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Are you Indian or Pakistani? — Why it shouldn't matter

Updated May 04, 2016 06:47pm

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Born to a Hindu father and a Sikh mother, I grew up in a family that embraces multiple religions and beliefs. Every Gurpurab (Sikh festival), we would go to the nearby Gurudwara to bow our heads and every Janmashtami (the birth of Hindu deity Krishna), we would go to a Hindu temple.

I wouldn't say that we were a deeply religious family — perhaps what I grew up practising was just a function of what trickles down the familial hierarchy, spanning generations, and eventually catches up with you.

Stories of the eleven Sikh Gurus, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana — that were a mandatory part of our academic curriculum right up till middle school and the idea of God and him 'watching us' — formed the premise of my moral upbringing and education in my formative years.

Having grown up with an amalgamated idea of God, the hard-hitting realities of different religions and religious wars that are rife today were things that eluded the conspicuousness of my daily life, like background music.

I hailed from what is today the 'Indian Punjab' (even though my grandparents are originally from Lahore). I didn't have much interaction with Muslims, perhaps because there were very few to be found in my school.

It was not until I joined the University of Nottingham in England in 2007 for my post-graduate studies did I have the opportunity to befriend many Muslims, not to mention also reside in the same student halls with some of them.

Anyone studying abroad will tell you that one of the most exciting and enriching experiences is the hordes of expatriate students you get to interact with — people from all parts of the world whom you meet and live with under one roof, and ostensibly learn so much from about new cultures, traditions and lifestyles.

One of the very first people I met in my postgraduate student hall was a boy from Lahore whose sense of humour was as alarming as it was a riot.

See: Learning to love in a culture of hate: My Pakistani-Indian identity

Very quickly, he became an in-house entertainer for the entire building. Owing to the obvious overlap of culture and languages between us, we soon became fast friends and as it turned out, were also in many of the same classes.

A prankster, he would often find himself in a pickle with our house wardens who made it abundantly clear from the beginning that they were not his fans.

It made me like him even more. I would often have long chats with him and another Muslim girl who had moved in two doors down from me on my floor. We would converse on politics, Kashmir and India-Pak conflicts. Their views and sentiments, I found, were mostly aligned with my own.

He would say, "It's the political parties and governments in power on both sides of the border that are spewing most of the trouble. My friends, family and many common people, like us, often discuss how sad it is that we harbour an unnecessary hatred towards those who are fundamentally our own."

She would nod in agreement and then laugh and say, "Your Bollywood movies have made me fall in love with dancing around trees."

To which I would respond," You have Fawad Khan!"

If only these were the kind of conflicts both India and Pakistan had to spar about...

I cherish those memories even today while day dreaming at the back of a taxi in Abu Dhabi, where I live today.

I am snapped out of my reverie by my taxi driver Ajmal Khan who asks me: "Madame, you are British?" (Something I get to hear a lot here, including all those who are fair-skinned)

I smile and reply in Hindi, "Hindustani hoon. Aur aap?"

After a shocked silence, he quips: "Pakistani. Ek hi baat hai na lekin?"

Examine: A Mumbaikar in Karachi: 'Tum bilkul hum jaisey nikley'

This is common in Abu Dhabi. Most of the taxi drivers are from India, or Pakistan. They are also the friendliest.

An appeal for Indo-Pak peace

Recently a video has gone viral on social media, stunning everyone who has watched it into introspective silence.

In the video, a young girl named Gurmehar Kaur from Jalandhar, Punjab — who lost her father at the tender age of 2 in the Kargil War — has implored the governments of both India and Pakistan to stop bloodshed and hatred-spreading one-upmanship and resolve problems once and for all.

Through a series of placards, Kaur conveys how she hated Pakistan and Muslims whom she blamed for her father's loss. It was her mother who made her understand that it was not Pakistan that killed her father, but war.

Take a look: Gurmehar’s silent battle for peace

I'm reminded of an incident that took place at my university one busy morning in 2008.

We were in the midst of our morning routine of rushing to get ready for class when we learnt that a Muslim student at one of the campuses of our university had been arrested for using the computers on the premises to research topics relating to terrorism and extremist outfits.

The boy was put behind bars for about a week, while investigations were carried out. He was later released after it became clear that he had downloaded the manual for a thesis he was writing for his course which had no connection with terrorism.

I remember how I feared for my own two Pakistani friends, even though the incident was far removed from them. The gravity of that situation brings me spiralling back to the flawed perception rife today of how terrorism is associated with Pakistan.

In equal measure, it is immensely unfortunate how religion becomes a tool for misuse. From the Muslim beef-lynching episode in India to the Hindutva hue and cry rampant today to the BJP's insistence that Indians must shout 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' as evidence of their patriotism, it is incidents like these which give birth to societies, governments and countries that may very well be on their way to full-fledged fascism.

Instead of this overt display of nationalism and hate, why can't we reconcile our differences?

Isn't it time we listen to Kaur and become ambassadors of peace ourselves?

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Shaira Mohan is a marketing professional and a passionate writer. She writes for many publications on a variety of subjects.

She blogs here: Scribbles and tweets @ShairaSMohanr


The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.



Comments (182) Closed



Harisingh May 04, 2016 04:27pm

Well put Ms Mohan,

Roussou May 04, 2016 04:27pm

How I wish.... If wishes were horses then peace would have ruled in the region.... Unfortunately they are not.

Liberal Overseas May 04, 2016 04:30pm

We share culture, language, dress, food and countless things. Why not country?

Irfan UK May 04, 2016 04:35pm

A very good article that we can all relate to living abroad.

