Chandigarh, November 16: Today, under a ‘1 India’ campaign started by Yuvsatta-an NGO, International Day for Tolerance was celebrated with organization of an Interfaith Harmony Meet, at Peoples Convention Centre, by Yuvsatta-an NGO, Dev Samaj College of Education and Peoples Convention Centre. 100 Students from two colleges namely Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management & Catering Technology (CIHM), Dev Samaj College of Education, and four Schools of Delhi Public School, Carmel Convent School, New Public School, St. Stephen’s School, Sector 45B, Chandigarh participated.

Prominent speakers included Father Lawrence Benedict of Christ the King Cathedral, Sector 19, Moulana Mohd. Ajmal Khan, Imam, Jama Masjid, Sector 20A, Prof. Kulwant Singh, President, Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh and Prof. Shyam Sunder of Shri Hanuman Teerath, Sector 25, Panchkula.

Addressing the gathering Prof. Shyam Sunder shared that Indian civilization which is based on co-existence of faiths - Sarva Dharma Sambhava, implies equal respect for all Dharmas. Elaborating this, Vivekananda used the metaphor of many rivers flowing into one mighty ocean. Prof. Kulwant Singh added that all religions lead to the same God and differences among them are not essential. Indeed, the goal of every religion is the same. The spirit of the founders of the different religions was the same though rituals differ.

Moulana Mohd. Ajmal Khan said that Islam teaches peace and love for mankind. And to combat all forms of expression which incite sectarian hatred, society as a whole should take action against dissemination of such material in the mass media. Government should introduce inter-religious education in schools as part of the curriculum so as to promote communal harmony.

Father Lawrence emphasized that first we should promote unity in families first, which will lead us to a united country. And we also should believe in our young people. If we need a strong India, we have to first make our youth strong by inculcating values of right speech, thinking and action. And this process in a systematic manner should start from childhood.

Taking part in this discussion Sukaina class 8th student of Carmel Convent School shared that she feel happy to study in a School where equal treatment for all students irrespective of their economic or religious background is practiced. And for permanent peace this spirit should percolate in our society as well. Shatakshi Badhan of Delhi Public School added that it is prerequisite for a strong country that all young people should not only stand for our rights but for rights of others as well. Faiz Ansari a Class 10th students of New Public School was of the view that spirit of oneness is need of the hour and it can only be promoted if instead of ‘I’, all people believe in power ‘We’.

In her concluding remarks Prof. Gurdev Kaur, former Principal of Government College, Derrabasi, mentioned that “India has been home for centuries to all great religions of the world and has learnt to live together, grow together and learn together. And even as each one of us remains devoted to our own individual faith, we have learnt to respect the faith of another. This has been the basis of our nationhood.”