HOME AWAY FROM HOME?


I’ve descended from a family of Refugees. My grandparents came to Delhi from Lahore, Pakistan during the Partition. I always knew this, never really gave it much thought. This Independence Day we had a family get-together, as always. My Badimamma(Nani) cooked for us, Badepapa(Nana) watched the news and made us listen to various speeches, my aunts and uncles chatted and my cousins and I hung out and had fun. We decided to make this Independence Day a little different so we all sat down in a circle and asked Badepapa what the Partition was really like since he was 11 years old at that time and remembers parts of it very clearly. Badimamma was just 5 years old at that time, she doesn’t remember much.

Badepapa explained to us his journey from Lahore to a small village in Punjab (he doesn’t remember the name) to Amritsar to Delhi. A Muslim man who knew them helped his family get to the border from where they continued to a relative’s house and then ended up in Amritsar in search of livelihood. They didn’t get any luck in Amritsar so one of their well-wishers in Delhi called them to the city to manage a small grocery store. So they moved to Delhi immediately but they had nowhere to live because all their belongings and money had been left behind in Lahore. Badepapa’s father decided that the family will take shelter in the Refugee Camps set up in Anand Parbat till they earn enough to buy their own place. The conditions were bad, the work was hard, the travel was tiresome but this didn’t coax his father into putting the children to work too. Badepapa and his siblings went to school every day with the motive to learn and one day be able to earn so much money so as to get all the comfort of a home that they longed for. I really admire this quality of my Great-Badepapa, the fact that even though times were tough and money was tight he didn’t succumb to the pressure and force his children to work.

Soon after, they purchased an apartment in Patel Nagar and all his children got married and had kids. The importance of education was ingrained in their brains, they made sure that their kids went to the best schools that they could afford and were good human beings. My Mom, has two siblings, a sister and a brother. She heads Muskaan, an NGO for differently-abled adults and my Masi(her sister) was a Hindi teacher before she left her job to look after her children’s education a few years ago. My Mamaji(Mom’s brother) is a Laparoscopic Surgeon, one of the best in Delhi. I’m not stating all of this to brag about my family but to show that the roots of their success actually lie in the fact that my Great-Badepapa stressed so much about the importance of education. Had he not done that, I wonder if my family would be the way it is right now.

Education is important for all of us but some of us need to work hard to get it. My Badepapa worked hard all those years with the support of my Great-Badepapa to get to the point where he could educate his own children. I consider myself very lucky, I was born in a family of literates and this enables me to enjoy the comforts that come with a good education. Everybody, however, is not that lucky. There are wars waging all over the world, emotional, physical, political, civil, etc, etc. People everywhere are being displaced from their homes all the time. There are tens of hundreds of Refugee Camps in and around Delhi at the present moment. With this huge amount of Refugees constantly moving and settling, there needs to be in place a better system for their education.

I believe that if you educate the woman of the family, you educate the whole family. I remember my Mom telling me stories about how my Badimamma would always help her and her sister and brother with their homework so that they never had to pay for extra tuition which saved them a lot of money. It was possible only because Badimamma had been enabled to study rather than work for money in her childhood. With all the money that they saved, they were all able to go to college and earn respectable degrees and also do further studies. Most of the Refugee families get sucked into the vicious cycle of earning money rather than educating their children. This is mainly because it’s an expensive world and survival is given more importance than living. If only they would understand that when they educate a child, the next generation of the family would be better off and live well.

The whole purpose for me to write this was to get through to people that education in emergency situations should be given utmost importance. It makes the world a little better place. It’s because giving education to even one child creates a ripple which keeps expanding. Just because my Great-Badepapa believed in the importance of children’s education, I sit here now with a laptop in my hand trying to make people understand why they should educate their children even in the hardest of times because it will help them evolve and bring them better times. I am so grateful to him and his elders that taught him these values and made it possible for me to sit and actually think about important issues.

I want to emphasise that it is possible to create a better world only if we educate our children and youth and teach them values that propagate positivity and curiosity.

 

Prakriti Chawla

Picture Credits: Kunal Raj

THE WORLD I SEE FOR WOMEN IN 2030

The world I  envision in 2030 is one in which females are no longer victims but powerful and  frontline.They possess the ability to change their own future and the world.Every woman and girl has the ability and opportunity to plan her future,get an education ,earn an income,have a family if and when she wants.  There should not be a societal obligation of getting married just because of age confinements or merely to not become an abomination .

