The Peace Centre established in Ahmedabad can be visualised as less of a physical space and more of an abstract one, which is a hub of activities promoting peace. Ahmedabad has tremendous diversity in terms of communities and culture but the situation in the city is one where hostility persists among these communities and there is instigation of violence on the slightest pretexts.
The objective of creating a peace centre is to encourage interaction between communities and reduce misconceptions, prejudices, myths and bias against communities. The hope of the peace centre is that on meeting and observing events together, individuals will appreciate different cultures and find commonality of lifestyle against the backdrop of conflicts and differing interests.
The peace centre is spearheaded by Mr Mushtaq Sheikh and his team that consists of no less than twelve members. They meet on a daily basis and plan activities suited to the needs and context of the city, to improve understanding, interaction and harmony between communities. These activities are of varied types. They include diversity exposure trips, youth theatre groups, study circles, cultural programs, exhibitions, film screenings, consultations and celebration of festivals.
While the venue of the activities may vary, the idea is to spread the message of peace and desirability of diversity by involving youth and communities in the activities. While reaching out to communities, the peace centre also aims at creating a group of well-informed youth that can unite declining social movements. On a whole, the youth will be empowered to be a progressive force and have a greater voice in communities and become active agents of peace.
The Peace Centre in Ahmedabad has been doing commendable work in mediating interactions between communities. Via the means of cultural walks, they have helped eliminate misconceptions and myths pertaining to religion and the cultures of different communities. They have been successful in mobilizing large crowds through the means of street plays and raise awareness about socially pressing topics such as gender discrimination and child marriage.