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'The youth are the future, especially in South Asia'

August 29, 2007

Maithili Gokhale, Gokuldham High School

Before going to the camp

Before I left, I believe I wasn't stereotyped against Pakistanis. Still, I had my religious beliefs and I held onto a certain version of history that said Indians had been wronged in Partition, Kashmir, etc.

During the camp

Camp taught me so much about religion and how to respect other people's beliefs. When we started the dialogue sessions, we all got caught up in history and trying to pin blame on each other. But, by the end, we started discussing abstract ideas and notions, like peace and security. Once we finally agreed to drop our bias -- even if it was unintentional bias -- we were able to look at the situation with objectivity. It was such an amazing learning experience.

After the camp

I firmly believe that the youth are the future, especially in South Asia because there are so many of us. I realise that I'm in Bombay, I'm safe. The Pakistani delegates are in Lahore, they're safe. It's the people in Kashmir, along the border, who deal with these problems every day. These are the people we must reach in the future. I, personally, am dedicated to the cause and will always stay in touch with my fellow Seeds.

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