Speak to someone you know well from Pakistan or India, and they will have a story to tell about the loss, sorrow and heartbreak that accompanied the birth of these two nations in 1947. Everyone seems to have lost relatives, friends or acquaintances. As hard as it is to honor the memories of those who suffered, are these narratives of loss keeping the two countries from moving forward? Is the burden of the past casting a shadow on the future.
If that were so, it would be critically important to find more positive, uplifting narratives and stories, so the painful past can lead to a better tomorrow. That is the motivation for “Love Across Borders” (www.loveacrossborders.org) an anthology of short stories about love, romance and relationships published by Indireads (www.indireads.com) – an innovative, young publisher from South Asia.
“For nearly 70 years now, what we have heard are stories of loss, death and maybe even hatred amongst people living in India and Pakistan, across the two sides of the border,” says Naheed Hassan, the founder of Indireads. “The events of 1947, with the post-partition violence and uprooting, were undoubtedly tragic but isn’t it time that we moved on from those stories, and tried to create newer narratives – of hope and love?”
Naheed’s contribution to the solution is to publish a collection of short stories about human relationships across the border. These short stories, 1000-2000 words in length, tell stories of romance, love and relationships that transcend or ignore the man-made border. The collection includes stories of love that blossoms when a visitor from one side of the border visits the other, the bond between two friends married on either side of the border, and also of virtual love between characters separated by the border.
“We chose the medium of story and fiction because, we feel that sometimes, issues as politically-charged, political and personal can be better addressed through an impersonal fictional account, even if based on true facts,” says Naheed. “A philosophical, preacher-like approach towards peace just leads young people away, which is an opportunity lost, so we decided to implement a much more subtle approach. The objective with this collection is not to deny long-established facts, but highlight the many positive stories that surround us every day.”
The collection will be published this Independence Day on the midnight between August 14th and August 15th 2013. The anthology will be published in electronic format and will be available at www.loveacrossborders.org. The collection will be available free-of-cost, as a civic initiative by Indireads, in partnership with organizations interested in promoting cross-boundary understanding and dialogue.