Since 1947, ‘India’ and ‘Pakistan’ is always being talked and discussed inquisitively by people, government, army men, media etc. And now here are two teenagers shouldering their responsibilities towards peace in India and Pakistan. The age when minors are yet in a condition to explore what exactly peace between India and Pakistan means, Khushboo Danish (The City’s School Bhit Shah, Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan) and Arsh Arora (St. Marks Senior Secondary Public School, Meera Bagh, New Delhi, India), the founders of Indo-Pak Peace Project (IPP) are working incandescently for making peace happen between the two countries. “We believe in friendship and love beyond the borders”, says Khushboo and Arsh.
What was your sole motive behind introducing such a project on Indo-Pak peace? How did you actually start working on it?
KD: This peace Project is not only an initiative, but a kind of contribution from individual, to donate my role for improving ties between India and Pakistan. The motivation behind this project was and is my enthusiasm to work for global peace. Being honest, I really feel comfortable and loved, whenever I talk to my Indian friends. It feels like as if I’m having conversation with someone who is so much close to me. I strongly believe that LOC and borders are only there to divide both nations physically, but they can’t divide people, who are closer and attached with each other through the bond of love and friendship.
Interacting with Arsh on Face to faith online community was not that simple and smooth. We sometimes had conflicts over the issue of Indo-Pak peace, which also led to personal arguments and disagreements. However, after having such useless and baseless quarrels, we both realized that we were reaching nowhere. Hence, we decided not to have personal conflict but should support each other in the noble peace causes. Ultimately we had a sole motive and that was/is to unite India and Pakistan. We started shaping this peace project with the help of Facebook and by getting positive responses and healthy support from our mentors, our struggles seemed more productive.
AA: Like every teenager, I like to surf internet and watch television. Since I started exploring world through internet and news channels, I frequently came across the news of tensions brewing on borders and the conflict situations emerging between India and Pakistan on and off. It was then I thought of not taking the news just passively but to act on it and do something that makes sense in a positive manner. My sole motive to start IPP was to see India and Pakistan as a united nation once again and set an example for the world. It all started when Khushboo and I met on Face to Faith online Organization. After that we decided to do something which can bring a positive, peaceful and harmonious atmosphere among youth and citizens of both the nations.
Associated with a challenging work did you face any obstacles during the whole project till now?
KD: I would say that obstacles are stairs to success. Hindrances that we faced in our mission, made us more capable and firm to work with more dedication. The massive obstacle we faced and are still facing is Negative reflection from some people. They always discourage by making remarks that we are AGENTS, we are doing such things only for fame and to be awarded with Noble Prize like Malala. Another big hurdle is our safety. Mostly my parents and friends are worried of my security but, my approach is always positive. I feel that god is always there to rescue me from these evils, because my vision is noble and positive.
AA: I think time is changing, people are changing, and their mindsets are also changing. Government, youth and citizens of both the nations are aware that there is a need for mantra ‘Cooperation and Coordination’ between the two nations. People have now realized that there is need for peace between two nations by eradicating terrorism and poverty. So, frankly saying I did not face any such obstacle while working on the path of peace between the two nations.
Please throw some light on your understanding of Indo-Pak peace.
KD: India and Pakistan happened to be two different nations after Partition. Despite the fact that we are similar in nature as a human being, only a fence/border divides both nations. We have similar culture, costumes, languages, food and problems too, then why is there a gap between us? Even though issues of Kashmir and LOC still are contemporary in nature, people from India and Pakistan are attached with each other through the bond of love and friendship, which is really helpful for Indo-Pak peace process.
AA: According to me India and Pakistan are like Siblings. Like Siblings have same nature, personality and still argue on small issues, India and Pakistan also share same culture, faith, and people and yet they fight on small things. I firmly believe with the changing atmosphere and spreading awareness, so that the day would not be far when India and Pakistan will be united with full power and strength. I strongly believe that in the coming generation parents will tell their children that once India and Pakistan were not in good relations, but then strength of Peace and Positivity is much stronger than terrorism and negativity.
Do you think Media plays a pivotal role in your project and also in bringing peace in the country?
KD: Yes, I think media plays an essential role in our mission. Media can contribute by portraying positive aspects of neighboring countries and by having interactive sessions/interviews with people and youth who voluntarily work for Indo-Pak peace. I must mention that we are also in touch with many journalists and media persons who are in support of our project, like for instance, Beena Sarwar, journalist of Pakistan and editor of Aman ki Asha, Pakistan, Yusra Hussain Naqvi of Times of India, Lucknow, Ranjini Maitra, Independent Film-maker etc.
AA: I think media plays a vital role in promoting peace between the two nations. We see media highlighting the misunderstanding between the governments, but besides such aspects, media can also highlight more of the positive aspects of relation between India and Pakistan where in people like Yogesh Ravindra Mathuria goes on peace Walk for spreading peace among people of both the countries, Devika Mittal who initiated Aghaz-e-dosti, Nidhi Shendurnikar and the list goes on. This will ultimately attract people and youth for a positive message of contributing for peace.
Please tell us something about your solution-oriented discussions on Indo-Pak Peace and its actual implementation.
KD: Our discussions were mostly based upon issues that are barriers to Indo-Pak peace process. We highlighted many issues in our discussions like Kashmir, Kargil, LOC, Wars of 1965 and 1971. Though, the solutions to these problems were to be thought by the authorities of government but, the solutions that we discussed were to make people aware and enlighten them for resolving issues from their side. The most important solution we derived was to use the newer talents of the current generation for peace-building.
AA: The first Video Conferencing of IPP with St. Marks School and The City’s School Bhit Shah (TCSB) was very interesting and fruitful as it gave students the understanding of each other’s views and ideas to promote peace between two nations. Boosting economies, converting ‘Borders as Bridges’, Cultural Exchange Visits etc. were streamlined after various ideas and discussions.
What are your future plans and expectations from IPP?
KD: As the basic purpose of IPP is to connect with youth for bridging gaps, so my expectations are to introduce more activities, conferences and Video-conferences, by which they could resolve all their misunderstandings and walk on the path of peace, making their ties healthier and stronger.
AA: Our initiative – IPP mainly revolves around interesting ideas to promote peace through various activities. We have our whole team (students and teachers of St. Marks School and TCSB) sharing one mission of connecting more schools of both the nations with IPP as by connecting even one single school, thousands of students from that school will start working with us and a whole Chain of spreading peace will be formed.
Any personal statements you would like to share…
KD: Don’t get scared from the threat and negative response that holds you back. Make yourself stronger to face problems and achieve milestones. We all have to bring both the nations closer to each other, with our talent, intellect, and dedication and I think for that we need a true positive spirit.
AA: Let’s dream of a world where people would live happily, peacefully without any geographical boundaries across religions and faiths. We can make this dream come true by coming together with full strength and will power. We can indeed transform the globe to a peaceful place to live and make it secured for our future generation.