Aaghaz-e-Dosti conducted three Aman Chaupal sessions in Pakistan
Aaghaz-e-Dosti team members Devika Mittal (Convener of Aaghaz-e-Dosti India) and Madhavi Bansal (Bangalore Co-ordinator), during their recent visit to Lahore interacted in three Aman Chaupals (peace sessions) with students of Punjab University, Excellent Education Centre and Resource Academia School.
With these three Aman Chaupals, Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a cross-border youth-led peace initiative, has completed 18 aman chaupal sessions its inception three years back. Aman Chaupal is among the major initiatives of Aaghaz-e-Dosti. Aman Chaupals are informal sessions in schools and colleges in India and Pakistan wherein peace activists/ journalists/ academicians from across the border interact with students. It is a form of peace education that specially focuses on breaking stereotypes through providing an opportunity to students of one country to interact with an eminent personality or expert of the other country.
Aman Chaupals have received great response from students, schools, guests, media and common people who know about it. These sessions are special in its approach of providing ample freedom in interaction. We had taken the name chaupal with its essence that this term is known to both countries and it also brings a kind of revival of the tradition where people in villages used to gather at one place to talk and to discuss things of importance, said Devika Mittal, Convener of Aaghaz-e-Dosti India.
Aliya Harir (Convener from Pakistan) says that people in Pakistan are always in favor of peace. Peace is a common thing that we all want. She also said that government of both sides are also doing their best efforts to bring people but they always needs people’s effort to support and suggest governments to make it in more effective ways.
Aman Chaupals in Lahore were coordinated by Namra Nasyr, Wasiqa Khan, Naseem Nasir, Raza Khan and Rab Nawaz (Khudi Pakistan). In the three sessions, there were questions on the similarities between India and Pakistan, questions revolving around the popular culture, on media, politics and on the role of people in improving Indo-Pak relations.
“Aman Chaupal sessions in Excellent Education Centre and Punjab University were very helpful in breaking some popular stereotypes about India and Indians. There were questions around the current happenings and in this context, it was essential to have genuine voices from India, which otherwise remain unrepresented and ignored as compared to the voices embedded with hatred and politics”, said Namra Nasyr, Lahore Co-ordinator of Aaghaz-e-Dosti.
In addition to these Aman Chaupals, guests (Devika Mittal and Madhavi Bansal) also interacted with other peace activists of Khudi Pakistan and several other peace initiatives.