Last week, thousands of students and activists took part in Peace Day ceremonies and rallies throughout the country, commemorating the 67th anniversary of the date that US soldiers dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War. Underpinning the anti-nuclear sentiment of the occasion were calls for harmony and the right to grow up and live in a peaceful society.
In the coming days, those calls for peace will reverberate locally as various organizations and activists shout out for peace between Pakistan and India as the countries celebrate their respective Independence Days on August 14 and 15. Borne out of grassroots activities where people living on the IndoPak border would gather at midnight on August 14 to send good wishes to their neighbors on the other side, the initiative continues to grow in support year-on-year. On December 18 2011, Canada-based peace activist Swati Sharan called for people around the world to pray for thirty seconds (in whatever form prayer meant to the individual) for peace between the two countries, an event which attracted participation from more than 20,000 people globally.
Though both governments have made conciliatory steps recently, activists argue that tensions between the two nations still exist (particularly surrounding water-sharing agreements) and that the way forward for both countries should be driven by peace between and within India and Pakistan.
Several online and offline events and activities are planned for the two days including a “Google Hangout” for Indians and Pakistanis where organizers will attempt to set a world record for the longest running virtual meet-up between conflict boundaries. Those unable to attend any event but still wish to participate in some way are asked to light a candle in the name of peace, meditate or pray.
Check out the dedicated Facebook page or India-Pakistan Peace Day (run by the Association for Communal Harmony in Asia) for all the details on how to get involved.
Author: Anna Rees/ RESET editorial