Since the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, which also marks the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, hundreds of Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims have been able to visit Pakistan.
The opening of Corridor was met with euphoria and excitement across both nations, as many Indians crossed the border first time in their lives. Complete strangers embraced in excitement, overwhelmed by the enormity of what they were witnessing. The shrine of Baba Guru Nanak, who was hailed as a Pir by Muslims in Pakistan and a Guru by Hindus, is now acting as a bridge, to conquer the hate between the two nations.
Thousands of bloggers and YouTube personalities have been able to visit and experience Pakistan, free of any hate or discrimination. Even people, who do not adhere to religion, have described the visit as a spiritual journey that has impacted how they perceive Pakistan. Many describe, that whatever the views they had formed about Pakistan, by the reporting of media, have proven to immensely exaggerated and inaccurate.
Indian Backpacker, A YouTube sensation and Vlogger also shared his evocative and soul-stirring journey, from India to Pakistan through a series of Videos. He also described, that the process was fairly easy and economical and urged anyone who wanted to visit, to go through with it without fear.
A popular YouTube Travel Vlogger, yatri doctor shared his experience meeting people from Pakistan. Both the Pakistani and Indian people can be witnessed, their eyes sparkling with genuine merriment, as they discussed their love for Cricket Lengend, Virat Kohli and Punjabi Singer, Sidhu MooseWala.
Initially, media had reported that visiting Pakistan through the Kartarpur Corridor would result in their visa being stamped by the Pakistan immigration authorities, which would make international travel a distant dream. However, those who have visited have begun to understand that these claims are baseless and targeted towards discouraging people from visiting.
Furthermore, Indian people coming to Pakistan are often ill informed about the condition of the country and its international relations. To some Pakistanis it may seem like an absurd notion, to be afraid of a Pakistani stamp on their visa, when millions of Pakistanis travel to Europe, USA, UK, Canada, and several other parts of the world, everyday. It is quite apparent that the media has been misleading and ill informing Indians, for years, about the actual truth.
An Indian Sikh while visiting Pakistan talked to Punjabi Parchar TV, and stated that, the situation regarding Pakistanis in India is vastly different, as people are afraid of them. He also said that the web media was finally spreading love instead of hate. It really isn’t the fault of Indian people, the years of distance, lack of awareness about each other, and war between the two countries has brought us to this point.
While looking at hundreds of Vlogs of Indian Youtubers, I have not come across a single person, who had been unhappy, or mistreated in Pakistan. Thousands of Pakistani’s visit Kartarpur every day, to meet, connect and get to know their neighbors. Both nations have vastly similar languages and cultures and the Darbar Sahib has established itself as a no hate zone. Indians and Pakistanis are often seen talking in their mother tongue, eating and sharing laughs together at the Langar Hall of the Great Guru’s Darbar Sahib.
The acrimony between the two governments doesn’t percolate down to the level of common people on either side, who speak the same language. If the two governments showed more benevolence and allowed citizens to meet freely the animosity between the establishments would also melt away.
In the true essence of the word, the Darbar has emerged as place that radiates positivity, and is helping to create a person to person relationship between the two nations. Muslims visiting the Darbar Sahib are often seen covering their heads out of respect, and offer their prayers inside the Gurduwara without any judgment, or discrimination.
People from India are often amazed by the hugs; friendly conversations and love they receive from Pakistanis, which is steadily helping dissipate the negative feelings of enmity between the people of India and Pakistan.
No one is born with evil in their hearts. Each one of us is born, filled with love towards everyone and everything around us. But instead of just following our hearts , we have let the negative leaders, international politics and biased media fill use with darkness and negativity. What urged us to consider someone as an enemy, just because of the place they were born in? Aren’t we all born on the same Earth? Why are the borders, drawn by someone on the map powerful enough to dictate our souls and alienate us from each other? Sadly, they will continue to have an impact on how we think, and feel about our fellow humans, unless we teach our children otherwise.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
I have a similar dream, that one day India and Pakistan will not require borders or military across borders. Maybe, one day we will finally let bygones be bygones, and move past the hatred that has governed both nations. Maybe one day, we be able to move freely across the two states without barbed wire fences separating us.
Kartarpur Corridor is a symbolism of peace, tolerance, love and compassion. Hopefully, it is the first of many, and will help us look right at our children’s eyes, filled with pride, presenting the hate free world we have built for them.
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17 November, 2019