Female Genital Mutilation

 

WHO defines Female Genital Mutilation as all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated.

 

A clearer and more direct description of FMG, according to me, would be – the barbaric practice of cutting female genitalia, a practice entrenched in deep gender inequality that only achieves the aim of violently discriminating against women and depriving them of an equal stand at its most basic level. This inhumane practice is a necessary social norm in African societies since almost 2000 years. The parts are cut because they are considered ugly. It is believed that the practice makes women more prone to fidelity and prevents the possibility of extra-marital sexual acts by reducing a woman’s libido. It is as unquestioned a practice, as say, sending children to school. Not conforming to convention is tantamount to not making one’s daughters ready for adulthood. They are deemed unfit for marriage. It is almost a religious requirement, yet ironically no religious scripts mention the practice.

FMG has become one of those traditions that societies keep continuing with, in a mindless rut without any reason or explanation.

 

Naturally, there are adverse health impacts including urinal, vaginal and sexual problems. The women are psychologically affected and can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem and confidence, etc. If there are complications during the cutting, among other things like severe pain, swelling and shock, death is also a possibility.

 

We teach young children that if anybody tries to touch their private parts, or makes them feel uncomfortable in any such way, make noise and stop it immediately. At the same time, young girls are accompanied by their mothers for this brutal event. Without consent, they are betrayed violently, leaving them mentally and emotionally challenged.

 

FMG doesn’t only take place far away in tribal societies of Africa. Shushed up, it is prevalent in highly progressive and modern societies in India among the Bohra community, a Shia sub sect. Girls aged around six are taken to untrained midwives who perform the task. Mothers are forced to take their daughters by the older women of the community. It is shameful that this is imposed by women on other women, simply to fit in. Brave and courageous women of this community are finally speaking up about this tabooed topic to bring about an end to it and save other innocent lives from this heartless ‘tradition.’

 

This practice is a violation of human rights. It represents the savage and atrocious side of humanity. We all need to talk about FMG and fight against it not only to save women from this heinous torture but to redeem ourselves as a species, whole.

Salonie Dua

Picture by: Kunal Raj

GROWING IMPORTANCE OF SPORTS

Increasing popularity of television, computer, and video games contribute to our inactive lifestyles. The average child spends 24 hours a week watching television,playing video games and chatting. Rather this time could be spent in some recreational or physical activity. We need to be a role model for our children and younger siblings. If children see us active, they are more likely to be active and stay active for the rest of their lives.

For young growing minds and bodies, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle bring great results. Too many children these days come home and watch television instead of going to the community pool or playing a pick-up game of basketball or football.

More and more, we see children who are bored, because they haven’t been raised with a sports-minded attitude. Even if a child’s parent is not athletically inclined, they still need to help set recreational goals for their children. Children need something better of their own.

Sports and other recreational activities diminish unhealthy habits and patterns that may lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint pain and discomfort, heart disease, strokes and other serious causes. There is proof that students achieve more academically, when physically fit. But we can’t rely on the school/college programs to meet the physical needs . All families need to plan activities to be physically fit together, such as walking and talking and other outdoor activities throughout the day. This also helps building team spirit amongst todays generation.

It is not difficult to see why so many kids are on the path to being overweight. The culture of over eating, poor food quality and sedentary life styles is pervasive. Run in the park with the dog, bike ride as a family on the weekend, jogging with your favourite music plugged in not only refresh us but boost our morale and energy. This is a great way to spend time together, while being physically active and having a healty mind.

We should find activities that work for us and our family and implement sports and recreation together. Engaging in outside sports is a great opportunity for us to exercise and interact socially. Action sports such as cycling, skatting are popular, these kinds of activities are a great way to allow children to do what they want without any coaches or peer pressure.

It involves doing what we love while spending time with our friends, and staying healthy and active without realizing it. Participating in sports not only keeps us healthier and happier, but also teaches us the importance of goal setting, motivation, dedication and teamwork.

Truly sports are an integral part of what we need to learn. It will make a world of difference in adulthood and continue this pattern from generation to generation. When a child grows, bones grow faster than muscles and tenders. It is important for young people to believe they can accomplish and achieve whatever they desire, while feeling confident in their own interest and ability.

This is in itself will lead to high self- esteem, a sense of belonging, and encouraging a healthier lifestyle. What better way to stay healthy while having fun and doing what you love to do? A healthy and happy person will be bowling a strike, or scoring the winning goal, and even if we don’t, the satisfaction of a job well done, and friends and memories that will last us a lifetime. In the end i would just like to say that a healthy and physically fit life is the road to a long and successful stress free life and its never too late to start something fresh.

