The people of the Indus valley civilization-a civilization that lived 2000 years ago-a society which accomplished what men today have not-leading a life of peace and harmony.
Two nations, born a day apart from each other; two countries, striving for recognition by the larger world community; two states, with a common past intertwined mystically, where people and culture come alive, now journeying down with similar goals to accomplish.
Meet India and Pakistan. The new millennium has been the coming to age of South Asia.
The various proposals on the table – demilitarization of Siachen, troop reduction, larger involvement of the Kashmiri separatists and economic cooperation are encouraging prospects. Yet in this context people to people contact is perhaps, the most effective way to bring about change.
And yet the words progress and cooperation lose their meaning if we realize that we, citizens of the twenty first century, supposedly mature and highly evolved, are still fighting over a piece of land. Are we guilty of repeating history’s mistakes? Savage and barbaric battles over land have been fought before, and are still being waged. How then do we call ourselves civilized members of a new world order? It is indeed a curious anomaly.
1971-the Bangladesh war, 2001- Kargil war. Two wars and a history of failed summits. Are India and Pakistan really serious about maintaining peaceful relations? Cynics might vouch for that, but hope fails to fade away.
Hampered by bombs, criticized and cautioned against, threatened with escalated terrorist activity and frightened into virtual submission, the Srinagar – Muzzafarabad bus huffed and puffed but finally took off almost two years back, indicating another predisposition overturned. It was a triumph of two governments, of the people courageous enough to travel and, in a broader sense, the essential triumph of humanity.
More recently the recent pictures of jubilation at the Wagah border gladdened our hearts but also brought home the sickening realization that thousands of innocent people like the ones recently released continue to languish in prisons all over the two countries. The newest proposal to make Siachen a tourist spot is perhaps fraught with complexities but yet for us it does signify the inclination of the two governments towards a lasting solution.
Such intermittent milestones keep hopes of a peaceful future alive and fiercely burning. The very fact that we come together to work out a compromise is proof enough that we want change, that we need change and that there will be a better tomorrow.