The Most Respected, the “Lok Nayak” JP supported Indo-Pak Peace and Disarmament
by Ravi Nitesh (India)
The world is moving towards globalization, liberalization and with each passing day it claims itself to be becoming more civilized. On the other hand, the same world is regularly developing more and more tools of destruction, arms and ammunition and even atom and nuclear bombs. The situation of India and Pakistan is no different and these countries proudly claim themselves of being nuclear powers. Both have conducted nuclear tests in past and though unannounced, but the capability of being nuclear armed is more for the reason of dominating each other, instead of any greater public welfare.
Pakistan and India constitutes a major part in South Asian politics and also have influence over geo strategic decisions of other countries due to the reasons like geographic locations, rising GDPs and good markets. Unfortunately, both countries, despite being neighbor countries, fought with each other in atleast three major wars and several border skirmishes. Billions of dollars have been spent on these fights. Both countries also spend billions of dollars on their nuclear facilities. On the other hand, both constitutes large numbers of underprivileged children, high index of hunger and malnutrition, unavailability of water and healthcare and many other such similar challenges.
When we look at the political leaders of these countries, we find that most of them take the shelter of nationalism to support developing arms and ammunition to face threat from each other. Most of them try to infuse Indo-Pak rivalry with nationalism. However, the most renowned and respected Nationalist leader, the man who is claimed and respected by all political strands, Jayprakash Narayan advocated for peace and nuclear disarmament.
Jayaprakash Narayan or JP is among the most famous names in the history of Indian politics. In Indian politics, he is known as ‘Loknayak’, (Peoples’ Leader) who led socio- political movements and became successful with what is known as ‘JP Movement’ in politics. But in his vision, he was much more than a man who formed the first non congress government in India without taking any position in government. He was a strong advocate of peace, non violence and nuclear disarmament, and known for his companionship with Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, the great Pashto leader, popularly remembered in India as “Frontier Gandhi”.
JP is known to people for his efforts to fight for democracy during the emergency period imposed by Indira Gandhi and the subsequent formation of the first non-congress government in India. But his contribution to society and nation was much larger and far ahead than being just the leading voice during emergency.
JP was a visionary and had great faith in the ideas of Gandhi. He was born in the year 1902. JP spent his time with leaders like Gandhi and Vinoba and was much influenced in the ideology of non-violence. He advocated for disarmament and talked about disarmament at international level with unilateral disarmament in India. He went ahead with such a vision that why do we need atom bombs or even army? Why is it necessary to fight and to be violent when decisions and solutions can happen with negotiation and dialogue? He envisioned that army should be trained and equipped with non violent tools. On India and Pakistan, he never stood for war and always advocated for peace. He even organized peace marches.
JP was involved in peacebuilding and accepted membership of three member presidium of world peace army. He appealed for India Pakistan Peace and formed ‘India Pakistan Friendship Association’ in 1962. He also advocated peaceful resolution of India with China. Later he was also elected as one of the five member presidium by Commonwealth of Citizens.
JP shared a great bond with Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan of Pakistan which continued even after partition. They worked together for peace between and in their own countries. Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and JP together formed ‘Insani Biradari’ that worked for peace and communal harmony.
JP was a great visionary even in other fields. Way back in 1930’s, JP without terming it as ‘sustainable development’ shared a similar idea that the we all belong to one community of human and live on this earth. We must utilize the resources of our earth in the manner that it would remain available for future generations. He said that these natural resources are non-renewable and have limited capacity to serve.
Though JP could not live more to make his idea sustain, but his ideas and vision of peace and non-violence is still relevant and is of very much importance in terms of present situation in South Asian Politics. Our conflicts are rising and we are over-exploiting our natural resources. It is imperative that we bring back JP by implementing his vision, his ideas. Like during the emergency, JP, the People’s Leader, shall come to the rescue of the grieving India and South Asia.
