This Independence Day I long for peace with India

Published: August 15, 2013
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I have hope that the common bonds of love, culture and mutual interests will win out and the dark stories of rejected visas and border disputes will be washed away. PHOTO: AFP

“Panchee, nadiya, pawan kay jhokay,

Koi sarhad na inhay rokay,

Sarhad insaanon kay liye hai,

Socho tum nay aur mainay kya paya insan hokay  – Javed Akhtar

(Birds, streams, the flowing breeze

No border can stop them

Borders were made for mankind

Just think,  what did you and I get for being human?)

Monday, 5:45am, December 7, 2012:

I am at the India-Pakistan bus terminal in Lahore. It’s bitterly cold and yet the throng of well-wishers outside the gate is ever growing. Some are waving goodbye to their relatives about to embark on the bus for Delhi. Others are crying into their shawls or trying to put on a stoic face for their loved ones who are returning to India. A boy is talking to his Pakistani aunt and can barely speak for his sobs. The air is thick with emotions, elation and grief. Even after two earlier visits I am giddy with happiness, I am about to leave for India.

The Family together, notice the ubiquitous Ambassador car in the back. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

I have been there a few times. My friends always ask me why I visit so often. Why not Malaysia or Thailand they question. It is not easy to enunciate my reasons; one only has to look around at the people around me to understand why. It’s the sense of belonging and the commonalities that bind me to the town of my forefathers in Uttar Pradesh. It’s the call of my ancestors’ dilapidated havelis, to rediscover my roots and much more.

Mango orchards. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

The journey began some twenty years back. There was a family wedding with guests arriving from India. I was breathless with excitement. The flight was delayed and I fell asleep. Abba woke me telling me they had arrived and I rushed to see them.

Holding a scorpion in the shirne of Hazrat Shahwilayat patron saint of Amroha. The scorpions are sacred and don’t sting. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

As soon as I came into the room, previously unseen uncles, aunts and cousins swept me in their arms. I realised then that these are my people, people who are far away from me, but who love me like their own. I have never met them nor will I be meeting them often but they will be a part of my days, my conversations, my future plans and my family occasions.

No trip was complete without a visit to the Qutb Minar. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

8:00am, December 7, 2012:

The bus is crossing the Wagah border. It’s difficult to believe that these two gates and the few meters of land between them causes so much grief to millions of people on both sides. There are subtle differences. The signs are in Hindi and the bearded officer is wearing a Sikh turban but what matters? Surely, the founding fathers on both sides would not have imagined that this border would prove to be so obdurate.

My parents in front of India Gate Delhi. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

Yet the border with its menacing walls and capricious gates is there. What the partition was meant to be or what could have been had it not happened is a futile debate. Oceans of ink could be bled on the subject but the fact is that there is no way of undoing what was done. Even so, four wars, countless skirmishes, jingoistic politicians and hard liners on both sides cannot change the fact that for thousands of years this was one land with one people.

With my parents and sister in Delhi’s Lal Qila. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

For eight centuries the Muslims lived here absorbing culture and adding their own blend to the tapestry called Hindustan – Hindustan, named by the Arab traders, meaning land of beauty – Hindustan, the golden bird of riches for which no less a personage than Iqbal wrote these immortal words:

Saray jahan se acha,

Hindustan hamara

(Better than the world,

Is our Hindustan)

Sadly, such hauntingly beautiful imagery is ignored. The political issues faced by the two countries are difficult but not insurmountable. Countries are made, nations get broken, and wars are fought but as history has shown, the commonality of interests and the desire for peace wins out.

Blessing a groom the old way with ubtan and loads of love. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

England and France, Russia and America, Germany and France, China and Japan and so many more were all at one point bitter enemies but now exist together at best in perfect harmony and at worst with at least modicum of stable relationship.

As unbelievable as this may sound but a familiar sight in Delhi. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

Sadly, India and Pakistan don’t see eye to eye in spite of a shared language, architecture, food, music, entertainment, ceremonies, traditions, clothing and norms.

Basking in the winter sun of Amroha UP and company of Indian relatives. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

8:00pm, December 7, 2012:

I am 40km from Delhi and the roads now look familiar. The excitement of travellers is detectable and they are peering out of windows. A middle-aged gentleman in front of me is going after 27 years and even though he is grinning I can make out that his cheeks are wet. He tells me of rejected visas and numerous visits to the Indian consulate. All his relatives are coming to receive him. His mother, a sister and two brothers will not be among them. They passed away in the midst of a long gap of his visits a few years back.

