PR: A peace calendar, created jointly by school students of India and Pakistan is being released on Feb 23 (Wednesday ) over online program by a youth lead voluntary initiative Aaghaz-e-Dosti with a discussion titled ‘Sharing of Hopes for a Peaceful Co-existence’.
Guest speakers during the talk would be Pakistani activist and advocate Hina Jilani, who is also chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Indian activists Rita Manchanda, who is research director at South Asia Forum for Human Rights and social activist Medha Patkar.
As per the statment released by the Aaghaz-e-Dosti, this calendar includes paintings on the theme ‘India-Pakistan Friendship’ for which around 500 students of both countries took part from different schools and six paintings from each side are selected for the calendar.
Informing about the initiative, Aaghaz-e-Dosti founder Ravi Nitesh said that this is going to be the 10th (tenth) peace calendar and every year we are getting many paintings from students of both sides. He said that this enthusiasm of students, who are young citizens of our countries, actually motivates us, to learn more about positive thinking, about love-peace and compassion and most importantly- about dreams and desires for a better world that these young citizens have.
Students whose paintings are selected this year are Aadhyaa Ayodhikaa (DAV Public School, Cuttack), Aarya Prasad Sahu (Gyan Mandir Public School, Delhi), Dhunn (Police DAV Public School, Ludhiana), Gauri Vijay Ghanwat (Kamala Nimbkar Balbhavan, Sitara, Maharashtra), Mehakjot Kaur (BCM Arya Model Sr Sec School, Shastri Nagar, Ludhiana) and Zeba Yusuf Patel (Matoshri English Medium School, Pune) from India and Ayesha Iftikhar (Lahore Grammar School I – Shah Jamal Lahore), Haniya Waseem (Ismail Academy, Karachi), Mauhib Ghulam Murtaza (The AMI School, Karachi), Rida Siddique (Jamshed Memorial School, Karachi), Subbuh Shafiq (DMC East Govt Girls Secondary School, Karachi) and Umm-e-Maryam Ameen (Ismail Academy, Karachi) from Pakistan.
As this calendar also carry messages of eminent persons who advocated peace and has already included many eminent names in earlier years, this year Aaghaz-e-Dosti including messages of persons who supported and gave messages to Aaghaz-e-Dosti in these ten years but now no more in the physical world. These names include messages of Asma Jahangir, I A Rehman, Dr Mubasshir Hasan, B M Kutty, Awais Sheikh, Dr S N Subbarao, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Swami Agnivesh, Kamla Bhasin, Rahul Jalali, Sadia Dehlvi and Kuldip Nayar. This year’s calendar will be a tribute to them, a respect towards their services on the path of peacebuilding. Through this way, Aaghaz-e-Dosti is also creating a broader message where peace is equally desired, dreamed, advocated and supported by people, be it a school going student or those who taught the society and the world.
Jansher Khan who is Aaghaz-e-Dosti coordinator in Pakistan informed that the peace calendar also have 12 more paintings as runner up paintings. He informed that Aaghaz-e-Dosti has not only received paintings from regular and established schools but also from alternative schools and social organisations such as Jamghat and Aakansha who are working with students.
Convener of Aaghaz-e-Dosti Devika Mittal says about the importance of this calendar that “The calendar with the paintings of an innocent and apolitical mind will remind us that mindsets have been constructed. Together with the beautiful dreams of the young and innocent, the Calendar also has messages from people who have been actively working to nurture these dreams. This calendar is a collection of shared dreams of peace and friendship. It serves as a hope shared by people who are just like us, in habit and struggle. With the turn of the pages to start a new month, the hope shall be renewed.”
Nazir Ahmed, Coordinator of Aaghaz-e-Dosti from Pakistan believes that by creating such a calendar, students from both side actually exercising their right to peace. He said that in all these seven decades, we created many barriers in movement and communication but still we all dream for a day when people from both sides can meet easily but for that we need to work more on creating a culture of peace through education.
As per the press release, talking about the release of the peace calendar, Punjab coordinator of Aaghaz-e-Dosti Nitin Mittoo said that peace calendar is being released online because of restrictions over COVID and omicron, but we really wish to have an offline launch and discussion too after the situation improves.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is working since 2012 mainly with school students and organize paintings, classroom connect programs to foster people to people relations.