Thursday, March 11, 2010

Marching Forward on the Way to Peace in South Asia

South Asia

In 2009, the 16th year of its existence, the Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA) has continued to make slow, but steady progress in the pursuit of its mission of promoting peace in South Asia and harmony among South Asians everywhere. ACHA still is one of the oldest, best organized, most active, and most transparent South Asian peace organizations. Below is a brief report.


In view of the fact that currently India and Pakistan face a far more serious threat to their integrity, security and prosperity from what is happening within their own borders, than from each other, ACHA has realized the importance of building a culture of peace and harmony within India as well as Pakistan. Peace WITHIN each of them would make it much easier to accomplish peace BETWEEN them.

For this reason, the following ACHA Pledge of Peace and Harmony, which had served as the theme for its “2008 Peace Pilgrimage to India and Pakistan” (, was adopted also as the core project for its 2009 India-Pakistan Peace Day campaign (

I Pledge:
I will not intentionally use my hands or my words to harm anyone;
I will treat my sisters and daughters with at least as much love and respect as I treat my
brothers and sons; and
I will treat all my neighbors as deserving of my respect, regardless of their class, caste, sect or

Now deriving inspiration from the work of a couple of American peace psychologists and in consultation with some South Asian peace activists, ACHA has embarked on a plan to help build a culture of peace and harmony among the youth and children of India and Pakistan.

The objective is to develop a program that would help youth and children in learning skills in independent thinking, empathetic listening, cooperative problem-solving and nonviolent conflict-resolution. It should help them to inculcate the noble values of kindness, compassion and tolerance. It should assist them in adopting ways of living in peace and harmony with others, especially with those who differ from them in social status, religious beliefs, and national origin. Finally, it should enable them to become more decent human beings and better members of their family, neighborhood, nation and the global village.

In this connection, in September-October, 2010, ACHA plans to organize, at a few places in India and Pakistan experiential workshops to train volunteer peace and harmony teachers. The volunteers will be selected by local peace activists, as individuals who have committed themselves to conduct peace camps for youth and children in their own areas.


While maintaining and strengthening old ones, ACHA has made several new alliances with South Asian peace activists and organizations, thus improving its ability to initiate and implement projects in South Asia, particularly in India and Pakistan in cooperation with them.

Asiapeace: Electronic Discussion Forum

Thanks to its volunteer-moderator, Dr. Omar Ali, Asiapeace, ACHA’s electronic forum, continues to be a popular site for a civilized discussion of South Asian issues, every day. It has 547 subscribers. Posts to this forum, along with Dr. Ali’s incisive and insightful comments on them can be viewed at .

Electronic publications

Except for some interruptions caused by their editor’s 5-month ordeal due to his three eye surgeries, he has continued to bring out ACHA’s three electronic publications.

The hope for peace was kept alive through the daily publication Peace and Harmony News from South Asia ( Every day, it reaches 2,163individuals and organizations.

ACHA Peace Bulletin ( ), a monthly compendium of peace and harmony events and educational/training opportunities, books, and updates from and about South Asia. It has 1,014 subscribers.

Kashmir News ( is ACHA’s daily digest of views about and news from the various parts of the former princely state of Jammu & Kashmir. It has 180 subscribers.


For the last several years Dr. Ingrid Shaffer has been donating her time, as well as domain space, to design, update and maintain our two website & Also she sets up, and maintains ACHA’s electronic petitions.


ACHA has maintained dues-free membership. In 2009, sixteen new members joined ACHA family, four more than last year. There are now 84 members, who come from a dozen different countries, and three continents.

Income & Expenses

ACHA does not have any paid staff. The office space and utilities, including phone (except calls to Pakistan) are provided free of cost. The travel, food, and lodging expenses related to its peace missions to India and Pakistan are borne by the participants. Hence ACHA is a very frugal organization.

Every quarter a statement of its income and expenses is emailed to ACHA members, and is posted on its website. The statement for the last quarter can be viewed at

During 2009, ACHA spent a total of $1004.72, and had income of $1,710.77. Almost all of the income was from donations made by 18 individuals. The donations ranged between $25 and $435, with an average of $94.


ACHA is one of the best South Asian peace organizations, but still far from where it can and should be. But with the support of its members and well-wishers, it will continue to make progress towards its mission of peace and harmony in South Asia and among all South Asians. Support for ACHA can be rendered in any or all of the following ways:

Tax-deductible donations. Checks/drafts/money orders should be made out to ACHA, and mailed to ACHA, 4410 Verda Lane NE, Keizer, Oregon 97303, USA. Formal receipts will be sent to all donors, for their tax records.

Membership of ACHA, which is dues-free.

Subscription to the electronic discussion forum Asiapeace and/or electronic publications namely, Peace & Harmony News from South Asia, and Kashmir News & Views. Subscription to each is free.

Support for another South Asian peace, human rights, women & children’s welfare organization. ACHA can help you locate a suitable organization, if you need help it. Please send your request to

Report By:
Pritam Rohila,
Executive Director
Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA) &

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