On the other side of the gate!

India-Pakistan tensions have many a times resulted in political disputes, trade wars, occasional firings and sometimes even brutal wars. Every India-Pakistan issue has resulted in tension across the border except for one Wagah-Atari border near Amritsar, Punjab. Here both the countries compete over a friendly parade every day. The crowds from both countries gather to cheer their Army.

Wagah border has grown immensely to be a tourist spot. We reached there at around 3:30pm for 5:15pm parade show. The main gate finally opened after sometime. Male and female separate security check divided our group.

The line I was standing in, was of course the slowest one. I don’t know why but someone from behind thought pushing would be a good entertainment while waiting. Despite all the pushing, the main concern for the security person was his metal detector continuously beeping, probably detecting even nitrogen present in air.

After I was about half my original size due to pushing, we reached the viewing gallery gate which was closed. I and my dad asked the guard and he said it was full. Now we ran to opposite side of viewing gallery which also was full. We requested the guard to allow us as we were only two people and I was also half my original size by now. Despite my joke, we were denied with an expressionless NO. All the other members of our group were now watching the awesome parade.

While walking back I saw many useless rules of how to behave inside the gallery and a weird looking sign of different religious symbols clubbed together repeated on many boards. May be ‘Respect all religions’, I thought.

Now we found a boulder far away from the gallery but with a certain height. With hope we climbed the boulder but were able to see only the turbans of Indian soldiers. Nevertheless, we stood there until four army men with two dogs came and told us to get down.

They came near and inquired about us. One of them was very happy to hear that we were from Pune as his sister lived in Pune. He started to ask about different locations in Pune. The others were also listening to all this keenly. Then my father out of curiosity asked them about their locations to which he said, “Abhi just idhar posting hua. Isse pehle hum Rajasthan border pe the.” (Translation: We have just been posted here earlier we were on Rajasthan border.)

Within minutes of our curious questions, they were sharing their experiences. One of the persons had been in a three-day battle with terrorists in Kashmir. He said, “Bhai sahab ye idar dekhne kelie accha hai pyaar ka dikhava. Lekin udar saale ye log apne khudke logonko bhi nai chhodte. Humare samne muslim terrorist muslimonka katla karte hai, taki army pe naam aye.” (Translation: This ceremony and everything looks really good but many a times these people kill Muslims of our country so that it looks like Indian Army killed them.)

Another person joined, “Apna bhai tha Basheer. Muslim tha, humare sath regiment me tha usko dono pairo pe goli lagi. Inka koi mazhab nai hai inko sirf pareshan karna hai.” (Translation: One of our friend Basheer was shot in both his legs they are not into any religious fight but just want to create some trouble.) Such story telling must have lasted at least for 40minutes.

We invited them to Pune as the un-interesting parade show was about to be over. They promised to visit us when in Pune and took our number. Other members of our group were now back to mock us for not able to get inside the gate until they heard our story of real-life army tales. They knew which side of the gate was more interesting.

It felt really sad that we citizens think disciplined parade is the best thing about the forces. Their stories highlighted the real best thing, the armed forces had no religious divisions. They felt bad for Basheer while they fought another Kasaab. Now, I knew the weird looking sign’s real meaning, THE INDIAN ARMED FORCES.

“The Indian Army sees no caste, creed, colour or religion they only see the enemies.”

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Abhishek Purohit


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