JULY 2001- Contents
Travel & Adventure
the-south-asian.com July 2001
INDIA-PAKISTAN RECONCILIATION SCHOOL (IPRS)
An Online-cum-Correspondence Course for Indian and Pakistani Youth
The South Asian Community Center for Education, Research and Action Trust based in Chennai, India has set up an "India-Pakistan Reconciliation School" on the eve of General Musharraf's visit to India. The School is going to be inaugurated at the United Nations premises in New York City on July 12, 2001 at 3:00 PM. Barbara Crossette, the senior editor of The New York Times, may inaugurate the online school.
This is a six-month long online-cum-correspondence course for Indian and Pakistani youth of all age group. Any interested youth can log on to the www.saccer.org site every month for the next six months, read the lessons and other supplementary readings, do the exercises or the self-tests each month and complete the course. On successful completion, the students will receive a certificate saying that they have completed a course on India-Pakistan Reconciliation. Since most young people in India and Pakistan do not have access to computers or internet, a correspondence version of the same program is being launched from September 1, 2001.
With the bilateral relations between India and Pakistan steeped in mistrust and disdain, many citizens of our two countries foster prejudices and ill-will toward each other. Distorted historical narratives, bigoted political rhetoric and vehement religious overtones characterize their understanding of the Other. Furthermore, dangerous shifts are taking place in the bilateral relations between our two countries with nuclear weapons, missile programs, increased military expenditure, protracted conflict in Kashmir, renewed religious and ethnic intolerance, proliferation of militant outfits and hate groups, and an overwhelming cynicism. The situation is so alarming that South Asia has even been termed as "the most dangerous place" in the world.
The young people in our countries are rendered even more vulnerable as media reports, political rhetoric, history textbooks and popular discourse are all distorted and even bigoted. Any attempt to reverse this trend and inject some hope and faith among the people of India and Pakistan has to start with the youth and it should be an educational endeavor.
The following six areas would be covered in six months and the controversial conventional subjects such as history would be avoided for obvious reasons:
[I] Envisioning a Common Future
[II] Taking Stock of the Present Decadence
[III] Removing the Stumbling Blocks
[IV] Meeting Each Other Half Way
[V] Walking Together to Peace and Development
[VI] Nurturing Peace and Development
The "India-Pakistan Reconciliation School" students could be organized informally through an email network and/or other conventional means of communication so that they would stay in touch with each other in a sustained way and contribute to the promotion of goodwill between the two countries. The long-range impact of this project would be significant as these students will be leaders in various walks of life in India and Pakistan. This experiment could be used as a basis for establishing a South Asian community school or university in the future that will include other countries of the region also.
For more information on the "India-Pakistan Reconciliation School", please visit
http://www.saccer.org or email
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