Published: 29th September 2018
This Insta page shows that everyday life in Pakistan has a huge Indian fan following
EverydayPakistan, a project run by a 21-year-old student to break stereotypes has more than 60,000 followers in less than a year
In the midst of all the hatred between India and Pakistan, have you ever felt like knowing what life in Pakistan is like? Wondered if the people walked carefree through the streets of Karachi as you did or if the children played and had fun the same way as your little brother or sister? Or if they celebrated festivals the same way as you did? If these thoughts have ever hit your curious self, go to Instagram and look up EverydayPakistan.
A crowdsourced project that is aimed to break stereotypes associated with terrorism and negativity and to show the lives of real people, EverydayPakistan is run by Anas Saleem, a 21-year-old Bachelors in Computer Science student, who also moonlights as a freelance photographer. Inspired by the popular Indian Instagram page EverydayMumbai, the majority of Anas's followers are from India. "The major inspiration came when I saw the @everydaymumbai Instagram page earlier this year. I then found a lot of everyday projects but there was not a single everyday project from Pakistan. So I thought of starting one," says Anas.
Play time: A Hazara boy plays football in the evening, on the dusty sand playgrounds at the outskirts of Mariabad, Quetta | Pic: Sajjad Batoor/Everyone Pakistan
Anas says that most people believe there's only terrorism, poverty and under-developed rural areas in Pakistan, thanks to the country's portrayal in popular media sites. He wanted to break these stereotypes by documenting daily life in Pakistan and started clicking photographs and sourcing them from others, making sure he receives proper information about the story behind the photograph. The page was an overnight hit. People loved the story about an old woman who had to flee to India post-partition, the one about a school inside a temple and the young girl who fought patriarchy to play volleyball.
Meet the founder: Anas Saleem is a 21-year-old student
What surprised Anas the most was his Indian fan base. "It was a new thing," he says, "I have never interacted with Indians before starting this project. But through Instagram, I have received hundreds of messages from India and every message is showing the love Indians have for Pakistan." Many told him how they wanted to visit Pakistan but the political conditions won't allow them to do so. He was also invited by many Indians to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and a lot of other cities.
He also says that the page has impacted Indians the most. "Recently, After posting a video of Ganesh Chaturthi in Pakistan, I received a curious DM from an Indian girl. She wrote, 'I considered myself a well-informed person, but I never imagined this face of everyday life in Pakistan...You changed the whole idea of Pakistan what we learned through Books and Media,' she said. I even had a WhatsApp call with an 85 years old grandfather of an Instagram user in March. That was one of the happiest days because, with an Instagram project, I made someone happy across the border," Anas recalls.
Praying well : Devotees pays respect at a Mandir in Narayanpura| Pic: Hamna Iqbal Baig/Everyday Pakistan
These positive messages are in fact, more than enough to remove the sort of negativity that Anas sometimes receives through messages. "There are hate comments and DMs when I post about religious activity. But everyone has the right to share their views but I don’t indulge myself in religious hatred. I try to share the truth because I believe that I cannot change the perspectives by showing just the positive stories," he adds.