Some months ago, while shopping in Dubai I picked up a bath-robe, which I felt was coming real cheap. Back home in India, I discovered that it was Made in Pakistan! Normally that would, at worst, have affected my perceived value of the product — like what happens when you discover that the electronic gadget you bought says ‘Assembled in Bangladesh’ or ‘Made in Taiwan’ when you expect it to say ‘Made in Japan’.
However, this time it affected me at another level. Was I contributing to the economy of a country which at various points of time has been hostile to India?
Considering, that at the height of the Danish cartoons controversy, one of the saner and potent means of protest was the boycott of Danish products worldwide — I was contemplating if I could register my protest against all the bad things Pakistan has done to India, if I explicitly rejected this bath-robe and abstained from using it.
Per se, I am not dogmatically opposed to Pakistan. I had been a great fan of Imran Khan and continue to be a great fan of Wasim Akram. (Hope you noticed the difference between ‘had been’ and ‘continue to be’ — that’s the subject of a post someday) I remember openly cheering, much to the amazement of my mother, for the Pakistani team in the 1992 cricket World Cup final. I was also touched by gestures of Pakistani hospitality towards visiting Indian spectators for the 2001 cricket series.
Their merit notwithstanding, I liked movies like Randhir Kapoor’s ‘Henna’, Yash Chopra’s ‘Veer Zara’, Chandra Prakash Dwivedi’s ‘Pinjar’ for touching upon the (subsequently over-used) ‘people to people’ contact emotion!
But giving away some of my hard-earned money towards Pakistan’s export earnings… umm… somehow I wasn’t so sure. Back then, my dad settled it for me: “Forget the Pakistan bit. If you don’t use this bath-robe, you aren’t helping India’s economy either!”
Soon after this, my cousin, who had come down from Srinagar, gifted me a T-shirt — which I later discovered, was made in Pakistan as well! Oh no! Not again! And this time around it my cousin’s gesture which I couldn’t belittle! So I started using that as well. And the burden of that thought weighing on me everytime I wore it.
But time is the best healer…
In what speaks volumes about the quality of these ‘Made in Pakistan’ products — neither of them lasted beyond a few months!
What would you do in a similar situation?