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Sufism can act as an antidote to terrorism: Arjun Ram Meghwal

Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal inaugurates the South Asian Sufi Festival in Jaipur on Friday. — Photo: Rohit Jain Paras  

The three-day South Asian Sufi Festival began here on Friday with a call for giving a “healing touch” to the turbulent and violence-ridden society facing the scourge of terrorism.

Speakers highlighted Sufism as a philosophy that could eliminate terrorism, curb religious fanaticism and stop communal violence.

Activists, artists, academicians, writers, poets and Sufi mystics from the SAARC countries, except Pakistan, attending the event in large numbers, laid emphasis on promoting syncretic beliefs and composite culture of South Asia reflected in its folklore, literature, music, myths and legends.

A 25-member delegation of artists and authors from Pakistan gave a miss to the prestigious event amid deteriorating relations with India. While the organisers said that the Pakistani delegates had themselves cancelled their visit, the flag of Pakistan was conspicuous by its absence among the flags of seven other SAARC member countries hoisted at the venue, the Diggi Palace.

The event’s host and owner of Diggi Palace, Ram Pratap Singh, told The Hindu that the programme’s title had been changed from the SAARC festival to South Asian festival this year because of the absence of participants from Pakistan.

Ajeet Cour, president of the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature, the main organiser of the event, said in her welcome address that the festival was not just about religion or religious poetry. “It is a meet that will endeavour to rediscover the spirit of Tasawwuf or mysticism,” she said. Ms. Cour, a Punjabi writer of high repute, said terrorism perpetrated in the name of religion amounted to death of human values. “Everything in Sufi ideology stands opposed to terrorism...Through Sufism we can become conscious of the necessity of creating democratic and secular spaces.”

Inaugurating the festival, Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said Sufism could act as an antidote to terrorism, which was the biggest disease in today’s time.

He said Sufism, which had played a pivotal role in breaking down superstitions, had become all the more relevant in the contemporary times of violence.

Others who addressed the session included Justice R.S. Chauhan of Karnataka High Court, Joint Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry’s SAARC Division Prashant Agarwal, SAARC Secretariat Director in Kathmandu M.H.M.N. Bandara and SAARC Cultural Centre Director in Colombo Wasanthe Kotuwella.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 11:19:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Sufism-can-act-as-an-antidote-to-terrorism-Arjun-Ram-Meghwal/article16071465.ece

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