An Open Letter to Gurmehar Kaur from Pakistan

Dear Gurmehar Kaur

I am not sure whether you would even read this letter. But for a few days I have been having a feeling that I should let you know that I am just one adding up to the hundreds of thousands of people who have already stood by you.

 

Yes, war killed your father and the father of some Pakistani child during Kargil episode, but the Pakistani girl might not have gathered enough pluck to say this in the face of a legion of trolls and hate mongers who would have made her and her family’s life unbearable as they have made yours. The war mantra has always been used by our politicians to win some votes and overshadow their bad governance by emotionally charging the masses with the feeling of odium against the rival country. The people never vote to start war with another country but they vote to enjoy basic necessities of life such as education, health, security and freedom of speech. Now it is no longer hidden fact that the moment people start raising their voice against what is wrong with the country, a bullet is shot at the border and people become wrapped in the ultra nationalist frenzy. A faction in our society has taken it upon itself, without anyone’s permission, to define patriotism and they want everyone to have political opinions of a specific tinge.

 

Let me assure you that it is not an attack on you, but an attack on every idea of democracy, high morals, ideals and freedom of speech that India has long boasted about. These are no different times Gurmehar Kaur. Things have always been such difficult for people like you. And the good thing is that there have always been people like you who don’t hold themselves back from saying what is right. Let me admit that things aren’t any different in Pakistan for people like you. Had any girl said what you said she would have faced same amount of bullying and trolling by the self proclaimed patriots who believe it is their prerogative to judge others and issue certificates of treason to whoever don’t agree with their narrative of nationalism.

 

We also have the likes of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad here whose only objective is to terrorize students on the campus and maintain an atmosphere of fear, hatred and bigotry. Members of a student wing of the largest religious political party do not allow unmarried couples to hang around together at a public university in Lahore. But despite all wrongs being committed by these student terror wings no one has ever dared to stand against them, let alone a girl. I have deepest appreciation for your will and determination in the face of so much political and social pressure and your desire for peace despite having lost your father in war. I wish you success in your pursuit of love, peace and happiness.

 

Stay strong. Stay happy


Best regards

Azhar

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