My father taking part in a traditional procession. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

There is more binding us than keeping us apart. M Rafi, Dilip Kumar and Shahrukh Khan are loved on both sides. Pakistanis are just as fond of Kishore Kumar and Jagjit Singh as anyone. Nazia Hassan recorded her biggest hit in India and sang for several movies. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Imran Khan and Shahid Afridi were swamped with fans on both sides of the border. Sadequain painted in India, Kaifi Azmi recited poetry here.

Artist Sadequain reading a marsiya in Amroha UP- 1984. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

Pakistanis, travel to Hyderabad and Bangalore for medical reasons and come back with glowing tales of hospitality. When the Indian cricket team visited Pakistan in 2003 the restaurant owners refused to charge them. In Pakistan saying you are a visiting Indian means discounts at shops and stories of common backgrounds. Sadly, ulterior motives and weak resolve by the powers that be stall peace progress at every turn.

Birds in my ancestors’ home; no border bars their way. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

8:00am, January 2, 2013:

I am almost at Pipri, two hours from Delhi back to Lahore. The crying of the young man next to me has subsided. He talks about his relatives who had come to say goodbye and how one of them gave him his shawl, his only protection against the frigid weather, just because he had commented on its workmanship. He tells me about how a visa rejection made him so desperate that he actually contemplated crossing the border illegally. Mind you, he was not a mindless fanatic rather an executive in a telecom company. I couldn’t help but marvel at his stories and found reflections in the frenzied yearnings of others.

Another visit another goodbye My grandmother is 2nd from left with my sister in her lap. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

When will Pakistan and India relations normalise? When will I simply walk across Wagah and travel across the length and breadth of India?

Cycle rickshaws economical and fun. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

I don’t know but I have hope that eventually the common bonds of love, culture and mutual interests will win out and the dark stories of rejected visas and border disputes will be washed away by the sunny smiles and tears of joy of loved ones.

My first visit in 1982 I am the first infant from right and wearing a white sweater. Photo: Sibtain Naqvi

Sibtain Naqvi

Sibtain Naqvi

A writer and social commentator who has written extensively for various Pakistani English dailies. An art critic accredited by the AICA and the Royal College of Art, London, he dabbles in music and sports writing and tweets @Sibtain_N (twitter.com/Sibtain_N)

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

  • Mount Lavinia

    Beautiful Sibtain! Absolutely beautiful! You brought a much needed smile to our faces yet againRecommend

  • sohail5221

    A joy to read!! Gr8 piece! Recommend

  • Faraz

    Just the post i needed! Its nostalgic, emotional and hopeful at the same time, Splendid work!Recommend

  • Azmaira

    Good one! Definitely need articles like these, it helps create any semblance of hope and optimism during these times. I love these “feel good” stories!Recommend

  • Raheel

    Nice! Love it Sibtain!!Recommend

  • Talha Sabri

    Loved the pictures! Live Scorpion on the boys arm!?! Amazing how they dont bite! Recommend

  • South Indian

    Sibtain,
    It is religious fanatics that flame the fires of hatred and try to fray attempts at peace.
    It was refreshing to see old photographs from the 80s..esp.of your ancestral home.Touching article.
    Thank you for sharing. I loved all the pictures.
    Your article reflects a love for the land and people that is beyond the narrow confines of national boundaries….wish others would also have such love.
    Long live India and Pakistan in great harmony as peaceful neighbours.Recommend

  • Omer Purdue

    The old Vintage photos look stunning! Sadeqain in his sherwani, just WOW! Sadeqain looks like a BOSS! After reading this, i definitely need to visit India!Recommend

  • Jat

    Straight from your heart; and into mine – but there are not many like you on your side.Recommend

  • Surya

    Your positiveness in this article continues to show that not all people are hostile. I studied with many from across the border at university in England and saw first hand the commonalities between us. I’ve made life long friends, who have ended up moving back home, and who I treat like brothers. It would be great to visit them.

    That being said, political difference cannot be ignored. As a Kashmiri Pandit who has seen first hand the impact of hostile elements from Pakistan, I have some strong feelings on the country’s government, Army and ISI. I also dispute the two-nation theory vehemently and the ideology of a state based on religion. That being said, I probably feel equally strongly against the Congress Party considering the damage they have done to my country!

