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Call me an IndianPakistani

Published in ExpressTribue :
I recently wrote a blog post titled ‘An Indian who moved to Pakistan‘. The response I got – positive and negative – is much appreciated. It inspired me to write this piece about my dream of a world without borders and wars.

Before I begin, however, I want to make clear that I do not have any desire to undermine the sovereign and political borders between India and Pakistan or between any other countries. My dream is to erase the psychological borders that are etched in our minds in the shape of prejudices and hatred towards the other.

So I’ll get to the point: to all those people who expressed sympathy over my visa issues, please don’t feel sorry for me. I feel extremely privileged to have ties to two beautiful countries, Pakistan and India.

So what if I do not have an Indian passport?

I have 24 years of precious memories sealed in my heart as an Indian, memories that can never be erased. I am not Pakistani because of my passport alone, but because of the love and respect that I have received from numerous Pakistanis, who took no time to accept me as one of their own. I belong to both lands and a good 1.4 billion people are my fellow compatriots. How lucky am I?

I am as passionate about the happenings of the Lokpal bill as I do about the NRO debate. Last year, at the cricket World Cup, I got to support not one, but two teams. Whenever there is an India-Pakistan match, unlike the other billion and a half who dread a bad result, I rejoice. I feel like a winner when either of them wins.

I find absolute tranquillity in the Sufi poetry of Bulleh Shah, and at the same time, I am able to drown in the depths of Kabir Dohas. Moreover, I knew what Kareem’s nalli nihari in Delhi tasted like before it began its journey abroad and ended up as Sabri’s maghaz nihari in Karachi. In addition to this, I can put together an outfit comprising of a Kanjeevaram silk sari and a Sindhi mirror-embroidered bag. When I go out, I can flaunt both as my national handicrafts.

To those who ridiculed or criticised me, please shed the word ‘hate’ from your dictionaries and look beyond prejudice. Believe me, I am a witness to the reality that there are millions on both sides who want to live in peace with their neighbours.

We have seen first-hand how hatred leads to conflict, how conflict leads to instability, and how instability leads to massive defence expenditures. We have already wasted immeasurable revenue, which could very well have been used for the alleviation of poverty, hunger, and illiteracy – problems that exist in astronomical proportions on both sides of the border.

We share ancestors, history, geography, and the same problems. Why should we allow the problems of a few in power to affect us on a global scale? A prosperous India is in Pakistan’s best interest, and a prosperous Pakistan is in India’s best interests.

Why should a handful of bigots sabotage the road to peace we need to take to reach the goal of prosperity? We need to support and love each other – we do not have another way out.

Think about it.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

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