Ashish May 04, 2016 04:39pm

I remember one such incident while were posted in Fiji between 2006 to 2010. My immediate neighbor was Dr. Khalid Mahmood from Islamabad. He was a pediatrician in Govt. Hospital. Upon knowing some problem not being able to be solved by the local Doctors, he himself rushed to our home and diagnosed it was appendicitis which the Indian, Pakistani & Sri Lankan doctors inherently acquire in their profession. Then immediately arranged Operation Theatre and with the help of one surgeon from Agra successfully fixed by operating that. His family never gave a feeling to us that they were Pakistanis and we were Indians.

Khan , USA May 04, 2016 04:39pm

It does matter a lot in our lives that what we are what we do !

prafulla shrivastava May 04, 2016 04:38pm

Both side red blood is only moving in the veins of the body, both side people are attached to family even food habits are same. When ever they meet each other anywhere in the world except Pakistan & India, they hug each other, saying after all we are brother. I had same experience in Bahrain, when two taxi drivers met me & described after all we are brothers. I was searching Indian sweets in Rotterdam, Holland & I found one Pakistani Sweet Mart, who offered me Gulab Jamun, Rasgulla, RasMalai. I was so pleased, I offered these sweets to my some of Dutch friends who did not liked it. One Mr.Afzal, a grocer from Pakistan always gave me lift in his car till my flat. It is endless story, I am still in contact with Mr.Sikandar Khan, one of my colleague in Holland, his sweet smile made me pleased every time we met.

Tac May 04, 2016 05:01pm

So beautifully written and clearly reflects the sentiments of the majority of Pakistani and Indian students at various British Universities... it reminds me of my Indian classmate who helped me a lot during my stay at the University of Salford.

P.S: I am a Pakistani :)

Sam May 04, 2016 05:09pm

Enough is enough. When will this hatred end? Really tired of this hatred. We are the world's biggest fool, we are puppet at the hands of powerful politicians and agencies and third countries who keep stroking the fire of hatred to keep their coffers full. Powerful countries want their weapon business to flourish and we call them strategic friends. We have not realised the dividends of peace and friendship. Let's take steps before we destruct each other beyond repair.

Anonymous May 04, 2016 05:08pm

Respectfully disagree with the part ek hi baat hai na Pakistan and Indian people should be friends nd closer to each other no doubt about it! but we are not the same, we are completely two different nations with different religion, customs, rituals etc. We cant move on unless we accept this first and dont try to be ek hi baat hai na.

Jawed Sheikh May 04, 2016 05:09pm

Very well said. We all believe in religious harmony. Hope our dreams for peace come true one day.

adeel zahid May 04, 2016 05:11pm

My grandfather fought 2 wars with India and being in prison for 4 years , my father fought 1 war in 1971 but none of my family members against India or Indians we don't need hatred against each other. Good and bad are on both sides of the border

msh May 04, 2016 05:12pm

very nicely written

hemant kulkarni May 04, 2016 05:17pm

I too, lived in Abudhabi and can support what author has said, but i am totally in disagree that India and Pakistan share same culture or value or ethics any more now. Can be good friend perhaps but nothing more than that... I wish if both countries live together peacefully it is more than enough

divergence May 04, 2016 05:17pm

Yes, it does not matter who is Pakistani and who is Indian. But it matters for those living in India and Pakistan, not abroad. It matters because of the bad element and extremist mentality existing on both sides of the borders. I would not blame the politicians in either country, it is the conflict over water that would remain the cause of tension between these two countries.

divergence May 04, 2016 05:21pm

both India and Pakistan should leave thinking that they have to be one nation to bring peace to the region. A mere peaceful thought of a common citizen of either country can change the region. Being one isn't the solution, solution is to resolve the conflicts existing on ground in a reasonable manner, with egos to left far away. How will someone interpret MODI's admitting that India conspired to break Pakistan in 1971, it is not easy for a Pakistani to digest that, what if some part of India separates from other parts, it won't be accepted very easily. Your article shares nice and well-meaning advice, but how practically it can be implemented is yet to be seen? Pakistan is a small country compared to India.

Rajat May 04, 2016 05:22pm

Unfortunately the dialogue of batman begins seem so true (paraphrasing here): "its not what u feel inside, it's what u actually do that makes you who are" We may feel whatever.... But at the end of the day, v r just killing each other

Omar May 04, 2016 05:31pm

Common man on both sides is least bothered about enmity

concerned citizen May 04, 2016 05:35pm

I salute you for standing up and talk about the Peace. You have my gratitude and respect. Only if we have more folks like you in India and Pakistan, we could live in harmony and prosperity. I long for days, where there is no border and no hatred but love for each other. But as long as our politicians stay involved on both sides it is not going to happen because that is how they won elections. Still there is a hope as long as people like exists on both sides

Mahmood May 04, 2016 05:36pm

Cut from the same cloth. Just different tailors~

Arunesh Singh May 04, 2016 05:44pm

It's indeed baffling to me how this hatred continues between our two countries inspite of the fact that in both nations more than 70 percent of the population has no memory of the partition (except whatever version we have been taught on either side). What's even more baffling is that such a large number of educated people on both sides bear and even harbor this hatred without any logical reasons. How do these people, on either side, know that folks across the border deserve to be hated, they haven't even been there or met them! And we are both democracies (we elect these politicians to power) but when was the last time we heard any party putting peace with our neighbor on their manifesto. We need to start at an individual level and I promise never to hate Pakistan and will teach my kids such.

South Asian May 04, 2016 05:45pm

Families divided across the borders, neighbours divided across the borders. In our hearts at least lets be accepting of each other. Democracy makes the political class look for the least common denominator. Hate is easier to sell than the vision of compromise on the road to peace.