    These differences in opinions have not prevented me from engaging with the common person and making friends. Those desis living abroad would tend to agree that at the end of the day, we bond much more than we do with others. Blood is, afterall, thicker than water. Recommend

  • rana sultan

    very nice article it reminds me my old beautiful days. khuda karae unhi kamiyab hotae raho. love!!Recommend

  • Ashok

    Loved reading the piece and especially the photos showing separated families bonding together.
    Hope things get better in the future and people on both sides can visit each other.
    Happy independence day Pakistan and may you prosper.Recommend

  • Amol

    I wish, your wish comes true Sibtain. Recommend

  • Joe Shmoe

    Nice article but regrettably there will never be peace between India and Pakistan. There are too many powerful lobbies in both countries who will take the path of hostitlity until eventually and inevitably there will be mushroom clouds over Dehli, Islamabad, Mumbai, Karachi, Kolkatta and Lahore with millions dead …..sadly !Recommend

  • J.P,Sharma

    I love this newspaper very muchRecommend

  • akash

    Even so, four wars, countless skirmishes, jingoistic politicians and hard liners on both sides cannot change the fact that for thousands of years this was one land with one people.

    how ironic coming from a Pakistani – this was land of one people. We were not told so by your Quaid e Azam. I hope peace prevails but dont know how long it will take.Recommend

  • heera

    @author:http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-08-14/india/414091451pak-hindu-anil-kumar-fundamentalists
    Pl go through through above link.Their cries r even more deeper than you and of course India will never turn blind eye for them..Recommend

  • Parvez

    Fabulous stuff and brilliant pictures……………after seeing this one is forced to think, why is it that desite us being neighbours and despite us being one not so long ago, we as living, breathing, thinking people harbour so much animosity towards each other. The only answer I come to is that we are both stupid.
    Recommend

  • Fati

    this article made me teary. i hope your wish comes true. excellent piece of writing…Recommend

  • Anon

    @ Joe Shmoe

    Diplomacy will avoid the mushroom clouds you talk of.
    Supporting the Pak.civillian govt.instead of religious zealots who in the name of God, sow hate in the psyche of the nation will avoid those mushroom clouds.
    Pragmatism instead of emotion will avoid those mushroom clouds.
    Love for humanity beyond the restrictions of nationality and religion instead of misinformation and hate,will avoid those mushroom clouds.Recommend

  • Nazia ABN

    “I dreamed a dream….”

    I just fell in love with this photoessay filled with positivity, May all your dreams come through Sibtain. Recommend

  • Average Indian
  • BlackJack

    Thank you – beautifully written, and I am very happy that you feel at home in India. But I am curious, did you ever ask your relatives in India why they stayed behind and didn’t leave for Pakistan? Recommend

  • Manoo

    Great Stuff! Ive always been a believer in Pak-India Harmony, both the countries deserve citizens like Sibtain Naqvi on both sides in order for this dream to come into fruition. And I certainly know that normal/sane minded Pakistanis and Indians both yearn for peace.Recommend

  • Mehdi

    I have close families living in Bangladesh, several places in India and distant relatives in Pakistan. Only the distant one migrated to Pakistan, rest stayed put. Beautifully written. Very uniquely presented, kudos to you. Thank you.Recommend

  • SGJ72

    GREAT !! GOD BLESS YOU !Recommend

  • Genesis

    A fine article except for a small correction Hindustan means land of Hindus and not beauty.
    Stan or sthan is a Sanskrit word meaning a place..Recommend

  • haider ali

    i pray everyone starts to think in the same way as you do. EXCELLENT !Recommend

  • Chunky Lafanga

    Well written blog. I want nothing but peace and love between us Pakistanis and our Indian

    If European countries (who don’t share a much as Pakistanis and Indians share) can resolve their differences and become allies after the atrocities committed during WWII, why can’t India and Pakistan do the same?Recommend

  • Insaan

    Thanks for sharing your true feelings …..
    Paki army, ISI and Jihadis will never let peace happen between India and Pakistan. To keep the power these people will create problems to make Pakistanis feel that PAKISTAN can’t function without them.Recommend

  • Djpaki

    Article is good….but India has gone far ahead and is not a failed state…..Recommend

