A tale of two countries

Writers often take in all sensory input from their surroundings and then mix it up inside to create the symphony that only words can. Recently I am getting a very strong vibe of reconciliation from our neighbors. Why is this so??

First of all, when India spoke through its recent polls the message was not that off “annihilate Pakistan”(sorry Modi, now piss off) as the hawks and extremist parties all lost out to the subtle progressive and relatively peace loving Congress party. Thus the worlds view of how Indian polls would change after the Mumbai incident turned out to be totally off the mark.

There are very strong reasons for this. Key to this is India’s burgeoning middle class who after getting more access to the outside world during the last decade, when India opened its doors to the tech world were also exposed to their Pakistani counterparts on the WWW, and pleasantly they found that Pakistanis were so similar to them in culture that they could be from another province of India let alone another country.

Not that this feeling is from the Indian side only, personally speaking whenever I come across someone from gujrat anywhere in the world, I feel like they are from across the road rather than across the neelam valley. Infact most of the conversations I have had over this blog and others with our neighbors have all ended with “so why the hell are we fighting” Its quite stunning that two cultures which basically derive themselves from the same roots have been so actively involved in wars in the past, but then politics is a dirty game.

However I for one do not think we will go to war anymore, although at times the emotional side of me gets upset over the constant finger pointing by the Indian media, inside I somehow feel that the people will not tolerate their armies going at each others throats again. Not even in a conventional sense forget nuclear war. All this talk of deterrence and how the region will descend into chaos, to me now seems like hogwash perpetrated by men in khaki on both sides to keep the money flowing into the defense coffers.

For who loses the most if there is everlasting peace between Pakistan and India? You got it, the politicians, the defense contractors on yonder shores and the armies of the two countries which are huge fattened & mutated monsters used to a steady diet of education and other growth oriented virgins lead to slaughter at their altars.

Individuals are now also playing more of a role of peace makers and reaching out across borders to prove this point in public.  The visit of Ms Roy to our press club, the constant interaction between the two countries media industries (Atif aslam is now the most wanted playback singer over there) and now the teaming up of Pakistan’s Aisam ul-Haq Qureshi and Indian Prakash Armitraj in Wimbledon doubles is not lost to any of us. I know that we cannot oversimplify our old rivalry to a few gestures but are we so blind that we cannot see how similar we are?

We must build on this interaction and become more accepting and more flexible for our neighbors. The world has enough wars and we do not need to fight, infact we should use this public goodwill to turn our guns towards those that want to control us and maintain tension in this region to feed their death producing factories. We might have parted ways in 47 but our hearts and minds even though sometimes misled are still one.

  1. been there done that!
    i have some very close friends in Mumbai, and have visited often.

    even when the war of words was taking place post-Mumbai shooting, and both sides were at each others throats, my indian friend and i chose not to discuss the subject.
    we wanted our friendship to not fall victim to the politics that run between our two countries. we chose to stay in a bubble for those stressful days, and when something would effect me, a friend from delhi would ORDER me to not watch their news.

  2. >We might have parted ways in 47 but our hearts and minds even though sometimes misled are still one.

    Totally agree with this; As all of us who went to study abroad found out, we made friends very easily with our Indian college mates. And despite being back and being separated by the dividing line are still great friends.

  3. Faisal, it’s not just about the wars. When it comes to Indian and Pakistan everything boils down to religion. If it was just a border dispute the issue wouldn’t have been so complicated, but religion; how unfortunate!
    There are millions of people like you and me who on both sides of the border who hope that things wouldn’t be the way they are for long. But there are billions who hate the prospect of peace betw Indian and Pakistan. Also, even among the politicians there is no sort of trust. The contrasting attitudes of govts in India and tumultuous political situation in Pakistan have made peace a distant dream. May be, we should go get some good weed from Afghanistan, give them to our politicians and make them listen to Beatles =P

    PS: There should be Ind-Pak cricket team vs Rest of the world match. Guess who will win… =D

  4. As usual Faisal good writing, but I think you have missed a point here. Our culture, language and traditions may be similar but India and Pakistan were divided based upon religion and this difference still highly exists and cannot be erased from history. In college yeah we made friends with Indian students, but many of us still looked down on them. Sure we will make friends, exchange greetings, entertainment and foods but will we exchange marriage vows…. I highly, highly doubt it.

  5. Faisal, you are an optimist – but dreaming is good!

    IT IS so interesting how close the Pakistanis and Indians are in so many ways – except one. That one thing is a big thing – so big that it cannot be bridged.

    I don’t like Islam so you can guess where my sympathies are. I think that it is up to Muslims to change. Even with the many problems these last 62 years, India still treat its minorities much better that Pakistan (what few are left!). War is unthinkable but not impossible. There are many people (more in Pakistan than India) that feel it is their destiny. These people think this way because of their religion, which is becoming more radical. The Pakistan government has made some progress in the war against the Taliban in these last 2 months, but my opinion is that in the long run the fundamentalist jihadis will take over Pakistan. I give it two years, max.

    Understand that the radicals have history and religion on their side. The radicals will win because Pakistan is built upon a religious ideal and the radicals understand this. The good people of Pakistan, like you, will have to choose, and either way you lose.

    I hope I am wrong, but probably not.

    Take care,


    PS: There is a well known American rightwing nut named Couter that said something about this. It is mean-spirited but there is some truth in it. She said: “Pakistanis are just Indians that continue to serve their Arab masters.”

  6. @ Disco thanks

    @balu Religion if we talk about it is going back in both countries… Pak and India are now beginning to understand the value of the separation of state and religion. To me sabre rattling will continue but war? i doubt it..if there are billions of hawks in India and Pak why did mush have to resign and why did congress win your elections? Two very big change pointers towards progression of thought

    @J.Kactuz Actually the radicals have nothing on their side but their own blind faith. Historically Hindus and Muslims have lived together in the su continent in peace for 100’s of years and intermarried and there were not a lot of issues of hatred before partition…the mughals were regarded as invaders but in time they married many Hindus and assimilated, the most famous queen of the mughal era was jodha bai…Akbars hindu wife. So that’s history and as far as Pak being taken over in 2 years??? people have been saying that here as well but i do no think Pak will be taken over by anyone frankly. in fact it is in India’s benefit that Pak is not over run because then there will be nothing separating them from the hordes.
    Lol at the p.s thats essentially true!!

    @ Terry dood…I never looked down upon any Indian in college life neither do i agree with the fact of religion being the dividing force, even now there are more Muslims in India then in Pak and if you speak to them most are very happy there. Plus we were in college a good 9-10 years ago terry a very different world then it is now. As far as i can tell living in Karachi the Indian and Pak people, atleast the educated ones have accepted the basic fact that it is politicians not general pubic which wants war. Plus you are a prime example of intermarriage yourself man, so look at your own life and its success 🙂

  7. @Faisal K
    To be honest there was a lot of progress in India-Pakistan peace talks when Mush was heading the country. So I was a tad disappointed that he left before a conclusive deal could be struck. But his ouster was inevitable; after all he had become a dictator.

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