Postman priest brings Pakistan-India students closer

Light of truth

For the past five years, Father Joseph Kalathil has been deli-vering letters to students in India and Pakistan, despite deep politi-cal animosity between the regi-onal arch-rivals. And this year, the Jesuit priest based in Chandig-arh, northern India, arrived at the Pakistani border on foot.

He informed fellow Jesuits in Pakistan about his presence at Wagah border crossing, located 24 kilometres from Lahore, in Pakistan’s Punjab Province.

“After getting through the passport control, it was only a five minutes’ walk and I was in another country,” Father Kalathil told.

The director of his self-styled “Peace Mission” delivered hand-written letters from 32 students at three Indian schools to two Catholic schools in Faisalabad diocese in Pakistan during his Oct. 22 to Nov. 9 visit.

He returned with parcels and replies to the letters he delivered.

Since 2012, he has delivered hundreds of similar colourful letters between students at educational institutes in the neighbouring countries. “I wanted to start with children,” he said. “I do not discuss religion or politics. Instead we discuss human rights, peace and friendship.” Sometimes young people rejected him, calling India an enemy.

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