Mumbai say Lahore tak: Jashn-e-Azadi Mubarak (Greeting Card Exchange b/w Indian and Pakistani schools)
Pakistan and India celebrate their independence day on August 14 and August 15 respectively each year. While the political atmosphere gives rise to anti-other feelings on the occasion in both countries, Mumbai-based school Ecole Mondiale World School sent greeting cards on Independence Day to Unique School Academy, Lahore, Pakistan. This card exchange was facilitated by Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a joint indopak friendship initiative.
Tulika Bathija, 8th grade teacher of Ecole Mondiale World School is the facilitator of the initiative. Last year on Independence Day, the school had also shared cards with Excellent Education Centre School from Lahore. Tulika says remarked “we began with the Independence Day Card exchange with schools in Pakistan since the past one year. This year too my students cherished the shared celebration by sending cards to children in Lahore. Students have been watching the news and realise that when the political climate is intense, people to people contact becomes necessary to bridge divide and forge new friendships. Today my students have made many more friends across the border. I’m particularly heartened and overwhelmed by the response from Pakistani students. This only show that we are only divided by borders, the hearts of children in India and Pakistan yearn for each other.
The school had sent about 25 cards to Lahore with greetings for Independence Day. The students wished their peers in Pakistan and shared their hope for peaceful and friendly relations. One of the students wrote in his card, “Hope we live in peace. May your day go amazing!” Another student Kritika’s card affirmed that, “Even though a border separates us, we will always stand together” Reflecting over the India-Pakistan connection, another student Reet wrote that “We may be in different countries, though, we will always share the same connection and love.” She also innocently expressed in her card that “we will always be here for you”. One of them went out of way to write a line in Urdu which read “ham tumse muhabbat kartay hain (we love you)”.
The cards exchange in Lahore was coordinated and facilitated by Raza Khan, coordinator Lahore Chapter of Aaghaz-e-Dosti. The cards were received warmly by the school management, teachers and students. The Principal of the school Mr. Farooq Sahib expressed his joy over the initiative and remarked that “this is a great way to connect young students across borders and soften the political image that the people have been carrying for long.” Raza Khan distributed the cards to students of class VIII, IX, and X and thet were all happy. One of the students inquired from Raza if the students used Indian paper to make the card? Upon answering “of course yes”, he said that “I can smell the fragment of India”. The other students expressed their interest in visiting India while others seem apprehended over security concerns. They asked the Lahore coordinator if he will take them to India. “We want go there, will you take us to India? We won’t return from Wagha border only. We want to visit Mumbai, Delhi and Agra and want to meet Salman Khan.”
Another student asked Raza if he would be allowed to eat meat in India? and was surprised as well as happy over the answer. Raza also presented Aaghaz-e-Dosti’s 2016 calendar to the Manager Co-curricular affairs of the school Zulfiqar Ali Butt. The Principal of the campus was very positive and has promised to get cards made in return. He also assured that the students will take part in painting contest for Aaghaz-e-Dosti’s 2017 calendar.
Press Release issued by
Devika Mittal and Aliya Harir