Positively Pakistani attire in India

Positively Pakistani attire in India
Pakistani Attire in Ludhiana. Photo by Jasbir Singh Jogi, India Pakistan Heritage Club

Stores named after places in the ‘enemy’ country generally make the news only when mobs attack them for being ‘anti-national’. But there are also those that continue doing business without any untoward incidents, like the clothing store in Ludhiana, India, with the word ‘Pakistan’ in its name.

The store, called ‘Pakistani Attire’ is being appreciated rather than threatened in the virtual and physical worlds.

Journalist Divya Goyal reports that this women’s clothing store in Ludhiana, has been “getting a lot of love on social media, especially from the neighbouring country” (Clothing store named after Pakistan wins hearts across the border, Indian Express June 30, 2021).

The store in Ludhiana’s Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar market “is impossible to miss with its massive, green display board”, she comments.

The store owner, Puneet Kaur, 36, told the reporter that she has importing Pakistani suits, dupattas, kurtis, dress material for nearly seven years. “I have never received any negative remarks or feedback for naming my shop after Pakistan”, she said. “Except for a comment or two on Facebook where people told me not to promote Pakistan, no one including my family, friends or clients ever had any problems with it”.

“Pakistani fashion is so unique and the suits are so well-designed that women from Punjab, in fact the entire northern region, are great fans of Pakistani attire and love buying them. I have clients from across the region, who always appreciate our work.”

The store’s clientele includes women from all communities. “We all are human beings first and God is one. There is no difference between people of India and Pakistan. It has been years that I have been dealing with people of Pakistan and they have always been very kind,” said Kaur.

The store gained media attention after Ludhiana resident Jasbir Singh Jogi posted a picture of it on the Facebook group ‘India Pakistan Heritage Club’, reports Divya Goyal. This sparked off a flood of comments online, some of which she quotes:

“Zabardast, dil khush kar ditta tussi!” (Great, you’ve made me very happy) – Yousaf Hyat.

“Love from Pakistan…” – Farha Qazi.

“I have a Bombay Bakery in my city Hyderabad Sindh” – Shaheryar Khan.

“Such a nice gesture…My best wishes” – Shahina Marium in Okara, Pakistan.

“This is Karachi…,” – Tanwir Ahmed, sharing a photograph of an eatery called ‘Indian Kitchen’ and another of ‘Delhi Sweets & Bakers’ in Okara.

The post also took some down memory lane to pre-Partition times, reports Goyal.

Gujranwala resident Umer Shakir wrote that his father was from Ludhiana. “I would much obliged if you post the pics of Nawan Mohalla Peer Bakshish Wali Gali and Field Ganj koocha no. 8 Amli Wali Gali…”

“…Now there is women’s shoe market in koocha 8. I go there every two months as I am a shoe dealer. You can see it on YouTube…”, replied Ludhiana resident Nitin Taneja.

“I wish to visit Ludhiana once because my ancestors were from there…,’ wrote Malik Rehan from Faisalabad.

There are many other such instances of goodwill on either side of the border. The question is, will these yearnings for cross-border visits be fulfilled even after the pandemic is over?

Will India and Pakistan begin granting visas to each other’s citizens as any normal neighbours would and should? Can they move beyond rigidity and hostility to a visa-free regime?

There are those will keep daring to dream. #MilneDo

—  beena sarwar

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