Sunday, May 19, 2013

Love Thy Neighbour.

This is probably coming very late, but there couldn't be a better time to mention this.


I'm bound to get a wide spectrum of reactions at the mention of this word. But I'll plough on.

I, for one, had no feeling whatsoever towards Pakistan. I'd harboured a curiosity regarding this nation that tends to bring out the passionate patriot in every Indian.

Last August at Harvard MUN, I found the unspoken answers to my questions. 

There were two delegations from Pakistan, one of them was from Karachi Grammar School. I won't deny that I was avidly curious to know about these 'exotic people from across the border'. 

During the course of the conference, I befriended Navaera Sulaiman, a veteran MUNer from Karachi. A warm and affectionate person, Navaera proved to be a wonderful ambassador to her country. 

Navaera and Me. Of course I look ugly. But that's beside the point.

At our committee, she was initially treated with animosity by a few members but she was prepared deal with them. At the end of the day, when her school was recognized for its wonderful team, she had silenced the rabble-rousers.

What I learnt was that they're people just like us. They read what we read, watch the same movies and have similar ambitions such as pursuing medicine or engineering. Of course, this doesn't speak for entire Pakistan. Karachi being a cosmopolitan city cannot be compared to the interiors of Swat Valley or the tribal regions where insurgents rule the roost. But neither did I generalize India. We have our own skeletons in the cupboard. So there's no harm in embracing that it's only a 'border' that divides two very similar nations.

I will refrain from taking names but I was surprised that many people were disappointed that this delegation outshone the other competitors and were unabashedly vocal.(and were at the receiving end of my ire)

My point is simple, its not everyday that you get an opportunity to know somebody from another country. Why be prejudiced? Go with an open mind, you will most certainly have a pleasant experience.

Why should we indulge in mudslinging and petty politics which, you and I know is beyond our realm? What is within our scope is to forge a friendship and spread the message.

Now this doesn't make me any less of a patriot. A true citizen will isn't fanatic. It's about building bonds and encouraging unity.