Ravi Nitesh is from Delhi. He is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti. He tweets at @ravinitesh
Poem: Sarhadein Peeche Reh Jaati hai… by Ravi Nitesh (India)
Khyber ki Pahariyo ko chhu kar,
Peshawar ke Bazaro ki khushbho le kar,
Raavi ki Lehron se Uthti Khanak le kar,
Milti Himalaya ki Baraf se Chamak le kar,
Aati Punjab mei Gehu ki Faliyo se mil kar,
Ye Hawaein Pahunchti hai Kayi sandese le kar,
Kabhi Ardaas, Kabhi Azaan ki Awaazein le kar,
Hamari Tumhari Kabhi Hasi titoli le kar,
Kheton mei Hariyali ki Raunak le kar,
Suhani Yaadon ki Aahat le kar,
Ye Hawayein Har Roz Chali aati hai,
Sarhadei Peeche Reh jaati hai…
*This painting is by Maham Gulzar, a school student from Toba Tek Singh (Pakistan). Copyright of the painting is with Aaghaz-e-Dosti
Ravi Nitesh is from Delhi. He is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam and Aaghaz-e-Dosti
Article: Connecting India’s Zindagi with Pakistan’s
by Ravi Nitesh
This article was originally published on Express Tribune
The screen came to light and the hall in Taj Hotel, New Delhi, was suddenly filled with loud echoes of applause. Sitting in a corner, I also participated in the emotional event, clapped with all my heart and tried to gather all the thoughts going through my head. I couldn’t believe that such a great step was being taken during my lifetime.
Team members of the Zee Zindagi channel and Imran Abbas, a Pakistani actor, accompanied by Sultana Siddiqui, a Pakistani director, were attending a video conference with a gathering of bloggers from Delhi. Imran was in Mumbai and he spoke to bloggers and Indian media-related people alike from there with regards to the new Indian channel that was featuring Pakistani dramas.
The conversation was a rare one. Not many people get a chance to talk to actors from the other side of our border. Zindagi is an effort to promote harmony and further the peace initiative between Pakistan and India and everyone in that room felt extremely excited about this.
Being someone who is associated with many different initiatives for Indo-Pak friendship, this was an extremely powerful moment for me. While I was very happy that this step had taken place, I was also keen to observe how Imran would communicate with the people, how he would phrase his words for peace and how it would impact the audience. This was, after all, an important moment in history. I needed to see how the Pakistani side was going to introduce this step.
Once the conversation began, I must say, I was not disappointed.
Imran sounded like a professional at work. One could sense his determination as he stated that,
“We remember the first person who went to the moon. Firsts are always remembered. And hence I did not want to lose the opportunity of being the first Pakistani actor who represented Pakistan on Indian television through Indian broadcasters.”
He added that he took this step despite the fact that his friends had discouraged him. They told him that since he already had a good viewership in Pakistan, he didn’t need to be part of the Indian television industry but Imran didn’t listen to them and followed his passion instead. With this response I felt an instant liking for this man. Not only did this show that the young actor was determined, but that he also had a vision and the courage to advance progressive steps.
Imran attempted to shatter misconceptions of the “us” and “them” dichotomy by highlighting the similarities between Indians and Pakistanis. People of both countries look just the same, both follow largely the same culture and customs, and even though the languages aren’t similar, they are not hard to comprehend for people from either side of the border.
He discussed how art and culture had always transcended boundaries in India and Pakistan’s case, and how actors from both countries had worked on either side and have been appreciated. And I completely agree with what he had to say. There is more to the Indo-Pak relations than just tensed connections. We, as a people, are largely the same.
Imran’s effort was further fortified when he chose to sing, after insistence from Zindagi team members and bloggers alike, the famous Veer Zaara song,
“Wahi sham hai wahi savera… aisa desh hai mera… jaisa desh hai tera…”
This was reflective of how similar the nations were and connected him directly with the hearts of audience. I was deeply moved by his gesture and sincerity, and it was in this moment that tears struck my eyes and I truly become his fan. Not only is a great actor and a true artist, he is also an earnest human being.
What this effort highlighted was that relations don’t have to be so hostile and opinionated; it is nice to see how India is connecting itself with Pakistan. I am sure that such steps will help towards increased people-to-people relations and friendship between these two nations.
Zindagi will help Indians understand the life of an average Pakistani and I am confident that after sometime, when the channel will have established an emotional connection with its audience, it will help Indians realise how their lives are the same as their Pakistani counterparts – like two sides of the same coin.
Ravi Nitesh is from Delhi. He is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti
Innovations in Indian Television: Connecting Lives across the Border
by Ravi Nitesh
A well known and most accepted fact is that art, music and culture are beyond boundaries. It is true in all the cases, even in the case of India and Pakistan where inspite of so much visa restrictions and other restrictions on communications with each other, the fact survived.
