Foreign academician terms dialogue ‘way forward’ for peace in South Asia

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Staff Reporter

Indian-American Academic from Harvard University Dr Homi K. Bhabha has said that lasting peace in the South Asian region could be achieved by promoting the culture of conversations and dialogue at the people-to-people level, terming it a ‘way forward.’

“More conversations, more dialogue at the people-to-people level is the way forward for forging peace in South Asia,” he said while speaking at the distinguished lecture series “Changing Global Society: Post-Colonial World Order” organized by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI).

Speaking on the prospects of India-Pakistan peace dialogue, Dr Bhabha was of the view that there was no cultural problem between India and Pakistan.

“We need to have people-to-people dialogue on a regular basis, and need to listen to the problems people want us (politicians) to address.”

Commenting on post-colonialism, Dr Bhabha argued that post-colonialism was not the end of colonialism and the strategy of dependence sustained the problems faced today such as ultra-nationalism.

“The notion of security in culture has been disastrous because now people look at other cultures and question whether other cultures are “dangerous” to them or not,” he added.

On Kashmir, he noted that while political warfare was being witnessed in Kashmir, adding the rights of Kashmiris must be emphasized on and their alterity must be appreciated.

Pakistani journalist and discussant at the webinar Zarrar Khuhro articulated that the otherization, “us vs. them” discourse, was perpetuated to gain some political goals, particularly in South Asia.

Senior Lecturer at SOAS University of London Dr Meera Sabaratnam said that the technology behind social media was dangerous as well as manipulative. “On social media, we are fed with data to confirm our bias.”

Another discussant Dr Ahmar Mahboob, Associate Professor at University of Sydney, emphasized that knowledge was at times biased, perpetuating a colonial-knowledge structure.

“The world is morphing into ‘Colonization 3.0’ where Covid-19 has been weaponized to allow a whole different shift in how the relationship between people and communities exists,” he noted.