14th Aman Chaupal with Pakistani Art Activist Shoaib Iqbal in ALS, Delhi

14th Aman Chaupal with Pakistani Art Activist Shoaib Iqbal in ALS, Delhi


DSC03790 - CopyAaghaz-e-Dosti, a joint Indo-Pak Friendship initiative of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and The Catalyst-Tc (Pakistan), conducted its 14th Aman Chaupal on 14th May 2015 in Alternative Learning Systems (ALS), a renowned coaching centre for civil service aspirants in Delhi. Aman Chaupal is a short informal session wherein someone from Pakistan addresses students’ questions and curiosities in an Indian school or college (or vice versa). It is an interactive session based entirely on students’ questions. The guest of the aman chaupal was an art activist from Pakistan, Shoaib Iqbal. Shoaib Iqbal is the Director/ Founder of ‘The Little Art’, a Lahore-based non-profit arts education organization that uses the medium of art to empower children and youth especially youth hailing from socially, economically and ethnically marginalized sections and inculcate positive values through it. Shoaib Iqbal had received Endeavour Executive Award from Australian government and was a Commonwealth Fellow.

Shoaib Iqbal addressed 600 students. He began by sharing his own personal experiences. He told the students that his grandparents had migrated from Ludhiana in Punjab. Despite seeing the insanity of partition-related violence, his grandparents and many others with similar experiences do not have hatred or the feeling of revenge. They have seen the worse and so never demand to repeat it.

After this, the interactive session began. There were questions around art in Pakistan, on the issues that Shoaib has addressed through art, on secularism, popular culture, civil society and Indo-Pak issues.

A student asked about the popularity of Bollywood movies in Pakistan. Additionally, he asked about the reaction of Pakistanis on anti-Pakistani sentiment in the movies. To this, Shoaib Iqbal replied that Bollywood movies and songs are very popular in Pakistan. However, the movies that have an anti-Pakistani sentiment are not appreciated. They flop in Pakistan.

There was a question on the role of religion in Pakistani politics. Shoaib replied that religion has been a centre of politics in many countries and Pakistan is not an exception. However, the major political parties in Pakistan do not have affiliation with any particular religion. They do not ask for votes in the name of religion.

DSC03799A student asked about the possibility of peace between India and Pakistan. He asked, “What do you think is the permanent solution? Is peace possible?” To this, shoaib replied that we have lived in the situation of conflict for so long that peace seems impossible now. However, the European countries serve as an example for this. He talks about the enmity between France and Germany in the past and their reconciliation and friendship in contemporary times. He said that peace is the permanent solution between India and Pakistan.

The image of Malala Yousafzai and her struggle for girls’ education was also touched upon. A student asked, “How is Malala and her movement for girls’ education seen in Pakistan?” Shoaib replied that Malala Yousafzai has a huge support. She is the daughter of Pakistan. There is a small section that opposes and questions her but the civil society, the majority in Pakistan stand by her and her issue.

There was also a question on the language. Shoaib replied that language remains to be an important connect between India and Pakistan. The spoken Hindi of India and spoken urdu of Pakistan are same. He also told that there are many languages in Pakistan. Punjabi which is one of the most spoken languages in Pakistan also remains to be an important connect.

This session was co-ordinated by Devika Mittal and Madhavi Bansal of Aaghaz-e-Dosti.

Press Release issued by

Devika Mittal (Convener of Aaghaz-e-Dosti India)

On behalf of Aaghaz-e-Dosti


For any queries, contact aaghazedosti@gmail.com


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Aaghaz-e-Dosti is an Indo-Pak Friendship Initiative

Posted on May 14, 2015, in Events, Press Releases. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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