Category Archives: Articles
Research finds that majority of Indian and Pakistani youth desires peace; want a more responsible media
by Jan Sher Khan
An Independent research undertaken by Jan Sher Khan who is an M.Phil Media student at University of Central Punjab, Lahore undertook a research on the opinion of Indians and Pakistanis on cross-border peace, its potential, challenges and on social media as a tool for peace journalism. Following is the report of the research.
After almost 75 years of independence, Pakistan and India are still at bars when it comes to peace building. The hostile and mistrust relations between the political and military of both countries causes an impact on peace building process between common people. The media works as a spokesperson to the peace or war policy set by the state institutions. There are many independent platforms who are working for peace between the two countries mostly run by youth. The large part of population in both countries comprises of youth. Both countries invests a large share of their GDP on defense due to hostile relations and obviously because of Kashmir issue, the prime reason. Both countries own nuclear weapons which is threatening for the peace of the entire region. We the people of sub-continent cannot afford war because it will push us to back age. Peace is the only option we have now but media in both countries trying their best to manipulate youth minds for the establishment of state agenda. The independent peace building has many restrictions on state level because it will harm their agenda of concern. So, the independent peace builders left with only one source and that is social media. Social media is independent source of interaction and sharing information. Through social media we can have true representation of other side free of any filters and agenda.
In order to understand how the youth in India and Pakistan perceive cross-border peacebuilding, a survey study is conducted in which young population between 14 to 29 age from both India and Pakistan participated. A series of closed ended questions presented to them which they answered. They were being asked about what they think about youth capability of changing hate narrative, the peace process between two countries, the social media importance in this regard and various questions related to this. Following are few results:
|Table no 1.0: Youth Capability of changing hate narrative between two countries|
The above table clearly shows that 92% of Pakistani males and 82% Pakistanis females think that youth is capable of changing hate narrative while 100% of Indian males and 75% Indian females think they are capable of doing that.
|Table no 2.0: Indo-Pak peace necessity for regional peace|
|Number||Percentage %||Number||Percentage %|
Table 2.0 shows 93% Pakistanis and 95% Indians think Indo-Pak peace is necessary for the integrity of whole South Asian region. This table clearly highlights the youth mentality regarding importance of peace in these two countries.
|Table no 3.0: Peace Building Platforms importance in voiding misconceptions|
|Number||Percentage %||Number||Percentage %|
Table 3.0 shows 72% of Pakistanis and 70% of Indians think peace building platforms can help in voiding misconceptions which prevails among the people of both countries. Only 5% Indians and 14% Pakistanis negates the importance peace building platforms.
|Table no 4.0: Social media as a source of Peace building|
|Number||Percentage %||Number||Percentage %|
Table 4.0 shows that 84% of Pakistanis and 76% of Indians think social can be used as a source of peace building between two nations. Only 5% Pakistanis and 3% of Indians said no to social media importance regarding peace building while other remains neutral.
|Table no 5.0: Negligence of mainstream media interests in peace building|
|Number||Percentage %||Number||Percentage %|
Table 5.0 shows that 68% of males of both India and Pakistan think that the mainstream media in both countries have no interests in peace building. On the other hand 61% females came in favor of the statement that mainstream media disinterested in peace building process of India and Pakistan. A large female proportion of 39% remained neutral on this.
|Table no 6.0: Government restrictions in people to people interaction|
|Number||Percentage %||Number||Percentage %|
Table 6.0 shows that 79% of Pakistanis and 68% of Indians think that Government in their respective countries impose restrictions in people to people interaction. Only 7% Pakistanis and 8% Indians negates it while 14% Pakistanis and 37% Indians remained neutral.
|Table no 7.0: Peace Building is difficult in both countries|
|Number||Percentage %||Number||Percentage %|
Table no 7.0 shows interesting results as 49% of Pakistanis and 38% of Indians think that peace building is a difficult process in both countries. A majority of Indians which is 46% negates this statement and think peace building is not difficult while 37% Pakistanis also second this.
|Table no 8.0: Social media is the only source left for peace builders|
Table no 8.0 shows that 55% of Indians and Pakistanis think that social media is not the only source left for the peace builders while 30% think that the social media is the only source left for the peace building. The other 15% remained neutral.
|Table no 9.0: Justification of labelling Peace builders as traitors|
Table 9.0 shows that 59% of Indians and Pakistanis think it is not justified to label peace makers or builders of both countries as traitors. Only 20% said that it is justified while only 21% respondents remained neutral on this.
|Table no 10: Peace Building between the two countries is a long process|
Table no 10 shows that the 74% of Indians and Pakistanis think that the peace building is a long process in India and Pakistan whereas 18% denied this statement. Only 9% remained neutral on this stance.
|Table no 11: Issues of Common man are same in both countries|
Table no 11 shows that the 85% of respondents from both countries think that the issues of common man are same in India and Pakistan. 5% denied this while only 10% remained neutral to this point.
