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50 Years of Independence



"Both the governments of Pakistan, lead by Nawaz Sharif, and India, lead by Deve Gowda, have embarked on a dialogue to promote cooperation and friendship between the two countries. CERAS welcomes this healthy and positive development."
Pakistan and India attained independence on the midnight of August 14, 1947, after more than two centuries of British colonial rule. The year 1997 marks the fiftieth anniversary of this major event.

Referring to this historic event, the Editorial of the Winter issue of CERAS Newsletter No. 10 stated that each year for the last 50 years both Pakistan and India have celebrated the independence day primarily in the spirit of contention rather than cooperation. We vowed to become a part of the new trend seeking friendship and cooperation between these two important countries of South Asia and celebrate the independence of both countries from the same platform.

The program being planned by CERAS, in collaboration with the South Asia Partnership, will comprise of joyous celebrations and educational seminars. A statement of principle approved by as many organizations as possible will be published in various newspapers in Pakistan, India and North America.

The organizing committee for this program comprises of representatives from different cities in Canada and the USA. Members of the committee need not be members of CERAS. Anybody interested in promoting the spirit of cooperation and peace between the two countries is welcome to join the committee. The members of the committee based in Montreal are responsible for executing the entire program while those in other cities are functioning in a supportive and advisory capacity. Some of them will organize events on their own.

Both the governments of Pakistan, lead by Nawaz Sharif, and India, lead by Deve Gowda, have embarked on a dialogue to promote cooperation and friendship between the two countries. CERAS welcomes this healthy and positive development. This is not to say that forces hostile to friendship between these countries do not exist within Pakistan, India and elsewhere. But the well being of the people of both the countries greatly rests upon increasing social, cultural, economic and political contact and there is reason to hope that this trend will prevail over reactionary, fundamentalist and obscurantist trends.

We have already started organizing seminars leading to the major events being planned for the months of September, October and November, 1997. On February 21 we held a seminar on the elections in Pakistan, addressed by Dr. Mohammad Qadeer and Mr. Kamal Munir. On April 11 wewill have a seminar on Communication and Democracy in India which will be addressed by two journalists from India. (Details of both these events can be found in this issue of the Newsletter).

The celebration will begin with an evening of songs and ghazals in the month of September with Iqbal Bano from Pakistan and Bhupendra Hazarika from India. Spread over a period of three months we will hold seminars on themes such as :Nationhood and its Discontents, The Challenge of Democracy, Political Economy of India and Pakistan, Popular Movements, Women in India and Pakistan, The Diaspora. We are inviting, among others, Romila Thapar, Vinod Raina from India and I.A. Rehman, Khanwar Mumtaz, Mohammad Tahseen from Pakistan. Several speakers from the USA and Canada have also been invited as keynote speakers. We have also approached Habib Tanvir, an internationally known theatre personality, for staging his play "Jinne Lahore nahi dekhya wo jamya nahi" (One who has not seen Lahore has not been born). It is a vibrant and a musical play fit for such an occasion. The last major event will be a film festivals in which several documentaries and fiction films from all the countries of South Asia will be screened.

At the end of these celebrations we will produce a documentation of all events with texts of proceedings of all the seminars.

We once again invite your active participation in this important event.

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