Picture Credits: Kunal Raj

 

GOD: The Question

Near end of Albert Camus’s existentialist novel “The Stranger,” Meursault, the protagonist, is visited by a priest who offers him comfort in the face of his impending execution. Meursault, who has not cared about anything up to this point, wants none of it. He is an atheist in a foxhole. He certainly has not been a strident atheist, but he claims to have no time for the priest and his talk of God. For him, God is not the answer.

Some 70 years later, Kamel Daoud, in his 2013 novel “The Meursault Investigation,” picks up the thread of Camus’s story. In one scene late in that novel, an imam hounds Harun, the brother of the unnamed Arab who was killed in “The Stranger.” In response, Harun gives a litany of his own impieties, culminating in the declaration that “God is a question, not an answer.” Harun’s declaration resonates with me as a teacher and student of philosophy. The question is permanent; answers are temporary. I live in the question.

Any honest atheist must admit that he has his doubts, that occasionally he thinks he might be wrong, that there could be a God after all — if not the God of the Judeo­Christian tradition, then a God of some kind. Nathaniel Hawthorne said of Herman Melville, “He can neither believe, nor be comfortable in his unbelief; and he is too honest and courageous not to try to do one or the other.” Dwelling in a state of doubt, uncertainty and openness about the existence of God marks an honest approach to the question.

There is no easy answer. Indeed, the question may be fundamentally unanswerable. Still, there are potentially unpleasant consequences that can arise from decisions or conclusions, and one must take responsibility for them.

Anyone who does not occasionally worry that he may be a fraud almost certainly is. Nor does the worry absolve one from the charge; one may still be a fraud, just one who rightly worries about it on occasion. Likewise, anyone who does not occasionally worry that she is wrong about the existence or nonexistence of God most likely has a fraudulent belief. Worry can make the belief or unbelief genuine, but it cannot make it correct.

People who claim certainty about God worry me, both those who believe and those who don’t believe. They do not really listen to the other side of conversations, and they are too ready to impose their views on others. It is impossible to be certain about God.

Bertrand Russell was once asked what he would say to God if it turned out there was one and he met him at judgment. Russell’s reply: “You gave us insufficient evidence.” Even believers can appreciate Russell’s response. God does not make it easy. God, if he exists, is “deus absconditus,” the hidden God. He does not show himself unambiguously to all people, and people disagree about his existence. We should all feel and express humility in the face of the question even if we think the odds are tilted heavily in favor of a particular answer. Indeed, the open­minded search for truth can unite believers and nonbelievers.

In a previous essay in The Stone, Gary Gutting re­conceived Pascal’s wager. Rather than consider it as a bet on whether God exists, which has tremendous consequences on one side and relatively trivial consequences on the other, we should consider it as a bet on whether to embrace a “doubt of indifference” or a “doubt of desire.” A doubt of indifference is simply a matter of not caring, and it has no clear benefits. By contrast, a doubt of desire approaches the question with the hope that a higher power could be found that would provide greater meaning and value to human existence. As Gutting sees it, the choice is obvious.

Of course, nonbelievers will object that there are various secular alternatives for finding meaning and value in life. Additionally, there is an assumption built into Pascal’s wager that we are talking about the God of the Judeo­Christian tradition. Nonbelievers may see no reason to favor that particular deity. So Gutting’s “doubt of desire” needs to be more explicitly conceived as an openness to the question in which the nonbeliever explores what various religious traditions have to offer. The nonbeliever might embrace the ethical teachings of Christianity, the yogic practices of Hinduism, the meditative techniques of Zen Buddhism, or any of the vast array of teachings and practices that the world’s religions have to offer. Such embrace may lead the nonbeliever to belief in God, or it may not.

This proposal should be taken in the other direction as well: There should be no dogmatic belief. The believer should concede that she does not know with certainty that God exists. There is no faith without doubt. The Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote that faith “is a decision, a judgment that is fully and deliberately taken in the light of a truth that cannot be proven — it is not merely the acceptance of a decision that has been made by somebody else.”

Indeed, belief without doubt would not be required by an all­loving God, and it should not be worn as a badge of honor. As nonbelievers should have a doubt of desire, so, too believers should have a faith inflected by doubt. Such doubt can enliven belief by putting it at risk and compelling it to renew itself, taking it from the mundane to the transcendent, as when a Christian takes the leap of faith to believe in the resurrection.

