Bound by blood

A day that will remain etched in the memories of people in the Indian subcontinent. A day will forever haunt those who were witness to it. A day when we were separated from them. A day when brothers turned into strangers, homes were left behind, blood and tears were shed. The day Pakistan was born.

No, I’m not going to write a spiel about the complex dynamics of our relationship with Pakistan. Much has already been said/written about it, and I’m very sure, more will be. Suffice it is to say that it’s complicated. Just like most relationships these days. Nothing new there. Such relationships need work, constant work.

The last 67 years have been anything but easy for India and Pakistan. And, I think I speak for most regular, average, educated civilians in either country when I say that we’ve had enough. Frankly, we’d like nothing more than for us to be happy, peaceful, friendly neighbours. It’s time we assuaged the tensions and focus on helping each other grow, and build the subcontinent into a force to reckon with.

Of course, I’m not well-versed in the intricate workings of this relationship at any level apart from a basic, humane one. And, it wouldn’t be very wrong on my part if I say that we aren’t doing too badly there. Pakistani women love Shah Rukh Khan. Indian girls love Fawaad Khan. Pakistanis love our dosas. Indians love their kebabs. As civilians, I feel, we’ve done more to bond on our similar tastes and shared history than any of the powers-that-have-been. 

‘14 August, 1947: Black day of our history’. This is what greeted me when I logged into one of my social media profiles. Now, I’m not one to indulge in name shaming, but I will tell you that a very senior politician wrote this. He went on to add that, ‘we must vow to reclaim our nation’. People like him worry me. Reclaim our nation? What is that even supposed to mean? What does he want us to do, fight another war? Have we forgotten ‘65, ‘71, ‘99? Nothing is more upsetting than hate-mongering on a day when, like a friendly neighbour, one should wish Pakistan a very happy independence day!

If peace and love what we really wish for, then we need to first work on ourselves first. The Bible says, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’. Our parents’ generation, and the one before them, witnessed immense grief and hardships thanks to the partition and the subsequent wars.

It’s taken both countries YEARS to rid themselves of the ghosts of ‘47 and come to terms with their losses- emotional, and otherwise. Let’s not inflict on ourselves, and the generations to come, anything similar. On the 68th Independence Day, here’s hoping we learn to truly value what we’ve been blessed with, and make the world a slightly better place.

Malini Banerjee is a snotty single child, mountain junkie, playback singer, Austen addict, hopes to soon finish writing her debut novel, and dreams of singing alongside Buddy Guy
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