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Promoting cross border storytelling as a tool for nonviolence


India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed nations, have consistently been on the verge of war ever since each gained their independence in 1947. Relations between these two countries have been strained due to a number of historical and political issues, such as; the violent partition of British India in 1947, the Kashmir dispute, numerous military conflicts and the threat of nuclear war. But despite the fact that these two South Asian nations share strong ties in history, culture, ethnicity and geography, their relationship has been characterized by mutual suspicion and hostility.

As a result of poor relations there tends to be little contact between Indians and Pakistanis - this has led to a tendency to emphasize negative stereotypes of the “enemy” and perpetuate the idea of the other being “different”. According to a BBC World Service Poll in 2013, 11% of Indians have a positive view of Pakistan's influence, and 45% expressing a negative view. In turn 19% of Pakistanis view India's influence positively, and 54% see it negatively.

Despite tensions people in both countries are supportive of greater diplomatic and economic ties with their neighbour. With the majority of Pakistanis (70%) and Indians (74%) believing it is vital that relations between the countries improve.

Beyond Violence believes in the transformative potential of dialogue and wants to give peaceful voices from both countries the opportunity to be heard.

Our programme

Keeping the background of the conflict in mind, Beyond Violence (BV) is launching an online campaign called “Sarhadpaar”, which means “Beyond Borders” in both Hindi and Urdu. BV believes that civic engagement is crucial in bridging gaps, overcoming hatred, and building a trust that will lay the foundations for a strong bilateral relationship.

“Sarhadpaar” is a message that will travel across borders, indifference and negative viewpoints. Through this campaign BV aims to provide a platform for individuals who believe that through constructive nonviolence, and a process of engaged conversation between citizens of different nations, conflicts can be transformed.

In order to bring about this transformation we will utilize social media and BV’s website, with a focus on collecting stories, videos and oral histories of positive memories and interactions between the two nations. We hope that this narrative will contribute to fostering a constructive environment for peace building.

The first phase of our campaign consists of two major components:

● Twitter Campaign

Our Twitter campaign (#sarhadpaar) will collect and share positive and inspiring stories of friendship that have developed between Indians and Pakistanis. Click here for information on how to participate

● Memory Bank

We are working on creating a memory bank of positive stories from the time of Partition. More info coming soon