The Indian Students Association [ISA], in conjunction with the Islamic Society of UM [ISUM] and the Hindu Students Council presented a free lecture last Thursday in the Wilder Auditorium regarding the recent build-up of tensions in the Kashmir region of India.
Issues discussed at the lecture included the historical background of the conflict involving the two wars that already occurred in the region and recent diplomatic initiatives taken by the United States, Great Britain and other countries to help ease tensions between India and Pakistan.
The potential for a nuclear war threat and possible solutions to the conflict were also addressed.
“Some people don’t understand the magnitude of the problems,” said Vivek Patel, public relations officer for ISA. “The slightest mishap could potentially cause World War III. We need to take a more active role to prevent a war from ensuing.”
“We must keep in mind that this crisis in Kashmir directly affects all of us,” said Rashan Shah, president of ISA.
Students from UM and the surrounding community expressed interest in the event.
“I am always amazed at the level of political awareness on the UM campus,” said Maria Fernandez, a student of political science at FIU. “Students should be proud that their fellow peers take the initiative to present these highly pertinent issues.”
“Sometimes it seems that the only way to find a solution is to listen to suggestions from both sides of an issue,” said Jonathan Meyers, a political activist in Broward County. “We will never get anywhere if we close our ears and our minds to the realities occurring throughout the world.”
“We know that it is an ongoing dispute, and many students do not know the facts,” Minal Ahson, a member of ISUM said. “We hope that this will help clarify what is going on.”
The event featured a guest speaker, Professor Reeta Chowdhari Tremblay, from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
“We decided to invite Professor Chowdhari to speak because of her level of objectivity on the subject,” Patel said. “Many other researchers lean one way or the other; she puts her personal biases aside”
“We didn’t want the lecture to become a religious war,” Patel said.
According to organizers, the primary goal of the lecture was to get the community involved by having guests ask questions about the events.
“This conflict is something that could affect the military actions of nations around the world, including the US, so it is important that this be addressed,” Shah said. “No professors here at UM can teach this subject, so it is important that this gets done in order to inform the public.”
“Even students who are not aware of the conflicts in Kashmir were encouraged and welcome to attend,” Patel said. “During WWI and WWII, so many took a non-caring attitude toward world affairs, and this attitude resulted in the bloodiest wars in history.”
“There will always be something to learn,” Patel said. “Knowledge is the power to change.”