Pakistan, India and Peshawar Attack: Divided by History United in Pain
By Mayank Chawla
There was nothing unusual about the morning, 16th of December, 2014. The day began as usual for most Pakistanis, with morning prayers and breakfast followed by the same everyday maddening rush for work, bounded by the unpredictability and vulnerability of a regular day in the life of the nation. A kind of fear and anxiety engrossing everyone of something unforeseen and uncertain in the cracking and already profusely bleeding society.
On the other hand, just northwest from the heart of the country, some mothers were woken up by their usual routine, pushing to wake up their innocently sleeping kids, getting them ready for their school, packing their lunches with the wonted motherly concern that they must eat properly. Handing them their washed, clean uniforms, polished shoes and colorful school bags . The morning was marked by the customary haste, eyes alternatingly watching the rapid ticking of time as their children got ready. Only a few words were exchanged. There were quick hugs and kisses and then the goodbyes!
Never would they have imagined, that it would be the final adieu. That the apples of their eyes, whom they had woken up from their peaceful slumber with their own hands would return back, just a few hours later, packed in shroud, their tender bodies brutally riddled with bullets, resting in eternal sleep, refusing ever to talk to them again, ever to throw their affectionate glances on them, ever to call them mother again…
As world came crashing down for these mothers, the world at large stood in shock and terror as Pakistan witnessed one of its blackest day in history. The Peshawar attack in its wake terribly shook the entire country, as citizens watched their own younger brethren, being taken out of the complex, been ripped apart and bathed in their own blood. The green and white uniforms were more red than otherwise. Students, both young and old were being carried out by the paramilitary forces, horror and trauma stamped on their confused faces. While some were lucky to see the daylight again, for others, it was their tryst with the ultimate.
The return operation by the Army that lasted only a few hours, left behind 132 feeble, inculpable children dead along with the 8 other staff members. It was only a matter of time, before the entire country erupted in anger and mourning. The questions on everyone’s lips were Why? Whom? For what?. The administration, who for most part had remained incapable of protecting their citizens, managed the usual political mumble. But the discontent and fury could be seen everywhere. One of the first platforms where the people could be seen venting their anger were the social networking sites.
Many youngsters were seen changing their profile pictures to black. As the latest news came up, people poured their hearts out filled with disgust and outrage. Within a short time the story spread internationally and slowly people began to get hold of the things. Many people sitting out in the remote areas of the world, tried to sympathies and empathize with the people of Pakistan. However, an unusual trend, quite contrary to everyone’s expectations was the efflux of empathy by Pakistan’s not so close neighbor India.
One of the first countries, to extend its hand and shoulder to Pakistan, the Indians were seen massively expressing their solidarity and support on the social networking sites. The virtual space, which at normal times, is filled with contempt and scorn from both sides, was surprisingly cordial and sympathetic. The more the passionate were the Pakistanis’ condemnation of the attack, the equal was every Indian’s sincerity in matching their voice with them. It was as if the attack has united the two otherwise competitive neighbours with a unique common bond, a bond that so disdainfully overlooked the divisions of religion, history and hatred that hitherto has kept the two nations apart.
This rare and exclusive outpouring of emotions amazed many as world took notice of the same. The BBC in its report on 17th of December published an article highlighting this uncommon trend in the Indian media(see the article here). It was surprising for many Pakistanis and Indians too, but the way Pakistanis acknowledged and responded to the Indian emotions showed clearly how tragedy can bring distant of the relations together and awfully withdrawn hearts closer.
The effect of Peshawar Attack was also seen on the Indian social and political life. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences to the citizens of the neighbouring nation as well as called his counterpart Nawaz Sharif to express his grief. He also directed Indian schools to observe a two minute silence in the memory of the departed souls which was accordingly done in the schools(see the reaction here) across the nation as well as in the Indian Parliament. Indian schoolchildren called their friends in Pakistan as well as wrote handwritten letters expressing their sorrow and encouraging them not get bowed down by terrorism. The trend #indiawithpakistan which was started on Twitter and Facebook, continued to receive entries from both the nations long after the attack.
But as they say, every event brings with it a message from God which is directed to bring back man to his senses. The gelling of two countries, though over innocent blood, could well be a message from Almighty that peace between His creation is His only desire. This historic opportunity and coming together of two nations should not be left to waste but instead should be zealously pursued from both the sides . Both the countries want peace and peace is the only way that will bring stability and prosperity for the people across the region, that will prevent the repitition of such horrific incidents. We can presume that those children went away tying the two arch-rivals in a peculiar bond, a bond that now must be preserved against harsh memories of history and imprudence of later rivalries. Indeed, this loss cannot be recovered but it must be said, which is as well the call of time, that we should strive our best not to betray the sacrifices of those children!!
This is an article especially written for MVU, however it can also be found HERE