Monday, September 29, 2008

Of Indians, Pakistanis and desis...

What socks your mind first up when you think of India and Pakistan? War? Kashmir? Astringent diplomatic rivals? Why is it that we always fail to remember the fact that we were once a single country? Why is it that we fail to remember that our ancestors were born and brought up on the same piece of land? Why is it that we forget that we fought together to evacuate the tyrant British from our motherland? We might forget everything but one thing that we cannot do is change the views of the Americans about us.

People who have been to the US must know what my point is. Approach an American and ask him what he feels your native place is. I can bet a thousand bucks that he won’t name a place but will call you a ‘desi’. Go ask an American about some of the differences that we (Indians and Pakistanis) share. I am ready to scotch a vein from my hand at every single difference that he states.

It all started when I came to the US in the year 2006. I had an Indian student with me on the same flight. We had a 4 hour long stay at Doha. Such a long stay can really sting you after you have gone through what the guys at customs have to offer. We sat down together to have a chat. I still remember clutching my bag like he had come to Doha just to take my bag away from me. As we chatted for 30 good minutes, the clutch on my bag started to loosen a bit. I realized that he is exactly like me and makes the same number of grammatical mistakes as I do=). I wasn’t too surprised when he spoke the same thing I had started to feel-“Dude, your psyche is pretty much the same as any Indian teenager. ”

That wasn’t the first time I was interacting with an Indian. I’ve been to India four times and every single time I found them to be exactly like us. But that is how you ought to behave when you are meeting a visitor who has come all the way to your country. That was the first time I was meeting an Indian with absolutely no fear whatsoever of him abusing my country, leaving me behind with my mouth wide open.

That is when I started to realize that regardless of what amount of hatred we have in our hearts for each other, no matter how many borders we draw between each other, we know for sure that we certainly are no different. We share the same ancestry and the borderlines between us are nothing more than a series concerned with provisioning bilateral politics. I don’t want to sound too poignant at the end so I will leave it for you people to decide what to do next in terms of improving two-pronged relations between India and Pakistan.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

With or without you…

Relationship between India(ns) and Pakistan(is) can be precisely understood by a very popular line in a U2 track…'I cant live….. with or without you'.

We love to fight, we love to hate, we love to abuse, we love to blame each other for most of our problems, we see each other as enemies and we vow to defeat each other come what may in every possible encounter. Everyone, whether a cricket follower or not, would be glued to TV during an Indo-Pak encounter just to see the other lose. We’ll take great pride talking about the wars that we have fought, both sides claiming to have won each one of them. We would leave no stone unturned, in this case no news piece unread, to show the other ones about the shortfalls of their country. So much so, that we even talk about rooting each other out from our very existences. In nutshell, it seems, as if we cannot live with each other.

But on the other hand, no discussion in Pakistan would be complete without citing India as an example, good, most of the times. You would hardly find an Indian who wouldn’t want to visit Lahore or at least hasn’t heard great things about the city. Pakistanis have grown on Indian films and film music, and Indian shake hips on Pakistani popular music. Pakistanis would debate as passionately about how Aamir Khan is a superior actor to Shahrukh or how Sourav Ganguly was being treated unjustly among each other as Indians would. Atif Aslam’s feud with Jal would be the talk of the town among Indians as if it happened in India. No matter what the intensity of conflict, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Lata would always be owned by both. No matter how much a Pakistani talks ill about Sachin in online debates, he still admires him to the core and Wasim Akram enjoys as much popularity in India as he does in Pakistan. Expatriate Indo-Pakistanis would live like families in foreign countries that even the ‘goras’ won’t be able to tell them apart.

When we meet in person no body can tell that we are actually the bitter nuclear rivals with a number of bloody wars under our belts. In fact an Indian visiting Pakistan would have hundreds of tales of love to share back home… and vice versa. It is this bittersweet relationship because of which we can’t live with or without each other.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Presenting LOCout!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, said Lao Tse. But what if the journey was so slippery that for every step you take, you are pushed back by a two? Will the journey ever be complete? If this question had such an obvious answer, why have we heard the story of the Scot King Bruce who learnt from the spider to keep trying till we succeed? The bottomline is optimism can tear through all barriers.

And that is exactly what we have set upon with this blog. We are not that 'Next Gen' kids who preach 'Love thy neighbour' to their parents and set out to make friendship with the people on other sides of the border. We are not at all those who preach for burying differences and make only love. We are Indians who have opinions against Pakistan. We are also Pakistanis who find India too hot to handle in Kashmir. We have opinions like each of the common man on the streets of India or Pakistan.

So what are we? We are people who believe that the man on the other side of the border is dangerous only as long as he remains a stranger. We believe that News discussion remains 'propaganda' only as long as it is told by people from one side of the border. So, here we have come along with a platform that will serve to bridge both our objectives. We will discuss issues afflicting both our nations as passionately as discussions on Ganguly's omission from the Indian team happens in the Indian college canteens or discussions about whether Musharraf is good for Pakistan or not in the college canteens of Pakistan.

There have been times when the Indian media has gone overboard pointing fingers at Pakistan, and there have been an equal number of times when India was charged at by the Pakistani media. We are those bunch of amateur self-proclaimed journos who shall tend to make things straight. Our objective is to stop this media 'lockout' of sorts that has kept propagandas the order of the day on both sides of the LOC. So here we are to break the shackles of this lockout. Here we are, LOCout!