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‘Wagah’ Showcases Competition, Pride in Daily India-Pakistan Border Ceremony

August 11, 2011 at 12:00 AM EST
"Wagah," a documentary by filmmaker Supriyo Sen, highlights the impressive military ceremony attended by thousands of people each day in a village on the India-Pakistan border. This excerpt is part of The Economist Film Project series of independently produced films aired in partnership between The Economist and the NewsHour.
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TRANSCRIPT

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, for those stations not taking a pledge break, another Economist Film Project collaboration.

Supriyo Sen, director of the film “Wagah,” examines a daily ceremony on the Pakistan-India border. The ritual is described by a young Pakistani child in this excerpt.

MANPREET SINGH (through translator): My name is Manpreet Singh. I live in Attari. I go to school in the morning, and then the afternoon to the border. I sell DVDs of the parade that is held there. This is my mommy. This is my daddy. This is the zero line. That side is Pakistan, and this side is India. That’s a Pakistani soldier.

Every day, 20,000 people are coming to the border.

But India and Pakistan stage this all differently.

If they imitate, they will lose their prestige.

Pakistan demands Kashmir, but India refuses to give it up, because Kashmir grows too many fruits and flowers.

MAN (through translator): We have never seen the Wagah border and Pakistani people. We have come to see them. They are our brothers and sisters.

WOMAN: And my ancestors are from Pakistan, from Sindh. So there’s a really special bond to know what’s happening out there.

WOMAN (through translator): They should know national patriotism. You have to die for your country.

MANPREET SINGH (through translator): Slogans are different on either side. This side shouts, “Hail, India.”

And that side shouts, “Long live Pakistan, number one, Pakistan.”

MAN (through translator): When India gained independence partition became a reality for us. The birds still fly across, but a wall has been put up between humans. This is very unfortunate. If we had stayed together, this would have been a great country.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Quite a scene. Independence Day celebrations for both Pakistan and India take place at the Wagah crossing next week.