A Pakistani in India

Published: February 7, 2013

Now the common challenge is to find a middle ground for real stakeholders, who becomes aliens within Hindustan. PHOTO: AZAM KHAN

History, unfortunately, has given Indian and Pakistan varying reasons for hostility. It is sad to see two nations with so much in common distrust and, in general, hate each other. The media rampant with messages of anger against the ‘other’ and thus, choosing the path of friendship or normalisation is a mission of passion.

Travelling from Islamabad to New Delhi, however, has changed my perspective to a great extent.

During a recent month-long stay in India’s capital, I found myself feeling as if I were a local, thanks to the similarities in language, culture and ethnicity. I fit in like a hand in a glove.

Most of the time, I roamed the streets, markets and historic places. At times, I thought I was walking through parts of Rawalpindi, Karachi or Lahore!

The way of talking, the markets and the people are just like us. The congested markets of Delhi took me straight back to Rawalpindi.

In fact I met a delegation of parliamentarians last year when they came to Islamabad and they were surprised at how similar Delhi and Rawalpindi are.

I didn’t get into any debates over my nationality in India; I didn’t need to pretend I was Indian.

That’s because as far as the common man knew, I was Indian, I was a Delhi’ite.

Contrary to misconceptions, no one chased me and no one investigated me.

I asked about the price of salt, as I had heard many stories in my childhood of how an Indian spy unknowingly exposed himself in Pakistan when he demanded five rupees worth of salt for a glass of lassi at a restaurant.

Lo and behold, there was no difference in the prices!

Whenever I did identify myself as a Pakistani, all I was given was respect, love and affection.

A lot of people didn’t believe that Pakistanis talk just like them and even dress like them. They were so surprised at our similarities.

While talking to his family members on telephone, an Indian shopkeeper proudly informed them that a Pakistani friend was in his store.

My green passport was a source of contention though.

The owners of restaurants, net cafés, money changers and franchises of cellular companies are under strict instructions by the home ministry to carefully deal with Pakistanis.

The Muslim community is particularly more careful while dealing with Pakistani Muslims in New Delhi.

I was under the belief that I would get an Indian phone number with ease, but due to the colour of my passport, it took a week for them to process my request.

When I expressed my dismay at this, the people showed sympathy and stated that they were duty bound since my name is ‘Khan’ and not ‘Sharma’.

The Indian media is suffering from Pakistan-phobia to a great extent and the politicians also sometimes jump into the foray in pursuit of cheap popularity by giving anti-Pakistan statements but this trend has changed in Pakistan to some extent.

People living on either side of the border are unhappy with their incompetent and corrupt systems. They assign all sorts of blame to the governments and security establishments of both countries.

Many people believe that,

‘Hum aik hi hain, bus ye sari larai naita logoon ki hay!’

(We are the same people, the fight is only among the rulers!)

This gave me a ray of hope.

Now, the challenge is to find a middle ground for real stakeholders (the common man), who become aliens as far as the governments of the two countries are concerned.

PHOTOS: AZAM KHAN

Read more by Azam here.

Azam Khan

Azam Khan

An Islamabad based reporter for The Express Tribune.

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

  • Critical

    @Azam Khan

    Every normal Indian or Pakistani wants to have his necessities fulfilled and provide a better future for himself and his family…..They know that War is not the solution…

    But the ruling class and military knows if there is no boogeyman.They cannot buy these high priced toys and get commission from that…..So they want to keep the hysteria of war among people….

    BTW,if you find time,try visiting South India…I’m sure you found North India similar to Pakistan…But South India is totally different…You will have a different experience altogether….and dont worry,the people are friendly there too,but they wont speak Hindi/Urdu as you can find in North….Recommend

  • Safdar Abbas

    It’s really good to know how your time went by in our neighboring country but not everyone has the same story. Peace will be achieved when there is freedom to travel for people on both sides.Recommend

  • Indian

    Glad to hear you had a good trip. Sometimes the best thing to do, instead of bashing the other country, is to just visit. That reminds the visitor of something important: yes, our ideologies differ, our state values (Islamic vs. secular) differ, but at the end of the day, countries are filled with people. People who, despite religious hatred and demonization on either side, eat, love, talk and think more or less like normal human beings. Religious indoctrination, hate and differentiation cannot go beyond a point.

    Although it’s unlikely, I wish I could visit Islamabad. Looking through Google Earth, it’s better planned, with a proper grid layout, than any Indian city except Chandigarh. I hear your’e building a beautiful new airport outside Islamabad too. Also, the Defense Housing Authority sub-cities outside Lahore are beautifully planned and laid out compared to anything in India. Army dominance does have its perks, guys… :-)

    I’ll pray for your well-being, and for Pakistan’s, too. Please don’t object to Hindu prayers, though ;-)Recommend

  • Abhisek

    One of my paternal great-grandfathers owned huge properties in Karachi, including a “Palace” in what is now the Clifton area. I wish I could visit Karachi and perhaps take pictures of some of those properties but I’m a little nervous since I read about the “target killings” etc. Can any Pakistani or Karachite tell me if that is all just media hype? Is Karachi safe for visitors? Sorry if this question offends anyone. I really would like to visit if it’s safe.Recommend

  • Deep

    I think u hav visited old Delhi which is very similar to Pak cities but New Delhi or Gurgaon is completely different frm Pakistani cities. Further, South India, East India and North East India is totally different frm Pakistan with different landscape, ppl and languages, wer not many ppl understand hindi or urdu. I think author should explore these parts of India too, ten he wil understand why India is called World’s most diverse kntry.Recommend

  • Working Woman

    @author :Whenever I did identify myself as a Pakistani, all I was given was respect, love and affection.

