India + Pakistan

In today’s scenario of acrimony and mutual distrust that the two countries have for each other, where our choicest emotions and some of the most colourful expletives are reserved for our esteemed neighbour by people in both countries, there are some things which stand out as things which can help build bridges.

There are two things which come to mind. One material, one academic. Not that academic is not material, so please read on and you will get the drift. The other day, I saw a bus which was sponsored by Rotary Club. I would think quite a few would have come across buses sponsored by Rotary Club, but this was a bit different. The difference, or so I think, was painted on the side of the bus. The bus was sponsored by the Rotary Clubs from New Delhi, and … hold your breath … Karachi, apart from Turkey and USA. What I am writing about here is how a bus in Gurgaon or Delhi or any part of India can be sponsored by people from Karachi or any other part of Pakistan. This is interesting … understanding that both sides of the border are inhabited by human beings with more or less same ambitions, similar aspirations. This means that the helping hand, the healing hand, should be able to reach across the border much more effectively than hatred can.

Another thing I am writing about is something I read in the Times of India … an article about how universities in Pakistan are outsourcing evaluation of Ph. D. theses to India. Interesting? I guess you would be able to google it, so please go ahead … What this means is that no matter how much the hawks in Pakistan would claim to inheritance of the Mughal legacy, the Mughal empire ruled with its seat at Dehli. What that means, whether the hawks like it or not, that Dehli is the seat of Urdu. Of course, Urdu is not the only subject which the two nations share. There are subjects of human importance like medicine, engineering, pure and applied sciences, mathematics, the arts, both performing and visual, and of course a shared history, culture, heritage. Can these subjects, whether with the shared prefix or not, form a bridge to bring the hearts and minds of people across the border together? Can we not build bridges from Karachi to Kanpur, from Lahore to Lucknow, from Islamabad to Indore, from Peshawar to Patna? And if these bridges are built connecting the hearts and minds, can these bridges ever be broken? Some may try to break them, but what they can make are scratches at the most, don’t you think.

Recently, Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi reached the semi-finals at a tennis tournament. India-Pakistan tennis anyone?

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