  • Batool

    Well written. I wish there were more people who supported the Pak-India harmony instead of Even recently on 14th August some members of Jamatu Dawa burned Indian flags to show patriotism. Until we have such elements present at both sides Pak-India harmony is impossible to achieve.
    This ingrained hatred can only be changed through education especially by not teaching false facts to children. Pick up any history text book, on both sides of the border, and it will be filled skewed facts. Recommend

  • AK Murthy

    It is very easy to become friends and open the borders. Just stop training and supporting acts of terrorism first against India. Then we can talk about all our differences and disputes. No amount of this emotional letters help since in reality It will never happen.Recommend

  • Bharat

    Its always good to see the things on your own and decideRecommend

  • firyal

    ‘I have been there a few times. My friends always ask me why I visit so often. Why not Malaysia or Thailand they question. It is not easy to enunciate my reasons; one only has to look around at the people around me to understand why. It’s the sense of belonging and the commonalities that bind me to the town of my

    forefathers in Uttar Pradesh. It’s the call of my ancestors’ dilapidated havelis, to rediscover my roots and much more.’ So well written could not have written it better–Sibtain –Kudos. Unfortunate that the people of Amroha ‘DO NOT UNDERSTAND THESE SENTIMENTS” Love the pictures and the familiar faces.–Recommend

  • J T

    As has been said numerous others above, wonderfully written. The use of family photos just adds to surreality of the narrative. I wish a lot more of our fellow country people shared these feelings for the other country. To the author, I am certain that what your wish for peace will come true some day; only that it might make us all wait quite a bit.

    I think it would be apt to leave this quote by Lincoln here:
    “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”Recommend

  • BRUISED INDIAN

    Naqvi Saheb: You have a treasure trove of pictures of socialist India, the amazing unpolluted air (back then) of North India and the lovely rickshaws!

    The picture which caught my eye was the Marsiya one… what exactly is that? Recommend

  • Rangacharya Kulakarni

    I do also long for peace my friend! Recommend

  • Maniza Naqvi

    Beautiful Sibtain!!Recommend

  • manjit singh

    Blackjack…
    Take this article for what it is and appreciate it. People like you foster hatred and cannot see positives. And then you have the gall to point at people across your border.Recommend

  • J T

    ET comments moderator- I’d love to know what was wrong with my last comment? I guess you have a problem with someone saying pro-peace stuff or maybe you just didn’t like my handle.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Wonderful article and great sentiments. Yes, we are all one people.Recommend

  • abhi

    This is really nice blog. Full of emotions. Thanks for sharing old photographs.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @Black jack
    That question I have asked one of my neighbor in Karachi that family migrated from Badaun U.P according to him big communal fights and specialy by the border was a biggest reason many peoples stays back in india ….. Recommend

  • Iqra Suleman

    For the first time read your article. It was simply awsome reflecting your feelings and showing your love attached with your hometown. It was very soothing. Hope one day these border disputes will get out of the dark phase by common bond of love. Beautifully written :)Recommend

  • Naveen

    Beautiful family pics. Sadly, It is a state to state conflict . Some groups on both sides have also developed a vested interest in keeping the pot boiling. We ordinary chaps can only wish.Recommend

  • Shock Horror

    One of the very best blogs I have read in Express Tribune. Wish you and all your readers the very best.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Sibtain Naqvi, I am NOT fond of emotional tales. Liberals bore me and for most of them, it is difficult to feel little more than contempt. Yet every now and then one runs into a person who, for reasons unknown, becomes an exception – a source of genuine joy, an object of affection, even admiration. You might be one such. Please keep writing. Recommend

  • Mehdi

    This is a brilliant photo essay. It reminds me of my family when we used to visit UP,Kolkata,Bombay – India from Bangladesh. What kind of familial relationships do you still have in India. If you don’t mind sharing with your fans/audience :) Recommend

  • vikas, mumbai

    Great article. You are always welcome in India. By the way, people in the photos look just like us Hindus. No bearded men, no burkha clad women.Recommend

