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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Take the lead if you have passion for people, society’

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Chennai: Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who mastered the Art of Living, urged Gen Y to enter into the country’s political scene and ‘make the change’ in a conference on Wednesday.

Present in The New Indian Express ThinkEdu Conclave, the spiritual guru said, “Politicians are not some special class or species who have come from another planet. They are one among you, among us. So, one of you must take the lead. If you have the passion for people and service to society, you must come.”

Discussing among the gathering of curious students and academics on the wrong way politicians view their ‘jobs’ in today’s time, he said, “Unfortunately in this country and everywhere else in the world, politics is no longer a service, it has lost its sheen and respect, which it had during the time of Kamaraj and Mahatma Gandhi and a few generations before us. That needs to be set right.” He exhorted the youth to make that change, en masse. “Not one or two persons can do it, but all of you collectively can. Youth of this country have the power to bring change. So you need to ask politicians whether they’re here for service or business.”

He also spoke on the country’s ever burning issue of Corruption. Calling it a debilitating factor that took a toll not only on politics but also impacted several spheres, he held corruption responsible for obstructing a nation’s progress.

“Corruption has entered every field. One of the biggest reasons is the lack of education. It should create a sense of belonging. The sense of belonging is the only way to combat corruption. Corruption begins where this sense of belonging ends and to create this, education must be attuned to human values,” he said and added, “Whether religion should be taught in schools or not is secondary. Students should be taught ethics and values first. That is essential.”

Claiming ‘yoga’ and ‘ayurveda’ of being mediums to imbibing ethics necessary for an education with sound knowledge, Ravi Shankar said yoga should be mandatory in schools and colleges and imparted as an art.

The guru was further interrogated upon whether these practices, innately related with ‘Hindu’, give it a political colour, seeing the political repercussions on Yoga Day. He replied, “Just because Yoga or Ayurveda are part of Hinduism, it doesn’t mean that it won’t work for a non-Hindu. We are global citizens today and education has no boundaries.”

He emphasised that one should choose values and ethics without thinking twice, adding that many of the ethical and value-centric practices have their roots in Hindu culture. Despite that, they follow a scientific trajectory which proves the fact that religion and science could co-exist peacefully. (With inputs from The New Indian Express, Image Source: vishwagujarat.com)

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Child Rights Summit: Nations Should Spend More on Education Over Weapons

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Displaced Syrian children look out from their tents at Kelbit refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, in Idlib province, Syria, Jan. 17, 2018. VOA

Countries should spend more on schooling and less on weapons to ensure that children affected by war get an education, a child rights summit heard Monday.

The gathering in Jordan was told that a common thread of war was its devastating impact in keeping children out of school.

Indian Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, who founded the summit, said ensuring all children around the world received a primary and secondary education would cost another $40 billion annually — about a week’s worth of global military expenditure.

ALSO READ: Politics and Education: A Relationship that contributes a lot in shaping our Future

child rights summit
Nobel Peace Prize laureates Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai listen to speeches during the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony at the City Hall in Oslo, Dec. 10, 2014. VOA

“We have to choose whether we have to produce guns and bullets, or we have to produce books and pencils to our children,” he told the second Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit that gathers world leaders and Nobel laureates.

Global military expenditure reached almost $1.7 trillion in 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said last year 27 million children were out of school in conflict zones.

ALSO READ: Exclusive: How is One Woman Army changing the notions of Education in society?

“We want safe schools, we want safe homes, we want safe countries, we want a safe world,” said Satyarthi, who shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai for his work with children.

Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein told the summit, which focused on child refugees and migrants affected by war and natural disasters, that education was “key,” especially for “children on the move.”

“Education can be expensive, but never remotely as close to what is being spent on weapons. … They [children] are today’s hope for a better future,” he told the two-day summit.

Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a nonprofit group, described the number of Syrian refugees not in school in the Middle East as “shocking” as the war enters its eighth year.

Kennedy cited a report being released Tuesday by the KidsRights Foundation, an international children’s rights group, which found 40 percent of school-aged Syrian children living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq cannot access education. VOA