    Really?? Trust me, this never happens on ET blogs.

    p.s. ET moderators don’t like to publish my comments.Recommend

  • http://mezaajedeen.blogspot.com Tribune Reader

    One week to get a prepaid sim card? are u kidding me?Recommend

  • ashok sai

    @ Author

    I appreciate your effort to bridge the peoples of both the countries. But you must understand War is different and killing innocent people like crushing mosquitoes in a crowded places is another thing. Most curious thing is people like you don’t have balls to call spade a spade, apart from handful of people no one in Pakistan seems to condemn this inhuman act by your state actors. Let me ask you a simple question, if 10 Indians in your street ruthlessly killing your nears ones by injecting countless bullets, what will be your reaction ? I know you won’t answer my question, take care.Recommend

  • Sinclair

    And we keep going round the merry-go-round – hatred one day, love the next. One issue with your blog though, India is not Delhi. The idea of India can never be in consonance with the idea of Pakistan, and so dear friend we will have to remain two different countries looking at each other from a distance.Recommend

  • Anil

    I wish could visit Pakistan and experience the same!!!Recommend

  • http://www.kabacreations.com Vishnu Dutta

    Nice writeup with real life pics. Please write more. One thing we all Indians want to see is to see India through eyes of an unbiased Pakistani.Recommend

  • Indian

    @Author

    You didn’t mention about ur purpose of journey . Why did you need a SIM in India ? How come Indian gov give you stay in Delhi ? For your safety and safety of Indians , Please travel with passport anytime.Recommend

  • ikibana

    visited india (Delhi) twice, and got prepaid simcard at the airport! blogger busted!Recommend

  • http://google Indian

    Entire world having Pakistan phobia and she acting as epicenter of terrorism. Dawood ,Iilyas Kasmiri ,OBL ,Mehmood Azhar , Hafizzz ,Kasab and their associates are lived/living in Pakistan so getting fear is inevitable. Which politician given anti-Pakistan statement for cheap publicity? that in peacetime , Indians talking more about China growth than Pakistan(there is nothing to talk about her other than terrorism and ISI). Most of the Indians don’t want anykind of ties with Pakistan and conducting peace talks is nothing but wasting our resources. Recommend

  • ethicalman

    Many things strike me on the streets of Pakistan that makes it not India..like :

    Everything is written in Arabic (Urdu) I know Urdu Indian language but Pakistan has no space for anyother lang..maybe bit of English

    Local Paksitanis speak a lot of arabic Urdu not Indian Urdu

    One sees alot of men weating salwarr kameez and beards..which uncommon even in Muslim parts of India.

    A lot of burqa clad women roam around.

    No temples and whatever few temples priests are seen wearing skull caps to protect themselves..

    etc.

    Pakistan never be like India..ya few things are still relevant like food, spices etc. every other things has been made alien to the land..the food they eat, the dress they wear, the language they speak, customs, festivals..Recommend

  • http://usa afzal

    old delhi,rawalpindi and lahore are exactly the same…no denying………Recommend

  • Vikas

    For what you came to India when your ancestor partitioned(and left) India ?Recommend

  • http://usa raj

    i hope u took ur air ticket and did not get lost in india…….plz dont stay here and return…..Recommend

  • Watan(Indian)

    Mr. Author what your saying is true only for Muslim areas in India,but Hindu India is completely different from Muslims as Qaid Mr.Jinnah has said before Partition.Recommend

  • Vivek

    Some similarities we may have, but our core is very very different, and is’nt that the reason we got partitioned in the first place, as put so succinctly by jinnah ? When Indian economy was doing badly till the early 90′s, pakistanis were claiming similarities with arabs/turks/uzbeks/tajiks and other central asians. Now, that our economy is doing well, pakistanis have suddenly discovered their lost big brother and claiming similarities with us. Waah kya baat hai!!Recommend

  • Nitish

    Muslim dominant areas in india r almost same as in pakistan.No doubt about that….But yes as someone wrote here,hindu-india is quite different…….Recommend

  • Stranger

    Gald to hear some nice things and not the usual hostile messages between the two countries.Recommend

  • proud indian hindu

    hum ek nahin hey hindus and muslims are different……Recommend

  • Naveen

    Thanks for the visit Azam. No people (Indian or Pakistani) are demons per se. There has been a lot of indoctrination so that a good many of us have come to believe otherwise. The poison has now spread far & wide and going by the comments on internet forums, even the educated lot is afflicted with it.

    However, I am not entirely pessimistic. I still recall my visit to a Shop in a small town of Italy. The extremely humble and polite shopkeeper gave me a sweetbox for free saying that he used to give it to everybody who came to his shop for the first time from ‘apna des’. I asked what was his native place? He just replied the Old India. When I enquired further,he said Punjab. When I pushed him further, finally he said Lahore and it was then that I realised what his mental construct of ‘apna des’ was. Sadly, I was in the town for only one day and never met that humble desi again. The experience however changed my outlook for the rest of my life.Recommend

  • Nobody

    @Sinclair:
    I didn’t read anywhere the author suggesting the two hold hands and skip together. Rather a simple exchange or change: respect. That’s it. Hatred propaganda gets one nowhere. Certainly doesn’t mean the countries have to be best friends, just means instead of spreading hatred, try spreading something positive, or nothing at all.

    @author and all others:
    I find your experience to be that of most people I’ve come across, whether an Indian in Pakistan or a Pakistani in India. The average person is not going to bust out a rifle of a bomb upon hearing of their neighbor’s presence in their country. Rather there’s a curiosity, warmth and even love in response to finding out about the person’s nationality. People become ballsy sitting on a computer because we’re all hidden behind the security of a computer, never to face that person or persons in real life. Easy to be brave and say nasty things, untrue things, even pointless things just to troll.
    I enjoyed reading about your experience. I had a similar one, except I only went to a Hindu temple with my friend from college (here in the states). Everyone was so kind to me, so full of curiosity. Recommend

  • Vivek

    I am not sure as to why Pakistanis even want to come down to India in the first place. The traffic seems to mostly flow in only one direction: West to East. Their physical appearance(tall, handsome, fair), ideology, thought process, language, religion should put them more at ease with their ummah brethren. Oh wait, even their ummah brethren now is putting restrictions on Pakistani visitors(UAE, Kuwait). Their chief benefactors(USA and Saudi) use Pakistan according to their whims and fancies. Their all weather friend(China) is treating Pakistan like their province, and where every couple of months the Pakistani president goes off on a sojourn to China and gives them a “STATUS UPDATE”. Tauba Tauba, what has the world come to.Recommend

