UWO Hindu, Pakistani students raise money for Kashmir's people

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Thursday, Western’s Hindu Students’ Association and the Pakistani Students’ Association held their fourth annual Save Kashmir event at Wolf Performance Hall at the Central Library.

“The event helps Western students learn more about Indian and Pakistani culture as well as the Kashmir region itself,” said Warda Shaheen, VP-external affairs for the PSA.

“It has been an issue that Pakistanis and Indians are rivals. [With Save Kashmir], we’re sending the message that it’s more important to unite than to fight each other.”

India and Pakistan have disputed over the Kashmir region, which borders the two countries, for over 50 years. While the conflict is largely based on politics and religion, Kashmir’s children and inhabitants tend to be forgotten.

Save Kashmir aims to raise money for these forgotten people.

Proceeds went to two charities concerning both sides of the Kashmir border. Child Nurture and Relief is a non-profit, independent organization working for the well-being of children in conflicted regions.

The Edhi Foundation is a non-profit organization providing social services to distressed areas in Pakistan and the rest of the world. It provides shelters for orphans and handicapped persons, as well as counselling services and relief efforts.

Save Kashmir included performances by various Western clubs. The Western Bhangra Club performed two acts, as did Izteraab, a live band. Other performances were put on by the SALSA Club, the Vietnamese Students’ Association, Western Indo Canadian Students’ Association CompAct dance troupe, Hip Hop Western and many more. There was also a fashion show and a silent auction.

“Save Kashmir has grown a lot over the past four years,” said Mahathi Komaragiri, HSA president. “It’s an attempt to raise awareness together.”

Throughout the event, two Western students from the Kashmir region, brothers Hashim and Habeel Gazi, presented information about the Kashmir conflict.

They said raising awareness and becoming educated on the Kashmir conflict is an excellent way to help.

Nigmendra Narain, a political-science lecturer, said while the Kashmir conflict requires a long-term plan, events uniting groups in times of conflict are also extremely important.

“I think events that bring together what people have in common are important,” said Narain. “Every solution begins with a dialogue.”

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