Happy Indian Independence Day. Today is the 70th anniversary of India's freedom from British rule. While you may think 15 August to be cause for complete celebration, the day is also tainted with great sorrow. The day is also marked by the Partition of India and Pakistan.
The general idea is that Hindus were to be in what is now known as India and Muslims were to be in today's Pakistan (and Bangladesh). Brothers and sisters and friends and families were torn apart.
Communities, especially in the states along the Indian-Pakistan border, suffered even greatly. The shared culture of all people was ruptured and this forced separation is still a root of a great ideological divide.
Owner and chef, Asma Khan and Darjeeling Express have an inherent connection to this Era. At Darjeeling Express, Asma shares Mughlai food, from the border region of India and Pakistan. However, because of the Partition, this culinary tradition started to die out.
This restaurant, therefore, and the food and art within its walls are symbolic of the fact that borders are imaginary. If you look closely, you'll see delicate terracotta pottery marked with the insignias of Darjeeling Express (and Indian Asma Khan) and award winning Pakistani potter, Maham Anjum, representing the idyllic coming together of India and Pakistan.
Cultures, their traditions, and foods do not stop at a border. Rather, a border is simply an insignificant line drawn in clay. Completely moldable clay like that of the pottery.
At Darjeeling Express, we celebrate our Indian heritage today, but we also celebrate our love of all people no matter religion, skin tone or whatever arbitrary quality that may exist.