5th Indo-Pak Peace Calendar launched in India
New Delhi: On 14th January, Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a joint Indo-Pak Friendship initiative, launched its 5th Indo-Pak Peace Calendar in Delhi. This Indo Pak peace calendar features selected paintings (6 paintings from India and 6 from Pakistan) from schools students (Grade 8 to 12) of India and Pakistan .These Paintings depict an innocent and apolitical horizon of peace. Alongside the paintings, peace calendar includes messages from peace activists and renowned intellectuals. This year, Peace calendar includes messages of Dr. Salima Hashmi, Dr I A Rehman, Prof. Mubashir Hassan, Khadim Hussain, Lt. General (Retd) Muhammad Masood Aslam from Pakistan and Dr Shashi Tharoor, Col (retd) Virender Sahai, Major General (retd) Ashok Mehta, Dr Syeda Hameed, Dr. Kavita Sharma and Sudheendra Kulkarni from India.
The launch was followed by a discussion on ‘Sharing of Hopes’ with eminent speakers including Col. (Retd) Virendra Sahai Verma, Dr. S. N. Subba Rao, Dr. Syeda Hameed and Kamla Bhasin.
Dr S N Subba Rao talked about the importance of Jai Jagat or universalism in the present world which is torn by parochialism and boundaries of hatred on the basis of national identity. He said that much money is wasted on hatred than on peace. He regarded peace initiatives like Aaghaz-e-Dosti as peace preparation laboratory and talked about it’s importance.
Kamla Basin talked about how war creates artificial divides, boundaries, construction of we v/s them, us v/s the other wherein the other is not considered to be a full human being and is degraded. She said that nature never created any boundaries. All labeling is socially constructed. She shares her experiences of visting Pakistan and meeting with people of Pakistan.
Colonel Virendra Sahai Verma addresses the popular notions and stereotypes associated with army. He said that in times of crises, army is sent to help other countries, including the ones regarded as opponents. He talked about examples wherein army personnel have treated the prisoners of war in a non-brutal way. He said that the army is not only to defend the country but should also facilitate the reduction of conflict and its escalation into war. Military victory is important but sustenance of peace is importance for long run, for the benefits of the two countries.
Dr. Syeda Hameed talked about how our identities are increasingly becoming narrow instead of broadening. She reiterated the importance of jai jagat, universalism and humanity. She recalled instances from her initiative of taking a bus of women peace activists to Pakistan (and vice versa) and the problems that were posed to them by people of their own country. She said that interaction is important and it should always be continued.
This year, Aaghaz-e-Dosti had received thought-provoking expressions from students of several cities in India (Bulandshahr, Cuttack, Dehradun, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Surat and Vadodara) and Pakistan (Balochistan, Karachi, Lahore, Rahim Yar Khan, Swabi and Toba Tek Singh). Students from Delhi whose painting was selected or was runner-up had come and talked about the vision behind their painting.
This is 5th year of calendar launch and this year it started its journey from Lahore (1st Jan), Toba Tek Singh (8th Jan), Peshawar (10th Jan) and now scheduled in Delhi on 14th January, in Karachi on 28th January and in Chandigarh on 14th Feb.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is also planning to launch this calendar in Dehradun, Panipat, Mumbai and Kolkata and also across borders of South Asia, in Kyrgyzstan and United States of America. People from all walks of life are expected to participate and eminent speakers will share their thoughts and experiences.