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To Pakistan With Love

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 16 (UNI) Tens of thousands of letters carrying messages of love and friendship from India will flood Pakistan in the coming weeks.

The letters from Indian schoolchildren to their Pakistani counterparts are to be carried across the border by international NGO 'Friends Without Borders' to seek closer bonds between the younger generation.

More than 50,000 of these letters have already been collected from schools across the country. They are not addressed to anyone, but each of these letters, filled with friendship, are to reach a Pakistani student.

The letters are in Hindi, Urdu, English, Tamil and many other regional languages. Some are long, some brief and some others just pictures.

''Hi! How are you? I'm Banri M, an eleven year old girl studying in the 7th standard in the Udgam School, in Gujarat, Ahmedabad. I hope to have an everlasting friendship with you and your country,'' says one letter. ''How are you? I like eating chicken, lolly pop, biryani and sweets. What do you like? Would you like being my friend?'' reads another.

Ahalya Alvares, a Class XI student of Mallya Aditi International School in Bangalore insists in her rhyming letter that she is serious---''Dear Friend and neighbour, here's a start, Please heed my words, they're from the heart,'' ''We are harnessing goodwill in the children as a power of change in international relations,'' says French national John Silliphant of Friends Without Borders. ''So far adults were in charge and were making all kinds of mistakes. We are now involving children to change the dynamics of power.'' It took the NGO and its Indian partners like Manav Sadhana in Ahmedabad, Yuvasatta in Chandigarh and Indo-Pak Youth Forum of Peace in Mumbai four months to collect the letters from 300 schools.

''Never before in the world has this kind of demonstration of kid power happened on a scale like this,'' says Silliphant, who is travelling with six Indian and six French volunteers to Pakistan carrying the letters which were gathered from places like Delhi, Chennai, Pondicherry, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and Ajmer.

Among the letters will be a giant 360 feet long and 240 feet wide tarpaulin letter ''made'' at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Chennai by the city children. Dubbed the ''world's largest love letter'', it will be taken into pieces for making tents to be distributed among the victims of last year's devastating earthquake in Pakistan.


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