A world where females are free to make decisions about body and life.And we can get to this in the future only when we get it right for women and girls now.

Where girls have equal opportunities as boys.They get to go to school as well as complete it,be happy ,safe,and come under the head count.

A world where instead of talking about women men talk with women.Where they equally shine  in apparently  masculine fields .If women can handle the men managing big corporations then they can sure as hell handle the corporations as well.Where the sight of girls playing a game like soccer is not mocked at but appreciated.Where people watch the Women’s FIFA World Cup (rather are aware that it happens) with equal craze as men’s.Where more countries are run by women.Women share if not more but atleast half of the seats on the board and in the parliament.

Mehak Garg

Picture Credits: Kunal Raj

 

PEACE EDUCATION

“If we are to teach real peace in this world, If we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with our children” –Mahatma Gandhi

 

According to the dictionary, “Peace education is the process of acquiring the values, the knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills, and behaviours to live in harmony with oneself, with others, and with the natural environment.”

 

If one reads, and then re-reads the above definition, one may realize that what we term as “peace education” is in fact, an instinct that most of us subconsciously possess. Therefore, it is essential to realize and question why the world needs a separate and more elaborate branch of education solely dedicated to this instinct.

 

Speaking of peace, and therefore of war, one usually finds the Anglo-Zanzibar War hilarious. The Anglo-Zanzibar War was a military conflict fought between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate on 27 August 1896. The conflict lasted around 38 minutes, marking it as the shortest war in history. Though it lasted 38 minutes, the amount spent on equipment, the displacement of soldiers and general distress among people on both sides could never be reversed. And this, is one of the biggest reasons the world needs peace education: the irreversibility of war, the permanence of it and the damage it causes to everybody directly and indirectly involved in it.

 

Peace Education can be divided into three major disciplines; Conflict resolution training, Democracy education and Human Rights education.

 

Learning to manage anger, “fight fair” and improve communication through skills such as listening, turn-taking, identifying needs, and separating facts from emotions, constitute the main elements of programs under Conflict Resolution Training. Participants are also encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and to brainstorm together on compromises.

 

In the democracy education training, participants are trained in the skills of critical thinking, debate and coalition-building, and promote the values of freedom of speech, individuality, tolerance of diversity, compromise and conscientious objection. The program’s aim is to produce “responsible citizens” who will hold their governments accountable to the standards of peace, primarily through adversarial processes.

 

The idea behind Human Rights education is to familiarize participants with the international covenants and declarations of the United Nations system; train students to recognize violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and promote tolerance, solidarity, autonomy and self-affirmation at the individual and collective levels.

 

One of the latest approaches towards Peace Education has been a movement to gain insights gleaned from psychology which recognize the developmental nature of human psychosocial dispositions. Essentially, while conflict-promoting attitudes and behaviours are characteristic of earlier phases of human development, unity-promoting attitudes and behaviours emerge in later phases of healthy development. This is popularly known as Worldview Transformation.

 

Though it seems like a relatively new concept, peace education has been a significant proposition by educators throughout the world since a very long time. One of the first Europeans who used the written word to espouse peace education was Comenius (1642/1969), the Czech educator who in the seventeenth century saw that  universally shared knowledge could provide a road to peace.

 

In 1912 a School Peace League had chapters in nearly every state in the United States that were “promoting through the schools …the interests of international justice and fraternity”.They had ambitious plans to acquaint over 500,000 teachers with the conditions for peace.

 

Many of the leading peace educators early in the twentieth century were women. Jane Addams, an American woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, was urging schools to include immigrant groups as well. At about this same time an Italian woman, Maria Montessori, was traveling through Europe urging teachers to abandon authoritarian pedagogies, replacing them with a rigid but dynamic curriculum from which pupils could choose what to study.

 

The horrors of World War II created a new interest in ‘Education for World Citizenship.’  Right after that war Herbert Read argued for the marriage of art and peace education to produce images that would motivate people to promote peace.

