|Negotiate Peace for India and Pakistan
Target Grade Levels:
Relevant National Standards
Ties to Literature
India and Pakistan have fought four wars since partition in 1947. Much of the conflict has arisen over ownership of the territory of Kashmir. In a January 2004 summit, Pakistan's president , General Pervez Musharraf, and India's prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, agreed to resume a dialogue over this disputed territory. In this activity, students will role-play these peace negotiations and examine related political, social and economic issues.
To get a picture of the class's background knowledge of this complex conflict,
begin the activity with a semantic mapping exercise. Write
"Pakistan" on a flip chart and ask students to take a minute
or two to jot down any ideas or thoughts that come to mind.
Then open the exercise up to the class and let students
share their thinking aloud. Chart the responses, grouping
similar topics. Repeat the exercise with India as the focus.
Note any knowledge gaps and/or misconceptions for later
Next, show students where India and Pakistan are on a map and emphasize their geographic position at the crossroads between South, West and Central Asia. Explain (or review) how Pakistan was created in 1947 when India gained independence from Great Britain. Also review that India and Pakistan have been in conflict over ownership of the territory of Kashmir, but that the countries' leaders have agreed to begin discussing a peace agreement. Tell students that they will be role-playing these peace talks with a partner.
Divide students into pairs and have one student in each pair play the role of Pakistan and the other, India. Students should prepare for these peace talks by gathering information on the following:
- Origins of the dispute
- Interests of India and Pakistan in Kashmir (prioritized)
- Economic, political and social benefits that peace would bring
- Global importance of peace between India and Pakistan (for example, they're both nuclear powers)
Students should begin their research with the following FRONTLINE/World resources:
Synopsis of On a Razor's Edge Story
Voices From the Whirlwind: "Shahzad," an Underground Militant
Interview With Sharmeen Obaid: The Brink of Peace
Facts & Stats for Pakistan: On a Razor's Edge
Links & Resources: On a Razor's Edge (see the "Pakistan and India" section)
When research is complete, the student pairs should come together for peace talks. Encourage students to emphasize the benefits of peace, discuss the issues, brainstorm steps toward resolving the conflict and consider possible compromises related to the interests of each country.
Conclude the activity by discussing as a class what happened in each pair's peace talks. Ask students to predict what will happen in actual peace negotiations between India and Pakistan. Check to see that earlier student knowledge gaps and misconceptions have been appropriately addressed during the steps of the activity.
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Relevant National Standards
These standards are drawn from "Content Knowledge," a compilation of content standards and benchmarks for K-12 curriculum by McRel (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning) at http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/.
Standard 13: Understands the forces of cooperation and conflict that shape the divisions of Earth's surface
Level IV, Benchmark 6
Understands how external forces can conflict economically and politically with internal interests in a region (e.g., how the Pampas in Argentina underwent a significant socioeconomic transformation in the 19th and early 20th centuries as a consequence of European demands for grain and beef; the consequences of the French colonization of IndoChina in the 19th century to procure tin, tungsten and rubber; the friction between Hindus and Moslems in the Indian subcontinent in the 1940s that led to the formation of India and Pakistan)
Standard 43: Understands how post-World War II reconstruction occurred, new international power relations took shape and colonial empires broke up
Level IV, Benchmark 3
Understands reasons for the division of the Indian subcontinent (e.g., events that led to the dispute over Kashmir and the resulting partition of the Indian subcontinent, and the role of the United Nations in the mediation of the dispute; how the withdrawal of the British and the division between Muslims and Hindus affected the division of the Indian subcontinent into two nations)
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