A 41-member delegation from Pakistan crossed over the Attari border on Friday to participate in the 11th edition of Amritsar-Lahore Peace Festival ‘Saanjh 2014’ with hope to neutralise the bitterness between the two neighbouring nations.
The 11th edition of ‘Saanjh’ will be hosted by Spring Dale Senior School, Amritsar.
This music festival is the brain child of late Shivinder Singh Sandhu and Manveen Sandhu (founders of Spring Dale School) and late Faizaan Peerzada, former COO of Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, Lahore. The initiative was guided by an objective to bring Indian and Pakistani people closer through music.
The festival, so far, has been kept going by ‘Punarjyot’, the Centre for Preservation and Promotion of the Heritage of Punjab, in collaboration with Rafi Peer Theater Workshop, a Pakistan-based NGO.
After the delegation crossed over the Attari border, Puranjyot gave them a traditional welcome with garlands.
Led by Usmaan Peerzada, CEO, Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, the delegation included Mian Meeri Qawal, Sain Zahoor, an internationally acclaimed folk singer from Pakistan, Wahadat Rameez and Krishan Lal Bheel.
The Pakistani artists would share the stage with Indian performer and Coke Studio-famed Dhruv Sangari, who is likely to render ‘Sufi Kalaam’.
“Same weather, same culture, same people with having similar lifestyles, only the names of the countries are different,” said Peerzada, while interacting with HT.
“Barring the script (we use Urdu), the language is by and large the same and so are the cuisines. India feels like home to us, especially when we visit Amritsar, which has the same language —Punjabi, which adds to the warmth,” said Peerzada.
At the border, Kirat Sandhu Cheema, director of Punarjyot, and Sahiljit Singh Sandhu, director, Spring Dale Educational Society (children of the founders), received the delegates. A festive aura pervaded at the border.
Talking about this initiative, Peerzada said, “They (the founders) wanted to quell unnecessary hatred in the minds of Indian and Pakistani public towards each other and to unite them by exploring our shared roots and with music.”
Cheema said, “The path to peace has never been smooth, but our collaboration is determined to promote peace in the region through initiatives like Saanjh.” “The event will not just be a musical treat to the city residents, but it would also help subdue the jarring notes added to the joyous symphony of mutual bonhomie by the random acts of terror. Come and be a part of it,” she added.
The festival will commence at 6.30 pm on Saturday.