Inter-Religious Peace meet held on ‘Muharram’ Celebrations at Shankerpura
Udupi: An inter-Religious Meet towards Peace and Harmony was held at Subhasnagar, Shankerpura under the aegis of “Sarva Dharma Sauharda Samiti” on the occasion of Muharram Celebrations which marks the start of the Islamic New Year. The cited meet was held on Sunday the 16th of October 2016 at Sarakarigudde Shankerpura.
The Muharram Celebration was attended and addressed by prominent personalities and religious heads of Christians, Hindus and Muslims, namely Fr Dr Leslie D’Souza (Convener of Sarva Dharma Sauharda Samiti & Correspondent, St John’s Academy Shankerpura), Vincent Alva (Professor, Milagres College Kallianpura), J C Rajendra Bhat (National JC Instructor and Shaukat Ali (Youth Leader) respectively.
The programme began with a prayer invoking Gods blessings by Nirmala Devadiga followed by a welcome by Naveen Ameen a prominent personality of Shankerpura and member of “Sarva Dharma Sauharda Samiti”.
Antony D’Sa (member of Sarva Dharma Sauharda Samiti) read out the report and highlighted the activities of the Sarva Dharma Sauharda Samiti last year.
Mark Vaz (Vice President – Parish Council St John Evangelist Church Pangala) introduced Fr Leslie D’Souza. Fr Leslie D’Souza inaugurated the Muharam Sarva Dharma Meet by lighting the traditional lamp.
A beautiful welcome dance was performed by two little children.
The keynote address was delivered by JC Rajendra Bhat who highlighted the importance of holding Inter-faith meets to understand all religions in a better way and strengthen the bond between humans. He further said, “Humanity is the greatest religion. Every religion teaches good values and virtues and hence it is important to respect each other’s religions. He cited one example of perfect harmonious living by the people of Goa wherein estimated 25 lakh Konkani speaking people Hindus and Christians live in a perfect harmony. They speak one language but celebrate every feast and event of the other religions unitedly. He said that we too must follow their example and mingle with people of other religions during their celebrations and show our love and respect to them.
A wonderful mime show was presented by ICYM members of St John’s Parish, Shankerpura. Anil D’Sa introduced Prof. Vincent Alva.
Speaking on behalf of the Christians Prof. Vincent Alva said “ I’m happy to be a citizen of this country. Let our religions stay inside our homes and religious places, let us not exhibit our religion on the streets”.
He further said that our country has vast culture, ours is a beautiful country. We find unity in diversity. We should be proud of our country and live like true citizens of our country rather than thinking only of our religion and involving in communal activities. Humanity and respect to others is the best religion.
He concluded saying that we should live like true citizens of our Nation caring and respect each other keeping aside our religion, caste or creed. Lets us live like brothers and sisters in this great country.
The Muslim speaker Shawkat Ali said, “Christians are known to be very kind people, also quoted in the Quran. Today we have loads of preachers shouting from the pulpits about their religion rather than touching the hearts or thinking of humanity.”
He further said that he had studied in a Christian school and never in his life felt that anyone forced him to convert or learn Christianity. We must unite and create a brotherly bond for the better future of the country.
The convener of the “Sarva Dharma Sauharda Samiti Fr Leslie D’Souza briefed on the Muharram Celebrations. He further said, ” Anything can be achieved with unity. I am very happy to see a large number of people attending this Inter-faith meet which shows unity among all religions. The purpose of creating Inter-faith meet is to create awareness of unity, humanity, and respect for other religions. Let us keep aside our religion and work for humanity. If someone does not have value for humanity, he cannot boast of his religion”.
He said that he had studied in Hindu schools and colleges and found more humanity and bond in diversity. Let us not be prejudice in our thoughts and actions but be open-minded and see the goodness in people of other religions. He concluded with a quote from St Mother Teresa who loved humanity “I was born in Albania but Citizen of India, In heart I love Jesus” Fr Leslie said if we love our religion in our hearts we can overcome anything and can respect other people. It is when we love our preachers blindly rather than our God that creates disharmony in the world he said. He concluded saying that let us remove that black spot from our heart and develop a clean and spotless heart to love others.
Nandan Kumar, Secretary of Sauharda Committee delivered the vote of thanks. Hanif compered the programme.