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Wagah-Attari and Hussainiwala
Pakistan flag and Emblem of India Fellow countrymen, happy Republic day to you all.

Any trip to Punjab is incomplete without atleast one visit to the daily tamasha at the Wagah-Attari border. This is probably one of the few places on earth where you would see the Pakistan flag right next to the Emblem of India.

I arrived at the place a couple of hours before the vening flag down ceremony but was too late to be able to get a comfortable seat in the crowd of a few thousands; the place was already packed. Luckily, a BSF ranger (who incidentally was not allowing the crowds in any more) looked at my tripod and camera, thought I was a journalist and led me to the VIP section which is as close to the gates as one can get.

For a very long time preceding the ceremony, there is nationalist music blaring on the tannoys, crowds screaming in unison: LA ilAha ill-Allah on the Pakistani side and vandE mAtaram, bhArat mAtA ki jai on the Indian side. On either side of the border gates, kids run up and down the road with their respective national flags while young men climb onto the top-most walls and wave flags high in the air. One gentleman was commenting that while women on 'our' side are allowed to dance and sit anywhere, 'they' don't allow that, "see how the men and the women there are grouped separately".

Thousands of spectators Waving the Pakistan flag Waving the Indian flag Women dancing

The half hour of the retreat ceremony is full of action with the Indian BSF rangers in their red turbans and khakhis, and the Pakistani rangers in black salwaar-kameez marching heavily down the road, glaring into each others eyes, competing on who can kick higher into the air and possibly also on who has the best kept moustache. The rangers on either side of the gates know that they are entertaining their home crowd and spare no effort to do their best.

Indian BSF rangers marching Indian BSF rangers at-ease
Indian ranger marching towards the gate Indian BSF ranger Indian BSF ranger
Border gate, Pakistan crowd and rangers India and Pakistan flags Crowds going back home

The retreat ceremony is so popular that it is difficult to allow in all the people that come in to watch. So a clone of the ceremony has been setup at the Hussainiwala border. However, Hussainiwala is popular not because of the flag retreat, much less because the 1971 war memorial still has a lot of marks of artillery firing, but because of Bhagat Singh's memorial. The memorial moves one to tears.

Hussainiwala: Sukhdev, Bhagat Singh and Raj Guru Hussainiwala bridge: Sympathetically detonated in the 1971 war

Few more pictures from the Hussainiwala memorials:

Hussainiwala: Sukhdev, Bhagat Singh and Raj Guru Hussainiwala: Bhagat Singh memorial Hussainiwala bridge piers and war memorial Artillery fire on Hussainiwala bridge piers Artillery fire on Hussainiwala bridge piers

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trying to understand your angle


I'm trying hard to understand the angle from which you are looking at this ceremony and the Singh memorial.

The way you describe the border ceremony, it looks like you experience it like the equivalent of a fan going to a soccer game. An minor improvement over angry mobs booing at each other from either side of the fence, but hardly a comfortable situation, I'd say.

Then there's the section on the Bhagat Singh memorial. As far as I can deduce from , he believed in his ideals so much that he killed a man. In my dictionary, the words "killer" and "hero" are mutually exclusive. A man that lacks the creativity to fight for his ideals without killing deserves pity. His life is almost guaranteed to be short and tormented.

Debian user

Re: trying to understand your angle

Too bad you can't look at it from the POV of a traveler, Mark.

Re: trying to understand your angle

I am conscious of my lack of background on local sensitivities from your part of Asia. I just read wikipedia on Constitution day. Now that sounds like a good reason to celebrate, so I wish you a happy republic day!

Re: trying to understand your angle

Thank you for the wishes.

Re: trying to understand your angle


can u plzz tel me how to go to hussainwala ?

plzz i want to see the Bhagat Singh Memorial ..

so mail me the path on


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