  • Nobody

    @Indian:
    Man, don’t you know, the only reason a Pakistani would ever come to India is to plant explosives somewhere…? eye roll people like you are my amusement. Perhaps the author wanted to expand his horizons and travel a bit, as do many people. Why’d he need a sim card? Gee I don’t know why does anyone need a sim card. Recommend

  • A traveling woman

    @Vivek:
    I’ve never met any Pakistani who has denied similarities to Indian culture. The food, clothes, language, etc has always been what it is. That didn’t change in the 90′s. By your logic, Pakistan would be better off claiming similarities to an oil rich arab country. If economics had anything to do with it, why the switch now? Arab countries have had their oil money for quite some time now. Trolling again are we?Recommend

  • Sinclair

    @Nobody

    I am a big advocate of having no propaganda at all. What irks me big time is the Punjabi brethren in India claiming to represent the whole of my country when they get down to their puppy-jhuppies with Pakistanis. For me, Pakistan is just a neighboring country like Srilanka, nothing more.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @Nobody:
    Hatred propaganda gets one nowhere. Certainly doesn’t mean the countries have to be best friends, just means instead of spreading hatred, try spreading something positive, or nothing at all.
    I think we are on the same page (and @Sinclair is as well). Expectations need to be realistic; we cannot keep up this ridiculous dance forever. To be honest, I haven’t met a single Pakistani that I did not like – possibly finding someone who speaks a familiar tongue arouses a false sense of kinship for a while. However, as nations, we are not friends, but we can try not to be enemies if your rulers could revisit their priorities and re-evaluate their relative capabilities. We just want to co-exist with no expectations of bonhomie, and allow people like the writer to form their own opinions based on individual experience rather than pre-conceived notions built on hate-filled school books.Recommend

  • Vivek

    Oh really!! Check out the very first line of this column written by a Pakistani himself. I wonder who is trolling now!

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/317619/arab-origins/

    As of today, I share more similarities with a westerner than a pakistani. The clothes I wear, the technology I use in my day to day life, the movies I watch, the language that I use in my day to conversations, and increasingly the food that I am eating,and wait, even the sports I play(cricket) is a western contribution, which I have adopted. So, where does Pakistan figure in the equation, unless you say that we have similarities because we have a mouth, eyes, head, etc…Recommend

  • arif

    @ Abhisek

    Karachi is a large city and while it has its share of troubles and crime – vast majority of the nearly 16+ million get by without dangers to their selves. So, by all means, do visit and excercise all the cautions you would visiting a place not visited before. I might even be able to guide you once you are here.

    cheers,
    arifRecommend

  • Pessimist

    Vivek
    I am not sure as to why Pakistanis even want to come down to India in the first place……..to.

    What a bunch of nonsense. You need to practice more on your anti-Pakistan posts.

    I am not sure as to why Pakistanis even want to come down to India in the first place.

    A lot of Pakistanis (including me) have family roots in India, hence they visit. Are you saying that people should only visit countries in which they share similarities? If that’s the case then why are there so many Indians in Europe? Not that they are bad people, but they are worlds apart when it comes to culture.

    Their physical appearance(tall, handsome, fair),

    Are you saying that India does not suffer from the same problem? Fair & Lovely? Countless fairness creams? Muppet…

    Their chief benefactors(USA and Saudi) use Pakistan according to their whims and fancies.

    So are you saying that all the multinationals investing in India do it because they love India and not because they see it as a business oppurtunity? I doubt any company invests because it cares for the locals. They invest where they see a good oppurtunity for a decent return. India is an attractive investment place and hence companies invest. DHL is not investing in India because it loves the Indian people & culture, it does so because of the economic oppurtunities! Simple economics!

    I wish more Pakistanis should visit India. Not for tourism purposes, but to irriate irrational, bigot minded people like you who thinks hating on a country makes them seem cool. Have a nice day. Recommend

  • Ravi

    @ author – there is no similarity between pakisanis and indians(except some part of north indians) western and south or east indians.May b our dna can b same .
    P has islamic culture our is multi culture , multi lang.Recommend

  • Pessimist

    Vivek
    As of today, I share more similarities with a westerner than a pakistani. The clothes I wear, the technology I use in my day to day life, the movies I watch, the language that I use in my day to conversations, and increasingly the food that I am eating,and wait, even the sports I play(cricket) is a western contribution, which I have adopted. So, where does Pakistan figure in the equation, unless you say that we have similarities because we have a mouth, eyes, head, etc…

    Judging by your amusing logic, 90% of the world is ‘western’. I’ve posted it before and i’ll post again, you need more practice on your anti-Pakistani posts. I dont fault your effort though. You’re new here, keep it up!

    Your post reminds me of a line Jennifer Aniston said in Friends:

    Yesterday I went to the zoo and now I’m a Koala Bear!Recommend

  • Junaid

    @Abhishek:
    that palace you mention is a Wonder and you should be proud of it.
    i regret your elders had to leave this city and sindh and since then sindh and pakistan had never been same be it city or rural.
    we lost great chunk of great businessman, learned scholars.

    as for target killings yes problem is there (as karachi is huge very huge) but frankly normal people arent much affected due to it and clifton and defence area isnt much affected perfectly okay to visit.
    i live near your grandfather’s palace.
    Salams, Bye.Recommend

  • Xohaib

    @Vivek
    Thanks for demonstrating an extremist hindu mentality. And what economy you are talking about, just google about your economy and condition of masses in your so called barbaric chamakta dhamakta baharat. just google about the per capita toilet over there, and yes also shed some light on the plight of low caste hindus.

    @Author
    Nice effort though, but i am sorry that would not help change the typical banya mentality.Recommend

  • Pessimist

    ethicalman
    Many things strike me on the streets of Pakistan that makes it not India..like :

    Another post filled with non-sense!

    Everything is written in Arabic (Urdu) I know Urdu Indian language but Pakistan has no space for anyother lang..maybe bit of English. Local Paksitanis speak a lot of arabic Urdu not Indian Urdu

    What on earth is the difference between Arabic Urdu & Indian Urdu!? Urdu is a mixture of several languages, Arabic & Hindi being two of them. I realise that there have been an increase of usage of Arabic words in our language, but still, majority of it is Hindi based.