It is true that people of both countries are eager to know about each other and are very much interested in culture and arts. Still Indian sarees in Pakistan and Pakistani suits in India are a common choice. When we talk about music and arts, there are so many names in Indian film industry as well as in Pakistan who are popular in both places. There is a big market of Indian films and songs in Pakistan and people there are so fascinated with this. Similarly in India, every music lover likes Rahat Fateh Ali, Nusrat Sahab and others. In other forms of arts, there are theatre groups as well who frequently travel each other country as a part of cultural exchange.
In spite of all these things, sadly, the Governments of both India and Pakistan did not provide free access and broadcast permission to each other’s TV channels. It was still a setback for people of these two countries. Many in Pakistan enjoyed Indian TV channels until it was officially restricted. With this permission and restriction game, they have tried to restrict the information and knowledge sharing of culture. Free access and broadcast of TV channels of each other countries can lead to a very positive effect by providing an opportunity to know each other’s culture.
TV is a strong medium of communication in these days. It is available in most of the houses of India and Pakistan. I can say, based on my observation in India, that even the permanent migratory laborers carry their own TV and dish and slum areas of Delhi have TV in their jhuggis. This shows the importance that people attach to the television. It is seen as a tool of both entertainment and information. As we know, television has a capacity to transform minds through its audio visual impression.
It is also a fact that it is our natural curiosity to know and communicate beyond our society and other boundaries. For this, we have developed several means of communication. Media is one of the tools through which we can feed this thirst of mind.
With the availability of big market in India and curiosity of people, an Indian television group has launched a new television channel. The specialty of this channel is that it caters Indian audience with Pakistani content. This channel is presenting handpicked stories from Pakistani writers. These stories revolve around the everyday life of people in Pakistan.
In prima view, it may look as simple, but when we think about the above-mentioned facts, we find that how it is an innovative step to match media and technology with the desired goal of peace. It is a step to prove the fact that arts, music and culture must survive in all conditions and must be taken beyond boundaries.
Regarding business advancement, it will certainly increase profit to the group in view of the ‘different’ content for Indian audience, but this is something more important than business. It is because, by bringing these stories from Pakistan, it will be helpful in breaking stereotyping of minds. It will become a medium for people to understand that everyday life, emotions, values are similar across the border. By bringing this channel, it will be a new experiment in Indian television industry that may be followed by others and it may pave a base of new era of entertainment. Hopefully this new channel named ‘Zindagi’ will connect the ‘lives’ of people and will contribute to a culture of mutual love and understanding.
This article was published on Countercurrents, South Asia Monitor and Kashmir Times Newspaper dated 1 july 2014
Ravi Nitesh is from Delhi. He is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti
Trapped: The sufferings of Indo-Pak Prisoners
by Ravi Nitesh
Diplomatic tools include goodwill agreements on policies, trade, and about resolving existing conflicts between any two countries, but for two countries of the South Asia region, namely India and Pakistan, there is another tool as well, and sadly, this tool is the release of each other’s prisoners in the name of humanity and goodwill. This would help as a show of friendship between the governments. These prisoners have been made and are being utilised as objects, as mere pawns in the diplomatic game played by both the states. We all know how hundreds of prisoners including fishermen languish in each country’s jails. If we set aside the question of their sufferings and other problems, another basic question is if these persons can be released at a time when governments want to use them as a tool of diplomacy, it means that they are entitled to be released even before, so why are they not released then? Even if we talk on the basis of logic, humanity and justice, it means that they do not have the right to be released and their rights can always be superseded by a person sitting in government. The same constitution that provides rights of equality, deprives them through legalising the decision of ‘mercy’ using a constitutional post. Though even this should be welcomed as at least their lives can get some relief from the continuous suffering of being a prisoner in another country, but surely this relief is their entitlement anyway and need not be showcased only as a mercy of government?
