This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
aman ki asha Destination Peace
AN INITIATIVE OF THE JANG GROUP AND THE TIMES OF INDIA
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
A DREAM ROAD TRIP COME TRUE
Emotional family reunions, heartwarming interactions with ordinary people ƒ a Pakistani and his elderly mother on the journey of a lifetime
By Nusrat Amin
ne beautiful morning, I along with with Pinto, Aquib, Kashif and my mother, drove through some nearby villages to visit a school in Goriyakothi and film an open air-class. The veteran teacher, Trib-
maintain good feelings for Pakistan and its people as Pakistanis and Indians have a shared history and traditions, and have to live always with each other. The students clapped, and we took leave from honorable teacher. On our return we took a detour through Belthra Road, Mau and Azamgarh, passing through different landscapes, witnessing innumerable and unforgettable scenes - lush green fields, wedding ceremonies in the ongoing Lagan season, bands playing wedding tunes, children going to school. No sight in this world is more beautiful than a little South Asian girl in uniform going to school. And all this was what actually became the most ad-
cousins, their children, grandchildren who are still there, unlike many relatives who have migrated to other cities. Many others from the village gathered. Everyone insisted that we stay on for a few days, but we had to leave. As we drove slowly away after about four hours, over a hundred people stood at the village exit path to see us off. I wish we could have stayed on. From the start to the end of the journey back to Kanpur, we had a smooth drive. During our trip, we had lots of tea, parathas, samosas and thalitype meals at many roadside dhabas, and ate hundreds of lychees from the orchards. Every cop, shopkeeper and dhabaywala we met showed extra courtesy and paid special attention on learning that we were from Pakistan. One owner of a lychee orchard refused to sell his fruit — but when I mentioned that I was from Pakistan, he gave me a huge bunch and refused to take any money. “It’s a gift from a Hindustani to a Pakistani,” he said as we left the orchard. “Pakistan jaa kar kahyay gaa kay Hindustani loag bohot achhay hotay haiN” — go and tell them in Pakistan that Indians are very good people. When we checked in for PIA’s Karachi-bound flight PK-
Waiting for peace
For peace between Pakistan and India it is important to understand that at the northwestern corner of the subcontinent, lie the disputed areas called GilgitBaltistan and Kashmir. Economic interdependence is said to bring peace but there is hardly an example of developing countries that have been able to resolve a territorial conflict through economic interdependence. India has had vigorous economic relations with China for decades but the territorial disputes between both countries remain at a standstill, and continue to ignite tensions between the countries. At a time when the leaders of both countries are mutually suggesting a healthier relationship in the future, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir are watching them closely and attaching high hopes for a possible solution to their dispute in the near future. With love to India from Pakistan! Regards, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, From Gilgit, student at Quaid e Azam University, Islamabad
“You are taking so much stuff from my country, sir,” said an officer. Then he added: “I don’t mind, if you promise that you will come again.”
273 from New Delhi on June 3, we had 27 kg excess luggage. We willingly paid for it, but while the boarding cards were being issued, a young lady in a pink uniform, perhaps a member of the aviation management staff, asked me to follow her to a room where some customs officers were having tea. I was sure we were in trouble. “You are taking so much stuff from my country, sir,” said an officer. Before I could respond, he added: “I don’t mind, if you promise that you will come again.” Concluded The writer is a senior executive producer with Geo TV who visited India on a personal trip firstname.lastname@example.org
Rural scene: A villager bicycles past a tea stall in Bihar huan Prasad — clad in a bright white kurta and dhoti, introduced me to his students as a Pakistani visitor who wanted to talk to them. He spoke in Bhojpuri to the students, asking them to welcome the Pakistani guest as a brother. I thanked them, expressing gratitude for this warm welcome, requesting the students to develop and venturous and most memorable drive of my life. Re-entering Uttar Pradesh (U.P), we surprised people in my father’s village, Eksaray near Gorakhpur, showing up without warning. My mother entered the house, where my father’s 70-year-old cousin Shams-uz-Zuha resides, and where she had entered as a dul-
Master Tribhuan Prasad’s open-air class in Goriyakothi village: An ancient tree oversees the learning. Photos by the writer han (bride) in 1950. He narrated the story of my mother’s marriage, saying:”Your mother had got the most learned and handsome man of this village.” I looked at my mother – she was trying to hide the blush that came to her face! We then visited my father’s sister’s house nearby; her inlaws are also related to my late father. We spent four hours in Eksaray, meeting my father’s
Brothers across borders: taking leave of Master Tribhuan Prasad and his students, Goriyakothi village, district Siwan, Bihar. Photo by Kashif Iqbal
Get your views published in the paper! To join the dialogue, email your picture (smiling, no dark glasses) and views on India-Pakistan relations to: email@example.com. To participate in «Testimonials», a collaboration between Aman ki Asha and Romancing The Border, please email your views on India-Pakistan peace (a brief write-up, including your location), and a nicepicture to: RTB Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RomancingTheBorder Aman ki Asha facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/amankiasha.destinationpeace
Become a Peace Maker today!
