Of days gone by...this February during my solo all India motorcycle journey…
About 10 kms North West from the Amritsar town is the famous India-Pakistan Wagah border. Every evening, soldiers from both nations parade in traditional fashion and this parade and retreat ceremony is open to the public. And the public find it a great spectacle.
And like a typical tourist, I went one evening to see this famed spectacle with my own eyes. Before entering the main gate, I stopped, asked permission and took a photo of a well decked soldier. And on showing the photograph, the soldier asked his comrade to give me a seat in the VIP box. It was a great beginning.
The crowd was pouring in. The entire gallery filled up in no time. I could see the soldiers warming up. From my seat I got my first sight of Pakistan, their soldiers dressed in black pathani dress and their citizens. It was a great to see the India and the Pakistan flags fluttering next to each other. There is a small embankment next to the border gate and this embankment was occupied by the army officers and their family. Most of these officers were dressed sparkling in their uniform.
Before the parade by the Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers started, local girls and students entertained the crowd with a flag run session followed by a group dance session to some patriotic Bollywood song numbers. The parade by the Indian and the Pakistan soldiers was extremely synchronized and the parade was given an impetus by the voices on both sides. These voices would urge the crowd to shout the patriotic phrases like ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ on the Indian side and ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ on the Pakistan side. The other phrase was ‘Vande Mataram’ on the Indian side and ‘Jheele Jheele’ on the Pakistan side.
The crowd on either side would try to drown the other with their higher decibel levels and this would lead to some lovely competition. The specialty of the parade according to me was the extremely fast pace at which the soldiers walked and their extremely flexible legs. So flexible were those legs that it looked like a gymnastic session. The parade was followed by the flag retreat ceremony. One could feel and see a lot of passion being shown in the soldier’s actions during the parade and the flag retreat ceremony.
To see India through the eyes of a motorcyclist’s lens, visit the album below.
|my solo all-india motorcycle journey|