POLITICS

Emissary Of Peace Or Spy From Across The Border? Mystery Of The Pakistani White Pigeon

Numerical message under its wing. Sinister indeed.

25/04/2017 10:51 PM IST | Updated 25/04/2017 10:52 PM IST
Tashdique Mehtaj Ahmed / EyeEm via Getty Images

In times gone by white doves or pigeons were often viewed as traditional symbols or messengers of peace and pacifism, but, in the new millennium, when technological advances are being made in minutes, days, months and years, one would not have expected a bird to come across from Pakistan with a message of sorts imprinted under one of its wings.

This is exactly what happened at the border out post (BOP) Babalianwala on the Rajasthan-Sindh border on Tuesday, when a white-colored pigeon landed from the Pakistan side at 7.55 a.m. and sat on a barrel of LMG for about five minutes before being caught by Border Security Force (BSF) border patrol personnel posted there.

Acting on the orders of commanding officer of the 135th Battalion of the BSF, B.K. Sharma, BSF personnel Sunil Pathania and Sarad Yadav examined the pigeon and found the serial number 03023633 written on its tail.

A similar incident was reported on 13 January, 2017 at Samathewala. At that time too, a pigeon was nabbed and was found to have a metallic ring with the tag number 021JEET-KPK on its right leg.

It's pretty much the same story on the other side. Back in 2011, authorities had arrested a monkey that had crossed over from India, while India had arrested a pigeon which it claimed was on a spying mission for Pakistan.

Among the ancient Greeks and later among the Romans, if one party during war time held out the olive branch, it meant they were pleading for peace. Eventually, when Christianity became the official religion, the white dove--which symbolises the Holy Spirit--carrying an olive branch became a popular symbol. In the Old Testament, at the end of the Great Flood, Noah sends a dove in search of land, which ultimately returns with an olive leaf, almost as if God had finally made peace with humankind. These birds often appear in political cartoons, on banners and signs at events promoting peace such as the Olympic Games, or at various anti-war or anti-violence protests, etc.), as also in pacifist literature.

A person who is a pacifist is sometimes referred to as a dove, while a person opposed to diplomacy can be referred to as a hawk, but when it comes to relations between India and Pakistan, a bird being regarded as a messenger of peace is a far-fetched notion, and can only be viewed with suspicion and distrust.

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