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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Children trained to hate India, reveal Pakistani students

How do you put an end to cross-border hatred? By questioning the very ideologies that fan it, vouched students from Pakistan, who are on a visit to the city to encourage the process of peace and bonding between the youth of the two countries.

Better yet, they added, catch them young and half your work is done.

At a workshop by the department of sociology of University of Mumbai on Tuesday, the students spoke at length on how young children in Pakistan are trained to hate India.

That’s where these students’ role becomes key to the initiation of the peace process. “Once hating India was seen as true patriotism. We were trained to hate India but we now we feel that there is an urgent need to stress on peace,” said Sitara Jabeen, 23, who is doing an MPhil in peace and conflicts studies from the National Defence University, Islamabad.

So, over the last few years, many students like Jabeen started rejecting all religious and perceptive representations of India.

“There is a group in Pakistan that is involved in terrorism, but the rest of us feel the same pain when India or any other country is attacked.”

Arshi Saleem Hashmi, a professor from the same university, said stereotypes are kept alive by a lack of understanding between groups of people. One way to shatter them, sheadded, is by engaging the youth of both the countries. The bonding of the youth can break that deadlock.”

Sidra Tariq, who is doing an MPhil in international relations at the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad, argued that Pakistan is as much a victim of violence at the hands of terror outfits as India.

Hina Anwar Ali, an architect and youth activist from Lahore, pointed out the cultural and demographical similarities between the two countries, and said the youth should be at the centre of the peace process.

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