Aaghaz-e-Dosti, an Indo-Pak Friendship initiative, recently released a detailed list of prisoners that includes their name, place of arrest, date of arrest, present status and offences lodged against them. The importance of this list is determined by the fact that even today in the era of information technology and e-governance the governments have not released a similarly detailed list on their portals. Due to the unavailability of this kind of detailed list from the side of government, many families still do not know if their relatives are actually behind bars and for what offence. With the available data on this list that comprises Pakistani prisoners in India (the list of Indian prisoners in Pakistan would be announced within a month), some shocking facts have been revealed. The list shows that approximately 43 percent of arrested fishermen (46 out of 107) are held in jails without registering any offence against them, while the rest of the 57 percent are under trial. Also, in the prisoners’ list of 278, there are 48 persons who have completed their sentence but are still being held while waiting for nationality confirmation from the High Commission of Pakistan. A large number of prisoners are under trial. With this data, it is clear how much psychological pressure the state is imposing upon foreign prisoners. Everybody knows that the situation of prisoners is not good in India or in Pakistan, but with the prisoners of either country, the case becomes extremely serious due to security threats and other issues. The examples of Sarabjit and Sanaullah are there to understand how jingoism and hatred makes these prisoners so vulnerable. Apart from this, there is a need to overhaul the state machinery to facilitate these prisoners’ release with speedy justice. These prisoners are spread in various jails across the country, some of them are under trial for a long time, a few others have no access to advocates who can fight for them. Apart from this, there are prisoners for whom a sentence was awarded along with a ‘fine’ and in the case of unpaid fines the sentence is automatically increased for a definite term. It means that the fine is actually not a fine for them. How can we expect any prisoner of India or Pakistan to be able to pay the fine? Is it not another injustice with them?
However, there is reason to believe that this is not the case just because they are prisoners of India or Pakistan in each other’s country. It may not be any kind of rivalry; instead it seems to reflect bureaucratic slowness, disinterest and insensitivity. This seems to be the case as if it would not be so, then why would the nationality confirmation from their own country, from their own high commissions and ministries take such a long time? There is an urgent need to become sensitive towards this issue. This sensitisation needs to come from politicians and bureaucrats as well as from judicial systems. If it can be done with a desire for human welfare, it can automatically be a turning point of diplomacy itself that will be considered as true diplomatic steps for these persons by providing them some sort of relief rather than playing a game with their suffering. An urgent need of a common framework for treating each other’s prisoners is badly required. This framework can be created through the participation of civil society and government members from both sides.
This article was published at Daily Times, South Asia Monitor and Kashmir Monitor
Ravi Nitesh is from Delhi. He is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and core member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti.
Weavng back through Culture
by Ravi Nitesh
Published in Daily Times
When we talk about the cultures of India and Pakistan, we always talk about the similarities that we both have. It is a fact and it is the bond that connects us. We know about Indo-Pak bonding among the Indian and Pakistani diaspora in western countries. Culture is a strong bond and this can be explained by the fact that even with fluctuating relations, fortunately any attempt to stop Indo-Pak cultural ventures has been unsuccessful. Saying so, we can see a hope for peace in this cultural bond.
During a recent South Asian conference, I received the opportunity to hear Professor Chaman Lal, who has conducted cross-border research on Bhagat Singh and has written several books on him. Professor Lal talked about the importance of culture and the dismal reality of how partition politics also brought about a cultural divide. He talked about how political division had also affected the culture of the region, a region known as Punjab. For a Punjabi, his/her cultural identity of being a Punjabi is far more important than his/her caste and religious identity. However, the political decision of partition wounded this bonding. They became Indian and Pakistani. Even after that, the culture remained the same and, therefore, it developed at almost the same pace on both sides but due to these two forced identities, both sides adopted two different scripts.
On the Indian side, Punjabis started writing their script in Gurumukhi while on the Pakistani side, Punjabis started using a different script named Shahmukhi. These scripts became official after partition. The school level education on both sides also formalised this division. They do not teach the ‘other’ script. It may not appear to be a big issue but when we look at it from the perspective of ‘what they are losing out on’, we will see its importance.
Having two different scripts does not just mean restricting communication between two people, two communities, but also puts restrictions on shared culture, the past and, most importantly, knowledge. Literature is a repertoire of knowledge. Having two different scripts means that the text that may have been written in either of the two scripts becomes accessible only for people who can read that script. There is a lot of literature that is not available for reading for the current generations, as they only know one of the two scripts. Before partition, people knew both scripts and quality literature was available in both scripts but, after partition, the language got divided and so did knowledge and culture.
