This Republic Day
|   Jan 26, 2016
This Republic Day

Watching  the  Hindi  movie  trailers  on  my  television  recently,  I  noticed   so  many  movies  with  the  plot  depicting  Indians  landing  in our  neighbouring  country.  A  country  which  was  once  part  of  India  but  now  we  share  a  love  and  hate  relationship  with  them. The Indians  in  Pakistani  jails  are  in  deplorable  conditions.  How  can  one  forget  what  happened  to  Sarbajit Singh. Some  Indians  were, caught  on  being  landing  on the  other side  and  some  held  captive  during  indo-pak  war, i.e,  the  prisoners  of  war.

Movies  entertain  us  but  at  times  it  becomes  difficult  to  digest  what  is  being  shown  and  what    we  are  made  to   believe.  How  is  it possible, two  people  shown  to party  in  a  boat  on  Indian side  and  landing  in  Pakistan  and  then  series  of  funny  and  hilarious sequence  of  events  taking  place.  Give  me  a  break!!  I  said  to  myself but  then  movies  are  made  to  entertain  us  and  make  grim matters  funny.  What's  wrong  with  it.  After all,  it  adds  humour  to  dull,  monotonous  life  and  turning  the seriousness  of  the  Subject  to an  enjoyable  watch.

But,  we  all  know  reel  life  is  poles  apart  from  real  life.  Well,  talking  about  the  real  side  ,  it  was  almost  two  years  back  when  from Dagshai  travelling  to  Amritsar for  a  short  fun  trip,  My six year old with me and my husband had  an  opportunity  and  privilege  to  pay our obeisance  at  Golden Temple,  visit  the  Jallia walla Bagh   and  Wagah Border.

It  was  a  mesmerising  experience  as   Baisakhi   was  being  celebrated  all  over  india  and  at  Amritsar  the  celebrations  were  grand.   After  witnessing  and  seeing  the festive  fervour  at  Golden Temple  and  getting  to  taste  the  delicious  Langar  and  the  Kadah Prasad, We headed  for  the  Wagah Border.

On  reaching  the  Wagah,  We saw  a  mad  rush  of  people  on  both sides  to  witness  the  breathtaking  flag lowering ceremony  .  The  crowd  from  both sides  left  no stone  unturned  to  show  their  enthusiasm  and  patriotism  for  their  respective  countries.  It  was  the  similar  kind  of  mad-  frenzy  felt  during  the  Indo-Pak  cricket matches.

Yes ,  Wagah border,    bordering  Pakistan,  where  the  flag  lowering  ceremony  takes  place  every  evening.  And  lucky  people  like  me  must  have  witnessed  it    and would  agree  with  what  I  felt  during  the  ceremony. My six year old was equally thrilled to witness such  a grand event.

The  Soldiers  on  both sides   exchanged  aggressive  glances,  lifted   their  legs  high  in  the  air,  stomped  their  boots  hard  on  the  ground,  twisted  their  moustaches  up and  stared  at  each-other  again.  Well,  at  that  moment  i  only  wished  that  the  'Feviquick'  advertisement  comes  true  and  the  shoe sole  of  the  Pakistani soldier hangs  lose  so  that  his  Indian  counterpart  could  fix  it  for  him  but  to  my  dismay,  it  did  not  happen,  after  all  it  was  a  real  ceremony  and  no  myth  or  a  movie. These  Soldiers  were  representing  the  'pride  and  honour'  of  their  countries,  no  gimmicks  involved.

The  reality  shook  me,   suddenly  someone  in  the  crowd  invariably  started  chanting  'Bharat Mata ki Jai'  and  from  the  other side  'Pak Zindabad'  could  be  heard.  The competition of  whose  more  louder  in  form  of  slogans  began,  which  soon  turned  into  a  mutual  scorn  and  a  way  of  insulting  with  the  over  rising  crescendo.  The two  national  flags  were  lowered   to  the  buglers'  call.

It  was  now  time  for  the  visitors  to  get  themselves  clicked  in front  of  the  gates   which  were  the  symbol  of  partition  between  the  two  countries  at  Wagah Border.

Further  away,  at  a  place  called  Attari  on  the  Indian  side,  there  was  an  abruptly  aborted  railway line  with  painted  sign  that  said  "Northern Railway  ends  here."

I  kept  looking  at  the  track  to  somehow  connect  with  the  history,  when  the  track  was  functional.  Lahore  was  at  the  mere  distance  of  60 kms  from  this  place,  but now  it  goes  no  where.  It  has  just  become  a  mute  spectator,  welcoming  all  visitors,  a  glimpse  into  a  long  lost  past.  Now  Maitri ( Friendship)  buses  run  across  both sides,  crossing  the  gates  where  flag ceremony  takes  place.   But  this  happens  only  when there  is  peace  amongst  the  neighbours  .  During  ceasefire  violation  by  our neighbour  this  bus  service  also  gets  disrupted.

And  those  who  bear  the  brunt;  are  not  only  the  commoners  but  also  our  soldiers  and  their  families.  Along  with  Western  border  of  Punjab,  where  India  ends and Pakistan  begins -  there  lies  a  stretch  of  no  man's  land,  marked  off  by  rusty  barbed  fences.  On  both  sides  the  soldiers  in  the  bunkers  guard  24/7  and  keep  a strict  vigil,  so  that  no  infiltrator  crosses  over.  There  is  no  scope  for  callous  behaviour,  unless  you  are  some  Hindi  movie  Hero,  who  can  face  every  tough situation  as  if  it  is  a  cake  walk  for  him,  after all  it  is  just  an  enactment  of  the  real. 

The  Indian  Border Security Force  and  Pakistan  Rangers  have  shoot  at  sight  orders,  in case  of  any  doubtful activity. Here,  there  are  no  re-takes,  precious  lives  are at  stake  for  the  nation,  it  is  do  or  die  for  the  nation,  the  ground  reality.

The  religious  and  political  divide  is  huge  and  wide  amongst  the  two  nations,  we  can't  see  each-other  eye  to  eye,  rather  the  belief  is  'an  eye  for  an  eye'.  How  at  Wagah  the  soldiers  from  both sides perform  their  drill,  lifting  their  legs  high  as  if  kicking  their  opponents   and  themselves  at  times  going  off  balance,  but  all  this is  actually  not  required,  and  according  to  Indian  military  training  also,  there  is  no  such  drill  taught.    There  are  not  only  grown-ups  present  but  also  children witnessing  the  ceremony.  Instead  of  all  this,  can't  there  be  a  common  place  made,  where  families  and  well-wishers  from  both  sides  can  meet,  a  Maitri  Room,  a meeting  place.

On  one  side  i  am feel  proud  of  our  real heroes, ' our  soldiers'  and  on  the  other side  i  pray  for  their  precious lives,  for  their  well-being.

On  my  way  back, When I  heard  the  faint  strains  of  azaan  from  a  distant  mosque ,    I  realised  that  how  it  escaped  the  restrictions  of  the  borders,  and  was assured  that  it  was  blessing  the  heroes  on  both sides,  to  do  their  duty  and  rest  leave  it  on  Almighty.  I  salute  my  real  Heroes,  though  the  filmy  ones  continue  to entertain  me,  but  my  heart  and  applause,  of course  goes  to  the  real  ones. Hope this trip remains as a life time learning for my little one. Happy Repulic Day to all

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