Selected and Shortlisted Paintings for 10th Indo-Pak Peace Calendar
The Indo-Pak Peace calendar is an annual initiative of Aaghaz-e-Dosti. It brings together beautiful artistic
expressions of the youth – the leaders of tomorrow – and inspiring words of those who
have been actively engaged in nurturing a more prosperous subcontinent. The calendar
aims to work as an everyday reminder of the similarities among people across the
barbed wires– in habit, struggle, and the desire for peace.
This is our tenth calendar. Like every year, we received thought-provoking expressions
from students of several cities in India and Pakistan. And like every year, it was a
challenge to select only twelve paintings, as we firmly believe that each and every
expression is precious. However, in addition to these 12 paintings, we also shortlist 12 more paintings.
- Aadhyaa Ayodhikaa, DAV Public School, Cuttack, Odisha (India)
- Aarya Prasad Sahu – Gyan Mandir Public School, Delhi (India)
- Dhunn – Police DAV Public School, Ludhiana, Punjab (India)
- Gauri Vijay Ghanwat – Kamala Nimbkar Balbhavan, Sitara, Maharashtra (India)
- Mehakjot Kaur – BCM Arya Model Sr Sec School, Shastri Nagar, Ludhiana, Punjab (India)
- Zeba Yusuf Patel – Matoshri English Medium School, Pune, Maharashtra (India)
- Ayesha Iftikhar, Lahore Grammar School I – Shah Jamal, Lahore (Pakistan)
- Haniya Waseem – Ismail Academy, Karachi (Pakistan)
- Mauhib Ghulam Murtaza – The AMI School, Karachi (Pakistan)
- Rida Siddique – Jamshed Memorial School, Karachi (Pakistan)
- Subbuh Shafiq – DMC East Govt Girls Secondary School, Karachi (Pakistan)
- Umm-e-Maryam Ameen – Ismail Academy, Karachi (Pakistan)
- Julie Hemram – PYDS Learning Academy, Dehradun, Uttarakhand (India)
- Manharleen Kaur – DAV Public School, Amritsar, Punjab (India)
- Priyani Makasare – Late Anantrao Pawar Memorial English Medium School, Pune, Maharashtra (India)
- Siddhi Prasad – Laxmi Nagar Mumbai Public School, Mumbai, Maharashtra (India)
- Simran – Police DAV Public School, Ludhiana, Punjab (India)
- Ujefa Kivande – Matoshri English Medium School, Pune, Maharashtra (India)
- Akhshara – Jamshed Memorial School, Karachi (Pakistan)
- Amna – DMC East Girls & Boys Elementary School No. JT-33, Karachi (Pakistan)
- Bisma Farooq – DMC East Government Quaid e Azam English Medium School Campus-I, Karachi (Pakistan)
- Fazal Ullah – Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust School, Lahore (Pakistan)
- Maliha Gul – Happy Home Secondary School, Karachi (Pakistan)
- Mysha – Happy Home Secondary School, Karachi (Pakistan)
We thank all the participating schools/institutions and students for contributing to this
Results Announced: 8th Indo-Pak Peace Calendar
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is glad to announce results of selected and shortlisted paintings that will be displayed in this year’s peace calendar.
8th Peace calendar is now scheduled to be released on 11th January 2020 (Timing 6 to 8 PM) at India International Centre (Seminar Hall II & III, Kamladevi Block), Lodi Road, New Delhi.
Like every year, this was again a very difficult year to decide best paintings among all available beautiful paintings. You would believe that expressions of students in all paintings were quite emotional and colors of love, imagination, peace were filled in those. This selection was done through a process wherein primary screening was made by group members through providing points on each painting without letting them know name, class and schools. Secondary process was done where public votes were also invited. Both results made combined and put with core team members who decided final selections. Names and class and schools are being announced here now.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti also express its sincere thanks to all the schools and their faculties who motivated students to participate in this painting submission. We are also thankful to parents and families who definitely create an environment where their children can learn things that can contribute in making them as a more responsible citizen and in creating a more peaceful society.
We would also like to inform that as we receive many paintings and we use only total 24 paintings (12 selected and 12 shortlisted) in peace calendars, Aaghaz-e-Dosti team also intends to utilize all other paintings too to provide an opportunity and visibility to expression of other students also and in the year 2020, we would bring few such innovations.
Keep participating and keep expressing your thoughts through paintings, poems, stories etc. if it can foster Indo-Pak Peace and strengthen people to people relations. Aaghaz-e-Dosti is all yours and its platform is always available for all of you to write, share, create, participate and lead for Aaghaz-e-Dosti.
All the best and see you all in our scheduled peace calendar launch.
