Made in Pakistan

Politics

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!

Phew!

What would you do in a similar situation? 

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19 thoughts on “Made in Pakistan

  1. Come on Yar,,

    I am reading your blog and listning wonderful songs of Kishore Kumar, Lata, Rafi… and other great Indian singers…

    Me Pakistani… I have complaint that ‘Made in India’ things are not in proper supply here… except for songs and feature films… hahaha….!!!

    Just enjoy this enmity with us… and don’t worry… Pakistan Industry is not going to make any progress even if you start purchasing all the ‘Made in Pakistan’ products..

    Thanks!

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  2. Tell me sth RR, have you moderated the comments above?
    Or is it that Pakis have lost their fangs somewhere in Kargil?
    I am in UAE currently and the kind of animosity I read in newspaper letters to Editor section among Indo-Pak guys is like a media duel, that all enjoy!

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  3. Withheld:

    You will be surprised to know that comments here are un-moderated! Anywhere from ‘a few’ to ‘quite a few’ of my search-engine visitors are from Pakistan. Incidentally till now I have had to delete just one comment on my earlier post on Shahid Afridi.

    But then one could ask — how many people come here in any case? :-)

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  4. Hi Rahul,

    I know Indo-Pak relations have an aura of complexity perhaps. However, young Pakistanis of my age hold no regional bias whatsoever. After all, its a globalised world today and stone age philosophy has to go!!!!

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  5. Moreover, I harbour one complain: i.e, diplomatic bottlenecks. I want to see the Taj Mahal! But the visa process is so cumbersome. I have read about it and heard about its spell of grandeur and fantasy. I don’t know when but the peace process should move beyond mere lip service. (So, that I can travel from Lahore to c the Taj: a bit self-centred on my part though as my focus seems to be on what i wud like to see…..)

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  6. Hi Sobia,
    Amen! to your good thoughts, and to your visiting the Taj Mahal soon. And I guess the desire to see the Taj cuts across the Pakistani population, from people like to you, all the way till General Musharraf — remember Agra Summit? :-)

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  7. Hi Rahul,
    Thanks for your kind gesture. Yes, indeed people in Pakistan have appreciation for Indian music, Sachin Tendulkar,the Taj and the list goes on. Bilateral trade and people-to-people contact is I guess the most effective way of putting the sad stuff behind us. There aren’t as many Indian products here as much as we would like to see!

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  8. Sobia:
    Oh yes! Culturally there’s a lot that’s appreciated across borders.
    And talking of p2p contact — some years back we had a joke in India that the Indian government wanted to gift Laloo Yadav to Pakistan, so that he could turn Pakistan into a Bihar! :-) But considering that there’s a lot of media hype about his having turned around Indian Railways (which I mentioned in some earlier posts) — I doubt if the offer still stands!

    Khuram:
    Long time!

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  9. hmm. Actually my younger brother visited India as a member of Pakistani delegation to India on the plateform of an NGO. Indian hosts had personally received and welcomed that delegation on Wahga border. Due to the pleasent memories of My brothers visit to India … I understand that people of both countries are not enemies in the real sense. There are only some baseless emotional obstacles in the way of normal relations. Increased p2p contacts would eventually wash out those emotional hurdels.

    Indian cultural progress is really amazing … and we accept that we are in need to learn many things from India.

    Thanks!

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  10. The hatred is so inherent, the diversity forcibly engrained between the two. While each side might be beautiful and rich in its own ways, we will always be on the ‘other’ side of the border not on the same!!!

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  11. Hi,
    I just stumbled across your post here. I was actually searching for stuff made in Pakistan. Born and raised in Europe and moving to the US after marrying, I have become more and more aware of where things are made. And I like you, don’t like helping the ” enemy’s” economy either. You know, you should start looking at the labels before you buy things …thats what I do. Just like you it would really bother me that the shirt I’m wearing or whatever is made in India . So it’s not just you, there are other people out there like you…….just on the other side of the fence. The funny thing is, every other thing I pick up here is made in Pakistan. Lucky me :):):):):):):)

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  12. Hey Maria!
    Finally I get to see a response to a similar situation. But very intrigued by “…every other thing I pick up here is made in Pakistan…” — I would’ve thought only a Chinese could be in a position to say that, with the no. of Made in China goods selling the world over :)

    Like

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