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Corridor of hope: On the Kartarpur proposal

Movement on the Kartarpur proposal is timely and potentially game-changing
The announcement by India and Pakistan of plans to operationalise(संचालन) a visa-free corridor(रास्ता) between Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab and Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan’s Punjab heeds a longstanding plea(याचिका ) of Sikh pilgrims. That demand had gathered pace in 1995, when Pakistan renovated(पुनर्निर्मित) the Kartarpur gurdwara, situated(स्थित/स्थापित) on the site on the bank of the Ravi where the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, spent(बिताया/खर्च किया) his last 18 years. Leaders from both sides, including(समेत) Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Benazir Bhutto, had pushed for it. In their effort(प्रयास है) to facilitate travel by Sikhs to important shrines(तीर्थस्थान/मंदिर) on both sides of the border, they were also alert to the potential(क्षमता) of such a move to heal(ठीक होना/रोगमुक्त करना) ties amongst their people, and promote dialogue between the two governments. Given its easy logistics, the 4-km-long Kartarpur corridor is a low-hanging fruit as a meaningful confidence-building measure(उपाय). The announcement now is particularly(विशेष रूप से ) timely, with the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak falling in November 2019. The initiative(पहल/प्रेरणा) can also become a template for cross-border exchanges based on faith, which could provide a balm for many communities such as Kashmiri Pandits, who have long asked for access to visit the Sharda Peeth in the Neelum Valley in Pakistan-occupied(अधिकृत) Kashmir; Sufis in Pakistan who wish to visit the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, Rajasthan; and Sikhs in India and Pakistan wanting to visit important shrines on both sides of the border.

Much will depend on how quickly India and Pakistan act on their commitment(प्रतिबद्धता/वायदा), once President Ram Nath Kovind lays the foundation stone at the corridor’s India end on November 26, and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan does so at the other end on November 28. Even more will depend on how the two governments manage their relationship in a way that avoids making pilgrims(तीर्थयात्रियों) a pawn in bilateral(द्विपक्षीय ) tensions. Recently, there was an ugly(भद्दा/संकटमय )and unnecessary(अनावश्यक) controversy(विवाद) when Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa revived the Kartarpur proposal in a conversation(बातचीत/संवाद) with Navjot Singh Sidhu, a Minister in the Congress government in Punjab, at Mr. Khan’s swearing-in ceremony(शपथ ग्रहण समारोह) in August. This had set back bilateral ties, threatening(धमकी/भयसूचक) progress on the project proposal. Going forward, it is important that issues related to the corridor are managed in a non-political manner and details left to diplomats and officials to sort out — for instance, the issue of Indian consular access to pilgrims, which flared up on Friday. Given the bilateral freeze(स्थिरता ), the Kartarpur project will compel India and Pakistan to engage(संलग्न/लगाना)in a positive and purposeful manner, at a time when few other avenues(रास्ते) for engagement exist. It is a reminder that dialogue and search for areas of concord(समझौता/एकता) are the only way forward for both countries.

Important Vocabulary

1. Renovated(पुनर्निर्मित)
Synonyms: modernized, remodeled, updated, fixed, redone
Antonyms: broken

2. Measure(उपाय). 
Synonyms: part, quota, allotment, allowance, amount
Antonyms: extreme, unimportance, whole, ignorance, inaction

3. Heal(ठीक होना/रोगमुक्त करना)
Synonyms: alleviate, fix, improve, mend, rebuild
Antonyms: break, damage, destroy, harm, hurt

4. Initiative(पहल/प्रेरणा) 
Synonyms: action, drive, leadership, push, ambition
Antonyms: apathy, cowardice, idleness, inactivity, indifference

5. Commitment(प्रतिबद्धता/वायदा), 
Synonyms: engagement, guarantee, need, pledge, promise
Antonyms: break, breach, irresponsibility, broken promise, denial

6. Corridor(रास्ता)
Synonyms: aisle, foyer, hall, lobby, passage

7. Ugly(भद्दा/संकटमय )
Synonyms: awful, grisly, grotesque, hideous, horrid
Antonyms: beautiful, nice, pleasing, pretty, agreeable

Synonyms: accord, agreement, amity, calmness, chime
Antonyms: agitation, disagreement, discord, disharmony, disturbance

9. Threatening(धमकी/भयसूचक)
Synonyms: aggressive, alarming, cautionary, dangerous, dire
Antonyms: good, kind, nice, safe, away

10. Conversation(बातचीत/संवाद)
Synonyms: chat, comment, communication, conference, consultation
Antonyms: listening, quiet, silence, disagreement, quietude

11. Pilgrims(तीर्थयात्रियों) 
Synonyms: settler, traveler, crusader, hadji, palmer

12. Bilateral(द्विपक्षीय 
Synonyms: mutual, reciprocal, respective, two-sided

13. Potential(क्षमता)
Synonyms: hidden, likely, possible, probable, budding
Antonyms: unlikely, helpless, impossible, lacking, unpromising

14. Spent(बिताया/खर्च किया)
Synonyms: dead, finished, lost, used, wasted, blown
Antonyms: alive, existent, existing, incomplete, living



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