"Between Lahore & Amritsar on the Grand Trunk Road is Wagah, an international border crossing" features photos and video shot on May 27, 2012.
Every day thousands of people gather on both sides of the border between Pakistan and India to watch the flag-lowering ceremony that is conducted just before sundown. As sundown approaches, Pakistan and India jointly close the only road border between them for the night.
It's quite a spectacle to behold as the atmosphere is similar to attending a college football game. Music blasts from both sides. The crowds are led by cheerleaders to gesture and cheer and call to the other side. Food vendors walk the stands. The color guards on both sides move through choreographed pieces meant to display aggressive posturing toward the other side; and the two sides move in tandem with precision timing that suggests the Wagah border is a mirror and not the formal division between two countries.
But it's not a football game. The flag-lowering ceremony moves one's thoughts toward relations between the two countries, which is perhaps the point of it all. Our taxi driver remarked to Tahir that he believed India and Pakistan would never again go to war against each other. Perhaps therein lies another reason for the jubilant atmosphere: the flag-lowering ceremony marks another day where open warfare is not dividing Lahore from Amritsar, those Punjabi cities so very close to each other.
Copyright: 2012, Tahir Sandhu & Gwen Williams. Video is shared with copyright owners' permissions.
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