As a child we played hop scotch and crossed lines drawn in the sand or mud. But that was then. Now we are grown ups and we continue to cross borders, for better or worse.
The environment knows no boundaries. Rivers flow across countries and continents, the Himalayas traverse five countries from Pakistan in the West to India in the East, with Bhutan, Nepal and the Tibetan plateau in between. Pollution travels across the world. Wildfires spread their haze across nations.
Man too creates transgressions across borders as we are seeing now with Russia marching into Ukraine uninvited. While India and Pakistan, who come from the same stock, and should be crossing borders easily, don’t. The sub-continent saw one of the worst migrations in human history. But it also sees students migrating to study abroad and a diaspora that migrated and earned accolades for so much success.
All the major world religions have crossed borders. Buddhism spread from Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, across nations to the Far East in Japan. Christianity marched across Europe and spread across the world. Terrorism too has crossed the world with such ease.
The marginalised people of the world don’t seem to be able to cross their borders of poverty and neglect.
The range of human emotions cross boundaries to spread both love and hate. Yes, we are crossing borders everyday of our lives. From sleeping to waking, from waking to reading. Yes, books help us go from the depths of the earth to the edge of the Universe, from the intricacies of our minds, to reflecting on the Self beyond.
The entire process of evolution is one of crossing biological boundaries across the millennia. From single celled microorganisms to the ascent of man.
Our art and heritage around the world is an amalgam of influences through travel. Our visas enable us to traverse continents physically, our thoughts encourage time travel across centuries.
The Khushwant Singh Literary Festival (KSLF) has traversed the borders of Khushwant Singh’s books in our minds, as well as physical borders from Kasauli in the lap of the Himalayas, to London in the British Isles; it has crossed the airwaves too with Festivals online. To help create a world without borders.
As it will do once again with the KSLF London edition on May 21 and 22, 2022.