Life and Adventures of YES!+ Youth

Posts tagged ‘Terrorism’

March Against Corruption Against Terrorism

Thousands march against corruption & terrorism

The Art of Living & WAYE mobilize youth and citizens to participate in a nationwide movement

“If our youth generation is not happy with their present and is worried about the future, then they have to begin the change themselves and get more and more people to join them,” said Dr Kiran Bedi to the thousands gathered at the Youth March against corruption and terrorism organised by the Art of Living Foundation and its youth wing, The World Alliance for Youth Empowerment (WAYE) and Co-organiser Youth For Equality (YFE).

Under the aegis of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder, Art of Living, WAYE’s and YFE’ objective is to awaken and empower citizens, especially the youth, to effect a change and propel the youth towards nation-building. This pro-active initiative has a three-fold emphasis: Awareness, Accountability & Action.

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar sent a message for the Youth and said, “ The whole country is just looking at you for you to take leadership. The youth of India should come upfront and unite against terrorism and corruption. Let us have a prosperous and just India.”

This movement will be taken across the nation through the year with the theme: “My Country Is My Valentine”. It will leverage the RTI, Citizens Charter, e-governance and free legal aid by youth lawyers during its course of action.

Addressing the gathering, Khurshed Batliwala, Director, WAYE, said, “The greatest danger that our country today faces is that of good people doing nothing.”

Other prominent speakers included Mr Bitta (Chairman, All India Anti Terrorist Front), Mr Prahlad Kakkar (Ad Guru & CEO, Genesis), Mr. Arvind Kejriwal (Pioneering activist – RTI and Magsaysay Awardee), Mr Anirudh Bahl (Editor, Cobra Post & Writer), Prof Binod Khaitan (President, AIIMS Faculty Association) & Chaudhry Zile Singh (President, BMS).

Mr Prahlad Kakkar speaking on the occasion said, “When the young educated people of this country decide to be the change they want to see, no force on earth can stop them.”

The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) with their 160 Delhi Union extended their support to this initiative. As a mark of solidarity, the public transport system of BMS, including autorickshaws, rickshaws, tempos, buses etc, did not ply at the airport and railway station, during the march from 2pm – 5pm.

Numerous citizens, educational institutions, Residents’ welfare organisations, Social service organisations, Cultural organisations, Corporate houses, NGO’s, Youth & citizen forums including Nasscom Foundation, Navjyoti, Navdaanya, Transparency International, BMS, among other notable names participated in the March.




‘An eye for an eye is against our culture’ – Sri Sri

Rediff interview of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar:
His Holiness Sri Sri RavishankarDecember 29, 2008
Terrorism has definitely emerged as the most contentious issue of 2008, with India reeling under a relentless wave of terror strikes and Indians seething with anger at the loss of innocent lives and the incompetent government.

Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been outspoken in condemning both the terror strikes and communal fanaticism, which many feel gives rise to terrorism.

In an interview with Vicky Nanjappa, he spoke about tacking the menace of terrorism though education and persuasion. He also discusses the controversial issue of Malegaon blast accused Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit attending AoL sessions.

What, according to you, is the solution to the menace of terrorism? If everyone follows the ‘eye for an eye’ principle, what will happen to this country?

I am very concerned about what is happening. ‘An eye for an eye’ is not our culture at all. Yet, we cannot take things lying down. We cannot stop educating people about our values. The message of Indian ethos and spirituality, which emphasise on ahimsa (non-violence) and the truth, will have to be conveyed across the board.

What do you think about Hindu terrorism?

Fringe elements in Hindu society, who think they can avenge terrorism by perpetuating terror themselves, have brought disgrace to Indian culture. Milking political mileage and giving undue publicity to such cases have only strengthened the jihadis. Let our media and politicians know that sensationalising, politicising and giving undue publicity to this case, even before the accused is proven guilty, has proved to be a shot in the arm for jihadis.

Our late Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare had mentioned that in the last two months, 90 per cent of the time and manpower of the agency had been spent on this case. All this has cost the nation heavily.

Lieutenant Colonel Purohit reportedly attended some Art of Living meetings. Will there be a screening process in the Art of Living courses to ensure that such elements do not attend meetings in the future?

No. In fact, we welcome everybody to the Art of Living. Our mission is to work with fundamentalists and extremists to transform them into loving human beings. People from all backgrounds come here and so do ex-army people. We have programmes for army personnel and many of them visit our ashram to seek blessings. Naxalites, Maoists, jihadis have all attended our programmes.

We don’t discriminate and we don’t ban anybody from attending the AoL sessions. I wish they had come here much earlier and participated in our training programme. Perhaps they came here to find some peace and solace.

