After 1947 , life became drastically different for people who migrated from India to Pakistan and vice versa. Three generations have passed since we were separated by political forces, but our hearts beat together no matter what side of the border we come from. We all are from the same land which has been parted because of political reasons.
After six decades, Pakistanis and Indians still feel connected for various reasons. Lots of steps are being taken between the two countries to remove the barriers that remain. When I went to the UK for studies, I met many Indians and one of my dear friends is also an Indian. The people from these two countries feel connected to each other. We share passion for movies, food delicacies, entertainment and more. There are so many things we can go on and on and talk to each other about.
Recently, there has been a shift among the younger generation in Pakistan and India. A lot of young people are now visiting India and exploring it. They are finding their roots and bringing back home good stories and pictures which is inspiring others to go and explore for themselves. Most of these young people either have heard good things from their friends in India or they have their relatives residing there; with whom their families have been in touch.
Technology has played a bigger role in bringing people from both countries together. I remember my parents and grandmother telling me about the marriage between my aunt and uncle on my father’s side in the 80’s. My entire family went to India to bring the bride. My aunt’s family is from India and we moved to Pakistan before the partition. My grandparent’s family still lives in India. At that time it was very difficult for my grandparents and aunt to talk to their family when she moved to Karachi, Pakistan. Planning to go and see her family was such a lengthy procedure. The shift in technology over the last decade has changed things drastically. Now people can talk to each other via Viber, Skype, WhatsApp, etc. Internet has played a crucial role in bringing people together.
My youngest cousin from my mother’s side found his love in India and married his first cousin in January, 2015. They talked over the phone and understand each other and their families. Things have been moving in the right direction to tie the knot for more than a year. Originally, it was decided that both families would go to Dubai for the wedding. My aunt wanted to go and see her soon to be daughter-in-law’s family and home. It took a while to get approved for a visa. Requests started coming from the bride’s side to bring lawn kurtis’ from Karachi. Lawn and cotton is appreciated in India. The groom and his family stayed for over a month and went to see places they have only seen in Indian movies. When they came back it was recommended to have a quiet ceremony at Lucknow, India .
My aunt and family brought what they could for the wedding. The ceremony took place like any other. The bride and groom got ready in their formal wear. Those who could attend easily came to the ceremony. Wedding rituals took place like we have in Pakistan. My cousin’s sister-in-law was happy to see similarities between us and them. Mehandi/Henna (a design on the hand) and Ubtan (a yellow paste which is put on the skin of the bride and groom to make them glow) rituals took place. We received pictures and watched everything on Skype. Everybody watching from Pakistan wanted to be there at the ceremony.
After a week, the groom and his family returned from Delhi to Karachi. The process for the bride’s visa began but it was expected that it may take two to three months for them to receive it. Apparently, things got a lot speedier and she is now here. We are happy to have her as part of our new family member. There have been no feelings of hatred from anyone of us towards her or India.
We listen to stories about how girls drive scooters there, about their food recipes and how life is in the village and city. She will be going back to visit her family in ten months but we would like to enrich her experience here by taking her to Clifton, Karachi ; a popular seaside destination. We also want to make sure she gets to try channa chaat (chickpea) and biryani from famous places here. She is already familiar with some of the brands here and we will make sure she gets stuff for her relatives back home. We would like to welcome them to visit us here because "Sarhaad kay uss paar" (those across the border) are people just like us. Next year, my husband and I will be applying for a visa to visit Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan in India.
Fatima has diverse experience in and outside of Pakistan. She has her MBA - Management from Greenwich University, Karachi. She has submitted her thesis on "Significance of Communication during War and Conflict" and hopes to study abroad for her Masters in Peace and Conflict. She is currently working with an international non-profit organization and also a part of CVE activities and projects.
She can be contacted at Fatimah.firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets at @FatimahJaffery
Written by Fatima Jaffery and published on 23-April-2015