mind that why our dreams are slaves of our governments? In pre-independence scenario, the whole region was one while after the two countries emerged, we could not make a comfortable relation even after 65 years? Whose fault is this?
In fact, in present scenario, there are strong reasons to say that the enriching Indo-Pak relation is not only good for both countries, but it will also affect other geo-political scenarios as well in positive ways. South Asia will become undoubtedly strong with a better confidence building and peace keeping approach. There are many things in which we have to look to maintain and to enrich this bilateral relation. Among these, the one of ‘Relaxing Visa’ obviously must be preferred, as this will be the respect of people’s wish. For a real confidence building, governments of both the countries must know that it is only people of both the countries for whom and from whom the governments are in existence, and without recognizing the wish of their real makers (the public), the role of governments will be incomplete.
There is an urgent need for rethinking on present attitude of visa approvals and to make it relaxed for granting visa. New visa policy presented some relaxation but still it is not as per the requirement. People too should start demanding the same in peaceful ways as they all have rights to do so. Defining political boundaries doesn’t mean that boundaries will be imposed on hearts. Many people are trying to bring it in government’s priority to pay attention towards liberalized visa rules.
In a notable ‘Relax Visa Campaign’ of an organization in Pakistan, more than 85,000 persons signed to favor the relax visa. This number clearly shows the people’s desire. It is a common fact that our roots are same, our feelings are same and even our lifestyles are same. It is a fact that whenever anyone goes to border to see off a friend, they both weep together. It is a fact that whenever common people of both the countries meet each other they both smile and greet each other as equals. Can we realize ever that how we both are living in exile?
As for where the government and political issues are concerned, it is well known that governments and political parties of not only these countries but of most of the countries of this world, work only to get vote and try to make things that can polarize the voters. With this fact, we all must understand that government will not do everything. Signature campaigns and other democratic ways of making demands by people are there to let the government understand the view of people and then to make decisions. That is why the collective effort is required from all sides. It is us who can make the real change. Issuing visa is a thing that can bring the real happiness on people’s faces.
There are so many reasons that make it necessary. We all are aware with history, divided families, relations, friendships etc. As a human being, it is our natural right to move anywhere; however this natural right is restricted by political boundaries. Governments must understand that political boundaries must act only to provide facilities, security, living standard etc. and not here to impose boundaries on emotions and desire. We, the people of India and Pakistan, must believe that even if our governments are unable to understand and to follow our wishes, the day will come when governments will work for the people’s wish.
We all will demand till then, we all will wait till then.
Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam and is a founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti
India-Pakistan: Conquering Hatred
by Vidya Bhushan Rawat (India)
The biggest casualty of the Indo-Pakistan war mongering jingoism is the community of people who believe in people to people dialogue and have mutual admiration for art, culture and sports. Even when there is so much of air of distrust between the government, it need to be understood that Pakistan has not yet matured as democracy and its government continue to function under the watchful eyes of powerful military. The military get strength from being the most ‘efficient’ and ‘uncorrupted’ institution in Pakistan but the fact is that to get continuous legitimacy of political interventions, it is essential for it, to discredit the political class as a whole and therefore find a route to stage a well-orchestrated coup.
Many of us feel proud for our track record as a ‘democratic’ country amidst our neighbors who have mostly been suppressed by the military dictators or old religious thugs pretending to have God’s blessings to lord over them. Pakistan was a country build up on the dreams of a secular idea by M.A.Jinnah yet the man could not see it grow and today it is a shattered nation completely in the grip of those who devalue their own father of nation. Today’s Pakistan is not a country what Jinnah visualized but a country where the forces of jingoism and fanaticism rules despite being ‘extra-state’ actors. It is these forces who are now becoming extraordinarily powerful in our countries as they have developed bullying tactics to get their thing done and get away with everything particularly if they happen to ‘represent’ the ‘majority’ communities.
