The Economic Times
12,148.6592.85
Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

The K-videos bringing India, Pakistan closer

With Pakistan government opening up the Kartarpur Corridor last month, Diljeet and many YouTubers from India have visited the gurdwara, met Pakistani locals for the first time, and recorded their experiences for the world to see.

, TNN|
Last Updated: Dec 15, 2019, 11.18 AM IST|Original: Dec 15, 2019, 11.16 AM IST
0Comments
anmol1
Indian vloggers, like Anmol Jaiswal (left) and Deeptanshu Sangwan (right), have got thousands of views on their videos about the Kartarpur Corridor
(This story originally appeared in on Dec 15, 2019)
When Diljeet Singh was younger, his family would drive up to the darshan sthal, and wait for their turn to look through the binoculars to get a glimpse of Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib across the border. One of the holiest shrines for Sikhs, it's where Guru Nanak spent the last 17 years of his life.

"It was a bittersweet feeling, because it's right there, and you can see it, but you can't go there," says the 42-year-old vlogger who is part of the team that runs The Great Amritsar channel. With Pakistan government opening up the Kartarpur Corridor last month, Diljeet and many YouTubers from India have visited the gurdwara, met Pakistani locals for the first time, and recorded their experiences for the world to see.

Anmol Jaiswal's video has received 2.6 million views. "There's this stereotype about Pakistanis, influenced by this India vs Pakistan narrative. I wanted to show people that it's not true for most regular people," says Jaiswal, 22.

He considers himself open-minded, but he did have certain assumptions and apprehensions about Pakistan. "I had a camera and I was nervous that the Army may have a problem with it," says the Gurugram resident. But much to his surprise, the soldiers asked to be in his video.

deepanshu4


His video has got mostly positive reactions from Indians and Pakistanis alike, with many Indians telling him that it has changed their perspective.

Travel vlogger Deepanshu Sangwan went out of curiosity - his trip to Iran had already proved to him that a country's perception as being dangerous had nothing to do with the warmth and hospitality of its people. The allure of Pakistan was too strong to resist.

As he walked into the no-man's land, he was gripped by the realisation that borders are just lines on a map. "There was this moment of being neither in India nor Pakistan that felt so powerful," he says. Two of his Pakistani fans drove for hours to see him, bringing with them biryani and souvenirs.

So, what do Indians and Pakistanis talk about at a gurdwara? "I was chatting with a group of Pakistani students and we talked about the same things Indians talk about - cricket, Bollywood, TikTok and Sapna Chaudhary (a Haryanvi dancer). We also made fun of prime time TV debates," Sangwan says.

While most of the 5,000 daily visitors permitted are Sikhs, there are many curious Indians and Pakistanis who are there for both spiritual and social reasons. From a Pakistani gentleman residing in a Sikh-dominated village visiting the gurdwara to support his neighbours, to a group of women Pakistani lawyers who were curious about how the government extended the gurdwara by adding a langar hall and museum within 10 months, opportunities to meet all kinds of people exist. Vlogger Anirudh Singh says he was treated like a celebrity, with many asking for selfies and info about India.

"People also hug very easily there. Here, you don't hug random people." His video has notched up 5,45,000 views.

While there's curiosity about Pakistanis in the minds of Indians, the reverse is also true. Naveed Anwar, 25, a Karachi-based data scientist and YouTuber, is among the few influencers invited by the Pakistan government to visit the gurdwara. "My favourite part was meeting older Sikhs who never thought they would be able to visit. They were so overwhelmed to be there. At that moment, I felt proud of being a Pakistani - it felt nice to be part of a group of people who were able to give something to another group." Anwar's video has got 1,25,000 views and many questions.

For Diljeet and his cohorts, the peaceful atmosphere, the great food at the langar, the signage in Gurmukhi made him feel respected. He points out that the passport requirement and $20 entry fee, along with travel costs, means it isn't a viable opportunity for many Sikhs. "The only Punjabis who have passports already live abroad," he says.

He adds that he does know some people who are applying for passports for the first time just to visit Kartarpur. Through the video (1,63,000 views), he also wanted to clarify some of the "fake news" he's heard going around - "No, you don't get a stamp in your passport. Someone also heard that the Pakistani government keeps your passport while you're visiting and that's not true."

While most of the reactions to Indian YouTubers has been positive, with many grateful Pakistanis and curious Indians thanking them, there are others who have used this opportunity to tell people to "go to Pakistan".

Sangwan says, "It's human tendency to tune out the positive for the negative. People attacked me, abusing my family, and told me to shift to Pakistan if I like it so much. I replied to everyone who said that to me, asking them why they're saying this now and not about the 13 countries I have visited and posted about. None of them replied."
Comments
Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.

Other useful Links


Copyright © 2020 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service