Tuesday, March 27, 2012

An evening at India-Pakistan wagha border

"Tiranga flag, only for one rupees.....Tiranga flag, only for one rupees...." one old sardarji was screaming constantly and trying to sell his flags. he was too old and wrinkles on his face were signifying, lot of rainy seasons he had seen in his life. He was screaming from bottom of his heart and caught my attention. I purchased one flag and made my way through crowd towards stadium with my friend Gautam. "Sir/madam, please give me little place..." everyone was trying to get seat on the stadium. I got little place next to one grandma in first row.

[Swarn Jayanti dwar at wagha border]

Entire stadium was full and everyone was enchanting "Bharat Mata ki jai.... Vande mataram...." slogans and crowds enthusiasm was as high as Everest.
Some guys were standing with big "tiranga flags" in the last row of the stadium. Patriotic songs were played by border police station. border army police were trying to manage crowd so that program will happens properly. "Swarn Jayanti dwar" on the border was standing in high pride. Almost same environment was there on the other side of the gate. Gentle breeze of the air was flowing as if its carrying friendship message from India to Pakistan. Just like everyone I was there to attend evening army parade at wagha-border. This parade happens every evening on the wagha border where army of both nations pays respect to their flags and take them down. Environment was so much patriotic that for a moment, I felt as if "I was part of chale jao movement of freedom fight and was ready to loose my life for my countries independence....." parade was about to begin and one old person came hurriedly, sat next to me and started talking to grandma. he was same sardarji, who had sold flag to me.

[Just at sunset both flags were taken down.]

Army leader came out of police station, gave order to army police for opening the gate. Delhi-Lahore bus went from India to Pakistan. Immediately in 5 minutes, army started their parade. It was really great to see such a disciplined parade of our army. Just on the sunset army police of both nations took flags down and program got finished. Everything was appearing like dream. We got up to move out of stadium. while getting up sardarji grandpa got pushed by me.

I said, "Sorry baba."
"Its ok, you move first", baba answered.

I got in conversation with him because of his charisma and simplicity.
"baba, do you come here everyday to sell the flags?"
"Yes..... from where you have come?"

"I came from Mumbai, It was really nice function. I will never forget it."
"Yes, it is...!!! I am attending it since last so many years....still if I miss it even for single day, I feel something went wrong in my life."

Myself, Gautam, Grandpa and grandma where walking slowly and our conversation was going on.
"Baba, does selling flags is enough for you to get your daily bread and butter?"

baba smiled innocently..."No my child, I hardly earn anything by selling flags.... But selling flags, telling freedom fighting stories to children gives me lot of satisfaction. I try to embed patriotic feelings in small children. Children are future of our nation, I believe that if they are aware of How much we had struggled to get independence then surely they will become good citizen of this country."
I went into deep thoughts after listening to him.
I again asked, "baba, are you teacher?"
"No, I have some farms in nearby area. Whatever I am today is because of this country".. he just opened his heart.

Village people are very innocent and they always talk from bottom of their heart. I was little curious about his statement so asked, "baba, I didn't get you?"

"beta its very old story, we had got freedom and suddenly partition was announced. All the Sikh's of Lahore were asked to move to Amritsar. I lost my family in partition riots. Indian army saved my life. I got place in one of the home in nearby village of border. I started working in their farms. Later on, my love marriage happened with daughter of same house. Till date she is with me".... he said pointing to grandma walking with us.

I could notice smile on grandma's wrinkled face.

baba kept on talking..... "This country has given me everything, such a loving life partner... It had given me new life. so all this work is small contribution from me for the betterment of this country"... tears rolled down his face.

Even my eyes were filled with tears, by this time we had reached to our cab.
"baba, it was really nice to meet you".. I thanked him and opened cab's door.

Cab started moving towards Amritsar but mentally I was still talking with baba, I saluted thousand times to this true patriot.


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