Hence it was very difficult for the government of India to touch Bal Thackarey despite all his unconstitutional rhetoric as well as the violent activities which resulted out of his hate speeches and writings. Narendra Modi or Uma Bharati to Kalyan Singh, all ‘respected’ leaders of their party and future aspirants for various power positions of India yet we have no apologies about them and their action. Actually, state does not act except move slowly and by the time their issues come for justice, they are mostly no more. So, no political leader in India has got any punishment for spreading hatred on communal and caste lines. Hence when Owaisi is arrested his supporters cite example of Modi and Thackrey. Subsequently, when the Hindutva leaders are caught they will careful take up one two such cases where government has not acted and these issues become complimentary for political outfits using religion for their own purposes. The Hindutva hate mongers may not be in the ‘most wanted’ list of they are not ‘wanted’ internationally but definitely in the court of law they used the law for their own purposes. Then there are other members of the Parivar who have always used such tactics to intimidate the Muslims and Christians in the country. In Pakistan, these extra-state actors play dubious role of supporting Taliban in Afghanistan as well as linking the cause of Kashmir to Islamic revivalism in the valley. These extra state actors have full support from those in power because they speak the language which the power elite feel constrained to talk about and covertly support through various mechanism.
India and Pakistan are two unequal neighbors. Despite everything, historically too, India will remain an elder brother and there is nothing wrong in being elder except behaving elderly too is important for both of us. Circumstances have not made Pakistan a plural democratic political system like India but that cannot erase our common heritage that we have worked and build up in so many thousands years. We are different countries and societies just because of a law that separated us which is just 65 years old but our civilization is much older than the British Empire came here. How can the two people with same language, culture, idea are divided. Pakistan is not able to develop its democratic institutions strongly but my problem is with those who claim we have ‘better’ democracy. If Hina Rabbani Khar does not know how to speak as a foreign minister then one can understand very well that she does not come from a political background but Sushma Swaraj and her party’s political understanding and struggle should have made their reaction more mature and political rather than being simply jingoistic.
It is humiliating when our political class, intellectuals, media all jump in for closing every relationship with Pakistan. Why should you deny me listening to Ghulam Ali or why should Pakistanis not listen to Mohammdad Rafi or Lata Mangeskar. Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Arundhati Roy, Faiz Ahemed Faiz, Firakh, Sahir, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Kaifi Azmi, Ali Sardar Jafari and the list is long are not confined to our boundaries but have transcended them. In the most oppressing moments of history, art, culture and sports have always united people.
It does not humiliate a Pakistan player when he is asked to leave from India as our officials say that we do not want to play with an ‘enemy’. It is insulting that the Indian state is not able to provide protection to their guests who represent their country but not necessarily support every political and military thought of their nation. How can you call a player an enemy? Can we call a competition between Jagjit Singh and Ghulam Ali a war between the two countries or is it a treat to listen to both of them. How can I call Faiz Ahmed Faiz or a player like Waseem Akram my enemy. For that matter, how can Faiz be put in the category of the hate mongers like Tahir Qadri. How can Sushma Swaraj and like her become voice of India?
It is the game that media has played to serve their own internal purposes and strengthened to boost some of those who enjoy and make money on the martyrdom of others. The media uses the deaths for their own marketing purposes and celebrate them. When soldiers die, we are filling their homes with money and other support but if he return home undead, serving the nation for over 35 years, he does not get that much of money. The capitalist media glorifies deaths and link it to ‘valor’. In today’s 24 hour TV world, it is the best ‘activity’ to boost our TRPs and hence every anchor become a ‘rabid rabble rouser’, much more dangerous than Owaisis and Qadris as they want to push words in the mouth of people and use them according to their own convenience. The world is not threatened by these loudmouths like Qadris, Owaisis or Thackarays, as they are part of ‘State apparatus’ who only speak the language the powerful state want them to speak and if they have out lived their utility then an action is taken but it is only done when the state realize that their presence and association with it is counter-productive and politically detrimental.
As an Indian it is shameful for me to hear that attempt are being made to send artists, writers, journalists and sports persons back to Pakistan simply in the name of their being ‘unwanted’. Even in the height of mistrust, it is these voices of dissent and of love and affection that open the small window of peace and togetherness. One must remember that those who make the biggest noise about nationalism are the most dangerous species as they are least ready to sacrifice themselves for the cause of the people. They only enjoy the sacrifices of others and use every moment of a brave man’s life for his nation, as politics of their parties. It is time that people to people contact must not be allowed to submit to such fascist nationalist forces whose only interest is to keep people subjugated.
