Peace Calendar 2020 Released by Aaghaz-e-Dosti
11 JAN/2020/ New Delhi
Aaghaz-e-Dosti launched the 8th Indo-Pak Peace Calendar at New Delhi. An Indo-Pak Friendship Initiative, Aaghaz-e-Dosti works towards fostering people to people relations between India and Pakistan. This calendar is a collection of selected paintings of Pakistani and Indian school students along with messages from 12 renowned persons from both countries who favor Indo-Pak Peace. This year, peace calendar carries messages of Ela Gandhi (Peace activist, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi), T. C. A. Raghavan (Former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan), Swati Parashar (Professor in Peace and Development Studies in University of Gothenburg, Sweden), Fr. Jospeh Kalathil S. J. (Peace activist, better known as postman priest), Jayesh Patel (Peace activist), and Sagarika Ghose (Senior journalist) from India along with Azra Talat Sayeed (Activist, Chairperson-International Womens’ Alliance, Pakistan), Salman Rashid (Writer), Farhatullah Babar (Former senator and member of HRCP), Bushra Gohar (Human rights activist and former parliamentarian), Raoof Hasan (Founder and chief executive of Regional Peace Institute) and Nida Kirmani (Feminist, Faculty at LUMS) from Pakistan.
At a time when Indo-Pak relations are turbulent and facing an ebb and tide journey between the political establishments on both sides, students of Pakistan and India have expressed their desire for peace through this calendar. We need to recognise this demand from the young community of both countries, where youth forms majority of the population, and their secure, safe, and peaceful future should be a prime agenda of both governments.
Devika Mittal, convener of Aaghaz-e-Dosti in India explained the importance of the calendar as a collection of shared dreams and hopes for friendship which we will be reminded of every day. This year, Aaghaz-e-Dosti received paintings from schools from Phaghwara, Ludhiana, Lucknow, Mumbai, Dehradun, Delhi, Bangalore, Vadodara in India and from Karachi, Lahore and Khyber Pakhthunkwa (KPK) in Pakistan. Besides these 12 winners, Aaghaz-e-Dosti also shortlisted 12 paintings as “runner-up paintings”.
As part of the program, a panel discussion on the topic ‘Sharing of hopes for a peaceful co-existence’ was also. While speaking on the occasion, Swami Agnivesh, said, “You will be a Hindu or a Muslim that is not pre-decided. What has been pre-decided is that you will be a human and humanity is what your religion shall be. I hope you stay away from all hatred and get all the happiness you deserve.”
Joseph Kalathil S J said, “What exactly Aaghaz-e-Dosti is doing by publishing this calendar is removing the ‘barbed wire fencing ‘ from the hearts of people. Students who drew these pictures remove the barbed wire fence of prejudices and enmity from their hearts, the parents and teachers who encourage the students, remove the separation from their hearts, hundreds of well-wishers who appreciate the pictures remove the separation from their hearts, thus slowly paving the way for peace and friendship between, the peace loving people of India and Pakistan.”
Sushobha Barve said, “I consider myself a South Asian. I am committed to building bridges of trust and friendships with all our neighbours including Pakistan. We must reject the vocabulary of hate and distrust and adopt instead winning friends through open minds, hearts and love as our national motto.
Radha Bhatt said, “Peace is a common desire and with these paintings by students from both sides one can see that how beautifully they see our tomorrow. We should reach out to these students and we should make our best efforts to achieve their dreams and to contribute in making this world more peaceful.”
Air Vice Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak asserted the need for initiating constant efforts to create a culture of peace and democracy among the people of both the countries.
While moderating, Pragya Narang, a regional coordinator of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, talked about the other activities of the initiative during the last seven years, emphasizing on the need to create a culture of democracy and faith in dialogue among the people of both the countries.
Talking more about Aaghaz-e-Dosti, Ravi Nitesh informed that Aaghaz-e-Dosti has given peace trainings to more than 10000 students and youth through Aman Chaupals (peace sessions), video conferencing sessions connecting classrooms of India and Pakistan (Indo-Pak Classroom Connect) that facilitates interaction between students of the two countries. Aaghaz-e-Dosti also conducts exchange of letters and cards between students of India and Pakistan and had exhibited these letters at the renowned Faiz Ghar (house of Faiz Ahmed Faiz) in Lahore.
Many eminent persons like educationist C. Raja Mohan, Supreme court advocate Ram Mohan Rai, Secretary General of South Asian Fraternity Satyapal, Activist Khurshid Reshi, NYP Coordinator Sanjay Rai, Youth activists Mushtaq ul Haq, Akhtar Hussain, Mubashir Malik, Suresh Yadav, Neelanjan Chakraborty and others were present.
In previous years, Aaghaz-e-Dosti received messages from Dr. S. N. Subbarao (veteran gandhian, founder NYP, Kamla Bhasin (renowned feminist activist) Dr. Syeda Hameed (former member planning Commission), Major General Ashok K. Mehta, Dr. Shashi Tharoor (Member of Parliarment), Air Vice Marshall (Retd.) Kapil Kak, Sudheendra Kulkarni (former aide to late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee), Dr. Kavita Sharma (President- South Asian University) Late. Shri Kuldip Nayyar , Shailja Kejriwal (film producer) Tara Gandhi (granddaughter of mahatma Gandhi) Admiral Ramdas, Prof. M. S. Swaminathan (Father of Green Revolution) from India and Dr. Pervez Hoodhboy (scientist, activist), Raza Rumi (senior journalistand author) Beena Sarwar (filmmaker and activist, editor- Aman ki Asha), Sheema Kermani (founder Tehreek-e-Niswan), Dr. Salima Hashmi (renowned artist, daughter of Faiz Ahmad Faiz), Lt. Gen. Muhammad Masood Alam, Dr. I. A. Rehman (activist, Magsaysay awardee), Khadim Hussain (Bacha Khan Trust), Dr. Mubashir Hasan (Veteran Politician) Dr. Mubarak Ali (Pakistani historian), and Imtiaz Alam (Secretary-General, SAFMA) from Pakistan.
Keep it up. Peace efforts need to be kept alive any way.A vast majority of common people on both sides are desirous live in an normal friendly environment. .