Mending Borders

Every afternoon just before sunset members of the Indian and Pakistan military meet at the border post between Attari & Wagah to engage in a display of military showmanship.

Officially the purpose of the ceremony is to lower the national flag and close the borders but what really happens is a mix of formal marching, chest beating, foot stomping and high stepping as the two sides try to out do each other.

Oiled moustaches and over the top dress uniforms only add to the theatrical mood.

While the participants treat the ceremony with absolute seriousness, the crowds on either side of the border are, at times, here more for the carnival mood than for the symbolism of the rift between these two countries.

Its all highly nationalistic, but considering the tense relations between these two countries , it seems to be remarkably good natured

Muslim Pakistan is on the left and Hindu India on the right

Muslim Pakistan is on the left and Hindu India on the right

 

On the Indian side it is full of locals

On the Indian side it is full of locals

 

On the Pakistan side its a more sombre affair , with woman

On the Pakistan side its a more sombre affair , with woman

 

 separated from men

separated from men

 

Under the watchful eye of guards on the Indian side

Under the watchful eye of guards on the Indian side

 

...

 

....

….

 

Woman start to queue

Woman start to queue

 

dance and

dance and

 

...

 

celebrate their pride

celebrate their pride

 

...

 

by running with the national flag towards the closed Pakistan border gates

by running with their national flag towards the closed Pakistan border gates

 

 and back again

and back again

 

On the Pakistan side

On the Pakistan side

 

...

 

the border guards begin to assemble

the border guards begin to assemble

 

...

 

The call of the bugle

The call of the bugle

 

...

 

 triggers the showmanship

triggers the showmanship

 

...

 

Border gates

Border gates

 

are flung open

are flung open

 

 to the joy of  both sides

to the joy of both sides

 

...

 

...

 

Pakistan faces India. India faces Pakistan

Pakistan faces India. India faces Pakistan

 

Flags are lowered

Flags are lowered

 

...

 

...

 

....

….

 

and carried away with equall theatrical flare

and carried away with equall theatrical flare

 

After the ceremony crowds flock to the closed gates

After the ceremony crowds flock to the closed gates

 

and the sun sets on another successful ceremony

and the sun sets on another successful ceremony

 

 

Here is a somewhat cobbled together short video (shot with my happy snappy pocket camera) of this border closing ceremony.

And here is a more professional longer version , with thanks to the Border Security Forces , India

 

9 Responses to Mending Borders

  1. Meggan

    Incredible! Must be a great atmosphere! I love the theatrics!

  2. Jim and Muriel

    Not easily forgotten—-nor should it be if it allows peace to reign !!
    Keep safe please !

  3. Stella Ziegel

    Love the pomp and ceremony.. Almost as good as the UK!!
    A fantastic mix of cultures.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Lots of love

  4. JMOL

    Always a pleasure to ride with you 🙂

  5. Jan and Gail

    an impressive ceremony and it is better than another war.

  6. Gail Paton/Henning

    more insights… great travels…. thank you. Happy 2016 !!!

  7. M.Michiel van der Mey

    Hi, to all, yes, this is incredible, especially the covered women in Pakistan. When I was in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Karachi and Islamabad in the early 90s, there were only few covered women. Realize, that both are “proud” nuclear powers in the 21st century….

  8. Mike

    These folk are very colourful, lots of bling, bling, just like the charras here in SA.

  9. Joel

    After seeing your pictures you realise that peace between these countries can only be short lived. The “hot bed” being Kashmir.

    Thanks for the pictures!

Leave a Reply

PLEASE COMPLETE THIS SIMPLE SUM TO HELP US PREVENT SPAMMERS *