By Zain Hasan
May 13, 2010: Today I spent some hours with the students of a community school where I also had studied. – Akhtar Academy in Nazimabad. It was really fun to explain Aman ki Asha’s peace project to the students there. They were so excited while writing and painting on handkerchiefs-abound with enthusiasm and the spirit of friendship.
“Do they look like us? What language do they speak?” a student of class 2 asked me while painting a heart over his piece of cloth. That showed that the children were interested in knowing about Indian people and this initiative had really sparked love in them. Unfortunately, racism and hatred for each other have penetrated into the roots of our cultures so much so that the coming generations are experiencing a change of the negative type. However, through public awareness campaigns like aman ki asha we can encourage our children and youth to come forward for forging international friendship and creating permanent peace. All of these hankies, bearing messages by Pakistani children for their Indian counterparts, will be sent to India for an exhibition where these will soon be displayed to promote mutual love and harmony.
Last month I also attended a workshop, ‘Talking Peace’ organised by the Jang group in a local hotel and there I met several media personalities from across the border. The whole workshop was quite script based and formal but later I got an opportunity to have lunch with Mr. Diwarkar Saathana, National Political Editor of The Times of India. In a very casual conversation I came to know that he was aware of Pakistan’s political climate and national culture. “Do your fellows think in the same way or is it still craze of religious fundamentalism in your campus?” he asked me while taking a sip of drink. Well it was really tough for me to answer such questions in an hour long conversation. I realised that people of India have a wrong image of Pakistani religious leaders because of those who had interpreted Islam in a destructive way. But on the other hand there is no doubt that we also consider them terrorists on equal scale.
Being a Co-Administrator of facebook Aman ki Asha community I had talked with several people who think that this initiative is more bad than good for both the countries. It has become a norm that by passing comments full of hatred for the people living across the border proves you more patriotic and loyal. But as our aim is pure and our campaign is to create peace, I am confident that Aman ki Asha will brighten up all the hearts with love that have darkened with hatred. All those thousands of members of our facebook community are testimony to this fact that peace is our first priority, without which we can not move forward.