Even today, the elderly generation can read both types of scripts but their younger ones cannot. We must know that it will be an injustice if we leave them in the situation wherein they both will not be able to communicate with each other perfectly and will not be able to understand each other’s script and the knowledge that is dependent on them. We must recognise the importance of this. We must make the effort to end this injustice that restricts knowledge and the opportunity to undo the evil of the past and create new bonds for people.
Culture can play a strong role in harnessing good relations between the two countries. Social theorist Emile Durkheim once talked about the importance of culture for social solidarity and harmony. Culture binds people together, it creates a ‘we’ feeling. The similar culture of the people of India and Pakistan can do wonders. This bond of similarity can make them realise that they were and are the same in their values, thoughts and vision. It can work as a platform to lessen the miscommunication, mutual hatred and suspicion. It can work to break the myth that Indians and Pakistanis are different and opposed to each other — the reason for hatred. We need to realise the importance of and make efforts to emphasise cultural similarities. “Can we think of teaching both scripts on both sides?” Professor Chaman Lal asked. I think we can and we should.
Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and a core member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti
Let The Sia (Rose) Live: Save Siachen : International Mountain Day
by Ravi Nitesh
International Mountain Day (11 December) is being observed by the world. It comes a day after International Human Rights Day observed by the world. International Mountain day is designated by UN general Assembly in the year 2003 to make international community aware about the importance of sustainable mountain development. When it comes to talk about sustainable mountain development, we feel that it is important because millions of people are directly and indirectly dependent upon mountains. Human development in the new era is equipped with technology that again boosts for exploring the fields for minerals, metals etc and then again mountains get exploited. Also apart from this ‘development’ there is another ‘development’ that leads ‘conflict’ scenario, egoistic attitude of governments and insensitivity of common citizen that sometimes leads towards unnecessary and harmful activities and becomes cause of environmental degradation. It is relevant to express the concern over the fate of Siachen Glacier that is part of Great Himalayan range and need the attention of governments of India and Pakistan on both aspects of Environment and Human Rights.
It was already told and known that Siachen is one of the main points of dispute between India and Pakistan. It is a glacier range where both the countries deputed their armies to contest each other. It is one of the longest glacier approx 72 km long, in the Himalaya. On the ground of Peace and Human Rights, it is one of the issues to be attended with increased attention because deployment of men and materials on Siachen range is causing lot of problems on health and lives of soldiers as well as upon the glacial system itself. On one side where an extreme difficult condition of living on ice has become a reason of even permanently disablement of soldiers, on other side this permanent nature of deployment and its regular activities that is continued since 29 years is probably causing damage to environment.
In a study titled Climate data and modeling analysis of Indus region written by Dr Ghulam Rasul of Pakistan Metrological Department, it was told that glacier reduced by 5.9 km in longitudinal extent between 1989 to 2009 because of rising temperature and thinning of its ice mass evaluated at 17 percent.
On environment grounds, it can be understood by the fact that human waste disposal is a problem and therefore it lies there preserved. Interestingly, in his book ‘The battle of Roses’ , Harish Kapadia wrote that if every soldier created 100 gm waste daily, taking an average 800 soldiers on the glacier for 25 years , then total waste generated would be 7, 30,000 kilograms. Sadly, actual figures regarding number of soldiers and time of deployment is more than this and so the quantity of waste.
It is a fact that for cooking and heating purpose (because temperature goes down up to -50 degree centigrade), soldiers need flame and for this purpose, a kerosene pipeline has been laid over the glacier that pumps thousands of litres of kerosene and in case it get leaked/burst then it cause hundreds of litre of oil spillage that comes to Nubra river with the melting ice. Helicopters are used to supply necessary things on the glacier and that it again disturb the silence of iced glaciers. Colonel Pavan Nair estimates that about 200 tonnes of carbon di oxide released each day due to burning of fuel for cooking, warming and transportation of men and material by land and air.
Camps of army battalions can be identified just because of waste collections around. Human wastes packed and sealed inside the drums and rolled on ice that lives so many years. It was told that whatever goes to glacier never returns. In fact, bottles, cans, plastic and metals are deposited there in large quantity. Fire of bullets from both sides causes vibration and heat that is very dangerous for sensitive glacier environment.