    One sees alot of men weating salwarr kameez and beards..which uncommon even in Muslim parts of India.

    Where in Pakistan did you visit? Try visiting Isb or Khi. Heck, even in Sialkot people don’t match this description. Shalwar Kameez? That’s our national dress for crying out loud! :/

    A lot of burqa clad women roam around.

    Again, where did you visit? Me thinks you watched Zero Dark Thirty recently..

    No temples and whatever few temples priests are seen wearing skull caps to protect themselves..

    I have no idea what this means…

    Pakistan never be like India..ya few things are still relevant like food, spices etc. every other things has been made alien to the land..the food they eat, the dress they wear, the language they speak, customs, festivals..

    Yes, it wont be like India because it is a different country. We have a lot of similarities with the Indian culture. I have always said that we are so fascinated with copying our masters (Arabs) that we have forgotten our culture. Nontheless, your post has to be one of the weirdest I have recently come across.Recommend

  • Diggvijay Singh

    @Xohaib:

    Nice effort though, but i am sorry that would not help change the typical banya mentality.

    It’s not nice to stereotype the vaishya or merchant and traders castes as stingy, mean-minded people. They are a very hardworking lot and contribute to society by creating wealth and employment opportunities. Miserly and mean people could be found in both countries.
    I wish you too could come and visit India like the author. Traveling changes a lot of misconceptions. Recommend

  • http://gujrat RAW is WAR

    glad you like your stay at Delhi.Recommend

  • Vic G

    Pls note that India is not Delhi and Delhi is not India. Pakistanis are similar to Punjabi Indians at the most and there ends the sweet sugar candied comraderie. Therefore, I think that this logic of same people and same language and same tastes are all bogus. Pakistan has evolved in ways that has now even created distinction between themselves and Indian muslims.
    The fact is even if the 2 nation theory was bogus in the 20th century, the Pakistani fetish for anything and everything Arab and its disdain for anything and everything subcontinental has resulted in the fact that Pakistanis and Indians are now 2 different peoples with different aspirations, different worldview and want different things in life.
    Therefore the 2 countires should stop with this track-2 types (who ar mostly from the north of India and Pakistani Punjab), cut their powers and airtime in the media. The governments should then deal with each other as a nation states with their respective national interests in mind. Recommend

  • Pessimist

    ethicalman
    Everything is written in Arabic (Urdu) I know Urdu Indian language but Pakistan has no space for anyother lang..maybe bit of English. Local Paksitanis speak a lot of arabic Urdu not Indian Urdu

    Plus one more thing. More than 90% of the boards in Pakistan contain both English and Urdu. Even in Quetta, the sign boards have both English and Urdu on them. English is the language used by majority of the corporations and the Government documentation is mostly in English. Our Universities students are taught in English.

    Then again, don’t let facts get in the way of your bias. Who are the 15 other numpties who recommended your post!? Recommend

  • Watan-e-Hindustan(Indian)

    @Junaid:
    I don’t know what palace your taking about.Religion is greater than palace,land,temple,mosque, language or what ever so you consider is common between India and Pakistan and your creator of Pakistan Qaid Jinnah knew it very well.We are separated by religion and that is the truth and we will not get together our religions will not get us together this is the fact.I am an Hindu and I am proud to be a Hindu.Your a Muslim and your proud to be a Muslim.We India and Pakistan have divorced each other and it will be so forever,Jinnah had divorced India by giving Talak 3 times .So Abhishek don’t try to be friend with Junaid,unfortunately the story of your relationship with Pakistan and Junaid is over ,Abhishek have to be friends with Indians in India forget about Pakistan. Chodo kal ki baate(Pakistan) kal ki baate(Pakistan) purani naye doure me likhenge hum milkar nayi kahani hum hai hindustan hum hai hindustani. Love your Indian brothers who have given you land than loving your Pakistani brothers my dear friend this is the truth.Unfortunately religion rocks and rules a person than anything else this is fact and its gods will,Unfortunately if your not friends with Indians Abhishek then we may have to send you out of our country.Recommend

  • maestro

    Until and unless people of both countries start meeting and mingling with each other, neither will understand each other. I lived in the US for 18 years and am now back in Pakistan. Close to half my best friends in the US are hindu Indians. One of them is going to his home in Mumbai this month and he is begging me to come visit. Point is, once you meet each other, you will realize that neither has horns growing on their heads, they are just normal people like you trying to make a living. We recently had a couple from Jaipur visit us for 10 days in Pakistan. Friends of my parents. This was their first time in Pakistan and they were shocked at the beauty of the country and the hospitality they received. One restaurant owner we went for dinner to even refused to accept money when we told him they were visiting from India – he just said, these are our guests. I cannot accept payment. It floored Patel uncle and his wife. Live and let live. Peace. Recommend

  • Alex

    @Safdar Abbas: ya.. freedom to travel and preach religious hatred for other religions in the name of common religion. Right? Pakistanis do not have to come to India for peace. Is that stopping Pakistan to be a peaceful nation?Recommend

  • Alex

    @Sinclair:
    Agree very much what you said. New Delhi is not 25% India. Very common to see Pakistanis visiting some one place in India and saying we are same as you. After eliminating all minorities, one wonders what is common with India?Recommend

  • ethicalman

    @ Pessimist

    Other than disagreeing with everything and terming as nonsense..why don’t u see the ground realties of Pakistan..

    ..do they not wear(common ppl) Salwar Kameez, burqa speak heavily arbicised Urdu..even u’re anchors on TV now greet with arabic notions..like ‘Allah hafiz’ not ‘Khuda Hafiz’

    and you don’t have any idea about temples because you guys never left any temple functioning in Pak cities..infact u’re demolishing non functioning temples to make way for other structures..and not just temple priests but even Christian clergy wears skull cap..

    and they way u keep writing where did u go here, there etc..means u only live in your elite posh colony..and you think we got cake and we don’t need bread..Elites just make less than 1 % of pak..who speak english & aware of the world ..(atleast the world they know)..

