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Delhi to Wagah with a Candle of Light: Aman-Dosti Yatra for Indo-Pak Peace

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A 40-member delegation from different regions of India today completed their Delhi to Wagah journey named ‘Aman-Dosti Yatra’ that was aimed at promoting India-Pakistan peace and friendship, travelled from Delhi to Wagah with more than 15 stops along the route in different towns and cities, conducting public meetings to make people aware about importance of peace and generating support for India-Pakistan people to people relations. This group reached Amritsar and reached India-Pakistan Wagah border at night of 14-15 August for lighting of candles as for peace. A day before the start of this journey, a meeting was also organized in Delhi where Kuldeep Nayar, Mohini Giri, Dr Syeda Hameed and others participated.

During this journey where Aman Dosti Yatra delegates came together for this larger cause included people from all walks of life.

A moving force behind this journey, Ram Mohan Rai, who is also associated with Association of People of Asia, told ‘India-Pakistan peace is a necessity and very natural. People on both sides want to meet each other. Through this Yatra we’ll express this feeling of people on behalf of millions of Indians and Pakistanis.’  His close associate Deepak Kathuria believes that anyone who believes in humanity and shared heritage would naturally believe that people of both sides must get opportunity to meet each other with minimum restrictions.

Yatra also had Harutai, a freedom fighter who expressed that she wanted peaceful relations and close bonds between people of both sides. Harutai came with Vijay Deshpande, a Gandhian activist from Satara who is also working with freedom fighters. Describing her feelings, Tamanna Pankaj, a young law professional and Yatra participant told that friendship between both sides would be real tribute to those who fought the independence struggle as those people are shared legacy of both sides.

Sanjay Rai, National coordinator of NYP said that youths from both sides must get platforms to clear their misunderstandings. “Youths are our future and hope”.

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Ravi Nitesh, coordinator of Aman Dosti Yatra and founder of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, an Indo-Pak Friendship initiative, told that efforts to spread light of peace on India-Pakistan border through candle vigil is happening for last 23 years and was started by people like Kuldeep Nayar, Nikhil Chakraborthy, Asma Jahangir and others and we want to continue this legacy.’ He also added that through public meetings along the way, we also received huge support of people for the cause. He told that particularly in Punjab, so many people including army veterans favored peaceful relations between the two countries.

Veena Behen, a Yatri who also had been disciple of Vinoba Bhave and participated in Bhoodan Movement, believes that we need to build more and more bridges and foundation to that is already available through work done by persons like Gandhi, Vinoba.

An acclaimed artist Hena Chakraborthy said that arts and culture are strongest medium of connection. None would be able to separate Bulleh Shah, Nanak, Baba Farid, Kabeer and even the latest ghazals and songs of both sides from each other. An undergrad student Adeeba also had been part of this Yatra. Adeeba belongs to the family of last Mughal emperor and freedom fighter Bahadur Shah Zafar. She believes that youths of both countries deserve a peaceful future and not violence or hatred against each other.

A freelance writer Kushika AV from Bangalore felt that when we talk about India-Pakistan, it automatically gets connected with Hindu-Muslim due to various misunderstandings. Hence, working on this issue may also benefit another important cause of communal harmony.

Dr Veena Gaur, a professor in Buddhist philosophy sees the potential of strengthening relations through connecting spiritual centers of both sides. She says that with so many restrictions on visas, it is difficult now for Indian Hindus, Punjabis and Buddhists to visit their places of faiths and history in Pakistan’s Katas Raj Temples, Nanakshahi, Taxila etc and similarly for Pakistani Muslims to India’s Nizamuddin and Ajmer Dargah among many other such examples. Humayun Khan, a doctor by profession said that stronger cooperation between the two countries may serve population in better ways.

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This Yatra was decorated with many placards with messages of peace and harmony. Along the way, major stops of Yatra were Murthal, Gannaur, Samalkha, Panipat, Gharonda, Karnal, Taraori, Kurukshetra, Shahbad, Ambala, Ludhiana and Jalandhar where activist Shri Bhagwan Sharma, Doctor Shankar Lal, Devendra Kadyan, Sahab Singh Ranga, Nernder Sukhan, Ram Singh Chaudhary, Dr Subhash Chander, Pawan Arya, Surrender Pal Singh and Shamsher Singh Gogi supported the program along the way. Program in Amritsar was organized by Folklore Research Academy and activists Ramesh Yadav and Satnam Manik along with others while the Yatra was a collective effort of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, Aariz Media, All India Freedom Fighters Association, Association of People of Asia, Folklore Research Academy, Gandhi Global Family, Guild of Service, Hali Panipati Association, Mahila Chetna Kendra, National Youth Project, Nirmala Deshpande Sansthan, SAJAG, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, War Widows Association, United Religion Initiative and Women’s initiative for Peace in South Asia.

Ram Mohan Rai and Ravi Nitesh also informed that a report in the form of booklet would be published soon and would be presented to various dignitaries as a peoples’ manifesto for peace.

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