The Wagah Border

When I was in Punjab I made a trip to the border with Pakistan to watch the border closing ceremony. The spectacle was really quite something- the defense, the aggression, the rivalry- not just between the soldiers on each side but between the people. Even in the humid 43 degree (Celsius) heat -I had to leave early because I was unable to breathe and nearly fainted- huge crowds gather on both sides every evening to show their nationalistic pride. What does it mean to be Indian vs. Pakistani? In reality the heritage of these Punjabis is probably much closer related to the neighboring Pakistanis than to Indian Rajistani or Indian Tamils, but they assert their pride with an intensity I have not seen since the futbol match I went to in Buenos Aires.

Crowds on the Indian side cheering "Hindustan! Hindustan!" and something else I couldnt understand. But the guards told them to shut up so I assume it was something derogatory.  I was not allowed on the Pakistani side.

Crowds on the Indian side cheering "Hindustan! Hindustan!" and something else I couldnt understand. But the guards told them to shut up so I assume it was something derogatory. I was not allowed on the Pakistani side.

A stone faced guard stands watch as some patriotic Punjabis run by with a flag behınd

A stone faced guard stands watch as some patriotic Punjabis run by with a flag behınd

yes, technically...

yes, technically...

Coincidentally, while I was at the Istanbul Modern (art museum) the other day, there was a video exhibit documenting the intense and kind of ridiculous ceremony at the Wagah Border and questioning its meaning. I wasnt goıng to bother blogging about the ceremony but the exhibit made me feel like the experience was worthwhile.

Advertisements

~ by ceciliabien on August 15, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: