Young Indians and Pakistanis to advocate peace through their paintings for a peace calendar
Amid the difficult time where India and Pakistan are looking with horns locked, the younger generation of both sides preparing to paint for peace for a peace calendar to send message for peace and harmony with the aim to foster people to people relations and creating an environment of peace.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti, an Indo-Pak Friendship initiative has invited entries for its 8th Peace calendar that includes twelve paintings (six from India and six from Pakistan) made by young students of both countries on the theme ‘India-Pakistan Peace and Friendship’. Since last seven years, these peace calendars are being released annually and brings a message of 365 days of peace. Students from both sides of border, though usually don’t get a chance to meet each other, but express their dreams and desire through these paintings which Aaghaz-e-Dosti term ‘Paintings of Hope’. Since last seven years, in most of the paintings submitted by students, birds flying above barbed wires, students and soldiers shaking hands, People celebrating festivals together and other such depictions can be seen. In few paintings there are strong messages as students also send their citation to interpret what they painted.
School students studying in class six to twelve in India and Pakistan can e-mail their scanned paintings to Aaghaz-e-Dosti.
This peace calendar also carries twelve messages from renowned persons from both sides who supports India-Pakistan Peace and since their seven years of journey, peace calendars have received warm welcome in cities like Delhi, Lahore, Mumbai, Karachi, Kolkata, Islamabad, Panipat and at many more places including Kyrgyzstan, USA and Sweden where peace supporters gathered to release it and to talk about peace. Few eminent names who have sent messages for Aaghaz-e-Dosti Peace Calendar in previous years include Tara Gandhi, Nandita Das, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Dr. S N Subbarao, Kamla Bhasin, Dr Syeda Hameed, Sudheendra Kulkarni, Satyapal, Kuldeep Nayar, TCA Raghavan, Admiral Ramdas, Major General (Retd) TK Kaul, Prof. Happymon Jacob , Rajagopal PV, Vishwajyoti Ghosh, Dr Chaman Lal from India and of Prof Ayesha Jalal, Raza Rumi, Sheema Kermani, Beena Sarwar, Salima Hashmi, Asma Jahangir, Kiran Nazish, Dr. Parvez Hoodbhoy, Dr. Imtiyaz Alam and others from Pakistan.
The importance of the calendar is that it is a collection of shared dreams and hopes for friendship which we will be reminded of everyday. The reason to focus on students is to enable the future leaders to forge the path to a better world by engaging them with aspects of critical thinking, civic engagement, human rights and dialogue as solution.These voices are sane, innocent and pure without any political motives and thus represent the natural desire and reality that the younger generation of India and Pakistan would dream of.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is not just limited to the peace calendar but has been working since last seven years now through various peace education activities that includes Aman Chaupals (interactive sessions with an Indian in a Pakistani school and vice versa), Peace Workshops, seminars and discussions, letter and greeting card exchanges between school students in India and Pakistan etc.