The people of Pakistan who want friendship with India and vice versa cannot be victimized because their political class is pushing the countries to war. It is only important for us to remember that war has never ever resulted in any solution to any issue and it will only bring disasters and catastrophe in the region. It is more insulting for us as Indian if our hearts are not bigger in welcoming those people who we love to watch playing on the ground and listen live or on our TV studios and films. It is time, we learn that at the end of the day, we have to live in the same world and a war will never make it better and will keep us in perpetual hatred. Millions of people who love each other’s and have relations and are just divided because of ‘nationhood’ would be denied the basic human rights by this thin dividing line. Can we allow this and remain in perpetual war so that our generations do not grow and suffer in hunger and malnutrition further. An eye for an eye is never a solution and we need not only mature political diplomacy to handle such crisis but stronger people to people contact so that war mongers and their hate cries are defeated forever.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist from India
Launch of “Calendar for Peace and Love” and sharing of hopes for a peaceful and friendly co-existence
Calendar for Peace and Love
The mission is to create unwavering bonds of peace, love and trust between the two countries. This path is riddled with several difficulties. But we should be determined to move towards our goals. We have to remind ourselves constantly that peace and friendship is not just what we desire and must have but the people on the other side also have the same desire.
For this, we have launched a calendar which we call “Calendar for Peace and Love” which would remind us every day about our goals. This calendar will serve as a hope shared by people on both sides of the border. With the turn of the pages to start a new month, the hope shall be renewed.
Under our initiative, Aaghaz-e-Dosti, we have launched Calendar for Peace and Love wherein we had planned a calendar with paintings from youth of both countries. The calendar also has messages from some known people who have been striving for these goals for years. We decided to incorporate their messages as blessings for our journey.
For this event, Mission Bhartiyam had collaborated with two organisations from Pakistan – Centre for Youth Development Activities (CYDA) and Imov Humans.
Launch of Calendar for Peace and Love and sharing of hopes for a peaceful and friendly co-existence
On 27th January, we plan to launch the “Calendar for Peace and Love”. This will be followed by a discussion or a sharing of hopes for a peaceful and friendly co-existence.
For the discussion, we will be inviting people to share their experiences and thoughts. The main speakers will include people who have been working for strengthening the Indo-Pak ties, those who have been to Pakistan and some students from Pakistan who have been studying here. Besides them, the discussion is open to anyone.
In this event, we will be inviting the participants from Delhi whose paintings have been selected. We will give them the calendar and the joint certificate.
The details of the programme are:
Date: 27th January 2012
Time: 6:00-8:30 PM
Venue: Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi
To be a part of the launch and discussion, drop us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 9958907799 (Ravi Nitesh)
We will send you the official invite.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/456732471060846/
Target: India-Pakistan Visa On Arrival And The Growing Bonhomie Between The Two Countries
by Feroze Mithiborwala & Kishore Jagtap (India)
The killings of the 2 Indian & 1 Pakistani soldier at the LOC and the rising tensions & rhetoric need to be analysed. The killings of the 3 soldiers have an agenda to target India-Pakistan relations & that is obvious. On the 15th of January onwards India & Pakistan were going to start issuing “VISAS ON ARRIVAL” for Senior Citizens. This was the first major path-breaking step that would finally lead to ordinary Indians & Pakistani having an opportunity to meet each other & this would definitely lead to a process of normalization of relations on either side of the border. There are clearly right-wing religious fanatics on either side, both within the Military establishment & more importantly within the Intelligence establishment, (IB-RAW-India & ISI-Pakistan) both of which are closely intertwined with the CIA-Mossad.
There is also a pattern to these false-flag terror attacks targeting India-Pakistan peace talks. Thus the terror attacks in Jaipur (13th May 2008) & the Pune German Bakery Terror attack (11th February 2010), were both engineered 10-12 days before the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries were to undertake a process of dialogue, despite the prevailing unpopular sentiment. These terror attacks were obviously meant to ensure that the talks were sabotaged.
There are very strong vested interests to ensure that the tensions continue & both the nations continue to buy weapons & security equipment from the West. There is certainly no reason at all for the civilian government in Pakistan to engineer this incident & even the Pakistani military leadership wants to reduce tensions on their eastern border, so as to deal with the threat from the western border, as well as the rampant jihadist-militancy within that threatens to destroy Pakistan in a veritable implosion along sectarian & ethnic lines. This is again there for all to see. Similarly, the Indian political class in general is pursuing a serious peace process with Pakistan, as there are numerous benefits for India, which again are obvious by all strategic & economic counts.
Thus this ridiculous & brazen anti-Pakistan tirade being waged in our media, whilst mocking “Aman ki Asha” & worse calling for an American-Rambo style attack on Pakistan, is utterly stupid & is indicative of either the utter dishonesty, ignorance & worse – stupidity on the oart of the Indian political & media elite.
