Noted Hindi poet-critic Ashok Vajpeyi on Friday said cultural initiatives are important to improve ties with Pakistan in the long-run and hoped the two neighbours can be comrades in arms in the sphere of art.
Delivering Dr MC Davar memorial lecture here, he stated that India, being the bigger nation, need not be obsessed with Pakistan, often portrayed as enemy of the country.
“We must not fail to distinguish between a state and the people, army and state, politics and culture, religion and civilisation, cries of war and desires of peace (in both the countries).
“Even if India takes any cultural initiative, Pakistan may not respond enthusiastically. But I am quite sure (those) who are different from Pakistani state, from army, will respond,” he claimed.
Without naming anyone, Vajpeyi said there are sections on both sides, which may actively oppose such efforts but India, being the democratically more matured country, needs to take such initiative with a long-term perspective.
“…and (also) sustain it through difficulties without taking a big brotherly stance,” he said.
Vajpeyi noted that notwithstanding the ups and downs in India-Pakistan ties, the cultural dialogue between them has been going on and cited example of how the birth centenary of noted Pakistani writer Faiz Ahmad Faiz was observed at places across India (in 2011).
“It (cultural dialogue) becomes difficult sometimes, invisible, perhaps inaudible sometimes, I propose that the dialogue never ceases. That dialogue must never cease,” he urged.
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar echoed similar views, asserting the path of cultural exchange “is a way of retaining the human element to facilitate the process of peace”.
The lecture was organised by Davar’s son, Praveen, who is also member of National Commission for Minorities (NCM).
NCM chairman Naseem Ahmad was among those who attended the lecture.