    Don’t take it personal I’m just asking you to think it over..(i know a rude reply is on the way) Recommend

  • Alex

    @Nobody:
    It is interesting that you raised this question to others when you should have known how terrible the left over 2% minorities are treated in Pakistan. It is even more sad and hypocritical when authors like these not mention what their nation had done to the original natives of Pakistan. Do not expect people not to question those crimes done under the pretext that we are muslims in Pakistan aka blasphemy law. What culture is the author talking about and in what way India is similar? Would the culture have remained same if the Indian society bought muslim population to less than 2%? If India did that, would this author say that culture is same? He would have sadly lamented that “his” culture is gone. India does not have one culture like Pakistan to have commonality. Recommend

  • The Khan

    Why would you want to go to India?
    i would rather prefer Turkey or Iran or Malaysia with its beautiful people and breath taking beautyRecommend

  • Bharat

    @maestro:

    Sir, when am i getting to try Pakistani cuisine in Pakistan ?

    i hope that day comes soonRecommend

  • Zalmai

    For crying out loud, how can anyone deny the similarities between India and Pakistan. It was only 65 years ago that Pakistan was carved out of India and no amount of Arabic influence can change the DNA shared by the people of the subcontinent. Even southern Indians have a common heritage and DNA with some Pakistanis especially the Brahui.

    All those people that are talking about Arabic Urdu and Indian Urdu have neglected to add that Farsi/Persian speakers created Urdu not Arabs and there is more Farsi in Urdu than Arabic.

    The average Joe living in the US cannot distinguish the nationalities of celebrities with roots in the subcontinent such as Farid Zakaria, Riz Ahmed, Aziz Ansari, Aasif Mandvi, Sanjay Gupta, Kumail Nanjiani, Padma Lakshmi, Dilshad Vadsaria and Amir Khan (boxer) to name a few. The similarities are greater than the differences and they should be celebrated not discounted.Recommend

  • Pessimist

    For ethicalman:

    There is constructive criticism and then there is mindless criticism. Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of the latter and that has irritated me. I must ask one thing, why is ET so popular amongst the Indians? Is it advertised in India? I’m curious. Anyways, most of your “observations” about Pakistan are incorrect and seemed to be taken from some kind of biased media report.

    do they not wear(common ppl) Salwar Kameez, burqa speak heavily arbicised Urdu..even u’re anchors on TV now greet with arabic notions..like ‘Allah hafiz’ not ‘Khuda Hafiz’

    Again, shalwar kameez is the national dress of Pakistan. Are you indicating that wearing these garments indicates a backwards mentality? What is your opinion of the “saari” dress then? Regarding burqa, it is not as common as you think it is. Yes headscarves and niqaabs, but not burqas! I already mentioned about the influx of the Arabic culture (and burqa is one of the imports), and I agree with you, I am not fond of it.

    and you don’t have any idea about temples because you guys never left any temple functioning in Pak cities..infact u’re demolishing non functioning temples to make way for other structures..and not just temple priests but even Christian clergy wears skull cap

    So basically you are saying that there are no temples in Pakistan? Again, something from a biased media report. Yes, we have an abysmal record of dealing with minorities and that is a matter of shame for us Pakistanis. However, there are some functioning temples and there are places (sadly few) where people of different faith live in harmony. What irritates me is people making statements that all Pakistanis hate minorities. Statements like “you guys hate minorities” and “you hate the West”. Would you like it if I say that all women in India are raped & sexually harassed on buses? Of course not! Regarding the Christian clergy, I am still confused over what you mean? By skull caps do you mean the caps that Muslims wear in mosques?

    and they way u keep writing where did u go here, there etc..means u only live in your elite posh colony..and you think we got cake and we don’t need bread..Elites just make less than 1 % of pak..who speak english & aware of the world ..(atleast the world they know)..

    I have traveled a lot throughout Pakistan, can you say the same? Most people can not speak fluent English but I can guarantee you that they understand bits of it. The average Pakistani can speak English, just as well as the average Indian. Travel along any major road in Pakistan and you will see road signs and many advertising boards in English. I am not an elite, so don’t make mindless assumptions please. Recommend

  • Sid

    This article & the comments make one thing crystal clear…. It is difficult for some people to even know & appreciate some positive things in life!!!! Mr. Khan has written an article which brings out a ray of hope & positiveness into a whole scenario filled with distrust and unhappiness and what we see………people criticizing, ridiculing & judging!!! Have we become so messed up with our lives that we cannot even appreciate a simple nicety shown by someone??!!!!
    Mr. Khan, way to go buddy!!! Your attitude rocks!!!! Keep up the positiveness……..
    I’m someone who thinks more than identifying to which country you belong, first show that you are good human being. And for me, which ever faith you follow is none of anybody’s business but yours only. Please lets make the world a better place.Recommend

  • Watan-e-Hindustan(Indian)

    Jinnah’s quote
    “Any idea of a United India could never have worked and in my judgment it would have led us to terrific disaster.” Recommend

  • JOHN

    @maestro: One restaurant owner we went for dinner to even refused to accept money when we told him they were visiting from India – he just said, these are our guests
    this is music to hear………..that one reinforce the belief in the inherent love of old india…..Recommend

  • Khan of Cape Town

    @Indian: I have a bet with my friend that if they open the borders like they do in Europe, while keeping the identities in tact, the Indo-Pakistan tension will be defused for ever, within a few weeks. Recommend

  • gp65

    The 2 posts that resonate with me most are those of @BlackJack and @Sinclair.
    @Author: I am glad you had a good time. It would have been a shame if people mistreated you merely due to your nationality. I think the difficulty with your SIM was not because you were a Khan as you were toldbut because your passport was green.
    @Indians who are being ungracious to the author who has shown nothing but grace, I am not sure that is doing any service to the coutnry that all of us love.
    @Tribune Reader: Ample caution is appropriate and actually I am glad to hear that issuing of SIM Card was a deliberate process which appparently took appropriate security measures. It is pointless pretending that India has not suffered terror attacks emanating from Pakistan. I am sure you too would be glad if this was done in your country instead of the ongoing cellphone coverage cutoff that Rehman Malik imposes in an ad-hoc fashion. because no care is taken while issuing SIMs in the first place.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Liked the pictures…………..nicely written. The negative remarks are so shallow, its a shame.Recommend

