More than a dozen NGOs from
India in association with their Pakistani counterparts are planning
a march in May this year to promote peace and harmony in the region.
Feroze Mithiborwala - President of Awami Bharat,
the March that would be a
combination of a Rath-cum-Padyatra would begin from Mumbai and
follow the route from Dahanu (Maharashtra), Surat, Baroda, Ahmedabad,
Mehsana - (Gujarat), Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Ajmer, Jaipur
(Rajasthan), Agra, Mathura - (Uttar Pradesh), Delhi, Panipat - (Haryana),
Chandigargh (Haryana-Punjab), Ludhiana, Amristsar (Punjab), Wagah
(India-Pakistan border) before entering Pakistan and culminating in
march is expected to travel over 2000 kilometers in India and around
1000 kilometers in Pakistan by May 31, 2010.
Stating that a consensus is building
for India and Pakistan peace and a vast majority of people in both
the countries are in favor of peace, Feroze Mithiborwala said, "At
the time when both the governments are now conducting discussions,
we would only be adding to the climate & creating a larger space
within the people of the two countries, as well as the powers that
Titled as India-Pakistan pilgrimage
for peace and harmony, the march has been borrowed from Mahatma
Gandhi's Salt Satyagraha launched during the British rule in
the Indian subcontinent.
"Considering the religio-cultural
history of South Asia, that has a deep devotion to Sufi & Bhakti
Saints & for where Pilgrimages, either to Amarnath or Ajmer, are a
holy & spiritually purifying act, we chose the name for our peace
march", added Feroze.
"Throughout the course of our journey
for peace, we would appeal to people to contribute a Mutthi bhar
mitti - fist full of soil, that would then be collected from
every city, town & village along the way. By this, people would feel
that they are a part of the larger process of peace & unity", he
Noting that Peepal is the tree
under which Buddha received his enlightenment and South Asia
currently needs a generous dose of the same kind of enlightenment,
he said, "We will also carry saplings - preferably Peepal
from each of these places & plant them in the "GARDEN OF PEACE" that
we will create along with a "PILLAR OF PEACE" or Bharat-Pakistan
Shanti Stambh. This could then be made in all the cities towns &
villages across the two countries."
"We do need a lot of emotional markers
on our cultural landscape - We will create the same with the soil of
the two countries", he noted.