From the above findings we can say that the youth in both countries knows the importance of peace in their respective nations. They knows how government becomes barrier among people to people interaction and how this peace process become complex. The youth of both countries have clear thoughts when it comes to integrity of whole region which relies on Indo-Pak peace. Peace building is difficult in these countries but the issues of public are of same interests which can help them to coordinate with each other for better understanding and opportunities. Social media can emerge as source of peace building with its uninterrupted dimensions and independent interaction policies. Peace builders can play an important role in this regard because they know how to face criticism due to their peaceful nature which may cause problem to trouble makers in the both countries. There are high hopes that youth of both countries have capability of voiding these misconceptions through peace building and interaction with each other.
Jan Sher Khan is a Pakistan-based M.Phil student, peace activist and a researcher on social issues.
Call for Stories of Friendship, Love and Nostalgia: “Beyond the Borders” Initiative by Lighthouse South Asia
Lighthouse Storytelling’s South Asian chapter is starting it’s open call for contributions to their Indo-Pak campaign ‘Beyond the Borders’: a project aimed at promoting friendship, love and unity between the people of India and Pakistan. They wish to showcase these stories in the form of creative narratives: whether written, visual or spoken, in an effort to celebrate our connections across borders.
As an official collaborator to Lighthouse South Asia’s campaign, Aaghaz-e-Dosti invites you to contribute to this initiative through submitting your story via the form https://forms.gle/G5SN2UY2xuQru8AD9
If you wish to contribute in a different way, apart from written submissions, we also look forward to spoken word presentations (audio or video), interview/podcast sessions, video documentary/story and other art forms centred around the same theme of unity between the two countries. If you need help in documenting your story, we are here to help! (Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The only area to exclude is going in depth about political, religious or other controversial topics as that is not the only side we are trying to portray, otherwise engaging and insightful discussions are welcome.
For further questions you may contact the heads of the campaign at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Aaghaz-e-Dosti at email@example.com
We look forward to receiving your stories!
Indo- Pak teacher-student duo collaborate on dance for peace
DUBAI: A dubai-based teacher-student duo have collaborated over a dance to promote peace among Indians and Pakistani’s across the globe. The artists, along with their team, urge nationals to celebrate the unity in diversity between both nations and call for netizens to be kind in their choice of words when dealing with members of the neighbouring country.
The “Dance for Peace 2020” is being released ahead of the 74th Independence Day of both countries. The idea was conceptualized by Desiree’ Francis, a former Pakistani radio presenter and marketer In Dubai. She has been closely related to Indo-Pak peace projects since 2008, with dance for peace being the second-of-its-type initiative in Dubai.
“Due to the Covid-19 scenario, I was a little apprehensive about the idea, however, when I approached my dance teacher Akshay for this, he was all up for the idea and took it up whole heartedly and suggested ways to do it limiting the number of people and keeping safe distancing and protocols in mind,” she said.
Akshay Dhoke is the co-founder and Head Choreographer of The Buzz Dance Studio (TBDS) in Dubai. He along with his partner Preeti Gadkary took up the cause of Dance for Peace the moment it was discussed with them.
“We welcome children and adults of all nationalities at our dance school. Music and dance for us is about an emotional connection that we aim to build in our students with the art. We don’t support any form of discrimination and inculcate values of kindness and tolerance, which I believe, is a must for any artist,” Preeti said.
The initiative The team also comprised editors Rocky Panesar and Sohail Khan of Super Dancer and The Kapil Sharma Show fame from Mumbai, India along with Majo Joy (performer) , Abul Basar (vlogger), Jasmine Saroia (makeup) , Ishan Modi and Sarfaraz Ahmed (support team) and Lenu Thomas (digital artist).
Sohail says, “I joined hands with Desiree aka Dj Dez on this because as an Indian, I am very loyal to my country but that in no way means that I should be unpleasant in my dealing with people of any other country. Respect for other human beings is important.”
It is also supported by Aman Ki Asha and Aaghaz-e- Dosti.
Aman Ki Asha is a campaign jointly started by two leading media houses, The Jang Group of Pakistan, and The Times of India in India. The campaign aims for mutual peace and development of diplomatic and cultural relations between the two nations in South Asia. It was established on 1 January 2010.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti was started in 2012 and it encourages volunteers to work for peace, particularly through peace education in both countries.