Farhan May 04, 2016 05:46pm

We are the same people and children of the Indus Valley civilization. Our DNA are same, our culture, language and tastes are same. We stayed together for thousands of years, fought together with the enemies, adopted different religions, names but we are still the same.

divergence May 04, 2016 05:49pm

@Arunesh Singh I disagree with your saying, that hatred exists, we Pakistanis don't hate Indians, we consider them as inhabitants of the same world who are living in their independent countries. I again repeat, it is the management of shared resources, water that is the reason of this distrust between India and Pakistan, and this distrust is not hatred. We all have a right to live as we want, but we must also do justice to those around us. Good day

Khurram Jadoon May 04, 2016 05:54pm

A beautiful message. I hope her dream comes true.

Kumar May 04, 2016 05:57pm

We run a firm here in Abu Dhabi all run by Indians and all Hindus .We recruited a sales person after many interviews, mostly Indians and very few other nationalities including Pakistan attended the interview. Ultimately we ended up hiring the Pakistani from Lahore to his own surprise!( later he said that he had least expected to get selected in this all Indian run firm). We never once for a moment thought that religion, nationality etc would be parameters for the candidature and selection. He left our organization recently to pursue a different career of his choice but admitted in his farewell speech that he never thought Indians could be good and said he is totally a changed person now in his attitude toward Indians. That for us was the biggest achievement in his tenure more than the business he got us. It makes us more happy when he said many of his friends back in Lahore have changed for good in their outlook towards indians because of him sharing his experience.

SardarSuri May 04, 2016 06:01pm

She is right and I have had similar experiences.

PPP May 04, 2016 06:09pm

Nice article

R May 04, 2016 06:12pm

Beautiful piece of writing and explained about majority of the Pakistani & Indians living, working & eating together in Gulf countries, Europe or US.

concerned citizen May 04, 2016 06:19pm

@Ashish : Thanks for sharing the story and I can assure you there are many more stories like that exists between these two nations. I believe most of the people are pro peace and few bad apples exists on both sides of the fence.

citizen May 04, 2016 06:28pm

@Anonymous : . How you can say that we cannot be friends, because we got different religion, customs, rituals etc. Friendship and amity has nothing to do with nationalities. Worked in Europe for many years, nobody asked my religion and our friendship with europeans still continue after 30 years...

Maxx May 04, 2016 06:30pm

The common denominator to fight between the two countries should be poverty, unequal distribution of wealth, dozens of other issues like education, health and disease, instead of fighting with each other. I think the politicians are the reason for increasing hostilities and hatred between the two countries.

As Nelson Mandela has said, when the people can be taught to hate, they can also be taught to love as love comes more naturally to human beings.

Basit Ali May 04, 2016 06:34pm

It is time to think what we as the present generation are living behind for our future generations. At one time USA and England fought wars, at one time England and Germany fought each other. I am hopeful one day we would respect each other as a separate identity and live harmoniously. That day is not far away. Amen

Saad Khan May 04, 2016 06:39pm

I am sorry to read the comments of few individuals who are ignoring the big picture and highlighting on the part that we are not the same. I do understand that we have differences mainly due to religious beliefs but culturally we share many things in common. I believe this should not be the point of discussion how many similarities or differences we have. We are neighbors and peace loving people in general. We both hate wars and love peace and prosperity. Therefore we should engage in more peace building initiatives and create harmony among each other. The girl has given example of Germany and France, if they can forget their past to a great extent, why can't we. It's time now to stop state sponsored hatred, they should promote peace and cut down on huge army budgets in the name of war. We the people wants peace and love, not missiles and bloodshed

Saima May 04, 2016 06:38pm

I am not worried about our dirty politics, leaders, on both sides.....really dont care....I have many Indian friends. ....have a great friendship. ....we always share our thoughts....views....leisure. ...we fun togather....we are common people....and we should live as common.....above all is humanity. ....try to be a good human....good for everyone. ...that's it. ....Thumbs up Kaur gee.....

ZAKI May 04, 2016 06:46pm

If we don't fight or war with each other then who will purchase weapons from Western Develop countries.

HRK May 04, 2016 06:48pm

Pakistanis and Indians go along really well here in the west. I have many Indian friends, we eat together, play cricket together,

Sceptic May 04, 2016 06:48pm

Anywhere outside South Asia, we are friends...back in South Asia we shall remain enemies. Unfortunate but real !

$aifuddin Takhtawala May 04, 2016 06:51pm

Very touchy. As a matter of have gone through the same while studying abroad. Friends I made furing those days are still my fast friend. Life is short and let's not waist in hating each other. When God creared this world, he created for all. Let's share it with all regardless of of their cast, religious beliefs, or color.

Well said Gurmehar Kaur.

Sudhir Neyalasinger May 04, 2016 06:52pm

We are the way the Germans were after they built the Berlin wall. We may not have built a physical wall. But it still exists in our minds. The day that wall gives way, we'll be like Germans- United.

lafanga May 04, 2016 06:53pm

Good article and sentiments

aslam shaikh May 04, 2016 06:57pm

There can be peace just solve Kashmir issue,

Fried Chillies May 04, 2016 07:04pm

Fact of the matter is both the countries need to first not feel threatened about each other. You cant have a dialogue while worried since concerns will overrule or hand heavy on negotiations.

On the other hand once both countries feel confident in their ability to defend themselves in all scenarios they can sit and discuss from position of strength. I wish both India and Pakistan reach that stage where both acknowledge that they have all it takes to defend themselves successfully. Talks will be positive and it will yield both feasible and acceptable results. Till such time smoke the peace pipe

Fried Chillies May 04, 2016 07:08pm

@Liberal Overseas No we don't. And that's coming out of any animosity.

Iam an Indian the Tamilian, Malyalee, Kanadiga, Telugu, Marathi, Gadhwali, Konkani, Goan, Christian have zero commonality with the guys in Karachi, Lahore, Makran, Gilgit, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Peshawar.....Imagine a Pathan craving for sambar or a TamBram craving for chappli kebabs!!!

The commonality extends through the belt up north; a route traveled and personally ruled by the Mughals during their occupation of India. Language, mentality, outlook to life and even animosity has common causes.

Does that mean peace does not have a chance, certainly not. But peace wont be because of commonality it will be the manifestation of a logical mind rather than an emotional call

Umer May 04, 2016 07:24pm

Nice sentiments!

Trouble is that Kashmir issue is too much to sweep under the carpet and a contentious position is economically beneficial to India in the short run against Pakistan and beneficial to the militaries of the two countries!

So, your sentiments will likely not be realized in the near future!

Reality May 04, 2016 07:30pm

Its a very good article, based on real life experiences.

Vinod Narang May 04, 2016 07:31pm

Thank you Dawn and Ms Mohan for such a beautiful article.

Harmony-1© May 04, 2016 07:34pm

@Ashish - Nice to hear that...this is what it should be all about - humanity! The nations should not play war, war...only peace and harmony!

UPPAL May 04, 2016 07:37pm

TOUCHING.

muhammad May 04, 2016 07:37pm

This hatred ends when the people of both countries rise...we have been run with corrupted politicians on both ends and until we the people dont rise, nothing will happen...and seeing that is the same thing as wishing to see a unicorn....

Gulfraz May 04, 2016 07:45pm

I'm sorry, we're not the same.., similar perhaps. I stand with Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

Afrooz May 04, 2016 07:46pm

Pakistan is a state of mind - a construct created by the founding father Jinnah. Otherwise there is no difference.

AZAAD May 04, 2016 07:49pm

@aslam shaikh Simple bro, just share an open border, have self government everywhere. Let each state/province decide its own destiny, share an army, share a currency, have a simple alliance. Musharraf saw the possibilities, Nawaz sees it, Modi sees it and, in time so will we.

Take a bold step of not hating your neighbour...the rest is easy.

Keti Zilgish May 04, 2016 07:54pm

The only way to rule people is to first divide them. If either USA or UK were united they would have no rulers.

Gus May 04, 2016 07:58pm

@aslam shaikh and what is your solution ?

Pakman May 04, 2016 08:06pm

@Anonymous Not sure if you realise we all belong to the Sub-continent. We may not share same religion, same rituals, but we certainly share the same culture (music, language, food, etc.) we certainly do not share the same culture with Arabs or the middle-east as some would make believe. Culturally we are as Indian as haldi, methi and sarson ka saag.

saqib May 04, 2016 08:20pm

I rarely find myself agreeing with my indian brothers and sisters. Well said sister.

Masood May 04, 2016 08:20pm

Do you know which will be world's biggest sporting event ? A five series test, 5 one-day and 5 T20 between Pakistan and India. Played equally in both the countries. Can you imagine 1.5 billion spectators. Of course everything else will suffer from schools to offices to production. But wouldn't it be GREAT.??

Bilal Hussain May 04, 2016 08:28pm

Candid but the elites, capitalists have their own vested interests.. If wishes were horses..

ANAND SHARMA May 04, 2016 08:29pm

excellent thoughts . may citizens gets the peace and bond overpowers communal , fundamental actors on both the side

ANAND SHARMA May 04, 2016 08:32pm

@adeel zahid dear adeel hate is due to fanatics on bith side lets hope no more war in future

Khwarezmi May 04, 2016 08:38pm

Nice words and nice sentiments.

Mustafa R. May 04, 2016 08:43pm

@Liberal Overseas;

'We share culture, language, dress, food and countless things.'

Pakistan shares all those things plus religion with Afghanistan and five other 'tans' in Central Asia and yet we are seven different countries. India shares more culture, language, dress and food with Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and yet they are all separate countries.

Raj May 04, 2016 08:45pm

I interviewed a Pakistani for a job in my company and hired him after going through lot of interviews . Never once I thought that he is Pakistani or Muslim and that I should keep in mind while hiring . For records , I am a Hindu from India . This young man went on to be successful in his career and still appreciates what I did for him . But till date I don't think it that way . I did not do any favors , he was simply the most qualified for the job and I happened to be unbiased . I would agree with the writer for the most part keeping all the narrative positive ,

Mustafa R. May 04, 2016 08:52pm

Nobody likes war but many like what war provides; Territory, resources, wealth, prestige and security. The dispute between Pakistan and India is a territorial one. Without the resolution of this dispute all this sweet talk is sweeping the garbage under the rug.

XPakistani May 04, 2016 09:02pm

Culturally we are so similar that going to war is like killing your own brothers and sisters. Except religious beliefs and practices, we should and we can connect at the human level. If this is understood, our relationship will become stronger.

k k tiwari May 04, 2016 09:04pm

Britishers made one mistake ,they did not split each heart in two pieces like land

Raj May 04, 2016 09:09pm

I wonder sometimes , what is it that as individuals we are friendly to each other but as nations we can not see eye to eye ! Are we modest and pretentious as individuals yet do not extend those feelings as nations and allow the issues to simmer for a century or more ? What exists between us mutually as individuals disappears as collective nations . Nations don't understand each other but the individuals do ! Can some one explain this paradox ?

Citizen May 04, 2016 09:12pm

Stop blaming politicians only as they are amongst us and we choose them. Our culture and system and we have become rotten. How we live peacefully in other countries as we try to be good in other countries.

Sudhir Neyalasinger May 04, 2016 09:15pm

@Fried Chillies Good one bro

Vruddhula Kalyanaramarao May 04, 2016 09:20pm

I totally agree with Shaira Mohan. Kudos to Dawn for positively contributing to Indo Pak friendship.