All above points clearly disturb the very idea of mountain’s environment. It is true that with the development, man made things will affect the environment for sure but there are lot of things which can and should be stopped by all of us to make our mountains live. Siachen is one such necessary point where we clearly see the degradation and harm to environment by unnecessary deployment of troops. The name Sia (Rose) Chen (place) must get its real meaning and must be left by armies of both sides to let the mountain live.
Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and a core member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti
Same Nations, Same Challenges: 66 Years of Indo-Pak Independence
by Ravi Nitesh
India and Pakistan have completed 66 years of ‘independence’. In spite of happiness and pride, there is also a pain that owes itself to the separation of not only the societies but of hearts. We parted on our independence to lessen the ‘hatred’ and so this independence should have been the way towards a more happy society. It should have been a tool for making both of us progressive and for our relations, moving on the path of love and friendship. But we both lacked in making such a scenario. The duration of these 66 years was faced with some celebrated ups and many shameful downs. Now, after 66 years of these repeated shameful incidents and fluctuating relations, we both must understand our necessity for each other, we both must revive our relations with each other and we both must take steps together for each other in all possible ways, as the real meaning of being independent is being together and celebrating together.
Establishing a peaceful and harmonious society in both the countries is one of the most awaited tasks for both. For a common society, the independence is something that brings freedom to think and to act, creating employment and other opportunities, moving towards the path of development and making a peaceful, happy society with friends and neighbors. In context of a country, one extends this concept to make a happy society with friendly neighbors.
Today, after 66 years, we both achieved to some extent, ‘development’ in our nations, but what we lost and didn’t attend carefully is our mutual relations. Are the boundaries are more important than human lives? These 66 years of progress will be of no use if we are still not building paths on which we can move together.
When you and I are same, in culture, in language, in interests and in our values, then why can’t we match our steps together to make a change?
If we look at problems and challenges in both India and Pakistan, we will find similar challenges in both the countries. We both have our importance of being and represented as a successful country in the global world. On one side where India is important in terms of its central location in South Asia, Pakistan also has its role for not only South Asia but also with South West and Middle East regions. But to make these progresses, we must first try to solve our problems as it will let us concentrate on other issues. We must solve the issues deemed ‘controversial’ or leading to hatred in our relations. Both the governments must have responsibility to step up to build confidence building measures. Though they have started some through their peaceful meet and continuous follow ups and visits, but they must be enhanced and should survive the vagaries of troubled times. One strategy that governments can follow is to include people’s representation with larger scope. It is necessary for both the government that they must provide a safe and peaceful atmosphere to their citizens.
The common people or the non-state actors must not face the problems of fluctuating relationships of the countries. We all have right to live happily and no one should be allowed to take our rights. India and Pakistan societies are very much similar, we both belong and like the culture that we developed and lived together for so many years. Political boundaries must not be a tool to divide culture and love. Both the societies always desire to be in a rhythm of peace, joy and happiness.
After these 66 years, both the government must have a grand celebration in their countries, as well as some grand strategies for each other towards a better future, a future of love, trust and harmony, a future of people’s desire. We must now work for years of being together.
Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and is in the core team of Aaghaz-e-Dosti
Indo-Pak Relations: Bright Eyes,With Colors Of Love and Peace
by Ravi Nitesh
She was a very young student who narrated some lines of love and peace and extended her love towards the neighbor country named India. In her lines, she imagined a tour to the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort and also meeting and befriending some Indians. After coming back to India, during my formal and informal experience sharing, I happened to interact with a person who worked for Indo-Pak peace through letter exchange programs among school students. In his experience, he narrated an incident when a son of a police officer from Karachi informed his father that he is writing a letter to an unknown Indian friend. To this, his father remarked, “you must write, the mistake that our generation did, you must not.”
There are a lot of examples when we try to find innocent and pure hearts, still unaffected by the mindless and dirty politics. These young minds are the future of our countries. These young minds must know the importance of humanity, fraternity, love and peace, not only among their society but also during inter-societal communications. As some bad examples of the immature minds, a student of graduation posted his Facebook status that “people should not work towards friendship with Pakistan”. He further added that, “they must work and see towards problems of their own country and not to go and extend support with neighbor”. Statement received some comments including the one that says ‘’all these people who are working towards Indo-Pak peace must be sent to Karachi in trucks.”
These examples show that there are minds that have become corrupt because they are misinformed. Surely, these statements are neither logical, nor acceptable but I am sure that there are the people on both sides of border who think like this. It is surprising, isn’t it? These people who are supposedly passed out from schools and colleges can become a threat to peace.
