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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Celebrations are a reminder of a shared history

Both Indians and Pakistanis need to be aware of their common roots

Governor-general Lord Mountbatten salutes the Indian national flag at India Gate in New Delhi on August 15, 1947, as Lady Edwina and India's prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, look on. Directorate of Public Relations / AFP
Governor-general Lord Mountbatten salutes the Indian national flag at India Gate in New Delhi on August 15, 1947, as Lady Edwina and India's prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, look on. Directorate of Public Relations / AFP

This week, Indians and Pakistanis lit up the night sky with fireworks, sang patriotic songs and remembered their national heroes as they marked their respective independence days. Hidden behind the celebrations was the fact that the 70th birthday of the two nations was a grim anniversary of a painful separation that led to death and displacement. Across the subcontinent, communities that had coexisted for a millennium attacked each other in a terrifying outbreak of sectarian violence.

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This legacy of Partition has stubbornly lingered. This year’s anniversary has allowed both countries to recall their shared history and this newspaper has highlighted some of these stories over the past few days. It’s these common roots that enable Indian and Pakistani expatriates in this country to connect effortlessly despite supposed hostilities. There is no rancor. There is only the familiarity that comes with shared social and cultural similarities.

This feeling that has given birth to a song - a combination of Indian and Pakistani national anthems featuring artists from both nations - that recently became a social media hit. More importantly, it highlighted how important it is for the people of the two nations to know and cherish their common story. These narratives will serve as a reminder for the future generations of India and Pakistan that they secured independence from colonial rule, not from each other and that they ought to look back to look forward.

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More on Pakistan and India from Opinion:

Profound transformation and extraordinary stories: India's incredible journey from independence to modern nation

Modi's foreign policy doctrine sails into uncomfortable waters, with a frail hand at the tiller of national security

Three years on, the mood in Modi’s India is less euphoria, more hysteria

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