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aman ki asha Destination Peace



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hum Dekhein gey, Lazim hai hum bhi dekhein gey, jiss Aman kee hum ko Asha hai, Hum Dekhein gey
N idhi Shendurnikar Tere: I never imagined that I would be a part of such wonderful groups working for peaceful and cooperative relations, or that I would be friends with so many warm and caring people across the border, that I would interact with them, debate and discuss issues with them, that I would incorporate their views in my research, that I would myself write so much on Indo-Pak issues. However, one wish that I want the New Year to grant me is that I am able to meet my Pakistani friends, face to face, and invite them to India. Samir Gupta: It has been a fantastic journey for me. Layers upon layers of nationalistic bias laid bare as I discovered the extent to which we in India have de-humanised people across the border. I am also moved by the strong demand for peace on both sides, especially Pakistan. Makes me very hopeful. Thank you to the team at Aman ki Asha Anita Dixit: Many times there have been arguments and heated debates about political issues, but members treat each other with politeness, and I have NEVER seen personal enmity or hatred. People blame their differently-interpreted histories, never the present. I have always seen, in this group that people recognise each other as people, and want to be friends. Not only that, but friendships from the heart have been formed. That's huge! Tanvir Kazmi: As a new member of the group, I am touched by the genuine desire for peace shown by both sides and their respectful attitude Zaakbar Ali: For me, 2013 started with becoming acquainted with Aman ki Asha through an opportunity to help organize the Global Peace Vigil. Couldnt be a greater way to start a year than calling for peace! Bhatta Som: I have the privilege to have developed real and enduring friendships with people across the border people who are just like me. I have learned a great deal about the land across the border - the people, the land, the culture, the politics, the cuisine, the problems, the hopes and the sorrows. I hope that I may have helped demolish stereotyped images that Pakistanis might hold about Indians and vice versa. I have significantly improved my proficiency in Urdu, which was getting rusty. I have started learning Farsi and I just love it. I have considerably enhanced my own Gross Happiness Index by being a part of this group and initiative. Plus I have learned just how false and skewed officially fed propaganda can be. I believe that real peace and prosperity between the two nations is not impractical utopia because the borderless world of the Internet and social media dissolve many erstwhile barriers, change perceptions and encourage positive change in the status quo. Kami Kidwai: For me the year has been one of optimism for Pakistan India peace. Despite the few incidents where there were fears on the dialogue derailing, by and large we have seen genuine desire of peace from both sides - reflected by not only the discussions on this forum but how these discussions translated to real actions e.g. the Global Vigil, visits across the border, the Coke Machine and Google ads. As for the new year, I am full of optimism, with respect to Faiz for slightly modifying his lines, 'Hum Dekhein gey, Lazim hai hum bhi dekhein gey, jiss Aman kee hum ko Asha hai, Hum Dekhein gey' Ruchhita Kazaria: Aman ki Asha is a wonderful platform that has been instrumental in spreading the message of peace between the two nations. I consider myself privileged to be a member of this forum. The journey so far has enriched me in more ways than one. Anil Kumar: I am really honoured to be a part of this platform AKA through which we can speed up our peace process between two lovely countries. Hope 2014 will bring more peace & brotherhood between two countries.


2013 2014

Ganesh Natarajan: Maybe we should do a breakthrough initiative involving students in 2014.

Aman ki Asha supporters talk about what has made the past year meaningful for them with regards to India-Pakistan relations, and what gives them hope for the future

Masood Akhtar Janjua: It has always been my hope to see people of both India and Pakistan on the same platform. After all we hail from common ancestry and share the same blood. Once thing more, please try to create a forum where we can participate live in all events taking place in connection with AKA. Susenjit Guha: As an Indian, I feel all the more richer as we can forge friendships with our distant cousins, descended from our common grandparents and great grandparents. They used to live under one roof, but that does not mean we have to fight since they decided to divide the ancestral plot and build separate houses. Many Indians and Pakistanis had to leave their ancestral homes at a very short notice and have died without making a single return visit. AKA has come as a real hope for those in their 70's and 80's, who want to visit their roots, meet childhood friends and perhaps step into homes they left behind 66 years ago. AKA has come as a real hope for people like us who want a EU like system to prevail and not allow any superpower ever to take advantage of our immaturity and foolishness. If we cannot talk and settle issues concerning us, outsiders are bound to exploit the situation at our expense. Parshu Naraya nan: It is hard to underestimate the value of the genuine trans-border people-to-people connect that AKA has enabled for so many of us personally, including me - boond boond se banta hai saagar. Prabir Chakraborty: Aman ki Asha has taught me friendship. After joining the AKA group I learnt that ordinary Pakistanis are not my enemy. And if we choose, we can live as good friends, good neighbours. Aman ki Asha means a future a bright future.

