Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pride, Prejudice, and Pakistanis

picture by Mayank Austen Soofi

What does Pakistan Paindabad’s Indian readers think of Pakistan Paindabad.

[Compilation and the picture, at the Indian side of Wagah border, by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Pakistan Paindabad is happy. Thousands of visitors are clicking on these pages each day. Kind-hearted strangers are taking out time to write e-mails. I’m being congratulated for doing “good work”. It is a heady feeling indeed. The sense of self-importance is over-whelming and dangerous. However, the credit truly lies with people who have written for this site. And also with those who agreed to be interviewed here. Here are some of the recent letters sent by Indian readers.

Open Mind

It is a wonderful thing you are doing. I've always been uneasy that age old hostilities carry themselves over to subsequent generations for no apparent reason. Imaginary lines on a map could create so much division between people who are so similar. Perhaps we just need to be introduced to the idea that we can choose to think differently and have an open mind about things. Your blog does that and more. Congratulations and keep up the good work!
Poorni Pillai

Join the Crusade

I want to join you and your website to do something for the good relationship between Pakistan and India.
Prashant Bhardwaj

Views On Pakistanis

I am an Indian studying in US. It was only after coming here that I met Pakistanis, and frankly I have really good Pakistani friends here. I don’t know about Pakistanis in Pakistan, but the Pakistanis over here are totally different from what I had imagined. Some of them, of course, are the types I wouldn’t like to be friends with. Especially those blaming India and Hindus for everything wrong. But most Pakistanis are not like that.

Carry On

I went through your blog and I am glad you are doing such a simple yet significant thing. Don’t let anything stop you.
Sriharish Padmanabhan

Bad Weather

It is nice to see your blog. I heard about it from one of the news websites. Let me put it this way. Every single individual has a personal admiration perspective and it might end up anywhere. It is absolutely coincidental that you hold such love and affection for Pakistan. As rightly said, people are never bad; it is the weather (fiza) that creates adverse feelings.

Jehadi View

As I was going through yours blogs, it reminded me of the few interactions I had with people from Pakistan in Italy and US. Sometimes I wonder why media and Indians always see Pakistan as enemy and consider all people in that country as Jehadis.

After reading your blog, I feel like going to Pakistan at least once and see the canal in Lahore and roam on Karachi beach. Hopefully I would be able to fulfill my dream soon.

Personal Viewpoint

Your blog was an excellent idea.
Professor Ramesh Manghirmalani


a n k | t said...

REWIND 60 yrs --> hindu, muslims, sikhs, n everybody else fighting the same fight :)
PRESENT --> apparently still fighting, but this time around, their own fights :(
I am an Indian, born and brought up in India. While growing up I was subjected to a lot of false impressions about my fellow neighbors, a lot of cruel things they did to the Indians during partition, my own school teacher saying that in class in 9th grade "I still remember her words clearly...." ..... man! the seed of prejudice is a wicked wicked thing..... It is only after moving to US I realized that people whom we call our enemies are not at all different from us, we both look the same, speak the same language and eat the same shyt.... have the same family bondage, everything the same, then why do we led the seed of anger, hatred, prejudice that was sowed during the partition reap in our hearts....
My heart goes out to the owner of this blog, truly a great effort in setting the facts straight, bringing out the memories that seem more like fables now....

Unknown said...

Heard you being interviewed on the BBC and as a Brit Pakistani may I thank you for lifting the stereotypical view of Pakistan; of course there are good and bad in every society but the criminal acts of a few should not be allowed to tarnish a good country and the majority of its good citizen who want nothing more than to lead a normal happy life.

Anonymous said...

International media is definitely responsible for giving the world a twisted picture of what Pakistan is like. With more and better Pakistani tv channels coming out, this image can change. I encourage my Indian friends to watch Pakistani television channels like we in Pakistan watch Star Plus, Z TV, Sony and others. You can't really blame people for having misconceptions about each other if they have never met anyone from your country. I am not saying that it is justified, but it's expected. We must make an effort to interact with people across the border. We should avail the bus and train services. We should demand a more flexible visa policy. Pakistan Paindabad is a great example of how to bridge the gap between neighbors whose governments try hard to keep them apart.

Anonymous said...