Runner-up Paintings: India
Medha Naveen , Class 6, Sishu Griha High School, Banglaore
Vikas Pal, Class 12, PYDS Learning Academy, Dehradoon
Avnee Singh, Class 11, Ecole Mondiale World School,Mumbai
Shrey Thaper, Class 7, Swami Sant Dass Public School, Pahwara, Punjab
Sirjan K., Class 7, Swami Sant Dass Public School, Phagwara, Punjab
Nisha Khandelwal, Class 10, Gujrat Public School, Altadara, Vadodra, Gujrat
Runner-up Paintings- Pakistan
Mahnoor Yousuf, Class 7, The Smart School (Al-Hasan Campus),Karachi
Fatima Imran Malik, Class 8, Lahore Grammar School, Middle Section for Girls,
Johar Town, Lahore
Muhammad Abdullah Amin, Class 7, Lahore Grammar School, Middle Section for Boys, Johar Town, Lahore
Syed Ali Bukhari, Class 8, Lahore Grammar School, Middle Section for Boys,
Johar Town, Lahore
Ashkab Zaman, Class 7, Bacha Khan School, Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunwa
Quratulain, Class 6, Bacha Khan School, Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunwa
Selected Paintings: INDIA
Kamaldeep Kaur, Class 11, DRV DAV Centenary Public School, Phillaur, Jalandhar- Punjab
Anjna, Class 12, Gyan Mandir Public School, Delhi
Ananya Agarwal, Class 12, The British School, New Delhi
Jasleen Kaur, Class 11, Police D A V Public School, Ludhiana, Punjab
Shefali Dash, Class 10, Sishu Griha High School
Vikhyat Singh, Class 10, Hoerner College, Mahanagar, Lucknow
Selected Paintings : PAKISTAN
Areeba Akbar, Class 10, The Smart School (Al-Hasan Campus),Karachi
Aliza Asif, Class 8, Lahore Grammar School, Middle Section for Girls, Johar Town, Lahore
Hassan Amiruddin Ansari, Class 8, Lahore Grammar School, Middle Section for Boys, Johar Town, Lahore
Ebaad, Class 7, Lahore Grammar School, Middle Section for Boys, Johar Town, Lahore
Uzair, Class 6, Bacha Khan School, Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunwa
Raja Muhammad Wajid, Class 7, Lahore Grammar School, Middle Section for Boys,Johar Town, Lahore
Students and faculties from Indian side are invited to attend the event and to receive their certificates and token of appreciation during the program in Delhi.
Students and faculties from Pakistan side will be informed to attend the event in Pakistan as soon as schedule will be fixed for program. They will receive their certificates and token of appreciation during the program.
All students/faculties are requested to check spellings of their names and other information such as class and school. In case of any correction, please bring this to our notice as soon as possible as your certificates and all other reports, media release etc. will carry the above details.
All students/faculties from Indian side are requested to reach on time and in case of any query, kindly contact with Mr. Ravi Nitesh at 9958907799.
Delhi Calendar Launch: 11 JAN 2020, 6 PM, India International Centre
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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
Indian and Pakistani students sing songs, celebrate birthday and wish for a peaceful future: 14th IndoPak Classroom Connect
Indian and Pakistani students sing songs, celebrate birthday and wish for a peaceful future: 14th IndoPak Classroom Connect
Surat/Karachi: Amid the turbulent political relations between the two countries, people on both sides still looked for ways to build bridges to remove enmity and to break stereotypes as a process of peacebuilding. In its line of peacebuilding through programs of peace education in schools across Pakistan and India, Aaghaz-e-Dosti organised its 14th “Classroom to Classroom connect” program between students of Karachi city of Pakistan and Surat city of India on 5th May 2018.
This classroom connect program was conducted in collaboration with Akhil Hind Mahila Parishad, Bruhad Surat branch from the Indian side and L2L (Learn to Learn), a Karachi-based commercial alternative school from Pakistan side. This classroom connection program connected around 150 students. On the Indian side, students were participants of summer camp in the centre while in Pakistan, students were participants of an activity learning school. The session was coordinated by Sagar Papneja of Aaghaz-e-Dosti Surat Chapter and Adnan Kudiya, a Karachi-based educator and activist working with #MainBolunGa, a social cause from Pakistan.
Before the connection was initiated, students on the Indian side were asked for their opinion about the neighbor country and they voiced some of the stereotypes and misconceptions. When asked for the source of their knowledge, they said parents, movies, and news. The coordinators gave them an analogy that they choose their own best friends and that their parents never tell them whom to befriend so then why shouldn’t they apply it here, in this case? They should choose their own friends and even foes by analyzing, talking to them and then deciding. They agreed.
The session began with national anthems of both the nations. It was followed by a discussion on summer vacations. The students interacted for an hour and asked questions about favorite food, movie actors, songs, school vacations, and much more only to realize that on both the sides everything was same.
