Delhi and Lahore youth meet virtually


Delhi and Lahore youth meet virtually
Lahore: Playing for Delhi

Young Pakistanis, Indians come together at a unique open mic session

Lahore: Classically trained vocalist Allen Earl-West sings for Delhi.

Lahore: Classically trained vocalist Allen Earl-West sings for Delhi.

Young Pakistanis and Indians came together virtually at the First India Pakistan Open Mic organised by the cross-border youth group Aaghaz-e-Dosti and Delhi-based civil rights organisation Ideal Youth Health & Welfare Society.

Youth in Lahore and Delhi participated via an online video call at an interactive session aiming to promote art, music and culture and improve communications between the people of the two countries. Organisers also obtained signatures for the ongoing Peace Now and Forever campaign.

Aaghaz-e-Dosti, a joint initiative of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and Hum Sab Aik Hain (Pakistan), works to eradicate mutual hatred and suspicion and create bonds of peace and friendship. Several initiatives taken from this platform included interactive sessions in schools, art-based initiatives and public demonstrations.

Lahore: Atiqa Shahid speaking to Delhi while moderating the session

Lahore: Atiqa Shahid speaking to Delhi while moderating the session

Founded by Vijay Kumar, a certified trainer of Play for Peace, Ideal Youth Health & Welfare Society works with the marginalised youth including Dalits, school dropouts, and young adults in Delhi.

At the Open Mic, Saad Hafeez and Hassan from Qade Band of Lahore began with an Indian song Teri Deewani, followed by more songs — Allah hi dyga, Mola hi Deyga. Singers Zeeshan Sarwar and Haroon Hashmi, and Allen Earl-West with his classical training contributed with vocals. Responding to a request from Delhi, Allan did a stunning rendition of Ghulam Ali’s Chupkay Chupky Raat Din.

Flutists Umair Ali and Sadaam Hussain rendered Marr Jaon Ya Ji Lon Zaraa and Lambi Judai. Kevin and Sam from Lahore gave an instrumental performance of Anokha Laadla, and John from Delhi sang Tu Na Jany Aas Pas Hai Khuda.

Delhi: Vijay Kumar and Sunil Taank have a good rhythm

Delhi: Vijay Kumar and Sunil Taank have a good rhythm

From Delhi, Vijay Kumar along with children sang a Bojhpuri folk song, then did a special group performance with drums.

Zeeshan Sarwar also sang the famous peace song known as the Aman Ki Asha “anthem” Nazar Mein Rehety Ho Jab Tum Nazar Nahin Aate, originally sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Rahat Fateh Ali.

Delhi: Young participants at the open mic.

Delhi: Young participants at the open mic.

During the discussion, 12-year old Neha from Delhi asked if Muslims in Pakistan visited Mandirs as Hindus visit dargahs and mosques. Yes, responded the Pakistanis, explaining that they visit Lahore’s famous mandirs in Lahore and celebrate Holi with their Hindu friends and community. Asked when she would visit Lahore, Neha replied, “When you give me a visa”.

Lahore: Saad Hafeez on the guitar accompanying Hassan's vocals.

Lahore: Saad Hafeez on the guitar accompanying Hassan’s vocals.

Asked about their favorite singer from Pakistan, the Delhi children replied, Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

Participants appreciated the Peace Now and Forever campaign and the Open Mic event, and expressed their keenness to participate in more such events to promote peace and tolerance. Both governments should replace this conflict and tussle with peace and harmony, they said. They also called for easing the visa process to enable people to visit across the border more easily.

As the event ended, Fayyaz from Lahore presented a poem Ao Mil Kar Hum Sab Sath Chalen. After that Delhi Team gave their last group performance, and Saad Hafeez concluded the event with a mesmerising rendition of Terey Ishq Mein Jo Bhi Doob Gaya and Laal Meri Patt Rakhiyo Bala.

For further information, email Aaghaz-e-Dosti – [email protected]

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