Aaghaz-e-Dosti (lit. Beginning of Friendship) is an Indo-Pak Friendship Initiative. It was initiated by Mission Bhartiyam in May 2012. The founder of Aaghaz-e-Dosti is Ravi Nitesh. Initially, Aaghaz-e-Dosti collaborated with several organisations for specific events and as well as for the entire initiative. From May 2017, Aaghaz-e-Dosti became a joint Indo-Pak Friendship Initiative of Mission Bhartiyam (India) and Hum Sab Aik Hain (Pakistan).
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is involved in citizen diplomacy by providing peace education and facilitating people-to-people contact, aimed at challenging mutual hatred and suspicion, educating people about the conflict, how it affects us and developing faith in peace building and conflict resolution.
It strives towards this through interactive sessions in schools and colleges called Aman Chaupals, public discussions, peace workshops, letter exchange and greeting card exchanges on festivals, an Indo-Pak Peace calendar, an eight-week virtual peace-building course called Friends Beyond Borders and virtual campaigns.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti has used ICT extensively for peace building. With regard to visa restrictions on people-to-people contact, internet is among the most important ways for Indians and Pakistanis to engage with each other. Aaghaz-e-Dosti has used ICT to connect Indian and Pakistani classrooms, facilitate interaction between activists in Pakistan and youth in India (and vice versa) and has even launched the first peace building virtual course in South Asia called Friends Beyond Borders wherein an Indian and a Pakistani is paired and has regular discussions on different issues over eight weeks. It uses its blog, social media pages as a platform for people to connect with people, share their experiences, thoughts for peace and represent their country, culture to break stereotypes across the border.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is also working as a pressure group. We have been continuously approaching authorities on both sides to take steps to improve Indo-Pak relations.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti has been working to highlight the issues of prisoners and fishermen. It is the initiative that brought the list of Indian and Pakistani prisoners and fishermen lodged in each other’s jail in the public domain.
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/aaghazedosti/
Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/aaghazedosti/