  • Indiaspark

    Nice blog… India will shine brighter if we gey people like this,,,,,, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGOA4_GV0vURecommend

  • F

    There are similarities: looks and language – limited to Punjabi/Hindi/Urdu speaking northerners. And yes, share religion with Muslims. That would be a lot to build upon. However, the differences are real, deep and not “dissimilar” even with Muslims of India. Pakistanis are deeply indoctrinated in the Wahabi school of Islam. To put it mildly, they believe they are superior to Indians in every way and deserving of respect irrespective of their conduct. That was the genesis of partition – two separate nations based on religion, culture, beliefs, habits, heritage etc. India is secular and strives to be in every sense of the world. It seeks to treat all its citizens equally. Not so across the border. Pakistanis enshrine bigotry in their constitution and discriminate against all non-Muslims, including Ahmedis and Shias. Indians are confident: reflective of their actions and try to learn from their defeats and mistakes. Pakistanis are a closed society full of self congratulations – remember they won every war against IndiA, USSR and USA! Genocide conducted by their Army on their citizens in 1971 is “propoganda”! Indians are not perfect – they know it but take responsibility. Pakistanis are. Yet they blame others and are convinced of a million conspiracies by RAW, CIA and MOSSAD. Indians are exporting software and goods – Pakistanis sadly are sending “strategic assets” abroad. Indians are confident in saying they are Indians. So are Pakistanis abroad! That says it all. All Punjabi sentimentality aside, we are different people. New generation of Indians are happy that you have your country. If you could practice being great Pakistanis at peace with yourself, that would be ‘similarity’ enough. Recommend

  • Vikrant

    This man seems to be the agent of the RAW (Hindu-sponsored), CIA (Christian-sponsored) and the Mossad (Jew-sponsored) in trying to “bridge the gap” between the Muslims (the “chosen ones”) and the crusaders! Shame on him! Hafiz Saeed saab and Zaid Hamid saab, please take note!Recommend

  • Sanjay

    In almost every category – culturally, economically, climatically, racially, linguistically, ethnically, and religiously India is either the most diverse countries in the world, or the runner-up.Recommend

  • Deb; India

    Never mind the skeptics.
    Please visit us again.Recommend

  • Shafi

    You are just blowing the “Two Nation Theory”. nothing else.Recommend

  • aria

    @Watan(Indian): Of course you are right….But unfortunately…..there was a choice for you in 47…You should have availed it…Time is expired now…time to accept the reality..Recommend

  • awellwisher

    @author,

    Thanks for sharing your experience while in India. As for the problems in getting a cell phone number and sim card, every foreigner has the same problem. Even my son, a person of Indian origin but an American citizen, could not get a telephone number and sim card on his visit a few years ago. One of my relatives had to loan him their phone/sim card for the duration of his visit. It is because of the need to curb terrorism that the Indian government had to formulate strict laws and requirements in order to get a phone and sim card. It takes about a few days for every foreigner. It is very likely that Pak citizen may have to go through additional checks.Recommend

  • Insaan

    Author “I didn’t get into any debates over my nationality in India; I didn’t need to pretend I was Indian………..Contrary to misconceptions, no one chased me and no one investigated me……The owners of restaurants, net cafés, money changers and franchises of cellular companies are under strict instructions by the home ministry to carefully deal with Pakistanis…………The Muslim community is particularly more careful while dealing with Pakistani Muslims in New Delhi.

    I am glad you enjoyed your trip in India. I have no doubt most Indians are treated nicely when they visit Pakistan.

    Things can get better only if ISI stops supporting terrorists attacks in India. Indians still remember when 10 Pakistani terrorists pretending to be Hindus killed 40 Indian Muslims, 124 non-Muslims in Bombay on 26/11.

    Truth about Kargil is now coming out. Pakistanis are now talking how Musharraf sent soldiers into India and claimed them as mujhahideens. Pakistan even lied to its own citizens. If Pakistan did it for a valid reason why did Pakistan government lie.Recommend

  • Cosmo

    @Vikas:
    O u and your phony indian name! Get a real pakistani one! An indian can never utter the words u do!!Recommend

  • Pessimist

    ethicalman
    @ Pessimist
    Other than disagreeing with everything and terming as nonsense..why don’t u see the ground realties of Pakistan……..l I’m just asking you to think it over..(i know a rude reply is on the way).

    I spent a good 10 minutes replying to your comment (about 12 hours ago) and ET didn’t publish it. I was not rude, neither did I say anything offensive, so WHY has it not been published? I simply gave a reply to your claims, similar to my first post. Unbelievable!

    Maybe if I make a biased anti-Pakistan or anti-Islam comment, they might publish it so they can show how “diverse” their readership is! :@ Recommend

  • Mustafa

    Why would you go to a dirty filthy smelly country like India – Should go to Iran, Turkey, Malaysia and other more cleaner and beautiful places.I doubt you told the full reality here as you must be trying to promote “amn ki asha” coz I think there is a mischief hidden behind their backs and they cant be good to us!! PAKISTAN ZINDABAD!!! AND DONT U INDIANS TALK ABOUT OUR GREAT LEADER JNNAH!!!Recommend

  • sameera rashid

    Nice blog1 Gave positive vibes and the title picture is really good.

    Some of the comments were partially negative, possibly engendered by misconceptions and not knowing each other well. Finally, cultural framework of any nation is governed by a number of factors- religion, customs, language, food, and ,after the formation of nation states, national institutions too. So, Indians ( particularly North Indians)might be similar to Pakistanis but they are different too. And after living apart for 70 years, Pakistanis would be different from Indian Muslims too.
    In many respects, Pakistanis might have cultural affinity with Mediterranean Arabs, Turks and Central Asians and also with with Arabs from the Gulf region( although, some of us don’t like to admit it).
    So, that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying what we share and respecting where we are different. In short, enjoy and respect.Recommend

  • Watan-e-Hindustan(Indian)

    @sameera rashid:
    So, that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying what we share and respecting where we are different. In short, enjoy and respect.

