By Manav Panwar
“It may be long before the law of love will be recognised in international affairs. The machineries of government stand between and hide the hearts of one people from those of another.”
Two countries, which were together for almost 70 years and had no boundaries because love held the people together within one nation, are today the countries the whole world talks about. Every summit and every world peace conference ends only after naming the two beautiful nations, India and Pakistan. Two nations which definitely need to be together because the boundaries are not helping them anymore. The partition’s strength has now expired and all that works to settle the affairs between each other is guns and not roses.
Both countries, known for their massive population and diverse cultural background; no matter how much hatred these two countries have for each other, the love which lies at the end of each’s heart is much more powerful than the hatred at the border. Be it political, international relations or the common love of both the countries, Cricket, both have a lot to say against each other in all of them.
A jam packed stadium is the only sight one would witness when these two countries are playing against each other. Be it the Cricket or hockey match between these countries, Orange and Green are the only colors that are reflected; the most important and the very much needed white, the colour of “Peace” is no where to be seen!
Poems have been written, letters have been written and all that could be done to break the chains has been done but a lot of ink has been wasted and the “daaks” have given up on delivering letters because there seems to come no piece of paper with love but only warnings and ditching deals to either of the governments.
India and Pakistan have one of the strongest literary backgrounds in the world. They have a spectacular history of it and they still look forward to make a future by using journalism and communication to get the countries back together in peace.
Inspired by the phenomal work of the international NGO, FRIENDS WITHOUT BORDERS, came AMAN KI ASHA on the first day of the year 2010. A hope to evolve love between the two nations after the Dil se Dil Border Concert was canceled in August 2007. The ones who paid no efforts were the two leading media houses of the two countries, The Times Group from India and The Jang Group from Pakistan.
Aman ki Asha means “HOPE FOR PEACE.”
Hope is all what the two countries always have whenever it comes to anything between them.
Hope to win and enjoy a cricket match;
Hope to win a chance to host events of either of their talented artists;
Hope to meet the citizens of the other country;
Hope to win over each other on a summit vote, but the only hope that has been mostly visible and, tarnishing all the goodwill between the two nations is sadly and mournfully,
Hope to kill each other’s soldiers on the borders.
This campaign aims for nothing but everything, which is mutual peace and development of the diplomatic and cultural and international relations between the two nations that will help in forming a strong subcontinent zone.
Aman ki Asha started slow but grew fast enough. Enough to let the ones on the internet know that singing works. For a majority of Indians and Pakistanis, Aman ki Asha is just a shared ‘hope for peace’ between the two countries. Upon falsehoods circulated by people targeting this peace initiative in many kinds of underhand ways since it’s launch on January 1, 2010, it continued to stay on course, and went on to urge both governments to do so. Going along, Aman ki Asha has given a platform and a way forward for aspirations of peace between India and Pakistan.
Aman ki Asha has brought a massive change in attitude about each other amongst Indians and Pakistanis. Individual surveys in India and Pakistan were carried out and they show that as a result of this campaign, every positive attitude about Pakistan in India has improved, and every negative idea has gown down.
Here are some changes after this campaign got into work.
· Before AKA only 4% Indians knew Pakistan’s point of view on Kashmir; after 12 months of it is campaigning this increased by 425%, to 17%.
· The open house terror of Pakistan has gone down from 59% to 29%.
· The hope for sustainable peace in our lifetime between the two nations has soared from 29% to 30%.
· Indians desire of peace increased from 62% to 82%
· Indians after the Aman ki Asha campaign had an approximate of 40% increased positive perception about Pakistan than those not familiar with Aman ki Asha and aggressively spread the notion for fights. It led to an improvement in trade and international relations and has increased people to people contacts. Aman ki Asha has enabled all other stakeholders like the NGOs to engage in peacemaking; politicians, the business class community and civil society leaders, to openly carry on normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan far more severely than before.
Aman ki Asha has also patched the business communities of India and Pakistan together in their individual strength as well as the two largest business associations of the two countries which are the Pakistan Business Council and the Confederation of Indian Industries. By strongly pacing forward with economic collaboration and making presentations to the Commerce Ministry of Pakistan, Aman ki Asha has provided force and road to Pakistan’s grant of MFN status to India.
Aman ki Asha has made an aggressive and effective campaign for easing the visa regime. “Milne Do” contributed a lot to the new visa agreement that was signed between India and Pakistan.
By giving a platform for an open and honest discussion on controversial issues and giving strength to the desire of the citizens of the two countries for peace, Aman ki Asha has given immense confidence to the governments of both nations to negotiate with an open mind and show flexibility.
Ministers have been quite mobile to and from Pakistan. To highlight an impact on a minister, this is what the Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said at the time he visited Pakistan and publicly acknowledged that, “the sea of change in the relations between India and Pakistan during the last two years is largely attributable to the efforts of Aman ki Asha and we now share the optimism of Aman ki Asha”.
The politicians were not the only ones to step in, the Bollywood industry had a lot to say and gave an immense level of participation which helped a lot.
If the stars follow, so do their fans and hence the campaign was very much in pace by the help of the celebrities like:
and many, many more.
Amitabh Bachchan stood amongst them all, when he visited a lot of campaigns and wrote and recited poems which received an overwhelming response from people.
Another good step by Aman Ki Asha was holding MUNs.
Here’s an example of one of the biggest MUNs in India in collaboration with Aman ki Asha:
The Nagpur Model United Nations (MUN) which included a special committee of Aman ki Asha, took place on May 30-31, 2015 in India. The other high committees were General Assembly, World Health Organisation and Human Rights Council.
Focusing on college and high school students, the organisers were trying to get the maximum number of Pakistani student participation but the hurdle in front of them was obtaining a visa for them.
“The hopes of the youth were raised high to meet each other and to make a difference,” said Devang Shah, who was the director of Aman ki Asha Council at Nagpur MUN-“, he followed “-They are also some of the most intelligent minds and they were the one who were craving to reduce the enmity to such a level that the progress of both the nations is not hindered.”
Aman ki Asha campaign has had the highest participants ever and it has succeeded phenomenally, but to an extent only.
Now it can be called one of its failure only, that not everybody heard about the program.
It’s all about the campaigns.
Many are, and,
These two countries are meant to be together. To put it up more positively, “History will repeat itself.”