We can all exist along a continuum of doubt. Some of us will approach religious certainty at one extreme and others will approach atheistic certainty at the other extreme. Many of us will slide back and forth over time.

What is important is the common ground of the question, not an answer. Surely, we can respect anyone who approaches the question honestly and with an open mind. Ecumenical and interfaith religious dialogue has increased substantially in our age. We can and should expand that dialogue to include atheists and agnostics, to recognize our common humanity and to stop seeing one another as enemy combatants in a spiritual or intellectual war. Rather than seeking the security of an answer, perhaps we should collectively celebrate the uncertainty of the question.

This is not to say that we should cease attempts to convince others of our views. Far from it. We should try to unsettle others as we remain open to being unsettled ourselves. In a spirit of tolerance and intellectual humility, we should see ourselves as partners in a continuing conversation, addressing an enduring question.

Ashutosh Malik

Picture Credits: Kunal Raj

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

Tracing the Architecture of India and Pakistan by Ishaan Sudan

It is only after the partition in 1947,  that the Indian empire got divided into India and Pakistan .The history of the Indian empire includes the prehistoric settlements and societies in the Indian subcontinent; the blending of the Indus Valley Civilization and Indo-Aryan culture into the Vedic Civilization; the development of Hinduism as a synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions ; the growth of Muslim dynasties during the Medieval period intertwined with Hindu powers; the advent of European traders resulting in the establishment of the British rule; and the subsequent independence movement that led to the Partition of India and the creation of the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Prior to their separation, India and Pakistan shared the same heritage and culture, similarities of which are evident to this day.

 

With the rise of Buddhism outstanding architectural monuments were developed, which have lasted into the present. Important remnants of Buddhist construction are stupas and other buildings with clearly recognizable Greek statues ,etc. Both India and Pakistan have monuments of this era. A particularly beautiful example of Buddhist architecture are the ruins of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi in the northwest province in Pakistan. The Buddhist stupa, a dome shaped monument, was used in India as a commemorative monument associated with storing sacred relics.The stupa architecture was adopted in Southeast and East Asia, where it became prominent as a Buddhist monument used for enshrining sacred relics.

 

A smooth transition to the Islamic architecture occurred during the Mughal rule. Mughal tombs of sandstone and marble show Persian influence. Early mosques were built with decorations oriented them strongly to the Arab style.  In India ,the architecture during the Mughal Period, has shown a notable blend of Indian style combined with the Islamic. The Red fort ,the Taj Mahal ,Jama Masjid ,the Old Fort ,etc. Taj Mahal in Agra, India is one of the wonders of the world. Taj Mahal is a symbol of love for some, and barbaric brutality to others due to the treatment meted out to the artisans who built it.

 

The earliest example of a mosque from the days of infancy of Islam in South Asia is the Mihrab Lose mosque of Banbhore, from the year 727, the first Muslim place of worship on the Indian Subcontinent(Now Pakistan). Under the Delhi Sultan  the Persian-central asiatic style ascended over Arab influences. Most important characteristic of this style is the Iwan, which is walled on three sides, with one end entirely open. Further characteristics are wide prayer halls, round domes with mosaics and geometrical samples and the use of painted tiles. The most important of the few completely discovered buildings of Persian style is the tomb of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam (built 1320 to 1324) in Multan. At the start of the 16th century, the Indo-Islamic architecture was at the height of its boom. During the Mughal era design elements of Islamic-Persian architecture were fused with and often produced playful forms of the Hindustani art. Lahore, which was an occasional residence of Mughal rulers, exhibits a multiplicity of important buildings from the empire, among them are the Badshahi mosque, the fortress of Lahore with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the Wazir Khan Mosque,  as well as numerous other mosques and mausoleums. Also the Shahjahan Mosque of Thatta in Sindh originates from the epoch of the Mughals.The architecture and plan of Badshahi Masjid which was built by Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb in Lahore is closely related to that of the Jama masjid which is located in New Delhi. Taj-ul-Masajid is a Mosque situated in Bhopal is the largest mosque in India.

