Culture Across Boundaries: the ladies of 21st Century AMARKOT
Back in February 2015, Indian media and news channels were rife with what was commonly as a ‘cross-border Royal wedding’ between the state of Amarkot in Pakistan’s Sindh district and Kanota in India’s state of Rajasthan. Kunwar Karni Singh Sodha, the 27th generation of Amarkot’s Sodha dynasty was tying the knot with Rajkumari Padmini Singh Rathore, daughter Kanota’s Thakur Man Singhji. Known to have ushered the first tika and lagan ceremonies from India to Pakistan in the nations’ seventy years of independence, the iconic wedlock between the families of Amarkot and Kanota was carried out in a grand procession and wedding ceremony wherein not only two erstwhile princely states, but two, erstwhile unified countries came together in merriment.
One of the primary conveyances that this festive occasion delivered to popular consciousness was the co-existence of century-old cultural legacies across recently-paved borders. Historically speaking, both the clans-, namely, the Parmars of Amarkot as well as the Rathores of Kanota derive their ancient roots from central India’s neighbouring regions of Malwa and Kannauj respectively. Over the succeeding centuries, gradual radial divergencies drove the two clans to diversities across geographical terrains, states and even borders, as seen in present times. However, through this dramatic dispersion of conquests and historical pursuits by the virtuous Rajput clans, what every family preserved with due passion and valour was their tradition and cultural legacy. Moral values, virtues of valour and sacrifice, rituals, festivals, codes of conduct, love for one’s motherland and an undying pride for one’s community knew no borders; and were collectively upheld and bequeathed from generation-to-generation in Pakistan as they were in India, pre as well as post-partition.
Seventy years hence, Rajputana Collective delves into this very notion of cultures across boundaries. In order to do so, it approaches the present generations of both the families through the three daughters of Amarkot- Deval, Aprajita & Maha Sodha; and their sister-in-law, Padmini Rathore of Kanota in an exclusive discussion over topics such as transnational diversity, relevance of one’s motherland and the potency of cultural relevance across borders. By providing insights that are personal and authentic, the four featured ladies bring up some compelling nuances vis-a-vis transnational identities, culture and belonging.