Indian, Pakistani scholars, students at Oxford want peace

People belonging to different professionals with origins or roots in India and pakistan in Canada also issue statement against war hysteria and for peace

News Desk

Indian and Pakistani students outside the Radcliffe Camera at oxford University hold placards with message ‘Say No to War’.

At a time when divisive and warmongering narratives have strained Indo-Pak relations to virtually breaking point, Indian and Pakistani scholars and students of Oxford University held a solidarity demonstration at the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford on Saturday.

Nearly 100 nationals from the two countries took part in the protest, organised by Rhodes scholras of 2018. They were singing anti-war poems in Bengali, Urdu, Punjabi, and english and singing Faiz’s poem Hum Dekhengey.

The group also issued a statement, saying “We are a group of Indian and Pakistani students at the University of Oxford who are deeply disturbed by the escalation of tensions over an impending war between India and Pakistan.

“We strongly condemn the suicide bombing in Pulwama, Kashmir on February 14, which claimed the lives of around 44 Indian soldiers. We denounce terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

“As students in a land that is foreign to our homes – India and Pakistan – we’ve always marvelled at how we seamlessly gravitate towards each other, and how we are able to come together in community in ways we can’t back home.

“We often talk about the similarities we share in our food, culture, histories and the challenges we face. The Indo-Pak community has emerged as a place of refuge and comfort for us.

“However, when we imagine visiting each other’s homes we realise all the ways in which visas and politics restrict us. As we sit together now, watching the increasingly violent direction the current discourse is taking, we are frightened.

We come from parts of the world where the rhetoric of war isn’t new, and its consequences aren’t abstract. War only benefits a handful of influential profiteering interests who feed on hatred and fear.

“It is the people who never wish for war that face its repercussions. It is a luxury to be able to debate the possibility of war when the death, grief and loss that accompany it are not part of your everyday. For some people, especially the already dispossessed, the human cost of war is no cliché. It is lived reality.

They urged Pakistanis and Indians both within and outside the subcontinent to stand together in unity, focus on commonalities, and reject divisive narratives.

The statement called upon the leaders of the two countries to develop de-escalation protocols, organise constructive peace talks for the resolution of all bilateral issues, especially the Jammu and Kashmir.

It has historically borne the brunt of power struggles between the two states. We call for an end to the violence being perpetuated on Kashmiris, the statement added.

“War and warmongering are always unequivocally deplorable. At a time when India and Pakistan are lurching from crisis to crisis, we condemn the irresponsible rhetoric flooding the media in both countries in the strongest possible terms.

We dare to imagine a future that is free of divisions and violence, and unshadowed by the politics of war. We refuse to succumb to this environment of fear and suspicion. We refuse to see our friends as enemies. We refuse to hate those we hold dear, the statement read.

“This is not our war,” the statement read, signed by Fatima Zehra Naqvi, Archit Jain, Sana Naeem, Sameer Bhat, Krishnendu Ray, Adil Hossain, Arslan Chaudhry, Tanyah Hameed, Nikita Arora, Mehroz Ehsan, Pooja George, Saumya Pandey, Iqbal Singh Bhalla, Arya Tandon, Vishrut Mittal, Aastha Tyagi, Sneha Priya Yanappa, Zunaira Mallick, Sparsh Ahuja, Gayathree Devi KT, Vikaran Khanna, Oxford South Asian Society, Naganand Saravanan, Arushi Garg, Karishma Tiwari, Shreya Munoth, Ria Ranadive, Rishika Sahgal, Ashwin Nair, Harshavardan Raghunandhan, Urvi Khaitan, Ral Daryanani, Sanya Samtani, Zara Naseer, Milan Divecha, Deepak Kamlesh, Nabeela Zaman, Mary Kavita Dominic, Aarathi Ganesan, Niyati Sharma, Dr Muniza Ahmed Siddiqui, Zeena Oberoi, Aradhana Cherupara Vadekkethil, Sumaera Rathore, Saman Tariq Malik, Ayesha Mir, Aishwarya Amar, Mano Sathyamurthy, Aman Gupta, Bestin Samuel, Anahitha Sagar, Daniel Waqar, Gunjita Gupta, Dhruti Babariya, Ayesha Qaisrani, Afrin Shairaj, Kapil Yadav, Maryam Ahmad, Reena Dsouza, Fatima Zahrah, Paras Abrol, Ranjamrittika Bhowmik, Chaitanya Kediyal, Dhruva Bhat, Fuaad Coovadia, Bihani Sarkar, Talha J. Pirzada, Shraddha Singh, Myra Ali, Rahul Bajaj.

Canadains also want peace

Meanwhile people belonging to different professions and strata of society of Canada with roots and origins in Indian and Pakistani have also expressed their strong desire for peace.

In an online petition shared by Dr Fayyaz Baqar, a Pakistani researcher and development expert, they said:

“We are people with origins or roots in India and Pakistan. We are women, men, children, youth, students, workers, care-givers, teachers, doctors, researchers, engineers and scientists. We may follow different religions, or may not follow any religion, but we know each other well because of our cultural roots, the foods we like and cook together in our homes or at picnics in our parks.

“We are deeply concerned with the alarming war clouds in the Indian sub-continent. What is happening today in India and Pakistan has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with sabre-rattling between the governments of the two nations. It is an exercise in political brinkmanship, attempting to influence the oncoming elections, stirring the pot with violence.

“We may not live in India and Pakistan but we live in harmony with Indian and Pakistani origin sisters and brothers, wherever we are.  At this very dangerous time, we resolutely oppose all forces in the sub-continent and within the community that try to break the bonds between us by inciting extremist, ultranationalist intolerance.

“We will encourage the amity and closeness we have always had. We will take action in our communities with peace gatherings and rallies, large or small to demonstrate our collective abhorrence of war-mongering and our commitment to peace and justice,” they concluded.

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