Most sensible people realize that people are same everywhere irrespective of the religion, color, nationality etc. This is even more so for Indians and Pakistanis as they were literally the same people before '47 and have more things in common than different. The symbols of nationlish, even the flags have share the green color :-)

In India, I didn't have any direct interaction w/ Pakistanis so my views though moderate were still colored by heresey and media/movies. Living in the US, I've many Pakistani friends and don't find them any different than my other desi friends.

I've noticed that whenever I've debate/arguement about Pakistani or Muslims in general, the people who claim the differences are irrevocably hard liners (and republicans to boot). If there was no Pakistan or Muslims, these people would find other reasons for division. I think we'll always have these people who see things differently - we just need to reach others (hopefully majority) who are more open to reason.

I admire your courage for starting this blog and you must feel good for doing something you believe in.

May you get many hits (web hits that is).

ishu verma

Anonymous said...

While your blog is an admirable effort, i think it shows only part of the Pakistani picture. Quite simply it shows the English influenced Pakistan. There is another Pakistan which seeks the total domination of India, especially Hindus, through the violent spread of Islam. While what i am saying may not be politically correct, it is a FACT. In case you do not realize, take a deeper honest look, a country that hosts a killer of innocent thousands(Osama), a person who sold his country's nuke tech (AQ Khan) and official state policy is the spread of Islam and persecution of Hindus(Kashmiri Pundit, Plane hijacking's its a long list). I know your blog doesnt focus on these issues and probably doesnt need to, but keep this in the back of your head. In sum though keep up the good work.

whistle blower said...

I came to know about this blog through the news pepper (Hindustan Times)very recently got some time today to go through the comments and article. found it very interesting and useful. thank you mayak for the efferts from the indian side of the INDUS River may god give good sence to bothe the ruler of the country to make the boudry irrelevant if ot Immaginary. PAAAAAKISTAAAAAN PAAAAINDABAAAAAD, HINDUSTAAAAAN ZINDABAAAAD and both of us SHAAAAD BAAAAD.
an indian muslim from delhi

Anonymous said...

it looks like pakistan and hindustan and middle east countries are fighting chikens throne in the ring for pleaser of our master (read Bretain )without realising theat they will enjoy a good picknic from the flesh when we will fall flat killing each other.

Unknown said...

Dear Mayank,
I admire your website and am glad to know that I am not the only Indian who likes Pakistan and Pakistanis. Honestly speaking my views changed after reading Khushwant Singh. The younger generations are lucky to read blogs like yours and know that our neighbours are as human as any one in planet Earth.
Kudos to you and your blog. keep spreading this message of peace, love and friendship.
- Sunder

Anonymous said...

Just to add on something out here..

I was talking to one of my friend from Jalandhar (Punjab) and the topic went into India - Pakistan border and things like that.

Its still fresh in my mind what my friend told..
It was about the last time when Indian Cricket team visited Pakistan,
And my friend's elder brother visited pakistan to watch the ODI (One day International)
The interesting thing was that he was never allowed to pay for anything - The stay out there, Food he ate, some items he bought.

He was given a grand welcome by the people out there as he was a visitor that too from INDIA

And people used to say

"My relatives are there back in india, we havent visited them or invited them to our place, And through you we are actually entertaining them"

Well that left me thinking, If common man (from both india and Pakistan) doesnt care about border.. Then who needs it ??

Anonymous said...

Salam and hello to all.
It is amazing and pleasently surprising to see a soft site meant to show the positive side of a country unduly and not so fairly viewed by some.
Pakistan and its people are great,just like the people everywhere in the world are,be it India ,USA,or any other.
Majority of Pakistanis are peaceloving and friendly,loyal and sacrificing,just spend some time there and you will know.
It is a great effort by Soofi Mayank and wish him all the best and luck.

Anonymous said...

I am an Indian Living in a labour camp in the middle east . We have a fair size population of indians and pakistanis here . We are pretty ok with each other . But there is this invisible line a fence avery where all the time

Anonymous said...

I have a colleague who is a Pakistan,from a village.He was hesitant to say that he was a pakistani on the first day cos all of us were indians and few other non muslim asians.And he was like not all of us are like what you think .He was a simple hearted person like any small town guy from India,worried abt money, his thick accent etc.

But there is a vast majority who say like we will conquer your country,we will hoist pak flag on top of Taj mahal, we will conquer Bambaiii and all utopian dreams. It is reallly disappointing.many doesnt even know the result of 1971(except the formation of Bangladesh) and Kargil.