Let’s teach our kids about peace before someone else teaches them to hate

Sharing a piece I wrote with Rahul Mukherji in Kolkatta pegged on April 6 – #WhiteCard International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. A Sapan syndicated feature.

Southasia Peace Action Network

By Rahul Mukherji and Beena Sarwar

April 7, 2022, Sapan News Service: On 6 April 2022, an 11-year-old boy in Islamabad and 8-year-old in Kolkata raised White Cards to each other, in support of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

In doing so, Arman in Pakistan and Riaan in India were not just making a gesture of peace and friendship towards each other, but for their countries, and the world.

Tweet by Aman ki Asha (@amankiasha_1) on 6 Apr 2022.

The heartwarming little video shared on social media was one among millions of #WhiteCard photos and videos being posted that day as symbolic gestures calling for peace through sports around the globe. Participants included world champions, Olympic champions, sportspersons and fans.

In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly createda historical link to the first modern Olympic Gamesof 1896 by declaring 6…

View original post 436 more words

Sapan Logo competition: Submit your logos for a good cause and win a cash prize!

Hello designers out there – here’s a chance to contribute to a great cause AND win recognition plus prize money. As Sapan, the South Asia Peace Action Network turns one (yes, already!) we’re looking to re-vamp our logo. So we launched a logo competition. Deadline: 25 March 2022. See details in the shared post.

We love the logo that a volunteer created on short notice – not a designer but a law student then. Note: This isn’t a commercial proposition but one of our youngest volunteers wanted to add a cash prize incentive and pledged a contribution. Others followed so we have a little money in our kitty for the winner. p.s. More contributions welcome.

#logo #designers #competition

Southasia Peace Action Network

Deadline for submissions: March 25, 2022

Announcing a design contest to create a novel, catchy logo for Southasia Peace Action Network (Sapan).

The competition winner will receive a certificate and will be listed on Sapan’s website and social media platforms. There is also a nominal cash prize, amount to be disclosed later as pledges are coming in.

We will use the logo on our website, social media marketing, and other purposes.

Designers are free to choose any fonts, color combinations, and symbol options. The logo must include a symbolic component that is recognizable without the name “Southasia Peace Action Network” next to it.

Sapan vision: See Founding Charter

Contest timeline

  • March 9-25:Submit entries by email to southasiapeaceactionnetwork@gmail.com
  • March 25:The logo is up on social media for voting
  • Based on the points from the social media vote and jury, the final winner will be announced by March 31, marking…

View original post 388 more words

Singing and inspiration in dark times: Art and resistance in South Asia

Inspiring, uplifting and thought-provoking event, part of Sapan’s series themed Imagine: Neighbours in Peace, held on the last Sunday of every month. Coming up: Love, activism, Southasia solidarities with Saif Samejo, Parvathy Baul, and others… Watch out for updates at http://www.southasiapeace.com

Southasia Peace Action Network

NOTE: This feature report produced by Sapan News Service is free for publication with credit to Sapan, www.southasiapeace.com. Editors may trim content to their own needs.

By Sushmita Preetha and Priyanka Singh

Feb 3, 2022: “In dark times, will there also be singing? Yes, there will be singing, about the dark times”

Iconic German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s words continue to echo and remain relevant, particularly in South Asia, as underscored by prominent artists at Resisting Together: Art and the Artist in South Asia, an online gathering across time zones.

Dozens of participants at the online session enthusiastically endorsed Sapan’s call for a visa-free South Asia, a demand enshrined in the regional coalition’s Founding Charter jointly presented at the meeting by the activist couple Lalita Ramdas and former chief of Indian Navy Admiral L. Ramdas, both founder members of Sapan.

Lalita Ramdas and Admiral L. Ramdas: Taking forward Bapu’s…

View original post 1,875 more words

Married across an intractable border, Rajput Sodhas suffer due to India-Pakistan visa issues

Something I wrote based on a tip by an officer with a humanitarian conscience who came across Ganpat Singh Sodha’s story and wanted to help him reunite with his family. I subsequently connected Ganpat to a reporter colleague in India who wrote a great report about the issue, cited in my feature piece for which I did additional interviews and research. #MilneNo

Southasia Peace Action Network

This is the story of Ganpat Singh from Pakistan’s Sodha Rajput community of less than half a million. Like him, each member of this community has matrimonial linkages across the border in neighbouring Rajasthan, India. This is the only way they can keep their community alive, as they are barred from marrying within their own ‘gotra’. A special dispensation over a decade ago provided them relief with six-month visa extensions – but now those who apply for such extensions are being blacklisted, leading to painful and preventable human tragedies

By Beena Sarwar

Ganpat Singh Sodha couldn’t go to his mother as she lay dying of cancer at his brother’s house in Jodhpur, India, a little over 300 km from Umerkot, Pakistan, where he lives. Three of his children are in Jodhpur too. He has been apart from them for five years.

