Psuedo patriotism at Wagah!

on Jun 18, 2013 , 04:29 pm
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So after living in Delhi for close to a decade I decided enough was enough and made plans with a colleague about a weekend trip to Amritsar and Wagah border. My latent patriotism had risen and it was time to answer its call. So despite the fact that we had no clarity on a return ticket, we boarded the train to Punjab, barely. After finishing our work at a frantic pace, after catching the metro, after a lecture on night shifts and women’s safety to an unwilling auto driver, we finally boarded the train to Amritsar. 

There I was speeding toward yellow fields of mustard. And despite the cold sordid February morning, the colonial style railway station with its sweeping staircase and red brick façade was enough to bring alive Khushwant Singh’s ‘Train to Pakistan’. In the half hearted darkness we pushed our sleep deprived bodies into a rickety auto. Or should I say the big daddy of all autos. A fitting metaphor for the big hearted ‘Punjabiyat’ I was about to encounter later in the day. 

It began with us being allowed to check in to our hotel a good six hours early. The sleepy receptionist didn’t make much of our arrival at that unearthly hour. A quick bath later we made our way to the Golden Temple. After darshan and feeling suitably pious we ate like it was going out of style at one of the many prolific dhabas. 

On the way to Wagah after a bellyful of sleep, duly noted were the yellow mustard fields and brick houses with roof tops. Quite the scene from DDLJ. I half expected to see a Raj running around wooing Simran. Yashraj had not disappointed clearly. 

The rain decided to play truant and after standing in the burgeoning line to the gates, we were forced to buy Made in China umbrellas. The irony wasn’t missed. Here we were standing in the rain to ready to shout out our Indianess across the border buying Chinese goods. 

So we walk in and after the customary checks, decide its worth a try to get into the VIP line. I even had my Press card pointed ready to take aim and fire. Of course the BSF guard on duty disdainfully brushed it aside. When nothing else works in India, try speaking in the local language. And sure enough after emotionally blackmailing the guy in Punjabi, it was ‘Open Sesame’! We were in! 

After jostling for space, something we desis are adept at, we managed to mark our territory right in the front lines to witness all the action front and centre. Except when you are one moron in a nation full of them. Well guess what? Every one had the same idea. So while the Pakistanis quietly made their way into neat rows. Seated in dignity in their starched Pathanis, the scene fifty yards away to the east was pure chaos. People fighting for space, shoving pushing, men women children all for themselves. And no amount of shouting from the guards did anything. One over enthusiastic, SLR totting specimen insisted on blocking everyone’s view. Till he was poked by yours truly with an umbrella. Nothing worked, not even a threat to transfer him to Pakistan!
Then there was a smart Rapidex English spouting hottie who managed to squeeze herself into the two inch space between us and proceeded to click pictures from every possible angle. When she was reminded that there were others who had come to enjoy the parade, she questioned our patriotism! Am I missing something here? 

In contrast the Pakistani side were a well behaved lot. Meanwhile in India it was Bollywood blaring from loud speakers. Bountifully endowed women jiggling what their momma gave them and kids running to and for with the tri colour. All this against the back drop of an uncontrollably aggressive crowd. So much for patriotism huh? 



