Sowing the Seeds of Peace

Sowing the Seeds of Peace

Mahatma Gandhi said, "An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind." But if the recent turn of events is any indication, the Mahatma’s words of wisdom have been long forgotten. Violence in the name of religion is perhaps the biggest threat to our world today. The origins of most acts of terrorism can be traced to religious affiliations. The strategy to combat terrorism on a global scale requires a commitment of a different kind than has been shown by present-day politicians and religious leaders across the continents. It requires an approach that acknowledges the deep-rooted source of the problem – that the seeds of hatred are planted early in life and it is most difficult to change the attitudes of adults by reasoning with them about the futility of religious conflicts. The only antidote to hatred is love. And therefore the only way out this dreadful state of affairs is to begin by planting the seeds love in children.

Parents play the most important role in shaping the psychological development of a child. It is therefore imperative that parents themselves acknowledge the urgent importance of peace and harmony for the survival of our planet.

On the occasion of the First Day of Navratri, the Garden School at Cherai was filled not with students but their parents. These parents had gathered there for a unique inter-religious prayer meeting. The prayer meeting lasted for about an hour. Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Muslims and Parsis were all there with one mission – to learn and spread the message of love, peace and harmony. Extracts from the various holy books were read and their meanings explained. The Holy Quran, The Bhagavad Geeta, The Bible and the Guru Granth Sahib were all referred to – and all of them advocated the same thing – that there is nothing greater than love.

13-year-old Ameya Gawand, an ex-student of the school was also present. Ameya owes a lot to the school and it’s Principal Bernadette Pimenta who helped him tremendously during his early childhood which was marked by severe physical challenges. He emerged triumphant through them all. While addressing the parents assembled, he gave many examples of religious myths that can be easily done away with, in these modern times.

To reinforce the idea of peace and harmony, Pimenta led the assemblage of parents to take a pledge against war, mutual conflict, thefts, murders, bomb blasts and other crimes. A two-minute silence was observed in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace.

Later candles were lit by parents and teachers accompanied by a song that urged people to light the flame of peace in their hearts. Other popular songs of powerful messages were also sung.

Before we belong to any religion or any country, we belong to humanity. As Mother Teresa said, "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." The prayer meeting held at the Garden School may seem too trivial an effort towards world peace; nevertheless it can have far reaching consequences. If all schools across the world begin to hold such inter-faith meetings, peace will be inevitable.

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