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India-Pakistan: Request to start bus service across the border between suigam-nagarparkar and replace military ceremony at attari-wagah with a peace ceremony

Letter to India’s prime minister from peace activists

17 June

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To: Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

Date: 18 June, 2018

Sub: Request to revive the proposal for a bus service between Suigam and Nagarparkar across the India-Pakistan border and replace military ceremony at Attari-Wagah with peace ceremony every evening

Respected Modi ji,

This is to request you to revive the proposal to start a bus service between Suigam in India and Nagarparkar in Pakistan. This will be beneficial to common people and traders living in this area.

You may also consider launching a bus service between Ahmedabad and Karachi similar to the Delhi-Lahore bus service.

We also propose that the every evening military ceremony at Wagah-Attari border should be replaced by a peace ceremony. A presentation on this proposal has been prepared by students of ‘Social Movements’ class of IIT Gandhinagar during 2016-17 which is given in the following link:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1BPw7qfqsDm60dpN1LeS27j9fY-gffF5wvUYLJL6y380/edit#slide=id.g1f00b1ed56_2_91

Promotion of people to people contact will ultimately help build a friendly and peaceful relationship with Pakistan when the atmosphere of enmity will go away.

We hope that you’ll take these historical decisions and contribute towards peace and prosperity of the region.

Thanking You,

Sincerely,

Sanjay Tula, Mehsana, 9426388234, vishwagrambasna[at]gmail.com
Kausharali Saiyed, Ahmedabad, 9904150217, kaushars[at]yahoo.com
Nita Mahadev, Ahmedabad, 9724082788, mahadevvidrohi[at]yahoo.com
Manzil Nanavati, Ahmedabad, 9327001257, saimanzil.nanavati[at]gmail.com
Kaleem Siddiqui, Ahmedabad, 9276848549, kaleemahd[at]gmail.com
Sandeep Pandey, Lucknow, 0522 4242830, ashaashram[atyahoo.com

Proposal for a peace ceremony at Wagah-Attari border

To Whomsoever it may concern

A US president once said: “peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with conflict by peaceful means.” Our job is to find those means. The present work is an attempt to suggest new alternative ways to ease tensions between two countries through citizen engagement/integration/assimilation from both sides. We are proposing a detailed layout to modify Wagah border retreat ceremony which occurs every day before sunset to represent “machoism” through rapid dance like maneuvers. It should not be limited to symbolic handshake of soldiers but a place where hearts meet, eye gesture talk more than actual “Jabaan” between people across the border. Engaging citizens from both sides of the border is the key aspect of our proposed solution.

Why a proper citizen engagement is the only solution to bring normalcy between India and Pakistan?

Despite all the political differences, the citizens of both countries share the same culture, same language, same dress, same weathers, same festivities and same traditions which connects them together. They share the common history till partition. Not only this engagement will help them to heal the wounds of partition but also provide a platform to share their individual journey throughout these years.

In democracy public opinion towards any issue drives government to take firm decisions. If citizens will have better understanding about each other across the border then political vultures cannot use jingoistic measures to fool people.

Here is the brief outline of the proposed plan. Please go through the PPT to have a detailed description.

The centrality of our plan is to ease tensions and vanish differences between common people across border. Our plan will be very crucial to perpetuate trust building between both governments. We are proposing to construct a peace stadium in place of BSF lounge and Guest gallery at Wagah. This is going to be a collective effort as both countries will have to agree upon this idea. We are sending this proposal to respective governments. The activities in peace stadium are meant to have a cultural cum people meet because culturally people make strong bonds. The whole event has been categorized into two broad categories:

1. Everyday events

The goal of everyday events is to develop common interest centers (Delhi Haat Model) for people. Various retails stores of local goods will be opened. This could include food items, handlooms, embroidery etc. Both countries are culturally rich and very familiar with each other’s fondness with local items. It will be encouraged to have local manufacturer rather than MNCs. Duty free shops of local goods like Jaipur lehnga, Banarasi sarees, Lahore shawl and many more can be opened in that arena . So that everyday people across both sides could meet and discuss in open atmosphere.

Also there are various events that can be done on everyday basis listed below here:

• Activities like drawing and painting for school kids
• Sports events with randomly mixed teams
• Impromptu reverse role play games - Indians to think as Pakistanis and vice-versa
• Exchanging handwritten notes and cards
• Interesting pictures, videos & short films could be shot
• Free debates in Intellectual Corner, only condition - respect every viewpoint
• Communal Harmony Corner - people share experiences, songs, etc.
• Celebrities Corner - one celebrity every day to interact with people from both countries

2. Weekly/Monthly event

The proposed arena has a potential to be developed into a landmark place of partition History of two countries. Once in a month there will be a scheduled day when the musicians/poets/shayars across both sides will come to Peace stadium and perform to heal the wounds of people. Also once or twice we can organize sports events consisting team of mixed people from both countries as players.

3. Security arrangement

There will be two layered security arrangement from each side. First it will be covered by Joint security forces then there will be another security channel of that respective country.

Please go through the powerpoint presentation (PPT) to get a through idea of our plan. It has a detailed layout of the security system that we are going to have for proposed event.

Please revert to me if you are having any doubts regarding our proposal.

Thanks.

Pawan Sharma, 9806573571, pawan.sharma[at]iitgn.ac.in