India and Pakistan have always been sports rivals for decades. But among students, this rivalry is usually turned into friendship and love.
On 24 February, the QM Pakistan Society and QM Indian Society held their first joint event in years. Over 50 students came together for an evening filled with games, singing, laughs, chai and of course friendly competition at their QMIS v QM PakSoc Games Night.
PakSoc President Mohib and QMIS President Bhama explained the idea behind the collaborative event and shared their reactions to the outstanding turnout.
QM Pakistan Society and QM Indian Society
Mohib: “India and Pakistan have always been sports rivals for decades. But among students, this rivalry is usually turned into friendship and love. QM PakSoc hosted a games night with Indian Soc to have a friendly and fun evening. It was the first time in many years that these two societies collaborated!
We played quite a few games from musical chairs to dumb charades and, the rivalry really came out; people put their heart and soul into winning the game, making it more interesting. At the end of day, we all made new friends, learned more about each other's cultures and most importantly had chai!”
Bhama: “It's no secret that India and Pakistan aren’t exactly friends, but Indians and Pakistanis can definitely be friends and that is what we wanted to showcase through the friendly games night. To our surprise, it went how we had hoped it would go; everyone had fun and being from rival countries did not impact the atmosphere.
The event started with something that both countries take pride in (Bollywood) to cut the ice. Like Mohib said, we ended the event with chai and samosas, which is another thing that binds us to our rich shared history and heritage, the food, and it brought us all closer and sparked many new conversations!
I still believe that India and Pakistan rivalry is merely on papers and at cricket matches (which still are risky to watch with one another) but rarely exists in the people’s hearts and our event surely proved this to a huge extent!”
Other attendees shared similar positive sentiments on the event and explained why they chose to get involved in each society.
Read what attendees had to say below.
Eshwinder and Raj (left to right)
What does tonight mean to you?
Eshwinder: “We try to find people from our community when we are away from our home and our people. We sometime need to feel that we are not away from home and get the feeling of belongingness.”
Raj: “Bringing community people together.”
Katif, Marium and Sarim (left to right)
Tell us a bit about what it’s like studying in the UK. What brings you to this event?
Katif: “I’m Katif, exchanging at QMUL from Yale-NUS College in Singapore, and lived most of my life in Karachi, Pakistan! I study Economics. In London, I’m having my museums and galleries era, I’ve been exploring history and artworks.? Classes at QMUL are quite engaging and experiential. There’s usually quite a lot to do on campus and in London, gymming, museums, galleries, hikes, events. I joined the PakSoc to have fun because I heard it’s a fun society and I also wanted to connect with Pakistanis in London.”
Marium: “Hi, I’m Marium an exchange student from Pakistan! It was an absolute pleasure to attend the Pakistani society’s event here; meeting your fellow Pakistanis while being so far from home is always so comforting and homely.”
Sarim: “I am an exchange student from Pakistan LUMS studying economics. I got involved with the Pakistani society to see how the British born (or settled in UK) relate to Pakistan. I wanted to know more about how their lives have changed in various ways.
I found them to be very interested in Pakistani politics even though they were not the primary stakeholders. They were more appreciative of Pakistani food and its culture because they missed it. They valued their Pakistani roots and every event in Pakistan was significant for them since they’re abroad and can’t experience it.”
PakSoc Committee Members
Top (left to right): Fiza, Divya, Natasha and Faizan Bottom (left to right): Waris and Uzair
Umar and Waris (left to right)
How did you become friends?
Umar & Waris: “Our story is about two friends from India and Pakistan who initially did not get along with each other. Umar is Indian. He loves going to the gym, swimming, and cooking. He met Waris who is Pakistani, at the gym, but they did not get along. However, when Waris saw that Umar was struggling with a shoulder injury while working out, he helped him, and they started talking. They discovered they had a lot in common, including a passion for fitness and healthy eating. They became best friends, sharing recipes, working out together, and traveling. Their friendship showed that people from different cultures can find common ground and build lasting bonds.”
Himanshu, Jash, Saavan, Lovejot (left to right)
Why did you join QMIS?
Jash: “I joined the society so I could have a fun and interesting way of keeping in touch with my culture.”
Saavan: “The society is great for socialising with others of similar backgrounds and cultures.”
Archisha, Manya and Rashmika (left to right)
What are your thoughts on the event? What made you want to attend?
Archisha: “This was an amazing event and an opportunity to meet new people and make friends, really enjoyed the chai too!!”
Manya: “I think that by organising events like this and being a part of the Indian society, it enhances more inclusivity and creates a community of people away from our home country which is very important for students like us studying abroad.”
Rashmika: “I was bought up in the UK and my parents are from Kolkata and since I was young they infused the culture in me, like, we have an organisation called Utsab Orpington which allows people who want to come and celebrate big cultural events with us. I have been at these since I was a child and I love Bollywood intensely, so I learned Hindi. When I came to uni I wanted to join Bollywood soc which I have and it's one of my favourite things and events like these where we eat, socialise and speak Hindi or any language sucks me back to India.”
Farees, Rayyan, Lavan and Hasan
Why did you decide to come to the event? What are your impressions?
Farees: “I decided to come to the Pakistani and Indian social event as I would like to understand other cultures. I belong to neither ethnic background, but I have a lot of friends who do so I attended the games night in hope of familiarising myself with their customs and enjoying their music and some activities. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and met loads of cool new people; I most definitely would attend again.”
Rayyan: “I came to the event to get closer to my culture since I am Pakistani and to meet other people like me or other people who wanted to get to know their culture better like I did. That’s essentially the same reason I joined the society too. In terms of the event, I think it was good with all the games but again getting to know the people there was as good if not better than the actual event itself.”
Lavan: “The event was superb – filled with fun and positivity, I came along to further experience both cultures as I had grown up with a lot of Indian and Pakistani friends. I learned a lot about both cultures coming to the event as well as films that I am definitely adding to my lists as a must watch!”
Hasan: “I came to this Pakistan society event with my friends because we wanted to explore how different groups are. We learned that while Pakistani heritage is very different, the way we gel together is the same. Plus, the samosas were nice.”