Press Release

Kalam, Dalai Lama join top religious leaders to launch initiative for conflict avoidance

NEW DELHI, January 22: Former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam today advocated a three-pronged strategy to promote harmony and peace in the world while launching an Eastern initiative, the Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony (India), at a glittering ceremony graced by top religious leaders at the Chinmaya Mission Hall in New Delhi.


Addressing the function, Dr Kalam said that apart from spreading education with value system, all religions should transform themselves into a spiritual force while removing poverty to create a better society. Children upto the age of 17 years are the right candidates for value-based education to be imparted by mothers, fathers and the primary teachers, he said.


The former President said it was not difficult to transform all religions into a spiritual movement if their leaders sit together regularly and find ways to promote harmony and brotherhood. The pace of economic development in the country is likely to alleviate poverty by 2020, he added.


Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, said in order to make the 21st century, an era of peace, values of truth, justice and compassion should be promoted. Though 20th century was marked by violent incidents, humanity faced serious challenges such as population explosion, depleting natural resources and degrading ecology.


Dalai Lama said love, good karmas and secular ethics could help promote compassion among the people. “Anger, hatred, prejudice and fear are eating away into the vitals of the society,” he said, adding that the feelings of “I and me” create ego, which is responsible for self-centred attitude, narrowness, hatred and violence.


Earlier, Subhash Chandra, a Trustee of the GFCH and Chairman of the Essel Group , said that Asian cultures, particularly Indian civilization, could contribute towards promoting dialogue to create harmony as it has the tradition of absorbing all the cultures and civilizations of its conquerors.


Western society, which is in disarray, is promoting globalisation to create exclusiveness with narrowness while pursuing egoistic tendencies, Chandra said, adding that the GFCH would have multi-pronged strategies to promote harmony in the conflicting areas of the world.


While Swami Dayanand Saraswathi emphasized that “dialogue not arguments” was the only way to conflict resolution, Mumbai's Archbishop Cardinal Oswal Gracias said the inter-religious dialogue should permeate to the grassroots level to promote understanding among the people of different faiths.


Dialogue at the apex level among the top religious leaders should have theological discussions to share spiritual experiences as well as to identify common beliefs and differences among the religious, the Archbishop said. Rabbi Ezekiel Isaac Malekar, head of the Jewish community in Delhi, said India has been a safe sanctuary for the displaced Jews for the past 2,000 years. “While Israel is in our heart, India is in our blood,” the Rabbi said, adding that “we all are Indians first, then something else”.


In his concluding remarks, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of Art of Living asked people to pledge to plant a tree, stop female foeticide and bring back naxal youths back to the national mainstream. He said differences were part of the nature but there was need to globalise the spiritual and secular wisdom to ensure a better living.     


Yoga exponent Swami Ramdev, Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, Chief of Deoband Islamic School Mahmood Ali Madani and Paramahamsa Nityananda also addressed the august gathering which included eminent dignitaries such as former Delhi Lt Governor Vijai Kapoor and former IB Director Ajit Doval.


The vision of GFCH (India) is to shift from the present civilisational paradigm centred on conflicts to one of mutual understanding and harmony. The mission of GFCH (India) is to network the eastern and Indian civilisational elements in the West and elsewhere that resonate with the idea of harmony.


For further information please contact: K G Suresh (98186-17350)


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