desideewar des se

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2014
desideewar border se.... with Neerja Mehra 

Neerja Mehra and her family, who live here in America, recently visited India. During their visit they planned a trip to the India- Pakistan border at Wagah that partitions the Indian state of Punjab and the Punjab province of Pakistan. Interestingly, Wagah border, which is a part of the Grand Trunk Road, was the only road link between the two countries before Aman Sethu was opened in Kashmir in 1999. Neerja and her family were pleasantly surprised to see all the action that occur there, and we don't mean any war related action. There's the lowering of the flag ceremony, called the Beating Retreat, that they specifically loved witnessing. The ceremony occurs every day before sunset, whereby, the iron gates are opened, soldiers on both sides participate in a parade and each country lowers its flag in a synchronized manner. The ceremony was good to watch, but mostly, being at the border of world's worst enemies and seeing them face each other barely miles away, felt amazing, says Neerja. "It's also quite competitive during the whole celebrations. The tallest soldiers from both sides are sent marching and they compete to see who kick up their legs higher and whose chants of 'Zindabad' (long live), between the two sides, is louder. To add to the mix, 'filmy' songs are played at both ends, while the crowd dances and cheers. It was mixed feeling really. All the celebratory pomp and show did evoke feelings of nationalism. At the same time, seeing human made borders and actually celebrating them seemed bizarre :)", Neerja adds. 

India Pakistan Wagah border
India Pakistan Wagah border
Neerja Mehra

Beating Retreat at Wagah border, pictures by Neerja Mehra (seen with her husband and son, bottom left).

India Pakistan Wagah border
India Pakistan Wagah border
India Pakistan Wagah border
India Pakistan Wagah border

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 Some 'Did You Know' facts about the India- Pakistan border

  • The part of the India-Pakistan border that separates Kashmir in India and 'Azad Kasmir' (yes, that's what the part of Kashmir that is under Pakistan's control is called) is referred to as the Line of Control (LoC) by the two countries.
  • The part of the border that divides the Punjab state of India and the Punjab province of Pakistan is called the Wagah border (yes, we already mentioned that here)
  • The part of the border between the Gujarat and Rajasthan states of India and the Sind province of India is the Zero Point.
  • And we won't even get into the wars that have been fought over the defining of the border and the conflict that still exists, as many have talked and will always talk about.
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