As part of the 40-member ‘Aman-Dosti Yatra’ delegation, which travelled from Delhi to the Wagah border, I had the pleasure of visiting various schools and interacting with the students. At one particular school, we asked the students how many of them desire peace and friendship with the people of Pakistan. All of them enthusiastically replied in the affirmative. When I asked them why, they responded “insaniyat ke liyey”, and told me that despite never having met any Pakistani, they know the people on the other side of the border are also human and thus worth befriending. Because of these children, I no longer suspect that propaganda and social media echo chambers have permanently corrupted people’s inner values. This experience has re-affirmed my belief that people are peace loving everywhere. When we stopped at another school in another town, we got the same response. We conducted more than 15 public meetings on this journey, met thousands of people, distributed more than four thousand pamphlets to spread the message of India-Pakistan peace and got wonderful responses. Our delegation included undergrad students, young professionals as well as retired bureaucrats, advocates, academics and peace activists. When the big moment finally arrived and 60 or 70 people walked up to the border gates, everyone began chanting “Hind-Pak dosti Zindabad!”It was an emotional moment, and some of us had tears in our eyesOver two decades ago, some brave and thoughtful Indian and Pakistani activists – including human rights activists and writer Kuldip Nayyar — began a new tradition. They decided to go to the Wagah-Attari border at midnight on August 14-15 to celebrate Jashn-e-Azadi by lighting candles and praying for peace between Pakistan and India. At this point, Pakistan and India had already fought three major wars. These activists believed that they would be met with resistance, but their convictions remained strong. However, they ended up receiving a great deal of support from people. It seems that the populations living on both sides of the border have learnt that war can offer them nothing but more loss.With time, the support enjoyed by this group increased, and crowds began gathering at Wagah in larger numbers to pray for peace and join hands for the dream of a shared future with peaceful co-existence. Today, many of this group’s earliest torch bearers are deceased. Others are old and feeble but their spirit remains young and their hopes remain alive. They believe that young people are the real stakeholders in Indo-Pak peace and hope that this legacy should be carried with responsibility. It was this very spirit which led to the formation of the Aman-Dosti Yatra. Ram Mohan Rai, a close associate of Late Dr Nirmala Deshpande (who has been a social activist) proposed that instead of directly reaching Wagah, a group make a journey of it and conduct various meetings along the way. This particular yatra received a great response from everyone. At its conclusion, it joined activists in Amritsar who were ready to hold the twenty-third Hind-Pak Dosti Mela. They organise this event every year.When the big moment finally arrived and 60 or 70 people walked up to the border gates, everyone began chanting “Hind-Pak dosti Zindabad!”It was an emotional moment, and some of us had tears in our eyes. A few media persons wanted to interview us, but we did not really care much for giving interviews at that point. We saw some BSF jawans from the Indian side taking pictures and smiling. Not surprisingly, their eyes were full of hope. After all, they and their counterparts are considered the first line of defence for both countries and hence they are the first victims of the conflict. We remembered Bulleh Shah through his poems. A few people were dancing, while others silently looked on towards the Pakistani side. The writer is founder of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, and Indo-Pak friendship initiativePublished in Daily Times, August 22nd 2018.