Baatein Aman Ki
The morning of 26th September 2018 saw a massive gathering among the slogans of "Ham kya chaahte, aman aur shaanti" (what do we want, peace and harmony) by the citizens at Dharamshala led by the nineteen members of the Peace Caravan facilitated by a team of women. At the Police ground in Dharamshala, the campaign saw a gathering of nearly 300 people including women, youth, students, academicians and social activists. They arrived marching through the city of Dharmashala holding multi color rainbow duppattas (scarfs) as symbolic of our syncretic tradition and celebration of our diversity.
On this 6th day of the ‘Baatein Aman Ki’ campaign, that started on September 20 which will culminate on October 13, 2018 at delhi where all five women’s caravans will come together to hold a huge public meeting. One of the five yatras, starting from Srinagar and Jammu is passing through Himachal, Punjab and Haryana and reach delhi. The main objective of the Baten Aman ki, Jashn-e-Peace, a peace dialogue named such is to spread the message of peace ,harmony, love, peaceful co existence and to safeguard constitutional commitment and to to galvanize women and men to rise to spread this message far and wide. . Quoting Abha Bhaiya, a feminist Human Rights activist addressed the huge gathering welcoming the caravan members she started by greeting them with “Mohabbat ka paigam lekar anne wali bahnon ko mohabbat bhara salam” (a loving welcome to all the women carrying the message of love) She further asked “have women ever started a war? War can never bring peace. We do not want weapons, but the flag of peace and of harmony in our hands. We are against hate politics.” As all women cheered in unison, she continued "This flag of peace, of harmony is rainbow colored, just like our heritage of syncretic tradition.." The aim of the event in the light of the entire ‘Baatein Aman Ki’ campaign is to motivate and raise voices against the targeted attacks on the Constitutional rights of women, dalits, minority communities in India, as was beautiful said by her Do not separate us, do not divide us, do not kill us."
Most of the women and youth came from as far as sixty kilometres to sit among and welcome and hear the travelers of peace caravan who shared their thoughts among the writings of Dr. Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule with the energetic songs, quotes, slogans and dance performances. The gathering was motivated by songs, dances, slogans and speeches. A young student who came as part of the Peace Caravan, shared their experiences of their peace journey of Jammu and Kashmir and the warmth of all the Kashmiris that supported them in their journey. It was like she had a different picture of Kashmir in her mind she said: "The people opened both their hearts and their houses for them when we were all strangers to them." The experiences shared by the travelers with the audience were full of anecdotes of compassion and warmth that they received on the journey.
Kumud Singh, holding the garland that she had been facilitated with said "I do not wear any ornaments, but I am going to wear this garland for it is the most beautiful piece of jewelry I have received - it is the symbol of women unity for me." She ended her address with two couplets "peechhe bandhe hain haath, magar shart hai safar ki, kisase kahun ki paaon ka kaanta nikaal de" (my hands are tied behind but I have a long way ahead, who do I ask to remove the thorn in my feet?) and in answer of her first couplet, she replied to herself saying "na hamsafar se niklega, na hamnasheen se niklega, hamaare paaon ka kaata hai khud hamin se niklega." (neither will the partner nor will the lover be able to help, this thorn in my feet will get removed only by myself). It was difficult for the hosts to let them go and similarly for the peace caravan team.. We wished them the safe journey throughout and admired their courage to undertake this beautiful journey with a message of love nothing else.