What can spiritual gurus do to ensure that terrorism is wiped out? What plans does AoL have in this regard?

Some religions have a dogmatic and untouchable attitude, and that should be removed. For example, what happened to author Taslima Nasreen is a shame on the democratic and liberal image of the country (Nasreen was forced to leave India after violent protests broke out against her writings in Kolkata). The government should shift its focus from the minority-majority culture and should give multi-cultural, multi-dimensional education to all.

Religious and spiritual institutions need to come together and pledge to work towards protecting our country. We need social leaders who are satya-darshi (truthful), sam-darshi (equanimous), and door-darshi (farsighted). Let us also resolve to first examine the qualifications of those whom we elect. We need to protect our country from those who manipulate issues for their personal gains and lead by playing vote-bank politics.

Art of Living has been conducting various rehabilitation programmes for prisoners and convicts. The results are so positive that one has to witness it to believe it.

Can terrorism be wiped out through the message of peace?

Any action that is undertaken without inner peace only leads to regret. And peace does not mean inaction. One has to use all methodologies to curb terrorism. We have to do it through education and persuasion. Force should be used only when nothing else works.

What is your message to all those practising terrorism?

Meditation and Sudarshan Kriya have transformed the aggression and violence inside people into compassion, love and care.

Sri Sri addresses Mumbai residents

On 6th of December, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressed lacs of residents of Mumbai, giving a healing touch to their wounded minds. Here is a very nicely described writeup of the talk by Vinay:-

It is obvious that when the society is attacked, and we lose our near and dear ones, it causes a lot of sorrow. It also causes fear. But if we keep reeling in this sorrow and fear, and the anger that comes along with, then life moves towards the path to perdition. We need to channelize this energy and face this war bravely, by first making the mind calm and coming to a state of equanimity.

We need to become ‘Sam-darshi’ (One whose vision is equanimous). At this Priyadarshini Park, let’s all pray for those who have departed, and let’s take a pledge to be ‘Sam-Darshi’, the equanimous one.

Today we are all angry with the politicians, or with our system. Our police lack the necessary arms and ammunition. We still find ourselves stuck with old outdated concepts. Entire Mumbai seems angry. I would say in one way this is good, that we at least have woken up. We are no longer ready to take the ‘Chalta Hain’ attitude. For so many years India has seen terrorist attacks in different places, but for the first- time the entire community, especially the youth, have woken up. But I would like to say that changing one person, trading one minister for another, is not the solution. A new minister swearing into some position would take 6 months just to understand the whole system. So we all need to think on how to make our system stronger. Just by reacting out of anger, and targeting one community in our anger is fruitless. We cannot blame an entire community for a wrong.

Firstly, we all need to come together and pledge that we shall work for protecting our country. And let’s also resolve to first examine the qualifications of those who we elect. We need social leaders who are ‘Satya-Darshi’ (Truthful), ‘Sam-Darshi’ (Equanimous), and ‘Door-Darshi’ (Visionary). We need to protect our country from those who manipulate issues for their personal gains and lead by playing ‘Vote-Bank’ politics. How did Mahatma Gandhi unite so many people? He used to do satsang twice a day, read second chapter of Bhagawat Geeta, people have forgotten his principles. Our flag’s saffron color symbolises sacrifice, White color symbolises peace, green color symbolises abundance. Politicians have forgotten these values- they are looking for their own abundance! And then the wheel in the middle symbolises progress in all fields.

Secondly, we will resolve to not act out of anger, but instead channelize our dynamic energy for the betterment of the society. We will also expose all those who are supporting violence, no matter what religion they belong to. We will get rid of the mentality which asks us to protect people from our own religion, or community, even if they are doing wrong. This is very important. Sometime we protect the faulty people in our families. We will not do this anymore.

I just returned from Arunachal Pradesh in the morning. We need to send this message to all our neighboring countries that India is ONE. China is asking for Arunachal Pradesh, I would like to tell them, “Why are you just asking for Arunachal Pradesh, ask for the whole of India! We consider the entire world ours, why are you stuck only with Arunachal Pradesh then?” We will never allow this separation to happen! We are not ready to cut one thumb out and give them, but we are ready to give our entire hand to shake! India is ONE and will remain ONE. We might have different religions, communities, languages and cultures, but underneath all this diversity, every Indian is ONE. We need to send this message to Pakistan, Bangladesh or any other nation. We will not allow them to play with us anymore.

