How can education bring India and Pakistan Closer?
India-Pakistan relations have long been fraught with tensions. However, with growing youth populations and a common cultural heritage, relations between the two countries may very well depend on how younger generations perceive the other side. This issue of Youth Voices features the views of students from Delhi University, India, and Habib University, Pakistan, on how education can bring both countries closer.
If education can change the world, it can definitely bring India and Pakistan closer as well. Education is not about teaching various subjects but educating children using fine techniques.
Rather than teaching children about the rivalry between the two nations, they should be enlightened about their shared glorious past, history and mutual struggle they faced during colonial rule. This will reflect the strength both countries possess with the proper utilization of human resources.
Aakriti Sharma, 20
Student of Journalism at Kamala Nehru College, Delhi University, Delhi, intern at 94.3 my FM and Volunteer at Arise Impact, Delhi | India.
From colonial times to the present, education has been a tool used to divide the people of the subcontinent. The “Two-Nation Theory” in Pakistan and the “Hindu Rashtra” in India, along with the Hindi-Urdu debate, do nothing but implant a false idea that Indians and Pakistanis are “fundamentally different” despite their numerous commonalities. Naturally the best antidote for this is education itself. But the question is how can this be achieved exactly? By decolonizing our curricula, by adopting a postcolonial pedagogy, and by questioning our inheritance, we can learn that almost all the divisive ideas are frivolous and can be easily dismantled. We can, and we will, Insha’Allah, come closer!
Uzair Ibrahim, 23
Student of Social Development and Policy at Habib University, Karachi, currently interning at the Institute of Rural Management, Islamabad | Pakistan.
I think that the only way to bring Pakistan and India closer together is to educate our youth about each other’s history and culture. The current education system in both countries, and particularly in Pakistan, is in a shambles and we need to work on the systems’ infrastructure, train our teachers and have the right textbooks. The elite classes of both countries are exploiting their people in the name of religion and the Kashmir issue and we do not have the freedom to speak up against injustice.
Fizza Hussain Chughtai, 20
Student of Communication Studies and Design at Habib University, Karachi | Pakistan.
I think education is the secret ingredient required for a lot of issues that are usually deemed to have reached a stalemate. I definitely believe that education can bring India and Pakistan closer, maybe not with respect to diplomatic ties but definitely in terms of creating greater levels of understanding between the citizens of the two countries regarding the notion that the people across the border aren’t all that different. For this, there needs to be an appreciation for and knowledge of the other country’s culture, economy, policy and governance. This affords people the ability to read between the lines when it comes to diplomatic talks and makes them more compassionate about the issues plaguing their neighbours.
Shubham Kaushik, 20
Student of Economics at Miranda House University College for Women, Delhi University, Delhi, Editor Of DU Beat- The largest Students newspaper in India, Delhi | India.
The relationship between Pakistan and India has been thoroughly jeopardized by hate-mongering discourses produced and fed to both countries’ citizens for decades. There’s a need for these discriminatory and biased discourses to be revised for the sake of the people on both sides of the border; an acknowledgement, which would send out a message of peace. Unlike others who defy the information fed to them, Indians and Pakistanis don’t have that option. Since partition, stakeholders on both ends have managed to keep both nations mutually isolated.
Samra Jamil, 21
Student of Communication Studies and Design at Habib University, Karachi, Former Youth Ambassador through KL-YES Program in the US | Pakistan.
I have an affirmative viewpoint. The region of South Asia is described as a very volatile and sensitive zone because of the growing distrust and hostilities between two nuclear nations. Education can be a path of enlightenment, peace and prosperity for countries. Our first religion should be humanity and love for fellow humans. What we youth can do is to have active cultural engagement; discussions and deliberations with open hearts and minds. We must not have any biases or simply go along with established norms. Educational empowerment should press for an active reconciliation between the two countries. The youth should move forward with a positive mindset and try to address the mutual concerns of one another.
Mohit Mohapatra, 18
Student of Political Science at Hindu College, Delhi University, Delhi | India.
As a history student, during my school years, it always bothered me that all the books that dealt with India and Pakistan did so in the context of warring sides and partition tragedies. I have always felt that a proper education and accurate information about the rich cultural and historical ties of these two Asian countries can go a long way in bringing them closer to each other and that the youth of these two countries can therefore play a more monumental role in shaping a more optimistic relationship between these two nations.
Riya Chhibber, 20
Student of Journalism at Kamala Nehru College, Delhi University, Core Team Member at DU Beat, Editorial Head (Delhi Chapter) at Youth Forum on Foreign Policy , Delhi | India.
The Indo-Pak partition was bathed in blood; while resentment and hostilities continued to exist many years later largely due to the hatred promoted by the political authorities. Now over almost three generations later things seem to have changed. For instance, Pakistanis and Indians are becoming more accepting towards each other. Our education system still criticizes the other by having biased history books. I believe introducing unbiased works of history, and organizing cross-border conferences and other educational events involving students from the two countries can help accelerate this process of accepting and respecting our differences yet embracing each other by focusing on our commonalities.
Hunza Irfan Mukadam, 19
Student of Social Development and Policy at Habib University, Karachi| Pakistan.