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Pakistan-India Border Ritual To Relax, Live A Little

Travel News — By Ben Van Loon on August 11, 2010 at 8:08 am
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Ever since 1947, the border between India and Pakistan has been an intense standoff. Well-armed and ideologically at odds, these two countries endue a particularly tense relationship.

One of the particular anomalies of this detente is the daily border-closing ritual which takes place in Wagah, which connects the cities of Amritsar, India and Lahore, Pakistan. Wagah is the only road-border crossing between the two nations, and therefore an important hub for transport and commercial activity.

Famously, there is the infamous ‘Border Strut’ between the armed guards on both sides of the crossing. Like birds displaying their plumage, both sides will step and shout orders extremely loudly and aggressively, brandishing their machismo as they close the gates between the borders. The event has become highly formalized, as it has been in practice for over 56 years. If anything, the event looks like something withdrawn from Monty Python, with a some aviary posturing thrown in for good measure.

Recently, the soldiers on both sides of the border have been complaining about the physical damage the event has on their bodies. The excessive stomping, goose-stepping, and aggressive carrying-on has caused a lot of ankle and knee problems for the soldiers, and they both recently decided to down-tune the theatrics a notch.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC9NeJh1NhI[/youtube]

[Image: guardian.co.uk]

Tags: 1947, border ritual, India, pakistan, theater, theatre of war, wagah

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