Saturday, October 20, 2007

Another Common Problem

I had once met a guy from Faisalabad (erstwhile Lyallpur ... or so I knew it as, growing up, and for some reason, it took me a long time to fathom that the two are the same city ... or, almost so!). This was at Changi Airport. At Changi, the smoking room is an eclectic mix of people ... people from probably all faiths, and more than a handful of nationalities. There were Japanese (or maybe they were Koreans ... as you know, i couldnt make out one from the other). And of course, the Chineses ... Australians, and Indians ... um, Pakistanis! Phew ... I almost mistook one for the other there. But then, isnt that quite a natural mistake to make? And, is the mistake even an important one?

Well, coming back to the point ... You know how it is (or maybe you dont, so let me explain ...). As individuals, we love each other. As nations, we hate each other. And, its almost the norm for an Indian and a Pakistani, meeting each other, to extoll the shared heritage. It invariably boils down to that ... at least on the surface. Well, we were not going to be any different. And, there was an interesting thing he said to me ...

Gurbat twaadde paasse vi aa, te saadde paasse vi!

Poverty (actually, I dont think I can think of a word which is a literal translation of gurbat), is there on your side, as well as on ours. So true. But, looks like poverty is not the only problem the two neighbours, the estranged neighbours are facing, as shown by the bomb blasts which shook Karachi (I would sy, the entire Pakistan, and a lot of India, too). May they shake up the entire world ... at least the two embittered neighbours ... into realizing that bombs, guns, terror are not the solution to anything. That Pakistan has not learnt from ancient wisdom ... That the Snake will bite the hands that feeds it. Be it the Lal Masjid episode at Islamabad, or the Hyderabad blasts, or Ajmer, Srinagar, or Karachi ... Wheres the difference? How are the Kashmir blasts different from the Karachi blasts? Not at all. So, why should we treat them as being different? And maybe we should just stop and think ... maybe, just maybe ... its not us versus them. Its just humanity versus terror?

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