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Call me by your name: Archiving history & present of arch-rivals India & Pak

Call me by your name: Archiving history & present of arch-rivals India & Pak

New Delhi: Gujarat in India, Gujrat in Pakistan; Hyderabad here and also there; Delhi Gate in Lahore and Lahori Gate in Patiala. Then there is the favourite sweetmeat of many Indians, the Karachi halwa, while the Pakistanis relish Bengali samosa.

Some names have withstood the uneasy decades since Partition, standing out like little beacons of oneness in a landscape fraught with hostility but also hope between two neighbours sharing a border and age-old cultural ties.

India-Pakistan, locked into a hyphenated relationship of a shared history and a divided present, is not just about rift but also about the many vestiges of unity that have survived seven decades.

It's about the names of streets, shops, monuments, food and more, say historians and others on both sides of the border.

With the recent escalation in tensions following the Pulwama terror attack, this legacy has come under increasing strain.

The spotlight of unwelcome attention fell on the Karachi Bakery in Ahmedabad and Bengaluru after the February 14 strike, which prompted the first aerial combat between the two countries since 1971 and led to the capture of an IAF pilot by Pakistan on February 27. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was released almost three days later on March 1.

The managements of the two stores were told by vigilantes to hide Karachi', Pakistan's buzzing commercial centre, from their signboards. Forced to show their Indianness, they also put up a tricolour along with posters reading that the brand was established in 1953 by a Sindhi, Khanchand Ramnani, who migrated to India after Partition and is "absolutely Indian by heart".

The ripple effect of fear could be seen in other cities, including in the national capital, particularly the historic walled city.

"All I can tell you is that we are as Indian as anyone standing or doing business in the street out here. Anyone judging our loyalty for this nation by the name of my shop, which is there for over good 50 years now, is despicable," said an Old Delhi based trader.

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