15th Aman Chaupal: Indian Peace Activists interact with students in Karachi through video conferencing
In Aaghaz-e-Dosti’s 15th Aman Chaupal, video conferencing was used to conduct an interaction between youth activists from India and Pakistani students with the aim to counter stereotypes and misconceptions. Aaghaz-e-Dosti is an Indo-Pak Friendship initiative of India-based Mission Bhartiyam and Pakistan-based The Catalyst – TC. Aaghaz-e-Dosti has conducted 15 aman chaupals or Indo-Pak peace sessions wherein someone from India interacts with students in Pakistan (or vice versa).
This Aman Chaupal session was organized in a summer camp organized by Zindagi Trust, a non-profit organisation that aims to improve education for children in Pakistan. The session was co-ordinated by Suraiya Islam, Karachi Co-ordinator of Aaghaz-e-Dosti.
The Indian youth activists were Amrita Middey, Devika Mittal and Madhavi Bansal. They are all team members of Aaghaz-e-Dosti India Chapter. They addressed a gathering of 40 students of age group 13-15 years.
There were questions pertaining to the culture of India. They asked about the different languages spoken in India. Amrita gave them a glimpse of the linguistic diversity in India. She also told them that how like Pakistan, India is also a culturally diverse country. There are many languages and religions in India.
The students asked several questions about certain festivals and customs of India. The students asked about Holi, its significance and the way it is celebrated. They asked about the significance of rangoli. One student asked about a particular custom in a Hindu marriage. Such questions depicted that they were exposed to India through the entertainment industry. This was corroborated by the fact that they talked about Bollywood, their love for it and even sang a popular song by an Indian pop singer.
The students asked about the influence and popularity of Pakistani movies and TV soaps in India. To this, Devika and Madhavi told them about the movies that they have watched. They talked about Zindagi Channel which shows Pakistani serials. They talked about its popularity among the Indian people.
There were other questions on food, famous places in India and about Taj Mahal. The students also expressed their desire to visit India.