July 16, 2017: Inter faith meeting at the inauguration of a photo exhibition on Indian religious traditions in the US brought together representatives of various faiths with the aim for peace and harmony. The meeting also emphasized the need for dialogue among different religions. The meeting witnessed renowned personalities from different religious communities.
Swami Muktidananda of Ramakrishna Mission while referring to the democratic principles on soils of both America and India said, “All faiths can flourish in the world by carrying flags of harmony.”
The Jewish Community Affairs General Secretary A Cohen, who touched on over 200-year history of the Jewish community in Kolkata and the method adopted by Jewish-run schools for imparting lessons of harmony among the children emphasized on not recognizing one’s religion superior as compared to others.
The General Secretary of Mahabodhi Society of India, Ven P Seewali also expressed his view and feels cultural differences to be the only difference among humans.
Father Dominic Gomes, who is the Vicar General of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Calcutta, conveyed about the need of seers to enlighten in regard to the severe and diabolical problems. He said “Somewhere we are not getting to the bottom line. Dialogue is important.”
The Buddhist monk representing Buddhism called for continuing peace initiatives and dialogues and gave a reference to the spiritual history of India where gurus had talked about love and compassion for thousands of years.
Swami Shuddhidananda talked about how Swami Vivekananda’s visit to the US had opened floodgates of spirituality in America and acceptance of Indian spirituality by the Americans. Ajmer Singh, president of Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Jagat Sudhar and the representative of Sikhism was also present on the occasion. Imam of Nakhoda Mosque, Md Shafique Qasmi, who could not mark his presences due to illness or some other reasons ensures his contribution by sending a message to support the initiative.
Expressing happiness over the discourse, US Consul General Dr Craig L Hal also expressed his pleasure over the discourse and encouraged the people of two countries to share the practice of ideals which will result in demonstrating a common commitment stimulating tolerance towards all religions.
The exhibition ‘Keeping Faith’ displayed photographs of the celebration of multiple faiths Indian festivals in America. Charles River Ganga Aarti at Cambridge, Eid Milan at Houston, and Turban Day at Manhattan, Holi at Harvard, Ganesh Chaturthi in New York were some of the display. These exhibits were also on display in New Delhi and Hyderabad earlier.
– prepared by Surbhi Dhawan of Newsgram. Twitter @surbhi_dhawan