Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA)
India-Pakistan Peace Day 2005
Portland, OR, USA (August 7)
South Asians of all backgrounds came together in Portland on Sunday, August 7, 2005 to share their vision of peace between Pakistan and India. This second annual celebration was organized by the Oregon-based Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA). ACHA was founded in 1993 to promote peace in South Asia and harmony among South Asians everywhere.
The program started with patriotic songs and National Anthems of the two countries. Then participants held a moment of silence for peace around the world. Essays, speeches and poems on the topic of Peace Between India and Pakistan presented by some youth and adult participants – Gulzar Ahmed, Monika Arora, Susmita Awathi, Shivani Joshi, Dr. Geeta Pandey, Yudhishthir Patel, Shilpa Prem, and Saira Siddiqui - followed.
Indra Awasthi & Satish Pandey led a quiz on India and Pakistan. Azam Khan entertained the audience with popular songs. The program ended with Dahi-Bhallas and other snacks prepared by some of the participants.
"Enmity between India and Pakistan for the last six decades has consumed a significant portion of each of these country's national resources," said Executive Director of ACHA, Dr. Pritam Rohila. "It has adversely affected the well being of people in both countries, and the status of minorities throughout all of South Asia. Peace between India and Pakistan is essential for the prosperity and well being of people of the whole region."
Motivated by these beliefs, the Association for Communal Harmony in Asia started a campaign in 2004 to encourage citizens across the world to organize annual celebrations for India-Pakistan Peace Day, between August 1 and October 31.
This year ACHA is mobilizing citizens worldwide to sign a petition to the governments of both India and Pakistan to ease the extensive travel restrictions between the two countries. The petition can be signed online at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/ACHA2005/petition.html The theme of this year's celebrations is "Celebrating shared cultural heritage to promote peace between India and Pakistan".
In last year's celebrations, ACHA focused on the Partition of 1947. ACHA worked on a petition to the governments of both India and Pakistan to work together to build a joint memorial to all of the victims of the Partition-related violence on both sides of the border.