An organisation that works to enhance people-to-people relationships across borders
Seventy years ago, India and Pakistan decided to part ways. Lines were drawn on land, water and even in the sky. They took different political turns. Their relations saw many ups and downs. There have been several instances of open conflicts. There have been instances where the relation had almost reached a dead end.
But beyond politics, beyond the control of minds, there are hearts which are still full of love and hope. Following every political clash, there were attempts by the civil society in both countries to rekindle the hopes. And each time, they managed to win hearts because they were only bringing out the hidden love and desire for peace which rests in every heart.
An average Indian and a Pakistani have the same secret desire to cross the border, at least once. They want to see what people on the “other” side eat, how they talk, how they look and how they think. And if it is to be believed what those lucky people who have visited says, they will be highly ‘disappointed’ because it is just the same there. We share a common history, a common language, a common culture and even a common desire.
With a huge sense of pride, the third generation would narrate how their grandparents had crossed the borders. There is a “Lahore Driving School” in Delhi. People on both sides are consciously trying to preserve this fact of migration. The images of the past, the nostalgia are still being invoked, after 70 years, after all the political clashes and fluctuating relations.
It shows the common desire which is to build strong ties of friendship and brotherhood. India and Pakistan has even the same political, economic and social challenges to fight with. So why to keep the falsely constructed distance?
Let these barriers only be political (administrative) ones because socially and culturally there are no barriers. These barriers have been constructed and have to be demolished. The barriers of suspicion and hatred are also constructed and have to be demolished too. And these barriers cannot be removed by people with bodyguards or with guns. They can be removed by people who are faceless in crowds and voiceless in a chorus. They can be removed only by the so-called “common people” or the aaminsaan.
And that’s what Milaap (lit. Union, Amalgamation) seeks to do… to enhance people-to-people relations. It seeks to become the medium to discover and recognise the misrepresented reality on the other side of the border.
Milaap was started in 2017 by Saru Rana (co-founder, The Dark Campaign @Shamshir), became a joint initiative of Shamshir and Mushaira Council of Australia. Mr Shammi Jallandhari and Mr Sami Basharat, are also now working collaboratively aim to join individuals and like-minded organisations in this mission.
Together they intent to create a new chapter of peace and friendship.