These examples should not disillusion us but should push us more towards working on these peace processes. We must know that shaping young minds must be a priority as values of love and peace that will be received in younger age, will be in memory and will reflect in thoughts and work of these students even when they will become mature.
We must know that maturity is not an attribute of age. We must know that maturity without feelings, maturity without values of peace and love has no use. We must understand that a society can become harmonious only through peace and by spreading love within and outside of it.
In view of the younger minds and hearts, we must work towards these bright and colorful eyes that can change the whole scenario, whose hearts and minds are full of love and feelings. These students, in their present age, are so fascinated with concept of humanity that their hearts are pure and full of love, their minds act regardless of any favor towards religion, caste, race, gender, region etc that we can say that these children, young minds truly reflect the concepts of equality, freedom, secularism etc as they are unknown to political use of these sociological terminology.
Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam and is a founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti
Relax Visa: Move Towards Friendship
by Ravi Nitesh
….And it was so nice to hear, the dream of this student… “I want to travel to India.” He had expressed it in a general talk during an informal discussion about the neighbor country.
I met him during my recent visit to Lahore to attend a convention held on Relaxing Visa and what other pure, simple and natural desire could highlight the need of relaxing visa? This dream clearly depicts a major crack in the wall of Indo-Pak relations. In fact, it shouldn’t be a dream for anyone, it must be there as an obvious thing, as a right to get.We must appreciate the work of Governments and civil societies of both sides for their meetings and initiatives that have ultimately brought a positive result in terms of visa relaxation. Though this move must be welcomed by all, there is still an ample scope and a need for further amendment.A Question always come in my mind that why our dreams are slaves of our governments? In pre-independence scenario, the whole region was one while after the two countries emerged, we could not make a comfortable relation even after 65 years? Whose fault is this?
In fact, in present scenario, there are strong reasons to say that the enriching Indo-Pak relation is not only good for both countries, but it will also affect other geo-political scenarios as well in positive ways. South Asia will become undoubtedly strong with a better confidence building and peace keeping approach. There are many things in which we have to look to maintain and to enrich this bilateral relation. Among these, the one of ‘Relaxing Visa’ obviously must be preferred, as this will be the respect of people’s wish. For a real confidence building, governments of both the countries must know that it is only people of both the countries for whom and from whom the governments are in existence, and without recognizing the wish of their real makers (the public), the role of governments will be incomplete.
There is an urgent need for rethinking on present attitude of visa approvals and to make it relaxed for granting visa. New visa policy presented some relaxation but still it is not as per the requirement. People too should start demanding the same in peaceful ways as they all have rights to do so. Defining political boundaries doesn’t mean that boundaries will be imposed on hearts. Many people are trying to bring it in government’s priority to pay attention towards liberalized visa rules.
In a notable ‘Relax Visa Campaign’ of an organization in Pakistan, more than 85,000 persons signed to favor the relax visa. This number clearly shows the people’s desire. It is a common fact that our roots are same, our feelings are same and even our lifestyles are same. It is a fact that whenever anyone goes to border to see off a friend, they both weep together. It is a fact that whenever common people of both the countries meet each other they both smile and greet each other as equals. Can we realize ever that how we both are living in exile?
As for where the government and political issues are concerned, it is well known that governments and political parties of not only these countries but of most of the countries of this world, work only to get vote and try to make things that can polarize the voters. With this fact, we all must understand that government will not do everything. Signature campaigns and other democratic ways of making demands by people are there to let the government understand the view of people and then to make decisions. That is why the collective effort is required from all sides. It is us who can make the real change. Issuing visa is a thing that can bring the real happiness on people’s faces.
There are so many reasons that make it necessary. We all are aware with history, divided families, relations, friendships etc. As a human being, it is our natural right to move anywhere; however this natural right is restricted by political boundaries. Governments must understand that political boundaries must act only to provide facilities, security, living standard etc. and not here to impose boundaries on emotions and desire. We, the people of India and Pakistan, must believe that even if our governments are unable to understand and to follow our wishes, the day will come when governments will work for the people’s wish.
We all will demand till then, we all will wait till then.
Ravi Nitesh is the founder of Mission Bhartiyam and is a founder member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti