Kolkata: A batch of 560 letters from students in Pakistan arrived here as part of an oral history project to strengthen ties between India and its neighbour through letter and postcard exchanges, a statement said on Friday.
Oral history is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life through various media.
The programme Exchange for Change (EFC) launched in August is a collaboration between the Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP) and PeaceWorks, an initiative of the Seagull Foundation for the Arts.
"We welcome Kolkata into the fold of the world's largest oral history exchange programme. There are 5,400 students participating from six cities of the two countries, and they cannot wait to share their stories with the city," said Swaleha Alam Shahzada, executive director, CAP.
"The enthusiasm of the students and families associated with the EFC continues to push boundaries and accomplish what many thought was unachievable between India and Pakistan," said Alam.
The aim is to raise understanding among students of the two countries, negate hateful stereotypes, and emphasise on shared cultural heritage to bring peace to the troubled region.
Kolkata has become the seventh participant city in the current leg of EFC connecting a total of 800 students in the eastern metropolis and Karachi.
Other cities that are already part of the project include Lahore, Islamabad/Rawalpindi, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Dehradun.
With Kolkata on board, the EFC will now connect 6,200 students from India and Pakistan through letter and postcard exchanges.
"People-to-people contact is the only way forward for our countries and this project will contribute towards forging relationships and building bridges," said Meena Megha Malhotra, director PeaceWorks.
As many as 560 letters were written by students from six Kolkata schools to students of two Karachi institutions and the batch that arrived consists of replies from the Pakistani students, said Malhotra.