‘I am not Stereotype’ Con: ‘Be Fearless and Overcome Ignorance,’ Para tells Youth




A day long celebration and book launch “I am not Stereotype: Exploring Diversity, A Standing Together to Enable Peace initiative”, was organized to promote the path of peace and tolerance at SKICC here.

On the occasion of International Day of Tolerance, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message said: “Tolerance is much more than passively accepting the ‘other’. It brings obligations to act, and must be taught, nurtured and defended.”

“To walk and navigate this path of tolerance and acceptance is imperative for the volatile yet ever shrinking world today. A world where boundaries are constantly blurring as we get more interconnected — where one encounters both the positive and negative sides of humanity,” he said, a statement issued by PDP youth wing said Wednesday evening.

“Over 40 young graduate and undergraduate students from Kashmir, Manipur and Delhi gathered here and entered into a conversation with themselves and with each other, through the medium of photography,” the statement said. “Over a period of three months they churned, levelled with themselves, faced the other and finally entered a zone of love, compassion and critical thinking.”

The day started with an interactive exhibition inaugurated by eminent artist, Masood Hussain.

Hussain shared the need for arts to “become a vehicle of dialogue and healing and complimented the exhibition as innovative endeavour to do so”.

Shreya Jani, Managing Trustee STEP Trust, in her welcome address emphasized the “need to look within”, quoting Rumi she said, “I was clever yesterday so I wanted to change the world, today I am wise so I change my self.”

This was followed by a panel discussion: Kashmir’s Syncretic Past – A message for the future”.

The eminent panel consisted of Sameer Yasir (Journalist), Shah Faesal (Director School Education, Kashmir), Shahzada Saleem (Poet & Social Worker) and Waheed Ur Rehman Para (Political Analyst in Chief Minister’s Secretariat).

The panellists emphasized the need to break boundaries in one’s mind and to not be afraid of the unknown.

They also spoke about the need for the youth to understand the true meaning of acceptance and compassion to do so.

Shah Faesal in response to a question how can one stand up and choose the right part when faced with out-dated thought suggested the “need for the heart to guide the mind so that values of humanity are paramount”.

PDP youth president, Para, impressed the youth to “be fearless and overcome ignorance”.

Saleem and Malik highlighted stories of syncretic past of the valley “where peace and compassion where the guiding principles of human interaction”.

The program then moved on to the book release by the panel and a special session by the student authors- Afeefa Farooq Fazali, Faizan Fayaz Shah, Ifrah Zaib and Muzamil Maqboob highlighting their journey of breaking stereotype though photography.

Shruti Sharma from Step Trust spoke about the “magic of Kashmiri youth and their commitment to curiosity”.

Cultural activities followed with poetry recitation by Shazada Saleem and music performance by the Band Expression and The Rhythm Machine, the statement said.

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