To foster friendship between India and Pakistan, school children from both the nations have come up with paintings that express a desire for peace.
These paintings have been compiled in the 5th Indo-Pak Peace Calendar by NGO Aaghaz-e-Dosti.
A joint Indo-Pak friendship initiative which aims to connect people through expressions across borders, the calendar was released at India International Center today.
The message penned down by several peace activists and renowned intellectuals from India as well as Pakistan are complemented with 12 paintings by school children - six each from both the countries.
"It will go a long way in reminding everyone that peace is the only solution to the problems. The calendar is about sharing dreams and hopes of friendship.
"It is about rekindling of hope and enhancing people to people connect through expressions and desires of students who paint their dreams of travelling across borders," a team member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti said.
Writer and politician Shashi Tharoor, Major General (retd) Ashok Mehta, columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni have shared their messages with Pakistani artist Salima Hashmi, professor Mubashir Hassan and Lt General (retd) Muhammad Masood Aslam for the calendar.
"The paintings depict an innocent and apolitical horizon of peace. We received thought-provoking expressions from students of several cities in India as well as Pakistan," the team member said.
The calendar, which was launched in Lahore on January 1, will soon be formally displayed in Dehradun, Panipat, Mumbai and Kolkata. Aagaz-e-Dosti is also planning it's launch in Kyrgyzstan and US.
The launch was followed by a discussion that saw the participation of Army veteran Col (retd) Virendra Sahai Verma, veteran Gandhaian S N Subba Rao along with noted writer and educationist Syeda Hameed and poet and feminist Kamla Bhasin.
While explaining the concept of peace and strained relations between the two countries, Subba Rao said, "Youth need to come together to spread the message of peace and should take initiatives which will help in fostering stronger ties."
The event was also attended by students who are studying in South Asian University here and hail from Pakistan. They gave a personal account of love and warmth while living in India.
"I have never felt even a single minute of alienation in India. Whenever I go back to Pakistan I talk about the stories of warmth and friendship to my friends there. People in both nations have no problem with each other," Sunil Nand, a student, said.
One of the representatives of Aaghaz-e-Dosti said they always target schools because they want to inculcate the emotion of oneness since the beginning in children.
"We organise interactive sessions in schools, peace workshops and seminars where we always focus on children because we believe if seeds of peace are sown in the beginning, it will help in changing the other narrative of Indo-Pak reations," the representative said.
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