  • AbsoluteIndia

    @vikas, mumbai:
    In my locality some shiite muslim r living around us.You cant differentiate b/w both of us.Their girls wear jeans and top on daily basis and never observed hizab and burqa.Muslim girls often can be seen driving scooty for attending college and tutions. I was surprised to know that many of them didnot keep roza this yr.They cheated parents and ate outside home in hotels.One old muslim lady while talking to my sister said “naye ladke ladkiyan hamari baat nahi mante.Pura din apne doston ke sath bita dete hain.Na roza rakhte hai aur na hi namaz ada kadte hai”Maulana in local mosque often complains that muslim men dont gather to offer namaz rather he used to prey alone..In such situation,maulana quits the mosque after every three month or so and they appoint another one..Celebration of muharram festival is quite interesting as they come to our door with tazia and we together play lathi..We donate money for muharram festival in return..So definitely our country has considerable amount of secular looking muslim .Recommend

  • S Naqvi

    @ Absolute India
    There are different types of people in all areas. The behavior you have mentioned can be followed by girls anywhere and not restricted to Shia ones. Its best to stay informed and have some perspective.

    @ Vikas, Mumbai
    The family members shown are generally liberal and thus do not sport long beards and burqas. Those are merely outside semblances, what matters is the faith inside. Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @manjit singh:
    Blackjack…
    Take this article for what it is and appreciate it. People like you foster hatred and cannot see positives. And then you have the gall to point at people across your border.

    Dude, it was a genuine question. Why would half a family migrate and half remain – there must have been a reason, I am interested in knowing if the author is willing to share. Recommend

  • S Naqvi

    @ Blackjack
    Migration was a personal choice and dependent upon conditions. Some people were employed in government service or business and felt there is greater opportunity in a new nation. Others felt a threat of life and property and moved. Those that had large tracts of land would lose out in migration and so stayed behind. It all depended upon the circumstances of each family and even individuals. Recommend

  • AbsoluteIndia

    @S Naqvi: @ Absolute India
    There are different types of people in all areas. The behavior you have mentioned can be followed by girls anywhere and not restricted to Shia ones. Its best to stay informed and have some perspective

    Naqvi ji,to be very honest a small number of shiite muslims r living around us and I have not interacted to any muslims beyond that.My father is a doctor and these muslims get treated by him.So i have given some idea about them….A part from that we also get some perspective information from The times of India..Do you understand what do I mean??? Recommend

  • rana sultan

    @BRUISED INDIAN
    The picture you are talking about shows artist Sadequain(who also belonged to Amroha and later migrated to Pakistan) with his Indian cousins reciting marsia in the holy month of MoharramRecommend

  • huzaifa

    @ Surya!

    Have you ever asked a Occupied Indian Kashmiri what his first hand experience of Indian army, RAW and BSF is since last 67 years. Once in early 80’s it came upon you , then it became loath and hate ………… very selfish.

    @Mr sabtain,

    your writing style is touching but not realistic, why your parents migrated to Pakistan and do you really think that your Indian relatives are living in peace. was’nt Balthackrey and Shiv Senna breathing down their necks.

    This is a UP government report.

    As many as 27 incidents of communal violence occurred since the Samajwadi Party (SP) formed government in the state.

    Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav informed the Assembly about the details of communal incidents in the state between March 15, 2012 and December 31 2012 — in a written reply to a question raised by Bhartiya Janata Party’s Satish Mahana and Lokendra Singh and Peace Party’s Dr Mohammad Ayub.

    “Among them three incidents were big — which occurred at Mathura, Bareilly and Faizabad. Seven incidents of communal violence occurred during the period, which includes two at Pratapgarh, and one each at Ghaziabad, Bareilly, Sambhal, Bijnore and Allahabad.

    Besides this, 17 communal incidents occurred during the period — thrice at Meerut, twice at Ghaziabad, thrice at Muzaffarnagar, twice at Kushinagar, and once at Lucknow, Bijnore, Sitapur, Bahriach, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Moradabad and Sambhal.

    Since the question hour was adjourned due to Kunda incident, no supplementary questions could be raised.

    See more at: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/27-communal-riots-in-up-since-sp-formed-govt-cm-admits-in-house/1083234/#sthash.g3uACoQD.dpuf

    @ Mr Sabtain.

    I wish you were on the bus coming from Delhi to Lahore once it was stopped, your love must transpired into feeling of terror.Recommend

  • huzaifa

    I am all in favour of the peace with India but first Kashmir issue is to be settled and Indian hegemonic attitude is to be corrected. I am sure then our intentions for peace will bore fruit.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @huzaifa: “I wish you were on the bus coming from Delhi to Lahore once it was stopped, your love must transpired into feeling of terror.”

