India-Pakistan: Divided by Human & Befriended by Human
There are 195 countries in the world. Each citizen associates his/her identity with the nation they belong to. The governments across all these countries try to maintain an accord to ensure world peace is not disrupted barring the exception of a few countries. There is constant tension among neighbor states around the world related to trade routes, water, import/exports, nuclear warfare. One of these tensions which has constantly been there since 1947 is the India Pakistan relation. Does the tension brew from politics, citizens of the country or some other reason?
The era from 1930–1990s saw many countries bifurcating themselves into separate nation states. One of the painful bifurcations was the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. The scars from the dreadful partition continue to linger. 75 years on, there is still a sense of enmity among the Indians for the Pakistanis and vice versa. Every cricket match unites the people of India against Pakistan and Pakistani fans yearn for an Indian defeat as well. A lot of these emotions brew up from what is fed into the minds of the citizens and by the actions of proponents of war. There are outliers in every scenario and humans are no different. We, as humans, are divided by borders, but all of us have a common conscience bereft of hatred. There are some agents of terror who try to divide us by borders coupled with politicians who will continue to instigate the population based on nationalism. Do we need to pay attention to these divisions by border or treat everyone equally?
We should keep our identity associated with a country without discounting the people from other nations. They are also our brothers and sisters. I used to have a misconception of people from Pakistan being hostile towards Indians. This perception changed completely when I started interacting with our neighbors in my professional arena and visiting other countries outside the subcontinent. People from Pakistan face exactly the same situation that we, as Indians face. Instigation by politicians, attacks by terror groups, preaching of minority rights. This is a common theme that is adopted by agents of division to bring hostility against the neighbors. A few excerpts from Pakistani folks validate our misconception of hostility amongst our neighbors.
During my recent visit to Dubai and Maldives, I encountered 2 brothers of mine from Pakistan who were just like the public of India. One of them was riding a cab for us and I stirred up a discussion with him on the happenings in Pakistan. It was an eye opener for me to see how the situation was so like that of India. The political scenario was driven by development now like our honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi tries to drive. There is an emphasis on upskilling the people and generating employment, but also making the defence forces even stronger. The similarities did not end there. The people of Pakistan have no enmity against the Indians. Instead, they think of them as their brothers and sisters and would want a united front at some point of time in the future. They do not feel that Kashmir should be a part of Pakistan or PoK is something to be fought for. All they want is “Aman” (peace) in their lives. They want trade to flourish with India so that both the countries develop their economy. This is the real story of people across the border opposed to common foresight of them being barriers to each other’s development.
Another folk from Islamabad has his best friends from Hyderabad, Jaisalmer, and Punjab. If a Pakistani citizen can have his best friends from India, does it make him love his country less?
All these instances raise hopes of pre independence ‘India’* being united despite being divided by borders. Without sounding pessimistic, this is a foregone conclusion as people across the borders will never get united in any way. Any attempt to bring the peace accord into action is disrupted by activities which are beyond the common man’s control. There will be some attack in Kashmir or a bomb blast in the middle of Karachi which will put everything to a halt. The crux of the matter is that 99% of the people across the border hold no grudge against each other and would like to be just like you society neighbors. However, external factors prevent us from extending the friendship into a bond. The bond is only visible when you go outside the subcontinent as there are no regional/local factors to influence your decision making.
We will always yearn for a time when there can be an easy entry into Pakistan for Indians and vice versa. The vision of an accessible ‘India’* for people from both sides of the border will continue to be a dream till we continue the evil agents to dictate our minds and policies by the administration. A developmental accord with a constant dialogue to tackle terror together between the 2 nations will go a long way in building trade and encouraging a thriving tourism leading to a thriving economy.
Personally, for me, every Indian and Pakistani is a companion if they don’t bear evil ideas for their nation states or their neighbors.
*Pre-Independence India, Pakistan and Bangladesh was known as India