 

The first academic peace studies program at the college level was established in 1948 at Manchester College, in North Manchester, Indiana, in the United States. Soon thereafter the field of peace research developed as a “science of peace” in the 1950s to counteract the science of war that had produced so much mass killing.

 

In spite of its tremendous growth in the twentieth century, peace education has not taken hold in school systems around the world.  A few countries have used United Nations mandates to stimulate formal school-based peace education activities but most countries have ignored them. Some countries like the Philippines and Uganda have mandated peace education in the public schools but lack resources for training teachers in the various complexities of this new subject.

 

As you read this article, 151 out of the 162 countries of the world are involved in some form of conflict and yet, there is no structured Peace education program in place in a single one of them. It is only us, the youth, who can change these numbers and hopefully the generation after us will not have to see just 11 peaceful countries in their world.

 

Richa Shivangi Gupta

Picture Credits: Kunal Raj

Youth and Peace-building

We’re all aware of the concept of ‘peace’. We’ve grown up with some notion of peace instilled in our psyche throughout our lives. However, we might find ourselves tongue-tied if asked to elaborate on the topic. On pondering over ‘peace’, we will be amazed at how little we can actually talk about such a socially relevant topic. Peace might seem synonymous to conflict resolution or conditions/situations without conflict. However, Peace isn’t a stagnant concept. It’s a dynamic development process which encompasses education, safety, growth and happiness too.

 

Why does the youth need to engage in peace-building when we have international organisations, governments, media, all working towards bringing about peace- both internally within States and across the world?

 

  • 48% of the world population is under the age of 24, the largest proportion until now. 18% of this(around 1.2 billion) comprises the world’s youth. How does the world plan on achieving the goal of peace without including almost half of its people?

 

  • Young people in conflict and post-conflict societies are vulnerable to both voluntary and involuntary military recruitment. Being separated from family and loved ones, deprived of formal or even informal education, loss of security and protection, makes young people more susceptible to poverty and violence.

 

Young girls and boys are killed, maimed, abducted, caught by traffickers and smugglers, and deprived of healthcare. Young girls and boys, especially can fall prey to sexual violence leading to unwanted pregnancies and health problems. The damaging effects go beyond the apparent, physical scars. They are hurt emotionally and become psychologically distressed. Long term effects, i.e. those that go beyond the duration of the conflict include poverty, unemployment, disintegration of families. The limited social, economic and political opportunities are strong factors driving youth to become a part of conflicts. By not including them in development, the society is itself steering the youth to taking up violent roles in conflict. Instead of allowing the youth to become perpetrators of violence, we need to recognise the crucial role they can play in facilitating peaceful transitions and empower them for the same.

 

  • Young people have taken on active roles in building peace networks to try and prevent outbreak of violence. It is essential that structures and institutions are created to support their efforts.

 

Recognising the need for a transformation in the way international community engages young people in conflict contexts, on 9th December, 2015, there was a unanimous adoption of resolution 2250. The Council also urged Member States to consider setting up mechanisms that would enable young people to participate meaningfully in peace processes and dispute resolution at the local, national, regional and international level. It defined youth as persons aged 18 through 29.

The Doha Youth Declaration on Reshaping Human Agenda was an outcome of the World Humanitarian Summit Global Youth Consultation. It was a culmination of numerous dialogues among the young people that attended the summit and represented their opinions. It talks about the capability of youth in dealing with crises and advocates localisation of humanitarian action instead of depending on external help and volunteers.

This was a historic event that marked the beginning of an unprecedented turn of events when the youth demanded, and were granted access to the driver’s seat of the vehicle of change. There will be setbacks as the youth is always more affected by crises than others, however, now there is an organised mechanism to steer change in a positive direction.

