Kashmir has been in the news for wrong reasons since the last four months. Ever since then it been on the boil for past sometime. Violent protests, arson, looting and other forms of outbursts have rocked the very cradle of Jammu and Kashmir that once people called as `Paradise`.
I have never visited that place, but my parents told me that our ancestors belonged to Kashmir, living and thriving along the banks of the once mighty river Saraswati. We therefore came to be called as `Saraswats’, the people of the river Saraswati.
At that time, Kashmir Shaivism gave India the powerful spiritual wisdom of peaceful co-existence. The invaders from the West, forced us to migrate down south and some to the east of India, while imposing and promoting a totally non-Kashmiri philosophy.
In those days, one of the most inspiring core principles of Kashmir Shaivism that made Kashmir a true Paradise was thus – `That bondage, suffering and misery happens when one clings to a very strong sense of identity on the basis of race, region, religion, caste, creed and language`. That’s how the people of Kashmir survived the millennia, bonded together.
Has this sense of bondage come to haunt the people of Kashmiri once again?
That little bit of `Kashmir – in – me’, prompted me to write this piece on why I love Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s refreshingly new and profound initiative to restore Kashmir – Back to Paradise.
This is exactly the theme of the conference which he is scheduled to address on November 23rd in Jammu.
I have my own deep reasons to underline just some of his rare qualities which I believe, recognise him as a pioneer to `break-the-ice` in Kashmir today where human values, mutual trust, dialogue and understanding stand frozen.
Reason 1: A peacemaker who does not want to win!
Shocking it may sound. Someone who puts absolutely everything at stake for the larger good of people, takes risks and makes efforts to make others progress and win. A genuine conflict-resolution expert will never let anyone go back as a loser.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has offered to rebuild 27 schools in Kashmir burnt down by miscreants. With this offer, he has committed to the progress of Kashmir`s young and future. This I reckon is one of the true signs of a peacemaker.
I offer to rebuild the 27 schools burnt in Kashmir.
— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) November 1, 2016
Reason 2: Himalayan patience!
He is known to be a keen listener and brilliant observer. This is a virtue of someone who has a deep understanding of Meditation and also who is a successful Mediator. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in his initiatives towards conflict -resolution, brings immense objectivity and impartiality to a situation. He has a Himalayan patience and the people of Kashmiri now want to be heard on their uphill situation as soon as possible.
The attendees of the upcoming Jammu conference are :
The stone- pelters and their leaders who engaged in violence in Kashmir, Gujjar Bakarwals, teachers and professors of colleges, trade unions, ex-militants, Sufi representatives, the representatives of communities like Sikhs, Buddhists, etc., NGO s from the State, support groups of Army, writers and poets, Youth leaders, media persons, leaders from women organisations, leaders of Kashmiri Pandit community, representatives from Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Travel Agent Association of Kashmir, representatives from J&K Hoteliers Club etc.
Reason 3: Season for Change
As this season changes, bringing a shift in attitudes and perspectives becomes imperative. His skill, creativity and wisdom for transformation has been record – breaking, if not magical. The need of the hour is to bridge the gap of mistrust, suspicion, doubt and complete breakdown of dialogue. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar`s vision and mission are both critical now for Kashmir. That`s why we look up to men of wisdom. This raises hope for that much-needed shift.
Should I say `A Paradigm Shift for a Paradise`.