Today when Mumbai is attacked we all have woken up, but you go to Assam and see the condition there. 5 districts there are suffering from continued violence. Lakhs of people had to flee from their houses and are living in camps. The situation in Assam is completely hand crafted by politicians. But we never get to see this in our news. Today, we shall pray for not just the victims of Mumbai alone, but for the victims of terror and extremism everywhere in India.

We are proponents of Peace, but we also are the descendants of Guru Gobind Singh. Today, we need ‘Sant-Sipahi’ (The Saint who is a Soldier). We don’t need just saints, we don’t need just soldiers, but people who are both. Every human here shall be a Peace Messenger, and a Peace Soldier. Peace Soldiers are those who have dynamism and a will to stop the wrong. Peace Soldiers are those who expose the wrong deeds and doers in the society, and stand in protest.

Today is Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s anniversary. We all must remember the good work done by him in starting the movement against ‘Un-touchability’. Even today, some villages of India are practicing Un-touchability. This should be immediately curbed. Nowhere in our scriptures has un-touchability been advocated. In India, we have a tradition of worshiping the feet (Paada-Pooja). In fact in the west the feet are considered low and un-holy. Washing the feet, worshiping the feet has always been a sign of reverence in our culture. Just like the body has different organs, the society has different castes philosophies and religions. But all of them ultimately represent that One Divinity. Remember this fact. Never think that our scriptures, our religion is superficial. There is immense depth in our ‘Shastras’. Sometimes we see that there is a huge gap between what is written in the scriptures and what is seen in our daily practice. Islam, what it actually says and the way it is practiced today is completely different. Same goes for the Vedic knowledge. Our Vedas say that all humans are one, and yet we see castes and un-touchability practiced in places. These practices have no religious significance whatsoever. This should be stopped.

So we need to bring a wave of social transformation, and each one of us here will need to take responsibility for the same. Can we all do it? Raise hands – all those who would like to join hands for this task. Yes, we all can do it. But one thing we need to remember again is that we should not act out of anger. When I went to Iraq and met some ministers there, and told them that by practicing meditation we can pacify our anger, they requested me to not pacify the anger of their people! They want their citizens to stay angry till they don’t take their revenge from America. I was shocked! Anger will always lead you to remorse.

Peace does not mean inaction. We want a revolution, but we want a Peace Revolution. Mahatma Gandhi advocated Peace, but he did not just sit back and let injustice happen. Out of peace, he took action. The essence of entire Geeta is this – Fight with equanimity. Today, this message of Geeta is applicable to Mumbai. Mahabharata, which happened 5200 years ago, is now repeating itself again. We are again seeing a ‘Dharam-Yudha’ (A Battle for Righteousness). And in this battle, all the nations of the world, except a few, are with us! And even those nations, which are not with us, it’s only select people from those nations who are not with us.

Their own missiles are now shooting back at them. Let’s not make this mistake ourselves. Whenever I have traveled to Israel, I have been told by the Jewish leaders there that India is the only nation in the world where a Jew has never been attacked! India is known for its tolerance and peace. India is the only nation on the planet, which has advocated peace and welcomed people from all religions and countries with arms wide open. But what has happened this time has left us hurt and wounded. However, we shall not let this stain our spirits – We shall overcome. Are you all with me?

We will not let go of our culture, our nature – which is peace, which is non-violence. But with this philosophy of non-violence and peace, we shall teach such a lesson to all the terrorists, that they will not even know what hit them!

And I would like to ask all the media and the journalists to pay some attention towards the North East provinces of India. There is a lot of violence happening there. Our media does not show these incidents at all. Each state there is gripped with violence. People are living in fear. We have completely forgotten those people. They only see Mahatma Gandhi’s name in the currency bills, otherwise there is no reflection of his principles there.

I would like to say to all the families who have lost their dear ones that the soul never dies. Those who have departed us have merged with the divine, and their souls are still with you, with us, with the entire nation. Hence we should not sit and shed tears for them, for they are martyrs. Everyone will die, including us. But they have sacrificed their lives to wake us up and make us realize that others should not need to suffer, that this should not happen again. Know that once you drop the body, there is no more suffering to the soul. However, people who are left behind on the planer suffer for their loss. Now this sorrow that you might feel should be channelized properly. Don’t go in depression. We are conducting Trauma Relief Workshops everywhere. All those who saw these attacks, and are suffering with the traumatic impressions it leaves in the mind, need to learn pranayams and meditation to flush this negativity out. So ensure all those who you know are feeling dejected and scared, even just by seeing these proceedings in TV, attend these Trauma Relief camps and learn meditation, so that they can once again be filled with hope, enthusiasm and happiness.

After the talk, Sri Sri led everyone into a peaceful meditation and then sang a song “Shivoham Shivoham”. It was a touching experience to be with him.

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