Shared History and Shared Hopes

A discussion in context of India and Pakistan organised at world book fair by cross boder friendship initiative Aaghaz-e-dosti

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14 FEB, New Delhi, World Book Fair.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a cross border initiative for Indo-Pak Friendship organised a session today on inaugral day of World Book Fair, New Delhi. This session was organised at ‘Sahitya Manch’ and theme was ‘Shared History-Shared Hopes’. Guest speakers include Prof. Chaman Lal, Ms. Sadia Dehlvi, Ram Mohan Rai and Dr. Dhananjay Tripathi. Session was moderated by Ravi Nitesh.

Program started with few lines of Saeed Ahmed (Lahore, pakistan) recited by Ravi Nitesh, where Saeed Ahmed named lot of writers and artists whose works and thoughts shared by people of India and Pakistan. These people includes Manto, Ismat, Premchand, Krishan Chander, Khushwant, Bhagat Singh etc. ‘Hamare tumhare saanjhe hain’ was the name of poem. Ravi Nitesh told that Saeed Ahmed sent this poem only yesterday with his desire to send his message of love and peace through this.Speakers discussed their experiences and vision and narrated their feelings about these countries and their people.

Picture: (Left to Right): Ravi Nitesh, Ms. Sadia Dehlvi, Prof Chaman Lal, Ram Mohan Rai, Dr. Dhananjay Tripathi

Prof. Chaman Lal, while speaking about relations about India and Pakistan, told that there is an urgent need to divert the financial expenditure of arms and this budget must be utilised in education, health and other priority sectors. He told that how Mohd Iqbal and Premchand are celebrated writers in these two countries and still in India many dont know about such facts. Prof Chaman Lal told that our culture is one and we must have freedom to meet each other. He insisted that our boundaries must be like of US-Canada and EU nations. He told that he still imagine for a day to come when Lahoris can come for Amritsari lassi and Amritsari can go for Lahori kababs anytime they desire.

Social Activist Ram Mohan Rai narrated his experience and told about Hali, a renowned poet. He felt emotional while narrating his experience that when many years ago he went to Pakistan on martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, he heard slogans ‘Lahore me Bhagat Singh Zinda hai, Karachi me Bhagat Singh Zinda hai, Saada Bhagat Singh Zinda hai’ (Bhagat Singh is alive in Lahore and Karachi, Our Bhagat Singh still alive). He told that he was thinking if Bhagat Singh was Indian or Pakistani. He also told about famous poet Altaf Hussain ‘Hali’. He worked on Hali and he belong from the birth place of Hali. He told that even hundred years ago, Hali was so progressive in his thoughts that still he is relevant. He told that how a urdu poet of Panipat (India) is in the books of Pakistani students and these are examples that how our books, writers and culture are shared and must be shared and it again gives a hope to all of us, on both sides. He narrated lines of Hali, ‘Tum agar chahte ho mulk ki khair,Na rakho kisi se bair, na samjho kisi ko gair’ . He also told about Nirmala Deshpande who was a bridge between India and Pakistan and told ‘Goli nahee Boli chahiye’ (We all need talks, not bullets).

Dr. Dhananjay Tripathi from South Asian University told that India and Pakistan can not be separated with each other. He insisted about the changes in history books that took place after 1960 in both countries and he told that how rather than objectively correct history, both countries tried to teach politically correct history. He told that it is unfortunate that still , many times we could not move forward from 1947, while there is an urgent need to recognize the facts and move ahead on the path of mutual progress, peace and friendship. He also told that countering fundamentalism is also very much required for both the countries. He told that there must be an increase in exchanges of youths, students, academicians , activists and people and government, both need to play their role effectively.

Ms. Sadia Dehlvi shared her experience. She told that being a person from divided family, she herself has so many experiences. She remembered her Nani who was in Pakistan, but how she could not meet her. She told about difficulties in visa formalities and ques of Indians and Pakistanis in their countries before high commissions of other country. She told a lot about her friend and mentor Khushwant Singh. She told that how Khushwant is a celebrated writer in India and Pakistan and even on personal note, Khushwant Singh was so emotional. She narrated that how he always welcomed guests from Pakistan at any time. She told that Khushwant always said ‘ My Makka Madina is Pakistan’. She also narrated that how sufism bridge the culture of India and Pakistan. Baba Farid’s words can be found in Punjabi literaure and Baba Farid is very much connected even with Guru Granth Sahab. She told that how Nizamuddin Auliya celebrates Basant festival and how so many sikhs still goes to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. She finds that culture of India and Pakistan is very similar and here she tells that culture is probably more binding than religion. On the note of shared hopes, she says that she is very hopeful with present generation as present generation is rejecting hatred. She described that India and Pakistan are two houses under one roof and we both have to move on the path of Insaniyat (humanity), mahabbat (love) and dosti (friendship).

Members of Aaghaz-e-Dosti conveyed their sincere thanks to guest speakers and to audience.Abhishek Shukla, Mukesh Raghuvanshi, Subodh Kumar, Sandeep Mishra, Vandana and Meenu were participated from Aaghaz-e-Dosti.

Aaghaz-e-Dosti aims to create unwavering bonds of friendship between India and Pakistan through advocating for people to people contacts and resolving conflicts. To move towards its objectives, Aaghaz-e-Dosti organise various discussions and talks at various forums, Aman chaupals in schools. Being a cross border initiative, Aaghaz-e-Dosti also collaborate with various cross border organisations to spread message for peace and friendship.

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