Peace Through People Power
For too long now, it’s been ‘us’ and ‘them’ – and while in India it’s true of India and Pakistan, the story is the same for many countries around the world. We’ve been brought up to look across our borders with distrust and we’ve been fed on a fare of why ‘they’ are bad. For many of us in India, all it needed was to travel on work, attend a few international seminars to realize just what a myth all our beliefs were. Here were people so similar to us in food habits, tastes, culture and even the language. Here were a people with whom we could be friends.
Aman ki Asha or Hope of Peace
Left to politicians and vested interests in the armies, the hate syndrome would go on – but suddenly, there seems to be an awakening from within. A questioning of why things should always be as they are. In the forefront is India’s leading newspaper – The Times of India. We woke up on New Year’s Day, bleary-eyed and reached for our cups of tea and the newspapers. What was on the front page was enough to jerk us awake. Peace and Pakistan? Even more astounding, Love and Pakistan? I could almost see everyone I knew nodding with approval as I read through that copy and suddenly, the impossible dream seemed possible. A lot of ground needed to be covered but here were the first steps. Working with the Jang Group of publications across the border, the first forays into a more peaceful sub-continent have begun.
So how is it going to work? Firstly, it’s a people to people initiative. Everyone’s fed up of peace platitudes mouthed by governments and armies for whom wars are the money spinners. There will be various platforms where the two nations can come together – business, sports, music, art, cultural festivals. All designed to prove that there can be bridge building instead of electric fences. Right now, all it can be is ‘hope for peace’. Hopefully at some point of time, peace can be taken for granted and be a given.
The media all over the world has very often got a bad name but here are two huge media houses – the Times of India and the Jang Group of Pakistan coming together to show that responsible journalism can be powerful – maybe more powerful than governments, more powerful than armies, more powerful than religions and more powerful than all the belief systems there can be.
Will it work? There will be many who want it to. There will also be many who will try to derail it, any which way. As long as the peoples of both countries can connect without preconceived notions and try and push for peace no matter what, there will be progress made. Both countries stand to gain – tourism and trade could see great strides if only peace were possible.
Maybe it’s time all over the world for people power to start waking up and questioning – to ask for answers to ‘Whys’, to start making their elected representatives accountable. Wars don’t profit all people – they profit the ones who are supposed to look after our interests. Those should not be positions of power – those should be positions of service. I read a wonderful book the other day by a new hubber on emergent governance and how we need to rethink ourselves. Have we had our eyes shut for too long when it comes to things that matter? We need to wake up – and start winning back the world and all its goodness for all her people. Like a tireless seeker of peace says, ‘Peace is the Only Way’.