Are the people of Pakistan jealous of India?
Blog # 2
Why Pakistan of all places?
After two flights and a total of eleven hours, I flew from Frankfurt via Doha to Allama Iqbal Airport in Lahore. “Why Pakistan of all places?” I was asked several times as soon as I told someone about my upcoming trip abroad. At the same time, shocked and pitying looks and other questions met me full of worry. Why am I going to a country that is little known and associated with negative headlines such as corruption, terrorism and political dysfunction?
The answer was clear to me personally: Pakistan is my home, which is why I have a direct personal relationship with the country anyway. It is a land of diversity in terms of culture, language, religion and cuisine. After the country was founded in 1947 from the predominantly Muslim parts of British India, Pakistan became the world's first Islamic Republic in 1956. Currently around 200 million people live in an area that is twice the size of Germany. More than 50 different languages are spoken in the country, with Urdu being the national language. English is also used as the official language, which is mainly used as a business and educational language and, as the locals call it, colonial hangover represents.
In the north and northwest are the mountainous regions, which are characterized by the majestic mountains of the Karakoram and extend into the Himalayas. In the Karakoram there are four mountains with a height of over 8000 meters, including the K2, which attracts mountaineers from all over the world. Behind the mountains, fertile lowlands of the Punjab find their place, until they finally merge into the dry and hot terrain of the deserts of Balochistan. In the south, Pakistan borders the Indian Ocean.
As soon as I got off the plane, a stream of hot air hit me, it was 39 ° Celsius around 11 a.m. Lahore is the second largest city in Pakistan after Karachi and also the historical capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab. Punjab Province got its name because of the five rivers (panj ab) that flow through it - Beas, Jhelum, Ravi, Setluj and Chenab.
The Chenab River is one of the four popular tragic romances of Punjab - the love story of Sohni and Mahiwal. Every night, Sohni swam across the river with a clay pot to stay afloat and meet her lover Mahiwal on the other side. One day, out of jealousy, her sister-in-law replaced the clay vessel with a vessel made of still unfired clay, which dissolved in water. Sohni drowned in the swirling waves of the river. This tragic love story is still told today in many poems and folk songs.
The Chenab River in Gujrat | © Rasba Chaudhry My first stop on the way to my family was at a fruit stand. I had my eye on the famous Pakistani mangoes and wanted to take the opportunity to have one right away. Fruit is often sold by the roadside in Pakistan. The small traders buy fresh fruit from the wholesale market every day, load it onto their wheelbarrows and then sell it on the busy streets of downtown Pakistani. Cars, motorcycles, and rickshaws passing by stop to buy the fruit.
- © Rasba Chaudhry
Fruit stand on the roadside
- © Rasba Chaudhry
On a main street that was previously surrounded by a gray, dreary wall, I noticed the colorful pictures that I had not seen on my previous visits. When I asked my Uber driver, I explained that the city had started an art project in 2018 to create the so-called wall chalking to counteract. The walls, which were previously covered with advertising posters and described with slogans, were redesigned by the students of the University of Punjab into colorful pictures that are intended to illustrate the culture and tradition of Pakistan. They shape the cityscape positively and have meanwhile become part of the culture of this lively city in the heart of Pakistan.
Rasba Chaudhry is studying English and biology at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen. In September and October 2019 she completed her SCHULWÄRTS! Internship at the Lahore Grammar School For Boys in the Gulberg district.
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