A former government schoolteacher of Sindhi in Umerkot —…

View original post 1,591 more words

How climate change is linked to the tragedy of a Bengali-Pakistani fisherman incarcerated in India

Beena Sarwar

The tragedy of a fisherman who died of Covid-19 while imprisoned in India, far from his family in Karachi, highlights the link between geopolitics and climate change – issues being deliberated at the upcoming COP26 in Glasgow.

In November 2017, Amir Hamza was among the crew of a Pakistani fishing boat arrested by Indian security forces across the maritime border.

Fisherfolk along the Arabian Sea coast shared by nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and India know that they risk such arrests, as well as sea storms, if they stray across the invisible line. But it is a risk they take, driven by declining fish populations.

Bhuj to Attari-Wagah to Karachi: An arduous journey. Map: Beena Sarwar
Continue reading

Rising above divisive politics, golf tournament brings Indians and Pakistanis together in America

Wrote this curtain raiser a couple of weeks ago together with a colleague in India, published in Aman Ki Asha 20 September 2019.

By Neel Kamal and Beena Sarwar

The world’s largest India-Pakistan golf tournament will take place in Los Angeles early October, even as relations between nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours India and Pakistan sink to a dangerously low levels.

Photo from Mohubbat Golf Tournament 2018
Continue reading

Cricket World Cup and the spirit of South Asia – #SouthAsianUnion

Bashir-Chacha-CWC-2019

M. Bashir ‘Chacha Chicago’ cheers for both teams (for details see this report)

I wrote this piece published in The Wire 6 June 2019, Letter From a Pakistani to an Indian Friend: Can We Please Have a South Asian Union? — pegged on Eid at the time. Posting it here on the eve of the Cricket World Cup match between Pakistan and India in Manchester Sunday. As Admiral Ramu Ramdas says in his little video message, treat it as a game, not a proxy war… And we want a South Asian spirit (also see Himal SouthAsian map and caption below)

Continue reading

Press Freedom: Challenges to journalism go beyond violence and commercial threats

Indian journalist and trade unionist Sabina Inderjit and others at the conference. Photo: Beena Sarwar

After I attended a media conference in Poland in June last year where I also presented a paper on digital and traditional media, an old friend and colleague from Lahore asked me to write a short report about it for his media outlet Dispatch News Desk. Shared below, belatedly, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. p.s. DND, which has a presence in Central Asia, also published the report in Russian.

Journalists at media conference vow to uphold journalistic values and ethics

Continue reading

Update on Hamid Ansari, Indian national “missing” in Pakistan

Update to Hamid Ansari case: He was produced in court, tried in a military court and awarded three years’ vigorous imprisonment starting from December 15, 2015. He has appealed to be treated not for anti-state (espionage) but illegal activities (crossing the border without a visa).

Journeys to democracy

Hamid Ansari, 27, MBA, Rotarian from Mumbai... missing since Nov 2012 Hamid Ansari, 27, MBA, Rotarian from Mumbai… missing since Nov 2012

Update to case below: Hamid Ansari was produced in court, tried in a military court and awarded three years’ vigorous imprisonment starting from December 15, 2015. He has appealed to be treated not as a spy.

The police in Pakistan have confirmed that the ISI and MI have custody of Hamid Ansari, the young Indian national who has been missing in Pakistan since 2012. So will we see him produced in court as directed by the honorable judges? See my earlier post Hamid Ansari: Mumbai man missing in Pakistan (we treat each other’s citizens differently). On second thoughts, not that differently. Our security agencies treat their own citizens as badly. Plenty of examples all over both countries — Kashmir, Balochistan, Sindh, Assam, Manipur, to name some areas where such violations take place routinely. The documents below, presented…

View original post 500 more words

Returning inadvertent border-crossers and more: Glimpses of humanity

fauzia-ansari-and-nehal-ansari-parents-of-hamidLast week I wrote this short piece below for Aman ki Asha (hope for peace) after the Indian border security forces returned a young, inadvertent border-crosser to Pakistan. Today, there’s news that the Pakistan government will allow the wife of the Indian national and alleged spy Kulbushan Yadav to meet him “on humanitarian grounds”.

This raises hopes that the parents of another Indian prisoner Hamid Ansari will finally also be allowed to meet him. In fact, as the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy has said, the families of all cross-border prisoners should be given access to their loved ones in prison across the border.  Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: