Kartarpur: A welcome change in the dynamics

Bikram Vohra
Filed on November 10, 2019
The opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is a sign of goodwill from two nations to the Sikh community.

It is time now that the current generation, unburdened by the scars of the past and truly puzzled at the extended standoff, can pick up the banner of goodwill and find a common rhythm

Could the Kartarpur Corridor be the beginning of a wider two-way highway between India and Pakistan? It is not a pipe dream but much depends on intent and sincerity of purpose and the pressure from a public that is now distilling into a generation of millennials who really want answers to why the waters been troubled for 70 years and what a price has been paid in terms of lives and financial commitment to keep the hostility on simmer.

Seeing as how one nation was spawned from the other and share a history of thousands of years of common tradition and customs and language and food, this so-called sub-continent should have a global powerhouse.

Instead, it neutralised each other and in the comity of nation chose weaponry over schools and hospitals, suspicion and mistrust over camaraderie and brotherhood.

The invitation on behalf of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is simple and to the point. It underscores interfaith harmony and perhaps it is time now that the current youthful generations, unburdened by the scars of the past and truly puzzled at the extended standoff, can pick up the banner of goodwill and find a common rhythm.

Kartarpur could stand as a beacon of hope for the near future and mark a sense of togetherness that has been sorely missing. There are naysayers on both sides who believe firmly that a co-existence based on mutual respect and regard is somehow not possible, that the bridge to span the past is not feasible.

What one can say at this historic and benign moment is that it is possible. The warmth and friendship that exists between individuals from India and Pakistan in a third country is a fine example.

Take the UAE where Tolerance is celebrated not just for a year but as an integral part of the social fabric and you can see why the kinship is possible. In fact, it flourishes. We all have friends who are from across the border. We work and play and socialise together. Our children study together and there is not even a hint of animosity.

We are at each other's homes, we halve each other's pain and double the joy of our victories. This sentiment can be cupped in both hands and spread across the subcontinent, clearing up the fog of doubt that has hovered so malevolently over the lands.

This Saturday is not the time for politics or for misinterpreting the occasion. It is a time for thanksgiving and a celebration of the founder of the Sikh religion Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It was here that he spent 18 years and four kilometres outside the manmade Indian border he lies at this shrine.

There could be no holier place for Sikhs and others who follow the tenets of Sikhism and this corridor must become the symbol of a new tomorrow. When history is written, it will say that November 9, 2019, there was an arc of shining light and the message was crystal clear.

The corridor of peace can turn into a sea of contentment; rather the mixed metaphor than the impasse.

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