KARACHI: On a historic day for communal politics in South Asia, discourse around Kartarpur opening and Ayodhya verdict dominated Twitter’s worldwide panel throughout Saturday.
The Ayodhya verdict was issued by India’s top court hours before the historic opening in Pakistan of the Kartarpur Corridor, which allows Indian Sikhs to arrive in Pakistan without a visa for pilgrimage to the shrine of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism.
On the one hand, users posting under #KartarpurCorridor celebrated the milestone for India-Pakistan ties and hoped for future cooperation, and on the other, with the #AyodhyaVerdict the region was reminded of the violent communal rivalries that continue to drive national politics.
`AyodhyaVerdict’ was among the top trends across the globe with over 600,000 tweets while ‘KartarpurCorridor’ was trending fourth worldwide with over 86,000 tweets.
As hundreds of Indian Sikhs made the historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, users across the globe, including from the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Germany, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States posted tweets under the #KartarpurCorridor.
“#KartarpurCorridor Entrance! At least one country is trying to listen to its `Father of the Nation’!” Ashok Swain, who is an associate professor on peace and conflict research, posted this with the picture of a standee at Kartarpur Corridor with Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s quote on religious freedom.
While #MandirWahiBanega continued to propagate jingoistic content in India, at the same time, ‘hindumuslimbhaibhai’ was seen among the top trends with users calling out Hindu nationalists for celebrating religious bigotry with the Ayodhya verdict.
“Today will be a historic day irrespective of the verdict. Let’s make sure history remembers us as agents of peace and harmony. Let’s make sure we counter the agents of hate and communalism with love and unity. Let’s make humanity trend. #hindumuslimbhaibhai,” official Twitter account of Indian page PeeingHuman — that posts content on Indian politics and news media — tweeted.
Soon after, #hindumuslimbhaibhai was trending worldwide with users from the UAE, Belarus, India, Pakistan, Puerto Rico and US generating over 35,000 tweets.
Interestingly, the opening of Kartarpur corridor and release of Ayodhya verdict took place the same day as Germany commemorates 30 years of the fall of Berlin Wall that separated East and West Germany.
The toppling of the wall, which had divided the Communist-ruled East and the capitalist West in Berlin for nearly three decades and became a potent symbol of the Cold War, was followed a year later by the reunification of Germany in 1990.
'#BerlinWall' was among the top trends on global Twitter and several users highlighted the stark parallels on this significant day.
“#HinduMuslimBhaiBhai On this day Fall of Berlin Wall started.....Now let’s break the wall of communal hatred and show the world what a united India can do..!!” a user posted on Twitter.
Coincidentally, Nov 9 also happens to be #IqbalDay in Pakistan that is observed to commemorate the contributions of Allama Muhammad Iqbal to the Muslims of the subcontinent.
Iqbal, known as the pioneer of freedom, was the first politician to articulate the two-nation theory that called for a separate homeland where political system is derived from Islam.
Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2019