Lahore-Surat meet: Pakistanis, Indians come together virtually again


LAHORE: Pakistanis and Indians got another chance to come together virtually as the Aaghaz-e-Dosti organised the second virtual cross-border open mic between Lahore and Surat city of India’s Gujrat state.

The open mic was held at Lowkey Lokai, a space that brings together people to dialogue and debate issues that are critical for building a peaceful society. The basic objective of the open mic was an interactive session among Pakistanis and Indians through which art, music and culture could be promoted.

Both sides have a notion of an ‘other’ of with respect to people across the border. The Aaghaz-e-Dosti has an aim to abolish this ‘otherness.’

Kevin West and Ahsan Aslam from a local band of Lahore initiated the event by singing Urdu and Hindi songs.

The event got pace with a dance performance by Hammad Rasheed, a choreographer and a Kathak dancer who has performed more than 100 times in India and Pakistan during the last three years. He has also choreographed for the Pakistan Television, Ajoka Theatre and many other organisations.

As the event got a rhythm, performances from both the sides were presented turn by turn. Mark Xavier, an engineering student, sang a Sufi song. Following the Sufi music, Joshua Dilawar, a social activist and student of journalism, sang Gulabi Ankhain and Taaray Zameen Per. Mohsin Ahmad, a Gender Studies student of the Punjab University, did mimicry, triggering laughter from both sides.

Saddam Hussain from Lahore came up with amazing flute performance and caught everyone’s attention. Mobeen Ahmad, a philosophy student from Lahore, was another person who gave his best with the flute. Zeeshan Sarwar ended the show by singing a song of peace. Fayyaz, a chemical engineer and member of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, delivered a poem of his own, demanding peace, humanity and harmony.

The participants appreciated the campaign and this open mic event. They were very keen to be invited to such upcoming events to promote peace and tolerance. They emphasised that both the governments should replace this conflict and tussle with peace and harmony. Visa process should be easier so that people may visit across the border easily, one of the participants said.