Salonie Dua

Picture: Kunal Raj

A Bond to Remember, Restore and Pamper by Anamta Nadeem

Introspect in you the very meaning of a bond you are willing to take for keeps be it with anyone, anything or with you only, it has to have a silver lining of trust and peace. We all want peace but do we really understand what does this word of five letters means. Though it has perspective clashes ranging from person to person but they all directs towards something that has freedom, that has tranquility leading to build relations, to prosper bonds and to overcome the evils. My country India has a brother whom it wants to live with , laugh and play. This neighbor cousin of my motherland is none other than our beloved nation Pakistan. Pakistan and India are names that have been taken together since ages and will continue even in future. Just like every other relationship there have been ups and downs, there were fights, wars but they can’t separate the two. The love between the two nations surpasses all the hatred and maliciousness. I have seen people longing for their near and dear ones in the other country. They exchange clothes, food, products, letters, calls and admire the other place with respect and love. We can find ladies watching Pakistani series, following their dressing pattern. Pakistani talent is migrating to India and welcomed with utmost appreciation. Despite tensions and stress both countries are firm on keeping the friendship to another level. There have been peace treaties laid out to strengthen the relationship, the governments are trying to maintain peace and harmony. Now why peace what’s the need? You might be thinking over it but a very simple example is peace can increase your mental reasoning and contemplation. When you are at peace you think for others as well along with you, you will end up making rational choices and those that are pleasant in terms of livelihood and satisfaction. Peace is the requirement in every relationship so why not between India and Pakistan. We do claim us to be most protective but when it comes to hatred we are the one who want to let it out as soon as possible. This instability of soul can be taken away with peace of mind, peace of heart and peace between people, between nations and lands and culture.

 

Yes, every step is opening up new ways.

Yes, we are separated but together.

From the time of Jinnah and colonization, we overcome the most harsh of the survivals.

With those folks who gave their lives for us, let us take this bond till infinity.

To a level above all hatred and dislikes.

To a place of utopia and ecstasy, rejoice and love.

Let us unite us with PEACE…. the one not on paper, not in treaties but in souls.

 

Guidelines to the Youth for Conflict Resolution

 

Today, there are 1.2 billion people worldwide that come within the age bracket of 10-24 years of age. This is nearly 1 in every 6 people that reside over the globe. This massive bloc of people has the potential to be the most active and influential group, however, with the continued disenfranchisement of youth, it makes this age demographic a breeding ground for fostering extremism. That is a trend we must reduce and these are a few ways in which youth can help in tackling conflict and building peace:

  • Make proper use of social media: 

    It is a well-known fact that the youth of today, disproportionately excessively uses social media when compared to other age groups. However, this does not have to be a negative thing. In the age of internet, it is very easy to get information across to others and to get information from others to you. When social media is used as a positive resource, it can do wonders for those using it. For example, if one wants to protest the vote on a bill by one’s local government, then one can just tweet for help and get multiple ready to go.

    A large part of advocacy is trying to get relevant information to as many people as one can and social media provides the perfect platform for this. At Youth for Peace International, we believe that a tweet can educate tens, an article hundreds and a protest, thousands and that everyone should make the most of this opportunity.

 

 

  • Getting involved in your community:

    Anyone who has ever been in a conflict zone or a conflict prone area can attest to the difficulty of movement in that region, however even in times like that, there are multiple ways to get involved. Becoming a grassroots activist in your neighbourhood can be a great way to keep getting out there and engaging with your community. We can see through the examples of Hong Kong, how neighbourhood activism sprouted into one of the largest protests on Chinese soil and through the example of Brazil, how grassroots activism can manage to get even heads of state impeached. Facing adversity is natural and omnipresent but it is how one responds to adversity that shows their dedication and commitment.

 

  • Joining organisations with goals similar to your own:

    Human beings are their best selves when faced with problems and that is true in this scenario as well. Whenever there are regions in turmoil, organisations such as the UN and its member bodies develop humanitarian missions and host conferences to find solutions to the existent problems.

    These talks and conferences are only successful when a number of people have an interest in finding resolving the conflict come together and give opinions and form solutions. There have been multiple aid missions to countries in need of help and rebuilding which have been partial or complete successes thanks to the support of the people in and around the region.

 

The youth of today, have been largely ignored when it comes to government and policy decisions but together, we can change that fact. As peacebuilders and as young custodians of this world, it falls upon us to make sure that we do not tear each other apart but live together in harmony and we can only achieve that when we act as one and work together. It may not be cut and dry or easy, but it is without a doubt, essential and rewarding.

IMG_5964-01

 

Picture Credits: Kunal Raj

 

Sarhad Ke Uss Paar by Chandan Mukherjee

Bare apno se lagte hai vo, jo Sarhad ke us par rehte hai
hum jaise nehi hai vo, log aksar aisa kehte hai….
Ajnabee ban chuke hai aaj, jo kabhi apne the,
rishto ka kabrastan hai vaha,jaha kabhi hasin sapne rehte the.