During the session, students of both sides revealed their likes and dislikes and found that both sides loved many things similar. An Indian student asked to Pakistani students ‘Who is your favorite hero?’. Pakistani students replied ‘Fawad Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Salman Khan’. Then Indian student wondered ‘Fawad Khan! Tiger Shroff! they all are our favorites as well’. Another Indian student named Jhanvi asked ‘Karachi me kya famous hai?’ for which she got reply from a Pakistani student ‘Karachi ko city of lights kehte hain’ to which all Indian students became happy and eager to know more.
Then both sides together found that they both love faluda dessert, Afridi, Dhoni and Virat so much. In the lighter mode, both sides of students expressed how they hate school uniforms.
In a surprise move, when Pakistani sides of students got to know about the birthday of a student on Indian side, they wished and sang a birthday song for the Indian student that made the whole environment very emotional. During the concluding time of the session, students of both sides requested to extend the session for more time and also sang “swag se karenge sabka swagat” and “bahubali” song for each other. By the end of the session, the kids befriended each other and realized that across border the culture is same. They were no-more enemies rather friends with some positive future ahead. Their glowing faces with this first ever experience were expressing their happiness after meeting their peers.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a collaborative peace initiative of two voluntary organisations – Mission Bhartiyam (India) & Hum Sab Aik Hain (Pakistan), believes that students are future of these countries and have all the potential to build new bridges of peace and reconciliation that would pave the way for future.
Message of Peace from Land of Gandhi to Land of Bacha Khan: 5th IndoPak Classroom Connect
In the fifth Indo-Pak Classroom connect, students of Gujarat and KPK interacted through video conferencing. Aaghaz-e-Dosti through these sessions that connects an Indian and a Pakistani Classroom through video conferencing and facilitates a platform for students to explore life and culture across the border, to dispel stereotypes and strengthen people to people contact and their desire for peace.
On 26 January 2017, Aaghaz-e-Dosti conducted its fifth Indo-Pak Classroom connect involved children of Vicharata Samuday Samarthan Manch (VSSM), an organisation based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India) to children. These children hailed from different tribes and nomadic groups of Gujarat. In the connect, they were connected to students of Bacha Khan School of Nauthia, Peshawar – KPK (Pakistan).
This session happened on 26th January which is the Republic Day of India and sought to highlight the values of our country, our constitution which teaches peace, harmony, fraternity and the larger goals of humanity.
This session was moderated by Maulikraj Shrimali of VSSM and by Faheem Ullah of Bacha Khan School. In the session, the students explored both similarities and uniqueness. Pakistani students talked about the love for Indian Movies and songs in Pakistan. They asked questions around the Gujarati culture. Simiarly Indian students asked questions about Pakistan, it’s food and festivals.
In the session, the students also sang their respective national anthems and both stood and paid respect to each other’s national anthem, highlighting the fact that love for one’s country does not and should not mean hating another. We can co-exist in peace and with respect for each other.
There were media persons present on the Indian side and one of them asked the Pakistani students if they believe that Indians and Pakistanis are friends. A Pakistani student said, “We are not friends, we are a family.”
After the session, on both sides, the students shared their experience and learning.
Article: Why Peace Activists Speak in Times of Peace and also Conflict
The relations between India and Pakistan have gone for a toss again. The current situation is very tense. While the Government of India has explicitly said that it does not intend to go into war, there are people and media within the country that are advocating war, and even creating rumors and fabricating news that point to the necessity of war. A similar situation exists in Pakistan. Indians are citing Uri Attacks and Pakistanis are citing the Kashmir crisis to attack. Both are citing these incidents as well as those of the past to instigate their governments to attack, or as they believe, to “attack back”.
In these times of jingoism, any voice of peace is intolerable. We peace activists are of course quite accustomed to this. In times like these, we are the first group available for public to vent their anger. A Journalist asked us why we are “silent”; why “our” methods have “failed”. People have been asking us if we still want peace. We get tagged on social media websites in posts about the bravery of soldiers, their great sacrifice and the need for war to avenge their deaths. We receive pro-war, anti-peace jokes and get added on newly-formed whatsapp groups for the sole purpose of torturing us and to convert us into war mongers. Every single person acquires an authority to question us. People suddenly remember that we work for peace, and are specifically called, messaged and given lectures. We are subjected to snide comments even by our family members.
While accustomed to this to the extent that it doesn’t hurt us anymore, it always makes us curious. We fail to understand how in the two countries where peace education and peace efforts are discouraged, mocked at and devalued, peace activists suddenly become so important that reports are written with comments from us. How do we suddenly become so important that our opinions start to matter so much?
People question our methods and ask why they failed, while ignoring the assumption that peace activities are encouraged and implemented throughout the country. It clearly reflects on their lack of basic knowledge about peace building and the role of peace builders. Peace building is a process. Peace cannot come overnight. In the societies which have glorified war and violence for so long, where aggressive nationalism is so ingrained and when peace is also linked with several other issues like religion, it is not so easy and simple to work on peace-building. Peace-building, especially by the civil society also works at the level of people. Civil Society activists are not involved in decision making directly by the State.
