Indian and Pak students bond over food, discussing culture and cuisine.

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Which is more well-liked? Biryani or Dosa? In a virtual youth peace dialogue held to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India and Pakistan’s independence and as part of the “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” celebrations, students from Indian and Pakistani schools enjoyed the dosa-biryani spat as they discussed the culture, cuisine, education, and technology of their respective countries. The “Exchange for Change” programme, which took place on Tuesday, was organised by the educational organisation Val-Ed Initiatives in India and the school Learn Academy in Pakistan. It featured 20 Indian and Pakistani kids in grades 6 through 9.

“We enjoyed debating whether dosa or biryani is more well-liked. More significantly, we talked about technology, school, and much more, said 12-year-old Aliza Fatima, a Pakistani student studying in the UAE. Fatima enjoys having her Indian friends over at school, but when she had the chance to talk to kids in her age group from that country, her happiness reached a whole new level. The purpose of the event was to foster the future minds of the two nations to become global citizens who put humanity before nationalism and to develop bridges for peaceful understanding. Speaking with kids her age in India, according to Fatima, was a wonderful experience. “They have greater English skills, and I also really liked how friendly and enthusiastic they were.

It is comparable to other online events that happen frequently these days, but it was special because we got to learn so much about one another, she said, adding that there are simply too many similarities between the two nations to ignore. I believe that technology can help us understand one another better, Fatima stated.

The participants took advantage of the opportunity to share, learn, and have thoughtful discussions about the national challenges, landmarks, and lifestyles of their respective countries, as well as how each other’s countries are portrayed on social media and a wish list of potential peace initiatives. “Women inequality, poverty, and climate change-related effects on rain are the major challenges to India,” said Aaradhana G, a participant from Madurai’s Lakshmi Public School. “These issues need to be addressed promptly.”

The discussion session, according to a different kid named Harshida Sunil, “certainly changed my thinking” and “helped me comprehend our neighbouring country.” When Harshida discovered how much the two nations have in common, she said she was fascinated. Keynote speakers at the event included Dr Wahaj Kayani, CEO of Learn Academy, and Mayank Solanki, creator of the Val-Ed Initiative. “As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of both countries’ independence, we must prioritise educating kids according to fair values in order to create genuine peace between the two countries. The priority must be to ensure that our children put ‘Humanity before Nationality,” Solanki said. Few things shouldn’t contaminate the youth of these two nations’ minds, Kayani remarked.

Together, there are approximately 150 crore people living in our region, thus it is crucial that we live in harmony and peace because this directly influences the rest of the globe. The encounter between the students from the two close-by nations happened amid a thawing in bilateral relations due to the Kashmir dispute and transnational terrorism coming from Pakistan. India has stated that it wants peaceful, cordial relations with Pakistan that are free from antagonism, terrorism, and violence.

Mayank Tewari

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