By YKA Staff:
In the middle of the furor around surgical strikes and banning Pakistani artists, there’s one thing we’ve forgotten and that’s the everyday story of the people in these countries. Purvi Thacker’s facebook note brings up just this point. Her story is simple: her best friend, Sarah Munir (who lives in Pakistan), was to come to India for her (Purvi’s) wedding as a bridesmaid, only to find that she could not because the visa had been rejected.
That didn’t stop Purvi because as she said in a Facebook Status: “That my best friend cannot be there for what will be my biggest day is something that I cannot come to terms with.” And she shouldn’t have to. While we talk about ‘India’ and ‘Pakistan’ as countries constantly at conflict, may we remember that these are also countries inhabited by people who lead very ordinary lives and, dare we say, may be friends?
We have reproduced her status verbatim:
[su_box title=” ” box_color=”#c6cec9 ” radius=”0″]
For all those who know mine and Sarah Munir’s friendship, you will understand how heartbroken we are that her visa application to India for my wedding in December was denied.
That my best friend cannot be there for what will be my biggest day is something that I cannot come to terms with. Forget the hustling, the paperwork, the months of coordination and prayers- we didnt know that it would end with a rejection.
Sarah has visited India and I have visited Pakistan, where we have stayed with each other’s families. Her ammi and abbu are like my own and her family and siblings are like my own and we have visited mosques, churches and temples together. It’s not until our respective countries/governments remind us that it is unusual for us to be doing those things together that we think of each other as “Pakistani” or “Indian.”
It’s extremely sad that even though we have never let religion, nationalities , our shared history and even cricket come between us, incidents like this repeatedly make us feel like we should.
We understand that our countries shared history has huge economic and political implications, but it also takes a toll on normal mundane things like human relationships and connections. Nobody thinks about that. Being friends and being there for each other should not be this hard just because we were born on different sides of the borders.
We hope that social platforms like Twitter ( where we have already received significant help) and Facebook, will help change these notions. Please do feel free to share this, so maybe the “right” people will take notice and help us in some way.
As you know, we don’t give up that easily! #GetSarahToIndia
(photo credit: Yulia Denisyuk / In Search of Perfect) [/su_box]
You can also read her status here.
Purvi’s efforts to get her friend to India has not gone unnoticed as her status has received nearly 800 shares with people who supporting and wishing them well. On Twitter, she has tweeted to the Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj with the hashtag #GetSarahToIndia, in the hopes of having her story heard. While the minister is yet to respond, though Shashi Tharoor was among the many to retweet:
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) November 2, 2016
And many others also backed her up:
— Hannah Olivennes (@HannahOlivennes) November 2, 2016
Heartbreaking politics for some of my J-School mates. Give it a read: https://t.co/XCHTyy6yng
— Mark Lungariello (@MarkLungariello) November 2, 2016
— AMY CHYAN (@ayl) November 2, 2016
— Bhatti Indian Grill (@BhattiNYC) November 2, 2016
As Purvi says, it’s not about an ‘Indian’ and ‘Pakistani’ being friends; it’s about friendship in general. The relationship between India and Pakistan has been embroiled with too many emotions (mostly negative) for too long. If anything, Purvi and Sarah’s friendship gives us hope for the future.