The occasion was the calendar launch with paintings from school students from both countries.
By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,
New Delhi: India International Centre played host to intellectuals from India and Pakistan on the occasion of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, an Indo-Pak friendship initiative on December 21, organized by Mission Bhartiyam from India and The Catalyst from Pakistan.
It was also the occasion of the release of calendars with paintings made by school kids on Indo-Pak amity themes.
Eminent journalists, writers and students who have been associated with raising the issue of diplomatic hurdles which come in the way of friendship between the two countries, shared their experiences.
Eminent persons who participated were Padma Shri Dr. D.S. Rana (Chairperson of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi), Sh. Pankaj Singh (Eminent Hindi Poet, and writer), Sonya Fatah (A Pakistani filmmaker and Journalist and columnist with Times of India), Jawed Naqvi (Delihi-based correspondent of DAWN newspaper in Pakistan), Satya Paul (a veteran peace activist who has worked with Lala Lajpat Rai and secretary at Servants of People organization) and Ms. Mohini Giri (Chairperson Guild of Service and War Widows Association).
Dr. D.S. Rana talked about that how peace is our requirement and how his own experience was when he travelled to Pakistan and found no difference. He described how Sir Ganga Ram who was a civil engineer by profession established a hospital and several other buildings in Lahore and then came to India and established the hospital here in 1954.
Jawed Naqvi said that it is important to decide who you want to befriend in the first place. Both the countries have picked up wrong things from each other. He also hinted at the problems of religious extremism that poses a great threat to peace on both sides of the border.
Sonya Fatah said that we need to find new ways to circumvent the air of hostility created by the political agendas on either side of the border. She also talked about the humane aspect of the problem which is all the more appalling.
Satya Pal, a veteran for Indo-Pak peace efforts, has taken part in many initiatives. One of these is the South Asian University. He also said that a South Asian Peace Conference will be held in Delhi in the last week of December, 2013.
Pankaj Singh shared some very interesting and heartwarming personal experiences with the audience. He said that it was ironical that Indians and Pakistanis living in other nations form strong bonds of friendship but always keep some reservations back home.
There was also a Pakistani student studying in South Asian University (Delhi), Kulsum Khan who shared her experience of living in India. She talked about the similarities in several respects. She talked about how she has been warmly received in India.
The three students from India whose paintings were selected to be included in calendar were also present. They talked about the concept of their paintings and the importance of peace and friendship between India and Pakistan.
Aarti Bose, a school girl who had received award for her painting said metaphorically, “We want India and Pakistan to be friends together so that could play and walk together in the same park,” which was applauded by the distinguished panel.
“Aaghaz-e-Dosti believes that peace is an important and necessary thing and it is in fact very common among all of us regardless of our identity on behalf of nation, religion and caste. It is a natural requirement of living beings. Flowing towards and with the peace activities is natural and required for human development,” said Ravi Nitesh, Petroleum Engineer and Mission Bharatiyam chief.