Peace - Begins with you and me
Rachita Poornima Cabral
Alva's College, Moodbidri
Mangalore, Feb 16: “We come from a Nation where we allow a lady of Catholic origin to support a Sikh to be sworn in as Prime Minister by a Muslim President to govern a Nation that is 80 per cent Hindus. We have 5000 newspapers, 35,000 Magazines and over 21 different languages with a combined readership of over 120 million. We have the 3rd largest army in the World but we still fold our hands in a Namaste because we believe that we are neither above nor below anyone else in the World”.
These words from a popular Bollywood movie was the first thing that came to my mind when the concept of Saamarasya had to be dealt with. ‘Saamarasya- Unity in Diversity’ is one of India’s most powerful characteristics. And India has undoubtedly proved through its years and years of History that diversity does not pull us Indians apart, it brings us closer together.
Though the political scenario is changing even as the above statement is being made the fact remains that India is one country that is more colourful, both literally and metaphorically than any other nation. Diversity comes with a price; it brings in new views of the world, which sometimes trigger acts that are ruthless and cruel.
There are stories of Faith based violence in the news day in and day out. Yes, there are certain public discourses that have a constant undercurrent of religious prejudice. A fear does exist sub-consciously that maybe someday people of some faith may take over the lives of people of other minor faiths and it is this fear that probably instigates acts of crime and violence as the streets flow with the blood of innocent victims. But we do know deep in our hearts that real peace cannot be achieved through violence it can only be achieved through love and understanding.
It is indeed practically difficult but we do need to make a beginning somewhere. Intolerance is in itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit. Said Gandhi and his statement that he considered himself a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist and a Confucian is probably the only feasible solution we have in this fast changing troubled World today.
Each religion does have a particular set of religious rites, of commands, restrictions and ethical principles to follow but their teachings teach us that the foremost of all is to spread love, peace and happiness. The Islam teaches tolerance not hatred, universal brotherhood, not enmity, peace not violence. The Bhagavad Gita very clearly says be compassionate and gentle and show good will to all. And the Bible simply says Love your Neighbour as you love yourself. The Religious Books tell us so much but we sometimes choose to turn a blind eye to wise teachings.
But yet there has been a lot of Christian bashing, , Muslim bashing, Hindu bashing and racial bashing going on all over India and most of it is very disheartening. The most troubling part of all this bashing is that it is being done by adult men and women, mostly educated, whose job it is to shape the lives of our young children.
Do we do this bashing because we are scared, or do we hate because we have been hurt or is because we have not opened our hearts to know others?
Hate brings more hate. If our neighbour is unsafe, we are not safe. If someone next to us is attacked tomorrow it may be our turn. Security comes from accepting that all of us are different but similar in spirit, hopes and dreams.
It is this truth that lies beneath the Celebration of Saamarasya - The Annual Peace Event organized by the Karnataka Christian Educational Society (KACES) and INTERFAITH COALITION FOR PEACE that brings together people of all faiths and believes in advocating religious harmony and love.
Indian cuisine reflects diversity. Every civilization, empire or country that has ruled or even stepped one foot in India has brought a small but powerful influence into Indian food. Food, Music and Dance are intertwined with our lives and Saamarasya blends this into the day two- day celebration of Peace and Unity.
On the 16th of February 2013, is the Kalaothsava, a Cultural Celebration of various genres of Music, Dance and Mime. On the 17th of February, Aharothsava, the Food Festival promises an array of mouth watering dishes, both local and continental favourites.
This attempt to bring People of all walks of life has been initiated with the hope of revisiting our rich cultural heritage and spreading the message of peace in every little way possible.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth only makes the World blind, so it is left to each one of us whether we want to roam around blinded, in ignorance pain and suffering or with happiness, love and peace sharing love and universal brotherhood.