|Left: Jinnah-wali selfie Right: Nehru-wali selfie|
The window is upon us to normalize India-Pakistan relations. Google’s Reunion video – in which a Baldev of New Delhi is reunited with his childhood friend, Yusuf of Lahore – is indicative that the opportunity is ripe for more peace and less war in South Asia. Even well before Google, Coca-cola’s finger was already on the Indo-Pak pulse. They installed vending machines that enabled Indians to use video technology to converse with Pakistanis – new connections beget new relations?
My own doctoral research investigates this turn in Indo-Pak relations, particularly in the economic realm. The interest to normalize Indo-Pak trade is strong and the sentiment is real. I have especially felt as much these past few months during the numerous meetings and roundtables I have attended on this subject with representatives from government, industry, academia, and the media, to name a few.
Roundtable by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) with former Commerce Secretaries of India (Rahul Khullar) and Pakistan (Zafar Mahmood), on November 7, 2013
Roundtable by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) with the Federation of Pakistani Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) with both Presidents, on November 13, 2013
I close by reciting Mahatma Gandhi-ji’s emblematic call to tolerance and love: Ishvar Allah tero naam! This mantra calls for God to love us all, regardless of whether we each assign God with some different name, be it Ishvar, Allah, or Baghwaan (or Jesus, Yahweh, or Buddha, and so on). I melt every time I hear this in song and poetry.
plaque in Amritsar, Punjab, India which recites the mantra 'Ishvar, Allah tero naam!'