Indian poet pens tear-jerking message for Pakistanis

Published: March 12, 2016
"I know it's taken me 69 long years but I hope it's not too late"

"I know it's taken me 69 long years but I hope it's not too late" PHOTO: SCREENGRAB

Shivani Gupta, a slam poet from Delhi, pens a message to a stranger in Pakistan. Titled, Dear Girl From Pakistan, Gupta’s emotionally charged and thought provoking lyrics explore the volatile relationship between arch rivals, Pakistan and India.

She starts with a simple greeting and a proclamation of her intentions. “Look, I’m not here to start a fight. I just wanted to say ‘Hi.'”


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In one verse, she strikes a chord by highlighting how close we are as countries, only to debunk her claim, and show us how far we are, still.

“A bus goes from my country to yours. That’s how close we are. A bus goes from my country to yours – empty. And that’s how far.

“Do you ever think about what it would be like to just cross over and come over to my side?”

She then meticulously highlights how our separation and animosity have been integrated into our language.

“I’m sorry that without so much as a second thought, I say the words ‘your country’ and ‘my side’ and all that’s left that’s ours is a common divide. I’m sorry that even my pronouns are possessive.”

Gupta extends her hand in friendship, to her neighbour across the border. She wonders out loud about how alike we might be, in terms of looks, aspirations, dreams and fears. “I wish I knew you better. What does the world look like from your eyes? Did you also play ‘I-spy’ as a child? What did you see? Maybe you saw the reflection of a girl who is a lot like me.”

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She goes on to apologise to her neighbour for treating her “unlike the long-lost cousin that you are but as someone I wouldn’t even want to know from afar.”

Her poem is almost an apology in many aspects as she goes on to say sorry for taking so long to realise that there’s really no reason for hatred between us. She ends her poem saying, “I know it’s taken me 69 long years but I hope it’s not too late for me to say ‘forget about what’s in the news. Tell me, how was your day?'”

The poet’s message is simple – she hopes to bridge the gap between the two nations. Gupta wishes that just like her, a girl from Pakistan will disregard what she hears on the news and extend her hand in friendship, as well.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • SHAH
    Mar 12, 2016 - 1:07PM

    Children like you are there in Hindus-tan and in Pakistan… We have our scruplesand so do your Hindu-stan. At least ours dont threaten like yours, VHP, RSS, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and so on.. Recent example which is visible is the threats to Pakistan Cricket Team going to participate in Hindus-tan for World T20 championship… First take care of your house by putting these Hindu extremist animals behind bars and handing over killers and murderers of Pakistanis in Hindus-tan like burning Pakistani families in Samjota Express, and then sing poetry with tear-jerking messages; Recommend

  • Parvez
    Mar 12, 2016 - 1:12PM

    Its because of good people like her that some sanity still prevails.Recommend

  • Rash
    Mar 12, 2016 - 2:42PM

    “A bus goes from my country to yours. That’s how close we are. A bus goes from my country to yours – empty. And that’s how far. OMGRecommend

  • so
    Mar 12, 2016 - 2:45PM

    nice but wait.. What about boys ??? isn’t she sexist ??Recommend

  • Prada
    Mar 12, 2016 - 5:02PM

    Let’s not even go there. The recriminations are long on both sides and both are equally culpable. From my side of the border, the injustices lie on the other side and vice versa.Recommend

  • Sam
    Mar 12, 2016 - 5:39PM

    It seems she did all this to get some publicity, but in the end,, she miserably failedRecommend

  • Vicky
    Mar 12, 2016 - 5:42PM

    Tell this to pak artists, patients and travelers who seek Indian visaRecommend

  • G. Din
    Mar 12, 2016 - 6:19PM

    Trust me, she doesn’t speak for India. So, don’t get the wrong idea and get in a deeper soup that you are in now.Recommend

  • Faryal
    Mar 12, 2016 - 6:53PM

    Thanks Gupta it’s true that we are not so different from each other we are all human being and we live together in the South Asian region we have to work together live together every time when I raise early in the morning and coming out of my house I saw my sweet neighbor raising at the same time n so we share a subtle smile , intrinsicaly that smile is inner feeling of satisfaction that my neighbor take care of my house in my absence even when she need any thing I replinsh her and when I need anything I don’t take any bother to ask frm her because I know she always help me. Frankly speaking what if borders are separating us but still every time when I see on the map I see u their always beside me so we have to forget about the past live together for the future for our generations to come .Recommend

  • SHAH
    Mar 12, 2016 - 11:55PM

    Thanks for the understanding.. we as people from one country with an invisible geo-political border need to change this erroneous perception and make the change effective to the better and bright future of our children; Recommend

  • Ijaz
    Mar 13, 2016 - 9:00AM

    A very good effort by Shivani Gupta…….. Pakistanis must give her a responce positively.People to people contacts should be encourged …..not onlg Lahore and Delhi but for the whole region.Recommend

  • Justice Seeker
    Mar 13, 2016 - 9:24AM

    Lovely thoughts. Ironically, there are hate mongers on both sides. So the bad is stopping all good somehow. I hope these hates go away one day and people start living in peace on both sides and together.Recommend

  • Mohammed
    Mar 13, 2016 - 4:47PM

    And remember The West will want the fight to continue for ever as it works in their for them .Recommend

  • Muhammad Younas
    Mar 13, 2016 - 9:33PM

    My dear neighbours, even though we are been labeled arch rival and sorry to say we are. But believe me, we are close to each other, nobody could ever be. Whenever you find eachother in somebody’s else land, instead of arch rival you will always find your own reflection.
    I have a non Muslim friend from India, whenever I miss the bus, he ride me to the mosque for Jumma prayer. He is waiting me, when I finish prayer he ride me back to house.
    Let’s not live with hatredRecommend

  • Udaya Bose
    Mar 14, 2016 - 4:30AM

    I don’t think we should get mushy. There was a Partition and we have gone our different ways. Whatever may have been in the past is over and done with. Our armies are compelled to face each other. That is the truth.Recommend

  • Hassan
    Mar 18, 2016 - 3:27PM

    @Faryal: what is this raising raising, sun rises and ppl generally wake up, so u woke up early in the morning.Recommend

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