    I wish you were in a mosque that was attacked by terrorists in Pakistan.
    Sabtain has a right to express his experience, emotions the way he sees it. He does not have to see this thru your Jihadi mind.

    I don’t really wish you any harm. How many Pakistani Muslims were killed by Pakis since Samajwadi party took control? How many of these incidences in India had involvement of ISI non-State actors?

    Pakistani interference in Kashmir is the main reason for all the problems in Kashmir. ISI trains people to speak Hindi and act as Hindus when they send them to create problems in Kashmir.

    Ten Pakistani terrorists who attacked Bombay on 26/11, pretended to be Hindus. These Paki terrorists killed 40 Indian Muslims and 124 non-Muslims. Why do you think Paki terrorists sent by ISI killed 40 Indian Muslims. Why do you think Indian Muslims refused to bury, dead Paki terrorists on Indian soil.Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @huzaifa:

    From your post I am assuming you are a pakistani patriot. You listed about an indian report on Muslim problem/persecution. Do you see one thing that India govt. is accepting the problems, in Pakistan Shia Muslim like myself, Ahmedis,Hindus and Christians are killed almost on a daily basis by takfiris/Salafis/Wahhabis and pak govt doesn’t give a hoot about this problem. you know India has plethora of social/communal/academic/geopolitical problems, but one good thing about their citizen is they introspect and try to bring about positive changes. I would highly encourage you to take a trip to India and find out yourself how it treat its minority. Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @huzaifa:

    I visited Kolkata for a day in 2009 on my way to Bangladesh from USA, I was very warmly greeted by hotel and airport staff despite knowing that I am a Muslim. I have large family in India and they are living in peace. 20-25% of West Bengal population are Muslim and India has 28 elected MPs to lok Sabah who are Muslim. How many minorities you have elected to pakistani parliament. Please I would suggest you introspect before penning your opinion. Recommend

  • Mehdi

    I think you should publish this essay in indian publication. It would be warmly received. Recommend

  • Waleed

    i have many indian friends and have visited india many times however i feel most indians are not ready for peace…whereas most Pakistanis are…We in Pakistan are able to overlook the fanatics in India like Shiv Sena, or the army colonel who was found guilty of massacring 100s of Pakistanis in the samjhota express bombing….

    on the other hand they will exploit and exxagerate, through their media, each and every claim/suspicion/fact that ever comes out…recent example…the army offices in india that were killed in their own territory by people wearing Pakistani army uniforms…cmon … you think Pakistanis who want to kill indian soldiers in India will do so wearing their own uniforms? … still you have seen the response…

    had you visited your beloved India during these times..your bus would have been stopped and you would be fearing for your life as protesters blocked the road and asked for your country to be wiped off the map…get realistic…Recommend

  • Insaan

    @huzaifa: “As many as 27 incidents of communal violence occurred since the Samajwadi Party (SP) formed government in the state.”

    Can you tell us how many terrorist attacks happened in Pakistan during the same period and how many Muslims were killed by Muslims in those attacks?Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Ali Tanoli: “That question I have asked one of my neighbor in Karachi that family migrated from Badaun U.P according to him big communal fights and specialy by the border was a biggest reason many peoples stays back in india ….”.

    Situation was same for Indians too. Some Pakistanis had pre-planned the attacks and made sure that all non-Muslims (Hindus/Sikhs) were killed or made to flee Pakistan. Pakistan plan worked.

    Pakis always talk about Muslims killed in trains, but they never tell that it was Pakistanis that cut up Indians in the whole train first first and Indians retaliated.

    Same thing is happening now on LOC, Pakis and their non-State actors keep killing Indian soldiers on LOC, but Pakistani media makes it look like, Indians are killing Pakistanis on LOC without any reason.. Recommend

  • S Naqvi

    @ Huzaifa
    I visited Delhi in November 2009, after the Mumbai attacks. I did not suffer any discrimination or troubles by the authorities. Along with Mughal sites and shrines of Nizamuddin Aulia and Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti, I have visited Hindu temples, monasteries, gurdwaras and Buddhist shrines with no bars and have always been welcomed by people of all sects and religions in India. I encourage you to visit so you can discover the real picture and not assume the worst. Recommend

  • Sane

    This blog post is purely an Indian version. Hindu and Muslim are two different nations and shall never live united in a country. That was the reason we got separated from India.Recommend

  • mind control

    @Sane:

    This blog post is purely an Indian version. Hindu and Muslim are two different nations and shall never live united in a country. That was the reason we got separated from India.

