I have a dream that one day individuals will be judged by the substance of their character and not the color of their passport.
I have a dream that one day; rivalries spread over eons of hatred would cease to exist.
I have a dream that one day Pakistan and India would see eye-to-eye and work towards a mutually beneficial friendship.
I have a dream that one day, our past will no longer overshadow our future.
It is high time we understand that moving ahead is the only option we are left with. Today, everyone needs peace. Pakistan needs peace. India needs peace. Conflict is no longer an option.
But how will that work? How will peace prevail?
It will occur only if these two thriving nations share their creativity, ideas and innovation with each other, and become viable neighbors. And for this to be effective, we need all the help that we can get.
Therefore, when I first heard about Huma Nassr, the news came across as a much-needed breath of fresh air for me. Nassr is being dubbed as the first Pakistani business visionary in India and she plans on hosting a fashion event called ‘Shaan-e-Pakistan’ at Pakistan’s high commission in New Delhi, where style originators and fashion designers from the two countries will share their works and participate in a cross-border cultural trade, transcending all chords of contention.
Nassr’s work is a combination of Rajasthani and Larkani (Sindhi) designs, which complements the culture and heritage of both countries. Shaan-e-Pakistan is an effective attempt to help both countries share their way of life and enhance relations. Singers, politicians, diplomats, actors and different media personalities would be a part of the event’s launching ceremony, which would be trailed by a fashion show at The Grand Hotel in India.
This will be the first joint fashion show for both countries. However, it won’t be restricted to just fashion; cultural food items and several other things will likewise be showcased. The event is expected to offer a grand dinner incorporating prominent cultural dishes of both countries on the menu.
While such a venture is definitely unique, it is not the first of its kind.
Previously, we have come across events when both countries were able to shed away their differences and work together for art and culture.
We have seen Pakistani artists and vocalists working for India and becoming popular, and vice versa. Atif Aslam, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shafqat Amanat Ali and more have worked in India and have been showered with love and popularity by their people. Similarly, we have seen Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi and the likes endorsing Pakistani films and getting as much adoration here as they would receive in India.
If there really was hatred for between these two countries, why would these artists become so popular?
I have seen Pakistanis go wild in Mika Singh’s concerts in Karachi; I have seen them swirl to Sonu Nigham’s melody in Lahore.
I have seen people in India growing fond of Fawad Khan and I have seen Mahira Khan bloom into an amazing actress in India, who recently got signed for a film with Shahrukh Khan.
I have seen love in the eyes of both Indians and Pakistanis.
These instances don’t lie.
Therefore, it is time we benefit from this mutual affection and stop fanning hatred and distrust — something which our politicians are good at doing.
Shaan-e-Pakistan is one such venture and we need to acknowledge it.
These initiatives taken by ordinary people are commendable and both Pakistan and India ought to regularly sort out and plan such joint endeavors. It is pleasant to see how both countries are willing to work together and send out a positive message to the world.
If such ventures continue, I feel that my dream to see a conflict-free subcontinent would no longer be just an illusion.