Students of Air Foundation School System, Pakistan
By TCN News,
New Delhi: Festivals are social celebrations, encourage us to reach out to others, create new or consolidate existing bonds and celebrate joy collectively. Mumbai-based school Ecole Mondiale World School furthered this objective to form a bond between India and Pakistan.
Ecole Mondiale World School sent greeting cards on Diwali to Air Foundation School System, a school in umerkot in Sindh, Pakistan. This card exchange was facilitated by Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a joint Indo-Pak Friendship initiative.
Tulika Bhatija, one of the 7th grade teachers of Ecole Mondiale World School and the facilitator of this initiative shares the vision behind this. She said, “Festival celebrations define a community and its culture. When we talk about Diwali, we only associate the festival with a large majority of the Hindu community, like wise Eid is a celebrated by Muslims worldwide. Discussions related to festivals should not confine us to our liminal identities, but rather compel us to delve into the essence of these celebrations & share with our students the joy of oneness and sharing.
When our grade 7 team leader Deviyani Pathak shared the idea of sending Diwali cards to Pakistan, we were thrilled and saw this as an opportunity to not just share the joy of Diwali festival, but also strengthen communal harmony within two nations and across borders. We don’t have to be Hindus or Muslims to celebrate festivals. We only need to find commonalities between practices and principles of diverse communities and celebrate synchronicity. This will lay the groundwork to build pillars of peace and friendship between India and Pakistan. Acceptance, tolerance and celebrating oneness are the only way we can pave the way for a better and brighter future.”
She further added, “Diwali is a festival of lights, hope & new beginnings. We hope that with yet another small gesture of friendship, we continue to inspire our students and make them the torch bearers of peace, friendship and harmony.”
The school had sent about 30 cards to Pakistan exchanging Diwali greeting and hope for love and peace. The students wished their peers in Pakistan on Diwali and also shared their hope for peaceful and friendly relations. Rohit, a student of Ecole Mondiale wrote in his card, “My dear friends, In love and unity, we will spread the light of diwali in our homes and neighbourhood.”
Another student wrote, “I wish you a happy Diwali and I also hope that none of you will get hurt and that our generation will reunite Hindus and Muslims.”
The cards reached Air Foundation School system in early december. The cards were received warmly by the school management, teachers and students. The students made a card wall to display the cards and wrote a message “We are thankful to Ecole Mondiale World School and Aaghaz-e-Dosti for sending us love from the other side of border.”
Raj Kumar Gujar, the facilitator of this initiative spoke on behalf the management, “We are thankful to Ecole Mandiale World School and Aaghaz-e-Dosti for sending us love from the other side of border. Diwali brings the message of love, peace, and compassion. As the kids at kindergarden and primary classes received those cards from their friends across the border, I could see a contrasting compassion and light on their faces. More than language, history, and culture, India and Pakistan share festivities of Diwali, Eid, Christmas, and other events. Such exchanges of cards between students will create strong bonds of understanding and harmony among the future generations of Pakistan. This is the first time in our district that happened, we are grateful to Aaghaz-e-Dosti for breaking the barriers. Hope this thread of relationship never ends.”
Previously, Ecole Mondiale World School had exchanged greeting cards with Excellent Education Centre in Lahore on Independence Days. Both schools had exchanged cards wishing each other on their Independence Day. The exchange was also facilitated by Aaghaz-e-Dosti.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti has also planned an exchange of New Year cards between Indian and Pakistan schools under the title of ‘Let’s Exchange Peace on New Year’ and invites schools to participate.