Google India has released a new ad that focuses on the partition between India and Pakistan. This video debuted on Friday and has hit almost 3 million views on YouTube. The “Reunion” ad stars two elderly men that have not seen each other since they were separated in the 1947 partition that created India and Pakistan from the old British empire.
The partition led to the mass exodus of millions of Muslims and Hindus as they fled across new borders, leading to religious violence. One of the grandfathers told his granddaughter about his childhood in Lahore. He talked about how he used to steal sweets from a shop with his friend Yusuf. His granddaughter uses the search engine to track down his childhood friend in Lahore.
With the help of the Pakistani man’s grandson, she was able to arrange a reunion in New Delhi. This ad risked being controversial because the partition led to animosity between India and Pakistan.
The two countries had three wars, an nuclear arms race, and constant fighting in the disputed Kashmir region. After the partition took place, around 1 million Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs were killed in rioting and 12 million people were removed from their homes.
“Yes, this is a sensitive topic, a part of history with bitter memories” stated Abhijit Avasthi, the head of the Ogilvy India team. “But that was the whole point, which is to tell people that those memories are in the past, that there is a way to revive your connection with your lost ones.”
Critics of the ad also pointed out that traveling between the two countries is nearly impossible because visas are hard to get. However, India and Pakistan signed an agreement to make it easier for business travelers, senior citizens, and divided families to get visas.