Students cycle to Wagah for peace

Students cycle to Wagah for peace

On the occasion of India and Pakistan’s Indepen-dence Days, which are celebrated only a day apart, students of Delhi University are doing their bit to foster a sense of joint festivity and bonhomie between the two nations.

A group of 50-odd students of DU, accompanied by some from Jamia Millia Islamia and Indraprastha universities as well, have set out for the Wagah border on bicycles. On August 14, they will be joined by students of Qaid-e-Azam University and Government College University (Lahore) at the border crossing where they will jointly celebrate the Independence Days of both the countries. The young peaceniks from Pakistan will then take the baton and carry on the ‘cycle peace rally’ from Wagah to Islamabad.

The journey was flagged off at Arts Faculty, North Campus, DU, by senior journalist Kuldip Nayar on August 1. The peace enthusiasts will now pedal all the way from Delhi to Haryana to Punjab, stopping over at various villages and educational institutes  and advocating the cause of good neighbourly relations. They are also hoping to be joined by like-minded youngsters from Kurukshetra and Punjab universities and to be cheered on by others.

Kamlesh Kumar Mishra of the ‘Delhi University Students for Peace’ (DUSFP) group informs us, “This initiative, run solely by students, took shape about two years back. Some of my friends and I had come in touch with youngsters from France, Germany and various parts of Europe studying in DU. We realised from our interactions with them that one can travel across borders in Europe with ease and there is very little political tension between the nations.”

“We know that ministers and bureaucrats are making efforts at their own levels to ease tensions between India and Pakistan, but we felt that there should be some contact between students as well. Fortunately, we were able to get in touch with some Pakistani students who we found to be on the same wavelength. That’s how the rally began.”

Last year, members of DUSFP -- which includes colleges like Hindu and Ramjas and various departments
-- cycled all the way from Kanyakumari to Wagah border. On the 3,800 km-long trip, they gathered the signatures of over 5,000 people to persuade the Government to strengthen Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) between the two nations. They also met the Chief Ministers of all the States they passed through and obtained their support including the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi.

“The most encouraging part of the rally,” says Kamlesh Mishra, “Was the fact that people welcomed us into their homes and even motivated us when we told them that we are working for betterment of Indo-Pak relations, and this was a time when there were continuous ceasefire violations. That reaffirmed our faith in the fact that people want peace and not war or hatemongering.”

“We are hoping to create the positive aura again this time and make a difference in our own small way,” he added.