When Vaibhav Tulsyan (16) visited Lahore as part of the Seeds of Peace (SOP) programme last year, he rid himself of all his prejudices against Pakistanis. But like many other Seeds before him, he discovered that Pakistani history textbooks do not match Indian ones, even when they talk about the same event.
Confronting contradictions in official histories is one of the ways in which 22 Pakistani and Indian students aim to take forward an intensive peace process this year. Alumni of the SOP programme and the students are currently in Mumbai to formulate concrete projects that will promote a greater understanding between the youth of both countries.
Launched in 1993 by American journalist John Wallach, SOP holds dialogue and interaction camps for school students from various conflict zones around the world, to empower the young leaders with the skills for peace and reconciliation.
“We are planning to compile a new history textbook that juxtaposes what Indians and Pakistanis have to say about the same event, so people can think and question for themselves,” said Tooba Fatima (17), one of the 11 students from Lahore who have been staying with Indian host families for their week-long stay in Mumbai that began on Monday.