    I hope now you are living ‘united in a country’.

    However do take a second opinion from, the East Pakistanis, the Ahmadis, the Shias, the Baloch and the Hindu, Christian minorities if you can think of them as human beings.

    Congratulations.Recommend

  • observer

    @Sibtain Naqvi

    The photograph of your father participating in the Tazia procession has brought childhood memories flooding back.
    As a child in the 1960s our vacations were mostly spent at the ancestral village. During one such vacation my grandmother, a devout Hindu in all aspects, got all the juniors together and took us to the Tazia for the blessings of Baba Hussain. In her world view Imam Hussain was a Holy person and we had as much a duty to revere him as it was our right to claim his blessings.
    I guess, I became aware of Islam and the place of Islam in the Indian context with that incident.

    Would you believe that there are Hindu families that take out Tazias and observe Muharram?
    Here is a link.

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hindu-family-takes-out-its-80th-tazia/884935/

    Fully endorse your wish for peace between the two countries and communities. Amen.Recommend

  • Ali tanoli

    @S Naqvi,
    Quaid Azam Jinnah was against the migration of peoples on both sides of the border and he never said peoples should leave there place of birth then why its happened??????Recommend

  • Ali tanoli

    if the gunga jumni tehzib was so great then why peoples migrated to Pakistan or to us which they called them uneducated uncivilized barberians…….etcRecommend

  • Mehdi

    @Ali tanoli:

    please cool down on your punjabi pride. You comments are really annoying at best. Let me describe who you are. You are an extremist pakistani who sympathize with terrorist act, you believe Muslims like you superior to all other religion. You consider mahajir as some alien people to pakistan. Your nation Pakistan was founded by a Mohajir call Jinnah. Civil society was built by Muhajir if you don’t believe me then please do some research in your beloved Punjab University. Appreciate an article where a person is promoting peace. How are you contributing to society.Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @Sane:

    Do you actually known the meaning of the word “sane” ? You are just acting the opposite. let me enlighten you a bit. More Muslims live in Indian than Pakistan. Second highest population of Shia is in India after Iran. This point is debatable. Many statistics do show that it is Pakistan edging India a bit. Yes in Bangladesh I had Hindu friends and we did coexist very well. Actually I would describe you an eternal child, who desperately needs some growing up. It is Muslim like and your posy who will Pakistan a failed state quite soon. If you don’t do the prescribed growing up :)Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @Waleed:

    What about the LEJ, beloved/pious sipahe Sahaba, LET who are freely roaming the pious land of Pakistan with impunity ???? Look forward to your answer.Recommend

  • Anand

    @S Naqvi

    Love, affection, admiration and respect. May your tribe grows!

    @kaalchakra

    Very well put.Recommend

  • Maria

    @Ali tanoli: I agree with you. A lot of people should never have migrated during the partition but stayed in their own countries. Only a small percentage of current Pakistanis have migrated from India but I understand their sentimental attachment to India. As a native Pakistani- not a Muhajir, I have no ties to India and I suspect the majority of Pakistanis who are like me, do not share your enthusiasm for an open border. Yes there should be peace and friendship with India but I do not think of India as any closer to my home than I do Sri Lanka or Bangladesh or Iran. Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @Maria:

    Bangladesh used to be part of pakistani. Ask your immediate punjabi forefathers what they did to them. There is no such thing as native Pakistan. I am hoping that you do live in some western country. Please go to some libraries in your adopted land and read up on indian subcontinent history starting from 1850s. You will not comment the way you just commented.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    @Mehdi
    Can u define the word extremist I cant put in the paper and u knw why…. please read the Wikipedia of every country in the world and what majority there did and doing to minority please and tell me how much other world is libral?????? including india…Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @Ali Tanoli:

    Do you agree Pakistan is an intolerant country ? can you please in lucid term express what do you find wrong with this blog. You don’t answer a question with a question, by doing so you loose intellectual fight.Recommend

  • mind control

    @Ali Tanoli:

    Can u define the word extremist I cant put in the paper and u knw why…. please read the Wikipedia of every country in the world and what majority there did and doing to minority please and tell me how much other world is libral?????? including india

    Mr Tanoli,

    Since you keep on harping on the same excuses about India and Hindus, allow me to clarify something for you. Had Hindus followed the same punishment prescribed for converts (Murtads) in some other religions, there would not be a Pakistan today.

    Now find out what happened to the Zoroastrians (Parsees) in Iran and when they migrated to India.
    Or find out what was happening to East Pakistanis in Pakistan and how did they fare when they migrated to India.

    That should clarify the issue for you.Recommend

  • Maya

    Thanks for such a personal and touching glimpse into your life.

    I am a UK born Pakistani and have many hindu and sikh friends who I bond with better than my non ‘desi’ friends. We largely eat the same food in restaurants, watch the same Bollywood movies and love the music. I too, cannot understand the bitter vitriol that is pumped up by short sighted politicians on both sides of the border. I hate the ‘hate’!
    Insha-allah I want to travel to India one day and see that great country as well.Recommend

  • Surya

    @ S Naqvi, great to see you responding individually to certain posts. We need more people like you on both sides of the the border who can provide that perspective of the other side. It helps dispel a lot of myths that people like huzaifa, as well as some Indian posters here, seem to hold. The photos you posted are heartwarming and I hope you and your parents continue to visit your homeland. I also really liked your point on faith being what you hold inside you. Religion is a very personal thing – it is one’s connection with God. We all relate to the same God, but in different ways.

    @ huzaifa, for hundreds of years the Pandits of Kashmir have been systematically cleansed. there have been seven mass migrations with the latest in 1990 when 500,000 from my community were forced out. Many were killed. This was not orchestrated by the Indian Army, but by Pak sponsored groups. Our so called brothers in the valley turned their backs on us. Anyway, this does not justify any unfairness displayed by the BSF or paramilitary forces currently there as you correctly point out.

    @ Maria, you keep harping on how you are ethnically different from us Indians. India has a diverse range of ethnicities within its boundaries. I am Kashmiri – I may look different from my Manipuri, Keralite, and even West Punjabi migrant countrymen, but we all consider each other as children of the same soil. My family mandir is near Muzzafarabad, while another Shankaracharya peeth is in Tamil Nadu. I cannot consider Pakistanis, or South Indians that different from me!

    …All this being said, the main point is that despite political differences, people from both countries can still maintain good relations on a personal level, as this blog clearly demonstrates. Recommend

  • Anon

    @Maria

    The Quaid e Azam was also a Muhajir,madam. He was a Gujrati.Recommend

  • Anon

    @ Maria

    The term ‘native pakistani’ makes no sense for a new country that’s six decades old and was carved out of another,much older country.Recommend

  • Sajjad Raza Naqvi

    Superb Sibtain, very well written and amazing pictures. You have ignited my love for AmrohaRecommend

  • Tabriz Afi Yusufzai

    @Jat:

    Its absolutely not the case brother…Most of the people in Pakistan are of a same mindset as sibtain..Recommend

  • Maya

    @ Surya.
    ……good explanation of our ‘birth roots’
    Now if we could only get the peaceful ‘silent majorities’ on both sides of the border to influence their politicians…..!Recommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan

    Good piece by the author. It is well appreciated and acknowledged by us indians. A sensible person is always welcome here in india irrespective of nationality. My ancestory is from west Punjab so I can relate to his joys and pains which he summarized in his article. God bless you. Rab rakhaRecommend

  • Talha Rizvi

    God bless you Sibtain bhai. My family also immigrated from amroha we belonged to the Peerzada family(Descendants of Shah Ibn-e-Badr Chishti) and they always mentioned their hometown with great pride. Your posts are a breath of fresh air in this atmosphere of hate.Recommend

  • B A Malik

    Peace narrative is missing from the literature produced by intellectuals of the two countries barring a handful of exceptions..Songs of war are being produced but lyrics of peace are missing from the popular discourse.Intellectuals of the two countries have disappointed me.beyond measure.Peace without literary support is possible in dreams only.Long live India Pakistan peace at least in my dreamsRecommend

  • http://w Mashroof

    Very heart taking article I could not read whole because the photo were reflecting the innocent people feeling and emotion which have been made by the boarders Recommend

  • Sabit

    Best piece of the year! Brimmed with optimism, love itRecommend