BATHINDA: Pakistani and Indian students have jointly created a peace calendar, released at an online program by the youth-led voluntary peacebuilding initiative Aaghaz-e-Dosti.
The Aaghaz-e-Dosti collaborated with Kick for Tolerance and Pakistan-based organisation Sudhaar. The discussion titled ‘Sharing of Hopes for a Peaceful Co-existence’ was organized with speakers Prof. Tauseef Ahmad, member of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, peace activist Salima Hashmi, Rita Manchand, research Director at South Asia Forum for Human Rights, and social activist Medha Patkar.
The calendar includes paintings on the theme ‘Indo-Pak Friendship’ for which around 500 students of both countries took part from different schools and six paintings from each side were selected for the calendar.
Rita Manchanda stated that sending wheat from India to Afghanistan via Pakistan brings hope that regular appeals and actions of civil society for peace and co-operation actually work.
Patkar spoke about the need for connections between two sides because it gives an opportunity to people to directly know each other instead of what is being taught in our media and textbooks.
Salima Hashmi stated that while sometimes we see young student’s artwork as normal artwork, however, as an artist and academician, she knows how intensive and full of messages these artworks are. Aaghaz-e-Dosti coordinator Ilma Iqbal, convener Devika Mittal informed that for the last ten years the group is also organizing other activities such as classroom connect programs, Aman chaupal sessions, and social media campaigns to foster people to people relations.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti founder Ravi Nitesh informed that this year’s peace calendar is dedicated to 12 peace activists which include Asma Jahangir, IA Rehman, Dr Mubasshir Hasan, BM Kutty, Awais Sheikh, Dr SN Subbarao, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Swami Agnivesh, Kamla Bhasin, Rahul Jalali, Sadia Dehlvi and Kuldip Nayar who supported the initiative in past.
Tributes were also paid to Pakistani peace activists Sharafat Ali and Dr. Mehdi Hasan who died on Wednesday.