Jai Hind, Pakistan Zindabad: Sri Sri’s mantra for peace

Peace within the sub-continent was the mantra of religious leaders from India and Pakistan who had come together at the World Culture Festival on Saturday; with Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar saying “Jai Hind and Pakistan Zindabad should go together”.

Mr. Shankar was speaking at the three-day mega event that is being held on the Yamuna floodplains. On the second day of the festival, thousands of religious leaders gathered here, with many of them — including Pakistan’s Mufti Muhammad Saeed Khan — talking about the importance of tolerance.

After the Islamic scholar finished his speech, Mr. Shankar said that Pakistan too has been hit by terrorism, and that India and Pakistan should progress together.

“Jai Hind and Pakistan Zindabad should go together. It should be a win-win situation for both sides. We should focus on winning and making the other also win,” said Mr. Shankar.

His statement comes at a time when India is seeing a debate on nationalism, which was triggered by an event at Jawaharlal Nehru University in February where students allegedly raised pro-Pakistan slogans.

Sherry Rehman, a member of the Senate of Pakistan, also spoke about the need for South Asia to work together in order to realise its potential.

Meanwhile, the cultural festival was more of a religious and political affair on Saturday. Apart from leaders of the Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jain, Jewish and Hindu faiths addressing the gathering, leaders from the Union and various State governments were also present.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also addressed the crowd, as did Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Mr. Sisodia, who is the MLA from Patparganj, welcomed the crowd to his constituency.

“We all should thank the farmers who have kept this area protected, otherwise it would have been home to unauthorised colonies by now,” said Mr. Sisodia, referring to the floodplains that have been encroached upon.

While the speeches by religious and political leaders took up a lot of time, artistes who had come from across the world did not let their enthusiasm dip despite the heavy rain.

A part of the Bhangra dance routine, Jasveer Singh from Bathinda in Punjab, said: “We are artistes and we love our art. We aren’t bothered by the rain. This is the biggest stage we have ever seen.”

Among the cultural highlights of the day were 350 dancers from Sikkim performing a ‘Maruni’ routine, 150 singers from the Middle East performing a song on the theme of unity, and 34 artistes playing the alpine horn from Switzerland.

Watch Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's speech from the event.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 8:47:08 AM |

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