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TENTH AMAN CHAUPAL: FORMER INDIAN JOURNALIST IN PAKISTAN, MEENA MENON INTERACT WITH STUDENTS IN A DELHI SCHOOL 

New Delhi: At a time when tension is going on border, those who believe in Peace and humanity, not only appealing with the governments of India and Pakistan to re store Peace and humanity, but also working on ground with their firm belief on peace and with their hope that by letting the people know about each other, at least jingoism can be stopped because one of the factor of hatred and misunderstanding among people is also lack of communication among them and lack of such real opportunities to know about each other, about society and people.

Aaghaz-e-Dosti, an Indo-Pak Friendship initiative of India-based Mission Bhartiyam and Pakistan-based The Catalyst – TC, organized Aman Chaupal at Andhra Education Society on 10th October. Aman Chaupal is an interactive session wherein someone from Pakistan interacts with students in a school or college. The objective of Aman Chaupal is to counter stereotypes and misconceptions. It is to show the side of Pakistan that the media never shows.

This was the tenth Aman Chaupal. The guest for the session was Ms. Meena Menon who was the former Indian Journalist in Pakistan. She is currently the deputy editor of The Hindu.

The session began with Ms. Menon sharing her experience in Pakistan. She talked about how the common people were very warm and friendly towards her. They would be very curious to know about India.

After this, the interactive session began.

“Are the barriers only political? Are there cultural similarities between India and Pakistan?”, asked a student.

Ms. Menon shared the cultural links that India and Pakistan share. She talked about music as being an important connect. She had also shared that the Punjabis in Pakistan feel a cultural and emotional bond due to the similarities in culture.

There was a question on the status of the status of women in Pakistan. She explained that like in India, the situation is complex. There is no uniformity. The status of women varies depending on the region. In Taliban-controlled areas, the situation is bad as there are several restrictions imposed but this is not true for other areas.

There were questions on terrorism, ceasefire violations and on the “one-sided peace”.

Why Pakistan does not co-operate with India for peace?, asked a student.

Ms. Menon replied that this is also the same question that is asked on the other side of the border. Both India and Pakistan put allegations on each other. They both accuse each other of not co-operating. They both accuse each other of initiating a clash.

She suggested the students to not get provoked but rather to think critically on issues, to look and analyse facts. They should try to think neutrally.

In the end, the students wrote peace messages for people in Pakistan.

This session of Aman Chaupal was co-ordinated by Devika Mittal, convenor (India) of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, Madhulika Narasimhan, Aman Chaupal co-ordinator and Ms. Alpna Sharma.

For any information, contact: Devika Mittal, Convener (India)- Aaghaz-e-Dosti : 9582129927

Student asking a question during aman chaupal

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