Three young people...
hree young people in Lahore try to escape the reality of their everyday lives. They succeed in ways they least expected”… So reads the teaser for Zinda Bhaag (Escape Alive), the new feature film starring Naseeruddin Shah that had its media launch on June 17, 2013 in Karachi. The description may well apply to the three long-time friends behind this exciting new venture - former The News on Sunday journalists Farjad Nabi (co-director), Mazhar Zaidi (producer), and Meenu Gaur (co-director) who is married to Mazhar. Each is accomplished in his or her own right. Indian film director Meenu Gaur, with a masters degree in film and video from the Mass Communication Research Centre, JMI University, New Delhi, has received critical acclaim for her earlier film, ‘Paradise on a River of Hell’, set in K a s h m i r. Mazhar Zaidi has worked as a producer at the BBC in London. F a r j a d Nabi’s first documentary film was the awardwinning ‘Nusrat has Left the Building, but When?’ . Farjad and Mazhar have a long-standing interest in Punjabi folk music that they archived through Mateela, a company they started some years ago. It is under the banner of Mateela Films that Zinda Bhaag is being launched. With a stellar India-Pakistan production team, cast and crew, bilingual script (PunjabiUrdu) co-authored by Farjad and Meenu, music composed by Sahir Ali Bagga and vocals by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Arif Lohar and Amanat Ali, this is a venture that truly encapsulates the spirit of Aman ki Asha. Best of luck!
More than just a visit
A recent journey to India gives a young Pakistani woman a lot to think about
By Tanzila Khan
y heart raced with excitement as our plane from Lahore landed smoothly at Delhi International Airport. This is it. I will finally meet Amitabh Bachchan (right?). I was going to Bangalore to participate in the Re-lead conference, an initiative of the Blue Ribbon Movement for International Leadership, focusing on capacity building for future leaders. I had been selected, along with another Pakistani participant, Shelina Khoja. My mother also accompanied me as I am a wheelchair user and need assistance while traveling. I didn’t meet Amitabh Bachchan but I had the experience of a lifetime. I had visited India once before, for the first time, in 2011, for conference organized by the British Council. Although I was there for a week that time, I was confined to the hotel in Gurgaon, outside Delhi, which didn’t allow me a chance to actually experience India. As a Pakistani it is both thrilling and scary to visit this country that we have such a deep connection with, yet are kept separated from - on the basis of goodness knows what. My visit to India earlier this month gave me a lot to think about. For one thing, I realised that both Pakistan and India face the same problems — climate change, poverty, power failures, and education. Imagine if we joined our resources and ideas to overcome these problems together. Going around Bangalore, relating each and every building and street to those in Pakistan was fun, but also very much of an awakening in itself. It just felt like home!. I had the privilege of meeting Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Art of Living asharam.
With Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: at the Art of Living ashram, Bangalore He invited me to say a few words during the Sangat. As I held the mic all I could think of was the need a much more peaceful tomorrow and as I said, “Everyone is working towards peace between India and Pakistan,” the appreciative audience cheered, bursting into hearty applause. I received such heartwarming response not just at that meeting but everywhere I went and with everyone I met. The moment you tell people in India that you are from Pakistan, their face softens and an emotional excitement takes over that breaks into a conversation — just like that on the doorstep of your house when you meet a guest that you had been waiting so long for. It’s impossible to leave without discussing the major cities and how they have changed, how we pronounce the same spices in the two languages of Urdu and Hindi, how well Ali Zafar is doing in India, how important it is to come to India and how “you must not leave without trying Masala Dosa”. Plus there are high chances of you being given a phone number in case there is an emergency and by that I mean the number of the janitor at the airport. He had volunteered to help me with my wheelchair, and after leaving us to the main exit, he returned with a piece of paper bearing his number. “You are guests in my country,” he said. “If you need anything, please call me”. My personal favorite part is when people from either side start identifying their relatives who lived or are still living in the other country. Sadly, most Pakistanis and Indians are denied a chance to experience the commonality because of the restrictive visa regime. Even after the visa is granted, there are fur-
In Bangalore: With Blue Ribbon Movement team
ther registrations and investigations on crossing the border. We need a smooth, simple and safe visa process that encourages more exchanges. I was fortunate to be invited to the Relead conference, which not only provided participants a chance to learn a lot and also to connect deeply with what we had been missing for a very long time. For today’s world, such exchanges can contribute to conflict resolution, which is extremely essential for the coming generations. Since childhood we have been fed rehashed history filled with “facts” that lead only towards conflict and confusion. Even in this century we continue to cling to information that is not very authentic. We continue to teach our children hatred in the name of “patriotism”. ‘The History Project’ recently initiated by Qasim Aslam, a young activist in Pakistan working towards peace between both countries, compares Indian and Pakistani textbooks. It shows how history is being taught significantly differently in both countries right from the school level. A small change in wording can lead to a change in ideology – and that has been used over the years to maintain the distance. It’s time to break down and unpack all this baggage. While living in the present we must look forward to the future. Our past generations have seen massacres, war, and separations. We must not repeat these mistakes, for our children’s sake. We cannot undo what has been done but we can change the future. We can use technology and education to overcome conflicts and make peace, person-to-person, step-by-step. There must be a better tomorrow for India and Pakistan. The writer, a 22-year old Pakistani, is a Global Change-Maker (British Council), motivational speaker and author. She runs a Creative Alley Production for capacity building in young people
THE FIRST STEP LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK
Feedback, contributions, photos, letters: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: +92-21-3241-8343 Post: aman ki asha c/o The News, I.I. Chundrigar Road, Karachi
‘Destination Peace’: A commitment by the Jang Group, Geo and The Times of India Group to create an enabling environment that brings the people of Pakistan and India closer together, contributing to genuine and durable peace with honour between our countries.
A peace initiative whose time has come...