Mumbai (The Hindu): Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Mumbai launched an initiative on Tuesday, which aims at promoting mutual trust and people-to-people exchanges between India and Pakistan. It has recently established the Mumbai Karachi Friendship Forum, which seeks to revive the rich shared history between the two countries.
Christened ‘Tasveer-e-Mumbai’ and ‘Tasveer-e-Karachi’, under this project, ORF has sponsored the visit of five eminent photographers from Karachi to Mumbai and five eminent photographers from India to visit Karachi in mid-July. The Pakistani contingent arrived in India on June 20 and will return to Karachi on June 30.
A handful of Shiv Sena workers tried to disrupt the media conference, barging into the venue shouting slogans against Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman, ORF Mumbai. They asked the contingent from Pakistan to return to Karachi. The activists were immediately detained by police and whisked away to Azad Maidan police station. After the disruption, Ms. Yusra Aksari, a research fellow at ORF and a journalist who accompanied the Karachi-contingent, said: “This is not the Mumbai that we have seen in the last one week. The city and it’s people have shown great hospitality and love towards us and we love the city for the same. What happened is not the real Mumbai.”
The Pakistani photographers spent a week exploring city and captured the ethos of the city through cultural landmarks such as the Gateway of India, Haji Ali Dargah and Crawford Market . They also studied the city’s Parsi and Sindhi communities, and took portraits of Mumbaikars.
Malika Abbas , a photojournalist who was a part of the Karachi contingent, said: “I am so glad to have come to Mumbai. The streets, the markets, the people felt familiar. That’s probably because Mumbai is so much like Karachi in more ways than one. One of my best experiences was visiting the houses of the local people and talking to them. None of them were able to figure out that I am from Pakistan. This clearly proves that how similar our culture, our society is. And through ORF, we’ll definitely be able to build better relations with each other.” Mr. Kulkarni, whose face was blackened by Sena activists last October during a book release, said, “We are also patriots... we equally condemn terrorism, religious extremism, but we shall not bow before these extremists who want to stop us from promoting India-Pakistan friendship.”
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