‘We breathe the same air’

“I am Harleen Singh Sandhu from New Delhi, India. Back in 2004, I visited Pakistan with my family on a pilgrimage visa. When we crossed the Wagah border, we were given a very warm reception by the Pakistani police and cavalries. Drums were beaten and trumpets were blown as we were led to Nanakana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, from Wagah border.

After staying there for a day, I realised how similar we were: Their Punjabi accent was exactly like ours. Their love for lassi, makki di roti, sarson da saag and Bhangra made me feel closer to them. I felt as if I was at the other side of the border.

We might look different with hijabs on one side of the border and turbans on the other, but we are one and the same: we breathe the same air, enjoy the warmth of the same sun, speak the same tongue, have our common heritage in Heer and Ranjha, Bullah and Nanak! My ten-day trip to Nankana Sahib, Lahore, Shiekhupura and Hasan Abdal was memorable!

Harleem Singh

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