A Pakistani Sindhi and a Sikh Punjabi strike an interesting conversation living in a student accommodation in Australia.
Sindhi: So what are you studying and where?
Punjabi: I’m studying at University of South Australia and doing a Masters by Research. And you?
Sindhi: I’m also studying at UniSA and doing my Masters in Engineering. So what are you researching?
Punjabi: I’m researching Australia India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.
Sindhi: What’s that?
Punjabi: Australia and India are trying to negotiate a free trade agreement between themselves. This will help in abolishing a lot of trade barriers like customs, duties, taxes, legal impediments, bureaucratic red tape, corruption, non-commercial barriers, etc.
Sindhi: Hang on! Isn’t India a great country and doing great under Modi’s leadership? Didn’t that demonetisation thingy and IT help India cut back on corruption?
Punjabi: Great country my foot! In India a cow’s life is better than a woman’s life. People get killed if they kill a cow and nobody does anything to stop such murders. But if women get raped the conviction rate is less than ten percent.
Sindhi: I thought Pakistan was much worse.
Punjabi: Ha…religion is irrelevant when you have the same blood, culture and values.
Sindhi: Oh yes! When intent is same, religion is irrelevant. But isn’t India going to overtake China in the near future? You guys have such a big consumer market and been to the Moon and Mars.
Punjabi: Never! Indian economy is more internal because of it’s size. It’s never going to be like China. Moreover, in order to marginalise and breakup Pakistan India is going to break itself up. China is investing more than fifty billion dollars in that corridor up to Gwaadar port. China and Pakistan will destabilise Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab if Chinese investment is threatened. War will pull the whole region backward.
Sindhi: Oh yes! You guys have problems in the North and North East. I’m aware about that.
Punjabi: Most of the people living beyond Delhi are cowards. It’s only Punjabis living in both countries that are the real deal. Rest are just sheeps.
Sindhi: I agree. Punjabis are very dominant in Pakistan too. I am also a Punjabi but my family lives in Karachi. We have our business there. Anyways, it was nice meeting you. I got to go. See you soon.
They meet again the next day in the living room and watch TV together. While they are chatting, it comes up in the news that Pakistani army has killed two Indian soldiers and mutilated their bodies and militants have shot five policemen in Kashmir Valley.
And a strange silence prevails between them. But then they both laugh it away knowing fully well of the stupid intentions behind the border skirmishes. While their soldiers are involved in tit for tat at the borders they live in the same building as good neighbours. They meet every day, share smiles and ask about each other’s welfare as culturally good brothers ought too. But behind their smiles they hide their pain and feel sorry at the stupidity of their leaders. They are divided by faith but united by same skin, culture, blood and values in a foreign land.