A Children's Movement Begins for Amiable Indo-Pak Friendship
India Infoline - 17 January 2006
Today, the “world's largest letter” was created at the M. Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium in Bangalore, India.
Thousands of school children worked alongside renowned Bangalore artist John Devaraj, of the Born Free Art School, on this gift from the children of India to the children of Pakistan.
The “letter” is a message painted on an enormous tarpaulin measuring 80 yards by 120 with the following message:
Dear Friends in Pakistan,
Surrounding this letter were smaller tarpaulins signed by school children from around the country. The stadium was filled with colour and cheer as children sang, danced, read out from heart rending letters and painted their letters and notes on the enormous tarpaulin which forms the stationery of the letter.
The events on the 16th, orchestrated to coincide with the fourth day of the first match of the Pakistan & India cricket test series, was filmed by NDTV and shown by Ten Sports during the telecast of the cricket match, reaching 20 crore viewers. Spot Image, a French satellite company, captured an image of the “World's Largest Letter” from space as it is prepared at Chinnaswamy stadium.
Behind this enormous letter was an even more impressive campaign, one poised to bring lasting change. Throughout India, children have been writing letters and creating artwork expressing friendship for their counterparts in Pakistan. To date, with very little effort and no publicity, Friends Without Borders has gathered over 30,000 letters.
The idea is a simple one. Throughout the world, “kids are kids” and simply want to be friends. As each child writes his or her own “heart-to-heart” letter, seeds of friendship begin to grow internally, and when these letters are delivered, this goodwill should leave a lasting impact. Through this exercise, new mindsets will be created and real connections will be made; and as this generation matures, hopefully they will create a more peaceful world.
Commenting on the activity, John Silliphant, said, “Children lack the biases that perpetuate conflict. They simply want to be friends. This is an experiment to see what happens when this natural goodwill becomes a factor in international relations.”
The purpose of the January 16th, 2006 “World's Largest Letter” event is to send out a nationwide call to every school in India to join this campaign.
Following this, the huge letter will be taken cross to the cities of Mumbai, Ahmedabad, New Delhi and Amritsar generating greater awareness & excitement. This letter will finally be delivered to the children of Pakistan, along with all the children's letters. The smaller tarpaulins, signed by the children, will be distributed amongst schools in Pakistan, while the massive center tarpaulin will be given as shelter for earthquake relief.
Friends Without Borders hopes that schools throughout India, and “children of all ages” will join together in bringing this dream to life.
|It may be long before the law of love will be recognised in international affairs. The machineries of government stand between and hide the hearts of one people from those of another. -- M.K. Gandhi|