I am glued to the TV watching images of the South Asia Earthquake. The suffering of the people of Kashmir. Azad Kashmir, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Whatever. Divided by nothing but a line drawn on a piece of paper called a map.
Which line now divides brother from brother. Nation from Co- Nation. People from people. Hindu from Muslim. A division so great that thousands dies every year in worship of that line. Drawn on a paper map.
And yet when I see TV. I hear the anguish of the man that carries his dead child in a language that I speak. And in my mind the line disappears. I see an old woman wail in despair and she reminds me of my grandmother who died many years ago. And the line dissapears. I see a little girl, eyes wide with fear. Uncomprehending of the grief and tragedy that surrounds her. I think immediately of my 5 year old daughter and the line dissapears.
This line across which once my parents lived. This line across which I was born. This line which divides the statistics of Death. 40,000 on that side of the line and less than a thousand on this side of the line. Just one line. Drawn across a piece of paper. Which defines the identity of those that died.
Is this not the time to obliterate the line ? Even for a brief moment of outpouring of grief? For a brief moment of embracing ?
For we know the line will come back. There will be more wars. There will be “those Muslims” and ‘those Hindu’s”. There will be those that exact their political power from the power of the line. There will be
those that will exact their intellectual power from “Hey Shekhar, you don’t understand, it’s not quite as simple as that”.
But for one brief moment, why not just make it as simple of that. Why not rise up and overwhelm that line. Let us, the citizens of Mumbai unite in one moment of grief with those that have suffered equally on both sides of that line.
Knowing that the line will be back. For, as my friends so eloquently say to me,
“Hey Shekhar, it’s not as simple as that”.