Another related and very popular misconception to discourage us is to believe that people have no role, and that all the problems are between states. Is this really true? Do people have no role to play? We live in a culture of conflict even when there is no direct, military clash. The stereotypes and misconceptions about people across the border are used to sustain conflict. The misconception that the people across the border are our enemies is used as fuel in the war industry maintained by both countries. It is also wrong to put the entire blame on politicians. Politicians do make efforts for peace but for that, they again require consent. While the state manufactures consent, it is also dependent on consent. If the people are advocating war, it is very difficult for the state to adopt methods other than war. The state also needs the consent of people in the decisions that it takes for solving issues of conflict. A state may take a strong decision but people who live in a culture of mutual hatred and suspicion may not accept it. It is important that the people of the two countries also learn to accept, view and understand different perspectives, the need to negotiate and resolve conflict for peace.
The people of both countries need to understand the role that they play. Even if the states are in conflict with each other, the people can counter it by promoting peace at the level of people in both countries. The people should not be provoked and should not pose as a threat to the people of the other country.
A more basic issue is that people do not understand what peace and peace building mean. Peace is seen as something weak, peace building means doing nothing at all. This emanates from the lack of understanding of peace building and conflict resolution. A State has many ways to respond to threat by another country. The inter-dependent global world offers many options and war being the extreme one has also always proved to be futile. War cannot be the permanent solution. In fact, it is no solution at all. In the context of two developing nations, it will be disastrous for us to go to war. In the context of two nations which are nuclear powers, it can be fatal for us to go to war. Peace activists are not against taking action, they are against war.
We understand that it is easier to target us, render us responsible for answers. It is easier to ask us questions as opposed to the states, as to why their methods fail. Why is it that despite heavy military deployment and investment, there is no peace? Why is it that the talks which happen so rarely and with so many conditions fail to materialize? Problem is not with the talks, problem is with the way they happen and the lack of implementation. There are too many questions and there should be, but the questions need to be directed at the right people.
Peace is a process and we with all our limitations are and continue to work for an environment that targets hatred, the least one can do is not to condemn or accuse us.
This article has been written by Aaghaz-e-Dosti team members. If you want to republish, mention “Aaghaz-e-Dosti” as the author and provide the original link. For queries, email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Educating for Peace: Experience of an Educator from India
On Literacy Day, Tulika Bathija, an English Teacher and ESL Specialist from Ecole Mondiale World School (Mumbai, India), reflects on her engagement with Peace Education.
Last year, grade 7 students of Ecole Mondiale World School sent solidarity cards to students of Ghauri Wisdom High School in Lahore. Children in Lahore were quite traumatised to see spaces they cherished being destroyed in a brutal manner. These spaces provide hope, enjoyment, and allow children to express their joy, playfulness and innocence. This attack took place on Easter, targeting the Christian minority community of Pakistan. Families from all faiths lost their loved ones. Despite experiencing loss of one of their own loved ones, these young children accepted our best wishes and solidarity with such warmth and openness.
Many days passed and we received cards in exchange, thanking us for sending them solidarity cards! Children yearning for peace, friendship, sent us messages of gratitude. These beautiful cards of gratitude speak volumes of young minds that reside in Pakistan.
Whenever someone asks me, “Why send cards to Pakistan?” I never have any logical explanation to satisfy their political curiosity or explain my love for the so-called enemy nation. In these children, I see the image of every Indian child I have taught and come across. It does not matter whether they are Hindus, Muslims, Christians or Sikhs; the plight and pain of every child suffering in Pakistan is our shared agony.
One day, I can only hope that whether my students remember me or not, they will hopefully not be swayed by media and political forces in making an enemy of a nation that is our friend, our neighbour. I wish they never forget that borders cannot divide their hearts. I hope they never forget so many friends they met and interacted with on the other side of the border.
Through this process, I met a wonderful person and friend, Raza Khan of Aaghaz-e-Dosti who facilitated the greeting card exchange between the two schools in India and Pakistan. It was such a delight talking about the responses of students from both sides. Creating opportunities for India-Pakistan friendship in classroom spaces has been such an enriching experience for all of us involved at Ecole. I look forward to many more interactions in the future.
Tulika Bathija is an educator from Mumbai. She is presently working as Assistant Service Coordinator, IB MYP Language and Literature teacher, ESL Specialist and Theory of Knowledge Teacher at Ecole Mondiale World School (Mumbai). She is in search of her Sindhi heritage and ardently participates in Indo-Pak peace initiatives. One day she hopes to write stories about Indo-Pak peace and communal harmony for children and young adults.