Saulat Haider May 04, 2016 09:21pm

Well done madam. Your heart is beating with humanity, not with Indian and Pakistani teachings that tells us that other side of the border is enemy growling at us. Speak up and your writings will definitely decimate the feelings of animosity between two neighbors. May be one day governments of both countries realize the path of hostility they have adopted eating us from inside like a cancer. Your words will help stop this decease. Wonderful.

Logically ceased May 04, 2016 09:30pm

@Liberal Overseas Because country divides us politically !!

nmantri May 04, 2016 09:44pm

Why blame politicians when they all come from amongst us.

Talib May 04, 2016 09:52pm

@Fried Chillies It reflects love which education gives.. Exercise tolerance and dont harbour hate that is what we need now to eliminate hatred and racism....

Chicago May 04, 2016 09:57pm

@Liberal Overseas Why can't we share two countries with respect and dignity to each other??? God example for you liberals are US and Canada.

Riaz Uddin May 04, 2016 10:15pm

Here in.Canada Indian.Hindus and Pakistai Muslim live side by side they share and care of each other. Why India and Pakistan cannot live together respect and dignity. Like USA and Canada!

ravi vancouver May 04, 2016 10:27pm

Very nice article,

Ananth May 04, 2016 10:48pm

While it is all good and nice to read it and give a feel-good factor. Let's come back to practical world. 60 years down the lane, much water has flown below and we are not the same brethren anymore.

Shahzad Anwar May 04, 2016 10:53pm

Great article, I agree with most of it specially the part to keep peace. On the other hand, both countries have their own unique identity just like each one of the twin brothers have their own identity despite similarities. Pakistan has its own culture, traditions and identity which has similarities to other Asian countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, India and other countries but Pakistan is recognized by its very own identity.

Ananth May 04, 2016 10:55pm

@aslam shaikh very easy. How?

N D Gaur May 04, 2016 10:58pm

Eleven Gurus? I thought there were only 10!

Ananth May 04, 2016 10:58pm

@Liberal Overseas Suppose there are two neighbours who share similar culture, language, dress, food and countless things, will they then decide lets share our houses too? Or they will be happy to stay as neighbour on their own home ?

IFTIKHAR KHAN May 04, 2016 11:05pm

Instead of India-Pakistan, the Desis diaspora interactions has strong cultural undertones. It is mostly Hindi-Punjabi-Urdu or north Indian culture based. People from Gujrat have less whereas Bangladeshis and Indian Bengalis have no attraction or feeling for Pakistanis. To put it bluntly, it is essentially between Punjabis' from both sides of the border.

Asif Mir May 04, 2016 11:06pm

The two nation theory is true. Let's not undo that. Yes there are similarities between the people in India & Pakistan but there are differences between the nations. Let's not confuse between people and nations because people are a part of nation but not the nation itself.

TAF May 04, 2016 11:19pm

Things got wrong with an abrupt partition.... If everything happens with the will of the people things should be different today

Parvez May 04, 2016 11:21pm

Nicely said.....but there is TOO much money and power involved in keeping it like it is....What the girl in the video correctly pointed out is that if we have become first world countries, we can not have third world / third rate leaders.

Raj May 04, 2016 11:22pm

Nice article.

Rashid Sultan May 04, 2016 11:51pm

Hate begets hate. Love and respect begets love and respect. No religion is better than humanity and science. So love, enjoy, share and respect this one life with all living beings and nature.

pawan kumar barak May 04, 2016 11:52pm

Mostly people of both country does't have hatred to each other . i enjoy india pak criket match and never feel pain when indian lost Even i like sahid afridi more than mahender singh dhoni Politics is the root cause of misunderstanding between each other

Rohit May 04, 2016 11:54pm

@divergence I admire the clarity you have about yhe root cause of distrust but I would like to add that the Indus Water Treaty is the best arrangement that is possible in real world. Pakistan had doubts about Baglihar Dam and Kushen Ganga projects and took India to yhe Arbitration courts. The courts found no evidence of violation of treaty by India and allowed both projects to proceed. To make long story short, India being upper riparian state is not doing any deliberate muschief as proved in two above mentioned cases. What else you want in terms of water sharing? India itself is struggling to fulfill its own water needs. India's consistent position of enhancing trade, transit and economic interdependence is best approach. Water sharing is fair and borders including the LoC cannot be redrawn.

Amyn Rehimi May 05, 2016 12:03am

Great Article would love to coverse/chat with you on this topic.

Komal S May 05, 2016 12:01am

@aslam shaikh I am pretty sure you have the solution for Kashmir.

sam May 05, 2016 12:16am

Hatred will stop, once you stop hating. If you do not hate, you will also not feel being hated. Try it!

Nehru May 05, 2016 12:22am

She is right. Trump gets himself elected on his own and spreads hatred. Else everyone in USA is friendly to Afghans and Pakistanis.

Manoj May 05, 2016 12:29am

@Liberal Overseas we probably have certain similarities on the surface but we are not the same people.we are value systems are not same.. but even then we can be peaceful neighbors if not more..

Manoj May 05, 2016 12:36am

@Farhan The values and culture are not same.. I disagree... I have observed Pakistanis that I met closely.. they think differently.. and their religious value are absolutely different.. lets be friends .. its a decent achievable Goal..

Manoj May 05, 2016 12:42am

@Saad Khan I think we should definitely try to be on friendly terms and respect each other right to live and grow.. I don't believe in this artificial bogus rhetoric that we are same with same gene code..etc... most people that I know in India will not agree..

