South Asian Americans Lay the “Seeds” of Peace in Artesia
A Pakistan Link Report
Glimpses of the meeting organized by FOSAAC in Artesia
Artesia, CA: As war clouds hover perilously close to the South Asian subcontinent and an Indo-Pak clash appears imminent, a large group of Pakistani- and Indian-Americans met in Artesia on Saturday to lay the 'seeds' of friendship between the two communities in North America. The groups spiritedly pledged to extend their well-meaning initiative to the American Congress and Capital Hill to usher lasting peace in South Asia. Many members of the other South Asian countries were also present on the occasion.
Held in the spacious Woodland Restaurant, the meeting saw the fruition of efforts of two prominent South Asian Americans - Kevin Kaul from the Indian and Pervaiz Lodhie from the Pakistani communities - to bring fellow members on one platform to foster friendship and understanding.
A resolution unanimously passed at the meeting stated: "We, the people of South Asian origin hereby express our resolve to work for peace and amity between the nations of India and Pakistan and also for brotherhood and friendship between the Asian communities living in the United States of America. We appeal to the governments of India and Pakistan to continue their efforts for lasting peace between the two countries and to join hands in curbing and eradicating terrorism and terrorists from the Sub-continent.
“We are profoundly grieved by the tragic happenings in Mumbai, India, Pakistan and all the neighboring countries. Our sympathies are with the victims of the tragedy.
“We appeal to the two governments of India and Pakistan to work closely together to bring the culprits to justice and to wipe out the terrorist elements from both the countries.
“The economy of India and Pakistan can improve only if there is peace and friendship between the two countries. We make this appeal as our sympathies are with the innocent people of both countries and we deem it our duty to utilize all our resources to alleviate poverty and uplift the conditions of the people of South Asia.”
Speakers at the meeting included Chopin Chopra, Pervaiz Lodhie, Kevin Kaul, Arif Mansuri, Anila Ali, Ramesh Mahajun, Dr Razaq Chaudhry, Yogesh Mehta, Jalil Khan, Prof. Keshavial Patel, Shaista Khan, Ravi Shankar, Roshanta D’ Silva, Tanvir Khan and Dr. Deepak Singh.
They gave a rare demonstration of mutual respect and understanding and a fine example in this regard was set by the emcees, Chopin Chopra and Pervaiz Lodhie. No insinuations were cast and no accusatory fingers raised. Instead, many well-meaning comments and observations were heard.
A group picture of Pakistani- and Indian-Americans who met in Artesia on Saturday
Mr Pervaiz Lodhie made scintillating remarks. A few excerpts: “I am here to talk about solutions to start winning the war against terror. In the new world order, strength and power of countries will not be defined by military power or by how many bombs or missiles or nuclear warheads you have.
“They will be defined by the short- and long-term economic health of a country, and by how many of its citizens go to sleep hungry.
“We here in California are privileged to live in the most pioneering and innovative state.
“All recent technology-driven revolutions affecting the economic health of America and the world started here and continue today.
“Guess where most of the hard working intelligent, innovative and pioneering brains and bodies come from? SOUTH ASIA.
“The new economic growth cycle will start from SOUTH ASIA.
“SOUTH ASIA is home to 1/3rd to 1/2 of the world’s population. SOUTH ASIA will also produce 100’s of millions of new consumers as they move from below the poverty line to above the poverty line.
“This economic cycle from SOUTH ASIA will affect the economy, wealth and jobs of the rest of the World.
“This new economic cycle cannot start unless all the SOUTH ASIAN countries work together in harmony and attack common problems like terrorism, education and health with collective intelligence and information sharing…”
Mr Kevin Kaul said the US unites people. He lamented the political culture in South Asia. “The politicians live in Switzerland while the people die.” He informed the gathering that the five million South Asians in the US “make a difference” and can make their voice heard.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Arif Mansuri, Managing Editor, Pakistan Link, paid glowing tributes to the FOSAAC Chairman Kevin Kaul and PAL-C National Director, Mr. Perviaz Lodhie.
“I condemn terrorism, anywhere in the world, in the strongest possible words. My sincerest condolences to the victims and the families of the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
“We are all humans. Terrorism wreaks havoc on the very fiber of our civilization. We as a human race must face this challenge with unity, dignity and resolve. We have no choice – we must win the war on terrorism. Let us join hands and send the message loud and clear – we will not tolerate terrorism.
“Indians are more like Pakistanis, and vice versa, than any other nation in the world. More so today than ever before, we must extend the hand of wholehearted and enduring friendship towards one another.”
“It’s time for a change. It’s time for a new beginning. We have to look to the future. Our children’s future is at stake...”
Held under the aegis of Friends of South Asian American Communities (FOSAAC), the speakers and participants in the meeting furnished ample proof of their love and good wishes for South Asia. It was conduct becoming at its best.