Are Israel and Palestine as combative with each other as India and Pakistan? Or rather, the more appropriate question should have been – Do Israelites and Palestinians enjoy people-to-people contact? Are they warm to each other, or can’t stand each other? Whatever it is, it cannot possibly be as brotherly as the Indian public feels towards its Pakistani counterpart.
My grandfather is a Hindu, who originally lived in Lahore, so I have always been curious about the partition of the two home countries. Why did he move to Delhi in a rush? What if the partition had never taken place? What if there was no Wagah border? I have always felt that people from both the nations have shared a lot of similarities with each other, leaving aside the battle between the two Governments, primarily over Kashmir. The Indian Government’s gesture of friendship has never been reciprocated by Pakistan, but it has never been for want of effort.
There are so many things that I love about Pakistan. Loving Pakistan doesn’t mean I dislike India. Of course not! Even hostile countries have elements that are worth appreciating.
The Pakistani singers we have been listening to, for example. Who can forget the Qawwali of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, or the magical voice of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan? Their songs have the Sufi influence, making it pure and close to heart. The Ghazals of Iqbal Bano, Farida Khanum or Mehdi Hassan, or bands such as Junoon and Fuzon, have enthralled Indians us with their soul-searching music. Atif Aslam, who is the only competition to our very own Arijit Singh, has such a huge following in India that he could be mistaken for an Indian himself. His chart-topping number, “Na seekha kabhi jeena jeena kaise jeena.. ruled the roost for the longest time, and is a cult song for lovers.
We have never been concerned with what happens between the Governments. We are only concerned with peaceful co-existence, side by side.
Their television serials portray similar sensibilities; we are able to relate to their serials. They touch our hearts and there is a very strong audience that watches Pakistani dramas shown on Zindagi channel. We would be wrong in bringing in the ‘how can we like anything Pakistani?’ angle. Why can’t we appreciate art and music for itself? Just because the actors are Pakistani, we should boycott them? Should we allow hatred to rule our minds? Great work should be credited, irrespective of which country it comes from.
Whether it is ‘Maat’, or ‘Zindagi Gulzaar Hai’, everything is so crisp. The actresses are more beautiful than their Indian equivalents.
The Indian cinema has benefitted from the Pakistani influence as well. The latest entry to Bollywood is Pakistani actor, Fawad khan. He has an amazing fan following, mostly women. We all love and appreciate the efforts put in by the artists, irrespective of their religion and country.
The inspiration to women empowerment, in its purest sense, also comes from our next-door neighbour. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who stood up for her right to education against Taliban, is a symbol of women’s bravery. There is Malala in each one of us, we just have to awaken it.
Pakistani food is quite similar to north Indian food. What a tremendous response it got from the Indians in food fair held in Delhi. The platter is to die for! Karachi and Lahore food stalls are the greatest attraction at the International trade fair.
I grew up thinking Pakistanis are our enemies, but they are so much like us. I have been to cricket stadiums and I have watched firsthand the camaraderie between the Indians and the Pakistanis. While there is battle going on in the middle, Indians and Pakistanis in the stands are cheering together and exchanging business cards and telephone numbers to keep in touch. So many friendships have been formed at such occasions that last lifelong.
They are as welcoming as we are; they too treat their guests as God. Our mothers are similar, too. Both would beat the living daylights out of us if we behaved badly.
Life is too short to hate.