Tuesday, March 08, 2005

An Indian-American in Pakistan

Just got this over a list:
An Indian American's Tribute to Lively Mini-Pakistan
By Anuj Kumar Nadadur
Princeton University

My visit to Pakistan and six weeks of stay in Karachi was my first, and unintended, personal experience of the gap between the media myths and ground reality of the day-to-day world. When I first decided to go to Karachi, my friends in America and back in India thought I had gone crazy. They anxiously asked me if I knew what I was getting into or if I had been watching the news recently.

They warned me that in Karachi, as an Indian-American, I would not be welcomed and most certainly be ostracized and harassed. That did not deter me but added to my apprehensions of the unseen. In retrospect, I feel my friends were honest in their views and right to the extent they were judging Pakistan through the prism of the CNN, BBC and other powerful Western media outlets..."
[Written for PakistanLink: http://www.pakistanlink.com/Opinion/2005/Feb05/04/07.htm]
I find it really, really hard to agree with Anuj Saahab when he says that his friends were honest in their views. He's most probably trying to give dear friends the benefit of the doubt, and that is commendable. You will have to excuse my forthrightness when I say this, but even something like "ill-informed" doesn't seem the right way to put it: anyone saying at this point in history and media exposure that "an Indian-American...would not be welcomed and most certainly be ostracized and harassed" (or vice-versa; an Pakistani/Pakistani-American in India) is, either very stupid or very, very malicious. I have been in and out and about India since 1976, and I am yet to find that true; ever. It is sad, really, that more people don't take the trip over to the other side.

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