Historic Independence Day Celebrations at Parmarth Niketan
Independence Day Message of Oneness, Togetherness and All-ness at Parmarth Niketan
Rishikesh- Today’s Independence Day symbolized a new dawning in interfaith harmony as hundreds of Muslim and Hindu faith leaders, students and community members converged for a more peaceful and sustainable world.
Under the inspiration and guidance of HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, President of Parmarth Niketan and Founder/Chair of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, the voices and hands of maulanas, dharm gurus, children and supporters joined together in a vibrant tapestry that represented the unity in diversity that is India.
Said Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, “this Independence Day, we are celebrating independence from division, as all of us come together and stand together for Bharat. Mother India is built on diversity, woven together by the threads of solidarity. Today, we unite on the banks of Mother Ganga to pledge to work together for a cleaner, greener and more peaceful world for all.”
Said Imam Umer Ilyasi, President of the All-India Organization of Imams with Mosques, “I come as a representative of the 500,000 Imams of India to say we are human first, then we are Indians, and then we are Muslims. Here, with Pujya Swamiji, we have all become one. From this day forth, all of our madrasas, all of our Imams, and all of our students pledge to work together with Pujya Swamiji and Global Interfaith WASH Alliance for a more peaceful, water-secure and green future for all.”
Said Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, President of the Divine Shakti Foundation and Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, “Today we have truly had ‘Bharat Darshan.’ We have had darshan of the true India, an India that is united in love, united in oneness and united in a commitment to serve the nation and serve the world. India has so much it is giving the world — science, technology, engineering and more. But the most important gift of India to the world is the gift of oneness, ekta, and today here on the banks of Ganga, that darshan and message of oneness is going to the country and the world!”
During the event, the recurrent themes of environmental protection and climate change emerged as a pressing issue that transcended all barriers, threatening to impact all unless steps were taken in solidarity to preserve our water resources, reduce pollution and plant trees.
As one effect of climate change, according to Niti Ayog, within just over a decade, 520 million people in India may have no drinking water if rapid action is not taken. The planting of greenery and trees will serve to help restore watersheds in areas that are growing increasingly parched.
Said Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, “The blood of the people of every faith is red; now it is time for us to also go green. If we truly want to bring hariyali (greenery) in this nation, the worshippers of Hari and Ali (Allah) must come together. Let us pledge this Independence Day to work for the Swachh Bharat programme and greening of our country, as inspired by our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modiji so that we may be free from pollution, free from illness and free from environmental destruction. Let us pledge to plant trees and build toilets to build India and tame trash until pollution is a thing of the past.”
As the tri-colours rippled majestically in the wind, all raised their hands together in sacred solidarity chanting “Hum Ek hein. Hum Bharatiya hein,” (“We are one. We are Indian”) that transcended religion, caste and creed, as they pledged to carry forth these green and unifying messages to all.