On the Grand Trunk Road, is stationed this link between two countries, India & Pakistan. Wagah, is a small village in Pakistan, near which the celebrated Radcliffe Line is drawn. Radcliffe Line, named after Sir. Cyril Radcliffe was drawn on 17, August, 1947 dividing India & Pakistan. To reach Wagah is a direct road head from Chandigarh- Amritsar – Wagah. This 6 hours journey ended at the bus stand, on the Attari Village, 3 Kms away from Wagah. Getting off the bus will greet you with enough menfolk attempting to add colours of patriotism on your face. One has to be a little vigilant, for they may charge a wholesome price. So better refuse than sorry!
Treading ahead with curious eyes, we walked a 3Km distance in no time (Curiosity sometimes might as well surprise you!) This walk able path is also accessible by rickshaws, while making your way ahead of the masses of Indian majority is quite some task! Having passed through the security examinations, we walked further to the much awaited Wagah border. The extended amphitheatre right upfront is a gigantic sight. The sudden influx of masses already hooting in patriotism was a rather energising feeling. The Indian Border Security Force personnel dressed in their uniforms are a source of great strength. The men in uniform guide you to take up seats according to the reservations, while for the general public there is indeed much attention.
Having seated with a group of enthusiastic school kids, I ushered myself to take a seat. The ceremony was yet to begin, but what I was struggling to see, was the other side of the border. The much debated “Other Side”! And having finally confronted it, I felt sensitized towards them. I felt a sense of unjust treatment on their faces, and yes they were no unlike us! And before I could sense any other feelings, the much awaited Wagah ceremony began. The ceremony is organised by Indian BSF & Pakistani Rangers since 1959.
“Beating Retreat”, is the often cited name for this ceremony, and it is definitely no different from the name! The ceremony begins with some patriotic songs being played in the background, while the females amongst the gathering are allowed to participate in the flag run and the voluntary dance on the ground. Immediately after this the BSF personnel’s appear on the ground accompanied by the hoots and provocative enthusiasm of the crowd. The ceremony proceeds with the leaders marching towards the border gate on both side and soon the gates are flung open. In a skip of beat everyone is held amused at the thought of what next? It can be said without a doubt that the next is all about patriotism, The Definition of Patriotism to be precise.
As the army men on either side gesticulates in the most humble ways the “End of each other”, the crowd rejoices at the thought. And surprise! That is all the ceremony is about .It can be said without a doubt that the dutiful ‘Jawans’ at the border indeed have a purpose of guarding us and our national identity. While as for the crowd cheering on our side is a sorry affair. There is a very thin line between cheering and a provocative cheering. One could simply end it all in delighting at the the thought of one’s nationality. Be proud and at peace! We like to eat the same cuisines, wear the same Pakistani and Pathani clothes, but wait when it comes to nationality we let each other down!
Doesn’t food and clothing in itself constitute an important part of one’s nationality itself? Then why so much difference? If you happen to take a glance at the faces on the other side, you realise that we are no different. We are all exerting an identity which has no different roots, but– the fact is we were partitioned! Is that what we are celebrating? This needs to be thought over. To me Wagah exactly a day before the attacks was no different than the Wagah a day after. The ceremony is a moment of immense pride, and attending it was a gesture of gratitude for all those who lay their lives, protecting our peace each day. As a balmy breeze greets outside the border premises I took so much home, peace and much fulfilment at what was a long awaited trip.
Here’s your Checklist, while you plan a trip to Wagah
Plan a trip preferably during Winters, as it saves you from sunny troubles.
Don’t forget to carry:
- Water Bottle
- Remember to leave your bags and purses in the vehicle, as post security check you will not be permitted to carry the bags further!
From Delhi : Chandigarh ( Train/ Flight/ Volvo buses) – Amritsar (Train/ Buses/ Flight) – Wagah (Buses/ Taxi)