Y C Purohit
i ALSO HAD SAME TYPE OF EXPERIENCE WHEN I VISIT WAGAH MAY IN 2011.IT WAS OVER CROWDED AND MAY BE 100' S OF BUSES FROM ALL OVER INDIA WHERE PARKED THERE.IN MY TRIP IT WAS SOME DIFFERENCE - THERE WERE HARDLY SOME SPECTATORS IN PAKISTANI SIDE - HENCE THEY HAD TOO MANY SPACE EMPTY SO NO QUESTION OF BEHAVIOUR DIFFERENCE.WE INDIANS ARE RATHER MORE PATRIOTIC THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY THAT WHAT I BELIEVE AND THINK.AFTER SEEING THE PARADE MY HAIRS ON SKIN STARTED STANDING(I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I WANT TO CONVEY).HERE IT IS NOT THE MATTER OF BEHAVIOUR IT IS BECAUSE OF PATRIOTISM AND ALSO BECAUSE THE NUMBER OF VISITORS ARE MORE THAN THE PAKISTANI SIDE THIS MIS MANAGEMENT DO ARISE - AND THIS YOU CANNOT NAME AS DISCIPLINE - IT IS ALL BECAUSE OF SHORTAGE OF SPACE AND TIME IT ALL HAPPENS.I THINK EVEN THE WRITER WILL AGREE WITH MY POINT. - JAI HIND - YCP
on Jun 24, 2013 , 12:46 pm
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Neha Singh
So, we all Indians don't only need lessons in patriotism, but also how to stand in queues..Quite an admission that the Pakis were a better organised lot..
on Jun 23, 2013 , 09:16 pm
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Patel Amit R replies to Neha Singh
yes i also agree to this. .. ... Shouting with loud voice and large numbers do not make any sense. .. ... How many rushed to borders for demonstration when Chinese army stayed for five full day in India. .. Ans is clear. .. ...
on Jun 24, 2013 , 05:16 pm
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Rakesh Uppal
it is a sheer bullshit. the writer should have clarity what he is writing. he is going hay way. he doesnt know what he actually wants to write. Hope TOI has system to check the articles people write and should audit thoroughly what is being posted.
on Jun 23, 2013 , 04:13 pm
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Sreedevi Chenna
i thought of liking your post ... but wait .. when i saw venkatram posting his views .... it makes me feel this post is so lopsided. before you write a post ... try to have a balanced view and opinion. that would make things easy for us. let us not make feel anything less of a human in whatever we do. yes we might be wrong in certain behaviour ... not all that bad ...
on Jun 23, 2013 , 04:00 pm
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Ankur Sharma
Just a crappy bullshit in the name of an article,to get some comments, likes or "whatever" was intended by the writer. "Pseudo Patriotism"??I think the problem now seems to be that we all complaining brats and want more than our worth. Ms Nina,u showing press card and trying to attain a VIP seat,is that patriotism??You buying a chinese umbrella and then complaining about it is that patriotism.Plz don't provoke us to the point that we poke u and threaten you to turn you to pakistan, may be then you could be part of your "elite" behaved society.
on Jun 23, 2013 , 01:33 pm
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Venkatram Sargoor
Like Rishi said. The grass is greener on the other side. At least until now there is nothing on the other side that we need to be envious of. I understand the land is beautiful, but the people are like us and also little bit more down trodden then us. What you must have seen on the other stands is the Zamindar elite, in their starched Pathanis and their stiff upper lip behaving in a very organized and respectable way. The aam aadmi has no place in the pakistani vip stand or any other place of importance. An aam aadmi has to fight for his place, he cannot afford the luxury of sitting in a comfortable seat and not see anything, because he might never get a chance to be here again. You take out that craving to squeeze out whatever they can with what they have, then everything will be quite and in order. But in India, where everyone(at least up to middle class level) gets a chance for everything, but not more than once most probably, this is bound to happen. The order you are yearning for is not possible in India, where 1 billion people have to share everything that the country offers. This is human nature, India is at this time extremely lucky to be able to offer its children such access to everything, That is not the case with Pakistan, here a lucky few get to anything of importance and that few do not push and grab, because it does not mean the same thing to them. A little weird analysis, but this is what I have seen the in many places in the world where I was. In my college at GMU, Virginia, the Indians were from every possible caste, creed, profession possible, however Pakistanis were Punjabi elite most of the time. This was not limited to Pakistanis, many people from the third world there were from privileged class.
on Jun 23, 2013 , 02:01 am
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Sriramachandramurthy Badiga replies to Venkatram Sargoor
Great comment Venkatram!
on Jun 23, 2013 , 09:04 am
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Rishi Bhutani
must say you have a great sight and it surely looked greener on the other side.....
on Jun 22, 2013 , 01:03 am
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