Aman Ki Asha: Really?

Posted on February 2, 2010 in GlobeScope

Sahiba Singh:

If you have been reading Times of India, then you must have noticed their new Indo-Pak peace initiative, with the Jang Group. New year new initiative, this time they have Aman Ki Asha , destination peace.

TOI has launched successful campaigns like Lead India and Teach India in the past. Both of them got great response from the public.

What is Aman Ki Asha?

The two leading media houses of India and Pakistan – The Times of India and the Jang Group – have come together to develop a stronger Track 2 in the diplomatic and cultural relations between India and Pakistan. “Aman ki Asha: Destination Peace” looks beyond the confines of a 62-year-old political boundary to the primal bonds that tie together the two peoples.

It’s been a long month of daily articles about cultures, traditions, musical and poetry nights organized to strengthen the Indo-Pak ties. Emotional advertisements starring Amitabh Bachan have been promoting this initiative. These are meant to bring peace to the sub-continent and dilute the tension between the Governments.

“But what’s new with the cultural exchange. It’s been going on for years; students have been coming and going on exchange programs.” Sonali, a DU student

The most prominent exchange has been that of the artists. Musical maestros, singers and actors from both the countries often collaborate for projects, Heena and Khuda Kay Liye being the best examples. Young singers like Atif Aslam and Xulfi hasve enjoyed tremendous success over here. Bollywood movies and hindi serials have always had a fan following in Pakistan. The fashion industries of both the countries have ready markets for each other. There is no love lost between the people. People in Pakistan still cheer for Tendulkar’s 100 and people over here go nuts for Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s songs.

People of Pakistan and India do not create problems; it’s the Government, Armies and the extremist that create. 26/11 was not planned by the whole of Pakistan, it was the extremist. IPL snub was not the brain child of the aam admi but of the IPL officials. Dialogues fail due to governments. So until and unless the governments start talking and armies stop the unprovoked firing, the people can do little.

Now many of you would say that when people come together any thing is possible. Sure it is but we are talking about Indo-Pak, the problem is complex. There are layers of problems that can be solved at the governmental level only.

This initiative has its supporters and doubters. “For years altogether political parties and rulers in Pakistan have been playing games with their own people, if they need our help in giving themselves a fair democracy and true freedom we should definitely give them a helping hand of friendship…after all that solves our problems as well… and the first step to that could be AMAN KI ASHA…its baby steps like this that make the baby learn to walk and then run to victory”, states Ritika. Whereas Karthik is not very excited about this venture “This is strange! The Government of Pakistan hasn’t apologized for the terror attacks in India, nor have there been any efforts from them to book the past culprits of 26/11 incident. Ajmal Kasab is still alive and awaiting judgment. How can we rush with “Aman ki asha” at this stage!! Let justice be done first before extending a hand for friendship! Please shelf this unwanted campaign ‘Aman ki asha’ until appropriate justice is done internationally. We do not support Aman ki asha”

Whether this is a heart felt initiative? Or, Just a propaganda by two big media houses, we have to wait for that. The governments must propel this aman ki asha.

The writer is a Delhi based correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz

Youth Ki Awaaz

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Arun Sharma

Hi Sahiba, thanks for bringing out a thought provoking debate about whether peace process should follow the violence or precede it so that no further violence takes place. I think the obvious answer is the latter one. SO, while the governments try to solve the issue through political, bureaucratic or any other way, it’s the duty of us citizens to keep on trying to build peaceful relations with our neighbors. Yes, 26/11 has hurt us Indians but does that mean that Pakistan becomes untouchable? No.
Let’s look at the other aspect of it where we firmly believe that entire Pakistan is culprit for all the bad things happening to India. Will that solve the problem? No. Then, what will solve the problem? It’s this peace process that will try to change their hearts. Force can only suppress the people, but it cannot kill the ideas. Ideas can be changed only through peace and arguments.
I think Aman Ki Asha is a very good initiative whose success is yet to be seen. But the success shouldn’t be seen in isolation, rather, it should be seen as an incremental step to the other initiatives happening around.

Youth Ki Awaaz

As with previous efforts, people on both side of the border will have to wait for positive results; but this has never lessened the importance and need to take initiatives such as this one.

Arun, you have raised a question that requires soul searching from all of us, the people, highlighting that the peace process has to be undertaken by all, on both sides.

We look forward to reading your thoughts, more often.

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