05 JAN 2013, New Delhi
A popular nazm of Sardar Jafri ” Tum aao gulshan e Lahore se chaman bardosh, Hum aayein subeh e Banaras ki roshni lekar, Himalay ki hawaon ki taazgi lekar, aur iske baad yeh poochein ki kaun dushman hai” was re-iterated to many today.
Today when people were rushing to enjoy their most favorite “Muqabla” of Indo-Pak Cricket match at Firoz Shah Kotla Stadium of New Delhi, some youths under the initiative of Aaghaz-e-Dosti (for indo Pak friendship) gathered outside the stadium with their face painted in colors of peace and love. They distributed pamphlets with messages of Peace and friendship to strengthen bond of India Pakistan relations.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is an initiative for strengthening Indo-Pak relations and develop unwavering bonds of peace and friendship through efforts by youth of both countries. Aaghaz-e dosti is an intiative to enhance people to people communication under the South Asian Peace and Harmony objective of Mission Bhartiyam, an India-based NGO.
Convener of Aaghaz-e-Dosti campaign, Devika Mittal remarked that, “all this hate and suspicion are just result of misinformation and misunderstanding. We share the same culture, language and values. People of both nations do not want conflicts and desire for love and peace. We are just bringing this inner desire on the surface”.
A research scholar from AIIMS, Pankaj Pathak said, “We ,the people of both the nations, must come together to form a bond of trust. Our dialogues can work in making our nations more prosperous. We must have to come together to recognize our real capability. “
“Cricket is a very popular game in both countries, however like in any inter-countries games, instead of taking it as a way to develop harmonious relations, people only take it as an issue of national shame and national pride. We also insist this mindset should be changes and a game be seen as a game, to entertain, to share the joy. We believe that the fight through cricket is actually a fight for love and competition to make the bond stronger and to live the sportsmanship. We are competitors not enemies.”, remarked Ravi Nitesh, founder of Mission Bhartiyam.
Mansi Rastogi, an engineer by profession and a volunteer, who had done the face painting was happy that apart from her college festivals and exhibitions, she never did face painting activity for such a cause but today, she remarked, “it all became so meaningful after practicing the same for a great cause of love and friendship between the countries.”
The response from the public was excellent or to rightly put it, hopeful. In the very beginning, when the volunteers had just started to move towards the line, with posters clipped on their jackets and face painted, three people from Pakistan came forward. They introduced themselves and asked the volunteers about their objective. They took the posters with messages of peace and friendship from the volunteers.
Similar response was seen by people from Pakistan, both youth and the elderly. Some of them themselves asked for the pamphlets. A group of people from Pakistan asked us for our posters of peace. One of them remarked, “I deeply appreciate these efforts by youth and i feel that these can change the popular mindsets on both sides and force the Governments to talk peace”
The youth from both countries responded positively and some even asked us the details to join in. We didn’t come across a single negative thought.
In last month, Aaghaz-e-Dosti, in collaborations with two NGOs from Pakistan side had invited paintings on the theme of Indo Pak Friendship for a calendar. The calendar will be publicly launched later in this month. But some of those entries were used in the posters.
Others among the volunteers in this event were Sulabh Srivastava, Abhishek Shukla and Shadaab Bashar, Aman Sheikh and others.
Asian Age, print edition 8th January 2012
Dainik Hindustan, print edition 7th January 2012