This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Sagar Papneja. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

An Indian’s Open Letter To A Pakistani: ‘We Need To Talk Bhai’

More from Sagar Papneja

Hi,

Hope you are doing great.

As you just celebrated your 71st Independence Day, I want to address a lot of thoughts which have been running in my mind. A lot of unanswered questions which have kept me awake at nights. This letter is to try and reach out to your heart as my own, as brothers whose existence have been denied by our parents but inside our hearts, we know we still are brothers

In my formative years, I had heard all the stories from bauji (my grandfather) about his childhood. He was born in Lyallpur, which is now known as Faisalabad in Pakistan. My forefathers had businesses there but most of them were hakims. Bauji told me about the life there, about the house they lived in, the freedom struggles, about the various meetings they had with leaders, about the struggles of this day that year, about losing everything in life when someone decided to separate a family in two. Till his last breath, in January 2010, he dreamt of going back there and he practised hikmat all his life, distributing medicines for free. I guess that’s what kept him tied to his roots in Lyallpur. I have heard his memories. I have felt his memories and I have visualised his memories but all this isn’t enough to keep me away from the dream of visiting the places he contently talked about.

Then comes the reality. Our parents decide if we as brothers can meet or not. I have interacted with some people across our border and it did not feel alien to me. It did not feel as if I was talking to a foreigner. It felt like family, a happy family.

We are just a family which is separated by a fence in its own home because of a third party who envied our blood relation and had ulterior motives. I don’t expect our parents to break the fence, it’s on us. We need to talk bhai. We have wasted enough generations in animosity, so much that we don’t even remember where it all started. Those days are history; those moments are just in our textbooks. We have got a meagre number of citizens who even remember it clearly from a first person perspective. There seems no logical reason for us to still be living in that era and with those thoughts. I know you feel the same. I know you want to talk too. I know you want to break the fence too, and we both know that our parents won’t do that.

I have talked to kids from both the sides and they all love halwa puri, they dance in rains, they want to bunk classes and they hate homework. I have talked to kids from both the sides and I saw hope. Hope in a future where we are one, living together again. Hope in a future where our movies aren’t defining our perception from childhood and naming each other as enemies. Hope in a life where I get to live my grandfather’s memories in Lyallpur and my friend Adnan from across, gets to live in Kutch.

This Independence Day, let’s rethink of a future where we don’t have two different dates for celebrating the end of the 200-year-old fight we fought together to have a future. Let’s reimagine a future where we celebrate a date of a new relationship, where we live together as we had lived for hundreds of years before a political turmoil separated us.

P.S. – There will be no better cricket team than ours together. (On a lighter note)

Regards,

A Pakistani’s Open Letter To Indians: ‘I Think We Can Do Without War’

Dear friends across the nation, We in Pakistan celebrated Pakistan Day yesterday. You are also celebrating it today, as we have both been doing for the past 70 years on our respective days. We hoist our flags, flaunt our pride and patriotism with much vigour and zeal every year.

This open letter was possible due to Aaghaz-e-Dosti, an Indo-Pak friendship initiative. 
_

Image provided by author.
You must be to comment.

More from Sagar Papneja

Similar Posts

By Anmona Handique

By Sarika Verma

By R s Vidyarthi

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below