The Indian & Pakistani peace activists who have for now struggled for more than two decades, with admirable results against all odds, need to be supported & their sane words listened & more so right now.
Thus to the people of both countries – please analyse the reason for the current crisis, a veritable false-flag terror attack, with a clear agenda to destroy the growing India-Pakistan relationship.
So freinds, come out with your Indian & Pakistani flags & say that, we the people of South Asia are committed to peace & harmony between our two nations.
Jai Ho India & Chakde Pakistan!!
Feroze Mithiborwala is a peace activist in Mumbai. He led the Asia to Gaza peace flotilla. Kishore Jagtap is a Mumbai-based human rights and social activists
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
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
Want Peace? Talk To Your Enemy!
by Asad Wahab
“ If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies ”.
I came across two pieces of news lately, first was on 7 th January where it said Indian Army Crossed LOC and attacked a Pakistani Check post and killed one soldier and in retaliatory fire they left a gun and a dagger and went back. And a day after that, there was a news that Pakistan Army crossed LOC and attacked Indian patrolling party, and killed two soldiers. It in turns enraged the common citizens and whose anger can be vividly seen on social media from both sides of the border.
It may look like a simple incident to our social media generation, an incident on which they feel that they should show their hatred for the other side and exchange some abuses. But unfortunately they do not know that back in the history, just a few decades ago, same small skirmishes on LOC turned into a 1965 war, luckily there were no nuclear weapons then, but today the situation is different. If these small drops of hatred keep piling up it may one day end up in a kind of situation, the immensity of whose destruction would be unfathomable!
The reason why I am writing is because I want people from both sides to realize that it’s time to find solutions. I am not asking to compromise on anything or sit back and join friendship group and bury your hatred for the time being, I want to spill it out once and for all and empty our minds of these hatred then try to work for a ‘Solution’ rather ignoring issues and leaving it for our generations to come. It won’t be any easy but believe me it would be worth every moment spent on it.
The situation at the moment has ended up in a whole mess, both sides rejects reports from each other and I think it needs think tanks type of bodies or groups of individuals from both sides to sit and aggressively discuss the issues and bring out all the “ Possible Solutions ” of the issues, and then let the governments decide if there is any solution on which both governments can agree. If not there can be more brainstorming and more solutions, and thus at least we could be on out path to solutions.
What happen today is that govt. officials sit together, have tea, enjoy tours, get TA/DA funds and then go back to their respective offices after giving same old statements. The head of the governments hardly have any stakes involved in our respective countries. Manmohan Singh doesn’t give a damn, he could go to any country of his choice and enjoy the rest of his life leaving India in same mess, same is the case with President Zardari here. The bitter tuth is that, it’s me and you, our brothers and sisters that would die in these attacks and skirmishes.
Today as the young generation, we can’t even pressurize the governments properly, they have an easy excuse that they tried their best but “ koi solution nai nikla ” (Couldn’t find a solution). So may be, if someone can come up with solutions of the issues and tell the government’s k “ yeh lo possible solutions ”(take these possible solutions), and choose whichever you want but end this xyz (water, sir creek, mutual information sharing, media blame game etc) issue at least. And once we are able to do it publically, then would come the test of the honesty of governments on both sides, then only we would be able to know how sincere they actually are, to implement certain solution. We can further categorically discuss how to reach a solution within us, but before that at least we should know if there is anyone interested among common people to reach a solution?( Not to be mixed with joining some peace and harmony building group!, it literally means a solution finding group working like a think tank )
And with all that, since India and Pakistan both have nurtured two very big armies, and they always need a reason for their existence, so it’s in their mutual benefit that they keep fighting, so that there may be an excuse for their existence. Otherwise, it would be lame to feed the two giants with so much of budgets while poor’s have no clothes to wear and no food to eat and no shelter to live under!
It’s a bitter situation, but someone will have to work and think, and use their minds to find solutions. Without solutions we won’t be able to move, not even an inch! And solutions can be found, only when two groups(who cares about their people and has stakes involved in respective country) can sit together on one table with preset parameters and strictly one agenda of “figuring out all possible solutions to any given issue”. It would take a lot of time to come up with some solutions, but believe me it would be worth every moment spent on.
