Anyone who’s active on Twitter knows just how efficient External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is on the platform. If you have any problems that can be solved with some help from Swaraj, she is probably just a tweet away. In the past, she has helped many Indians with their visas, arrivals, and departures across the world and, sometimes, added with a pinch of humour.
But this one tweet by New York-based Indian journalist Purvi Thacker hasn’t received a response from the minister to whom she tweeted the entire story of her Pakistani friend Sarah Munir being denied an Indian visa so that she could attend her wedding.
“Hoping social media and human connections can help @SarahMunir1 and me! Cc @SushmaSwaraj”, she tweeted along with screenshots of her Facebook post.
In a long post, she narrated that she and Sarah are best friends and she is devastated with the news of Sarah’s visa to India getting rejected after all the effort that went into it. In the light of current tension between the two countries, Purvi also mentioned that she never thought that being born in different countries could have an implication as such. “We understand that our countries shared history has huge economic and political implications, but it also takes a toll on normal mundane things like human relationships and connections. Nobody thinks about that. Being friends and being there for each other should not be this hard just because we were born on different sides of the borders,” she wrote.
Read her full post here.
For all those who know mine and Sarah Munir’s friendship, you will understand how heartbroken we are that her visa application to India for my wedding in December was denied.
That my best friend cannot be there for what will be my biggest day is something that I cannot come to terms with. Forget the hustling, the paperwork, the months of coordination and prayers- we didnt know that it would end with a rejection.
Sarah has visited India and I have visited Pakistan, where we have stayed with each other’s families. Her ammi and abbu are like my own and her family and siblings are like my own and we have visited mosques, churches and temples together. It’s not until our respective countries/governments remind us that it is unusual for us to be doing those things together that we think of each other as “Pakistani” or “Indian.”
It’s extremely sad that even though we have never let religion, nationalities , our shared history and even cricket come between us, incidents like this repeatedly make us feel like we should.
We understand that our countries shared history has huge economic and political implications, but it also takes a toll on normal mundane things like human relationships and connections. Nobody thinks about that. Being friends and being there for each other should not be this hard just because we were born on different sides of the borders.
We hope that social platforms like Twitter ( where we have already received significant help) and Facebook, will help change these notions. Please do feel free to share this, so maybe the “right” people will take notice and help us in some way.
As you know, we don’t give up that easily! #GetSarahToIndia
She has also started an online campaign #GetSarahToIndia, which has been getting a lot of support on social media.
Borders are marked on the land, not hearts! #GetSarahToIndia
— Muna Moini (@Muna_m89) November 1, 2016
— sobs 🙋🏻 (@sarahrizvi) November 1, 2016
But there are people who hold contrary opinion. “But what about those poor people from rural Sindh and Punjab who are unable to post such messages on social media which millennials can share with some hashtag. Apparently there are hundreds who cannot get Visas to India almost every week,” wrote a user on Facebook.