They say India and Pakistan are arch enemies. But if you really think about it, we’re not that different, especially since we’re united in so many other things – good and bad. It’s like we inherited the same qualities and problems. Let’s take a look at some of these.
1. A little too passionate about Cricket
While we, as two cricketing behemoths have given the world gems like Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Akram, Kapil Dev, Javen Miandad and many more legends, we also have our fair share of angry fans who go completely mental when our teams lose matches. Mock funerals, breaking TV sets, throwing stones at cricketers’ houses are things that don’t shock us anymore. Even our players know this. No wonder when they’re victorious, they return home in the daytime, and when suffering what we fans call “a shameful defeat”, they return home at some god-forsaken hour.
2. Love for spicy food
Both our nations are crazy about spicy food. So much so that even when we go abroad and eat out watered down versions of desi food in pseudo-Indian or Pakistani restaurants, we miss home like crazy. The so-called “korma” in a restaurant abroad can never be the same the spicy delight we make at home. No wonder Indians and Pakistanis often eat at each others pads when we’re both missing home.
3. Moral Police getting more aggressive
Yes, we share the negatives too. We have an abundance of people who want to dictate their conservative way of life to us. ‘You can’t eat this’, ‘you can’t wear that’, ‘this is western culture’ – these cries for restriction are all too common for us.
4. Nosy relatives on both sides of the border
Every Pakistani and Indian kid knows this – life is double the struggle because of obnoxious and nosy relatives who are like back-seat drivers, always ready to unleash torrents of judgments at every single step of your life. The bua back in the village or the khala next door, your growing up years are fears of the dreaded uncles and aunts.
5. Stereotyped by the West
Whether its the fourth season of Homeland or poverty porn of Slumdog Millionaire, the west has never failed to stereotype our countries. Pakistan is all about terrorism and India is the buffet meal of slums – that seems to be the formula they follow.
6. Obsession with “stars”
Forget the “official ban”, the world knows how popular hindi movies are in Pakistan. You can’t tell apart a Pakistani fan of Kishore Kumar or Shah Rukh Khan from an Indian fan. And now, with Indian aunties pledging their loyalty to Pakistani TV dramas thanks to Zee-Zindagi channel, the fandom traffic is two-way.
7. Music that knows no borders
Pakistan mourned the loss of ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh almost the same way we Indians reacted when the world lost Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I’ve grown up playing Abida Parveen tapes in my house and I’m pretty sure I have more than one counterpart across the border who grew up listening to Lata Mangeshkar. Even our protest songs talk about the same problems. No, seriously – listen to Rabbi Shergill’s Bilqis and Laal’s rendition of poet Habib Jalib’s Mainay Uss Se Yeh Kaha one after the other.
8. Affordable Education
Compared to the rest of the world, both India and Pakistan have made some great strides when it comes to making education relatively affordable to the masses. Both countries have a young talent pool and for that to be sustainable, education has to affordable.
9. Ethnically diverse
India is often said to be not just a country but almost a continent, thanks to ethnic diversity within the nation. Well, guess what? Pakistan is not lagging behind either. Punjabi, Pashtun, Sindhi, Balochi, Jatt, Hazara, Balti and many more make up the collective identity of Pakistan. But go to an ignorant, racist neighbourhood, say somewhere in UK, and suddenly all brown people are “pakis”. The diversity in our nations might be a tough concept to grasp for others, but we’ll never stop being proud of it.
10. And yeah, we have shitty FIFA rankings
And just to end it on a ‘shared-grief’ sort of a note, India’s and Pakistan’s FIFA rankings are 156 and 171 respectively. Yep, we’re on the same boat.
The original version of this post can be found here.