 

The British arrived in 1615 and over the centuries, gradually overthrew the Maratha and Sikh empires and other small independent kingdoms. Britain ruled India for over three hundred years and their legacy still remains through some building and infrastructure they left behind. The major cities colonized during this period were Madras, Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi, Agra, Bankipore, Karachi, Nagpur, Bhopal and Hyderabad. In the British colonial age predominantly representative buildings of the Indo-European style developed, from a mixture of European and Indian-Islamic components. Amongst the more prominent works are Mohatta Palace and Frere Hall in Karachi. St Andrew’s Kirk, Madras is known for its colonial architecture. The building is circular in form and is sided by two rectangular sections one is the entrance porch. The entrance is lined with twelve colonnades and two British lions and motto of East India Company engraved on them. The interior holds sixteen columns and the dome is painted blue with decorated with gold stars. The Britishers are also responsible for the railways in India and Pakistan.

 

At present we can still see similarities like shopping malls, crowded street markets, Universities ,Religious buildings , metros and much more. Even though an evident distinction has been created in the subcontinent through the creation of the two nations, their architectural similarities continue to bind them together as one.

 

Food uniting Indo-Pak by Aishley Verma

Every country, region and even local regional people have their own
taste and to cater to that everyone has their own style of food,
dishes and own recipes. In sub-continent, while Sri Lanka and
Bangladesh have hundreds of dishes related to rice and fishes alone,
its the rich Pakistani and Indian culture that have thousands if not
millions of recipes. In Pakistan, we have regional dishes and food and
then there are dishes popular country wide. The food and recipes are
inspired from neighbouring Afghanistan, Punjab has a rich culture,
Sindh and Balochistan have their own traditional food. Some
traditional and popular food throughout stand apart all and are
equally liked by everyone.
The breakfast, lunch, dinner,desserts everything has some way or the
other some similarities.
North Indian food is highly influenced by the Afghan flavor lent by
the Afghan invaders. this makes a parallel between the Indian culture
and at the end of the story drawing a parallel these two countries.
Following are dishes which really famous and common across the country
and masses. These are follows:
1) Sewai (desserts):
Sewai has always been a romantic dessert
– one that celebrates the romance of  the land’s history, the warmth
of Pakistani hospitality, the cool sea breeze of the coast of the
Arabian Sea and the love we have for our Land of the Pure (the literal
meaning of the word Pakistan). It highlights all the aromas used in
our desserts, ones borrowed from our Mughal heritage, Irani influences
and Muslim traditions.
This is one of the most significant dish of Muslims festival Eid, also
in common with Indian sweet dish.

2) Biryani and Pulaos:
Biryani and Pakistani foods are
directly linked. No Pakistani feast is complete without its presence.
It is basically a South Indian dish but it became a smashing hit in
Pakistan for people here are crazy about it. It is made from rice and
meat of any type. Biryani took many forms and shapes and even recipe
variations here such as Mutton Biryani, Sindhi BIryani, Tikka Biryani,
aalo Biryani etc.
Similarly, Pulao comes second after it. It has many forms and methods
of cooking because of the variation of culture and differences of
areas.

3) Makki ki roti sarso ka saag:
Makai ki Roti with
Sarsoon da saag is a famous Punjabi recipe. It involves mustard
leaves, makai flour and that’s it. Whenever there is a need to
represent village culture of Pakistan, it is shown to be eaten.

4) Kabbabs/ naan:
Naan Kababs are not dishes actually but
kind of essential add-ons or pop-ups of a Pakistani dining table.
Kebab is made from minced meat and naan with flour dough. There is a
wide variety of kababs in a Pakistani dinner table like Shami Kabab,
Tikka Kabab, Gola Kabab, Seekh Kabab, Aalo kabab, Chapli Kabab,
Chappli Kabab and many more.They are either used together or
separately or with other dishes such as Pualo Kabab, Bun kabab or naan
nehari etc.
Naan also has many forms like Qeema Nan, Aalo Nan, Roghni Nan and so
on, especially Roghni naan is very popular among Pakistanis.
These two are popular in Pakistan as well as in India.

5) Korma and Nehari:
Korma & Nehari are also yummy
Pakistani food items. Meat is involved in cooking both the dishes.
People enjoy eating them on special occasions such as weddings,
dinners, parties and hangouts etc.

6) Halwa Puri:
Halwa Puri is the last but not least especial
breakfast item of Pakistan. It is originated from Punjab but famous
all over the world for its yummy taste and halwa eye-catching color.
Halwa is a sweet dish that involves Suji, a kind of flour and sugar
majorly; while Puri is made out of gram-flour and then deep fried in
the oil.
the above discussed food items are enjoyed by Pakistani and the
Indians on their festivals, irrespective of their religion.

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.

 

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