A friend points out that my last few posts have been about death and loss. Then with Pakistan and India’s Independence Days coming up (Aug 14 and 15 respectively) someone asked, ‘What’s there to celebrate?’ My response: Yes, there is much to mourn, and sometimes there doesn’t seem to be that much to celebrate. As Jimmy Engineer says, the fight between good and evil is an eternal one. Doesn’t mean we stop living. When Indians and Pakistanis jointly Celebrate India, Pakistan Independence Days for Peace, Aug 14-15, 2015, it symbolises the desire to own an occasion that has been appropriated by hyper-nationalist, jingoistic war-mongers. Through this joint commemoration and greeting and wishing each other, we defy our government and security establishments’ efforts to create a negative narrative about ‘the other’. That, surely, is something to celebrate.
Please see Aman ki Asha, the website I edit, for some rather heart-warming posts over the last couple of days – and I don’t just say that because I wrote or edited them. See: A lion, a tiger, a bear… oh my! – a retired Indian Army officer’s thoughts; my friend Samir Gupta’s crazy last-minute plan ‘Sending some love across the border’, and the efforts of some Indian and Pakistani schoolchildren reaching out to each other.
The photo above is from a wonderful evening yesterday with the Pakistani truck artist Haider Ali of Phool Patti, at Mahmud Jafari’s Dover Rug, commemorating Pakistan and India’s Independence Days. More on that later.