Those who pay even the slightest attention to international politics may already know that India and Pakistan aren’t on the best terms, but here on the border between Wagah, Pakistan and Attari, India, there’s a quite friendly rivalry. Luckily, my friend’s cousin is a colonel in the Indian Army, and he hooked us up with a reservation so we wouldn’t have to wait in line to get in.
A man calls out on the loudspeaker in Hindi, and judging by the tone of his voice, he’s trying hype up the crowd. “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, he says. It means “Victory for Mother India!” The entire crowd repeats the chant and overpowers the sparse voices heard on the Pakistani side.
The man in the sunglasses and the army camo pants with the cameras following him is a Bollywood actor. I don’t know his name, but this is some good publicity for him.
Women and children got to go up and wave Indian flags to show their support. If they allowed men to go, I would have totally gone down as one of the few foreigners that showed up.
The ceremony begins with marches on both sides. Infantrymen march up toward the gate, and even from afar, one can tell these guys are ripped – perfect for intimidating the other side. The gates are opened and the flags are raised. More soldiers march and with each step, they kick up high – up to their head even – as if both sides are competing to see who can kick higher. In between marches, the announcer continues to hype up the crowd with patriotic chants. To conclude the ceremony, the flags are lowered and the gate is closed.
See more of the border ceremony here