    Unfortunately,Its easily said than done.Recommend

  • Watan-e-Hindustan(Indian)

    @sameera rashid:

    “So, that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying what we share and respecting where we are different. In short, enjoy and respect.”

    Our learned leaders Jinnah,Gandhi,Nehru,Agha khan,Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad,Muhammed Ali,Sir syed khan,Sardar Patel couldn’t do it I am sure our present politicians cannot make us united or be friends.Politicians are puppets in the hands of people or it may be the other way around and people are puppets in the hands of the clerics and the clerics are puppets in the hands of religion and the religion is a very emotional issue which divides the people of two nations.Recommend

  • sameera rashid

    @Watan-e-Hindustan(Indian):

    I understand your argument; But harmonious relations nations require assiduous cultivation of contacts by scaling down walls of suspicion and mistrust. However, we tend to be overwhelmed by emotions; and nationalist hysteria is not necessarily always religious; although, in our case , it could be a potent factor.
    On a personal level, I am pro-peace and wish to see cultivation of good relations between India and Pakistan in my lifetime.Recommend

  • Aisha Qadir

    @ethicalman:
    wats arabic urdu? urdu is urdu. it has itws own script which is similar to arabic and persian. infact it is persian script and not even arabic script. get over ur obsession with ”arabic” and ur ignorance as well. Also urdu is different from hindi (duuuhhh). and pakistanis speak urdu, not hindi the way indians speak hindi and not urdu.

    what exactly is ur point?Recommend

  • Aisha Qadir

    @ethicalman:

    wats arabasized urdu btw? plz google the roots of urdu and ull see that urdu per say is a mixture of arabic, persian and hindi. we speak urdu. u speak hindi. so?

    so wats wrong is saying ‘#Allah hafiz’# instead of ”khuda hafiz”. why are u so shallow? saying Allah or Khuda does not make me more arab or less of an arab. the fact is muslims all over the world have ben influenced by arab culture because thats where the religion got its roots from. so WHAT?!

    and shalwar kameez is a persian influence. so what?!. wats wrong in wearing shalwar kameez. the arabs, btw, dont wear shalwars.
    Recommend

  • Watan-e-Hindustan(Indian)

    @sameera rashid:
    Good to hear and know as most women do is that you are working for peace and your are intending to solve the issue with assiduous dialogue or contact like P2P(people2people&Politicians2Politicians),m2m(media2media & military2military),but some of Pakistanis like JUD leader Hafeez saeed and militant organizations like LET wants to solve the concerns of the Pakistanis in Kashmir with swords or in modern day’s called guns.

    I also wanted to say India is not innocent it wants to separate your Baluchistan from Pakistan as Pakistan wants to separate Kashmir from India.India supported Ahmed shah mazood norther alliance where Pakistan supported mullah Omar and Taliban.India is supporting Bangladesh Awami league in Bangladesh and Pakistan is supporting Bangladesh Nationalist Party.At one point during cold war India supported Russia and Pakistan supported America.The relations between India and Pakistan involves lots of things and Interests.

    Our Hindu clerics always talk about the Muslim rule in India especially the rule of Aurangzeb and the bad implications it had on Hindu language,culture and religion and tell their followers and they tell about how Hindus were driven out of Pakistan(Sindh,Punjab,Kashmir etc) and how Jinnah divided united India which we consider as ours(Hindus).

    We are Haunted by history and it will be so.Our Histories and are Religion divide us.Pakistan is Islamic Republic of Pakistan,if it was a Secular Pakistan it would have been different story we Indians could have forgotten history and its fears and trusted Pakistan. Recommend

  • Maxwood

    This must be a jokeRecommend

  • BlackJack

    @Aisha Qadir:
    urdu is urdu. it has itws own script which is similar to arabic and persian. infact it is persian script and not even arabic script.
    This is not in relation to your views on @ethicalman’s comment, but the content, which is incorrect. Arabic script is the basis for Persian, Urdu and Shahmukhi script of Punjabi – certain letters are added to each of these languages to make sounds which do not exist in Arabic but the letters and their inter-connectedness in cursive writing are by and large the same. To argue that Urdu and Persian are separate scripts from Arabic would be akin to saying that German does not follow the Latin script because of its use of an additional consonant ß and three vowels with umlauts, or that Marathi does not follow Devanagari because of the additional letter ळ. It may be worthwhile to conduct some basic research before advising others to go Googling; for starters, you could explore the link below which mentions languages using the Arabic script, which I believe was the thrust of this aspect in @ethicalman’s argument that you refute in your comment as italicized above.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_script

    @ET – pls allow.Recommend

  • Cynical

    @BlackJack

    Your response @Aisha Qadir on Arabic script.

    Well put.
    Coming across a post that spreads even a hint of knowledge is a pleasant relief from the cacophoney of the demented souls that visit ET pages 24 x 7, specially on issues involving Indo-Pak.
    Thanks.Recommend

  • Member Fourth Pillor..

    @Abhisek…come.. welcome..You will not be able to find difference between Mumbai and Karachi…Recommend

  • maestro

    @Bharat:
    You come anytime Bharat – see the Pakistani hospitality first hand and then you will understand. Just remember, when the Indian cricket team last visited Pakistan, the Pakistani crowds painted their faces with an India flag on one cheek and the Pakistan on the other at the matches. Thats Pakistaniyat. One or bad 2 incidents happen and you think those few handful of terrorists represent a nation of 200 million? Come anytime. Recommend