Jane pehchane se chehre the, ab to dhundle dhundle lagte hai,
zameen pai kichi thi lakeere kabhi, ab dilo mai darare dikhte hai.
Mundero par baithe chiriya gati thi jaha, aaj vaha par chikhe sunai deti hai,
jin maidano mai mele saj te the kabhi,aaj vaha par lashey dikhayi deti hai.

Ido mai jinke sino se lagte the, aaj unki darkane ,kyu sunai nehi deti ?
jin galio mai saath bachpan guzra tha ,aaj vo galia bhi dikhayi nehi deti.
Ghao the jo kabhi ,waqt ke saath ,aaj nasoor ban chuke hai,
is dil ne itna dard sameta hai, ki ye lab gungunana bhool chuke hai.

Yado ke Jungalo mai bhagta rehta hai dil,par jazbaat hai ke thakta nehi,
tute yado par ro parti hai aankhe,par in aansuo ka hisab koi rakhta nehi.
Bhoole nehi bhool ti vo sevaiyo ka swad, vo urte patang bhi bare yaad aate hai,
samne aate hai jab vo guzre lamhe ,to aankho se aansu chalak jate hai,

Bare apno se lagte hai vo, jo Sarhad ke us par rehte hai,
hum jaise nehi hai vo, log aksar aisa kehte hai…..

~ Chandan Mukherjee

With a Pinch of Pakistan by Sourav Das

11:00 AM. I wake up on a bright, sunny Sunday morning to some exotic smell emanating from the kitchen. Mother is cooking something wonderful for lunch! Thank god for a Sunday! Hurriedly, I wake up, brush my teeth and rush to the kitchen to satisfy my curious mind, and stomach. It’s BIRIYANI! I can’t contain my excitement. I am ready to skip breakfast to make space for as much biriyani as I can. I sit down in the kitchen to observe mom as she cooks my favourite dish. As I watch my mother go throu the rigours of kitchen work to make the biriyani as yummy as possible, I notice the masalas she is using. It carries the brand name Shan. To the best of my knowledge, all thanks to the endless advertisements during daily soaps my mom watches, I have never heard of Shan. So, I ask my mom about it. As it turns out, mom had planned to make Sindhi biriyani today. And Shan is the best masala for Sindhi biriyani. Delving further into the matter, I get to know that Shan is actually a Pakistani brand from a company called Shan foods. Shan’s best-sellers in India are those that pack a punch in rich, sub-continental non-vegetarian cooking. Spices for shahi haleem mix, Bombay Biryani, chappli kebab mix, Lahori fish and nihari are some of Shan’s products that have found their way into Indian kitchens. Shan Foods, founded in 1981 in Karachi started as a one-room/family spices recipe/small orders business. It now sells spices in 65 countries and founder and chief executive Sikander Sultan is considered the guru of Pakistan’s packaged food industry. My great love for Sindhi biriyani, which is basically from the Sindh region of Pakistan, coupled with the use of Pakistani masalas, made my lunch an heavenly affair that day.

After a particularly delicious, and heavy lunch, I sit down with my dad to watch a cricket match. I am not a big fan of cricket, but my dad is. It’s an IPL match between my dad’s favorite team KKR and Delhi Daredevils. I start asking him unnecessary questions about KKR just for the sake of reaping some beneficial information. I ask him,” Dad, who is the bowling coach of KKR?”. “ Wasim Akram”, he says, without paying much interest. But my curiosity is piqued. Wasim Akram? Let’s Google him and see what come up. I have heard about him a couple of times but never bothered to find out about him. As it turns out, Wasim Akram was a very prominent Pakistani cricket team player and one of the best fast bowlers of all time. ‘The Sultan of Swing’ they used to call him. He was the first bowler to reach the 500 wicket mark in ODIs. No wonder the KKR team wanted him to coach them.

