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Indo-Pak calendar launched in New Delhi and Islamabad

Aaghaz-e-Dosti, an initiative of India-based Mission Bhartiyam and Pakistan-based The Catalyst - TC and CYDA, aims to create unwavering bonds of peace and friendship between India and Pakistan. The bonds that will survive the vagaries of troubles times. But these bonds will not be artificial ones, they rest on the belief and claim that people of India and Pakistan not only share the same language, culture, values and challenges but also the desire for peace and friendship. It rests on the belief that if there are people on both sides of the border who cannot and do not want to forget the past and do not want others to forget it, there are also people who want to forget the past and not just move on but move along to create a new chapter in history…of friendship and brotherhood.

To remind us about these people every day, Aaghaz-e-Dosti launch its annual “Calendar for Peace and Love" which is a collection of selected paintings of students from both countries. The importance of the calendar is stated by the organisers:

"We believe that the paintings of these innocent and apolitical minds will remind us that mindsets have been constructed. Aaghaz-e-Dosti termed these paintings as 'Paintings of Hope'. The six paintings narrate the desire as well as need to bridge the gap for a happy and prosperous future," said Aliya Harir, Convenor of Aaghaz-e-Dosti Pakistan.  

"This calendar is a collection of these shared dreams of peace and friendship. 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. 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.", remarked Devika Mittal, Convenor of Aaghaz-e-Dosti India.

The Calendar has been launched in both India and Pakistan alongwith a discussion or "Sharing of hopes for a peaceful and friendly co-existence".

The Calendar was launched in New Delhi (India) on 21st December. It was launched by the Indian organisation Mission Bhartiyam at India International Centre, New Delhi. The programme had began with a slide show presenting some interesting and unknown facts about Pakistan and Indo-Pak relations.

For the discussion or a 'Sharing of Hopes for a peaceful & friendly co-existence', the panel included some eminent personalities who worked to improved indo-pak relations through different mediums. The Panel included Sh. Pankaj Singh (Eminent Hindi Poet, He has extensively written on art, literature, cinema and international politics. His poems have been translated into Urdu, Bengali, English, Japanese, French, Russian and Polish. He is a member of Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature), Ms. Sonya Fatah (A Pakistani filmmaker and Journalist. She is a columnist with Times of India), Sh. Jawed Naqvi (Correspondent of Dawn Newspaper (Pakistan) in Delhi), Prof. Dr. D.S. Rana  (Chairperson of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi. Sir Ganga Ram Hospital was originally established in Lahore in 1921. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri) and Sh. Satya Pal (Senior Activist. He is the general Secretary of South Asian Fraternity).

The panel talked about the need to increase people-to-people communication between the people of both countries. They remarked that the hope for peace and friendship lies with the people. There was also a Pakistani student studying in South Asian University (Delhi), Kulsum Khan who had also shared her experience of living in India. She talked about the similarities in several respects. She talked about how she has been warmly received in India.

In the open session, the audience shared their experiences and hope for peace. Students of South Asian University, Roopak and Eklavya Anand, talked about how in their university which has students from all South Asian nations, students from India and Pakistan tend to interact and get along with each other than with students of other countries because of cultural affinities.

The three students from India whose paintings were selected to be included in the calendar were also present. They talked about the concept of their paintings and the importance of peace and friendship between India and Pakistan.  

In Islamabad, the Calendar for Peace & Love 2014 was launched on 23rd December at Quaid-e-Azam University by the Catalyst - TC. For the discussion or the "Sharing of hopes for a peaceful and friendly co-existence", the guests were Mr. Raza Rumi (Director of Jinnah Institute, a senior journalist and author of the book "Delhi by hear: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller) and Mr. Pervez Hoodboy (A nuclear physicist, defense analyst, documentary maker and author. He is also a renowned social and peace activist. He is a recipient of several prestigious awards).   

There was also an open session in which the audience, mainly comprising of the university students, shared their hope and desire for indo-pak peace and friendship.

The Indo-Pak calendar launch and discussion or "Sharing of hopes for a peaceful and friendly co-existence" is an annual and a regular initiative of Aaghaz-e-Dosti. The motive of this initiative like other initiatives of Aaghaz-e-Dosti is, to highlight the important yet neglected voices for peace and friendship. This initiative is not to pacify or convince anyone, it is to spread the fact that the desire for hope and friendship is not one-sided. It is a mutual desire and need. People on both sides realise that war is not only disastrous, impractical and sown with seeds of misunderstanding but also unaffordable and that we need to move together on the path of progress, remarked Ravi Nitesh (founder member of Mission Bhartiyam).