  • maestro

    @ashok sai: Ashok jee if god forbid 10 Indians came into Pakistan and sprayed bullets blindly into innocent people, though I would be extremely angered, I would still not hold the over 1 billion population of India responsible for the actions of 10 deranged mad men. Pakistan is fighting these same terrorists DAILY sir. Why don’t you all understand that? We have lost over 40,000 civilians and soldiers fighting this darn war on terror – but no the blood of your 166 (may they rest in peace) is more important? Cmon. Even the US is begging to talk to the Taliban in Afghanistan – you don’t understand the mentality of these insane brainwashed people – how do you fight an enemy that is not afraid of death?
    @Bharat:
    You come anytime Bharat – see the Pakistani hospitality first hand and then you will understand. Just remember, when the Indian cricket team last visited Pakistan, the Pakistani crowds painted their faces with an India flag on one cheek and the Pakistan on the other at the matches. Thats Pakistaniyat. One or bad 2 incidents happen and you think those few handful of terrorists represent a nation of 200 million? Come anytime. Recommend

  • Tony Singh

    @The Khan:
    “Why would you want to go to India?
    i would rather prefer Turkey or Iran or Malaysia with its beautiful people and breath taking beauty”
    His wish, His will, His pleasure. How does it matter to you personally?Recommend

  • Tony Singh

    @Mustafa:
    As replied to Khan
    Its author’s wish, His will and his pleasure. He is a free citizen and has brains. He has right to visit any place he likes. Who are you to advise him?
    BTW been to countries you have mentioned. (Malaysia/ Turkey). Found people same everywhere. Maybe you are different than others. Put yourself up as a collector’s item. Cheers!Recommend

  • Watan-e-Hindustan(Indian)

    @maestro:
    See what you have done to Hindus in Sindh,Punjab and Kashmir this is what your hospitality is,you don’t treat you own citizens well and ask people who you chased them away to come and visit your country again,this is not fair on your part.You may like them but your terrorists like Hafiz saeed hates Indians.Recommend

  • Mahmood

    @ashok sai:
    Same as your 7,00,000 strong Army is doing in Kashmir!Recommend

  • Mahmood

    You seems to be an intelligence man!Recommend

  • gp65

    @Pessimist: Hey I agree with most of what you say but not about how widespread the use of English is. Two English language TV channels had to shut down because there simply wasn’t enough of an audience for them. These are facts not opinions.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Pessimist: “Maybe if I make a biased anti-Pakistan or anti-Islam comment, they might publish it so they can show how “diverse” their readership is! :@”

    Come on now. You may have come across many anti-Pakistani comments ; I grant you that Perhaps even comments about the conduct of Muslim majority countries. But anti-Islam comments from Indians? I do not thinks so.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    The Author was in the Part of India where its not a real big issue it seems if you are a Pakistani..Even before the so called “26/11″ theatrics Bombay was hostile way back in late 1990′s to Pakistani’s and even to its own South Indians. Its the same and worsen. The home to the worlds biggest Slum. Bombay is like Karachi but on steroids of hate and racism. Been there twice but Wouldn’t ever want to go there again. All the hopes of Peace start at Delhi but is slammed in Bombay.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Mr Khan,

    Now follow through your travel and establish the friendship of your village or town with the one in India and organise exchange of visits. This is the golden recipe for initiating and developing peace with neighbours.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • amit

    @Fahad Raza:
    and lol who told you that delhi and other part of india is pro pakistan lol if i’m not wrong he is only talking about old delhi where mostly muslim community is residing and look similar to lahore and pakistan . Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/896/ayesha-pervez/ Ayesha Pervez

    Ive met quite a few Indian people in my life and they ‘ve all been really nice! I made an Indian friend at Harvard and she remembered me for a long time afterwards .. I used to get cards from her…. Recommend

  • gp65

    @maestro:
    Many of your points are valid. I live In the US and have many Pakistani friends. The problem is not people to people but the deep distrust that we have for your armed force leadership who also controls your foreign policy. After having been stabbed in the back repeatedly the primary feeling is that of making sure we are safe. If Indians believed that the 10 people who came were just some crazies who were operating on their own, the reaction would have been very different. But there is a history here. In the 90s Pakistan denied sending jihadis to India but now agrees that this was the case. During Kargill Pakistan denied that it was Pakistani soldiers but now everyone agrees they were Pakistani soldiers not mujahidins. Similarly, we believe that 26/11 was also supported by ISI and that is the reason for the deep resentment about this event. Certainly the testimony of David Headley as well as Abu Jundal gives credence to that.
    I do not support visa liberalization because I worry that then the peace that has been won by the blood of our soldiers protecting infiltration at LOC would be lost by a terrorist with a fake ID of 65 year old given by your agencies could just walk in. However any Pakistani who comes through today after due controls must be treated with honour , love and respect as any guest should be.Recommend

  • Awais

    My Name is Khan but i am not a terrorist!
    Pakistanis have abundant similarities with North indians but southies are similiar with sri-lakans. It is due to similar land qualities nothing strange.Recommend

  • http://www.irabwah.com/ rabwah

    I am from
    rabwah . Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained by a number of historical and political issues, and are defined by the violent partition of British India in 1947. Consequently, even though the two South Asian nations share historic, cultural, geographic, and economic links, their relationship has been plagued by hostility and suspicion.Recommend

  • syed fazil

    pakistan is no more seen as a ideal thing to emulate for world muslims. muslims of india feels alien with pashtun,iranic blooded pakistani people and culture. rather, the south asian region of india and it’s cultural cousins like bangladesh,nepal,srilanka,bhutan are loved more. I don’t understand the similarity you want to claim. any similarity pakistani cities have with India is a result of hindu influence. so, think whether it is a proud thing to see.Recommend

  • Jehanzeb Mahar

    @Abhisek:
    Most welcome brother.Target killings are ‘targeted’.I mean these people are killed due to their affiliation with some group.A common doesn’t need to be much afraid.We just avoid going unnecessarily to troubled areas.Clifton is a posh and safe locality.And one question; are you Sindhi?Recommend

  • Prerna

    @Sinclair:
    What irks me big time is the Punjabi brethren in India claiming to represent the whole of my country when they get down to their puppy-jhuppies with Pakistanis. For me, Pakistan is just a neighboring country like Srilanka, nothing more

    It is indeed irksome when someone tries to create goodwill,and you are so right to be annoyed.I do sympathise.So next time I run into any Pakistanis and smother them with “puppy-jhuppies”,I will make sure to inform them about the distinct South Indian identity – even though I think Pakistanis already know that.Recommend