Pakistan-India ties: Promoting friendship through shared cultural identities

Published: September 12, 2012
Writers can bridge the gap by exchanging common experiences.

Writers can bridge the gap by exchanging common experiences.


Promotion of cultural identities and a departure from our obsession with the idea of nation-states can help bring Pakistan and India closer.

Indian English writer and journalist Tridivesh Singh Maini expressed these thoughts during a lecture on “The Role of Writers in Regional Peace” at the Islamabad Press Club on Monday.

“We have become so wrapped up in our definition of nation-states that we think we can’t have dual or triple identities,” Maini said. “We need to promote soft, cultural identities.”

He said east and west Punjab and Sindh-Rajasthan could best advance peace in the region, because of their cultural similarities.

Tahir Malik, a journalist from Lahore, who joined Maini at the lecture, said literature is deeply tied to prevalent social conditions. “People are not going to get any reprieve through politics or economics,” Malik said. “The writer is the main hope for the common man.”

Malik also mentioned a book he co-authored with Maini in 2008. “Humanity amidst Insanity” tells the stories of survivors of the 1947 partition who owed their lives to other communities, for example, Muslim families, now living in Pakistan, who were only able to migrate from India because of help from Hindus and Sikhs.

The lecture was attended by journalists and writers. The participants expressed the need to promote peace in the region by exploiting cultural similarities between the two countries and exchanging literary texts.

Poet Parveen Tahir stressed the need for translating Punjabi works from Gurmukhi to Shahmukhi script and vice versa, so they could be read across the border in east and west Punjab.

Maini said the peace process between India and Pakistan, which has been limited to the political top brass and economic elite so far, should be owned by the people. “We need to expand the stakeholders’ base,” Maini said. “Apart from politicians and businessmen, [both governments should encourage] greater interaction between people across borders.”

The lecture was organised by the Progressive Writers’ Association.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • vish
    Sep 12, 2012 - 11:12AM

    But……. Majority of pakistanies think that they are Arabs decedents and would like to promote Wahabi culture, but with their mistaken Identity proves and cost them heavily., but still most of half cooked Pakistanies believes and want to be a part of denial mode., As I heard in some T.V. conversation of pakistani origin it has estimated that 94% of pakistanies shares there DNA with Indians.. so only 6% of other race of non subcontinental origin, but how come this Arab’s blood in your body.. sorry but true…

    Prove me if I am wrong,
    1. Most pakistanies view Indian Cinema, T.V. shows than Arabs
    2. Many pakistanies fallows Indian news paper V/S indians
    3. Many pakistanies wants to act in Indian movies and T.V. shows.,
    4. Many pakistanies believe in understanding Indo-lingo then Arab-Lingo.
    so finally., with so called mistaken identity you baught arab barbarism through following some cult., still living in Indian Identity, so your condition is like Na Ghar ka Na Ghat ka….
    but still time is there to identify your true values… leave Barbarism and welcome home…


  • Pakboy
    Sep 12, 2012 - 11:17AM

    There is no shared culture of Pakistan and india. Stop with this brotherhood friendly friendly non sense. I am all for neutral relations. 86% of them hate us to an extent where they wish massive destruction upon all Pakistan. How can you ever friendly relations with such a nation.


  • BlackJack
    Sep 12, 2012 - 11:43AM

    The writer is the main hope for the common man.. Unlikely when a large section of the population is illiterate.


  • Sep 12, 2012 - 11:54AM

    Rotaract/Rotary Clubs and other similar International Societies clould help to bridge the gap between the common people, specifically youth of both the countries by promoting joint projects. We the Rotaract Club of Peshawar Executives RID 3272 have conducted a number of joint projects with Indian rotaract clubs as with other clubs and on minimum level we could exchange greetings on different ocassions to big projects at maximum for the social benefit.


  • Arijit Sharma
    Sep 12, 2012 - 1:35PM

    Other than a couple of languages – what exactly is this “culture” we supposedly share – can someone please enlighten me.


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