Manoj May 05, 2016 01:11am

@Farhan You are wrong India was always multi cultural and multi ethnic political entity.. we never had the same DNA to begin with.. but we did share some common things because of proximity to each other.. what has Pashtun got in common with guy from Bengal or Kerala ?

SS May 05, 2016 01:26am

Good but a very naive article. I wish things are as simple as you would think. Instead of being in denial mode, it's better to embrace the political reality - of different nations. Instead of saying there are no differences, recognize them and work towards accepting them.

Rev. Eldrick Lal May 05, 2016 01:53am

Most Pakistanis show great love and respect to Indians.

Aadil May 05, 2016 02:49am

Most of the comments are positive.

Satyam Vada May 05, 2016 03:31am

People should not hate others whether of same culture or not.

Zak May 05, 2016 03:49am

@Manoj you are absoluteltly correct

Zak May 05, 2016 03:51am

@Liberal Overseas who are 'we'. I see no commonality between a Sikh and Tamil, let alone a Pakistani and any Indian. All kashmiris have pakistani DNA and they want foreign indian invader out from IOK.

Zak May 05, 2016 03:52am

@prafulla shrivastava what world are you living in. See the hate spewed out from your government and media. We just need to resolve kashmir.

Farouq Omaro May 05, 2016 05:33am

@Anonymous said "we are completely two different nations with different customs, religions, rituals etc". Say what you like but to me and all my relatives in both Pakistan and India we are one. We practise the same religion, we speak the same language, we eat the same food, we wear the same clothes and we look alike. So, I don't know what the heck you are talking about. Only difference between these two nations are the 2 governments. A few wars will not change our views. Good article by the way.

Saad Tariq May 05, 2016 05:38am

I 'm a Pakistani living in Los Angeles. I have many Indian friends and especially at work where one colleague of mine who happens to be an Indian brings me lunch everyday. During our lunch break we discuss topics such as politics, movies etc.

jamshed May 05, 2016 05:55am

Great piece , loved it !!

Naeem May 05, 2016 06:08am

Let peace prevail.

Naeem May 05, 2016 06:24am

My neighbor is from Delhi. We have the best of relations with almost daily having tea together at his or our house. He has invited me to go to Delhi and rom there we plan to go to Lahore. There only goodwill and no hatred

jamshed May 05, 2016 06:26am

@Manoj Yes, we are not as I have worked with dozens if not hundreds of Indians, interviewed dozens of them and I know well, too well that we are not the same people although we look the same in many ways..

Madan May 05, 2016 06:54am

A very informative article.I have had a good experience of warm friendship with Muslim friends before the partition of India in the Pakistan's Punjab province where I was growing up as a young lad.With the same feelings in my mind,I still have friends there with whom I share my moments of happiness and sorrow.

Paxton Roy May 05, 2016 07:23am

@Liberal Overseas :Sorry, can't share the country --because some people decided that they just didn't want to share it. Their ancestors rulked India as a minority, but balked when Indian majority got started about ruling their country. So, they picked up their marbles and went to new home. Enjoy!

Desi Surfie. May 05, 2016 07:59am

@N D Gaur
11th guru is Shri Guru Granth Sahib.

Bilal May 05, 2016 08:08am

Well said Shaira Mohan , great article !

Inome May 05, 2016 08:20am

sentimental stories cannot dispel harsh realities.

Old Ravian May 05, 2016 09:04am

The people who think that war can solve problems should see the plight of syrians.

Desi Dimag May 05, 2016 09:15am

Author's experiences are quite different from others.

Ansir.khan May 05, 2016 09:35am

Sweet article

Deepak shukla May 05, 2016 09:58am

@Riaz Uddin well said.

Sara May 05, 2016 10:08am

I wish the British were still ruling.

Samad Chaudhry London May 05, 2016 10:20am

In 1968 my father and mother visited us. A Sikh friend of ours invited my parents for lunch. Narinder sing was not only my tenants once but became a close family friend. He moved to Canada but to date we are in touch and our love has only grown more. My parents accepted the lunch on condition that utensils used must be from our house. He obliged and that did not tarnish our relations.

Zakia Shahzeb May 05, 2016 11:13am

I am glad to read this article. I wish people from both countries pay heed to it.

Nuzhat Shaikh May 05, 2016 11:59am

I wrote this sometime ago & it totally reconciles with the article.

We, the common people should try to do away with Indo-Pak conflicts. I know very good literate people from India. I have Indian friends, too. And I hold very high opinion of them. Both nations faces quite similar issues in terms of poverty and education. I do not see much differences in our struggles as a nation. I read articles from India. And I see the same problems faced by your women as by us. I'm a literature buff (so I know a tad bit history). As an individual (from Pakistan OR India) we better try to establish harmony as neighbouring-nation-fellow. Oh, how cool that term sounds.

Masood May 05, 2016 12:23pm

@Ashish I know Dr. Khalid, since he is my relative. Most of the Pakistani are the same, feeling proud of him!

Shah May 05, 2016 12:28pm

Why are we so obsessed with haveing with peace with india? They are against the creation of pakistan. Long as we exist they dont want peace.

Raj May 05, 2016 01:01pm

Romantic idealism. Nice. But we are slowly moving apart with every new generation.

rehan May 05, 2016 01:04pm

I think most people on both side of the border actually want peace but it's the hate mongers and people with less tolerance and more hardline views that elbow out the voice of reason on print and electronic media as well as other forums. Media , unfortunately, promotes voices of dissent more as it thrives on conflicts. In a world where there were no conflicts, there would be no talk shows , no analysts , no breaking news...and no Media.

Kamal Pasha. May 05, 2016 01:08pm

Not until BJP is in power. It was BJP government who refused to sign peace treaty with Pakistan when Gen.Mushaff visited India. And it is again BJP government who are raising the tension. There is no difference between Advani and Modi.

