Today is August 15. Indiaâ€™s Independence Day.
As we have done every year (here and here), we send all Indians sincere and heartfelt Independence Day Greetings and the very best wishes. We pray for a peaceful and prosperous future for both countries. May our futures be defined by friendship, mutual respect, and prosperity.
In 2006 we had expressed similar sentiments by presenting some pictures from the past. In 2007 we shared images that expressed these sentiments in the present. Today, our thoughts are focussed on the future. Rightly so, because the future of India-Pakistan relations looks more uncertain on this day today than it did on this day in 2006 or 2007.
There are grave reservations on both sides of the border about which way things are going, and why. All the more reason then to pray for peace, justice, goodwill, and friendship. All these sentiments become much more meaningful, and much more difficult to believe in, when things are bad than when they are not. None of them can ever become reality unless there is real commitment to them from all sides. And that is why it is all the more important today to reaffirm that commitment.
The picture we have used in this post today may not, at first, seem as poignant as the ones we have used before (here and here). But it is deeply meaningful. This AP news photo shows Pakistani Brigadier Qaiser Khan Tareen (L) presenting sweets to Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Deputy Inspector General Mohammad Aquil (C) and Commander H.S. Dhillon (R) during a ceremony at the Pakistan-India border at Wagah on August 14, 2008. At its face this is just a ritual, a tradition, and no more. Maybe it is. But it is important than even in these tough times the ritual is not forsaken. Not yet.
The smiles on their faces may not be as large or as sincere as one might have wanted, but these men in uniforms seem to be saying that today is not the day to point fingers, it is a day to wish for a better tomorrow. All we want to say is exactly the same.
Tomorrow matters. And actions on both sides of the border today will determine what our tomorrows will look like. Our shared goal must be to create a tomorrow that is peaceful. A tomorrow that is just. A tomorrow that is friendly. A tomorrow that is prosperous. For both of us.