Part of it published later in Express Tribune: http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/9658/call-me-an-indian-pakistani/
My way of prayer for Peace between India and Pakistan, today-December 18, 2011.
I thank everyone who bothered to comment on my blog ‘An Indian moves to Pakistan’ in Express Tribune Blog ( December 9, 2011), and gave their input, be it positive or negative.
I would take this opportunity to broadcast loud and clear my childhood dream of a world without borders and wars.
Let me make it very clear, I do not have any ill-wish to undermine the sovereign political borders between India and Pakistan or between any other countries. My dream is to erase the psychological borders that are etched in our minds in the shape of prejudices and hatred for the other.
I would tell those friends who pity me, please pat me,instead. For I am an Indian Pakistani.
So what if I do not hold an Indian passport, I have 24 years of fascinating memories, an excellent upbringing that taught me to speak without fear, sealed in my heart as an Indian.
Pakistani, I am not by passport but by the love and respect that I have got from numerous Pakistanis, who took no time to accept me as one of them.
I own both the lands and a good 1.4 billion are my fellow compatriots.
What more could translate my feelings than this poem I wrote some time ago?,
To both the lands I belong
Yeah my heart throbs alike for the two lands
Yeah my love is equally blind for the two cultures.
Yeah my voice sings songs of love in two languages
Yeah my eyes see identical dream for the two peoples.
Yeah my lips whisper the same prayers for the two communities
Yeah my heart aches on hearing hatred screamed by bigots from two faiths
Yeah my tears roll witnessing the bloodshed by the misguided in two nations
But, I feel no difference between the two names the world calls INDIA and PAKISTAN
For the hammock of my life hangs between my two beloved lands I call my HOMELANDS.
I feel equally passionate about the happenings of Lok Pal bill as much as I was about the NRO case in Supreme Court.
When it was cricket World cup I got to support two teams, and whenever there is an India-Pakistan match, unlike the other billion and a half who dread for the result, I rejoice since if any team wins, my team is the winner.
I find divine tranquility in reading Kaafis of Bulleh Shah, as much as I drown in the depths of Kabir Dohas.
And I know how Kareem’s nalli nihari from Delhi tasted before it began its journey to end up a Sabri’s maghaz Nihari in Karachi.
I wear a Kanjeevaram sari and dangle a Sindhi embroidered bag together, and still boast both of them are my country’s handicrafts.
To those who ridiculed or criticised me, please shed the word ‘hate’ from your dictionaries. Look beyond prejudices.
Believe me, I bear witnesss that there are millions and millions on both sides who want to live in peace with themselves and with their neighbours.
For you I have this poetry as a reminder:
Oh the souls of the subcontinent,
Let for amity be our energies spent.
Arent we neighbours? Shall be forever,
Let being friends be our real endeavour.
How can the love our hearts not seal,
How can the vibes our minds not feel?
How can my eyes and your deny,
Shared treasures that make us sigh.
Himalayas on our heads so stand,
Lofty mountains guarding our lands.
The twist and turns in the Indus river,
Who’s ancient stories, makes us shiver
Enchanting Thar and its golden sands,
Weave beauty in each of its strands.
And then the grand Arabian Sea,
That enthrals both you and me.
How could we now live apart,
We’ve been one from the start.
Oh! Those lines on our lands sketched,
Let they not on our hearts be etched.
We have seen firsthand how hatred leads to conflicts, conflicts to instability and then to an excuse to more defence expenditure. We have already wasted measurable revenue which could very well have been used for the alleviation of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, women issues which exist in astronomical proportions on both sides of the border.
Why should a handful of bigots sabotage the road to peace we need to take reach the goal of prosperity? We do not have any other way out, but peace.
Our histories, our geographies are common,
Our genetics, our problems are common,
And with them all , our destinies are woven.
A spirit of mutual cooperation would lead to prosperity for the 1. 4 billion on both sides and in turn would mean a strong and peaceful South Asia.
Caption: If my hand can heal, why cant INDO-PAK relations.
PS: A special thanks to Kamran Rehmat, a great supportive Face Book friend, who first suggested the Indian-Pakistani term, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to grab it and own it.