When it comes to talking about India’s relationship with Pakistan, it’s mostly on the rocks, but when it comes to meeting a Pakistani in another foreign land, it’s a gush emotions filled with dilemma.
Elders in my family (which would be the case with many of us from Punjab) hate the word Pakistan and anything associated with it. While Pakistanis are mostly considered to be Muslims because of the majority population of the country, the Muslims in India instantly become the target.
I met a man from Pakistan a few days back here in California, US. He was from Punjab and so am I. Just that we grew up on opposite sides of the fence. We both shared the same mixed sentiments, unease of being from a ‘rival’ nation and a comfort that we have the same roots.
Most of the people who are from northern part of India must have that emotion, a feeling of detachment and belongingness, with Pakistan.
“It was a tough time” he said to me referring to the India-Pakistan partition in 1947. He told me his ancestors left a big chunk of land in Amritsar and had to move to Pakistan overnight. I told him the same thing for my ancestors.
In a foreign land, it’s amazing to see how the Indians (north Indians especially) get along with the Pakistan natives so well and they are worst enemies at the Wagah border (border area in Amritsar, India).
I have many friends from Kashmir and many others who practice Islam and are from different parts of India. One thing that is common between them is their humbleness and kindness. Despite of the fact that apparently the whole world thinks that they are “bad people”, they are the most humble and soft-spoken people I have ever met. Certainly, I cannot generalize the statement for everyone reading this, you may have come across some opposites. Similarly, we cannot generalize anything for anyone.
As a human we never thought about that fact that this entire rift between India and Pakistan is nothing but a political agenda. Come to think of it, the governments do not want us to be ‘friends’ when even they are having talks of starting bilateral relationships. One of my friends from Kashmir said, “Why does the Indian government not let us decide where we want to stay, do we have no right to our liberty and freedom?”
The elections in India are being won with one and only agenda: Hindutva. I know the supporters of the religion will not like this blunt statement. But I have one thing to remind you all (including the people of my faith, Sikhs): we live in diverse country and constitution gives us the right to practice our own religion and our own faith. No one can force anything upon us and we are no one to decide which religion is good or bad. It is the same bright light at the end of the tunnel where we will all reach one day, so why not be friends and enjoy the journey together?