Mar 15, 2010

Forget 1947, it’s history

If war is the answer, then the question is wrong

By Allen O’Brien

Did you know that walls, barbed wire fences and barricades stretch across almost the entire 1,800 miles of the defined Indo-Pak border?

Did you know that some Rs 1,201 crore is spent on fencing, floodlights, roads and border outposts across the Indo-Pak border?

And did you know that the barbed wire border is going to be made less formidable by a ‘Rope of Respect’ peace chain comprising some two lakh hankies! It’s how young India bridges the great Indo-Pak divide by laying down a new matrix for the bilateral relationship. With funky slogans on handkerchiefs from nine cities — Delhi, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai — and 1,200 schools, this TOI peace initiative — Aman ki Asha, begins a new season of hope, a new Indo-Pak border, sans discord. This is one in which young Indians take on responsibility for shedding the baggage of history.

It is obvious that this is the need of the hour. The terrorists must be crushed; the fundamentalists must be hushed. As some of our students’ slogans rightly declare: If war is the answer, then the question is wrong; Nukes are flukes; Hand out free chocolates, not suicide vests; Put 1947 behind, it’s history! Look ahead, it’s 2010. Or more aptly: Love your enemies, it really kills them! Read on to find out why young India feels Munnabhai’s reworked Gandhian philosophy of love is the only real weapon of change.

"We need peace because we have seen enough of this mutual hatred. Economically and politically too, peace would do a lot of good to India and its neighbour," says Shivam Sharma, student, Chandigarh. And "by working together, we can become an even stronger force in the global community," believes Gayathree Devi of Hyderabad. More important, young India regards geographical borders as an irrelevance in a globalizing world. As Irene Kibria, a student in Kolkata, says: "Borders can be different, but hearts are the same."

"Interactive camps and forums should be initiated to create acceptance and understanding of differences," suggests Anam Vadgama, a Mumbai student. Schools can help as well. Harini G, student, Chennai says, "Both countries must have a common pledge which could be read across schools, both in India and Pakistan, during the morning assembly." On a larger scale, suggests Delhi student Ayesha Bhatt, "Both countries need to work on their misunderstandings by being more friendly."

Trisha Menon of Bangalore says, "Perhaps in the next five years when commonalities of culture play a vital role." Sudeep Vashistha of DPS, Gurgaon believes, "There is an urgent need for each country to set things right within its own system. Once the inner eroded structures are taken care of, peace shall prevail. And that could take anything from tomorrow to 10 years!"

Till then, our students are already shutting out the dustbin of history and looking towards a future of peace. It could be the Aman ki Asha ‘hanky campaign’ or the ‘If peace prevailed’ venture. The latter is a look into the future and how the two countries could progress if they came together.

For instance, an unbeatable combined cricket team, suggests Vrinda Duve of New Delhi:

Where the ball bounces free, and the bat rises to beat its bounce,
into that heaven of cricketing freedom, Oh Lord, let the two countries awake

Courtesy: The Times of India


Youthful hope: Students of Delhi's Salwan Public School write peace slogans for the
Aman ki Asha 'Rope of Respect' campaign.

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