No entities charged any money in collaborating for this video.
Watch Video HERE
Maana hain, lakeerein sarahad par…..
ना खींचो उनको, इन दिलो पर, इन्हे, लकीरे ही रहने दो…
बहने दो, प्यार की जेहलम, इन्हे बांधो ना, सरहद पर
बनने दो, सुगम पंजनद, इन्हे बांटो ना, सरहद पर
इन अमन के, परिंदो को, गगन में, उड़ने दो
ना रोको, इनकी हवाएं, इनको ना, सरहद दो…
माना कटे, हम भी , और कटे हो, तुम भी
चल मिटाये, वो दूरिया, और अब ना, इन्हे बढ़ने दो…
कभी आये, तू मेरे सावन में, कभी जाऊ, मैं तेरे आँगन में
खेले तू, मेरे संग, मैं खेलु, तेरे संग
अमन का लगा के रंग, इन रंगो को बिखरने दो…
सत्तर बरस, क्यों हम पाले ये बैर
अब तल्ख, क्यों हम बने बैठे गैर
एक दूजे को, एक दूजे से मिलने दो
करवाहट को मिठास में बदलने दो…
मजहब की आग में, और ना अपनों को, जलने दो
अब और, राजनीती की रोटियां
इनपे, ना सखने दो…
माना बंटे हम, मजहब पर
पर हम में एक रंग, लहू बहने दो
ना तोको इन्हें, हम में बहने से
इन्हें एकदूजे में घुलने दो …
मैं चखु, तेरी सिवई की मिठास
तू चखे, मेरी गुजिया की मिठास
इस ओर भी, उस ओर भी
ना रोको उसे, सतलज से मिलने से
ना तोको इन्हें, एकदूजे से खेलने से
एक सी हवा, बहने दो
आग़ाज़-ए- दोस्ती को
मुकमल होने दो…
अब तो, इन हवाओ में
इन परिंदों को
देने भी दो…
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.
Pakistani girl’s dreams turn into reality – with some help from Indian company
Shifa is like any other girl – a life full of joy, dreams, goals and a passion for doing something. After the death of her grandmother (dadi ammi) whom she loved a lot, she would often see her in her dreams where her dadi would talk to her and share a few memories of India.
In 2018, Shifa, who was a chemist by qualification and loved to indulge in social welfare, thought she should try her hand at a small business. This is where her real journey started – she learnt that establishing a business is always more difficult than the daily routine of a job.
But since she was ready to take on the challenge, she started exploring ideas based on her own observations and calculations such as the risks involved, cash flow, need for a certain type of business, capital involved etc. Like any other entrepreneur would do.
The idea of opening her own laundry instantly clicked and she started working towards it. When she talked to her friends and family, most of them rejected the idea, mainly because she had no experience of a washing business. Shifa narrates:
“In 2018, mujhe business ka junoon tha. Laundry start karney ka idea aya. Hoon to mein chemist and social worker. Par ek dam sey yeh idea aya to bas sab ne bohat sunai, guide karna to door ki baat hai. Mein subha se raat tak laundry companies ko mails bhejti thi. But no response.”
But Shifa did not give up hope and instead became ever more determined to take up the challenge and make all the effort she could to bring her idea to life. She looked up all the laundry businesses on the internet and started writing them e-mails for guidance. She did not even count the number of emails she had sent. While she didn’t receive any response to her mails, she did not feel defeated and sent more emails to more companies.
Her effort bore some fruit when she received a surprise response to one of her emails. But wait! This reply was from an Indian company! And they were ready to guide her on how to open a laundry business. Shifa started taking tips from WashApp, the Indian company, collected resources locally and, finally, succeeded in opening her own laundry in Faisalabad, Pakistan.
She says, “Ek din meri aankh khuli and I saw an email from India. One of the biggest companies in India. After that daily unn se baat hoti thi and they guided me at every single step.”
While narrating her story to Aaghaz-e-Dosti, she says that the entire process sounds like a dream and makes her so happy. She believes that people living on the other side of the border have a good heart and we just need to stretch our hands towards each other to become united. She said “I wish ke mein sab ko bata sakoon ke border key uss paar bhi hum jaise log baste hain jo hum se pyar karty hain bas hath barhanay ki dair hai. Ek bar koshish to keejiye.”
Aaghaz-e-Dosti learnt that her business started with providing laundry services initially to domestic users and students, but after positive feedback and trustworthy relationship with customers, it has grown significantly into a firm, called WashHub, and now provides services to industries, hospitals, restaurants and many other commercial users.
