Vadodara, Gujarat, India - February 7, 2018
As an Ambassador of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, I successfully organized "Interfaith Meet" on February 07, 2018 jointly with an organization of Jain religion at Vadodara (Gujarat) India as a part of Interfaith Harmony Week celebrated by United Nations.
I spoke first as an Ambassador of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. I talked about the “melting pot” and “salad bowl”. I appealed to all the religious leaders and the representatives from the different religions and sects that we have to get ready for “salad bowl” and not for “melting pot”. In “salad bowl”, all the vegetables keep their taste in-tact even though they are in the one bowl while in “melting pot” all the ingredients loss their own identity. Hence, we need the harmony of “salad bowl” and not the unity of “melting pot”. I said firmly that we in the Parliament believe in the religious harmony in such a way that every religion and every sect keep their own identity at the time of maintaining religious harmony. To keep religious harmony, every religion and every sect must understand their own religious books and rituals in a true sense.
I appealed everyone to attend 2018 Parliament to be organized at Toronto in Canada. Following religious leaders had delivered their speeches on how to keep religious harmony by living together with all religions.
Mr. Giriraj Shastri from Hindu Religion
Swami Tyagvatsalji from Swaminarayan (BAPS) Sect of Hindu Religion
Dr. Zulkarnain Bhaisaheb from Alvi Bohra of Shia Muslim
Mr. Gurudayal Singh from Sikh Religion
Mr. Prakash Sheth from Jain Religion
Dr Vagishkumar Goswami from Vaishnava Sect of Hindu Religion
Swami Suchetanji from Swaminarayan (Sokhda) Sect of Hindu Religion
Dr. Damodar Chaitany Maharaj from ISKCON
Mr. Harshad Bapa from Hindu Religion
Shastri Raghunandandasji from Swaminarayan (Vadtal) Sect of Hindu Religion
Mr. Pankajkumar Goswami from Vaishnava Sect of Hindu Religion
Maulana Abdulla from Sunni Sect of Islam
Mr. Shakil Ahmed Rajput from Jamate Islami Hind, Islamic Organization
Dr. Shaileshanandji from Dada Bhagvan Sect of Hindu Religion
Mr. Kunal Sharma from Chhatr Sansad (Youth Parliament)
Mr. Nikitin Contractor from Zoroastrian – Parsi Religion and
Swami Jyotirnath Bawa from Nath Sect of Hindu Religion
Mr. Giriraj Shastri from Hindu Religion emphasised on the involvement of youth to generate religious harmony. Youth must be educated on the relevance of religious books in true sense incorporating current day sciences.
Dr. Zulkarnain Bhaisaheb from Alvi Bohra of Shia Muslim talked totally differently. He stressed on the involvement of human element in the religious harmony. He narrated that the human being is the first one who enters into the earth much before the religions enter. Humanity should be the main criteria for religious bonding and harmony. He also emphasised on the involvement of youth in large scale to achieve religious harmony in the real sense.
Maulana Abdulla from Sunni Sect of Islam talked about the various myths prevailed about the Islam and various terms used under the name of Islam and Holy Quran. He cited examples of the term “jihad”. He informed that Quran and Islam do not allow the killing of innocent people. He stressed on the word Islam and said that Islam means peace.
Mr. Shakil Ahmed Rajput from Jamate Islami Hind, Islamic Organization talked about Quran and Islam. He stressed that Islam always propound humanity and peace. Justice for all and truthfulness should be the basic goal of the Islam. Misunderstandings about Islam must have to be removed as soon as possible across the globe.
Mr. Prakash Sheth from Jain Religion stressed on “live and let others live”. Forgiveness is the basic pillar of Jain religion. He stressed that if everyone start on the forgiveness, the religious harmony will achieve without much efforts.
Mr. Nikitin Contractor from Zoroastrian – Parsi Religion had proudly said that his religion always absorb like sugar absorbs in the milk. He told that they always believe in the harmonious living.
Dr. Shaileshanandji from Dada Bhagvan Sect of Hindu Religion informed the audience that we have to give answers of – why, how, when and for what to the youth of the current times. If we able to answer all these four, we will easily able to achieve harmony among religions. We need to teach religious books and scriptures in the language of the youth. Youth should be taught about “him/herself” first before teaching him/her about the religion.
Mr. Pankajkumar Goswami from Vaishnava Sect of Hindu Religion stressed on the love. He said that love is the main component to achieve the harmony in any sense. With love, we can crush disputes, fundamentalism and hatredness.
Swami Tyagvatsalji from Swaminarayan (BAPS) Sect of Hindu Religion stressed on the value education starting from the school level. With the value education, we can eradicate all types of hatredness and fundamentalism easily.
Mr. Kunal Sharma from Chhatr Sansad (Youth Parliament) complained that youth is not getting real knowledge about the religions and religious scriptures. Youth can bring revolution and can dedicate everything for religious harmony only youth get the true knowledge about different religions.
The program was well attended by 140 delegates from different religions and sects. Print and electronic media covered the event.