Kamal Pasha. May 05, 2016 01:12pm

We are divided because of our politicians.

Umer May 05, 2016 01:29pm

Oh please stop this propaganda of one culture, one nation. I live in the US, and I have traveled the world. Indians hate Pakistanis, and vice versa. We need to accept that we are two different nations entirely. We can be good neighbors and not more than that.

M.S. May 05, 2016 02:27pm

I agree with the anti war agenda between Pakistan and India, other than that there is nothing common between the two people from religion to culture, ideology, tradition and way of life. That is why our Qaid-E-Azam got us this nation, because fundamentally we are two very different people and that is all there is to it. Accept it!

Kaly May 05, 2016 02:29pm

@Umer - I am an Indian and fully supporting your view..there is no need of any ga ga...lets accept who have many differences, and live peacefully as good neighbor.... thats it.

You can find no. of this type of article...

Maryam May 05, 2016 02:45pm

Totally endorse and agree with Umer and M.S.

Maryam May 05, 2016 02:52pm

@TAF Like the things are happening "slowly" with the "Will" of people in Kashmir?

smo May 05, 2016 03:10pm

My doctor and car mechanic in Denver colorado were pakistanis. Never felt for a second that they were not Indian. The US folks would never understand Desis...but mechanic would say..."bhai so jao sofa pe..tab tak car theek ho jayega" Doctor would say "Go to desi store and buy this, cholesterol kum ho jayega"...Felt so comforting...Its so foolish we fight.

Sahil Malik May 05, 2016 03:15pm

"Ek hee baat tou nahi hai" There were differences that is why we got separated from India & Bangladesh got separated from us due to some legit reason behind it but war isn't the solution of any problem & there shouldn't be any hatred towards each other. Live & let others live as simple as it is...

Sheikh May 05, 2016 04:38pm

While we share so many things, unfortunately we are still at odds on many fronts. I find that we Muslims have more difficulty in adapting to outside cultures than Indians do. I hope our new generation on both sides identify the subtle discriminatory aspects that prevail within Indians and Pakistani community living overseas and make the concerted effort to root out those triggers. This will lead to whole new transformations back home on both sides. Imagine the leaders of respective nations cannot get an audience on visiting West unless both the communities are invited or the leaders of both countries have to come together to meet their community under one roof. We are all entitled to have differences but without judgement and discrimination.

Amit May 05, 2016 04:42pm

nice article..

G singh May 05, 2016 05:11pm

@adeel zahid well said

ali May 05, 2016 06:24pm

I second the thought and respect it. War has never solved any problem but has multiplied disputes.

Shahid May 05, 2016 06:35pm

You are so right Shaira. It is divide and rule policy that took us this far. Otherwise people from both sides want to live in peace and harmony. Islam also teaches us to coexist with all humanity and give rights to each other as they are due.

I fully support your views.

KJ May 05, 2016 07:00pm

Let's make a resolution. In next elections, we should only vote for representatives who will work towards uniting these two beautiful countries. Can we do that? This will solve lot of problems in our countries, as most of the spending on defense can be diverted towards education and development.

Madan May 05, 2016 08:27pm

this article further cements the friendly feelings among all of us.It will help this feeling further if an educated Pakistani boy or girl spreads a similar message with an article or a video message

Bal K. Gupta May 05, 2016 08:47pm

Very nice written and a balanced article.

JATT May 05, 2016 09:35pm

@Anonymous agreed

javeed May 05, 2016 09:40pm

A great article! Yes wars only bring misry, everyone is a looser in war! I wish a day comes when this hostility is removed forever...

Omar May 06, 2016 01:41am

@Liberal Overseas because we need our respective countries and want our own homeland. This should not be an impediment to respecting each other and build on both our commonality and differences.

Things changing May 06, 2016 07:15am

Very well written,

Nasim Mallick Khan May 06, 2016 08:02am

@Gulfraz we have to respect the differences and celebrate the things, the traditions, the culture and family values that we have in common.

wellwisher May 06, 2016 08:06am

why did we part.

SI May 06, 2016 08:39am

Truth be told, most of the South Indians are mostly indifferent towards Pakistanis. I guess it's same the other way around.

GA May 06, 2016 08:41am

Would it help if Pakistan and India abolish the visa requirements and allow people to set up businesses across the border? That way both Indians and Pakistanis would have a stake in each other's countries and will not sabotage them.

Sangat Singh May 06, 2016 10:52am

Please keep on spreading the word. Humans in Pakistan and India are no different.

Bukhari May 06, 2016 11:21am

Standing up & talking about peace is easy, implementing same is easier said than doing it. In an ideal situation world should be like live and let live, but in reality it is not. Let us take this century, comparing the number of people on this small earth to today, should we say expanded or population explosion has happened. Now to arrange food, water in the same area what it was 100 years back is impossible, so in reality people has to fight for their survival, no matter who they are, may be indian or pakistani or British or US or Germany. When you fight we do not see with whom we are fighting because it will have impact on our life.

In next 2-3 decades, there will be extremely shortage of food supplies, drinking water. It is even assessed that the war will be for Water & not for Oil or other resources. So is the situation.

Rahi Milla May 06, 2016 02:13pm

We are similar in many ways, but we are not the same. We can celebrate our similarities and respect out differences. You could be a vegan but I do eat beef with vegetables.

Sami Qureshi May 06, 2016 02:53pm

When on table every thing is same but nothing is common.

ozzy May 06, 2016 03:01pm

Nice article i agree. Stop the hate

DK PAMNANI May 06, 2016 03:43pm

We Indian, Hindu, Sikh, Muslims and Christians are same as those residing in Pakistan. We can understand the language they speak (Pakistanis) and know about each other culture.

The political leaders of both the countries are giving hatred speech against each other and creating a bad whether for the people of both countries.

Otherwise Indian and Pakistanis can leave happily and this part of world can become example to other countries. Can we not unite once again.

Thanks PAMNANI

M.T May 06, 2016 04:23pm

When we are out of our countries, all south Asian do feel as we belong to one family. When I first time been out of Pakistan and met with some south Asian in Washington DC, I felt like war is between our countries, but not among people. There, the first person to help me to get Desi food was Indian, although, she brought food from her home despite she hardly knew me.

ASADI May 06, 2016 06:31pm

I second you.

Rationalist May 06, 2016 11:42pm

I appreciate your gesture of goodwill but there is a reality you need to accept..It is not about religion..most ethnicities of India (Gujaratis, Marathis, South Indians, Bengalis, Andra Pradeshians etc) have very little in common with Pathans, Punjabis, and Kashmiris of Pakistan. Indian and Pakistani Punjabis get along just fine..they are very similar. But the rest of Indians are as foreign to us as the Chinese or Africans. I find it strange that the people who obsess with Pakistanis are most often Gujaratis or South Indians..whom Pakistanis can barely relate with. Its funny how they are not that interested in uniting with Sri Lankans or Bangladeshis but want us to be Indian really bad. My family moved to Canada when i was in my teens. I never encountered people from Central/ South India before moving and after meeting them, i thanked God for Pakistan. They are nothing like the people I grew up with in Islamabad and Lahore.

paxtani May 07, 2016 12:48am

OK, let's all be Pakistanis... agreed?

face the truth May 07, 2016 12:51am

@divergence and as an Indian I remember Mumbai and countless other terror activities done by yall. and I want yall to be punished for it.

face the truth May 07, 2016 01:03am

@DK PAMNANI no we can't. in west we bond because we all are outcast and people from pak join in with us because they are a minority under scrutiny, so to show the outside world many from here pretend to be friends just like many from here say they are Indian for survival.

Zak May 07, 2016 01:04am

@rehan the whole worlds wants peace everywhere. But when brutal invasion and oppression of an independent nation like kashmir is ongoing, then peace will never prevail. It's got nothing to people, and politicians and armies, it's got to do with Indian occupation of IOK. Resolve that and peace prevails forever.

Zak May 07, 2016 01:07am

@Liberal Overseas which country are we supposed to share with, Sikh khalistan, Tamil, Assam, Kerala. Btw I don't the language, food or culture of any Indian nations within Indian Union. Only with Kashmiris we share everything and part is occupied by Indian but UN plebiscite is awaited.

Zak May 07, 2016 01:12am

@Anonymous even Indians know, we are not same, but they have been taught all wrong things in their education. They initially regurgitate their brainwashed view here, but then learn the truth on this forum and realise we are not the same, totally different and Kashmir is the core issue. So Dawn has helped educate so many.

Real Indian May 07, 2016 04:58am

@Farhan If you say that we are the same, then you are negating the two nation theory used to partition India. It is a fact that most Muslims thought exactly like you and hence stayed back in India.

Madan May 07, 2016 06:15am

The subject matter of Gurmehar's video and the article by Shaira Mohan is a familiar one.Who does not want peace in India and Pakistan?Only those who want to rule the nation in their own personal interest without caring for the public at large are the culprits in not wanting peace to prevail in this region.The leaders in both these countries should invest their political power in uplifting the present conditions of their countrymen economically.And in order to achieve this objective,it is absolutely necessary that a peaceful atmosphere should be created in this region.Both these girls of Indian descent have brought their sincere message of peace before India and Pakistan in particular and the world in general. I feel a similar response from the other side of the border will push an appeal for a friendly relationship further.

Steve Boston May 07, 2016 08:36am

@Anonymous You do not bring religion in friendship. That is narrow thinking.

Karma Dorji May 07, 2016 10:48am

Hatred is an avoidable emotion but nation to nation we can't say we love each other. On a human to human level, yes there is scope for love.

SAAD UK May 07, 2016 12:37pm

Excellent write !

Arshad Ali May 07, 2016 12:42pm

I fully support her...I have always maintained that India and Pakistan have no choice but to live as friends....We were divided by hatred but let not this hatred kill and divide us any more. We want to visit each other, see each other and be friends with each other.

Imran May 07, 2016 01:16pm

A very nice article

Imran May 07, 2016 01:31pm

@Farouq Omaro I suggest you look your own government's statistics on the dismal and declining economic state of Indian muslims. Please also check the percentage of muslims employed in Indian civil service and the armed forces

Zak May 07, 2016 01:34pm

@Bukhari key to peace is UN kashmir plebiscite.

gb xee May 07, 2016 02:23pm

once should not believe in borders and distance in love and religion......should consider the whole globe like a global village

cricketer May 07, 2016 02:23pm

May peace prevail in this region,both the countries should take steps to resolve the issues which are responsible for the rift between them,and live as good neighbours.

divergence May 07, 2016 02:56pm

@face the truth I am very sorry to burst your bubble, but if you are so confident about your assertion that Pakistan arranged terrorism activities in Mumbai etc., why don't you present the proofs to the world? or do you fear that they will be exposed as lies because USA and UK also thought India doesn't have sufficient proofs to authenticate its accusation towards Islamabad?

mukul May 07, 2016 03:17pm

@Zak you answered the million dollar question my friend. Even if a Sikh has nothing common with Tamil it does not mean that he has to live in a separate country and goes on drawing a line for a different nation. We had, we have and we will continue to live under under the same roof in spite of all our differences. some brothers forget that.