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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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“Visit Strengthens Further Internal Cohesion and Unity”: Pope Francis Meets Leaders of North Macedonia

Ahead of his visit, Francis praised the mix of cultures, religions, and ethnicities in North Macedonia, and said he was traveling there to "sow these seeds" of solidarity.

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Pope Francis
Pope Francis greets the crowds in Skopje on May 7. RFERL

Pope Francis, who is on a historic first trip to North Macedonia, has met with the country’s leadership and held Mass in the main square of the capital, Skopje.

Francis was welcomed by the outgoing president, Gjorge Ivanov, and other government officials.

He has sought to encourage the country’s drive toward integration into the EU and NATO after its name change resolved a decades-long dispute with Greece last year.

Like neighboring Bulgaria — Francis’s first stop on his three-day Balkan tour — North Macedonia, a small Balkan country of 2.1 million, is mainly Orthodox Christian.

But the country has a large community of ethnic Albanian Muslims, who make about one-quarter of the population. North Macedonia is home to an estimated 15,000 Catholics.

In meetings with Ivanov and with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at the presidential palace, Francis praised North Macedonia’s multiethnic and multifaith culture, calling it an example of peaceful coexistence and a bridge between East and West.

“These particular features are also highly significant for increased integration with the nations of Europe,” he said.

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Like neighboring Bulgaria — Francis’s first stop on his three-day Balkan tour — North Macedonia, a small Balkan country of 2.1 million, is mainly Orthodox Christian. VOA

“It is my hope that this integration will develop in a way that is beneficial for the entire region of the Western Balkans, with unfailing respect for diversity and for fundamental rights.”

In his speech, President Ivanov complained about delays in accepting Macedonia in the Euro-Atlantic family.

“You come at a time when [North] Macedonian society is deeply divided, and the [North] Macedonian [nation] is heavily wounded by broken promises, unfulfilled expectations and faltering trust in the international community,” he said.

Viktor Dimovski, state secretary of North Macedonia’s Foreign Ministry, told the media on May 6 that the pope’s historic visit comes at a crucial moment as the country seeks entry into the European Union and NATO.

“The pope’s visit strengthens further internal cohesion and unity, and brings messages of reconciliation and solidarity,” he said.

The pope’s visit also included a prayer at the memorial of North Macedonia’s most famous native daughter, Mother Teresa, who was born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu to Albanian parents in 1910 in Skopje when it was still part of the Ottoman Empire.

Francis was surrounded by Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity nuns in praying before the memorial. Mother Teresa was canonized by Francis in 2016.

Ahead of his visit, Francis praised the mix of cultures, religions, and ethnicities in North Macedonia, and said he was traveling there to “sow these seeds” of solidarity.

“Living together is not always easy, we know that,” the pope said in a video message. “But it’s worth struggling toward, because the most beautiful mosaics are the ones that are richest in colors.”

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But the country has a large community of ethnic Albanian Muslims, who make about one-quarter of the population. Pixabay

With the name dispute with Greece now resolved, North Macedonia, which has been an EU aspirant since 2005, hopes to get a clear signal for the start of accession talks in June. Skopje also expects to become the 30th NATO member at the end of the year.

Also Read: Puppeteers Bring Message of Harmony, Love, Tolerance in Pakistan’s Karachi

Stevo Pendarovski, who was elected president in a runoff election on May 5, said he saw his victory as a “ticket for NATO and EU.”

Six Western Balkan countries — Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia — are in various stages of the accession process to join the EU. (RFERL)