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The Appalachian

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Youth in India and Pakistan fight for peacekeeping efforts

The+Appalachian+Online
The Appalachian Online

Students in Pakistan and India recently celebrated both of their Independence Days together, presenting a display of peace so impressive that they left those of the world who were listening silent, and the United Nations in admiration.

Pakistan celebrated its Independence on Aug. 14, with India right on their heels on Aug. 15. Independence Days in the two countries stand for more than just declarations of sovereignty from British rule. More overwhelmingly, the two days commemorate when British India was partitioned into two independent countries.

The Indian Independence Act of 1947 was an act that turned one family into two enemies; brothers into strangers. Since the partition, four wars have been fought between India and Pakistan, as well as border issues and constant military strife. Lines were not only drawn between the two dominions, walls were built between the hearts of Indians and Pakistanis that would stand for another 69 years, until now.

Youth in India and Pakistan expressed overbearing interest in becoming one again with their neighbors, at least at heart.

On the two days of Independence, an international non-profit called AIESEC, comprised of thousands of students at the university level, launched a campaign in their Pakistani and Indian entities called “Celebrating Azadi Together.” Azadi is a word used in both Hindi and Urdu (national languages of the two countries) that means freedom. On the days of Independence, youth uploaded videos to social media sites saying what they loved about their neighboring country.

The same organization is now holding an International Congress in India, where Indian and Pakistani youth have continued to openly collaborate for further peacekeeping efforts, along with entities from over 100 other countries.

United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi took part in the efforts, impressed with the youth’s fire for change. He spoke with them about highlighting future youth strategies to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Other youth that have fought for unity between India and Pakistan include the Red Elephant Foundation and Friendships Across Borders. The founder of the latter organization, Aao Dosti Karein, described the motivation behind their efforts: “Sometimes, we feel only governments can make peace. Let’s drop the idea. Let’s step in, take charge. May our act of resistance against war-mongering governments be a warm offer of friendship.”

The youth have shown impressive willpower for unity, and hopefully by Aug. 14 and 15 next year, fighting will have ceased and India and Pakistan will look to their youth in thanks of a sweet reunion.

 

Burrows, a sophomore journalism major from Mint Hill, is an opinion writer.

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