Pakistani pop culture took the world by storm in 2022. From the year’s most googled song, Pasoori, to a new MCU Pakistani superhero in Ms. Marvel, Pakistanis created inspired by the forgotten love and longing embedded in India and Pakistan’s Partition. Unlike my grandparents or parent’s generation, who remember the split with loss and hostility, a younger generation of Pakistanis is courageously revisiting Partition to spur reconciliation and dialogue.
Following their lead, despite jingoistic rhetoric at an all-time high in India, Indians, too, are redefining Partition. In a welcome marriage of technology and reflection, Naman Jain, a Delhi-based photographer, generated hauntingly beautiful AI images that invoked new understandings of history among South Asians globally.
Titled “The Great Indian Kiss,” and reminiscent of the iconic “VJ Day in Times Square” photograph, Jain depicts visuals of Hindustani couples kissing and embracing at crucial moments during the Freedom Fight and Partition. Chiseled, sweat-glistening faces embrace one another in rustic restaurants and hectic, crowded rooms with details like gold bangles and jasmine-garlanded hair tenderly placed.
For the first time, I saw visuals widely circulated of Partition that weren’t bloody trains or families torn, but instead of strength and love. With wet eyes and goosebumps dotting my arms every time the images cross my screen, I fool myself into thinking they’re real. Scroll through to experience the nostalgia and healing power of “The Great Indian Kiss.”