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.
Surat, Gujarat India meets Lahore, Pakistan: Second IndoPak Open Mic
Pakistanis and Indians got a chance to come together virtually as the Aaghaz-e-Dosti organised the 2nd virtual cross-border open mic with Aaghaz-e-dosti Surat, Gujrat team and Aaghaz-e-dosti team Lahore. Open mic was held at Lowkey Lokai, a space that brings together people & community to dialogue and debate issues that are critical for building a peaceful society.
The basic objective of the open mic was an interactive session among Pakistanis and Indians through which art, music and culture could be promoted. Both sides have a notion about the people of other side as strangers and others. Aaghaz-e-dosti has an aim to abolish this ‘otherness’.
Kevin West and Ahsan Aslam from Qaid the band of Lahore initiated the event by singing an Indian song Qurban Hua and Saiyyoun Nee by Junoon Band. Qaid band had outstanding vocals and voice.
The event got pace with a dance performance by Hammad rasheeed, a choreographer and a Kathak dancer also teach at LGS. Hammad has performed more than 100 times in India and Pakistan during the span of last 3 years. He has also choreographed for Pakistan Television, Ajoka Theatre and many other organizations. Hammad did Kathak dance on Raag Bhagraiwaan and Khamaj by Shafqat Ali. This performance fascinated the setting.
As event got rhythm, performances from both the sides were presented turn-by-turn. Mark Xavier, engineering student sang sufi song. Following the Sufi music Joshua Dilawar, a social activist and student of journalism sang Gulabi Ankhain and Taaray Zameen Per. Mohsin, a student of Gender Studies Department, Punjab University did mimickery and both sides were echoing with laughers.
Saddam Hussain from Lahore came up with amazing flute and caught everyone’s attention. Mobeen Ahmad, student of Philosophy from Lahore was another person with flute gave his best.
Zeeshan Sarwar, ended the show by singing a song of peace. Fayyaz, a chemical engineer and member of Aaghaz-e-dosti delivered a poem of his own demanding for peace, humanity and harmony.
Participants appreciated the campaign and this Open Mic event. They were very keen to be invited in such upcoming events of Aaghaz-e-Dosti to promote Peace and tolerance. Participants emphasize that both Governments should replace this conflict and tussle with Peace and harmony. Visa process should be easier, so that people may visit across the border easily one of the participants said that.
The Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a joint initiative of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and Hum Sab Aik Hain (Pakistan), aims to eradicate mutual hatred and suspicion to create unwavering bonds of peace and friendship. They believe that miscommunication and lack of communication has helped sustain the conflict. To meet objective, the Aaghaz-e-Dosti has taken several initiatives ranging from interactive sessions in schools to public demonstrations, from art-based initiatives to writing articles and issuing statements to disseminate the misrepresented voice across the border.
Hum Sab Aik Hain represents Aaghaz-e-Dosti Pakistan; an organization formed by a group of young people based in Lahore. The objective of this organization is to promote peace and harmony among the masses by highlighting, advocating and organizing towards discourses and movements to bring about socio-political and the economic changes required for a peaceful society.
Cross-Border Experience: Mapping the Difference..
by Devika Mittal (India)
I was in Lahore and was staying with my friend Madhavi (Bansal) in a guest house. One evening, I was waiting for my friend Namra (Nasir) as we had planned to go to her place. There was a power cut and so I decided to go outside and wait near the gate. The guest house had 3 people to take care of it. One of them was a young fellow. He offered me a chair to sit. I thanked and struck a conversation with him. I asked him where he is from and he mentioned a place. I asked him how far it is from Lahore. He said, it is about two hours. He, in turn, asked me where I am from. I said, I am from Delhi.
As I spoke the word, his eyes widened and he was shocked. I found it surprising because when I and my friend had arrived at the guest house which was provided to us by our hosts, they had informed the people who took care of the house about us. So i assumed that he would have also known but it turned out he didn’t. He asked me again, “Aap Hindustan se aaye ho?” (You have come from India?)
He then asked me questions around my experience here. One of his last questions was, “Aapka ghar yaha se kitni durr hai?” (How far is your home from this place?)
Devika Mittal is a research student from India. She is the convener-India of Aaghaz-e-Dosti. She tweets at @devikasmittal