Apart from the relevant information, nothing much about the cricket match interested me. So I grabbed my phone and whiled away my time. Surfing through featured videos of YouTube, I came across one from Coke Studio, Man Amadeh Am, a song sung by Atif Aslam and Gul Panrra. Atif Aslam, a Pakistani by birth, is quite a rage in India. But the other name sounded new. On researching, I found out that that she is Pashtu singer from Pakistan and ‘Man Amadeh am’ literally means ‘ I have to come to you’. Apart from this particular song, I found various others where Pakistani singers teamed up with Indian singers to compose wonderful melodies. Moreover, I discovered a new platform for singers, this one in Pakistan. Nescafe basement, where budding Pakistani artists sing hit Hindi and English songs. And it is simply amazing!
The day passed as soon as it came. Hoping to watch some TV shows, I moved to the leisure room. However, my mom had beaten me to it. She was already glued to it, watching repeat telecasts of her favourite tv shows. Having nothing better to do, I sat down beside her. She was watching some daily soap called Aadhe Adhure on Zindagi channel. Surprisingly, I found the content interesting. It was not based on a context, although the language and the setting looked Indian. Upon enquiring, I found out that Zindagi was a Pakistani channel offering a host of interesting daily soaps to Indian consumers. My mother was a fan of the channel and various shows on it. I spent the rest of the evening watching daily soaps with her.

Retiring to my bed at night, I suddenly realised that Indian life was filled with Pakistani nuances. Right from the food we eat to the shows we watch to the sports we play, India and Pakistan were connected. In spite of all the sour relationships, we are brothers, Indians and Pakistanis. We were part of the same territory once and putting up political boundaries doesn’t change that fact. We must connect and interact more through channels of art, food and culture to develop a fruitful. Long lasting neighbours. After all, our Indian lives are spiced up with a pinch of Pakistan.

– By Sourav Das

Indo-Pak Relations by Palak Aggarwal

I was to write an article about India – Pakistan. It , for some moment, kept me in confusion and perhaps still that confusion is on but let me proceed and ask my true self , keeping all political & geographical issues aside what actually I think about both the countries. Both the countries or one country became two. One family became two. The issue became tough ever since we became two. Somebody well said – ” Dost , dost na raha , pyar, pyar na raha, zindagi hame tera aitbaar na raha “. In respect to India – Pakistan , I feel the same situation. sometimes I feel that ever since we got separated there is not a single day when for a moment we gladly appreciated each other. Even if the civilian of both countries wishes to bond without any animosity, other political & geographical problem continuously bombard us in microsecond which is not allowing to come closer for a second . The question is can we live like this forever ? In my opinion , a fresh approach and mindset need to be developed from both sides to take this relationship to a new level. Some opinion makers feel  let us leave and accept that this relation will continue like this and even if we don’t relate , we can live without each other. Is it a right thinking . It is like this if one part of your body is disturbed then you have two options either you remove that part or repair it but you can’t live it like this. Therefore, the question of removing is absolutely foolish , even if, anyone from both the country ever tries reason being there would be more losses than gain as both the country is equipped with nuclear power. It would be difficult repair the loss that would occur .Hence, the mature step would be at least on a civilian level, keep trying . Let us meet & bridge the gaps wherever we can . Let us not get provoked by those who are not in a mood see both of us to live in harmony. And chant this song – ” Hum honge kamyab ek din “.

  • by Palak Aggarwal

Back I Went To My Paradise

Holy deity beautiful, mother of mine ,
Where were you lost when all day long I did whine?
Those live giving hands of yours didn’t they tremble ?
When I did beg for life in a voice so humble .
Always I do contemplate, was it so easy to let me go ,
Fortitude was just required to say a big NO .
Safe and cozy I felt in your abode inside ,
Those mellifluous lullabies of yours were my only pride .
Came near thee , pounced u so hard ,
In a ridiculous way they looked it all sounded so absurd .
The breathtaking pain , it
drifted me off to sleep ,
A force so strong it
pulled me deep .
Started losing strength oh holy ! I felt so weak ,
I was in the hands of a man he was a terrible geek .
Up I did woke , to a beating sound ,
Not around was my mother , she was nowhere to be found .
Feeling was I high up in the air ,
Yes I was in the arms of the one who really did care .
Tender were his arms full of love so deep ,
I was assured that never again was i going to weep .
I felt so warm in his lap of love ,
Yes delivered was I to my father above .

Page 2 of 3123

Powered by themekiller.com