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9

CHAUVINISTIC SPECTACLE OF THE HIGHEST ORDER

The

border post at Wagah

- less than 30 kilometres from Lahore - is the only official border cros-

sing between Pakistan and India. For five decades, the ceremonial lowering of flags has been taking

place daily here, just before sundown, amid a lot of attention. This is accompanied by a military

parade of both the Indian Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers. On weekdays an average

of 4000 enthusiastic onlookers follow the spectacle, on Sundays this can rise as high as double

that number. We walk through an arch of red brick and end up on a terrain along which stands are

built on both sides. There is hardly any room left, but Ahmad has reserved seats for us. Right in

front of the entrance gate are two black metal gates with a white stripe in-between that marks

the border. Deafening music blares from the loudspeakers. As if it were necessary, cheerleaders

encourage the crowd even further.

'

Pa-kis-taaan!

'

they roar.

'

Zindabad!

'

(long life) the crowd shouts back.

'

Pa-kis-taaan!

'

'

Zindabad!

'