She never forgets to say thank you to the Indian company that guided her about how to set up her own laundry.
Her message to young entrepreneurs is:
“Never give up on what you really want to do. Anyone with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.”
(Send your Indo-Pak stories, experiences, poems, travel blogs, articles etc at firstname.lastname@example.org to publish with us)
With an unknown traveler in London, I didn’t realize we were from different countries
During my visit to London in Feb 2016, I was very friendly with a young Sialkot native Nadeem ( Name changed) who was very close friend of my host at London Atul Jain and both were colleagues at a big mobile store at South Hall. They used to have good time together on Sundays.
I found Nadeem a very lively and emotional person, who was too attached with his family based at Sialkot and used to send most of his earnings to his native place. He was the sole bread earner of the family.
He felt happy with my company on that Sunday and desired if he can get a good Pakistani life partner at London only. He had a second wish that to get married at his village in Sialkot only. He specifically invited me to his village to attend his marriage. Those were touchy moments for me!!!
On the very next day, on South Hall railway station when I was waiting to board a local train, happened to meet a Punjabi young girl and we both start talking in Punjabi. I was with a wrong impression that all the South Hall area belongs exclusively to Punjabi Sikhs so start talking with the girl in Punjabi with an impression that she is from my country, a sikh girl. And with a similar thought, she was thinking me a Pakistani Punjabi, how funny !!
After few minutes of conversation, I asked her where from she hails in Punjab ? She simply said from Lahore and immediately countered, where are you hail from uncle ( I was 58 that time). I told him that from Bombay but once was resident of Ludhiana so speaks fluent Punjabi. She was Asifa ( Name changed). We both were full of laugh as she found me an Indian Punjabi and I found her a Pakistani Punjabi !!!
I was moving to see Windsor Palace and incidentally, our travel route was same. Obviously we sit together and during journey she shared with me that her father died leaving behind her mom and her alone at Lahore. They were 3 sisters and sadly no brother. Her two elder sisters were married at London only and by those contacts, she managed to reach London and found a job at a Petrol station. Her mother was living alone at Lahore and like Nadeem, she was the only bread earner for her aged mother.
She had a desired if she could get married with a young Paki Punjabi boy at London, then will get a chance to settle there and will call her mother too at London. She was having a very noble thought that all 3 sisters can fully take care their aged mother at London.
Immediately I was strike with a great idea that why both Nadeem and Asifa should get married as both are looking for a life partner, both are Paki Punjabis, both young and both stay at South Hall.
I frankly put that proposal of Nadeem before her and she was very much keen to have a meeting and gave me her mobile number to let have a talk with Nadeem and then a meeting.
I left London, enquired and found that both Nadeem and Asifa had two meetings but I was sad to know, their marriage could not be performed because of some personal reasons. My whole efforts went futile. But somewhere in the heart, I was satisfied that I tried my best to get united both Pakies for their whole life as was highly impressed that both were too much concern about their families at Pakistan.
I was told Nadeem is still looking for a bride, used to remember me and I am eagerly waiting for his invitation of Sialkot….
Adishwar Kumar Jain is a renowned collage artist of India who exhibited paintings in all leading art galleries in India and abroad. He holds the post of Vice President of Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India. He is also serving as the Sr. Vice President in a textile company of Mumbai.
(Picture of South Hall Station in blog is representative image from internet site Hubpages)
Announcement: Aaghaz-e-Dosti Invites Paintings for 8th Indo-Pak Peace Calendar
Aaghaz-e-Dosti, an Indo-Pak friendship initiative launches an Indo-Pak Peace calendar every year. This calendar is a collection of selected paintings of school students from Pakistan and India and is launched along with a seminar in several cities in both countries. It also carries messages from renowned personalities working on the issue from both the countries.
This will be the 8th calendar. We have received great response for this calendar in the last 7 years. We have received paintings from students and schools in different cities of India and Pakistan and from non-resident Indians and Pakistanis. The calendars have been launched in Delhi, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nashik, Panipat and Surat in India, in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Toba Tek Singh in Pakistan, and in Kyrgyz Republic, USA and Sweden.
We invite paintings from students of India and Pakistan. Students can participate individually or through school. Indian and Pakistani students studying in other countries are also invited. Twelve paintings, six from each country, will be selected.
Rules and Guidelines:
- Theme: Indo-Pak Friendship
- Students of class VI to XII are invited to take part.
- A-4 Paper size, no spiral sheet
- Students should write their name, class, school name, email ID, mobile no. and painting description/caption on the back/reverse side of the painting
- The painting should be original
- Students whose paintings will be selected will get certificate, calendar, and a token of appreciation. All participating students and schools will get certificates. Names of participating schools will appear on the calendar.
