A group of Indian voluntary organisations plan to dedicate their annual event in Hyderabad to the renowned Pakistani activist B. M. Kutty who was born in Kerala and passed away in Karachi, 25 August 2019. The event aims to help school students to engage with and understand social issues and work towards a better society.
According to a press statement, the Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA) has held this event every year since 2005. They select five issues each time. The themes for 2019 are:
- Water Conservation: Issues and Need
- Heritage: Practices for Protection and Conservation around the World
- Genius with Junk: Creating Beauty or Utility out of Waste
- Life in Prison: Impact on Inmates and Their Families
- Life of a Farmer: Challenges and Remedies.
This year, over 800 students from 60 Schools of Hyderabad, India, will engage for two months to prepare and showcase their Project Works at the event, being held 5 November 2019.
COVA’s Executive Committee has resolved to dedicate the programme to celebrate the contributions of B.M. Kutty “who had a special relationship with all Pakistan- India peace processes and also with COVA”.
B.M. Kutty was one of the co-founders along with Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research which collaborated with COVA and M. Tahseen of South Asia Partnership-Pakistan (SAP-Pk) in organising a series of programmes for peace. These programmes began in 1997 with the Festival of the Sub-Continent for Union of Hearts to commemorate 50 years of Independence, starting on 14-15 August — perhaps for the first time — in 30 different cities of Pakistan and India.
In 2003, a Flags for Peace initiative by these organisations had started the trend of spectators waving flags of both India and Pakistan at cricket matches around in the world. They also collected over four million endorsements for the Joint Signature Campaigns in both countries in 2006 against purchase of F 16s and in 2008 against terrorism.
Kutty, says the COVA press release, “provided inspiration and coordination” for eight exchange programs between India and Pakistan comprising activists, artists, journalists, academics and faith leaders.
“He was a regular visitor to Hyderabad and addressed numerous meetings of students, youth, activists and political parties across spectrum and was always a hit with his unconventional insights, frank and unbiased views and the courage of his conviction.
“COVA will always remember him for being one of the very first to respond to each and every one of our reports and messages with very kind and appreciative sentiments that was a great source of inspiration and kept us going”, says Mazher Hussain, COVA Executive Committee member.
“We will always remember him fondly as a loving soul, a gracious host and an inspiring comrade who redefined the meaning of life, vision and activism for us”.