Today is August 15. India’s Independence Day.
ATP sends all Indians sincere and heartfelt Independence Day greetings and the very best wishes.
Each year since All Things Pakistan started, we have written a post on this day with the same headline and the same opening words (here, here, here, here). Today, for the fifth time, I write the same words dipped in the same feeling the very same intensity of emotions. Let me begin, this time, with the prayer I ended last year’s post with: May the best hopes of both Mr. Jinnah and Mr. Gandhi come true for both our nations. May all our futures be good futures.
As we wrote last year, these posts have carried a trilogy of imagery our post in 2006 sought to revisit our imagery of our past (here), in 2007 we highlighted the changing imagery of India-Pakistan relations in the present (here), and in 2008 we called upon our readers to re-imagine our visions of the future (here).
But the same imagery has also held a constancy of purpose: An investment in the hope that relations between these countries will, in fact, become better and reflect what we believe are the true aspirations of most Pakistanis as well as most Indians.
This year these hopes have been challenged on both sides. Talks restarted amidst cautious hopes, but the images coming out of them have been of tense nerves rather than real relationships. It also does not bode well that the news today is that the Pakistan government is still deliberating whether to accept an offer of aid from India to help its flood victims, or that the Indian Prime Minister is again vexing hawkish fingers towards Pakistan. Neither should really be news and one realizes that there are political compulsions on both sides that could explain these moves. But one wishes that this were not so.
The statesmanship, it seems, is coming not from the leaders on either side, but, instead, from within the people rather than the political classes. But maybe that is only to be expected since politicians seems too entrenched in their own rhetoric. I have long believed, and continue to believe that if indeed there is going to be headway it will be pushed by people-to-people processes and the best that we can expect from leaders of either side is that they will then follow the aspirations of their own people.
So today, on India’s Independence Day, we the Pakistani people send the fondest of greetings to the people of India. May all our shared futures be prosperous and peaceful. May our tomorrows be always better than our todays. May our tomorrows be marked by friendship, by peace, by prosperity, by goodwill, and by understanding.