Posted for Mag.in :)
“ I like chicken tikka and you?”
“I like Shahrukh Khan, and you?”
“I like him too, but I find Ranbir pretty hot these days.”
“Whats happening with your team, they aint playing well, we guys beat you in the last cricket match.”
“Yea, that is fine but why are you guys not allowing us to play in IPL?”
“We love to see you guys play, but what can we do ?”
This could be a typical conversation between two normal friends across borders, who share so many things – culturally and otherwise- that at times one wonders, why are these nations separate in the first place. That debate aside for the moment, what is it that makes us hate people? There are enough problems around us to submerge ourselves in and deal with, but we forget all that is around us and pay more attention to what someone on a TV channel is telling us.
Look at what we are missing out on, I am a hardcore cricket fan, and I will speak for myself, that I miss watching the fast bowlers from across the border playing in our IPL. The only time when the Pakistani players played in the IPL, it was fantastic to watch Shoaib Akhtar take on Sachin Tendulkar, or see Shahid Afridi hit a few sixes out of the park. There are artists, who are stopped from coming and performing here – Ghulam Ali, bands like Jal, Strings, and so many other good singers that are loved on both sides of the border. There are garments, food cuisines, sports, etc. which we would like to share with each other.
Given a chance, I believe the people from both sides would love to interact more often, in a friendly manner, and exchange views, trade, etc. It is only a few ill-willed forces that are acting in a manner that a cordial relation between the two nations becomes an impossibility. Are we going to stay foolish and vote them into power, are there not enough issues left for these politicians than to instigate us against our neighbors. My heart boils when I hear educated Indians supporting such bans on our neighbors. Please realize that people across the border, or rather across the world are facing same problems in their lives, and our wishing ill will towards them does no good to them, or us.
It has been around 60 years that we have been trying to resolve our differences, and I do not have much hope that it will be solved soon. It is about time, that we realize that sharing a smile and maybe even a hug with our neighbors can go a long way in resolving the differences. The younger lot in our country seems to be more rational in its approach and I see hope there in terms of starting a dialogue. It is heartening to see even the government now taking cognizance of the fact that, by not talking they are only playing into the hands of the forces who never want the neighbors to have a cordial relationship.