Unfortunately no one from both sides has considered promoting a pure cause of “FINDING SOLUTIONS”! It does not need any money to invest in; all it needs is time and intention to do so. Someone will have to stand up and tell the governments and military-industrial complex to stop betting on human lives, for it’s us who suffers. We need to do it for the sake of ourselves and the generations to come. It’s a now or never, we must keep in mind that despite all peace efforts, one single bullet from either sides can triggers the very same hatred from both sides and end up in another ugly war. And we need to give them “Solutions” to snatch their “Reason” for firing that one bullet.
Beyond the Borders
by Devika Mittal
Every day, at sharp 4, in a village called Wagah, there is a mad rush as people try to form a straight line which will extend to a kilometer or two. It involves pushing around, shouting and hurling abuses. It also involves being shouted at by people in uniform. They don’t mind it. They are eager to be in the front of the line, even though there is enough space for everyone. They are eagerly waiting for an event which has to start after 5:30. They are so eager that don’t even mind leaving behind their cell phones, an indispensible mode of communication. And these people are not just tourists. There is a sizeable section of locals, for whom it is like a daily ritual.
Then after rounds of checking and being under constant surveillance by people with big, scary guns, they are allowed to enter and settle down. Here again, there is a rush as people find for that ‘ideal’ place to sit. That ‘ideal’ place is not one which would protect them from sun or would give them a perfect view of what will happen in front of them. They will choose a place which gives them a better look of what is on their side. The moment they will find the ‘right’ place, they will forget everything. They will try to lose themselves in history and will try to re-imagine the past. They will continue staring while an imaginary reel would be rolling in front of their eyes. And then, they will see people settling. They will now be on the edge of their seats to see them clearly. And what! They are amazed to find that they look exactly the same. Some of them would even wave to the people sitting on the “other” side. Others would just stare at them and would be lost again. Then when they would see the birds, they would envy them. They would wish that they could sit on them and fly down to the “other” side, to see these people more closely, to see the other side more properly, without any restriction. They would look up and envy the boundless sky who is also smirking at them. These people pretend to be angry with the sky who looks more beautiful and has a certain pride. They are also jealous of the wind. They try to smell it and think if it will smell the same on the “other” side.
During the whole ceremony, which will be taking place in front of them, they will stare at the “other” side. And when the ceremony is over and they are ordered to leave, they would keep on looking back, trying to capture as much as they can. They would try to capture and take it back with them.
This is the bond between India and Pakistan. It is often unsaid and is poorly expressed in treaties and diplomatic visits, but it is there. An average Indian and a Pakistani have the same secret desire to cross the border, atleast once. They want to see what people eat, how they talk, how they look and how they think on the “other” side. And if it is to be believed what those lucky people who have visited says, they will be highly ‘disappointed’ because it is just the same there. We share a common history, a common language, a common culture and even a common desire. This desire is found in the talks of average Indians and Pakistanis.
So it is a common thing among Indians to reveal how their grandparents had migrated from Pakistan. It is also common for the listeners to then pester them with more details and then be disappointed as the fact of migration is the only thing that they can recall.
A friendly conversation between an Indian and a Pakistani is very predictable. It will always start with a fascination about each other’s politics, culture and mainstream cinema and will then migrate to the fact about common history and will end with a moan about the idea of separation.
It all seems very predictable but it shows the common desire which is to forge strong ties of friendship and brotherhood. India and Pakistan has even the same challenges to fight with. So why to keep the falsely constructed distance?
Let these barriers only be political ones because socially and culturally there are no barriers. These barriers have been constructed and have to be demolished. The barriers of suspicion and hatred are also constructed and have to be demolished too. And these barriers cannot be removed by people with bodyguards or with guns. They can be removed by the faceless in crowds and voiceless in a chorus. They can be removed only by the so-called “common people” or the aam insaan. The hope lies in the civil society. We need to realize that we are not different. Our thinking is same. Our language is same. Our ideals are same. We need to realize that the common person on the other side of the border also has the same suffering as we do. He is also oppressed by the politicians, is dying with hunger, struggling for employment and being tossed around by religious fanatics.
We need to realize this and in this realization, lays not just peace but the fulfillment of our own desire. It is not possible to turn back the wheel of time. We cannot go and delete a chapter in history but we can definitely add a new one. We can add a chapter which says, “and they lived happily ever after…”
Devika Mittal is a core member of Mission Bhartiyam and the convenor of Aaghaz-e-Dosti India.