India-Pakistan relationship, already strained, due to the decades-long short-sighted governmental policies and their one-upmanship strategies, has been in a downward spiral, since the November 2008 Mumbai carnage. Instead of statesmanship, the same old defensive stance, worn-out rhetoric and mud-slinging have continued. Under these circumstances, it is highly unlikely that the situation will improve in the near future.
Ever since the 326 BC Greek invasion of India, Indian royals as well as greedy contenders for power have sought intervention of outsiders to improve their respective odds. But, like in the story of the two cats and a monkey, frequently both parties lost out, and the monkey got to eat the whole bread!
Unfortunately, Indian and Pakistani rulers and diplomats have not yet learned anything either from their own past experiences, or from the advice offered by such analysts as Semu Bhatt (Items 300, 306 and 311 on www.amanliasha.com). Therefore, it is important that civil society leaders in both countries and their well-wishers everywhere, make a concerted, coordinated, and sustained campaign to change the course.
In this context, starting in January 2011, the Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (www.asiapeace.org) is planning to launch a program of experiential peace camps designed to encourage youth to
- Respect themselves as individuals;
- Develop skills in independent thinking, empathetic listening, and cooperative problem-solving and compassionate conflict-resolution;
- Inculcate the noble values of kindness, generosity, tolerance and nonviolence toward others;
- Adopt ways of living in peace and harmony with others, especially those who differ from them in social status, religious beliefs, and national origin; and finally
- Become decent human beings and good members of their family, neighborhood, nation and the global village.
It is hoped that graduates of these peace camps will help establish peace within their own families and neighborhoods, and nations, as well as eventually between the peoples of of India and Pakistan.
Dr. Pritam K. Rohila
the Executive Director
the Association for Communal Harmony in Asia