After retreating from the brink of yet another war, India and Pakistan once again are groping their way towards peace. Once again, people can visit their friends and relatives on the other side of the border. Fazal-ur-Rahmans and Laloo Yadavs can re
To build on this opportunity, at midnight of August 14, peace groups like Pakistan-India People's Forum for Peace & Democracy organized Candlelight Vigils for Peace in both countries at Ahmadabad, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Karachi, Pune and Wagah-Atari crossing on India-Pakistan border.
In USA, Indians and Pakistanis in Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Houston, Madison, Minneapolis, Palo Alto, St Louis San Francisco, led by organizations such as Friends of South Asia, Action group of Physicians of South Asia, and the Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, enthusiastically responded to a Develop in Peace initiative to celebrate Independence Days of India and Pakistan jointly between August 14 and 17.
These are all encouraging signs.
But will the governments of India and Pakistan give up their old and worn-out dogmas and let peace between their countries become a reality?
Will they be able to see beyond their manufactured histories in order to turn this budding people-to-people friendship into a lasting peace?
Or shall they, once again, sacrifice this opportunity at the altar of their age-old fears, insecurities, and suspicions?
Only the time will tell.
Meanwhile, let us tell the governments and the leaders of India and Pakistan that people there need peace, not rhetoric of another war; that they need clean water, and better educational and health resources, not more nuclear weapons; and that they want improved civil administration, not persecution of minorities and the underprivileged.
Also, let us pray that God grant leaders of India and Pakistan wisdom, foresight and courage to resolve all disputes peacefully and in a just manner, and to lead their people in the ways of prosperity and better health and education.
And let us pray that God bless you and I to become an active part of this process. Let us join together in celebrating the year 2004 as the Year of Peace in South Asia. Let us organize events, activities, projects designed to promote peace, tolerance and respect for diversity among South Asians - Bangladeshis, Bhutanese, Indians, Nepalese, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans everywhere.
(All suggestions, proposals, plans and reports sent to ACHA, in this regard, at firstname.lastname@example.org will be featured on its website www.asiapeace.org and/or in the future issues of ACHA Peace Bulletin).
Now, as we celebrate the 57th Independence Days of India and Pakistan, let us join together in wishing:
Pritam Rohila, Ph.D.
Association for Communal harmony in Asia (ACHA)