Safia Bokhari: This has been a great year for me as I joined AKA and found beautiful and loving people from India as friends. I discovered the numerous similarities between the two countries. I've always been eager to know more about India. AKA has contributed a lot in this regard. I hope the New Year brings us even closer and we can help further reduce the tension and misunderstanding among the people and countries on the whole. All issues must be resolved amicably with mutual consent for the sake of peace and prosperity of the people of both countries Hoping for the best in 2014. Fatima Harris: The happiness and friendships that I carried from my past (in India), irrespective of religion or social status in my memories became stronger as I formed bonds with people. Neerja Arora Khattri: I am really happy to have the opportunity to know people across the border. We once lived in the same house. Now I want to really meet the people and visit Pakistan. Its good to know that people on both sides want to live in peace and friendship. Whatever our past, Inshallah, I pray that all our efforts will lead to a better future, better relationships.

Sharmin Eliyas: Looking back at this year, I would consider it as one of THE MOST remarkable one inching towards peace. There had been hardly any negativity this year. Instead, there has been more recognition, constructive interactions, visits and promising synergies for a peaceful, collaborative future. I would reckon this year as a landmark one, as it has given a very clear message to the 'conflict' mongers that we are determined to not join you. Haider Ali: I joined AKA very late. I had already visited India twice, received a lot of love there. There was no one I could share this with. After joining AKA, when I visited India for the third time, I got a lot more support and this helped me to bring the people of India and Pakistan closer together through my work. I dont feel alone now. Atul Mukand: It is imperative for the purveyors of peace to use utilize the power of social media and Internet so that we can have more such initiatives between the two nations, beyond journalists, students, academics and film makers who are a niche segment. We need more grassroots communications to break the barriers. Konchadi Vasanth Pai: I was taking an interest in the various events organised by the Aman ki Asha Initiative through news items in the Times of India as this is a subject dear to my heart. Since I learnt that there was a Facebook group recently and joined it, Ive found it rewarding to cultivate friendships with AKA group members across the border and learning about the cultural and educational events taking place. Although our joint celebration of Independence Day in 2013 was disrupted by tensions on the LOC, the tempo of the AKA group did not falter. The atmosphere remained one of friendship and fervent wishes for improvement in relations between the two countries. We adopted rakhi brothers and sisters, celebrated Eid and Diwali sharing the joy and exchanging greetings. Overall. I would say AKA stook like a rock amidst the turbulence and unceasingly worked for better relations between India and Pakistan. I have great hopes that the coming year will be even more productive and we will achieve much more than in 2013. More power to our elbow!

Over a thousand students of DAV Sr. Sec. School (Lahore), Chandigarh (named after the school in Lahore that was re-established in Chandigarh after partition) made Indo-Pak Friendship Cards for Pakistani students

An actor and a gentleman

ans on both sides of the border mourned the untimely demise of the beloved Indian actor Farooq Shaikh, who died following a massive heart attack in Dubai on December 27, 2014. Born on March 25, 1948, Farooq Saab, as he was widely known, was a charismatic artist who had established his expertise in theatre as well as films. He was also a quiet philanthropist who helped others without seeking publicity. His roles in the realistic films of the 1970s and 80s stand out, starting with his first film, Garam Hawa (1973), which has since become a must-watch for anyone interested in Partition politics. He paired memorably with Deepti Naval in some eight films starting with the outstanding Chashme Buddoor (1981). Over the past two decades, he performed several times in the two-person theatre play Tumhari Amrita together with his old friend Shabana Azmi. While not very active in the movie world over the past few years, he appeared frequently on TV discussions about Indias political issues, ranging from relations with Pakistan to Kashmir. His humane views reinforced the need for peace and dialogue.

Cross-border calendar launch

aghaz-e-Dosti, a joint initiative of the India-based Mission Bhartiyam and Pakistan-based The Catalyst, launched its annual Calendar for Peace and Love", a collection of paintings of students from both countries, in New Delhi and Islamabad last week. Aliya Harir, Convenor of Aaghaz-e-Dosti Pakistan, said that the six paintings in the calendar were 'Paintings of Hope' by students. They narrate the desire as well as need to bridge the gap for a happy and prosperous future". The launch in Delhi at the India International Centre featured addresses by eminent Hindi poet Pankaj Singh, Delhi-based Pakistani filmmaker and journalist Sonya Fatah, journalist Jawed Naqvi, Chairperson of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, Prof. Dr. D.S. Rana, and senior activist Satya Pal. Kulsum Khan, a Pakistani student studying at the South Asian University, Delhi, also shared her positive experience of living in India. The Islamabad launch featured comments by senior journalist and author of the book "Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller Raza Rumi, and nuclear physicist, analyst, and author Pervez Hoodboy.


At open sessions in both events, many from among the audience, shared their hopes and desire for Indo-Pak peace and friendship. The Aaghaz-eDosti initiative is not aimed at pacifying or convincing anyone; it aims to spread the fact that the desire for hope and friendship is not one-sided, but is a mutual desire and need, says Ravi Nitesh, founder member of Mission Bhartiyam.


Feedback, contributions, photos, letters: Email: Fax: +92-21-3241-8343 Post: aman ki asha c/o The News, I.I. Chundrigar Road, Karachi

A peace initiative whose time has come... 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.