As a preventive measure, we request you to kindly inform the students to take care of the design of the maps and flags of the two countries. The paintings which will not follow the above-mentioned guidelines will not be considered. The deadline for the submission of paintings is 15th October 2019*
*Please note that Date is extended till 17th Nov 2019
A report of last seven years of Peace Calendar: A Report Seven Years of Peace Calendar
Procedure for Submission
- Email scanned copies at email@example.com
Submission of Paintings till: 17 Nov 2019
Announcement of Selected Paintings: Before 25 Dec 2019
Calendar Launch Events: Start from January 2020
Press Release: Aaghaz-e-Dosti denounces war hysteria, welcomes Abhinandan
Aaghaz-e-Dosti denounces war hysteria, welcomes Abhinandan
At a time when the relationship between India and Pakistan are dismal and there is a fierce culture of war mongering, we, Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a citizen diplomacy initiative appeals for peace and sanity. Through our work among the people, we assert that people on both sides demand and deserve peace. These recent happenings based on hostility and aggression have claimed the lives of soldiers who serve their country, protect it, affected the people living near the border and has also aggravated the hostility much beyond the border. It has become severe with a war hysteria that endangers the entire subcontinent.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti denounces any talk of war. War claims lives of the innocent, soldiers and civilians like, drains economies and only works to push back countries, their development. It is an impractical and even as ineffective step for a permanent solution. We believe that diplomatic and political engagements may not only prevent any war or war like situation, but would also bring fruitful results in terms of resolving conflicts.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti appeals with prime minister of India and prime minister of Pakistan to take immediate steps to prevent any further escalation and to take steps for peace and dialogue. In this regard, we also thank the Pakistan Government for releasing IAF pilot Abhinandan. We see it as a step of political maturity and in favor of the people of both countries.
Being an initiative that works mostly through peace education, Aaghaz-e-Dosti believe that any positive step from both sides would be welcomed wholeheartedly by people on both sides and this would not only result in to an instant step of peace, but will also be much meaningful when it will be looked in history as this step would ensure confidence of both prime ministers in a hopeful future, a future that would be safer, saner, free from violence and so a future of prosperity.
We believe that it can be done and governments on both sides are completely capable to do this. We believe that talking peace and taking actions for peace may be difficult than talking war, but would be more stable and notable.
An Indo-Pak Friendship Initiative
When Indians arranged movie tickets for three Pakistanis in Bombay..
Adishwar Kumar Jain, aged 60 years is from Mumbai. Recently, he was watching the famous bollywood film Henna and was reminded of a beautiful incident that goes back to 1991 which he is proud to have been part of. He writes,
“I was on a business trip of Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1991 from Ludhiana (Punjab) when this film Henna was released. It was super hit on the box office and I too went to see the film in Metro talkies of Bombay. Despite of heavy rush, managed to get a ticket for me in black. That time 3 young men came to me and asked for 3 tickets and told they are from Pakistan and do serve in merchant navy. Their ship was parked near Bombay and they took special permission from the captain to see the movie Heena in which Pakistani girl Jeba Bakhtiyar acted as a heroine. It was very embarrassing situation for me to listen all that and start thinking about how to arrange 3 tickets for these Pakistanis. I offered my single ticket to them but they denied as this was not going to solve their problem.
Suddenly I shouted to the huge crowd that 3 Pakistani guests are there and they specially came to see that movie so please arrange 3 tickets for them. To my pleasant surprise, with in minutes at least 20 persons gathered around those young men, shook hands with them and offered their tickets to them. Even few were with their families.
I was just stunned to see the love of common Indian nationals for the Pakistani these nationals. With in no time, 3 tickets were handed over to them and no money was even accepted.
One in the crowd said “Hum to kal dekh lenge par hamare Pakistani bhaeeyon ko aaj hi film dikhayengay….”
In addition, I found that during the interval, people were presenting them with the chips packets and sandwiches etc. They were so happy and were too emotional seeing the love from the Indian people for them.
I still remember this incident which was very touching and that day I realized that how much love the people do with each other of these “Enemy” countries. I always pray for the day when there will be no borders and that Frontier mail (Now Golden Temple Express starts from Bombay) will again run between Bombay to Frontier province and I will go to Peshawar to see the house of Dileep Kumar Sahab (Yusuf Khan).”
Adishwar Kumar Jai is a renowned collage artist of India who has exhibited paintings in all leading art galleries in India and abroad. He holds the post of Vice President of Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India. He is also serving as the Sr. Vice President in a textile company of Mumbai.