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Ind, Pak students exchanged letters after Peshawar attack


New Delhi: Hundreds of schoolchildren from India and Pakistan exchanged letters and postcards of solidarity in the aftermath of the terror attack on a Peshawar school last year that shocked people everywhere.

“‘Papa se kehna ab mujhe school lene na aayen, Dekh nahin paoonga unhe mera janaza uthate’ (Don’t tell papa to pick me up from school; I won’t be able to see him lift my coffin),” lamented one of the postcards from Pakistan.

Responding to the message of grief from across the border, an Indian student wrote back, “I felt very sad after hearing about the incident. We Indians are always with you. I being a child know how important I am to my parents. Miss you friends.”

Such poignant correspondences between children of the two countries were exchanged in the aftermath of the brutal terror attack at an Army-run school in Peshawar on December 16 of last year, which left over 120 children dead.

The exchange of letters and postcards was undertaken as part of a student exchange programme jointly organised by Indian NGO Route2Roots and Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP), under which 30 students from 15 schools in Pakistan are currently visiting India.

“The students from both sides were selected on the basis of a 15-month correspondence exercise. While that selection process was going on, the attack in Peshawar took place. And students from both sides continued to write to comfort and solace each other,” Route2Roots co-founder Tina Vachani told.

“While out of hundreds of candidates, we finally selected only a few, the letters, postcards and collages they made, we collected them all as part of the programme ‘Exchange for Change’,” she said.

Some of these were displayed at a recently-held exhibition at the Pakistan embassy here, where the visiting students were hosted by High Commissioner Abdul Basit.

“Maa kaash mein aj school na jaata, shayyad tumhe phir se dekh pata (Mother, I wish I had not gone to school today, maybe then I would have seen you again)… They can kill us, but they can never end us,” a collage made out of the postcards said.

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