IMO News Service
New Delhi: A discussion titled ‘Role of People in Peace Building’ was organized by Aaghaz-e-Dosti during the recently-concluded World Book Fair at New Delhi. This discussion was organized in context of South Asia where eminent guests participated to discuss that how and what role people can play in peace building.
This discussion included eminent guests like Prof Dilip Simeon (Noted historian and author of ‘Revolution Highway’), Ram Mohan Rai (Advocate of Supreme Court of India and Peace activist), Mr. Pushpendra Pathak, Mirwais Parsa (Postgraduate student in South Asian university from Afghanistan) and Shucheesmita Simonti (Postgraduate student in South Asian University from Bangladesh.
The discussion began with Ram Mohan Rai sharing his experiences of being in Pakistan and interacting with people there. He noted that people of both countries are similar not only in terms of culture but also desire for peace but miscommunication and stereotypes affect their thinking. People to people communication can change mindsets.
Mirwais Parsa, a student from Afghanistan, talked about the conflict in his country and how it has affected all aspects of political, social and civilian life. Some of the issues affecting Afghanistan are terrorism, dominant religious and political extremism. The people must play an important role in solving the conflict. The civil society and media persons need to voice the importance for peace. Civil society should come forward to express the will to solve issues and completely critique the government policies which are not people friendly. He concluded by saying that we must remember the lessons of Gandhi in order to work for peace and stability in the region through non-violent ways.
Shucheesmita Simonti from Bangladesh highlighted the stereotypes and the influence of media in this. She said that people share common culture in the region. The media should avoid negative agenda, it should be unbiased. People should play active role in promoting peace in the South Asian region. She concluded by saying that change begins at home.
Pushpendra Pathak ji talked about the situation of common people under various governments in the South Asia region. People everywhere have suffered. We must work to bring stability in the region. A united South Asia will be able to fight the common menace of differences and terrorism.
Prof.Dilip Simeon began by taking the names of activists, journalist who have been killed in conflicts in South Asia. He said that conflict is happening more internally than by external forces, there is a spread of hate and instability. Conflict is born from within and is not just by the politicians. There is a need to discuss issues critically. It is important to start speaking the truth openly to fight conflict in the region.
During the discussion, all the guests had expressed that South Asian countries have so many conflicts despite the similarities even in terms of challenges, and instead of joining each other and heading towards resolution of conflict, they are just engaging with more and more defence budget.
There was an open session following the discussion. Sanjana Arya had raised the point on how it is important to take into account and address different and even opposing views if we want to change mindsets.
At the end of session, Aaghaz-e-Dosti’s 4th Indo-Pak peace calendar was released by guests with the objective that people of South Asia must favor for Indo-Pak Peace and people to people relation among all countries. This Indo-pak peace calendar includes paintings of school children from India and Pakistan along with messages from eminent persons from both countries. This is fourth year of Peace calendar and it is being released in many cities in both India and Pakistan such as Delhi, Islamabad, Lahore, Ayodhya, Toba Tek Singh, Lucknow, Panipat and others.